HomeArticleFormer MSNBC Reporter Spills Details On Pro-Establishment Bias In Media

Former MSNBC Reporter Spills Details On Pro-Establishment Bias In Media

The ridiculous corporate media freakout over Senator Bernie Sanders’ entirely legitimate accusations of pro-establishment bias continues today, with shrill, absurd new headlines like “Sanders campaign continues attacks on journalists” and “Bernie Sanders isn’t sorry” featuring hysterical MSM drama queens rending their garments over the suggestion that plutocrat-owned media outlets could be favorable to the plutocrat-owned establishment.

In response to this cartoonish display of billionaire-sponsored performance art, The Hill‘s Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjati aired a segment on their online show Rising which is as damning an exposé on the dynamics of mass media empire propaganda as we are ever likely to witness. With startling frankness and honesty, the pair disclose their experience with the way anyone who is critical of the establishment consensus is excluded from mainstream media platforms, as well as the way access journalism, financial incentives, prestige incentives and peer pressure are used to herd mainstream reporters into toeing the establishment line once they’re in.

I strongly urge you to watch the eight-minute segment for yourself, but I’ll be transcribing parts of it as well for those who prefer reading, as well as for posterity, because it really is that historically significant. I will surely be referring back to this segment in my arguments about plutocratic media bias for years to come, because it confirms and validates everything that analysts like Noam Chomsky have been saying about mass media propaganda like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Status quo propaganda is the underlying root of all our problems, and Ball and Enjati have gifted us with an invaluable tool for understanding and attacking it.

After laying out the evidence from some recent examples of bias against Sanders in the mainstream media, former MSNBC reporter Krystal Ball (yes, her real name) asked rhetorically, “Now the question is why?”

“Look, obviously I’ve worked in this industry for a minute at this point and journalists aren’t bad people, in fact, they’re some of my closest friends and favorite people,” Ball said. “But they are people, they’re human beings who respond to their own self-interest, incentives and group think. So it’s not like there’s typically some edict coming down from the top saying ‘Be mean to Bernie’, but there are tremendous blind spots. I would argue the most egregious have to do with class. And there are certain pressures too — to stay in good with the establishment [and] to maintain the access that is the life blood of political journalism. So what do I mean? Let me give an example from my own career since everything I’m saying here really frankly applies to me too.”

“Back in early 2015 at MSNBC I did a monologue that some of you may have seen pretty much begging Hillary Clinton not to run,” Ball continued. “I said her elite ties were out of step with the party and the country, that if she ran she would likely be the nominee and would then go on to lose. No one censored me, I was allowed to say it, but afterwards the Clinton people called and complained to the MSNBC top brass and threatened not to provide any access during the upcoming campaign. I was told that I could still say what I wanted, but I would have to get any Clinton-related commentary cleared with the president of the network. Now being a human interested in maintaining my job, I’m certain I did less critical Clinton commentary after that than I maybe otherwise would have.”

“Every journalist at every outlet knows what they can say and do freely and what’s going to be a little stickier,” Ball said. “No one is ever going to have their anti-Bernie pieces called in to question since he stands outside the system. Their invites to the DC establishment world are not going to be revoked, and may even be heightened by negative Bernie coverage. “

Back in the run up to 2016 I wanted to cover the negotiations on TPP more,” Ball disclosed a bit later. “I was told though, in no uncertain terms that no one cared about trade and it didn’t rate. To be clear, this was not based on data but on gut feeling and gut feeling that had to influenced by one’s personal experience mixing and mingling with upscale denizens of Manhattan. I didn’t really push it; maybe they were right. Of course TPP and trade turned out to be one of the most central issues in the entire 2016 election. It turns out that people did, in fact, care. Now this class bias translates into bad coverage of candidates with working class appeal, and it translates to under-coverage of issues that are vitally important to the working class.”

Ball’s co-host Saagar Enjati went on to describe his own similar experiences as a White House correspondent.

“This is something that a lot of people don’t understand,” Enjati said. “It’s not necessarily that somebody tells you how to do your coverage, it’s that if you were to do your coverage that way, you would not be hired at that institution. So it’s like if you do not already fit within this framework, then the system is designed to not give you a voice. And if you necessarily did do that, all of the incentive structures around your pay, around your promotion, around your colleagues that are slapping you on the back, that would all disappear. So it’s a system of reinforcement, which makes it so that you wouldn’t go down that path in the first place.”

