MSNBC host Joy Reid still has a job. Despite blatantly lying about time-traveling hackers bearing responsibility for bigoted posts a decade ago in her then-barely-known blog, despite her reportedly sparking an FBI investigation on false pretenses, despite her colleagues at MSNBC being completely fed up with how the network is handling the controversy surrounding her, her career just keeps trundling forward like a bullet-riddled zombie.
To be clear, I do not particularly care that Joy Reid has done any of these things. I write about war, nuclear escalations and the sociopathy of US government agencies which kill millions of people; I don’t care that Joy Reid is or was a homophobe, and I don’t care that she lied to cover it up. The war agendas that MSNBC itself promotes on a daily basis are infinitely worse than either of these things, and if that isn’t obvious to you it’s because military propaganda has caused you to compartmentalize yourself out of an intellectually honest understanding of what war is.
What is interesting to me, however, is the fact that Reid’s bosses are protecting her career so adamantly. Both by refusing to fire her, and by steering the conversation into being about her controversial blog posts rather than the fact that she told a spectacular lie in an attempt to cover them up, Reid is being propped up despite this story constantly re-emerging and making new headlines with new embarrassing details, and despite her lack of any discernible talent or redeeming personal characteristics. This tells us something important about what is going on in the world.
Joy Reid is dealing with a new controversy. MSNBC is backing her again. https://t.co/iku69FmEMT pic.twitter.com/y5UzVLMRO5
— Variety (@Variety) June 2, 2018
It is not difficult to find someone to read from a teleprompter for large amounts of money. What absolutely is difficult is finding someone who is willing to deceive and manipulate to advance the agendas of the privileged few day after day. Who else would be willing to spend all day on Twitter smearing everyone to the left of Hillary Clinton while still claiming to stand on the political left? Who else would advance the point-blank lie about “17 intelligence agencies” having declared Russia guilty in US election meddling months after that claim had been famously and virally debunked? Who else would publicly claim that Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks did not benefit anyone besides Russia? Who else could oligarchs like Comcast CEO Brian L Roberts, whose company controls MSNBC, count on to consistently advance his agendas?
While it’s easy to find someone you can count on to advance one particular lie at one particular time, it is difficult to find someone you can be absolutely certain will lie for you day after day, year after year, through election cycles and administration changes and new war agendas and changing political climates. A lot of the people who used to advance perspectives which ran against the grain of the political orthodoxy at MSNBC like Phil Donahue, Ed Schultz and Dylan Ratigan have vanished from the airwaves never to return, while reporters who consistently keep their heads down and toe the line for the Democratic establishment like Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Joy Reid are richly rewarded and encouraged to remain.
The disempowered want change; those in power want predictability and consistency. The more you can guarantee predictability and consistency to those in power, the more those in power will reward you.
Those who report the news and shape public narratives are of particular interest to US oligarchs, who bought up the old media long ago and are doing everything in their power to secure influence over the new media as well. Pundits like Joy Reid are some of their most valuable assets, and they protect those assets accordingly. Because whoever controls the narrative controls the world.
The Council on Foreign Relations is a massively influential think tank with members in the leadership of pretty much every significant media outlet in America. In late April it held a conference titled Political Disruptions: Combating Disinformation and Fake News in which a man named Richard Stengel told the audience that it is necessary for the US government to propagandize its citizens. Stengel is the former managing editor of Time Magazine, a position he vacated to go and work for the US State Department. Yes, really.
“Basically, every country creates their own narrative story and, you know, my old job at the State Department was what people used to joke as the ‘chief propagandist’ job,” Stengel told the CFR audience. “We haven’t talked about propaganda… I’m not against propaganda. Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population, and I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.”
You can cringe all you like, but he’s right. Not about propaganda being a legitimate weapon for an ostensibly free democracy to inflict upon its citizens of course; manipulating the way your citizenry thinks is manipulating the way they vote and organize and what they consent to, and is plainly sociopathic. But he is right that all the shrieking the US does about Russian propaganda applies fully to its own behavior.
