Fake Arguments on Fake News

Binoy Kampmark

Image source here.

The constipated tedium that follows each call, denial and condemnation after another round of fake news and its giddying effects has become daily fare.  Entire episodes with the sanctimonious and the solemn are being created to show up the citizen journalist, the blogger, the self-opinionated masturbator of news, in the hope that some high priest set will reclaim the ground.

That ground, supposedly, is “truth”, a truly big word merely assumed by its advocates.

None of this is to deny that there is something dreary and depressing about accounts that are fabricated.  But this is an age old matter, and one that centres on the old question: Should you trust what is ever published? 

The facility to use language is as much a means of expression as deception. According to George Steiner, humanity’s Babel dilemma – having a multiplicity of languages that seek to confuse rather than clarify – had as much to do with the need to deceive than anything else.  Learn the language, learn the deception.

The modern attempt to evade such deceptions is conventional as much as it is flawed.  It questions the very media that was meant to disseminate accounts at speed and attributes traditional monopolies of truth to a Fourth Estate long in tooth and very much on its sick bed.  The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Financial Times have looked rather haggish at points.

There is a charmingly naïve assumption here: that the old press houses were somehow incapable of deception and censorship.  The influence of media moguls; the cuts and modifications of the editorial boards and government censors, are all historically distant in such arguments.

All that is Fake is new because – and here an element of snobbery creeps in – it is generated by the vox pops brigade.

That viral freight helped along by social media is being treated as the problem, the medium as dissimulated message. The Four Corners episode which aired on Australia’s national network on Monday is one such example, shrill in its concerns that the fake in news is undermining to democracy and its institutions. 

Its list of interviewed subjects supply us a Who’s Who of sceptics and critics about modern journalism and the dark steed called Fake News.

Claire Wardle, Executive director of First Draft, is one who earns her crust attacking this wave and engaged in the process she regards as “verification training for journalists”.  Her organisation supplies “Training and resources for journalists in an age of disinformation.” 

In her interview with Four Corners, she suggests how:

we need to worry about fake news. People dismiss it as frivolous. It’s not. I think it’s the biggest crisis that we face as humankind because it is dividing us.  And as we’re divided we’re going to get to a point where democracy is no longer functioning.”

Such a considerable overegging of that pudding is supplemented by other comments.

Veteran journalist John Carlin makes no secret of his aversion to social media platforms, and their means of getting the message through an intemperate scream rather than a sober debate. 

“What social media does is give more weight and more value to the people who shout loudest.”

But years before the clans of shouters got into the social media bubble, the Murdoch empire, through such trusty emissaries as The Sun, were happy pushing voters with reactionary prods and embellished accounts.

Behind such comments on the fakery of social media news is a paternalistic sneer, one directed against the great unwashed. Sometimes, the sneer targets a specific group, the abominations, the gullible freaks, the marginalised.

Phil Howard, director of the Computational Propaganda Project at Oxford, suggested in February last year that the condition for consuming and gorging the fake in news coverage is limited.

There is an upside to all of this. It appears that only one part of the political spectrum – the far right – is really the target for extremist, sensational and conspiratorial content.  Over social media, moderates and centrists tend not to be as susceptible.”

That is all fine, if you treat terms such as “moderate” and “centrists” as fundamentally immutable and immune to the witch’s brew of conspiracy.  All groups are susceptible, and the artery busting fury at WikiLeaks in exposing the underbelly of the Clinton campaign machine in 2016 all suggested that groups of any political persuasion are very happy to entertain dark pulls and urges. 

Julian Assange, the celebrated truth sayer one day; pilloried Russian agent the next.

Technological reach has also given birth to a vibrant form of citizen journalism, the very sort frowned upon by conventional, often regulated networks.

In 2014, Time noted that “the growth of social media, facilitated by technological advances that allow Internet access even in a war zone, has made detailed, ground-level information on the war available online”. 

Such journalism is praised as fresh and fair when it seems to shed good light on a position; dark, bought and compromised when it does not. The term “fake” is as much tactical as anything else.

But press traditionalists remain wary: the global cutting back of the press corps has led to an increasing reliance on freelancing, leading to such fears as those of John Owen at City University in London:

news organisations can’t contract out their duty of care and moral responsibility if they choose to air or publish freelancers.”

The battle over what is the fake and authentic in news easily dovetails into regulations of control and limitations on expression. It emboldens the censor and the police version of history. Laws criminalising it have been passed in countries as diverse as Malaysia, France, Germany and Russia.

Some of this is being done with the connivance of the Fourth Estate, keen to accommodate the interests of state. Much information and content, as a result, is being inadvertently blocked.

Singapore’s own effort, the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019, ostensibly targets electronic communications of false statements of facts, the use of online accounts to facilitate such communication and “enable measures to be taken to enhance transparency of online political advertisements, and for related matters.” 

It reads like a gentle, sanitised effort, but its implications are beastly, permitting ministerial determinations on what, exactly, fake news might be.

Such laws, it follows, tend to be used with impunity, targeting any revelations and disclosures that might embarrass the state and its bumbling officials.

Sandra González-Bailón of the Annenberg School for Communication does make a sensible and cautionary point on such efforts. 

The risk of governments regulating social media is that they will regulate something that we don’t fully understand.”

Nor, for that matter, do they.

While the authenticity verifiers marshalled across platoons of fact checkers might well be thinking they are doing us a service, nothing ever replaces the sceptical reader who covers multiple sources to identify an account and question it. 

