By Mark Anderson
The mass media cartel (MMC) fancies itself as the world’s “legacy” media—the world’s “official beacon of truth” that has long had the public’s “best interests” at heart, without which the population would supposedly perish in a maelstrom of ignorance.
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Yet, this allegedly “indispensable” institution, more assuredly than ever before, is losing its grip on the public mind; it’s only a question of how thoroughly and how quickly. And 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.
An Oct. 19, 2023 “News.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 “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 closed, larger newspapers have significantly lost circulation, and local radio stations and TV affiliates have steeply lost market share and listeners-viewers, possibly to the point of folding.
Thus, this large patchwork of “information voids” must be filled somehow by someone. The key questions are: “By whom?” and “how?”
With 2024 upon us, the thing of unsurpassable value is “the narrative”—the “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 deflates, a fascinating race, a kind of info “civil war,” is on regarding who will possess and control “the narrative.”
LEGACY MEDIA AWARE
Unbeknownst to even some of the most watchful alt-media outlets, citizen journalists, and concerned observers, the “legacy” media is trying to fill the very same void that it helped create with its nonstop false narratives and its belligerent bullying of those brave souls among 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 entity portrays itself as a more personable “grassroots” organization with two offshoots: “Chalkbeat,” which covers education, and “Votebeat,” which claims to constructively cover elections with an aim toward 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, and other revenue for CNC were $6.5 million in 2017 and grew to $12.6 million as of 2021. From 2017 through 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 is the same old ruling class.
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, 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 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.
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 happens. 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 AFP and other vetted alt-media. Stay tuned for more in this series.