X Close

The battle to control America’s mind Washington is waging an information war

Washington wants to control your mind (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Washington wants to control your mind (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)


March 8, 2023   11 mins

“How can a man in a cave out-communicate the world’s leading communications society?” wondered Richard Holbrooke, the dean of the American Diplomatic Corps, in the aftermath of 9/11. What startled Holbrooke, and presumably many of the readers of his Washington Post editorial, wasn’t Osama bin Laden’s terror attacks themselves but rather the Al Qaeda chief’s ability to control the framing of those attacks without a state or a television station of his own. To answer this new threat, Holbrooke called for a centralised authority run by the White House that would combine the powers of the State Department, the Pentagon, the Justice Department, the CIA and other government agencies in order to impose America’s preferred interpretation of reality upon the world.

Over two decades later, the flaws in Holbrooke’s grandiose plan for a global propaganda war directed from Washington are glaringly obvious. At the heart of Holbrooke’s conception of what became known as the Global War on Terror (GWOT) was the idea that the crucial post-9/11 battles would be won or lost not in physical locations in Afghanistan and Iraq but rather inside the heads of ordinary Muslims. The truth was that bin Laden and his terrorists understood their target audience far better than the White House, the CIA and the FBI ever could or did. Yet bizarrely, the dream of controlling reality through semiotic and technical means remains current in Washington and other Western capitals, even as the battlefields of the Middle East have gone silent. What started out as a way to fight a far-away foe has quietly metastasised into a totalitarian fantasy of endless warfare against the erroneous thoughts and feelings of ordinary citizens closer to home.

The idea of “information warfare” was born in the Seventies, when Pentagon war colleges began to take notice of the role played by so-called information operations in Soviet military planning, particularly in promoting third-world insurgencies. In 1991, American military planners included a heavy “information operations” (IO) component in the first Gulf War, which, despite featuring large set-piece tank battles in the desert, was widely labelled “the first information war”. In American military doctrine, IO was defined as a toolbox of capabilities consisting of computer network operations, electronic warfare, operational security, psychological operations, and deception. It was these capabilities, merged with high-flown Cold War rhetoric about freedom and democracy, that Holbrooke, President George W. Bush and others imagined would ultimately win the war against Al Qaeda.

America’s withdrawal of its military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan under Barack Obama left many with a less optimistic view of US IO capabilities. “Many analysts have concluded that the new media conditions are tilted in favour of non-state actors, such as insurgent militias or terrorist groups,” wrote Amy Zalman, an expert who frequently consulted for the Pentagon. “When information is restricted, the remaining void is quickly filled with conspiracy theories and distorted facts. These theories balloon and proliferate with startling speed, because it is so cheap and easy for most of us to access the means of digital communication.”

Yet the failure of the American war in Iraq, launched 20 years ago this month, and the seeming futility of IO efforts when confronted with the ungovernable spaces opened up by the internet and mobile phones, only seemed to strengthen the Pentagon’s underlying belief in the fusion of information operations (IO) and counter-terror (CT) tactics as the future of modern warfare. “In cognitive warfare, the human mind becomes the battlefield,” summarised an article in The Nato Review in May 2021. “The aim is to change not only what people think, but how they think and act. Waged successfully, it shapes and influences individual and group beliefs and behaviours to favour an aggressor’s tactical or strategic objectives. In its extreme form, it has the potential to fracture and fragment an entire society, so that it no longer has the collective will to resist an adversary’s intentions.”

A key turning point in transforming these tactics from a war-fighting technique to a new theory of Western governance happened quietly a decade ago, when large-scale spying on US citizens by the NSA was licensed by the Obama White House. Documents leaked in 2013 by Edward Snowden alerted the public to a series of domestic spying programmes, as well as the fact that the NSA was routinely mining social media platforms to build profiles on Americans without judicial review. While the NSA had previously been required to stop searching the contact chain of a foreign target when it reached a US citizen, a change in policy allowed intelligence services to continue tracing the online contacts of Americans so long as there was a “foreign intelligence” purpose to justify the snooping.

