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Subscription January 2018

Edward Herman - The Propaganda Model

In liberal democratic societies, it has long been understood that the use of force to control the population is generally not a viable option. Therefore, controlling what people think is critical. Thus, an elaborate system of propaganda is needed. For that system to be effective it must appear invisible. In totalitarian states there is no ambiguity. Citizens know they are getting the party line. But in countries like the U.S., where ownership is private and formal censorship is absent, there is an appearance of a free flow of information. However, that flow passes through successive filters, leaving only the cleansed residue fit to print.

Rami Barhoush - Jordan, Palestine, Israel & the U.S.

Jordan’s borders were drawn by British imperial cartographers after WW1. It was then called Trans-Jordan and sparsely populated. Today, it has a large Palestinian population, many of them refugees from the naqba, catastropheof 1948 and the 1967 war. In recent years it also has had a huge influx of refugees from Iraq and Syria. Jordan is ruled by a hereditary Hashemite king who has absolute power. There are internal tensions in the country that so far have been kept under control. The Palestinians, lack political power but dominate the economy. The kingdom’s alliance with the U.S. makes some Jordanians very uncomfortable. Jordan’s neighbor Israel, the highest recipient of U.S. aid, continues to build more settlements on Palestinian land in defiance of international law while Washington approves. The Middle East and U.S. involvement in that region continues to be a major source of global instability.

Interviewed by David Barsamian

Julian Assange - Propaganda, Facts & Fake News, Part I

We live in an era of fake news. Fabricated reports go viral on social media. Totally false stories are concocted then tweeted and retweeted. Fantastical theories and wild claims are circulated in cyberspace. It's as Orwell says in 1984, "The lie became truth." There is a lot of fire and fury inflaming the news cycle. The term fake news is an all-purpose smear, used by the president and his supporters to deride and dismiss reporting they don’t like. A recent study found that Facebook was by far the platform through which people used to get to a fake news site. The report also noted that older, less educated people were particularly susceptible to fake news. Are facts up for grabs? How are we to navigate the mine laden waters of propaganda and fake news?

Jonathan Heawood and John Pilger - Propaganda, Facts & Fake News, Part II

We live in an era of fake news. Fabricated reports go viral on social media. Totally false stories are concocted then tweeted and retweeted. Fantastical theories and wild claims are circulated in cyberspace. It's as Orwell says in 1984, "The lie became truth." There is a lot of fire and fury inflaming the news cycle. The term fake news is an all-purpose smear, used by the president and his supporters to deride and dismiss reporting they don’t like. A recent study found that Facebook was by far the platform through which people used to get to a fake news site. The report also noted that older, less educated people were particularly susceptible to fake news. Are facts up for grabs? How are we to navigate the mine laden waters of propaganda and fake news?

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