Never just read lines, but between them; never just accept news, but monitor its content and those who produce it. To the informed sceptic go the spoils of enlightenment.


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May 24, 2020 6:59 PM

This article is a bit bloated.

Sep 20, 2019 11:40 PM

But of course; think-tanks and churnalists justifying their pay-packet with the same old regurgitated topics, year in, year out.. MSM / alt media; 5-eyes non-events..
The “nothing to see here, move on” mantra is spot on regarding this dreary scenario, as if the five-eyes nightmare is of any importance to the other 90% of the Planet.. It isn’t..

Sep 20, 2019 8:44 PM

from seed to feed…but how much do we need – how much is greed, overfeed, does it mislead in it’s speed….to a stampede of the disagreed….is that the deed, for the masses concede, or do I misread ?

Sep 20, 2019 4:12 PM

Verum ipsum factum
“Truth itself is constructed”. Giambattista Vico.

There is only the one Gramscian Hegemony: and that is the hegemony of language over humanity. Which is invisibilised by the construction of Truth. Apparent truth. Contingent half-truth. The paradox to which is that if all news is fake news: this invites us into the Liar’s Paradox.

This is not a mere linguistic paradox – as Nagurjuna demonstrated in the Madhyamika – the more you try to make a language true (concretise and axiomatise it) …the more tautological, inconsistent, and self-contradictory it becomes. Godel and Tarski similarly showed the inherent limitations of any self-referential language system. And yet consensus reality is shared by all those who think that language maintains a one to one correspondence from concept to reality …with no confession of doubt or inconsistency (signified=signifier with 100% correspondence and no ‘remainder’ of indeterminacy).

Which is demonstrably and experientially false. A dog is not a dog. A ‘dog’ (signified concept) is an entry point into the psychology of a self-referential sign system (semiotics, semiology) that exists only inside the head of the conceiver. The ignored deficiency of which gives language a preferential veridical status it neither warrants or deserves. Which ultimately means that conceptual reality and veridical reality are two separated things. One true and real separated by language. Separated by the differentiation of an inside and an outside of a non-existent thing (an individuated self). A thing that therefore only takes its existence from language.

Which is the Zen paradox: if reality is nodual – which it is – why do we continue to believe in a perspective paradox that is patently false? Duality is not reality. It can be clearly seen concepts do not match reality: on a one to one somatosensorial experiential or direct perceptive basis. I am not referencing a little standard deviation of reality and duality that can be easily rectified. Every pillar of our meta-constructivism of a shared paradoxical dualistic imaginary (consensus simulation ‘reality’ or apparency-based community) is a ‘fallacy of misplaced concreteness’. Or an ontology of apparency replacing the real. No self. No projected duality.

Which brings me to the paradox of Fake news. Which reduces to various communities of speech and conception vying to make the more plausible and believable set of half truths/half lies. A battle of control of the right to verificationism of opinions – or stories about reality – concretised for a non-existent duality.

With the ones that have access to the levers to the major media having more control to shape the narrative. “Those who tell the stories rule society” said some Greek dude. All the time that ‘society’ is reduced to a dualist narrative constructivism: this will remain true. The narrative is the foundation of a society of control. If the voice in the head – the inner narrative – is held to be ‘real’ …then it can be controlled. Not just controlled, it is already a self-deception if it is believed or believable. If it is anything like some of the chatter I have to listen to: it’s all bollocks anyway.

There is no trivialisation in this. The whole ethos and etiology of suffering is a constructed and concretised fake narrative. Samsara is a fake news semantic. That’s it. Belief in a separate self is the equiprimordial foundation of all fake news. Fake news is the propogation and prolongation of a fake self. Everyone knows this statement alone is valid.

Yes, it is all rather dense and impenetrable: but the bottom line is that what we think and what we are is not the same. Things appear in language that have no veridical correspondence in reality. Mind is an obvious example: as in the Bodhidharma saying “Show me your mind and I will pacify it for you”. No mind. No person. No self. No individual. No space. No time. No coming. No going. No birth. No death. No Being. No non-Being. Sunyatvada.

We take invented and abstract terms, differentiate them, concretise them, then argue about who has the best artificial paradigm. Where there is merit in this: there is greater merit in exposing the whole process as the Samsaric semanticised Lie. Then perhaps we can live in peace without creating spurious factions of self and other. No self. No other. No lies. Simples.

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
Sep 20, 2019 2:21 PM

Facebook has claimed it is a publisher in legal proceedings. It made the claim to justify its censorship of Laura Loomer. As a publisher, it does have the right to not publish. However, as a publisher, it is responsible for all its content, leaving Facebook open to countless law suits, which would inevitably bankrupt it – precisely why it has always claimed it is not a publisher, but merely the provider of a platform. This dilemma confronts all the social media platforms: if they want legal immunity, they have to be platforms, which means they cannot censor; if they want to censor (as the corporate and political elite want them to), they have to be publishers, making them responsible for all their content, which would destroy their business model. I wonder how they will solve this dilemma?

Sep 20, 2019 2:52 PM
Reply to  Steve Hayes

I suppose the answer is to ensure that our highest Court is not corrupt.
Then it can simply point to the yawning abyss between claiming you’re a publisher sometimes and claiming you are not a publisher at other times, and make it illegal to claim that you both are, and are not, a publisher.
This sort of solution used to be called “common sense”, and all our grandmothers and grandfathers had it.
Now it has achieved the ridiculous status of being debatable…
The ignorant fool is now our most revered role model, and we citizens of western society really ought to be ashamed of that, or, even better, fix it.