In the wake of the Snowden revelations, hints of further centralised US government surveillance activities using private technology companies began to emerge. The Obama administration routinely spied on reporters by monitoring their private telephone records and using that information to issue subpoenas to force them to reveal their sources. In 2014, Twitter filed a suit against the US Department of Justice and the FBI, stating that it had been served FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrants to collect the electronic communications of its users. Some of these efforts were apparently focused on the Obama administration’s attempts to sell the Iran Deal, the centrepiece of his second term.

Twitter’s lawsuit, which asked the court for permission to release a public report containing the precise number of warrants it had been served, was filed by Perkins Coie, the prominent Democratic Party-aligned DC law firm. The firm’s lead attorney in the case was a former DOJ cybersecurity expert named Michael Sussmann. Then-FBI General Counsel James Baker, who was friends with Sussman, refused Twitter’s request. Crucially, the entire cast of characters involved — including Obama, Twitter, the FBI, Perkins Coie, James Baker and Michael Sussman — would soon play important roles in a startling expansion of the US government’s nascent efforts to wage information warfare against its own citizens.

The device by which this transformation was effectuated was the so-called Russiagate conspiracy theory, which falsely claimed that Donald Trump had been handed the White House by agents of Vladimir Putin. Even if the evidence for Russiagate was often only legible to true believers on social media, who often sounded like characters in a Philip K. Dick novel, its function in Washington was entirely practical. By identifying Trump as an extension of Putin, the Russiagate theory neatly transformed a foreign threat into a domestic one — thereby legitimising all-out warfare by the Washington establishment against a President that many believed to be a dangerous lunatic.

Russiagate began when Perkins Coie, then employed by Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, paid a company called Fusion GPS, run by an ex-journalist named Glenn Simpson, to produce a dossier of dubious reports under the by-line of a British ex-spy named Christopher Steele. Before leaving office, Obama ordered his spy chief John Brennan to draft an official assessment claiming that the Steele dossier was real — and that Putin had helped put Trump in the White House. Obama then signed into law the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, targeting Putin, and by extension Trump.

If the Global War on Terror was founded on a profound misapprehension of America’s ability to control how other people interpret reality, Obama’s war on foreign propaganda and disinformation was founded on an outright lie that was kept alive for years by a pliant media addicted to taking handouts from nameless operatives who waged information warfare against their political enemies — and a majority of the country. “The Russian intervention was essentially a hijacking — of American companies like Facebook and Twitter,” a typical 2018 feature in The New York Times falsely asserted. The extent of the “massive fraud” that had occurred on social media platforms suggested a “plausible case that Mr Putin succeeded in delivering the presidency to his admirer, Mr Trump”. Yet according to exhaustive investigations by Robert Mueller and the US Department of Justice, the only fraud that occurred was the promotion by every normative authority and publication in the county of a hallucinatory conspiracy theory that allowed the DC establishment to bring the GWOT back home and use it an instrument to control the American public.

In the autumn of 2017, the FBI increased its leverage over the content of social media by establishing the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) “to identify and counteract malign foreign influence operations” through “strategic engagement with US technology companies”. The Department of Homeland Security set up the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to serve a similar purpose. Together, these and similar nodes in other agencies helped knit together US intelligence agencies, Big Tech companies, civil society institutions, and major media organisations into a single warfare behemoth whose job it was to “secure” the US information environment. And since “Russia” equalled Trump, stopping “Russian disinformation” meant censoring Trump, his supporters, and anyone else opposed to the bureaucratic takeover of domestic communications infrastructure.

CISA’s censorship of Twitter, which is now a matter of public record, provides one example of how the new public-private information warfare partnerships worked. One such partnership was the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), a censorship consortium consisting of the Stanford Internet Observatory, the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, and Graphika, a DC-based company made up of former national security officials and employed by the Senate Intelligence Committee. According to the recent Twitter files dump, CISA regularly censored information by filing requests with EIP, which relayed them to Twitter, Facebook, and other tech companies.