“I’ve definitely noticed this in the White House press corps, which is a massive bias to ask questions that make everybody else in the room happy, AKA Mueller questions,” Enjati continued. “Guess what the American people don’t care about? Mueller. So when you ask a question–I’ve had this happen to me all the time. I would ask a question about North Korea, like, you know, war and nuclear weapons that affect billions. Or I would ask about the Supreme Court, the number one issue why Trump voters voted for President Trump, and I would get accused of toadying to the administration or not asking what Jim Acosta or whomever wanted me to ask. It’s like, you know, everybody plays to their peers, they don’t actually play to the people they’re supposed to cover, and that’s part of the problem.”

“Right, and again, it’s not necessarily intentional,” Ball added. “It’s that those are the people that you’re surrounded with, so there becomes a group-think. And look, you are aware of what you’re going to be rewarded for and what you’re going to be punished for, or not rewarded for, like that definitely plays in the mind, whether you want it to or not, that’s a reality.”

“Every time I took that message to ask Trump a question, I knew that my Twitter messages were going to blow up from MSNBC or Ken Dilanian or whomever for ‘toadying’ up to the administration, and it takes a lot to be able to withstand that,” Enjeti concluded.

As we just discussed the other day, Ken Dilanian is literally a known CIA asset. This is not a conspiracy theory, it’s a well-documented and historically undeniable fact, as shown in this Intercept article titled “The CIA’s Mop-Up Man”. The testimony that Dilanian’s establishment sycophancy affects not just his own reporting but those of other reporters as well via strategically placed peer pressure is highly significant.

For obvious reasons these insider confessions are as rare as hen’s teeth, so we must absorb them, circulate them, and never forget them. I’m still floored and fall-to-my-knees grateful to Ball and Enjati for putting this information out there for the sake of the common good. Our task is now to use the information they provided to help wake people up from the narrative control matrix.

_____________________

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Latest comments

  • Probably be a whole lot better world if journalist spoke to their jobs and the issues with as much honesty.

  • Most people will not believe the narrative is controlled until they understand how it is controlled. Unfortunately, the “how” is complicated because sophisticated deception lies at its heart. For example, everyone is taught how important it is to have a free press, and they mostly assume they must have one because otherwise they wouldn’t all be taught such a thing. But that is a faulty assumption. It’s just like we are all taught how important it is to be free, and we mostly assume we must be free, otherwise we wouldn’t be taught such a thing. But how many realize that none are more enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free?

  • Caitlin I can’t get this link to work to re-post to FB. Is anyone else having problems?

  • Good find Caitlin. Not a new thought to most here but they provide a great data point and insight/validation into the mechanism cited by Chomsky.

    • Also love the concise term “access journalism”.

  • You know what’s ironic? After literally decades of near-constant MSM propaganda and bald-faced lying, what did it take to really “rubber-stamp”/”authenticate” the obvious fact that the MSM was IN REALITY a propaganda-distributing/bald-faced-lying organization controlled by oligarchs? The words of Ball and Enjati — former MSM employees. Yes, ironic. The bewildered herd has to hear “authorities” say it in order to finally breathe a sigh of relief and believe it.
    ..
    I haven’t believed 90% of what the MSM has doled out ever since the US’s genocide in SE Asia. With RT, Sputnik News, Zerohedge, Russia Insider, Consortium News, Fox News (yes, Fox News for certain issues), TruthDig, AntiWar dot com, EastWestAccord, World Socialist Website, Pravda, Tass, The Saker, Iran Daily, Al Jazeera, The Intercept ( for certain issues), Craig Murray dot org, Info Wars (for certain issues), The Solari Report, Shadow Stats, etc., available, who in their right mind looks at the formerly-respectable-but-now-despicable NYT, WaPo, BBC, CBC, etc. nowadays? Other that to find out what the US Elite wants their bewildered herd to think at any given moment, I see no point in looking at them. When I want a description of reality, those are the last places I’d look.

    • Exactly. These people are the real Holocaust deniers. They are the equal of Hitlers propaganda staff – or close base on civilians slaughtered partly due to thier complicity in obscuring the killing.
      Yeah but lets just put that behind us.

    • Ishkabibble, I wish this report actually could authentic MSM propaganda. But very few will see it. No way in hell will any MSM outlet ever make this accessible. To them and the average American it does not exist. Trust me they are still in control.

