Let’s attempt to get an elevated perspective on the oft-maligned “mainstream media” (MSM). Is the MSM an evil manipulation as some propose? Or is it, as others say, a safeguard of democracy?
One tactic for slicing through emotion and hyperbole is to get very specific and literal. This can, of course, help with clarity of communication. But it can also help to diffuse some of the energy around heated arguments. Breaking things down in a precise way can help us all to communicate more clearly. Most importantly, it can make it much easier to identify common ground and exactly where information or opinions differ. Thus, throughout Bird’s Eye View content, you’ll see the following foundational assumption (and you can use it, too): In order to discuss something productively, we need to begin with a common vocabulary.
The MSM Defined
- Mainstream media (MSM) is defined as “traditional or established” publishing outlets.
- Oftentimes a speaker’s intention in referring to the MSM is presumably to point to the current business structure of the traditional publishing outlets. Specifically, a few enormous corporations and extremely wealthy individuals own vast numbers of the “traditional or established” media outlets. Media ownership was consolidated from 50 companies in 1983 to 6 in 2000. (PBS.org)
As the name suggests, mainstream media is everywhere, and encompasses television, print, radio and… online publications. For the most part, in the U.S., mainstream media can be traced to a few conglomerates that own a majority of television networks, newspapers, magazines and even major movie houses… These [few] companies collectively own a majority of the popular media in the country and, by extension, the world.– Olivia Durden
As of this writing, the six media companies that own the MSM are:
- Time Warner
For more details:
- These 6 Corporations Control 90% of the Media in America (businessinsider.com)
- The 6 Companies That Own (almost) All Media
- These 15 Billionaires Own America’s News Media Companies (forbes.com)
- 10+ Independent Online News Sources and Why America Needs More of Them
- Mainstream vs. Alternative Media (smallbusiness.chron.com)
See also: Resource Lists – Independent News & Research. As of this writing, the list includes 32 independent resources.
MSM vs. Investigative Journalism
In the quote below, the media is said to be a “watchdog.” That’s another word for “investigative journalism,” which is defined by “systematic, in-depth, and original research and reporting, often involving the unearthing of secrets.” (source)
Like all reliable watchdogs, the media are expected to bark, but when its many-faceted voice is owned by a small number of corporate masters, concerns about its willingness to keep barking arise… Many see the “corporatizing” of media as an alarming trend.– PBS.org
If someone disparages the MSM, we might assume that the point they are making is that the MSM is an arm of corporate conglomerates within a dramatically consolidated market and is not a reliable source of investigative journalism. The “corporatizing” of MSM has the following implications:
- Because dozens upon dozens upon dozens of television, film, print and internet media have different names, there is an “illusion of choice” which is false because the ultimate decision-making of what is widely published is not spread among many outlets. It’s in the hands of very few.
- Mainstream media is subject to the influence of executives whose business objectives supersede — and thus may impede — investigative journalism.
- Thus, a person assigning fault to the MSM is likely pointing to the business structure behind the front, which implies a diversity of media, but which is in fact not ultimately accountable to truth-seekers, but to a consolidated power structure. In other words, such business ownership removes the assurance of integrity and neutral, investigative journalism.
- Said another way, the fault is with the structure as opposed to the role of media in general or with individual reporters who may be innocently doing excellent work, even when employed by the MSM.
So the bottom line is that a society’s citizens rely on investigative journalism to “unearth secrets” but the current business structure of mainstream media (MSM) invites corruption and manipulation that can inhibit or prohibit such journalism from being widely published.
An Example: Hollywood Power Abuse
The following example supports this assertion: Lack of mainstream coverage and acceptance does not make a topic any less important to report, study and consider.
Take the subject of power abuse in Hollywood known as the “casting couch.”
The casting couch is when sexual favours are demanded by an employer or someone in a position of power, from an employee in order to advance their career. In the showbiz industry, incidences have been revealed of powerful film producers or directors pushing for sex with aspiring actresses or actors in order to land them roles… Many times the vulnerable young stars are made to feel that if they refused it would be detrimental to their career, and complying would give them a “leg-up” in the industry.– Becky Pemberton, The Sun
Power abuse and sexual harassment in Hollywood has been a familiar concept for some time, right? Indeed it has. The following article traces the subject back to the 1920s.
In a 1920 article in Photoplay magazine, a New York journalist reported… “young women are not advanced in their chosen profession unless they submit to the advances of studio managers, directors, or influential male stars.”– Ben Zimmer, The Atlantic
The article goes on to show that the phrase “casting couch” began to be used later in the decade.1
But it wasn’t until October 2017 that a newspaper article was hailed as the turning point that brought forth mainstream awareness, support for victims and legal action against powerful serial abusers. (source)
Thus, it took 97 years for this abuse to gain enough momentum to overcome the obstacles to gaining mainstream coverage and awareness.
Although a watershed moment invariably leads to reams of coverage tumbling into the mainstream media, the information being reported did not, in fact, become available all at once.
On the contrary, information indicating that this was a problem that deserved attention was reported 97 years before the tide turned.
In those 97 years, there were people who were trying to get the truth out, but the obstacles were too great, and the topic stayed in the shadows.
Thus, our lesson is this: it’s irresponsible to equate the volume or point of view of mainstream media coverage with reality.
This lesson isn’t contradicted by the fact that the mainstream media may also provide truthful reporting and investigative journalism. The point here is not to imply that the media is all bad. The point is that broad mainstream coverage and a mainstream point of view are not necessarily reflective of what is real.
Another Example: UFOs and Extraterrestrial Contact
Joe Martino explains the same issue in this second example, while adding an additional point for discerning readers: anytime a topic is absent from mainstream media coverage and is suddenly covered extensively, it’s sensible to ask, why?
Beginning in May 2019, a subject has returned to news coverage “with a bang.” This is a topic that went underground in the 1950s. Since then, it’s been covered extensively by independent media only. The topic? The government’s role with UFOs and extraterrestrial contact.
Why is it suddenly being covered in mainstream media? Who is behind the messaging? Why is it suddenly “allowed” to be covered by the mainstream media? What is the agenda? Of course, the coverage is welcome as it is bringing truth to those who haven’t searched beyond mainstream media. But since truth is always a partial truth, it makes sense to be discerning about how and what information is being provided — and what is not.
From a June 1, 2019 article, And Just Like That, UFOs are Real in the Mainstream:
The mainstream media recently ran a news cycle admitting that UFOs are real and that government agencies have known about it for a very long time. A sign of change? Feelings of frustration? Ulterior motives? These are all ideas that have been coming to the mind of those who have been well aware of the factual reality that UFOs are in fact real and have been verifiable for at least the last 3 or 4 decades. Denied, ridiculed and made out to be crazy, those who knew now see the mainstream media talking in the plenty about UFOs and are wondering why… Why now? Why is there finally admission? Perhaps it’s time humanity finally hears the truth… en masse. Perhaps this is about controlling a narrative that has slowly been getting “out of control” due to the rise of independent media… perhaps those who kept such a tight seal on the UFO / ET subject are now attempting to once again gain the upper hand on how the UFO / ET narrative is told.– Joe Martino
Once we realize that such a mainstream news shift should prompt a process of discernment, there are likely to be plenty of independent experts whose experience and perspectives may help each citizen as they reflect and consider. Dr. Michael Salla, founder of Exopolitics.org, offered this analysis on May 28, 2019 in U.S. Navy Pilot Reports of UFOs Go Mainstream:
There are several important takeaways from this latest New York Times story… The first is that the US Navy is allowing its pilots to go on the public record about UFO sightings that have national security implications. This has effectively reversed a decades-long military policy dating back to 1954 called JANAP 146(C), which forbade military and civilian pilots discussing UFO sightings that were deemed to have national security implications… The second takeaway is that the Pentagon is allowing official military surveillance video to be leaked to the public about a phenomenon which on the surface appears unknown, at least to the pilots witnessing them. It is more than likely, however, that the phenomenon is very well known to the military hierarchy who have sanctioned the leaking of the videos, which it needs to be emphasized are official Navy videos… Third, the fact that the New York Times has released the story is sending a clear signal