Sep 20, 2019 11:04 AM

The fraudulent, anti-human MSM has really shown its hand with 5G, the coverage of the rollout has been a military/corporate sponsored whitewash of the real facts of this demonic tech. 5G is totally evil. It is the mark of the Beast. There are (were?) indigenous tribes around the world who believe the West is the Devil. The West is the coming of Satan. They are right, oh so right.

5G Wireless IS NOT SAFE by Former President of Microsoft Canada Frank Clegg

Brian Steere
Brian Steere
Sep 20, 2019 10:04 AM

Fake news is false witness and false wits work to mask over truth and so cannot be a true with-ness or workability – and the attempt to make them work is the assertion and demand of denial presented as the sustainability of internalised identity structure.

As such ‘fake or false communication’ represents a sense of separation and disconnecting conflict as derivative ‘realities’ that operate a weaponised defence set in fear and pain of loss – condensed and focused in a tyrannous mind-framing given power of fear.

That false witness may be seen as absurd or unsubstantiated or the lie of the intent to deny and corrupt truth, is not effective – excepting we see within ourselves and release allegiance. Because pointing out the errors of another will be interpreted as attack, and countered in like kind. Extending a true witness is to the willingness and freedom of others to see or hear and not a weaponising of ‘truth’ to the frame of the lie.

A mind set in attack is not looking or listening or open to communicate. All that is seen and heard under such a mind is serving the intent to survive upon the denial of the other. All that is said, shared or given is for the survival or sustainability of the self in its polarised identification.

Regardless the forms this may take, an underlying polarisation of the mind set against communication for its own ‘survival’, operates through the fear of pain of loss associated WITH communication, relationship and the opening and growing of trust.

Polarising corruption of conflicted communication sets fences, walls and tipping points of territory of possession and control that itself then operates a tipping point into insanity, unworkability, dysfunction, degradation, destruction as a denial of life brought unto death. There is an intention and act of stealing that reveals a true basis for having and being – the truth of possessing life is invisible to a mind in things and forces.

Fake news is itself the bait to engage reaction within the frame its sets. The mind of the personality does not primarily work through rationalisations, but through trust of its internalised structure – that has externalised reflection in social and cultural mores and institutions. Looking within needs to be the always awake corollary to looking ‘out’ in relational endeavour – or else we run on surfaces that deny – and so are then denied or undermined by – depth.

Internalised structure of conditioning beliefs and definitions, usurp and deny living communication of the heart of wholeness, or seeing and hearing truly. The first Call to correcting our sense of self, reality and world is a transparency to Self in place of mind-control-reaction. Unless self-honesty has a foundation from which to extend, then lies, passing off as the true of you, go forth and multiply – to return in their kind and measure – for such is the nature and fruit of idea given acceptance and allegiance in act.

What could possibly deliver us unto evil but a lie given power of identification as true – and persisted in?
If a polarised ‘identity politics’ rises to awareness as a tyrannous means of divide and rule, then learning to read our own identifications of reaction is the key to releasing OUR part in giving power to self-destructive masking illusion of protection from hate and fear as externalised powers set in opposition to Life. Forcefully expressed or clearly embodied communication is not inherently coercive or hateful – excepting to an identity set by hateful coercion as possession and control.

Communication is love in action, and not merely words or ideas wrapped around the same attempt to mask in the forms of acceptability with respect to our current spheres of significance. The desire to exist and to be known to exist is inherent to (our) existence – and yet the fixation in the FORM of its expression makes a mind-control or dis-possession that is simply NOT in our Right Mind – and therefore calls ONLY to restore alignment. Persisting in the attempt to GET RID of or overcome or escape dissonance in symptom works the effective denial of Cause – and therefore of the healing or undoing of effects and symptoms arising from a forcefully asserted mistaken identity.

It is impossible to …..

Continued on


Sep 20, 2019 1:01 PM
Reply to  Brian Steere

I would like to establish some commonality to this discussion of propaganda and how it is used to differentiate the masses in the world.

Understanding that the government and those in the class: elite-wealth-greedy and their interrelated monopoly powered corporations, think tanks, charities and NGOs are constantly conspiring to find ways to deny human rights and to deny the rise to power of democratic forms of governments.

If you are not in the class:wealth-elite-greed (Class:<= WEG); you will not be allowed to understand how fewer than 500,000 class:wealth-elite-greed (Class:<= WEG) members are deployed and how they are taught in private schools and by social networks that they are better than and masses and they must learn to work behind the scenes to find ways to control the masses in the world (8 billion people). Additionally, will you not be allowed to understand the policies governments engage in on behalf of the Class:<WEG to make the 8 billion fully dependent on the whims and needs of the 500,000 (16:1 control ratio?). Human survival exist at the please of Class:<=WEG.

There is always running in the background, a subversive negotiation between governments and class:wealth-elite-greed (Class:<= WEG) persons. (Class:<=WEG) persons depend on people container governments to maintain, and to protect the needs, wants, elite status, wealth and greedy aspirations of the members of the Class:<=WEG. The idea in these behind the scenes negotiations is to find ways to make and keep the masses highly dependent upon government policy, Class:<=WEG owned productive economic activity (jobs) and media propagated propaganda is used to mold the minds of the young and to
guide the development of personality and psychology that the masses are allowed to believe and must accept (<= government knows best). But what is behind this government knows best dictate is tjat Class:<=WEG interest are directing the government to provide the jobs that will make the Class:<=WEG richer. Nothing government does is for the benefit of the masses, sometimes things the government does, indirectly benefits the masses.