  • naming them definitely helps. take a good look at their faces, and let’s shame them at every opportunity, as well. at a private or public gathering, on the street, at a restaurant, in an airplane, etc. don’t date them, don’t invite them, don’t engage them, simply boycott everything about them. 30 rounds of recaptcha? Israelis must be running this thing.

  • This is a good article about the chicanery and charlatanism of the MSM, but please stop supporting Bernie Sanders. Sanders is a thoroughly bourgeois reformist politician, not a socialist. The only real socialist party is the Socialist Equality Party.

  • Will The U.S. MSM (State TV) report in the near future for more than Two Years or more the influence that Israel has on the U.S.? Are we here (us) robbed by War Criminals and the MIC ? Have a nice day. BDS

  • MSM News? ! Ghislaine Maxwell (Jef E.s madam cat) spotted at In & Out Burgers reading book about CIA? Does Moosad know about this?

  • So we wake everyone up. Now what. Boycott MSM. March on the White House. Cut our cable and refuse to participate or get out the guillotines and get busy. Hong Kong is protesting big time right now. France has been protesting for months. I don’t see a lot happening but I expect the military to step in eventually and squash it. There is a sucker born every minute and it is those suckers who keep MSM afloat.

  • This is very significant: Two people in the “group-think” fraternity actually call out the bias of the group-think club.

    It’s not what the mainstream press covers, it’s what they do NOT cover that shows their bias and the “narrative management” effort.

    The plutocratic corporate media serve as “gatekeepers” of the “news.” The “news” they allow through the gates serves the Status Quo. The news they do not let through would challenge the Status Quo.

    And everyone in the press (or at the highest levels) knows who and what agendas they are supposed to advance, and what topics are off-limits.

    A few examples: Manipulation of precious metals markets – definitely off limits to inquiry. Any favorable story toward Ron Paul – definitely off limits. Same with Tulsi Gabbard. Any stories that question if the government is conducting a REAL investigation in the Epstein matter – off limits.

    The “co-opting” of the “watchdog press” is one of the largest and most important untold stories in our society.

    Question: Who is going to investigate these alleged investigators?

  • Breaking News… Popcorn makers found in every state in U.S.. May be Terrorism. next up Israel commits war crimes. BDS. Tlaib to stay home. Israel owns politicians and others.

  • Yes, I feel better now.
    They are not rapists, but only aiding and abbetting rape.
    They are Mossad apologists.
    They perform no useful service.
    Their only function is to mislead, distract and confuse (OK three functions) the public.
    They only tell truth as a preface to next big lie.
    Why participate in that sham.
    Are you validated because serial rapist acknowledges that maybe they made a mistake, but they didn’t mean it and other peolple do it too?

    Sorry. Not buying it.

  • Lying (more than likely!!!) ??

    Controlled opposition ? Quite possibly.

    • Let me guess that you’ll be the first person in the room to declare that you don’t believe in “conspiracy theories.” (How many exclamation points do you normally use when you declare that?)

    • They all want to be in “the club,” and once in it want to advance up the membership ranks.

      They can and are co-opted with trinkets, prestige, jobs, stature, some degree of fame and power, etc. And if they don’t “play ball,” they are expelled and denigrated.

      … Also, look at the number of former “intelligence analysts” who become paid consultants or talking-head regulars on the TV News networks. And all the neocons who are regular sources and interview subjects. The contrarians are never quoted or on these panels.

  • Once you see the BS, it changes everything. Reality is different in different states of consciousness. When you wake up from your deluded groupthink, your reality is brand new.

    • the novelty will wear off during the long wait for the rest to wake up. soma comes in many forms and tastes. (sorry for the cynicism)

  • Your last line: “Our task is now to use the information they provided to help wake people up from the narrative control matrix.”
    Yes, we have to wake everybody up, as soon as possible.
    I for my part, did a blog post after I read yours here. For all the German readers in this comment section:
    https://ginobrenni.ch/2019/07/02/warum-stellen-sich-die-europaeischen-medien-hinter-die-usa/

    • Europa ist nie ‘befreit’ nach dem lätsten Weltkrieg.

