HomeArticleNobody Sets Out To Become A War Propagandist. It Just Sort Of Happens.

Nobody Sets Out To Become A War Propagandist. It Just Sort Of Happens.

Senior Huffington Post UK editor Chris York has published what is by my count his twelfth smear piece against a small group of academics and independent journalists who’ve expressed skepticism of establishment Syria narratives.

York’s obsessive deluge of hit pieces revolve around British academics Tim Hayward and Piers Robinson, as well as independent journalist Vanessa Beeley. Every word in this sentence hyperlinks to a different article smearing them.

York’s twelfth such hit piece is much like the preceding eleven: it omits fundamentally crucial facts, it hides the shady nature of its sourcing, it makes outright false claims, and will only be believed by individuals who either don’t research this subject very deeply or whose paychecks depend on their not thinking about it too hard. But, more importantly, it’s his twelfth such hit piece.

A dozen smear articles. A dozen. Not against politicians. Not against powerful government leaders or massive celebrities. York’s smears focus on two professors with some 22,000 Twitter followers between them both, and Beeley, whom York himself refers to as an “obscure blogger” while authoring smear piece after smear piece after smear piece about her.

Now Beeley, Hayward and Robinson all do great work asking the important questions that no one else is asking about the many, many glaring plot holes in the narratives we’re being fed about what’s happening in Syria by the western political/media class. I am a fan. But only a relatively tiny number of people have ever heard of them. I don’t want to minimize the importance of what they do, but they are generally unheard of outside of small esoteric internet circles which focus on deep dives into questionable government narratives about Syria.

We can take it as a given, then, that Huffington Post UK‘s goal with these relentless smear pieces is not to generate clicks or organic virality. No normal person is scrolling through their social media feed and going “Oh I do hope there’s some fresh gossip about Piers Robinson today!”

Nor is the goal to educate the public with important pertinent information. Even if York’s hit pieces contained lots of accurate information (and they don’t), you wouldn’t need twelve articles to say “Hey the ideas these people are sharing are harmful in the following ways.” You could say it once and move on to reporting on the many, many, many important stories that are unfolding around the world as we speak. The goal is not to inform.

So what is the goal?

The goal is narrative management.

If you look through York’s smear jobs, you’ll notice many of them aren’t even actually addressed to the public. The ones about Robinson and Hayward are really addressed to the academic institutions which employ them, designed to pressure them into ceasing to do so (and proclaiming victory when that campaign is perceived to have succeeded). This smear piece here was clearly designed to help generate pressure for the Leeds Museum to cancel an event where all three of York’s targets were scheduled to speak, and this one celebrates the Leeds City Council cancelling the event.

If you look at who’s sharing York’s latest smear piece on Twitter, you’ll notice that a weirdly large percentage of them are blue-checkmarked accounts which pour a lot of time and energy into managing the dominant narrative about Syria. I don’t know what chat groups or private message boards this article appeared in, but it generated a lot of social media firepower very quickly.

The purpose of these smear pieces is not to generate clicks, and it is not to inform the public. It’s to manipulate public thought. It’s to deplatform voices which are skeptical of what we’re being told to believe about a nation long targeted by the western empire for regime change, it’s to provide a resource that other narrative managers can circulate and cite in their own spin jobs, and it’s to inoculate the mainstream herd from any potential outbreak of wrongthink.

Nobody sets out to become a propagandist. No eight year-old kid is sitting around dreaming of one day selling her integrity to help the western empire manufacture consent for the deployment of more highly profitable military equipment to yet another resource-rich geostrategic region.

It just kind of happens. You go to journalism school, you get a job, if you’re clever you learn that there’s some coverage which gets rewarded and some which gets you marginalized, and before you know it you’re sitting at your desk typing up your twelfth smear piece about some small time teachers and bloggers and wondering what the hell happened to your life.

Rising‘s Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjati did a great segment a few months ago where they laid out all the various kinds of pressure to defend the establishment line that you’ll experience when you get a job with a mainstream media outlet, speaking from their own experience in such outlets.

“There are certain pressures to stay in good with the establishment to maintain the access that is the life blood of political journalism,” Ball said in the segment. “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. 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.”

“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.”