By this point, Twitter had given up suing the US government. In fact, James Baker, the former FBI chief counsel who had refused to allow Twitter to spill the beans on the US government’s use of its platform, and then authorised the FISA warrant that laid the basis for Russiagate, was now Twitter’s own in-house lawyer — one of at least a dozen former FBI and intelligence community operatives working to actively promote censorship policies based on a conspiracy theory that the platform’s own internal metrics showed was a lie.

In pressuring technology companies to do their bidding, the US security bureaucracy and its external allies in the Democratic Party and anti-Trump circles utilised two key levers of power. The first was the threat to regulate digital monopolies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter. The second was to label the technology companies that had supposedly been leveraged by Putin as national security threats. Both these tactics relied on the wording of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, a law originally intended to punish the distribution of child pornography, which exempted Google and Facebook from libel and other claims for which publishers of newspapers, magazines and other editorial products remained liable — on the theory that tech platforms were not publishers.

Monopoly platforms such as Google and Facebook were now caught in a bind. Facing potentially ruinous regulation, and at risk of being labelled national security threats, the platforms were prohibited from engaging in editorial decision-making that would turn their shiny liability-free monopolies into ordinary publishing pumpkins under the terms of Section 230 of the CDA. What the technology companies needed, in other words, was an external authority that would make editorial decisions for them, on a basis that would be acceptable to Democrats and national security bureaucrats.

Enter the fact-checkers. As a profession, fact-checking was once a minor ornament of the grand edifice of mid-20th-century American journalism. As that edifice collapsed in the face of competition from internet platforms, which hoovered up all their advertising dollars, fact-checkers began to replace actual journalists. Between 1990 and 2017, US newspapers lost more than a quarter of a million jobs, a decline of more than half. Meanwhile, between 2014 and June 2021, the number of fact-checking organisations in the US — employing mostly freelance workers with no particular qualifications or prior experience — rose from 44 to 341, an increase of nearly 800%, the vast bulk of that rise having been funded in order to support the false assertion that “foreign disinformation” had swung the 2016 election in favour of Trump.

On November 17, 2016, an organisation called the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) published an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose company’s acceptance of $150,000 in Russian-linked ads supposedly resulted in Trump’s victory. “We would be glad to engage with you about how your editors could spot and debunk fake claims,” the IFCN suggested on behalf of the 20 fact-checking organisations belonging to its network. The following month, Facebook announced that the IFCN would be its main partner in fact-checking all claims made on the world’s largest social media platform.

The IFCN was launched in 2015 as a division of the Poynter Institute, a media non-profit. Initial funders of the IFCN included the National Endowment for Democracy, the Omidyar Network, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. The partisan nature of “fact-checking” activity provided by the IFCN and its partners and similar agglomerations was not hard to spot: analysis from 2018 of fact-checks by the Associated Press found that 94% were made on Republican and conservative statements. The new “fact-checking” system allowed the major internet platforms to keep their monopolies, at the price of binding them to the Democratic Party and the DC bureaucracy.

The pandemic only tightened the elite nexus between bureaucrats, the Democratic Party, and technology companies in the attempt to make information safe for Americans. In February 2020, for example, The Washington Post denounced Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton for promoting a “debunked” “conspiracy theory” that Covid-19 had escaped from a Chinese lab in Wuhan. In May 2020, the Post’s head “fact-checker”, Glenn Kessler, a member of the IFCN advisory board, said it was “virtually impossible” for the virus to have come from a laboratory. The head of the FBI, Cristopher Wray, has now acknowledged that scenario as likely. Heretical information on the failure of lockdowns in halting transmission of Covid and the regressive inefficiency of masking children in schools was treated the same way, skewing public opinion in favour of bureaucratically convenient falsehoods and radically decreasing public trust in doctors and public-health authorities.

