A look behind ‘new’ media outlets whose fresh image belies their background: Part I of a series

The old adage that sticks and stones can break bones “but words will never hurt me” may hold true in a school playground spat; but if that playground is the world at large and serious issues are at stake, then it’s a different matter altogether. 

Indeed, if those words mislead, malign, misinform or otherwise deceive people and put them on the road to perdition—and if the words emanate from a financial-commercial minority that’s plutocratic and oligarchic; and if the participants, from CEO to field grunt, are all of one mind, producing one fundamental message based on a typically covert agenda—then words quickly become weaponized and morph into the most deadly thing in the world. 

That’s especially true of words that dehumanize a particular population and declare them to be non-persons, ripe for the plucking according to whatever scheme is in motion. 

A news cartel

At this time in history, the source of such a “one-world narrative”—behind which a thus-far officially unacknowledged elite agenda lurks—is what’s generally known as the “mainstream media,” sometimes referred to as the “legacy media.” Truth be told, however, it’s best described as the Mass Media Cartel.

Why use the word “cartel”? Because, by definition, a cartel is a commercial operation that involves ostensibly competing institutions but which, behind the scenes, collaborates according to the same basic orthodoxy and therefore is devoid of real competition. In the final analysis, all the players involved are churning out largely the same stories on the same days at the same time of day, since they all have the same definition of what constitutes “news”—by and large in line with a singular worldview.  

The major television outlets, among other broadcast and print media, especially in the U.S., are owned a mere handful of entities (who themselves are owned and controlled by a tiny minority of primarily billionaires). They are in alliance with the almighty state and its other corporate partners. So there’s absolutely no way they can be a watchdog over “the rich and powerful.” Consequently, the likelihood of getting “fair and balanced” news in the genuine sense—news that’s respectful of a wide range of views and keeps the welfare of all classes of human beings in mind, regarding even the touchiest of subjects—is approximately zero.

Today’s Mass Media Cartel fancies itself as the world’s “legacy” media—the broadly-trusted “official beacon of truth” with which we’ve all grown up. Many Americans, particularly baby-boomers, have more or less endeared themselves over the years to certain news personalities. Long-respected and revered anchors have included: Walter Cronkite of CBS Evening News; Harry Reasoner of CBS and ABC News; Richard Baker of BBC News; and Dan Rather, who also was a CBS national anchor, before leaving after 44 years and going independent (Rather himself developed a degree of disillusion about his former employer and about the conventional journalistic ecosystem in general). 

Other national anchors, such as Tom Brokaw of NBC News (retired 2004) and Peter Jennings of ABC (final broadcast 2005), were perhaps the last newsmen with household names who garnered an appreciable degree of respect. 

The aforementioned men lacked neither talent nor intelligence—yet when it came to resisting being an informational lackey for entrenched interests, their requisite character was lacking. But, of course, anyone with such character would not land such a posh, high-paying job to begin with. Truth with a capital T is given no quarter. As once stated by the poet James Russell Lowell:

Truth forever on the scaffold; wrong forever on the throne.

Around the time of Brokaw’s and Jennings’ retirements, in the immediate post-9/11 years, the English-speaking legacy media changed its focus and began to cover significantly more foreign policy matters and worldwide terrorism. But something else changed after 9/11. Stateside and abroad, the media began to more overtly show telltale signs of what many had long-suspected: that, far from being a watchdog of “the system,” this media apparatus was, instead, a key part of the system. 

The Financial Times of London would soon moderate and participate at globalist confabs such as the Forums on Global Cities in Chicago; and Mr. Brokaw had at some point become a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an undeniably plutocratic think tank and internationalist “school for statesmen” whose outlook and interests often collide with traditional constitutional Americanism and act as a conduit for unabashed globalism. Notably, the names of several other key media personalities were found on the roster of the CFR and that of similar “leagues” of the uber-rich and mega-well-connected. Notably, even Mr. Cronkite, billed during his prime as “the most trusted man in America,” upon retirement embraced world federalism, receiving in 1999 the Norman Cousins Award for Global Governance.

The overall legacy media tried, and still tries, to convince the public that it has its best interests at heart, without which the population would supposedly perish in a maelstrom of ignorance. Nevertheless, this allegedly indispensable institution that we call the media, the press, etc.—more assuredly than ever before, and after decades of churning out an increasingly suspect and oftentimes harmful news narrative—is losing its grip on the public mind; it’s only a question of how thoroughly and how quickly.

Notable poll and other developments

While polls are not the be-all and end-all of measurement tools, a recent Gallup Poll shows trust in the media is reaching historic lows. A 19 October 2023 Gallup article on public trust of the media noted that a “new high of 39% have no confidence at all compared with 27% in 2016.” Even “Democrats’ trust [in media] is down 12 points since last year; the lowest since 2016.” And “another 29% of U.S. adults have ‘not very much trust’ [in the media].” 

At the very same time, we’re being warned that there’s “climate change” in the news business and that, consequently, “news deserts” are spreading—defined as “dry” information regions across America, Canada, the UK and other parts of the world where small conventional newspapers have downsized or closed (sometimes daily papers publish three days a week or less, mainly publishing weekend editions). 

