In late January, life, as we know it today, was quite different. We were free to come and go as we please, to get a haircut, dine at a local pub, and mingle with our friends. The news of the day was mostly about politics and as disgusting as that can be at times, it was what it was. Or was it?
More and more I became enmeshed and outraged by the news of the day and the bias of the mainstream media. This was nothing new since my disdain for the MSM actually began over ten years ago and was part of the catalyst for becoming a prepper and starting my first website, Backdoor Survival. But what was happening now was worse – a lot worse. What was being passed to the unenlightened was opinion disguised as news. It was disgusting.
As much as I dislike the term “Fake News”, indeed, that is what I was hearing and reading. Hypocrisy was the rule rather than the exception and I was mad. Do you remember that line from the movie Network? “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” That is how I felt.
In order to vent, I reached out to my pal George Ure (Urban Survival) to vent a bit. As some of you know, George spent part of his career as a broadcast journalist and was the news director for a top Seattle radio station. He was both well respected and well connected in the industry and was nothing if not 100% credible.
What follows is an interview I did with George before COVID-19 dominated the news. I have sat on it for a few months thinking that in the big picture of things, perhaps it was no longer relevant. Of course, I was wrong. Questioning the ethics of journalism now, more than ever, is important. As our liberty is being challenged and our right to free speech suppressed, what George has to say is timely.
Life as we know it has indeed changed and may never return. Corrupt politicians and their partners, the lame-stream media, are accelerating changes I thought I would never see in my lifetime.
Enjoy (if you can) my interview with George and let me know what you think.
Busting the Myth of Modern Journalism: An Interview with George Ure
Like many, I am disgusted with modern, so-called journalism, and feel that the term “fake news” is well deserved. Forty-plus years ago, you were a broadcast journalist which, I feel, gives you a unique perspective to comment on today’s state of news reporting, I would love to have you offer up some thoughts for my readers here at Strategic Living.
Yeah, Gaye, I think we’re ALL disgusted with what passes for “news” these days. At least if your IQ is triple digits.
I just completed a 6,500-word report for my Peoplenomics.com subscribers where I went deep into the historical roots of the problem because most people don’t see what we’re experiencing as a long-term “structural consequence” of technological development.
As I laid it out, in Medieval times, serfs didn’t worry about the “news cycle.” Some bully with a whip would come along and say “Do this, or else…” and you did it. Or else…
What we’ve turned into a 200-channel wasteland is largely not useful, distracts from our pure purposes in Life, and it’s a waste of mental processing (and storage) capacity.
I illustrate this with “The Water Cooler Paradox.”
When someone asks at the water cooler “Hey, what did you think about thus & so…” people can make a choice.
Most people, being sheep-like, will want to seem “In the Know” and therefore to get ready for water cooler talk, they load up on minutia masquerading as “real news.”
A few people will look at their questioner and tell them “Who cares? This (xyz) you speak of doesn’t impact my life in the least. How does it impact yours?
No one expects that and it’s hard to answer.
People aren’t really strong these days and high levels of independent thought are considered dangerous. The news media has been part of this conditioning, shaming, whining, and dumbing down.
How is news reporting supposed to work? Put another way, how do journalists come up with news stories and what steps are taken to ensure that news reporting is accurate?
OK…so over time, as our information technology evolved, so did our mental space for contextualizing news.
The Big Picture problem is we have moved into a hyper-complex 3D data-centric world. Yet our thinking is stuck back in the 2D dinosaur period of thinking. Most people don’t even know what the inverted pyramid style of writing is, let alone how limiting it can be.
The Serfs – or Neanderthals – didn’t need news – they just needed to do what “the Man” with the whip said.
1440 A.D. and comes Gutenberg and suddenly everyone is moving into Book Land. Even so, it wasn’t until metal type became common-place that news got its “legs under it.” Remember – although hardly anyone does – Ben Franklin was one of America’s first bloggers.
As news (event reports for short time-frames) arose, it was centered around six key concepts: Who, What, When, Why, Where, and How.
The arrangement of these elements in print journalism became the “inverted pyramid style.”
In fact, however, this was a reduction of news events – which often have very long time-frames over which they’ve evolved – then distilling these down to a 2-dimensional – usually shallow and biased – forced-choice.
Then came Advocacy Journalism. Liberal, Left, and Marxists in university taught gullible journo students that it was OK to be a “champion of the underdog.” The forced choicing became unbalanced and left-leaning, anti-establishment all the way to subversive.