“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.”

York’s boss, HuffPo UK‘s executive editor Jess Brammar, shared York’s latest smear piece on Twitter with a gushing thread about what a “fascinating and important story” it is and whining that his is “subject to abuse online” whenever he publishes one of his many hit jobs against people who remember Iraq.

That’s one hell of a pat on the back if I ever saw one, and it’s coming from an executive editor who happens to currently serve on the UK government’s Defence and Security Media Advisory (DSMA) Committee. The DSMA Committee is a British advisory body which functions as an overlap between British journalism and the British government in its responsibility for issuing DSMA Notices (formerly known as “D-notices”), which advise British news outlets not to report on certain matters deemed sensitive to national security. This system has previously been used to ask that editors consult with the UK government before reporting on revelations in a 2010 WikiLeaks publication.

I am sure that Chris York didn’t set out to become a war propagandist. He just found himself funneled through the same system of positive and negative reinforcement as so many other young, bright-eyed journalists have before him, and now here he is with a job his family is proud of because journalism is a noble profession, surrounded by people telling him he’s doing the right thing. He’s got every incentive to stay and keep doing what he’s doing, and that little nagging he feels in his heart in those quiet moments alone is nothing a little alcohol or other form of escapism can’t numb.

But a propagandist he has indeed become, like everyone else who is successfully making their way up the mainstream media ladder. Keep smearing the dissident voices, keep proving yourself a loyal empire lackey, and the rewards will keep on coming. I’m sure that little nagging voice inside that you can’t kill no matter how hard you try is totally worth it.

_______________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Latest comments

  • This is almost heartening but, please note the number of MPs who attended and to whom MPs consult for their reliable information

    https://wp.me/paao7Q-tF4

  • The fact that the (cough) Free Press and the Huffington Post have devoted so much time and energy attacking people like Tim Hayward, Piers Robinson, or Vanessa Beeley suggests that these anti-war individuals are raising questions that the Anglo American political and media establishment do not want raised.

    It was former CIA operations official Frank Wisner who once proclaimed that the Agency’s front organizations, which included the news media, were nothing more than a Mighty Wurlitzer, which he could get to play any propaganda tune that the CIA wanted–just like an organ.

    Any dissent from the American Empire’s “Mighty Wurlitzer” can be attacked like Hayward, Robinson, and Beeley have been subjected to.

    The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America
    https://www.greanvillepost.com/2015/08/17/the-mighty-wurlitzer-how-the-cia-played-america/

  • When Caitlin takes a break from TDS, she can write some excellent articles, as evidenced by her work on Syria.

  • When You (Caitlin) say: “…on Twitter, you’ll notice that a weirdly large percentage of them are blue-checkmarked accounts which pour a lot of time and energy into managing the dominant narrative…”,
    – You should go further there and see if those blue checked names belong to “blue” bloded families of Peerage. Some of those names are very familiar (pun). This York character could also be coming from the owner cast families. I suspect: he does. And to help You go further, it would be wise going back first, way back, few millennia back. To see what I mean by that, read this pdf paper, titled “Ancient Spooks Part IV – Spookdom’s trail into history (By Gerry, July 2018): http://mileswmathis.com/phoen4.pdf.
    And to add some flavor to that paper, I also recommend pdf paper, titled “Jewish Pirates” (By by Long John Silverman, November 2019): http://mileswmathis.com/pirate.pdf.
    When You (Caitlin) say: “It just kind of happens. …I am sure that Chris York didn’t set out to become a war propagandist. He just found himself funneled through the same system of positive and negative reinforcement…and now here he is with a job his family is proud of …”,
    – You should reverse that conclusion you borrowed from that Ball character (is she related to Washington from Peerage?) and/or that Enjati character, who you cite saying “So it’s like if you do not already fit within this framework, then the system is designed to not give you a voice.”
    I think that all these people (discourse steering agents) are from “owner” cast families, to begin with. And if they show some talent in certain area, when young, they get heavily promoted and are offered top jobs in that area. I think that York, if that is his real name, is well connected from the start (they all are) and his family (co-owners of the System) did all the needed positive and negative reinforcement required, so he could perform his job faithfully. He was groomed to fit the role that (their) system offers and reserves only for the members of certain “families”.
    The job demands of him (as part of Fenix-Bureaucracy-International CO, subsidiary of Family-Banker-Intell LLc) being prepared to attack others when needed – remember that they control all sides, including those receiving beatings – or pat other’s shoulders. But, also, when social deconstruction program (CHAOS) demands, to be prepared even sacrificing own career (and retire from public view, with benefits).
    ………….
    I hope this comment post OK, since my previous two were missing parts of it. Fingers crossed. Third time charm.