Negotiations between the members of Class:<=WEG and government happen because the politicians need to get reelected, and the politicians are dependent upon the Class:<= WEG to invest in projects that allow the the leader to claim success but in fact jobs at factories and in large corporate establishments produce dependence on government and Class:<=WEG; and it is these dependencies that enable the Class:<=WEG persons to control the masses.

The Class:<=WEG folks want government to help them block, new members into Class <=WEG. Person Control ratio: 1 Class:<= WEG member/16000 controlled, ruled, governed persons.

The nation state system (NSS) has been very successful: it imposes divide and conquer
strategies. First you divide the masses into containerized groups, then you control
the information available to each of the containers, the controlled information differentiates the persons locked in the containers. If you tell the people in the red group that the people in the blue group are dangerous and need to be eliminated, and you train the Red group people to kill the blue group people, and then start a war, the blue group will not know what hit them.

The NSS stuffs its allocation of members of the masses into a controlled environment.
In that controlled environment information is controlled, icons are put along the walls,
highways, and in text books and mass circulated media. Because human cognition and
decision making capacities depends on its systems of past reference (knowledge, morality,
logic, evaluations (evidence/vs/faith), and a myriad of other things, the propaganda that
permeates the container actually molds the trapped human into a person acceptable to the
nation state. The classic explanation: J born to Jewish parents in NYC, S born to Shia
Parents in Iran are exchange to the non genetic parents. 24 years later, J will hate S and
S will hate J, neither can speak the language of the other and both see the world in a
different light then their genetic parents. The container environments controlled by rule
of law and use of force were different: Icons, propaganda, morality, and institutional
experiences produced the results as directed by the Class:<= WEG persons.

The Nation State Container (NSC) can be used to polarize the people in one group against
the people in the other. When the scope of events that constitute the news is limited
and that allowed to be known in each NSC is selected to be different and even selected to
oppose the view allowed to the people trapped in the other container polarization takes

So fake news is really just tailored propaganda..explicitly designed for those in one of the
nation state people containers.

We should all begine to talk about the containment of people within a nation state as a people management tool used by the class:wealth-elite-greed group to control by polarization the masses. That tool has made it possible for the Class:<=WEG to use propaganda to develop most of the wars and to keep separated the humanity that constitute the masses.

Brian Steere
Brian Steere
Sep 20, 2019 2:15 PM
Reply to  neverbefore

Did you intent your post to be in response to mine?

Identification is not JUST passive inheritance but actively acquired.

Propaganda is the weaponisation and marketisation of language – as distinct from its function AS communication.

The collective idea of the ‘world’ is not fixed, immutable or imposed.

I sense you want to make a structural container into and by which to explain your world. But it is your world – and others have their own structural filters and rules to ‘explain’ or justify their world.

If people can so easily be manipulated – as in some sense seems so – how and why?

I sketch the inner terrain of the mind that is shared by alliance no less than by polarised opposition – as a reflective opportunity to check your ‘world’ with who you recognise and accept yourself to be – instead of running on acquired and inherited conditioning.

The identification in fear – masked or packaged so as to seem protective against fear – is the ‘containment’. Un-owned and unresolved conflict, divides and is ruled over by narrative control. If you can listen instead in the heart, then you have a basis on which to discern the meanings that you learn and teach or demonstrate, propagate or propagandize.

Truth has no need to deceive or coerce another in order to find reinforcement and sustainability – for its is that which sustains being. That does not mean I cant engage in communicating as I feel truly moved – but that is teaching who I am to a like quality in others. Teaching victimhood, grievance and revenge as an identity in righteousness and power is to emulate the very thing you seek to eradicate.

The build up of conditioned enmity that you illustrate may be protected from healing by propagandists who fear the peace would be a loss of identity – and yet for all that, you are living your choices within the conditions that you meet and by your choices, may change your perspective to significant release of hate and fear that may play into the agenda of others but is fully dumped in your life as your experience.

Much of our slavery is from an exclusive identification in the body – and to a world of bodies in which power asserts itself OVER bodies and is appeased and manipulated by strategies of deceit. I spoke to fantasy enacted upon the body above.

When we give creative power to that which is but an effect or symptom and not a true cause, we become the puppet of our own definitions.

How much freedom from conditioned thinking are you willing to accept, embrace and integrate? What IS narrative identity – and its corresponding continuity, control or desperation for sustainability in its own terms?

I live one step at a time.

Sep 20, 2019 9:39 AM

Published in 1918, after the Anglo Zio Capitalist oil grab known as WW1. Written by one of the few Englishmen who opposed the Empire’s grab of the Afrikaaner Free Republics (Boer War 1899-1902).
The Century of Resource Wars has bred The Century of Lies:

“The Free Press, by Hilaire Belloc.
These things appeared first of all in England, because England was the only
province of Europe wherein the old Latin tradition ran side by side with
the novel effects of Protestantism.
It was the defection of the English Crown, the immense booty rapidly
obtained by a few adventurers, like the Cecils and Russells, and a still
smaller number of old families, like the Howards, which put England, with
all its profound traditions and with all its organic inheritance of the great
European thing, upon the side of the Northern Germanies. It was
inevitable, therefore, that in England the fruits should first appear, for here
only was there deep soil.
That fruit upon which our modern observation has been most fixed was

Sep 20, 2019 8:37 AM

Qui tacet consentir videtur Silence betokens consent.
Post Scriptum:The Orwellian dystopian reality of language and who controls the narrative. Old Vico and Gramsci principles.
Docius in Fundem: The elites are running scared and tempest fugit.

