MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
It is probably a foregone conclusion that I went to see Star Wars on Friday. I hope to see it again in order to break down every detail that I missed as I was overwhelmed by the special effects. The real big question is what to see after Star Wars as Hollywood rolls out their Oscar contenders and popcorn movies so that you can duck out during those family arguments at Christmas dinner.
I decided to see the movie, Bombshell.
This film is much in the same vein as, Vice, the film that was released that was a send-up of Dick Cheney.
I thought the film was effective in recreating the characters involved sexual harassment scandal at Fox News when both Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes.
While I thought the film had amazing performances some of the scenes I found uncomfortable and repulsive and I was feeling a great bit of empathy for the women involved in the case.
Many people do not realize that when you end up being the subject of a news story, it can be traumatic especially when the media is in attack mode.
In Bomshell, there is this underlying message that if women publicly come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and assault— their lives are not necessarily better for it.
Victims might share their stories with the media in hopes of achieving accountability and justice, or of protecting other women, but in return, they risk losing their jobs, their friends, their reputations, their peace of mind.
What is worse is that they lose control of their own story – it becomes muddled and it loses its impact.
The same goes for another film I saw earlier that was directed by Clint Eastwood, called, Richard Jewell.
Many people do not remember or care that there was a time where we were not subjected to the 24-hour news cycle of CNN. It was at a time where reporting News was far more important than filling the gaps with commentators who commented based on political leanings.
Richard Jewell might have been the first victim of the 24-hour cable news cycle. He went from hero to villain in less than three days.
The film about Richard Jewell apparently bombed at the box office but his story is an important one as he was the victim of being tried in the court of public opinion based on the repeating over and over again that he was the suspect in the bombing at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 when he was the hero that may have saved a lot of lives.
He was never charged or arrested for the crime but was under investigation by the FBI and was said to be guilty by an obsessed media that needed fodder for a 24-hour news cycle.
Jewell was working security in Centennial Olympic Park when he discovered a backpack containing a bomb and alerted law enforcement. The bomb exploded, and soon, so did his life, after the FBI decided he was the suspect and the media was on the attack after that.
If Jewell was the first victim of an unapologetic media, it would only get worse. cable news accelerated the pace, but social media made the rush to judgment instantaneous and when social media rides with a lie – the person who is the target rides alone.
Another case where the media got it worn was the Boston Bombing.
For many in the Boston area, platforms such as Twitter and Reddit became a key way for the community to share its experiences and reactions, anger, fear, and prayers. In the Watertown area, social media took on another aspect as the way in which many who locked in their houses were tweeting detailed that the media glommed on to calling them unnamed sources.
The media especially CNN began their “witch-hunting” that was similar to what they did with Jewell, naming people that weren’t suspects and lying about police activity and eventually were forced to report nothing as gag orders were given to the media which opened the door for a mountain of conspiracy theory.
What we learned about social media is that it was capable of controlling the media and for a time it seemed the media learned its lesson.
That was until Alex Jones made the scene. Alex was always in the face of controversy with various conspiracy theories—the media and social media put Alex in the crosshairs and soon he became a vilified netizen and was labeled fake news by the very fake news media outlets whose practices were far from being saintly.
The media; both conservative and liberal media outlets, have now become conspiracy theorists and quite frankly are not very good at it.
During Sandy Hook, they would take to task people like Alex Jones for his correct stance on gun control and now they are embracing the idea of forming theories based on circumstantial evidence.
Sandy Hook became Alex Jones’ Nadir because of speculations over whether or not it was a hoax.
Over time the situation could have been dealt with or ignored but the media used it to conspire against conspiracy theory in general and Alex Jones was their scapegoat.
It was purely for the cause of distraction and for their own expedient need for a story or a scoop.
Again it was a case of adversarial news and commentary that was created to build up their credibility that they knew deep down they were losing. CNN, of course, was desperate to tell the world that they were the most trusted name in news – when they were responsible for the public trial of Richard Jewell, the botching of the Boston Bombing report and the public attack on Alex Jones.
In the process, they used a method of Newspeak, exactly what Orwell wrote about in the book ‘1984. It was used to make conspiracy theorists or anyone who questions their so-called facts “Unpeople.”
Twitter and Facebook also started banning a lot of news items as well and fact check websites were established using Wikipedia and Snopes as their sources.
Wikipedia was an open-source encyclopedia that had no integrity and Snopes was liberal-leaning in their reports about politicians and possible rumors about their criminal activity.
The year 2019 was exceptionally bad for the media because now they continue unapologetically to report false or misleading information, continue their witch-hunting style of reporting, and then convict people in the court of public opinion, including The President of the United States.
Over the last 12 months, many of the biggest stories America’s major media broadcast turned out to be … flat wrong. And unfortunately, these networks’ enthusiasm for their reporting dissipated when it came time to correct the record.
