Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

There are so many people questioning the mainstream news these days.  Especially since the present-day media has been throwing around the “fake news” moniker lately.  And, with the mainstream media defining “fake news” for us, maybe we should look into a bit of history.

While researching and writing Peddling Influence, the last project independent film maker William Lewis finished before he died, I read a LOT of stuff. Several things have stuck with me regarding the “news.” But one quote stands out. “There is no such thing, at this stage of the world’s history in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.” It was a fun piece of trivia I used when doing interviews about the project, mainly because, when asked to guess when it was said, people had no idea and considered that it referred to present day.

The quote is from John Swinton and was made some time around the 1880’s! He was giving a speech at a gathering honoring his body of work, but he became irritated and angry, because of the control, even back then.  Swinton went on to say “The Business of a New York Journalist is to distort the truth, to outright lie, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the foot of a Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread.  We are the tools or vassals of the rich men behind the scenes…We are intellectual prostitutes.”  Swinton was angry.  He could not express his true opinions and he was calling out journalists everywhere for knowing this fact…their opinions, educated as they were, didn’t matter.

The notion of a non-partisan, neutral press was a foreign concept to our founding generation.  That generation applauded an opinionated free press, taking the liberty to protect it with the First Amendment.  The reason?  They felt, with a highly opinionated free press, all viewpoints could be heard.  All points could be freely written and the population could be given information from both sides to help inform them about the matters at hand so they could make educated decisions about their lives and the life of our country.  What our founding generation never took into account, and quite possibly never foresaw, was the manipulation of facts and outright lies the press would foist upon the people in order to control their minds.

But why, you might rightly ask?  Like everything, these days, it’s about control.  It’s about the all mighty dollar.  Elliot D Cohen had this to say about the news media, “What Americans see, hear, and read is now under the careful scrutiny of corporate headquarters and as a result, the public receives a homogenized, self-censored, self-serving version of reality.”

Your next question has got to be, “how did this come about?”  That might be the best question of all.  Providing news isn’t free.  It takes man hours and it takes hard work…but it also takes money.  The notion of paying at least part of the bill using advertising caught on.  In Hamilton Holt’s 1909 paper Commercialism and Journalism, Holt states the printing and publishing industry grew “thirty-fold” while all other industries at the time had grown only “fifteen-fold.”  At the time of his writing, the advertising industry supported the newspaper industry by forty-seven percent, while subscription supported the industry by only thirty-six percent.  According to Holt, advertising changed the media in ways we might not even realize. One New York paper admitted to Holt that ninety percent of its revenues came from advertisers. That’s a whole lot of revenue, but more than that, it’s a whole lot of control!

Look at the hard facts.  In 1880, advertisers spent around seventy-eight cents per person living in the United States. By 1905, the rate had gone up to $1.79 per person. That is a COLOSSAL increase!  Yet, fast forward to just a few years ago.  According to Folio Magazine Online, combined spending on advertising via newspapers, magazines and online in the US was around $68 billion in 2011.  Compared to our US population, advertisers spent an average of nearly $217 a year per man, woman and child in this country. And that doesn’t count television advertising.  Also in 2011, E-Marketer projected that television advertising would reach $60.5 billion. That’s another nearly $193 per person living in the US.  Money talks, and in big ways!

One more thing to take into account, when publishing, especially a paper, it was/is expensive to get journalists to the news.  By deciding just who could be considered an “official source” for news, outlets had a readily available pool of “experts” and information from which to draw “facts.”  These highly regarded “official sources” include government officials and  highly successful business men and women.  Even, actors, actresses and athletes are considered “official sources” for news.  And, the number of satirical sites of information are growing, as well.  Unknowing people read these as fact.

Now, with so many advertisers and “official sources” that have no actual interest in real facts, we have to ferret-out nearly everything we read.  It makes it hard to get the information we need to make positive and reasonable decisions.  Couple all this with the fact that so many people are working so hard just to make ends meet, that becomes a daunting task.  We look toward the news and have become lazy about searching out actual facts. Granted, it is hard to research facts from information from across the country, as well as across the world. But, by and large, the purpose of the free press was to bring in differing view points, not lies and cover-ups.

So, even though the population doesn’t trust our mainstream media, it has become the “truth” in a world rife with many differing opinions and angles.  Again, our founding generation protected opinion-based writing for a specific reason.  To shed light on differing sides of the same argument.  We, as a population, MUST search out alternative sources for the facts in order to be truly informed.  One source will hardly do, as there are a multitude of varied ideas to explore.  Only then are we likely to find true answers.  Only then will we have REAL news.



It’s been one helluva week since the monumental upset of the Donald Trump presidential win occurred.  Our nation saw utter defeat in the faces on the left, and some shock in the faces on the right.  There were devastating riots (cause let’s just be real, those were NOT protests!).  Many of t he people I spoke with voted for an alternative party candidate (which actually surprises me that all the alternative candidates only garnered about 5% together, but that’s for another time!)  The riots, according to one young lady, were held because the people were “really scared and sad.” I feel for them, as I  have been sad and scared for our nation for the past 20 or so years.  So, if you’re like me and disillusioned with the main parties and their candidates, where do we go from here?

Let’s address the “really scared and sad” for a moment.  Protests are one thing.  When done right, they bring about public awareness, they start conversations, they get the ball rolling toward an awakening of the ideas being thrown out.  But, what happened across our nation makes me shake my head.  If we believe these “protests” to be genuine, and there are many questions about that (here and here), we are dealing with a bunch of spoiled brats who respect nothing.  Again, I am all for peaceful protests.  Since when did tearing up neighborhoods, looting and vandalism and destruction of property become standard protesting practices?  You say you are really scared and sad?  What the hell do you think you did to the people in Portland, Oakland, Los Angeles, and the multitude of other places in which you protested or rioted because you didn’t get your way?  And, you’re scared because of what? Just to day I saw a photo of protestors holding up a sign that said, “Rape Meliana” and during the protests, there was “Kill Trump” painted across windows.  SO…exactly whom do we need to fear???

For this behavior, I must just say, in general, we are all to blame.

First and foremost, parents…for wanting a better life than we had for our children, we allowed their lives to be a little easier than ours.  This has gone on for generations.  We don’t make our children earn anything anymore, so they believe they are entitled to whatever they want.  I see it everyday in retail outlets.  The child wants something and the parent allows them to have it.  In the course of shopping, the kid acts up…then the parent threatens, “We’ll just put that back if you can’t behave.”  The child screams and cries and continues to act a fool…yes, I said a fool…and does the child get the item?  About nine times out of ten, yes.  Why?  Because the child pitched a bigger fit when the parent tried to put the item back.  They now know they can pitch an ungodly fit and get what they want.  Heaven forbid you discipline them!  At some point, you lost the ability to teach your child respect for adults.  You could also teach then the value of money and make them “earn” what they want either through doing chores or simply using their own money.

We’ve bowed down to outside pressures, as well.  Back in my day there were clear winners and losers, but today, we don’t want to leave anyone out or hurt anyone’s feelings, so, at least for a while, everyone’s a winner.  We can’t teach our children how to lose gracefully if they don’t lose.  if everyone’s the same and is treated the same, where is the incentive to do better or be better?  That’s from where the drive to do better comes…in your rewards.

As for owning our children’s education, we have foisted it off solely on teachers and daycare workers.  Government funded schools are going to teach what they want taught.  There are tons of examples, but I will site just one.  In high school, my daughter was being taught that our nation was a Constitutional Democracy.  She was taught that the terms “Constitutional Democracy” and “Constitutional Republic” were interchangeable and Republic was never brought up again…by the book or the teacher.  Why is that important?  Because if our nation’s children don’t know the truth, they don’t know what they should be fighting for.  Democracy is when the majority gets to tell the rest what they have to do.  In a Republic, there are a set of rules and every one is to follow those rules.  In our Republic, those rules are The Constitution.  How many people know the actual role of the President?  Congress?  The Supreme Court?  The States?  The individual members of our society?  Yes…there are rules for ALL those factions…yet, in making this country into a Constitutional Democracy, the roles have been reversed and the people intended to have the majority of the power now have the least power.  If the population knew they were intended to have the majority of the power, along with their individual states, would they protest differently?