Sep 20, 2019 9:21 AM
Reply to  falcemartello

@Hammer&Sickle. Tempus fugit, OK; but what does Docius in Fundem mean — the Bottom Line?

Sep 20, 2019 9:30 AM
Reply to  vexarb

Old neapolitan latin expression. Last but not least. Literal meaning one could say bottom line. But in Naples it always reference to last but not least. They being the elites are having difficulty controlling the narrative hence the bogus news bogus academia bogus statutes bogus economy and bogus society. Western paradigm is nigh as a neapolitan i can only say “Ben venga la caduta di Roma Due”.
But I digress the largest wealth gap since the Gilded age but hell whats a few million lives worth this day and age.

Sep 20, 2019 8:25 AM

Fake news?
Was the Skripal/Salisbury farce a cover up for something far more sinister and deadly?
Who has heard of the Gosport NHS Trust scandal, where at least 450 patients were found to have been killed by over prescribed medication?
The story broke in March/April 2018 at the same time as the so called poisoning of three people (and later death of one woman) by the most deadly nerve agent known to man, yet was quickly brushed under the carpet by the press as we were being force fed “news” for weeks and months on end about a clearly fabricated incident.
Nobody I have spoken to has heard of the Gosport cover up and doesn’t believe me when I tell them of the numbers of patients involved.




Sep 20, 2019 11:13 AM
Reply to  andyoldlabour

Institutionalised regime of shortening pensioners’ lives???

It would be interesting to know how political affiliation influenced the decision making process.

Sep 20, 2019 12:14 PM
Reply to  RopeResearch

Indeed, I have been thinking exactly that. I suffer from a long time medical condition and have to use a sophisticated piece of medical equipment every day.
Until 3 months ago, that equipment was totally under my control as it had been for the past 17 years and it worked fine. 3 months ago I was informed that I would have to have a replacement, and then informed that the “specialists/technicians” at the hospital would be able to monitor me and make reqired chasnges via the cloud.
It is patently obvious to me that since this latest piece of kit was foist on me, my health has declined and it is definitely not doing the job that the old kit was doing.
I am worried, but don’t know who to talk to or trust.

Sep 20, 2019 1:19 PM
Reply to  andyoldlabour

Snowden said, we are all under surveillance. So, I imagine, with having a remotely controlled medical device, it would be wise to recite the national anthem every morning.

Some people with chronic medical conditions, also suffer from ‘social isolation’. If you’re in this situation, increasing social interaction is a very good step to take.

Sep 20, 2019 1:31 PM
Reply to  andyoldlabour

I’ve heard of Gosport and I don’t think there was a conspiracy. It’s inevitable after an incident like this that enraged relatives smelling a financial opportunity come loading out of the woodwork. I just hope all this doesn’t mean I will be denied a shot of diamorphine to help when I’m dying in pain in a hospital bed I’ll never leave. The woman at the heart of Gosport was, I believe, not trying to do them harm.

Sep 20, 2019 3:57 PM
Reply to  lundiel

Very tricky. I’m with you, Lundiel, because I have seen someone pleading unsuccessfully for a painfree end and being told, We are not your executioners.

On the other hand I had Measure for Measure as a set book, and this rings in my ears:

“Your heirs, the mere effusion of your proper loins,
Will curse the gout, serpigo and the rheum,
For ending you no sooner.”

I met a physician who treated the very rich, and she told me there was no problem; she gave her patients a motorized syringe and told them to inject as much as they liked, because opium derivatives have fewer toxic side effects than aspirin derivatives. A hospice worker wrote that cancer patients receive huge doses without becoming addicted; (perhaps because they associate the drug with pain?).

Sep 20, 2019 4:19 PM
Reply to  vexarb

Knowing human nature, I’m sure anything is possible and has happened. I though, am very weary of claims by statisticians which were accepted wholesale after Mid Staffs. In this case they are claiming 656 deaths were caused by Dr Barton. All these people were dying, none were going to get better and most had multiple conditions. How anyone can sort through that and determine anything other than over prescribing is impossible and given that tolerance is different for everyone, I’d make a case that unless death was directly attributable to overdose (death by asphyxiation on their vomit). The rest is unhelpful speculation.

Sep 20, 2019 4:31 PM
Reply to  vexarb

I admit, I’m not completely impartial in this matter. I can never forget the odious Julie Bailey and her political campaign against the NHS, so strongly supported by the tabloid press and UKIP.

Sep 20, 2019 4:59 PM
Reply to  lundiel

@Lundiel: “I am wary of claims by statisticians which were accepted wholesale”.

So am I. Especially the claim that Hilary Clinton had a 99.99% chance of winning against Trump (prediction by Math Dept of Princeton U). Or the claim that taking Statins every day will save x% lives over age y.