The hoaxes came in all different forms — fake hate crimes, foreign collusion, debunked dossiers but that isn’t to say they had nothing in common. These stories all helped advance a narrative that just so happened to be shared by the news outlets themselves.
2019 was the year of the Framing War especially with the impeachment and the argument over fact vs. hearsay.
While President Trump, like all other presidents, is not perfect – we must understand that the track record of the media should be utilized in order to bring context to the facts they allegedly report.
There has always been a difference between theories of conspiracy and the fact that a conspiracy exists.
It is obvious that there is most certainly a conspiracy against this administration and because of the fact that many people hate President Trump – the intricacies of the complex web that is being weaved will be lost on most people except for those who listen or read what I am saying at this time.
The fact is that most people will say “Who cares if there is a conspiracy, as long as we get rid of that clown.”
Well, history has shown that the best way to remove a President from office is to vote him out.
Impeachment in the case of Trump has actually made a mockery of the system and the media has, in essence, meddled in the 2020 election by not being objective in their views of what has happened.
Turning to the past to try and make heads or tails of this moment is understandable: A presidential impeachment cries out for historical context. The past is supposed to offer a map of sorts through what feels like an unfamiliar and treacherous adventure.
But as historians, ironically, are sometimes the first ones to point out history isn’t actually a very good guide here because there have been so many twists and turns – there is no certain point in this impeachment fiasco where we can draw a concrete comparison.
Knowing how social media combined with the twisting of corporate media is having an impact on fact-finding – it may be prudent to look back and see that in 2019 the media got it wrong and decided that they don’t have to retract or apologize for their gaffes and public display of bad reporting and witch-hunting.
Almost as soon as 2019 began, the media did exactly what it is infamous for it jumped on a viral story without first checking the facts. And in so doing, helped destroy the reputations of innocent teenagers who had been on a school trip to D.C. to attend the annual March for Life. The Covington boys incident was one of the biggest blunders of 2019 and one teenage boy Nick Sandmann was accused of mocking a Native American man on camera.
As new information came out, and it was clear the original narrative was no longer supportable, the media began walking back its original reporting. But it was too late. The anger against these students, who were being accused of harassing and taunting a Native American man, had already boiled over.
Their school has since been canceled over security concerns. Worse, many reporters and commentators said that even if the Covington students didn’t actually do anything wrong, going after them is still right.
This ruined this young man’s life and so he levied a defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post.
A judge dismissed the $250 million dollar suit. The case is on appeal.
Even in the face of the truth, the media was unapologetic.
In February of 2019, the media reported the case of Jussie Smollett’s claimed hate crime in Chicago.
When TMZ first reported that actor Jussie Smollett was the victim of a vicious hate crime, it sounded almost impossible to believe.
Upon leaving a Chicago Subway sandwich shop around 2 AM one sub-zero night in late January, two masked men allegedly recognized him as the openly gay black actor starring in Fox’s ‘Empire,’ hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him, beat him to the point of breaking his ribs, doused him with bleach, tied a noose around his neck, before pronouncing “This is MAGA Country!” and fleeing.
The media glommed on to this case and the limousine Hollywood left-wing unleashed outrage.
It is important to remember that Chicago Police discovered evidence indicating that Smollett had paid two brothers of Nigerian descent $3,500 to stage the attack. The brothers worked as extras on Empire.
The proof against them was irrefutable: Financial records indicated that the brothers purchased the rope found around Smollett’s neck at a hardware store in Ravenswood over the weekend of January 25; they were also caught on camera in a clothing store where they bought gloves, ski masks, and a red hat that the police say was used in the attack.
The brothers asked specifically for a MAGA hat, which the store doesn’t sell.
After interrogating the brothers, Chicago police released because “information they presented during the interrogation scored them their exit from custody.”
They basically “outed” Smollett and the police were grateful.
They had the evidence, they had the checks proving the exchange of money, they had the testimony of the two brothers, and then for some reason, the charges were dropped.
The media went on as if they were without blame for causing a stir.
In March there was Mueller madness.
Over the first two years of Trump’s presidency, talking heads in the major media developed high hopes that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe would crescendo with dramatic flair. Viewers likely started to imagine that the only possible outcome would be the Trump family being frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs.
In March, Mueller’s probe officially concluded. No further indictments were filed, and no one in the Trump family was indicted. The two-year investigation never charged anyone with conspiracy related to the Trump campaign and Russia.
The disappointment was evident on many of the news programs that served as the Mueller probe’s biggest boosters. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow appeared to get emotional. Chris Matthews angrily asked why Mueller “let Trump off the hook?”
After all, in between frequent pronouncements of new “bombshells,” these networks hyped seemingly inevitable impeachment proceedings, claimed the probe revealed “treasonous” behavior, and predicted much, if not all, of the Trump team, would wind up behind bars.