Secondly, no one is held truly accountable anymore…including our politicians.  We have created a system in which we have lawyers that get people off jail time, because “it’s their job.”  Does anyone even question why we have this?  I understand that innocent people are arrested for crimes.  I get the need for lawyers for that purpose, but when there are actual witnesses and the person is guilty of harming or robbing or endangering someone other than them, why do we have lawyers to get them off?  Also, why do we have judges who, after someone is convicted of a crime, give some light sentences and throw the book at others?  Shouldn’t the punishment actually be the same for the same crime?  Society has turned everything into a disease, so now, instead of bad behavior, you have a disease.  It’s not your fault…nothing is ever your fault…

As for politicians being held accountable, what about all the campaign promises made by the various candidates over the years?  They say they are going to do one thing, we vote for them for wanting to do one thing, but they never seem to get around to doing the things they promised.  Does anyone remember back on the campaign trail, President Obama sworn, the first thing he was going to do was to set bringing out troops home from the Middle East (TRUE support for the troops, in my opinion!)?  He said they would be home in 16 months…yeah…also, he won a Nobel Peace Prize before he had shown any true actions toward peace.  And does anyone remember the first thing he actually did when he became president?  Yeah, he drone bombed the hell out of Pakistan.  Obama was such a breath of fresh air to many who were tired of the illegal Bush war on terror.  they viewed John McCain as more of the same.  Wired published an exceptional article a few years back regarding many statistics from the “war on terror” which included what Bush and Obama had done, up to that point.  Shockingly, when you averaged by year in office, Obama sent more troops, ordered more wire taps and over all, spent more time and money than Bush on the War on Terror…but people ignored that.

Before we leave the responsibility of the candidates, why is it that the only person to actually step up and call for an end to the violence was Bernie Sanders?  Where are our “leaders?”  You know, President Obama, President-Elect Trump, Clinton, both the GOP and the Democrats?  Why aren’t they stepping it up every day and calling for an end to this?

Third, the media has to take part in the divide in our country, as well as the unrest. Let’s play a little game, shall we?  See if you can guess when this quote was made:

“There is no such thing, at this stage of the world’s history in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.”

When a newspaper with the clout of the New York Times states they are rededicating their paper to reporting honestly, you have to wonder just how long they have been reporting dishonestly!  AND, if the New York Times is being dishonest, one has to wonder just how many other large papers, which serve as THE news outlet for smaller papers, radio and local news.  Even though trust in the media has declined over the years, people react before vetting their news.  Not only that, but once something is “in the news,” if later it comes out the story was misleading, the facts were wrong, or the facts were twisted to make the story sound better/worse than it was, people have already read the false and the damage is done.  Also, the way in which the media reports something, as well as the words they use, dictate how people will react.  If you want to sway someone’s opinion, wording is everything.  Ask any marketing major…you can sell anything you want to most people just by using the right words.  So, if the media wants to divide the nation, they will use the words they need to use to make it so….and people never question it, even though they don’t trust the media.

With that said, the media coverage, or lack there of, of certain individuals and ideas plays a huge roll in shaping opinions.  If we don’t know about certain things going on, we don’t know to ask questions (although I am of the strict opinion that we should questions EVERYTHING!).  If we don’t get the right facts, we don’t know the right questions to ask.  If we don’t get any information, we have nothing to go on what-so-ever.   What happened to journalistic integrity?  Is there more to it than simple across the board carelessness?

By the way, the answer to our little game is American journalist John Swinton made that statement at an award ceremony honoring his body of work…in the late 1800’s!