As we’ve discussed previously, the only real power in this world is the power to control the public narrative about what is going on. The only reason governments operate the way they operate, the only reason money works the way it works, the only reason power exists where it exists, is that we’ve all agreed to play along with some made-up mental stories about those things and pretend that they are true and real. The only thing stopping the populace from collectively deciding to change the way money works, from deciding that the assholes on Capitol Hill aren’t in charge anymore, or from deciding that every billionaire in America should be butchered like a hog and turned into Slim Jims is the fact that those ideas have not become the dominant narrative. If you can control the stories that the masses tell themselves about what is in their best interests, you control everything.
This is quite good: How To Fight The Establishment Propaganda Machine And Win https://t.co/8sy9D8dLJX
— #FreeAssange! (tweets by campaign)⌛ (@JulianAssange) July 9, 2017
This is why the alliance between Silicon Valley and US intelligence agencies is becoming more and more brazen. This is why Facebook and the NATO propaganda firm Atlantic Council announced that they’ve formed a partnership weeks after the Atlantic Council published an article explaining why westerners need to be propagandized for their own good. This is why social media corporations are being instructed on the Senate floor that they need to take action to silence sources of rebellion. This is why Julian Assange is being aggressively silenced by the western empire. And it is why Joy Reid still has a job.
The good news about all this is that we know exactly where our shackles are. Our shackles are made of narrative, and the oligarchs’ ability to control it. A populist movement to disrupt establishment narratives and wake people up to what’s going on is all it will take to break our rulers’ ability to control the way the citizens of the world think and vote. From there we can make our own narratives and create a world which benefits us all and not just a few ruling elites. Right now there is a mad rush by those same elites to scale back our ability to network and share information via new media, so one of the most revolutionary things we can do at this time is prevent them from doing so and outpace them in that race.
It isn’t the west versus Russia. It isn’t left versus right. At this time the real conflict in our society is a few ruling elites and their cronies versus humanity’s natural impulse to act in a way that is beneficial to humanity. All we need to do is help that impulse flourish, get out of our oligarchy-imposed brain boxes, and build a new world.
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SeaClearly / June 17, 2018
“The only reason governments operate the way they operate, the only reason money works the way it works, the only reason power exists where it exists, is that we’ve all agreed to play along with some made-up mental stories about those things and pretend that they are true and real.” Absolutely not true, as a blanket statement. Absolutely shifts the blame to the victims. We, the predominance of the 99%, have not “agreed to play along.” When 98% (+/-?) of the entire world’s Narrative is wholly Controlled, we are relentlessly subjected to their complete propaganda – where the only choice to escape it and find reality is to constantly seek any remaining truth within the 2% (+/-?).
Adrian / June 5, 2018
Adding to the points raised in this article, I also note that those currently controlling the narrative refuse to take a step backwards even after their propaganda has been thoroughly debunked. A good example would obviously be 9/11 but here’s another from the UK’s Sky News only yesterday:
elkojohn / June 5, 2018
On June 1, 2018, Razan Alnajjar, a 21 year old Palestinian nurse and mother was executed by an Israeli sniper while giving aid to wounded demonstrators. She was 100 meters from the fence and wearing her first responder clothing, which clearly identified her as a medic.
To honor her memory, I think it is fitting and proper that we nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize.
jcc2455 / June 5, 2018
Hi Caitlin — is your site under attack? My browser (Chrome) won’t load it properly. I get part of the masthead, and empty white boxes where all the stories are. Never a problem before, this started yesterday. Just trying to give you a heads up.
John / June 4, 2018
I love your writing. Your formatting is a bit problematic though. At least for me, the last up to 3 letters of every line (both in your article and the comments) is cut off. I am using Firefox under Linux. The title bar is also cut off as Cait Johns Rouge Jou.
I just figured you would want to present yourself better than this (but probably are using a mac for reasons unfathomable to me.)
Webstir / June 5, 2018
I know. Completely unfathomable why someone would want to use a machine that is intuitively designed and doesn’t get viruses. Unfathomable.