It turns out none of that was true, and these networks pretty much wasted three years of their viewers’ time.
The media didn’t blink — they went on to the next Conspiracy theory about Trump.
In April of 2019, the White House Correspondents Dinner did not have a comedian emcee its annual dinner. Instead, the president of the White House Correspondents Association, Olivier Knox, delivered a solemn address to open up the usually jubilant evening.
Knox focused his remarks on the threat he said the White House is putting journalists under.
“I don’t want to dwell on the president,” Knox said while discussing President Trump. “This is not his dinner. It’s ours, and it should stay ours. But I do want to say this. In nearly 23 years as a reporter, I’ve been physically assaulted by Republicans and Democrats, spat on, shoved, had crap thrown at me. I’ve been told I will never work in Washington again by both major parties.”
“And yet I still separate my career to before February 2017 and what came after,”
Knox continued. “And February 2017 is when the president called us the enemy of the people. A few days later my son asked me, ‘Is Donald Trump going to put you in prison?” At the end of a family trip to Mexico, he mused if the president tried to keep me out of the country, at least Uncle Josh is a good lawyer and will get you home.”
While journalists are not the enemy of the people – it is the bad journalists that are enemies of solid information –willing to poison the well for their various agendas.
In May the term creepy Joe Biden entered the lexicon as pictures of him were spreading on the Internet of him touching children inappropriately and giving unwanted advancements to women in photos and videos. These went viral and the media had to chime in – in defense of his actions.
After a Nevada lawmaker came forward with an accusation of unwanted sexual touching from former Vice President Joe Biden, the rumored 2020 Democratic presidential candidate released a statement.
“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” Biden said. “And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”
Almost immediately thereafter, many in the major media came to his defense, adopting defense that he was simply showing “affection.”
Later Biden would do some rambling speech about children touching the blonde hair of his legs in a swimming pool –and the media again just avoided the creepy statement.
In June, Antifa was making its presence known in Portland, Oregon and in several other progressive cities. A group that claims it protects homosexuals and minorities actually beat up a gay Asian. Journalist named Andy Ngo causing him to have a brain bleed.
The city of Portland arrested many Antifa members.
However, mainstream media defended their actions.
Normally a group like Antifa that’s avowedly opposed to media transparency would come under criticism from the media itself, yet somehow reporters at CNN, MSNBC, and elsewhere were Antifa supporters.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo calls Antifa “a good cause.” Cuomo’s CNN colleague, Don Lemon, said the group should be thought of as their name suggests — “anti-fascist” and therefore on the right side of these street clashes. On the specific question of Antifa’s embrace of violence, Lemon said: “‘No organization is perfect.”
CNN contributor Michael Eric Dyson likened Antifa to a cancer treatment that’s trying to preserve “the fabric of America.”
Turning political differences into violent clashes to save America?
That was a very scary and dangerous framing strategy but of course there is some dangerous complacency.
In July we observed the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and while most conspiracies have doubts about whether or not it happened the way NASA said it did – the media was a bit confused over what they should do to remember it.
The New York Times used the anniversary to herald the space program not of the United States — but Soviet Russia. After regurgitating old Soviet agitprop about its cosmonaut program, the article concludes: “Cosmonaut diversity was key for the Soviet message to the rest of the globe: Under socialism, a person of even the humblest origins could make it all the way up.”
The Moon landing was attacked for perpetuating inequality – by not having a person of color on the moon.
August was the month that CNN’s Chris Cuomo lost his nerve.
Cuomo’s temper, erupted when a man at a Shelter Island bar called the primetime anchor “Fredo,” a reference to a character from The Godfather.
Cuomo replied, thoughtfully: “No. Punk-a** bitches from the right call me ‘Fredo.’ My name is Chris Cuomo. I’m an anchor on CNN. Fredo is from ‘The Godfather.’ He was the weak brother and they’re using it as an Italian aspersion. Any of you Italian? Any of you Italian? It’s a f*cking insult to your people. It’s an insult to your f*cking people. It’s like the N-word for us. Is that a cool f*cking thing?”
And things went downhill from there. Cuomo continued threatening the man: “Don’t f*cking insult me like that. You f*cking called me Fredo, it’s like I called you punk bitch. You like that? You want that to be your nickname?”
A reflective Cuomo then added: “I’ll f*cking ruin your shit. I’ll f*cking throw you down these stairs like a f*cking punk.”
In September the world was getting a taste of Greta Fever.
Greta Thunberg is the person behind the “climate strike,” movement, where students are skipping school on Fridays, ostensibly over their concern about global warming.
Thunberg, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and selective mutism, this year became a global media celebrity. When the 16-year-old landed in New York City after sailing from Europe to attend a United Nations Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23rd, America’s media was waiting with open arms.
