What is the “alternative” media?
If we look at the phrase itself, it seems to mean the media that presents itself as the alternative to what we call the “corporate media,” i.e. the New York Times, the Washington Post, your local rag – in short, the Legacy Media that predominated in those bygone days before the Internet. And yet this whole arrangement seems outdated, to say the least. The Internet has long since been colonized by the corporate giants: BuzzFeed, for example, is regularly fed huge dollops of cash from its corporate owners. And the Legacy Media has adapted to the primacy of online media, however reluctantly and ineptly. So the alternative media isn’t defined by how they deliver the news, but rather by 1) what they judge to be news, and 2) how they report it.
And that’s the problem.
There’s been much talk of “fake news,” a concept first defined by the “mainstream” media types as an insidious scheme by the Russians and/or supporters of Donald Trump to deny Hillary Clinton her rightful place in the Oval Office. Or it was Macedonian teenagers out to fool us into giving them clicks. Or something.
Facebook and Google announced a campaign to eliminate this Dire Threat, and the mandarins of the “mainstream” reared up in righteous anger, lecturing us that journalistic standards were being traduced.
Yet it turned out that the very people who were up in arms about “fake news” were the ones propagating their own version of it.
WikiLeaks did much to expose their game by publicizing the key role played by the Legacy Media in acting as an extension of the Clinton campaign. However, the real unmasking came after the November election, when the rage of the liberal elites became so manifest that “reporters” who would normally be loath to reveal their politics came out of the closet, so to speak, and started telling us that the old journalistic standard of objectivity no longer applied. The election of Trump, they averred, meant that the old standards must be abandoned and a new, and openly partisan bias must take its place. In honor of this new credo, the Washington Post has adopted a new slogan: “Democracy dies in darkness”!
This from the newspaper that ran a front page story citing the anonymous trolls at PropOrNot.com as credible sources for an account of alleged “Russian agents of influence” in the media – a story that slimed Matt Drudge and Antiwar.com, among others.
This from the newspaper that ran another big story claiming the Russians had infiltrated Vermont’s power grid without bothering to check with the power company.
This from the newspaper that regularly publishes “news” accounts citing anonymous “intelligence officials” claiming the Trump administration is rife with Russian “agents.”
This from the newspaper that published a piece by foreign affairs columnist Josh Rogin that falsely claimed Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s trip to Syria was funded by a group that is “nonexistent” and strongly implied she was in the pay of the Syrian government or some other foreign entity. Well after the smear circulated far and wide, the paper posted the following correction:
“An earlier version of this op-ed misspelled the name of AACCESS Ohio and incorrectly stated that the organization no longer exists. AACCESS Ohio is an independent non-profit organization that is a member of the ACCESS National Network of Arab American Community organizations but is currently on probation due to inactivity. The op-ed also incorrectly stated that Bassam Khawam is Syrian American. He is Lebanese American. This version has been corrected.”
In other words, the entire story was fake news. Read More: