CNN – Criminal News Network

cnn

I’m honestly surprised at how rarely I’ve mentioned CNN on this site before. After all, from the earliest days of this site’s history I’ve spoken out against the corrosive, cultural poison that is the mainstream media, and it just so happens that the one news outlet that represents all aspects of the sickness of the media, and it’s name is CNN. Since 2015, they’ve been waging an unceasing smear campaign against Donald Trump, and have long been cheerleaders for Hillary Clinton. They tried to paint Trump as the next Hitler, and painted all his supporters as uncaring bigots. Then when he won the Presidency, they tried to delegitimise him by spreading the phony Russian collusion conspiracy, which even CNN’s own staff will admit is bullshit.

Then, after it became clear as day that the Russian collusion nonsense was finished, CNN somehow managed to sink even lower than they ever have before. A few days ago, Donald Trump tweeted out a meme showing himself wrestling Vince McMahon with the CNN logo superimposed on his face. Surprisingly it’s one of those memes that you can interpret however you want. I think that it might be symbolic of Trump winning against the media’s smear campaign, especially in light of the Russia narrative’s collapse. How did CNN react? They tried to paint it as an incitement of violence against the media. Yes, in the world of CNN, memes are now officially violence, and journalists are supposedly now in danger of losing their lives because the President shared a meme that, by the way, he didn’t make. This is all quite rich coming from the company that hired Kathy Griffin, and the same media establishment that constantly tells people that under Donald Trump you or your loved ones could die because he’s supposedly an unhinged crazy dictator.

They have been fermenting a climate of political violence against right-wingers since Trump got elected, and yet they have the nerve to proclaim that the President sharing a meme is an incitement of violence. But that’s not the worst. Apparently CNN got so offended by the meme that they had one of their muckrackers track down its creator, one “HanAssholeSolo”, and apparently managed to coerce him into an apology, with the implication that they might doxx him if they think he’s out of line. Forget the term Clinton News Network, they’ve officially become the Criminal News Network. In case they didn’t know, threatening to expose a private citizen’s personal details is a crime, and they may well have broken the law in the state in which they are headquartered.

So there you have it. CNN have officially become the Cosa Nostra of the American media, except the actual mafia would probably be punished. Not even Buzzfeed, the rag that published the so-called “piss dossier”, has stooped this low. As far as I know, no other news outlet in America is willing to operate so far outside the law just to bandage their petty ego because they were offended. CNN has long been a symbol of everything wrong with the mainstream news media, but now it has transcended mere propaganda-pushing, showing that they’re the sort of people who will intimidate critics into silence.

That being said, the professional doxxer CNN hired may as well be cut from the same cloth as Buzzfeed. In fact, he used to work for them. The doxxer, Andrew Kaczynski, has a sordid history of muckraking and yellow journalism. In 2013, Kaczynski shared false information from Reddit regarding the identity of the Boston Marathon bombers, naming Mike Mulugeta and Sunil Tripathi – two innocent men – as the suspected bombers. The actual culprits were Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but before the actual suspects were named, Kaczynski’s false reporting led to Sunil Tripathi’s family being bombarded with calls and messages, leading Tripathi himself to commit suicide.

Later in the same year, he retweeted a stupid tweet from a PR woman named Justine Sacco (in which she made a bad joke about AIDS being white), declaring it to be “the worst tweet of all time”. Soon after that, the media elite went about destroying her reputation, and the incident may well have destroyed her professional career. Kaczynski’s career as a whole is based on digging up old footage (often of politicians) and using it as part of smear campaigns against his targets. He is the very definition of a muckraker, and yet he is rewarded for this behaviour by the journalistic community, to the pointed that he was nominated for the Shorty Awards’ “Best Journalist” award. I’m sure Joseph Pulitzer himself would be proud.

In a way, the whole fiasco shows just how rotten the journalism industry has become, and the core of it all is CNN, a network that has gone a step further than everyone else in the mainstream media, proving that there is nothing they won’t do in order to stay relevant in an era where the mainstream media is dying. If that’s not enough, they’re also completely incompetent at what they do, and I say this mainly because it turns out that “HanAssholeSolo” may not even be the original creator of the meme. It seems to me that everything CNN does in order to try and get at Donald Trump is destined to fail miserably, and that’s because CNN, and indeed the news media at large, simply doesn’t understand what’s going on. They never did, but they can’t just accept their obsolescence peaceably, and I think it’s too late for them.

Given that CNN is willing to associate with some of the scummiest people on Earth, and silence private citizens that offend them, nothing can redeem them now. I can expect a few people to use the “muh freedom of the press” argument to defend CNN, but of course that’s nonsense. The right to freedom of the press only guarantees that you can print whatever you like, as long as it doesn’t constitute slander or personal details. The “free press” defence is wholly inadequate because, and I can’t make this any clearer, CNN broke the law. It’s just like how Gawker broke the law, and yet free press fundamentalists came to their defence because somehow they had “the right” to invade Hulk Hogan’s private life. I ask, does CNN have the right to threaten a private citizen because they are a news agency? No, they don’t, but they did so anyway, and that makes them criminals.

Welcome to the echo chambers

political echo chambers

We love to praise the digital age because of the unparalleled freedom of speech it has heralded over the past decade, but amidst those songs of praise, we might be forgetting the dark side of this, especially when it comes to political engagement. The internet is a breeding ground for many things ranging from pictures of cats to freely distributable pornography, but this nothing quite as worrying as the number of political echo chambers.

To clarify my point, an echo chamber is the term for an online community filled with like-minded individuals who constantly echo their opinions back at each other, reinforcing each individual’s beliefs to the point that it becomes closed-minded to other points of view.  These environments are typically home to individuals who, as part of an undifferentiated ego mass, will aggressively reject anyone with a different opinion. Political echo chambers (once referred to by Ivan Krastev as “political ghettos”) are forums where people can just doggedly cling on to your political alignment, but they never have to get used to anyone disagreeing with them.

This is dangerous for two reasons. Firstly, these political echo chambers are bad for intelligent political discourse because the people in them create an environment of intimidation designed to bring down anyone who might disagree. At this rate, internet has become the worst place for political discourse ever known, worse even than American television.

The second reason is because they give political discussion a bad name, since in these echo chambers (which most people call message boards), the most popular opinions are always the loudest, as opposed to the most articulate and intelligent opinions. For a lot of people, it seems that this is all politics is, but the internet is the only thing we have to blame. In recent times, politicians have grasped the idea that you need only to manipulate people’s emotions in order to gain their support. If you can manipulate the hearts and minds of the people, you can easily garner votes.

The worst part about these echo chambers is that we can’t really do anything about them. Because the internet is a haven of free speech, doing anything to disrupt that would be immoral, which is unfortunate because there are more problems out there than just the echo chambers. It’s also important to consider people will invariably search for these place because they tell them what they want to hear. Sadly, this is how these political echo chambers operate and survive. If you can ignore them, then that’s probably the best thing you can do.

The misinformation game

eye

The eye of crap sees all.

There’s a hard truth out there that we have to face: the world is getting stupider, and unfortunately, the Internet isn’t helping, because when you have access to every piece of knowledge known to man, you also have access to all the stupid nonsense in the world. Once you realize that, you’ll figure out that the availability of information isn’t making us smarter.

How is this possible? Well, on the Internet, we look for information based on what we want. Meanwhile, our minds gravitate to anything that sounds more interesting. This is how conspiracy theories thrive in the public imagination, because unfortunately, most people’s minds respond positively to outrageous claims that aren’t backed by any sort of evidence.

ancient aliens

And that’s why Ancient Aliens got six seasons so far.

The sad part is that wild theories are everywhere because there are people disseminating them across the world. Unfortunately, this is not just the domain of the penniless lunatic. Today, there’s a whole industry based around spreading crap. Have you ever wondered why people like Alex Jones and David Icke still have careers, even though their theories have been discredited years ago? It’s because they’re able to make money off the morons who are willing to buy their merchandise.

Even worse is the fact that there are tons of nut jobs out there who have written books (which adults actually buy), and they’ve gotten to the top of bestseller lists, and because they’re making so much money off pure, unadulterated crap, they don’t like when someone makes an argument that could threaten their business model. At one point, former professional wrestler and actor Jesse Ventura asked David Icke how much money he was making off his books, resulting in an argument between him and Ventura. It seems to me that Icke is rather dishonest about the whole thing, and is only out to make money.

Unfortunately, the wide availability of conspiracy theories, and the theories themselves, have a disturbing effect on the people who believe them. There have actually been studies that have shown that people who believe in conspiracy theories tend to be more depressed, and more cynical about life. When that happens, the only thing that conspiracy believers know to do is take their frustration out on the world, and that’s just one aspect of how dangerous conspiracy theories can be.

The other dangerous aspect is that, by paying so much attention to these conspiracy theories in any way, we’ve taken valuable time away from tackling the real issues, such as poverty, climate change, and education. For example, instead of wasting our time on the MMR vaccine conspiracy (which was proven false years ago), we could have used all the money spent on debunking the theory to find a cure for cancer. Could you imagine a world without conspiracy theories?

happy

The image of everyone getting along makes Alex Jones quake in his boots.

Let’s think about this for a moment. If there were no conspiracy theories based around vaccines (and how they’re supposedly out to brainwash you from birth), there’d be no needless deaths from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccination. If there were no conspiracy theories about how global warming is a hoax, then we’d be more likely to better look after the Earth, and it wouldn’t come at the cost of our freedoms either, and if mindless nonsense didn’t sell so much, then we’d be less likely to take it seriously, and may even be smarter as a species.

I just hope that one day, we all get bored of conspiracy crap, so we can look back and laugh at the stupidity of ages past.