Stephen Morrell
Stephen Morrell
Sep 20, 2019 8:17 AM

For decades, the fourth estate has been sinking and shrinking ever further into an untruthful, but sponsored, and fact-scarce irrelevance, into a much-deserved abyss. The monopoly under which everyone has been deceived and manipulated is gone, and with each new exposure of its ruling class narratives as the dreary lies they are, or of its being so wedded to a mythical worldview that only the most seriously credulous, demented or cocooned can accept, the more the corporate media lashes out at those who point out that that media emperor has no clothes. The parallels with the decline of the US empire are striking, with the latter similarly lashing out at anyone who questions its ‘exceptionalism’, ‘manifest destiny’ and ‘monopoly’ on war making against ‘aggression’ and for ‘peace’. Like the decaying US empire, the declining corporate media are ‘projecting’.

The corporate media’s main problem in trying to recover its lost ‘authority’ is that the help it enlists is severely compromised by the same profoundly reactionary capitalist ideology as its own. The Integrity Initiative (the UK’s version of Project Mockingbird), Bellincat, and various ‘fact checkers’ are some of the more egregious examples. It’s obviously projecting its own longtime MO of fake news onto online sources of actual facts and information, those that the rulers (‘sponsors’) wish the ‘great unwashed’ never to see. While Wikileaks has exposed them for their gross entrainment with imperialism, the corporate media’s labelling the online fifth estate as ‘fake news’ is also fuelled by their own fear of being held to account, moreover in real time.

The speed of communications is such that ruling class narratives can be exposed so quickly while still topical that more often than not they fail to gain traction. Russiagate is the great example of corporate media fake news, where despite three years of relentless fact-free scaremongering and speculation, this classic piece of fake news never became an issue in any political survey of ordinary people. No longer must the public wait 50 years for a historian to dig up and expose the truth when it no longer matters. And it’s now possible to hold a discussion laced with terms that used to be confined to history books, like: ‘false flag attack’, ‘the military industrial (and congressional) complex’, ‘imperialism’, ‘ruling class’, ‘capitalism’, ‘proxy war’, ‘regime change’, ‘colour revolution’, and so on.

There’s no getting around the fact that the fifth estate is acquiring a critical mass that the fourth estate can’t compete with. We’re now seeing the emergence of excellent journalism that for years the fourth estate has refused to provide. While the ‘reputable’ titans like NYT, WP, BBC, Guardian et al. are failing, sites like offGuardian, The Grayzone, Consortium News, MintPress News, Global Research, Moon of Alabama, Black Agenda Report (with honourable mentions to RT and Sputnik), among a host of others, are going from strength to strength — because they’re providing much of the real ‘fake news’ everyone needs.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Sep 20, 2019 7:56 AM

“It appears that only one part of the political spectrum – the far right – is really the target for extremist, sensational and conspiratorial content. Over social media, moderates and centrists tend not to be as susceptible.”

And what about the far left?

“… news organisations can’t contract out their duty of care and moral responsibility if they choose to air or publish freelancers.”

Does that include ‘Bellingcat’?

Sep 20, 2019 6:04 PM
Reply to  Seamus Padraig

They studiously pretend there’s no such thing as the left.

Sep 20, 2019 6:38 AM


A suggestion to include, in every new article in alternative media, a section titled ‘Did you know?’.
This section shows at least one fact of criminality committed by the americans. The usefulness of such would be to increase awareness of why the empire does not deserve the political and economic power/clout it has now. Also it serves to replace (or at least explain) what would be labelled anti-americanism sentiments with Facts. Straight forward F.A.C.T.S.

Here is an example:

Did you know?

My Lai was just one of many massacres committed by America in Vietnam.

The industrial-scale slaughter was equivalent to a “My Lai each month”


Sophie - Admin1
Sophie - Admin1
Sep 20, 2019 12:43 PM
Reply to  RopeResearch

So, you try to vote and the software tells you you’ve already done so?

The only reason for that would be if someone who shared your IP had previously voted. That’s technically possible if you have a dynamic IP – most private homes do – but it seems quite unlikely it would happen routinely.

Does anyone else reading this get this problem?

Sep 20, 2019 6:34 AM

In our new age of Inverted Totalitarianism (Wolin), the shrill accusations of something being labelled as ‘fake news’ by the Establishment should instead be taken as a strong assurance of it being quite the opposite; the truth.

Gary Weglarz
Gary Weglarz
Sep 20, 2019 6:29 AM

Mossedegh is a communist – he had to go; Arbenz is a communist – he had to go; a “magic bullet” proves Oswald was a lone assassin; North Vietnam attacked the U.S. in the “Gulf of Tonkin” forcing us to unleash our American war machine; JRK, MalcolmX, MLK and RFK were all assassinated within five years of each other with no U.S. government involvement whatsoever; “We are not secretly bombing Cambodia and Laos;” Allende is a communist – he had to go; there are no death squads in Latin America and we’re not training and arming those death squads that, well, don’t exist; – this is just a brief tour of some of the highlights U.S. foreign and domestic policy of the freaking 1950’s and 1960’s! The reporting on all of it was “fake news.” The news media lied about these events at the time, and they have done nothing to correct those lies in the present. The entire “purpose” of corporate sponsored MSM is to “lie to us” – duh.

IT’S ALL FAKE NEWS! Every freaking word that comes out of the State and its mouthpiece the Western corporate media on any matter of importance is complete propaganda. Bank on it.

The White Helmets, when they aren’t murdering civilians and harvesting and selling human organs, are a “humanitarian organization,” much respected in the West and worthy of their own fawning documentary. You can’t make this stuff up – well – that’s not true – they are literally “making this stuff up” all the time – out of whole cloth complete lies become our “reality” through endless repetition on endless Western media outlets.

