I see a lot of my fellow reporters and editors beginning to speak up like this as part of the long awaited showdown between legitimate news people and the propagandists among us who generate clickbait, fake news and access journalism. There’s only one problem: it may be yet another case of too little, too late.
Koppel, now 77, made national news when he told Hannity he was bad for America during a tense exchange on CBS Sunday Morning. The former Nightline host and legitimate newsman accused Faux of substituting comforting fiction for truthful reporting.
“You have attracted people who think that ideology is more important than facts,” Koppel said.
Hannity responded by calling Koppel “cynical.” The paid liar claimed the American people were intelligent enough to distinguish between the legitimate and balanced news Koppel once reported and the one-sided “commentary” segments he and his employers now present as news.
“You’re cynical,” Hannity said.
“I am cynical,” Koeppel responded defiantly (click the pic below for a link to the video).
Koppel had a similar showdown nearly a year ago with Faux News Propagandist Bill O’Reilly, who embraces a convenient fiction of his own when he assumes they’re professional peers.
Hannity and O’Reilly are both employees of Rupert Murdoch, the Australian media magnate who controls Faux News. Murdoch has been an active and enthusiastic supporter of Republican propaganda efforts for more than 30 years.
O’Reilly lamented the difficulty of interviewing then candidate Donald Trump and asked Koppel how he’d do it (below left).
“Its irrelevant how I would do it, and you know who made it irrelevant – you did,” Koppel said. “You have changed the television (news) landscape the past 20 years. You took it from being objective and dull to being subjective and entertaining.
“And in this current climate it doesn’t matter what the interviewer asks him,” Koppel continued. “Mr Trump is going to say whatever he wants to say, as outrageous as it may be.”
I’d be a huge fan of the journos who are now speaking out if they’d opted to toe the scratch five or 10 years ago, instead of hiding behind journalism objectivity to avoid a fight. However, the painful truth is we’re already a functioning police state and our free press is all but gone. It’s been overwhelmed by the Facebook and Google online trusts and by the predatory hedge funds and private equity funds which have been buying up our leading news organizations.
Facebook and Google have created a tidy revenue stream by selling readers to the highest bidder.
That’s how the average American’s newsfeed came to be filled with the knowing lies of predatory elites like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Rupert Murdoch.
Meanwhile, hedge funds and private equity funds have been buying news organizations, laying off their most experienced journos. and replacing pubic service journalism with clickbait. Which is why readers now have to click 15 times to wade through a single story and every storm is now “the storm of the century.”
I stopped hiding behind the idea that I can’t call a lie a “lie” as a journalist back in 2011. That’s when I cofounded The Cynical Times to provide fair coverage to the Occupy Wall Street pro-democracy movement then being pilloried in the mainstream news media.
I did this because I understood that there was no way for a journalist to be objective – to function as a detached observer – while balancing statements meant to mislead their readers against truthful information. Doing so gives the liars undeserved credibility and unfairly handicaps those in the so-called “reality based community.” That’s the term Republican propagandist Karl Rove coined for those of us who still believe in the concept of inherent truth.
Parry first ran into the right wing propaganda machine when he was investigating the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for The Associated Press and Newsweek. That series showed how President Ronald Reagan circumvented the U.S. Congress to illegally wage a proxy war against the legitimate government of Nicaragua.
Parry was awarded the George Polk Award for National Reporting in 1984 and the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence by Harvard’s Nieman Foundation in 2015.
Parry and I have taken similar paths to exposing painful truths because we understand that journos must aggressively expose both lies and liars to their readers 24/7/365. It’s the only way to keep the truth from being hijacked by the well paid propagandists of the Right Wing Noise Machine and the predatory elites who employ them.
I am the recipient of six national journalism awards myself and broke the iconic story of the worst natural disaster in U.S history, leading the first official body count inside St. Rita’s Nursing Home in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Thirty five people died in the mass drowning there in 2005.
I do not believe any journalist can inform an electorate by cranking out gutless puff stories which offend no one.
Case in point, the articles now being published about the new self-driving technology which fail to mention it will destroy 4.4 million jobs. And the stories touting the low U.S. unemployment rate which routinely neglect to mention the millions of jobless Americans it ignores.
It’s almost impossible to report painful truths for middle class readers today in a world in which Google and Facebook are actively strangling the free press.
They’re hijacking the advertising money that once chased readers seeking good journalism. They do this by placing links to our stories on their pages, beside their advertising. Instead of our advertising.
This allows them to hijack the financial benefits of journalism without shouldering the burdens. Or doing any of the work.
How is this possible in a world full of patents and copyright infringement law?
It’s possible because our corrupt federal lawmakers want it to happen.
The neutering of the free press by two global trusts with no reporters of their own is the culmination of a longstanding effort by the national military establishment to groom an electorate that reflexively supports military aggression overseas. This effort began during The Reagan Administration in 1980 to counter the antiwar sentiment created by The Vietnam War.
The Internet was supposed to enable citizen journalism. But Google and Facebook have made that impossible by forcing publications to pay them to reach readers, rather than developing a following over time through credible journalism of their own.
This allows the super rich to infiltrate and dominate a public forum where they would otherwise be viewed with justifiable suspicion.
That’s why Ted Koppel has to go on Faux News to attack Faux News, instead of just generating a column on his own Facebook page or website.
Today, you have to pay Facebook and Google for the right to reach readers in the online public forums they monopolize. No one pays more than Republican and Democrats – the dueling champions of Wall Street.
Cynical has never been a moneymaker, but we attracted 30,000 readers a month when we were free to post our stories to Facebook in 2011 and 2012. Now, we struggle to reach 3,000 a month and have to pay for the privilege to post more than a handful of links.
If we post too often we get muzzled, even as the posers working for Trump are free to plaster their poison across the online world.
There is no even playing field in which news organizations are financially rewarded for good journalism. Because Google and Facebook have hijacked that revenue stream.
This is why it doesn’t matter that journalism lifers are finally toeing the scratch. Because no one can hear them.
They hid from this fight for too long. Cowering behind ethical fig-leafs about detachment and objectivity that were really just excuses for avoiding a scrap as the U.S. news industry contracted and devolved.
It is for that reason the battle they want to wage now is already lost.
Because many professional journalists were too busy trying to calculate which course of action would be most advantageous to them personally and professionally. Sadly, that’s not how representative democracy works.
Representative democracy demands personal sacrifice. And not by surrogates.
Meaning that you can’t pay some Mexican day laborer to prune this bush for you.
You’re going to have to do it yourself.
Just like the patriotic Americans of Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and Standing Rock.
Don’t look for the alternative media that rose to prominence during the Vietnam War to do it for you. The Village Voice and some 20 other alternative publications have been taken over by an organization backed by a private equity fund the past 30 years.
It used to be called “New Times.” Today, it’s called “Voice Media Group” and is a vehicle for Backpage sex ads. Not painful truths.
Once again, all roads lead back to Wall Street.
Its predatory hedge funds, private equity funds and investment banks have created more than $100 trillion of wealth for themselves out of thin air in recent years. They’ve assumed the currency creation power of a sovereign government via synthetic investment vehicles called “derivatives.”
The result is a global debt of $230 trillion in a world with just $78 trillion of goods and services. And the power to buy anything that can be purchased in a world where money no longer has any meaning for the self described “masters of the universe.”
It’s always been their world. Now, more than ever.
Five years ago we might have stopped them from destroying our representative democarcy here in the U.S. Now, with the proliferation of automated online surveillance and cheap drones, you can forget about it.
The global police state is here. And here to stay.
We missed our window.