to other mainstream media sources that it is OK to discuss UFO sightings and their national security implications… It’s more than likely the video leaks and pilot interviews are part of an official disclosure process of advanced aerospace technologies. The Pentagon is slowly educating the public about advanced technologies it has secretly developed. There is abundant and compelling evidence that both the USAF and US Navy have developed secret space programs that utilize the kind of advanced aerospace technologies witnessed by the Navy pilots in the 2014/2015 and 2004 incidents. It is most likely, however, that the US Air Force’s arsenal of advanced aerospace technologies will be the first secret space program that is to be revealed given the abundance of evidence proving its existence. It will help the unfolding UFO disclosure narrative greatly if US Navy pilots are bewildered by the advanced technologies they are witnessing, thereby pointing to such technologies belonging to another military service. This will deflect attention away from the Navy SSP to the Air Force’s SSP.– Dr. Michael Salla
Toward the end of this quote, you’ll see that Dr. Salla begins explaining some of the geopolitical and exopolitical implications of this mainstream disclosure of a decades-long secret. Whether or not you choose to go down that rabbit hole, the takeaway at a high level is that such mainstream media coverage shifts invite reader discernment to ask questions such as what might the agenda be here? What isn’t being included? What do independent reports by experienced folks have to say?
The same lesson applies to mainstream science and mainstream history. Have you considered the meaning of “mainstream” in a general sense? This infographic, “Is Mainstream Thinking Good or Bad?” offers some food for thought.
Mouthpiece for Propaganda?
So far, we’ve looked at how the MSM is subject to the influence of executives whose business objectives supersede — and thus may impede — investigative journalism. A separate topic is whether or not the MSM is used as a mouthpiece for propaganda.
Propaganda is information designed to promote a particular point of view. While this may at times appear to favor a particular political party, propaganda used to benefit particular individuals will seek to influence opinion and incite action among all parties at various times. A particularly important objective — as described in The Art of War — is to divide people.
Of course, media organizations may employ people of integrity. There are plenty of fine journalists who are employed by the MSM. But the decision-making which has an incredibly powerful influence on public opinion, public debate, and public controversies (which divide the population) are made by 6 businesses. And, as it turns out, there is extensive evidence that the mainstream media has been infiltrated by the CIA since at least the 1960s. See Operation Mockingbird for details and verifiable information.
Most Americans and Europeans… are under the misconception that reporters are meant to serve the public. In fact, reporters do not serve the public. Reporters are paid employees and serve the media owners, whose company’s shares are traded on Wall Street.– Daniel Estulin
The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.– U.S. Congress Committee Report, 1976
See more about Operation Mockingbird in U.S. Government Crimes Against Civilians. Following are some excerpts from that page:
- Operation Mockingbird began as an “alleged CIA project that recruited journalists to write fake stories promoting government ideas while dispelling communist ones,” expanding later “in order to influence foreign media as well.” (source)
- In the late 1960’s there were “a slew of articles published” about Operation Mockingbird. (source)
- Carl Bernstein (who uncovered the Watergate scandal) spent six months investigating the relationship between the CIA and the media culminating in a 1977 cover story in Rolling Stone. Bernstein’s investigation exposed more than 400 American journalists doubling as CIA operatives, including reporters for The New York Times, Associated Press, Reuters, CBS and Time Inc. “Journalists were reportedly blackmailed and threatened into this network.” (source)
Ex-CIA whistleblower Kevin Shipp testifies here that the “CIA has a direct, established contract with the mainstream media.” He notes, also, that it is one of the components of the Shadow Government which functions in secrecy, without accountability to elected officials.
- It should be noted that at some point the phrase was co-opted by some to allude to women “who worked their way up” and thus re-framed the issue to be about aspiring actors who gained career rewards by offering consensual sexual favors to their bosses. Co-opting words, creating cliche’s and re-framing conversations are common tactics for suppressing truth. And, as part of an arsenal, they work.