Meanwhile, many of the larger newspapers have significantly lost print circulation—although in some cases, the number of paid online readers has risen, with a dramatic jump in the case of the New York Times and a little less of a spike for the Washington Post. Despite these few exceptions, overall subscriptions for the conventional media’s print and digital content is declining. Meanwhile, the key question is whether one-time, short-term subscription payments to slip temporarily past paywalls to quickly glean highly desired information are counted in the rosy digital subscription figures that the Times and the Post cite).

The resulting and growing information void must be filled somehow by someone. The key questions are: “By whom?” and “how?”

With 2024 upon us, the thing of unsurpassed value is “the narrative”—that ubiquitous “authoritative voice” that informs the world about what those in power are doing and whether they are legitimate, trustworthy and competent guardians for the present and future status of the peoples of the world. 

Money, as part of the debt-based usurious financial system, is naturally the universal lubricant, but the news narrative at this point in history is truly the world’s holy grail. And as “alternative” media grows and conventional media wobbles or deflates, a fascinating race, a kind of informational civil war, is on. That means, informationally speaking, there is going to be a major crossing of swords. To a degree, there already is. The only remaining questions are when this clash will reach its zenith and who will prevail in exercising effective control of the narrative.

Legacy media ‘renewing’ itself

Unbeknownst to even some of the most watchful alt-media outlets, citizen journalists and concerned observers, the legacy media evidently knows the score and is trying to fill the very same void that it helped create with its non-stop false narratives and its belligerent harrying of those brave souls amongst the public, in alt-media and (more rarely) in public office who have the audacity to seek the truth, come what may.

For purposes of this series on the “new” legacy media, one of several relatively recent upstarts is the Civic News Company, or CNC. This 501(c)(3) tax-exempt U.S.-based entity portrays itself as a more personable grassroots organization with two offshoots: Chalkbeat, which covers education; and Votebeat, which claims to cover elections constructively with the aim of preserving and reinforcing the “right to vote” as a vital pillar of “democracy.”

Consider CNC’s CEO and editor-in-chief Elizabeth Green. According to CNC’s 2021 IRS Form 990 filing, she pulled down a $286,762 salary that year, with over $43,000 in perks. Tax-deductible contributions, grants etc. for CNC were $6.5 million in 2017 and grew to $12.6 million as of 2021. From 2017 through to 2021, the grand total of such revenue infusions hit $43.4 million. However, while CNC’s war chest is large, the company that CNC keeps, alas, is the same old ruling class.

Ms. Green took part in the October 2023 Democracy 360 conference put on by the Karsh Institute of Democracy at the University of Virginia—alongside not only Susan Glasser, staff writer of The New Yorker, and Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, but also Peter Baker of the New York Times, and Bilderberg Steering Committee member and longtime Trilateral Commission member Tom Donilon (a former U.S. national security advisor and current BlackRock chairman), along with several other legacy media wonks from CBS, Fox and PBS, as well as noted White House apparatchiks such as former Obama counsel Bob Bauer, former George W. Bush Pentagon official Eric Edelman, and former Clinton strategic planner Don Baer.

Even a brief perusal of CNC’s coverage yields irrefutable proof that Votebeat’s core mission is to continue demonizing those who question the secret computerized vote counts that have become hardwired into the DNA of U.S. elections. For example, a CNC-Votebeat dispatch about a recent Gillespie County, Texas election dismissed local poll watchers as rude cranks and ridiculed them for knowing the law and asking questions. True, citizens can be a bit over-zealous at times, but they were relegated to the loony bin without any consideration for their concerns—as if knowing election law is an act of antisocial, disruptive anarchy. Shouldn’t the election officials know the law at least as well as the poll watchers? 

Moreover, Votebeat ran a piece highly critical of the same Texas county’s plans to hand-count the Republican primary in March 2024, ignoring the fact that the long-trusted Iowa Caucus is hand-counted in the open; not to mention the compelling data and insights compiled by Voters Organized for Trusted Election Results in Georgia (VoterGA for short). Co-founder Garland Favorito was interviewed late last year by UK Column, where he revealed a massive amount of evidence of computerized election fraud, and other forms of fraud, in the 2020 presidential election and other elections.

And in Arizona, any citizens seriously monitoring the plethora of under-supervised ballot drop boxes, borne of the 2020 Covid scare, were similarly characterized as paranoid busybodies by Votebeat, which sees election outcomes largely as a sacrament of civic faith in the interest of a “peaceful [read: unquestioning] transfer of power in our democracy,” not as an imperfect institution whose outcomes are easily manipulable in the computer age and deserve strict scrutiny for the honesty and civic health of the republic.

Votebeat and Chalkbeat do publish more innocuous-sounding reports that seem reasonably objective. Occasionally, some respectable journalism appears in them. But don’t be fooled. The CNC-Votebeat-Chalkbeat apparatus is just one of several news networking schemes that, by all indications, are part of the legacy media’s plan to keep itself in charge of the narrative—under cover of novelty and localism. 

All the more reason to support UK Column and other well-vetted new media. Stay tuned for more in this series on various news entities and their allies that want you to believe that they’re the wave of a bright new future, in a thinly veiled attempt to (barely) hide their pedigree and “snow” the hoi polloi.


Part 2 of the series is here.

Article image: Matt Brown on Flickr | licence CC BY 2.0