  • This — National “Politics” — is a massive waste of brain cycles. Mind Control 101 “politics” is. If politics had any validity, in 1934, Prescott Bush, aka Hitler’s Angel/mastermind behind proposed military-coup in America, got elected to Senate . . . TWICE!

    • *wouldn’t have got elected*

  • It’s the descriptive name that’s wrong. Journalists or Reporters. I don’t need opinion, or all the yabber yabber, which is what a journalist does.
    Good old fashioned reporting. Just the facts, please. And if you don’t know them, find out.

    • We could make a really good start by just calling out adjectives when writers are opining under the pretense of reporting.

  • So it’s kiss and nibble the hand that feeds you

  • There is a part 2 to that interview.
    https://youtu.be/yfTCddvoQzE

  • I wonder how much ” punishment ” is going to be coming to these two ” reporters ” for daring to report the truth?

  • For more than three decades, I’ve been in publishing. Nearly half of that time has been as a newspaperman; I started out in NYC, returned to L.A. where I worked in many capacities (production, photography, reporting, writing, reviews, editing) and eventually co-published my own community newspaper.

    Many stories I broke some six years ago were ignored by the metro dailies for five years and then suddenly, the L.A. Times took a great interest in what I had done — even as they “broke” stories in 2018/19 and deliberately failed to credit me for my work. Many stories that my then-wife, Teka-Lark, attempted to push into the mainstream also went overlooked. One such story was the TPP, which she had been enthusiastic to get into the public purview for many years. (I could only find one remaining link to cite, from 2014; all the old Web sites we had have long since been abandoned.) https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/trans-pacific-partnership-tpp/id794105282?i=1000445526365#

    We both learned how ridiculously biased is the MSM, and we paid for that knowledge by losing our newspaper, our house and our marriage.

    Understanding the Hearst empire in its heyday, learning the pre-Chandler history of the LAT, understanding the origins of American newspapers, knowing yellow journalism and how it birthed the gimmick of “objectivity,” and knowing that the Chinese wall of the Fourth Estate never existed so much as was a fabrication glued together by the gimmick of “objectivity,” is what folks should seek. I hate agreeing with the idiot whose ears are where he gets the ideas that he stupidly translates via Twitter, but when it comes to how the media work, he’s generally correct.

    Ultimately, any newspaper, broadcast station, etc., is owned and run by humans, and as the article states, those humans are going to ultimately be driven by their self-interests, be it world domination, mere survival or anything between those two points.

    • Upvote! My God, at this point in time, it is all pretty much fake news in the msm/npr/bbc!
      The evil TPP was the final step in global corporations’ undoing of national sovereignty ie to hell with the environment or to workers’ rights in any particular country agreeing to this nefarious lawyerly parsed treachery, we’ll sue your asses through the ISDS! No wonder, the king of opacity, prosecuter of whistleblowers extradanaire, Obama, hid it from public view. (Yeah, our Congresspersons could go down in a basement to read its hundreds of pages, but still…)
      I am very, very, sorry about how these events conspired to do you personal harm. Thanks for sharing this personal/global story.

    • We can’t forget or neglect the role that advertising plays in all of this. Everyone in senior-level media understands that their reporting must cater to and be approved by their advertisers, without whom they would not be in business. Witness the recent article in the WSJ that details the lengths to which advertising sellers cater to advertisers who worry about “brand safety.” Advertisers now are literally the gods that big media must worship to survive. IMO, advertising ruins everything it touches, which now includes the internet as we know it.

  • Priceless. Great post Caitlin. Those two deserve a pay rise. I cannot resist it but: krystal ball just breaks me up, clairvoyants never had it so good.

  • Norman Solomon:
    ‘ The fact that corporate-media employees are vehemently defending corporate media is illustrative of the dynamic. It makes you wonder where career self-interest ends and sincere delusion begins.’
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/08/15/why-bernie-sanders-is-right-about-the-washington-post-and-corporate-media-overall/

  • it’s a lying circus. Why follow?

    • These two are bang on. Mueller–who cares. Trade–many care. I always want to invoke the famous Johnny Cash bird-flip photo to the MSM, but they’re so tiring I just tune them out. I may be in flyover country but guess what, I vote. My manifesto now is eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re dry (Roger Miller) and never ever EVER give the media machine any cred at all.

      BTW, Caitlin, what happened to “Rogue Journalist?” It positions you outside the elite and why would you not want t continue that distinction? As usual, fine fine post.

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