The silence of the sheep

The mass media is strangely silent on some very real recent events. What could be behind this news blackout? And what does it portend for the future?

“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”
— Yevgeny Yevtushenko

One of my close friends asked me why I write about controversial social and political matters, given my business is in telecoms. Doesn’t it just confuse people about my professional identity, and alienate some readers and clients? Yet I gladly accept the risk!

The reason is simple: I cannot write a newsletter headlined Future of Communications whilst ignoring the figural communications happenings of our times. To do so would be to lie to you through omission. I am also a father to two fine daughters. I believe there is an absolute moral imperative, having brought them into this world, to confront any evil they may otherwise encounter.

So this isn’t going to be a light-hearted essay, I am afraid. Bear with me, as we peer into something rather dark and scary.

Imagine for a moment that there was a freak cyclone that came in to your nearest city, and caused enormous wind and rain damage to property. That would be newsworthy, yes? If it wasn’t reported, despite all the wreckage and disruption, then you would be curious as to why it was not being mentioned, correct?

Now consider what would happen if some A-list celebrity entertainers — let’s pick Jay-Z and Beyoncé as archetypes of the genre — held an impromptu concert on a popular beach. Hundreds of people would be present, all uploading their pictures and videos to Instagram and YouTube. That would be in the news, don’t you think? And its omission from the tabloids and TV talk shows would say something rather interesting, wouldn’t you agree?

What if, for a moment, a high-profile public figure — the First Lady of the US — wore some fashion clothing with a provocative message. After all, everything has a meaning, whether intentional or not. Her choice could be seen as highly significant, I would consider. Should it be in the news? I would expect so! And would an omertà on FLOTUS overcoats strike you as odd? I do hope so!

These kinds of natural, cultural and political events are deemed worthy of column inches and TV schedule time. So wouldn’t you find it just a little bit off-kilter if matters of far, far greater significance were being ignored by the corporate media?

The United States — the world’s only military and economic superpower — has been in a formal state of emergency since 21st December 2017. The stated reasons for the invocation of these formidable executive powers are human rights abuses and corruption. You can check it for yourself — along with the huge asset seizure list on the DOJ website.

I just want to pick on an aspect of this situation, one that is conspicuous by its complete absence from the mainstream news narrative: there is an absolute blackout. Sealed filings (presumed to be indictments — each potentially naming tens of people) have been piling up in America’s Federal courts since last autumn. The rate of filing is around 50x (and more!) what it was previously: 5000-6000 a month, whereas there are usually just over 1000 each year. So we’re approaching two orders of magnitude increase in throughput.

Reasonable people might vehemently disagree on how to interpret this data — as being sinister or reassuring — but its veracity is not in dispute (to the best of my knowledge). Any lawyer with a PACER account can go and check the numbers, as it is semi-public information.

So given that: (A) there is a formal state of emergency with powers to match, and (B) convictions for human trafficking and child pornography have already rocketed ten-fold, plus (C) a hundred-fold increase in indictments is filling the judicial pipeline… is it not reasonable to conclude that (D) there is a prospect of mass arrests ahead in 2018, as the corruption clean-up hits full-on?
The silence of the news media on this subject is absolutely deafening.

We culturally treat the “official” corporate media as having a monopoly on truth: it defines what is acceptable to say in polite company, and what is too outrageous. If it’s on the CNN or BBC websites, then Wikipedia thinks that’s good enough as a proxy for factual accuracy and citation legitimacy. It is also respectable to repeat what the TV news says, no matter how mendacious. The opinions of the media class are treated (by themselves) as being those of all people of good conscience. The impression is given that they are also views held by the majority — even when those views are manifestly rejected in plebiscites.

The problem is that the interests of corporate media by necessity represent those of its investors (and spookier stakeholders) — not ordinary citizens, nor even the most valiant journalist. Telling people extremely difficult truths about the nature of the society we live in doesn’t help sell advertising inventory. Our society’s hidden horrors — like slavery, paedophilia, and blackmail — are mostly kept out of sight and out of mind, replaced by fear porn and empty gossip.

It strikes me that we are in an extremely dangerous situation. There is only one possible conclusion that I can come to that explains this blackout, given the facts: the mass media itself is a key target of the corruption purge to come. They are collectively compromised, and have been for decades. It’s a bit hard to write about VoIP or SD-WAN as being defining trends in the communications industry, given what is happening in the socio-political!

Whilst this media industry fall from grace is bad enough, it is not the thing that is most concerning to me. There is also a scary silence of the masses, who so far refuse to pay attention to even a national state of emergency. Their reality is completely defined by the nightly news anchor regurgitating the day’s official talking points. Since the media fails to highlight these important national events, making them figural in the audience member’s mind, they simply disappear into a memory hole and cease to officially exist!

Whirlwinds, lip-sync and fashionista jackets may fill the screen, but they aren’t what is important right now. Every responsible citizen should be insisting on a truly free press, one that offers the public the full story. Yet relatively few people are demanding media accountability for this particular manifest and massive lapse. Ask yourself: Was I aware of this? Is it true? Does it really matter? How do I feel about it? What should I do?

The media wolves have been guarding the public sheep, whilst telling them they are harmless sheep dogs. Meanwhile, the legislative shepherd — whose dedication to ovine longevity is dubious at best — appears to be overly interested in lamb recipes. We’ve all been fleeced, and there’s a storm approaching. Time to bleat loudly for attention, and hope for rapid rescue by some judicial animal lovers

“An educated public is the keystone of our arch of government.”
— Thomas Jefferson


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