Lastly, we have to take a deep and hard look at our government and officials.  Our government has literally run amok for SEVERAL years now.  The egregious nature of our government didn’t start with the Obama Administration, as many in the GOP would like you to believe.  And, it didn’t start with either Bush Administration, as the Democrats would like for you to think.  Over the years, the government has been playing favorites with different industries and foreign governments, depending on who was in office.  Part of the appeal of the Trump campaign is that he isn’t an insider.  That was also part of the appeal of the Obama campaign.  Clinton is clearly an insider, but, since Trump seemed to be such an outsider, did the Democrats (AND the GOP) and the media decide they wanted to push an “experienced” politician?  It seems that way, even though, during Obama’s first campaign, they wanted fresh, new and not connected to the status quo.  How quickly we forget!

So, where DO we go from here?  Trump was elected, and yet people are already wanting to gloss over him and get to the next election.  But, will the people give him a chance?  People expected it for Obama.  I didn’t vote for him, but I do my own research.  I’ve read about his healthcare proposal and it seems reasonable.  Anyone in their right mind knows Obamacare is horrid and has done more damage to the healthcare industry than good.  Will people at least look over the final proposal?  I’ve read about what Trump says he wants to do on immigration.  It is eerily close to what Obama has done.  Will the people admit they were wrong about him and his disdain for immigrants?  After all, he can’t be against immigration, two of his three wives were immigrants!  While people call him a racist, do they actually know that?  There was plenty of support for him in the black community, but that didn’t fit the mainstream narrative, so it never showed up in the news.  I say we give him a chance.  See what he thinks he can do.  Get ourselves involved and make sure we stay in touch with our local representatives, letting them know what we think.  And, by God, we need to hold him accountable for everything he does…that’ll be new!


Debbie Lewis
October 25, 2016

Let’s conduct a little test, shall we?  Can you tell me when this statement was made?

“There is no such thing, at this stage of the world’s history in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.”

ANY idea?  This statement was made by American Journalist John Swinton during an acceptance speech given in the very late 1800’s at the end of his career…yes…we’ve had a corrupt media THAT long!

US elections are in two weeks.  The mainstream media is no real help.  At this point, I believe there have been more questions created by media coverage of this election than answers, and for a contest in which we actually have very little say.  You see, while we have the illusion of electing our president, we don’t actually get to do that…it’s up to the electoral college.  Is the mainstream media talking about that?  Our vote doesn’t really count, anyway.  But, let’s just make the argument that it does.  Here are a few of the questions, as I see them.

What do we know?
What do we think we know?
Do we really know anything at all?

Are we voting for principle or are we voting in huge “he said, she said” fiasco that has no real beneficial outcome for any of us?
Are we voting for one candidate simply because she is a woman?
Are we voting for one candidate because he says he’s going to do things we want?
What about the corruption of one of the candidates?
What about the assault charges against the other?

What about loyalty to party?
Should there be loyalty to party?
What have the parties done for any of us, really?

Let’s explore at least some of the questions, shall we?

We have a media that is more interested in ratings than reporting the truth.  More interested in entertaining than exposing.  And, there seems to be record bias for one candidate…and that bias is blatant.  In the past, it never seemed so blatant as it is now.  Maybe it’s always been there, but, until 2008, I can’t say as I remember the outright shunning of some candidates in favor of others.  Again, maybe it’s always been that way.  During this election, however, even the more conservative news/entertainment outlets are favoring one over the other.

Doing research for an independent filmmaker, I ran across some highly interesting facts about journalists and the media.   Here is an excerpt from the documentary, Peddling Influence:

“It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the notion of an impartial journalist was born. According the McChesney (author Robert McChesney The Rise and Fall of Professional Journalism), the corporate funded media outlets needed a way to promote an impartial front, even though the content was controlled by the almighty advertising dollar. Media outlets desired their journalists to ‘appear neutral and unbiased.’…Elliot D. Cohen, editor of the book News Incorporated, pulls no punches and shares that because of corporate control, our populations gets ‘a homogenized, self-censored, self-serving version of reality.’”