  • When You (Caitlin) say: >> … on Twitter, you’ll notice that a weirdly large percentage of them are blue-checkmarked accounts which pour a lot of time and energy into managing the dominant narrative… <> It just kind of happens. … I am sure that Chris York didn’t set out to become a war propagandist. He just found himself funneled through the same system of positive and negative reinforcement … and now here he is with a job his family is proud of … <<,
    – You should reverse that conclusion you borrowed from that Ball character (is she related to Washington from Peerage?) and/or that Enjati character, who you cite saying "So it’s like if you do not already fit within this framework, then the system is designed to not give you a voice."

    I think that all these people (discourse steering agents) are from "owner" cast families, to begin with. And if they show some talent in certain area, when young, they get heavily promoted and are offered top jobs in that area. I think that York, if that is his real name, is well connected from the start (they all are) and his family (co-owners of the System) did all the needed positive and negative reinforcement required, so he could perform his job faithfully. He was groomed to fit the role that (their) system offers and reserves only for the members of certain "families" .

    The job demands of him (as part of them) being prepared to attack others when needed – remember that they control all sides, including those receiving beatings – or pat other's shoulders. But, also, when social deconstruction program (CHAOS) demands, to be prepared even sacrificing own career (and retire from public view, with benefits).

    ………….
    I hope this comment post OK, since my previous is missing parts of it. Fingers crossed.

  • When You (Caitlin) say: >> … on Twitter, you’ll notice that a weirdly large percentage of them are blue-checkmarked accounts which pour a lot of time and energy into managing the dominant narrative… <> http://mileswmathis.com/phoen4.pdf <> http://mileswmathis.com/pirate.pdf <> It just kind of happens. … I am sure that Chris York didn’t set out to become a war propagandist. He just found himself funneled through the same system of positive and negative reinforcement … and now here he is with a job his family is proud of …<<,
    – You should reverse that conclusion you borrowed from that Ball character (is she related to Washington from Peerage?) and/or that Enjati character, who you cite saying "So it’s like if you do not already fit within this framework, then the system is designed to not give you a voice."

    I think that all these people (discourse steering agents) are from "owner" cast families, to begin with. And if they show some talent in certain area, when young, they get heavily promoted and are offered top jobs in that area. I think that York, if that is his real name, is well connected from the start (they all are) and his family (co-owners of the System) did all the needed positive and negative reinforcement required, so he could perform his job faithfully. He was groomed to fit the role that (their) system offers and reserves only for the members of certain "families" .

    The job demands of him (as part of them) being prepared to attack others when needed – remember that they control all sides, including those receiving beatings – or pat other's shoulders. But, also, when social deconstruction program (CHAOS) demands, to be prepared even to sacrifice career (and retire from public view, with benefits).

    • it seems that way.

  • jess brammer… another name to add to the list of war criminals who shall be tried and hung sooner than they think.

    • brammar, not brammer. ugh

      • and hanged, i guess, not hung, ..

        • Well depending on your dietary preferences he could be hanged and hung.

  • My guess is that most people recognize propaganda when they see it. Except that many times, they will endorse propagandists for personal reasons and interests, even against their ethical beliefs.

    This example from France:

    “The Europeans last May removed all uncertainty on this subject. The electoral map and opinion polls showed that not only did the Catholic vote largely choose Macron, but the more voters said they were practicing Catholics, the more they voted for the majority list. Versailles and Saint Germain en Laye, in particular, offered Macron one of its best scores. CLASS VOTING WON OUT OVER VOTING FOR ETHICAL BELIEFS. The “natural” candidate of traditional France, the very Catholic and Versailles-born François Bellamy, was the main victim of this bourgeois refocusing, with a paltry score of 8.5%!”

    https://www.polemia.com/la-manif-pour-tous-mais-ou-est-donc-passe-le-vote-catholique/

    As long as the upper Middle Class (even the lower Middle Class) will align themselves with the ruling elites on almost every subject, even against their ethical beliefs, you will find a bright future for propagandists.