The best one can say is that at least some decades ago the media didn’t simply routinely treat us all like brain dead idiots the way they do today. From “Russiagate” to the “Skripnals” to the latest CIA sponsored “color revolution” happening coincidentally right where we happen to want one to happen – Western propaganda and the MSM that report it have devolved into completely surreal slapstick black-comedy and Western populations have become so dumbed down that only a relative few seem to notice.

Just saw this great quote from Gore Vidal on a Jimmy Dore episode that sums up our predicament here in the U.S. quite nicely:

“The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the world. No first world country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity, much less dissent.”

George Mc
George Mc
Sep 20, 2019 8:28 AM
Reply to  Gary Weglarz

Gore Vidal was always one of the most quotable commentators. Some example (probably paraphrased):

“Any order that has successfully demonized the word ‘liberal’ has effectively stifled all opposition to itself.”

“America is the only country in the world that believes in socialism for the rich and private enterprise for the poor.”

“’Conspiracy theory’ has become a code for ‘unspeakable truth’.”

Sep 20, 2019 12:37 PM
Reply to  George Mc

I have just discovered WHY I am being registered as already voting when I have NOT. You are registering my Husband as ME!
This needs sorting out.

Sophie - Admin1
Sophie - Admin1
Sep 20, 2019 12:47 PM
Reply to  Maggie

Ah. The software registers IPs and excludes multiple votes from the same one. Your husband will just have to move out I’m afraid!

Sep 20, 2019 4:52 AM

Although an Oz citizen, I haven’t lived there since just after Keating won the election he was meant to lose. Back then the ABC was a useful resource particularly if like myself your existence was concentrated on providing indigenous Australians who lived on remote communities and had a limited comprehension of whitefella greed and duplicity, with training in the skills & knowledge necessary to prevent pols from exploiting clans.

The ABC, particularly the NT branch, could be counted on to usually have objective news stories about the problems a mob was having with territory, state or federal government. This was an important resource if the government that a particular mob was struggling with was a self-described ‘lefty’ administration.

The Keating gang were no such thing, although I will say they weren’t as reactionary & racist as the lib or ALP administrations which came later, but they were still penny pinching book-keepers more concerned about bad press from the smug, greedy & unpatriotic crims who run the reserve bank, than being found complicit in indigenous deaths through departmental negligence. A function of how ‘the average australian views the two issues no doubt.

Anyway the ABC was a useful agent of change thru truth 25+ years ago.

A few weeks ago I whacked in a Kodi add-on that allows me to see any free-to-air OZ tv channel – without the benefit of a vpn. Very handy since I got to watch the ashes without any media mogul esp Murdoch, getting his/her paws on any of me cash.

So the ashes over I decided to watch the ABC one (Australian) evening this week.
The first show up called Q&A, featured a bunch of pols sitting in front of an audience of about 100 citizens. The audience asks questions and the pols respond.
The first question was about the excellent action by Yemen’s resistance to Saudi & UAE attacks on Yemen’s citizens -remembering at least 100,000 civilians have been butchered by Saudi/UAE forces . The Yemenis hit a Saudi refinery with 10 drones fired from the north of Yemen and caused considerable damage.
This question was framed in the most sycophantic Dorothy Dix nonsense style I’ve heard – there was no doubt the bloke was an ABC plant.

I couldn’t believe it when all the pols, lib & ALP, answered with the Pompeo/Trump nonsense that the attack was down to Iran. Throw in the racist nonsense about Houthi cave dwellers – leave out facts such as that more than 70% of Yemen’s regular army joined with the Houthis up north and that the Yemen army had a missile division and the missiles – old soviet jobs in the main, were turned over to the resistance along with all their considerable expertise.

Or that the jet engine on the Quds missile/drone thingy the Saudis grabbed and claimed was Iranian, was in fact produced by Czech’s PBS Velká Bíteš and is completely difference in appearance to any of the engines in Iran’s drones or missiles.
These small turbo jet engines are available to anyone with a lazy US $60,000 and the inertial & gps navigation systems were widely available from such black market ‘arms dealers’ as ebay or ali baba.
Since both Australian political parties are US arse-kissing neolib war-mongers, shouldn’t any halfway serious journalist be questioning that rather than simply providing a vehicle for their deceit?

Apparently not.

I betcha the ABC will cheer lead Australia’s involvement in the war with Iran US pols are blundering into, rather than safeguard the interests of the young Australians who are going to die in this entirely avoidable mess. Avoidable if journos told citizens the truth about what is happening in the ME, or that the 15% of OZ’s hydrocarbon needs which come through the straits of Hormuz could be sourced elsewhere, and most likely less expensive too, if the government wished it.

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Sep 20, 2019 6:59 AM
Reply to  UreKismet

The ABC were thoroughly gelded under John (we’ll follow the empires to war) Howard’s regime.
They are now a PR unit for the Corparasites.

Sep 20, 2019 4:05 AM

From the time Assange was about to be carried away to prison, every little distraction in the world was amplified into a news storm by the Controlled Corporate Mass Media.

The howling is getting louder, and this is the giveaway that they are hiding adverse policies and crimes behind all the amplified noise.

Mark Parker
Mark Parker
Sep 20, 2019 3:41 AM

-> fact checkers might well be thinking they are doing us a service

Nahh, they have an AGENDA to feed you, and you better eat it up and like it.