Webstir / June 4, 2018
Caitlin, you said:
“Right now there is a mad rush by those same elites to scale back our ability to network and share information via new media, so one of the most revolutionary things we can do at this time is prevent them from doing so and outpace them in that race.”
Really? Outpace them using the tools that they created … and are constantly monitoring? No. The web will only deepen the morass we find ourselves in. Any successful “#resistance” (whatever the fuck that Clinton astroturfed term is supposed to mean) in the future will have to accomplished both anonymously and without reliance upon tech.
I’m really having a hard time believing you actually spoke in the same article about silicon valley cozying up to the deep state, and then proposed beating them at their own game using the platforms they created.
Yasha Levine nailed in “Surveillance Valley.” Read it if you haven’t already.
Caitlin Johnstone (Author) / June 4, 2018
Nah, there’s plenty of wiggle room still. I have no use for that sort of leaned-back, self-assured hopelessness.
Webstir / June 5, 2018
You assume too much. There is no “leaned-back.” Currently working on a nonpartisan group based on the AA model of anonymity called “Together!” Face to face. No leaders only servants. Anonymous. Grassroots. It’s the only way Caitlin. I admire what you do and vehemence with which you do it. But you’re screaming into a vacuum. Until people begin coming together locally, face to face, to solve their perceived problems Together!, the status quo will remain. To paraphrase Zach DeLaroche … as long as people are trying to solve their problems on devices, they will continue to suffer from “a bullet in the head.”
Patricia Ormsby / June 7, 2018
I applaud what Caitlin is doing while the doing is still doable, and I applaud what you are doing too in preparation for when it isn’t. I think TPTB are freaking out over the Frankenstein they created, and the attack will come from a number of fronts, including shutting down anything that isn’t commercial or otherwise part of their original plan for controlling the narrative while keeping an eye on us all. Even if it isn’t too late for them to put the genie back in the bottle (which is possible–how many people do you know who have actually woken up to what’s happening?), it’s a fool’s errand. The clampdown leads down the merry path of totalitarianism, which, if it persists as long as it did in the Soviet case, leads the majority of people to wake up to reality and deal with it in creative, intelligent ways, which is where what you are proposing will be a godsend that people ought to be aware of.
Patricia Ormsby / June 7, 2018
Gracious! What a long, skinny reply!
Mama Wolf / June 4, 2018
Thank you again Caity. One day at a time, I try to implant the seed of awakening somewhere. Thank you for the seeds you ahare.
Harry S Nydick / June 4, 2018
I’ve never seen Joy Reid, nor heard a thing she had to say. Perhaps that’s because, the only time I watched MSNBC was in 2015, while working out on my health center treadmill. I completely stopped watching it, when its commentators became virtually indistinguishable from a marriage of CNN and Fox news. So, I’m not really qualified to comment on Joy Reid, except to say that I’ll never be in a position to digest and interpret anything she has to say. The mainstream media lies to us everyday; some like the WaPo spew CIA propaganda into the airwaves and the rest, if not paid lackeys, find that their own self-interest is best serves by reporting on U.S. imperialism in such a way as to think they can better our thinking brains into submission.
News flash to MSNBC, CNN, FOX. Trump, the oligarchs running the entire show and anyone else I’ve left out – it ain’t gonna happen!
Hugh O'Neill / June 4, 2018
Hi Caitlin. I am [patently] not a media consumer (nor did I ever inhale) so I didn’t know who Joy Reid is or indeed what MSNBC does. To research that, I looked here (CNN)http://money.cnn.com/video/media/2018/06/03/joy-reid-and-msnbcs-credibility-problem.cnnmoney/index.html where the anchor berates Reid and announced a list of blog ‘crimes’ one of which was to recommend a 9/11 Truther blog. Whoops! Thus to even question the Official 9/11 Narrative is considered guilty of hate crime and every shade of villainy we’d expect from un-American activists. Whoever Joy Reid is, she once questioned 9/11 and so is not beyond redemption?