“A world-famous teenage climate activist is in New York now after crossing the Atlantic in a solar-powered sailboat, wow,” CBS’s Gayle King gushed, perhaps one of Greta’s biggest media fans. “I am so smitten with this little girl. I keep reminding myself she’s only 16, and what she’s doing.”
After landing in New York, NBC’s Craig Melvin cheered, “Go, Greta, go!”
But for anyone who watched Greta’s post-transatlantic press conference, this media adoration appears misplaced. The teen struggled throughout her 15-minute remarks, finding difficultly stringing sentences together and often losing her train of thought. Despite Thunberg’s age and health issues, the media was only too happy to use her for their own political agenda.
Even after she scolded adults at the United Nations Climate summit those attended all applauded – she was eventually made TIME’s Person of the year—all articles that Ground zero produced about her were shadowbanned by Google.
In October an obscure meme produced by the Trump team got blanket coverage for some reason. It was a bad editing job of Trump shooting people in a church – each person had their face supplanted with either faces of political foes or media logos. The meme was taken from the movie, Kingsmen.
In the film, the protagonist goes on a rampage inside a church, killing many during a highly stylized action sequence.
.The New York Times eventually admitted that the video had been online for about a year. It was not created by the Trump team but a group called TheGreekzTeam.
They regularly publish similar political-themed, pro-Trump mashups. The channel uses a very crude model: superimposing Trump’s face onto the face of characters in action movies, and his political adversaries’ faces onto those films’ antagonists’ faces. The channel features dozen of similar videos dating back years.
The recent video showing Trump as Thanos also created fake outrage from the mainstream media.
Memes are very effective forms of Magic as we reported that the most ever-present Meme in November was “Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself.”
What was most interesting was that the meme worked as Prince Andrew gave a damning interview on the BBC about his association with him and that
James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas got its hands on internal ABC footage of anchor Amy Robach complaining that her reporting into Jeffrey Epstein was spiked, despite her having “everything,” including supposedly damning information on Bill Clinton.
Rather than trying to explain why they spiked their own scoop, ABC instead … attacked the “whistleblower.” Except, they didn’t actually know who the tape leaker was, and then things got even more embarrassing. A former ABC producer who had since moved to CBS ended up losing her job, despite both she and Project Veritas insisting she had nothing to do with releasing the footage.
Meanwhile, there was virtually zero coverage of ABC’s scandalous decision to withhold information its reporter uncovered on Epstein’s sexual abuse of minors.
Finally, it is December the month of impeachment – and in its shadow a revelation.
The Inspector-General of the Justice Department, Michael Horowitz, released his much-anticipated report on the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign, and the biggest loser was … the so-called Trump Dossier.
That dossier, created by the political mercenary firm Fusion GPS via funds from the DNC and the Clinton campaign, compiled anti-Trump gossip, much of it sourced from Kremlin officials. The most salacious item involved Trump staying in a Moscow hotel room while watching Russian prostitutes pee on each other.
The resulting compilation of uncorroborated rumors wound up in the FBI’s hands, which, perplexingly, used it as the basis for launching a surveillance campaign against the Trump campaign’s Carter Page. The DoJ’s IG, Michael Horowitz, was emphatic that the dossier was “essential” to the FBI’s FISA application. And Horowitz noted that the dossier itself was unverified and unreliable.
Despite the problematic nature of the Trump Dossier, the major media reliably informed Americans over the last three years that it was “corroborated.” CNN was one of the dossier’s biggest boosters. The network’s morning anchor, Alisyn Camerota, regularly told viewers that the Trump dossier was the God’s honest truth.
I know the history of the dossier, but it hasn’t been discredited,” Camerota said in an interview with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). “In fact, it’s been the opposite, it’s been corroborated.” When Jordan said the report wasn’t accurate, Camerota shot back: “Your intel community has corroborated all the details.”
CNN’s James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence during the Obama Administration, “Some of the substantive content of the dossier we were able to corroborate in our intelligence committee assessment from other sources in which we had very high confidence.”
Horowitz reports that are flatly untrue and none of the information was corroborated.
In 2018, after it was becoming established the dossier was largely untrue, many in the media switched up their talking points. Rather than claiming it had been “corroborated,” these talking heads started insisting it “hasn’t been disproven.”
MSNBC’s John Harwood, for one, said: “It’s not been corroborated but it hasn’t been disproven either.”
His colleague Rachel Maddow has been emphatic on this point, insisting: “No major thing from the dossier has been conclusively disproven.”
Nicolle Wallace has likewise adopted this talking point: “It’s a fact that none of it, not one word has been disproven. In fact, a lot of it turned out to be right on the money.”
The dossier’s now been “disproven,” but the public has ignored it – the media won’t correct it and now with impeachment looming, no one cares.