They wrapped it up all pretty-like, but in truth, that’s when we crossed the line into propaganda in America. This was when the Lefty’s railed against Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950’s – when McCarthy was outing thousands in Hollywood as being communist sympathizers and card-carrying subversives. After hearings before HUAC – the House UnAmerican Activities Committee – a lot of what McCarthy had predict has come to pass.
He was 85% right, but the arrogant left implants painted him the fool of history.
Defenders of the Left – including a good number of well-intentioned moderates and middle of the roaders – got sucked into defending the Left and we’ve never really gotten over this. The dance continues in the New York Timers daily.
Next came the Corporatization takeover of “news.” You were in the Federal government back then at the Federal Executive Board around 1970. That’s when the PR industry was getting its legs under it. That’s when “manufacturing of opinion blocks was elevated to a high-paid business model.
Are there any professional organizations that establish and uphold journalistic standards and if so, are there any checks and balances to ensure those standards are met?
Well, there are a few: I’ve been a past member of the Society [of] American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) and I’m still a member of the National Association of Newspaper Columnists (https://columnists.com) and they are quite welcoming of news media people (internet-based writers). Not really hard-hitting and data and quantification techniques, however. Come to think of it, most J-schools aren’t, either.
In the main, however, there has been so much advocacy journalism that awards I won when young, like a regional Sigma Delta Chi award, just doesn’t seem to mean as much these days. The press (and the awards) have become far too interested in opinion and advocacy rather than hardcore “Here’s the damn data and here are some expert projections of where this leads us.”
It’s the “news” side of the Oscar debacle recently. Oscars turned into political platforms. The idiots speak. Durable fact-sorting and analysis have gone “High Opinion” too.
Sorry to say, most of that high-quality journalism has gone MIA. Advocacy and opinion are a piss-poor substitute for facts and impacts. People are on television as much (and often more) for their looks as what’s upstairs which is why I never liked TeeVee.
I was rather shocked to learn that the New York Times has a history of propaganda going back to early 30s. You were a journalist in the early 70s. How did propaganda play into media reporting at the time? Or did it?
Oh sure. There were a lot of academic-led “fringe radio stations” around the local campuses. That’s where the FM music revolution (and the drug culture) really began. My sense is that people are mainly too busy, though, feathering their own nests, to contemplate deeply on the long-term consequences of their actions.
When we look at China today, from a longwave economics perspective, what do we see? Well, China is going through their equivalent of America’s socialist wanted-to-be President for Life, Franklin Roosevelt. The only difference between Xi Jinping and Roosevelt is which side of the world they’re on. They experience Depressions – Roosevelt’s was clear and Xi’s Depression will come as the fallout to COVID-19. The left has tunnels into the NY Times and Xi? Well, he has Xinhua.
There was also Stalin. Working propaganda into the U.S. Labor movement throughout the 1930’s and in the 1950’s and 1960’s the drug culture was used by the Russians to roll-up a blend of smoke-head politics that eventually leads to seasoned lefties (like Bernie Sanders) as being considered for President.
There’s a long-term globalist anti-America movement by the erudite Left worldwide (George Soros comes to mind as supportive of open borders, by some accounts) and the difference between French, German, or Russia agitators is really minimal, I think. They all hate America which explains the “bum’s rush” to take us down.
In your opinion, are Pseudo-events currently being pitched as real news? If so, how does the public authenticate the news as it reported? Or is that even possible?
All day, every day!
Authentication is really easy: Just look at EVERY news story pitched off the Cyclops Box in the Living Room and ask a single definitive question: “Does this impact me in any personal way?” Ask your phone feeds.
If the answer is Yes it may be news. If the answer is No, then you’re being info-scammed. Sold, shaped, tuned, persuaded….
90 percent of the content won’t be “news.”
Like a while back, there was a front page of Drudge Report on the home Amazon boss Jeff Bozos reportedly has purchased. $165-million.
Clearly, this is a pseudo-event because JB is never going to invite George and Gaye (with our spouses, of course) over to his place for dinner. So, why do I care? You? Of course not. Yet, it was “clickbait” for sheep. Remember my motto: Everything’s a Business Model!
That’s the whole secret of hype, though: Making it seem like something matters when it doesn’t. Anyone who would follow a 16-year old’s admonishments on Climate not only should have their head examined, but they should lose their right to vote since their mental acuity is demonstrably deficient…
Along those lines, what news sources or specific journalists do you personally consider credible?
Hate to admit this, but none – at least anymore.