What is not commonly known about the media is that, rather than research for itself, the media have a set of “go-to experts” just waiting to help lend credence to their brand of journalism.  The media considers government officials, high-ranking business men and women, actors and actresses, and professional athletes “official sources” for news.

How many of us trust out elected officials?  In a December 2015 Gallup Poll about honesty and ethics, the trust of people polled for members of congress was a shocking 8%.  Car Salesmen and Telemarketers are tied with Congress at the 8% trustworthiness mark.  There is only one group of people lower in trustworthiness than Congress, car salesmen and telemarketers…Lobbyists!  Lawyers, which most members of Congress are, fared a little better at 21%.  Still, that’s a far cry from a reliable source from which I’d like to get my news…yet these people shape our opinions every day, and we don’t even question that!  So, the question remains, do we really know ANYTHING?

As for the candidates from the Democrats and the GOP, what have we got?  We have a former lawyer-turned-senator and a real estate tycoon.  Do we know enough to judge their character?  They’ve both been in the spotlight for years.

Clinton has Benghazi on her side.  Her lack of concern for the safety of American Ambassadors and Embassy Officials is astonishing.  Her false comments about the cause of the attack, her lack of support during the attack and the callous way in which she dismisses her actions ought to tell us everything we need to know.  But that’s not the end of her RECENT corruption.

As Secretary of State, Clinton made use of her own private server while doing State Department business.  She claims she did not pass classified information through said server.  That proved to be false.  She claims she didn’t know it was wrong, basically ignoring proper protocol.  She failed to turn over to the government several thousand emails.  She used a Bleach program to scrub her computer.  Does that sound like the actions of someone who did no wrong?

More recently, Clinton’s cronies were caught basically rigging the Democratic selection for president by virtually shutting down Bernie Sanders using nefarious methods.  It was so corrupt that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was asked to step down.  Wikileaks has release copious amounts of evidence against Clinton.  As the stuff continued to surface, Clinton’s Campaign Chair, John Podesta said the Russians hacked important emails.  It turns out Podesta lost his phone…hence the ability for ANYONE to acquire the emails.  Not only that, the recent article says Podesta lost his phone back in JULY!  And the government was gearing up to start a cyberwar with Russia over this…why doesn’t the media call Clinton out on ANY of this?

As for Trump, there are relevant.  Yes, he is a successful business man, no doubt, BUT, his business(es) have filed for bankruptcy 4 different times…two of which were back-to-back.  He has repeatedly said he used acceptable business practices to cut his losses.  He refuses to release his tax returns.  He uses a similar argument when confronted about it, he uses  acceptable US Tax laws to pay as little tax as possible.  He made crude statements about basically assaulting women during his first year of marriage to his third wife.  Trump didn’t take his run for president seriously until the third debate, when he appears to have taken hold of the message of the Constitution and a return to our Constitutional roots.  There have been SEVERAL women step forward recently to say Trump has sexually assaulted them in some way.  While that could certainly be a political ploy by the Clinton Camp, he has lawyers at his disposal.  Why has he not sued for slander?  Why doesn’t the media bring that up?  They are quick to describe him as a serial assaulter.

Some supporters for Clinton are willing to vote for her strictly because she is a woman.  Some supporters for Trump are willing to vote for him strictly because he is not a mainstream politician.  Some voters are willing to vote for Clinton simply because they don’t like Trump.  Some voters are willing to vote for Trump simply because they don’t like Clinton.  Are those actually reasons to vote FOR a President of the United States?  Has the media even given us the real reasons we should be voting FOR a candidate?

Clinton portrays Trump as a racist womanizer.  Trump portrays Clinton  as incompetent. The media portrays Clinton as the only candidate with experience and compassion for the plight of the people, especially women and minorities.  The media portrays Trump as an inexperienced, self absorbed spoiled brat who is sexist and racist.