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Sep 20, 2019 3:10 AM

The ABC and Murdoch’s maggots have a bad case of ‘the SHITPOTS calling the kettles black’

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Sep 20, 2019 3:04 AM

Mostly now I don’t watch or listen to ABC or SBS here in Oz anymore. Made an exception with the Houthis attack on the Abqaiq refinery. And yep, the coverage was so predictable. All in lock step with the narrative they want us to swallow: The West = Good Guys, Iran = Evil Guys.
Claire Wardle is just another apparatchik of the Anglo Zionist Empire. Remember doing some research on First Draft when it came to prominence a while back.
The more blatantly obvious they become in their dissemination of imperialist propaganda, the more people will hit the off button, stop buying newspapers, and just stop listening. And that’ll be really good news indeed.

Sep 20, 2019 4:21 AM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

You don’t get that everyone is online Internet reading the tripe hashed out whether it is legitimate or not. Most of the discourse is repetitious to a point of being drivel on most days.
Internet is only interesting when something is brewing for investigation. Most of the drivel offered up is mere repetitious propaganda and everyone realizes it but continues to read it anyways. Internet today is events driven. Bombast from the twittersphere is dying out and being replaced by geopolitical & macroeconomic risks inflicted & telegraphed mostly via the USA & Israel week-to-week.

Do you honestly think Zombies on Internet are going to all of a sudden wake the hell up and realize they are being programmed daily with programmed drivel to make them comfortable at their desktops?

Zombies on the Internet are not being programmed to critically think about all the advertisements that are being bombarded with second by second or how algos are reading their keystrokes and choices for webpages & consumer products.

Jeff Bezos is not going to educate the Internet Zombies on the finer points of marketing and the CIA is not going to let people know they run information operations either.

None in the tech world care.

Politicians follow directives of corporate sectors to control & mollify consumers everywhere.
They are not benevolent and the people they serve have monetary objectives alone. Control of populations is for the benefit of banks and the financial predator class miscreants that serve banks. Governments are corporations that serve banks.

If you turn the Internet off you would have to be off-grid and completely not tuned in to contemporary life of Orwellian newspeak in order to distance yourself from the propagandizers pushing Imperialism & dogmatism.

They sure as hell don’t want people to believe in themselves as opposed to believing in the tripe they feed you.


Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Sep 20, 2019 7:16 AM

Thanks for your reply MOU. No, I’ve never used Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever social media there is. None. And yes, I see every single day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year, people staring at their phones or laptops. Completely zombified; as you say. I get your point about digital mediums, tho was talking about the more traditional media like TV News or Newspapers.

Sep 22, 2019 7:36 PM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

I get your point but Internet is now the main stream when it comes to traditional media as the traditional media has taken over the Internet so that information will never be free like Dr. Tim Berners Lee designed it to be in case of worldwide conflagration & all out war.

Don’t forget who designed the Internet and who contracted to have it designed too.
The USAMRY paid Dr. Tim Berners Lee a pretty penny for his work. Berners Lee sold out to the man, man.

Not only was the Internet designed by a bum but it was made for bums too, and America taxpayers paid for it in taxation.

Right now I’ll bet petrodollars to donuts that Tim Berners Lee is sipping the finest wines at our expense.


Sep 20, 2019 1:53 AM

” fake news… I think it’s the biggest crisis that we face as humankind because it is dividing us. ”

She’s harking back to the good old days when Australia’s youth merrily joined up to fight “evil” in the Dardanelles because only a tiny minority, with no voice in the media, dissented from the propaganda. the ruling class doesn’t like it when people laugh at their ludicrous lies. Such as the Skripal or Russiagate nonsenses, both of which are only credited by people who have neither the time or inclination to pay attention.
Them and the intellectuals/political class who have sold their souls, whose existence they deny, and other orifices for a few years of prosperity and the comfort that comes from siding with power.

Richard Wicks
Richard Wicks
Sep 20, 2019 12:58 AM

There’s a lot of word salad in here.

Anyhow, has the NY Times found that weapons of mass destruction program in Iraq yet that Judith Miller was reporting on?

Has the BBC figured out how the Skripals were poisoned by Putin, and how he botched that job nobody died, except for the Skripal’s pets – that were euthanized.

Has MSNBC figured out where that Russian Collusion was and how “Russia” hacked the United States elections?

Has the entire Western media figured how how Assad, an ophthalmologist by training, is so incredibly stupid, that he kept gassing his civilian population, using the ONLY weapon that the US could use as an excuse to bomb Syria, and never thought once about using his military and airforce to do the same job?

Well, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Skripals weren’t poisoned, there was no Russian collusion, and Assad wasn’t gassing civilians – but Genie Energy had a deal with Israel to mine the oil of the Golan Heights.

We don’t have a media, and haven’t had one for a very long time. We have propaganda. Do you know how I know this? I can talk to literally anybody in the fucking world, and that’s trivial to do. Want to know if Ukraine had a revolution or a coup? It’s not hard to talk to the people that went through that, coup. US led coup.

I’ve been on the internet for 30 years now, before it was available to the public. In about 15 more years, everybody that wants to know what is actually go on, will, because television and newspapers have been abandoned, and Facebook and Google aren’t the Internet. They are services, that are getting more cumbersome than they are helpful. Good luck maintaining control propagandist’s and their masters…

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Sep 20, 2019 7:08 AM
Reply to  Richard Wicks

‘Word salad’
Binoy does have an unusual turn of phrase, but at least he’s with us and very busy at that.

Sep 19, 2019 11:58 PM

Hunter S. Thompson would wholeheartedly agree with this article.