    It is surely the return of the days of Noah because so much people are of bad faith as it was in those days. The good news is that it means the return of Jesus is near and I pray the Rosary to hasten His Glorious return because I have seen more than enough bullshit.

  • Any one with any sort of moral compass will not stay in such a situation. They realize their error, and find other work, or as Caitlin has done, start their own business. Those who do stay have no such compass. I read, watch, and listen to corporate media frequently, but not for long, for entertainment purposes, and to get an idea what the Sociopaths In Charge would like me to believe. All the while realizing I’m currently in a minority, although a growing one. It’s a race between truth and suicide.

  • Of course, what lacks here are links to the academics and journalists under attack.

    Adding link after link to Mr. Smearcase’s articles ends up reinforcing Mr. Smearcase’s position…

    • I’m not replying to you – just don’t see how to post a comment.

      The Huff. article it says – The American is the founder of 21st Century Wire, a website that has suggested the Sandy Hook massacre in which 20 children were shot dead, was a “scripted event”, there is “no evidence” a plane hit the Pentagon on 9/11 and that photos of the moon landings weren’t taken on the moon.

      What is this doing in it and why would he be in that discussion? and why Caitlin makes no comment on it? What did the other speakers know or say about it?

      • On my screen, there’s a box under the heading “leave a comment” under all the comments, so you have to scroll to the bottom of the comments to see it.

  • “… about how a group of British academics have been used by Russia to help them deny war crimes by the Assad regime at the UN”
    Hilarious!

    The irony with Syria is that at least a number of the “many, many glaring plot holes” are deliberate. They drown us in propaganda but at the same time rub the truth in our faces. There’s the nose cone of the second plane popping out the other side of the South tower, the newscaster saying to the FDNY guy, “Can you confirm it was No. 7 that just went in?” (“went in” being a term used in controlled demolition reflecting how buildings fall in on themselves), the terrorists popping up alive, the magic passport found in the dust, etc.

    I think a powerful approach when you argue with the smearers is to point out – where it’s obviously the case – that the “plot hole” is deliberate.

    I have a page, They Tell Us Clearly with examples of how they push the truth in our faces.
    https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/they-tell-us-clearly.html

  • Nobody sets out to become a propagandist . . . It just kind of happens.

    Only if you’re entirely devoid of principles, ethics, a conscience, and brain cells.

  • First, Caitlin I give you kudos for your writing. Making a twelve word sentence was inventive and witty. You are an excellent writer. Though I don’t always agree with you, your literary skills are excellent.

    Second, what better way to get obscure writing to be better disseminated than calling attention to it. Those professors are probably getting a record amount of traffic.

  • It must be said that the example given by “politicians” to the highest level (for example a vice president of the United States) does not encourage journalists to ethics:

    https://ukrainegate.info/part-3-a-not-so-noble-president/

  • There are probably millions of people who realize the world is indoctrinated and controlled by greedy psychopaths from behind the scenes and their bought and paid minions at the front desk. But few if any talk about actions which will eliminate these criminals in high places and eliminate all other psychopaths waiting to take their places when they are removed from office.

    • You’d better not talk about actions, unless you want black-helmeted thugs kicking in your door at 4 a.m.

    • Really quite simple. Stop voting. There are no sane candidates. Voting only lends them credence. With zero votes, they either put their tyranny on display, or find some other sandbox to play in, since whatever imagined mandate they have has evaporated. We can govern ourselves, or be governed by monsters. Pick one.

  • Sometimes reading an article can make you question a lot of things that you never really thought about before. The British Empire subjugated a lot of humanity on this planet; this article helped me to understand their motivation to become the owners and the masters of so many other people.
    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/01/29/consortium-news-strikes-back-londons-five-eyes-freelands-nazi-roots-stand-exposed-once-more/

  • Thank you Caitlin. Remember Andrew Marr interviewing Noam Chomsky and Marr saying something like “thats how I feel” and Chomsky saying “of course it’s how you feel. If you didn’t you wouldn’t be here”. Useful idiots indeed! They must be lacking in any kind of conscience!