The media portrays Clinton voters as mostly women and mostly Blacks.  One has to wonder if these groups know of the many women and Blacks out there in support of Trump.  The mainstream media is not reporting on it.  Again, the media portrays Trump supporters as white males…same observation…do we know just how many women and Blacks are supporting him?

One has to wonder what’s up with the media.  Perhaps a little jaunt back in history will give us a clue.

”If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing?”(Emphasis mine)

The above was said by the Father of Public Relations, Edward Bernays, nephew of none other than Sigmund Freud.  Bernays realized that, if properly applied, the information being revealed about mass psychology could be used by propagandists to control the masses.  Today, the public relations industry can spin anything into something we could find appealing…and they do it every minute of every day. Nearly every time you watch, hear or read something in the media, the message has been tweaked to make it appealing to a “target” market, audience or demographic.  This works in politics as well as media.  After all, public relations, or marketing,

According to Wikipedia’s source, from the 1984 PR textbook Managing Public Relations, the accepted definition of public relations is “the practice of managing the flow of information between an individual or an organization and the public.” The Public Relations Society of America has updated their old definition to this: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

Did you get that?  They are targeting each and every one of us in order to sway our opinion one way or the other.  At this point, the subject at hand is the presidential election and the voters are the targets.  “Marketers” or in this case campaigns and their managers, will say whatever it takes to get you to vote for their candidate…whatever it takes.  Keep that in mind as you sift through the trove of information the media hands you.  We’ve all been taught right from wrong.  Pay attention to what is being said about each candidate, but maybe more importantly, how each candidate responds to what is being said about them.  To get it right, we have to participate.  Otherwise, we are just sheep being led to the slaughter…

Debbie Lewis
October 18, 2016

Conspiracy Theorists are a very special breed.  They walk on gut instinct and faith.  These people can read between the lines, see what’s not right about a situation, and they report on it WELL before any mainstream media outlet will either figure it out, or report on it themselves.  Back around mid 2011, Sean Hannity and Dick Morris had to admit the theorists were right about the UN and global government.  One win for the theorists!

In June 2013, Glenn Greenwald dropped his bombshell about Verizon data mining.  the funny part about that is that Anderson Cooper reported this was a “highly classified, never before disclosed” program.  Cooper spoke about the “secret court” like it was a secret…well, not from the “conspiracy theorists!”  The “secret” FISA court had already been exposed in a 2008 documentary written by Keith Abel and produced by award-winning filmmaker William Lewis…Washington, You’re Fired!  Another win for the theorists!

Fast forward to present day…within the space of less than a week, two different outlets had to admit the “conspiracy theorists” were right, “all along.”  If only we could gloat!  But, what we’ve been right about isn’t worth gloating over…we just want it stopped, AND, we want the world to understand the truth.  On October 12, 2016, Sean Hannity said, on air, that “everything that conspiracy theorists have said over the years” is true, regarding Clinton.  Hannity goes on to say, “This is like, you know, Communism in the Soviet Union propaganda.”  What Hannity fails to disclose is that our own government is REALLY good at propaganda…REALLY, REALLY good…Another win for the theorists…

In another awakening, of sorts, The Free Thought Project drops one of the more important bomb shells yet…The Shadow Government!  Yes…us tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy wacko’s have been talking about the Shadow Government for YEARS and YEARS.  Yet, now, an outfit a little more “in the public eye” has put it out there for a whole new generation.  And the source?  Our very own FBI!!!

From released FBI documents centered around the Clinton investigation, The Free Thought Project reported this statement, “There was a powerful group of very high-ranking STATE officials that some referred to as ‘The 7th Floor Group’ or ‘The Shadow Government’…”  A HUGE win for the theorists!

So, next time you hear the mainstream media refer to someone as a “conspiracy theorist,” maybe you just might want to look into what the theorists are saying.  We have a MUCH better track record than the mainstream media…(which is just an arm of the government, but you didn’t hear that from me…after all, I’m just a conspiracy theorist!)