I sort-of trust government press releases that are data-based. No one on a network unless Dean Sheppard is still around because he was (and you might remember him) at KING-TV in Seattle when I was chasing news up there. Same for Lou Dobbs.
The rest? Skin galvanometer talking heads in the main, except for opinionated radicals like Rachel Maddow who I can’t stand. Tucker Carlson’s OK.
Nope, we’re all better off turning off the TV and while we’re going there, following Elon Musk’s advice, too: #DeleteFacebook.
Way back when you were involved in a Web Bot project that tracked linguistic chatter to prophesize future economic, climate, and other world trends and events. Is that still a valid theory or has it been debunked? Related to that, can you comment on fake news (or pseudo-news) becoming an in-your-face self-fulfilling prophecy (“if they read/hear/see it, they will come”).
I became “unsold” on that conception of a “model space.” Especially, as I was never allowed to see it.
In my own work, however, I outlined how you can more-easily spot manipulations in news by simply looking at the timeline and “history” track in modelspace of a particular “narrative.” No complicated linguistics needed.
That project was also too general for me because you can forecast a “major storm” or “major quake” and every six months, or so, there’s usually one somewhere in the world. The prediction to hit ratio wasn’t far enough above the noise floor over a long sample period.
Perhaps the most important question of all is this one: Is ethical Journalism dead?
Let me offer the alternative: How about Dimensionally-challenged.
News in a hyper-complex world must be multi-dimensional and a bit hyper to be useful. Biased, anti-American agendas to “take us down” as a shining light country are all over the place. Forced-choice reporting with a political agenda reigns supreme.
Journalism just hasn’t kept up with these electronic times.
Like a House that is always being reduced to 2-dimensional blueprints, the Reality of the house doesn’t appear until all three plan views (front, sides, top) are built and come into a whole context.
The news can be rolled into a single multidimensional presentation layer – just like printing is rolling over to 3D, too.
But, until the breakthrough comes to the news industry using augmented reality, mixed reality, or full-on virtual so that all aspects of an events timeline, linkages, and future projections can be seen, crooks are holding us hostage to forced-choices.
Read the far left, and read the far right. When they agree, that’s where our future may be.
Real journalism isn’t dead…but it’s awaiting its Digital Resurrection.
Last question then: Is the average American citizen intelligent enough to discern the truth from the bias the main stream media appears to spew on a regular basis?
The answer, my dear friend, is conditional: Some yes, some no.
If a person can think and visualize in three dimensions and realizes that every6 single current event has formative historical antecedents, then hell yes.
On the other hand, if a person persists – between the ears – living in a 2-dimension “Flat Lander’s World” then we are all doomed because they are so easy to manipulate that Tower of Babel 2.0 will collapse as the insurrectionists raise hell.
Which is why we both own “survival platforms” and have “survival partners” isn’t it?
The OP-ED is Not Limited to the Editorial Page
You are undoubtedly familiar with the term “op-ed”. This term was coined in the 40s as a shortening op(posite the) ed(itorial page). An Op-Ed was an opinion piece, typically printed on the page opposite the editorial page in a newspaper. It consisted of commentary and the express opinion of the author who was typically not affiliated in any way with the publication’s editorial board.
These days it is my opinion that 90% of what we call news today is really an op-ed expressing the opinion of an author (writer or broadcaster) who has ties to a corporate agenda or political ideology. News takes the form of brainwashing disguised as entertainment and it takes a lot of fortitude to not recognized it as such.
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Summing It All Up
Need convincing? I recently read the book Unfreedom of the Press by Mark Levin. This book was a real eye-opener, providing a brief history of journalism in North America, starting with the Patriot Press that expounded the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I recommend that everyone read this book in order to get an understanding of what Mark describes how ” those entrusted with news reporting today are destroying freedom of the press from within: “not government oppression or suppression”, but self-censorship, groupthink, bias by omission, and passing off opinion, propaganda, pseudo-events, and outright lies as news.”
To sum up, I would like to thank George for coming to my rescue by answering my questions. I am still mad as hell, but at least I can be mad with my eyes wide open.
Yours for a Joyful Life,
Unfreedom of the Press by Mark Levin: If you only read one book this year, make it this one. I actually listened to the audiobook version and got through it quite quickly. I could not put it down. Not having the stomach to read or listen to news from formerly trusted sources, Mark Levin’s book put it all in perspective for me and legitimized my concerns about truth, or lack thereof, in the media. Mostly, I was shocked by the timeline. Fake news has been around for a long, long time. Sad really.
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