    • I think that might be the same interview in the video clip embedded before the last paragraph of this article (but not referenced in the text).

    • Indeed. And what is Chomsky doing today? He’s shilling for the American empire!

  • The profits from our labor go to big corporations that spend it on media types who try to tell us what to think. It isn’t exactly a conspiracy, there’s just so much money involved that it becomes like a force of nature, and nobody individually can stop it. It reminds me a little of slavery in America- even though most people didn’t like it, nobody individually had the power to stop it because it was such a big part of the economy that in the south it was hard to imagine how they were going to live without it.

  • A lecture by Udo Ulfkotte called: Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) with English subtitles.
    Well worth your time if you want to understand how journalism really operates.

  • “But, you grow up and you calm down and
    You’re working for the clampdown
    You start wearing the blue and brown and
    You’re working for the clampdown
    So you got someone to boss around
    It makes you feel big now
    You drift until you brutalize
    You made your first kill now”
    —the late, great Joel Strummer

  • http://www.johndayblog.com/2020/01/fatal-mechanisms.html
    It’s time to be a constructive person, making a better world, but first, there’s this Wuhan coronavirus coming, so take 5000 units of vitamin D3 (chap, over the counter) daily until it blows over. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3308600/

    • John, There are strong indications that the coronavirus is a hoax.
      https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/blog/coronavirus-hoax-jan-2020

      • Oh come on!!! Get a life!

        • William, I don’t simply make the claim, of course, I provide the evidence at which you obviously haven’t looked. I wonder what it is about what’s been reported that makes you so susceptible to believing it, I really do. Please tell me a single thing that makes you believe that there is any kind of pandemic or anything even approaching a coronavirus pandemic – is it masks and other gear, is it statistics, is it people on guerneys – is that enough for you? – but then what about the anomalies – didn’t notice any of them? As you didn’t go to look at the evidence I present I will summarise it below and can only hope that you read it. Of course, if you go to my page you will find more detail with links, etc. Once read, please return with a reply on why you believe anything at all said in the media that is coronavirus-related.
          .
          Summary of anomalies
          1. Absence of any convincing evidence of anything reported about the virus.
          .
          2. Two contradictory and equally implausible and unsubstantiated stories about a “coronavirus” hospital being set up (one from an empty building in 48 hours and one from the ground up in 6 days). There is no evidence provided of the finished hospital that was meant to be finished in 6 days.
          .
          3. Implausibility of animals reported to spread the virus including Chinese cobras, many-banded kraits, hedgehogs and critically-endangered pangolins. We are shown an image with a pangolin mentioned in the caption, however, the image shows a civet cat which has not been mentioned in relation to the coronavirus but was allegedly a carrier of the SARS virus.
          .
          4. Implausibility of a prominent Australian scientist making a denigrative comment about a Chinese research team’s work in the form of, “It’s complete garbage.”
          .
          5. A paper being published in the Journal of Virology so quickly after alleged outbreak and claimed to be peer-reviewed.
          .
          6. The claim of a person lying on the floor in a hospital, lying on the ground outside and a person falling flat on their face representing sufferers of the virus.
          .
          7. The remarkable coincidences of the Netflix docuseries on preventing a pandemic and Event 201, a high-level pandemic exercise in October last year.
          .
          For links and more detail see: https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/blog/coronavirus-hoax-jan-2020

      • That wouldn’t surprise me in the least. What kind of hoax and for what purpose? Just as the biggest movement of people on the planet goes down, where Chinese people celebrate their new year, this happens. Some have speculated that Western leaders are looking at China’s incredible shut down of a huge chunk of China in response and thinking about how they might be able to use such tactics – for whatever purpose – in their war against the people in the future. Also, Isn’t it interesting how this is happening at a time when the hit to the Chinese economy is bound to be immense? I also read that the virus is race-specific, but that must be wrong or we woud all be hearing more about that.

  • Another great article by Caitlin Johnstone. Thanks for being a light in the darkness.

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