In October of 2020, the new domestic information security complex showed its overt partisan political purpose by massively censoring news reports about the contents of the hard drive of a computer belonging to Hunter Biden while his father was running for the presidency. In addition to lurid footage of Hunter Biden smoking crack and having sex with prostitutes, the hard drive, which had turned up in a Delaware repair shop, contained politically-damning information about business dealings between the Biden family, including Joe Biden, and companies with ties to the governments and spy services of China and Ukraine. It was, in other words, a huge political story of the type that decides elections — except very few Americans saw it in time. When they did see it, they were told that the story was a fake, the likely product of a Russian disinformation campaign.

At Facebook, Andy Stone, once the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee press secretary, explained that the reduction of Facebook’s “distribution” of the article would go into place while it was looked over by Facebook’s “third party fact checking partners”. Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey, and his top attorney, Vijaya Gadde, kept the article from being shared on their website on the grounds that the material potentially constituted an invasion of Hunter Biden’s privacy. Meanwhile, the Twitter files show that the FBI paid Twitter nearly $3.5 million for the platform’s work censoring “dangerous” content.

The FBI unit designated to coordinate with social media companies during the 2020 election was the Foreign Influence Task Force, which was led by agent Elvis Chan and corresponded with Twitter and other tech companies to identify alleged foreign influence and election tampering. Chan openly pushed the theory that the Hunter Biden laptop was a “Russian disinformation operation” — a theory underwritten by an open letter signed by no fewer than 50 distinguished US intelligence officials. Yet former head of site security Yoel Roth, himself an impeccable leftist, claimed to have found little evidence of Russian activity on Twitter. According to Roth, the FBI primed him to attribute reports about Hunter Biden’s laptop to a Russian hacking operation. Needless to say, the FBI’s reports — and subsequent “disinformation” claims — were disinformation invented by the FBI, which had been in possession of the laptop for nearly a year and therefore knew the material on the Bidens to be authentic.

Donald Trump may indeed be a dangerous lunatic, or simply a crackpot — but the attempt to “secure” the US information environment from his supposedly malign influence has proven to be far more destructive than anything Trump actually did as President. As our brains were turned into battlefields by political operatives and government bureaucrats, using their power over private companies to manipulate and censor information in the service of what they regarded to be publicly beneficial falsehoods, it is hardly surprising that public confidence in the American press has fallen to the lowest levels ever recorded. Only 16% of American adults in a recent Gallup poll expressed “a great deal” of confidence in the information they receive from newspapers, with 11% expressing similar levels of confidence in what they see on television. Among Republicans, the number expressing confidence in newspapers is 5%. This decline in confidence has no parallel in any other Western country. Americans, it turned out, were no more susceptible to domestic information operations than Muslims were in the Middle East two decades earlier.

Now America, just like Afghanistan and Iraq, must face the challenge of how to govern a country in which trust has been comprehensively shattered, and all that is left is a landscape of endless information operations run by warring tribes who define their opponents as “insurrectionists” and “terrorists”. None of these efforts to define reality seem likely to do much to promote social peace in the US, any more than they succeeded in bringing peace and democracy to the Middle East. Twenty years later, it would appear that bin Laden’s paradoxical understanding of asymmetric warfare was right: the most powerful weapon against the West is the West.


David Samuels is a writer who lives in upstate New York.


Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

128 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

“We know they are lying, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, but they are still lying.” â€“ Attributed to Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn
Thank you for writing this article Mr. Samuels. Many people who follow independent journalism have known this story and details for a while, but I always appreciate another journalist drawing attention to it. I also want to commend you on how well you lay this complex web of events out.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt Hindman
J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I also want to commend you on how well you lay this complex web of events out.”
That was the most impressive part of this article, imo. This story would once have been written off as an elaborate anti-government conspiracy theory, but sadly the story is true.
As the author notes, Americans mostly see through the psy ops being perpetrated against them by their own government, and they now have almost zero trust in most news outlets. Nonetheless, we can’t seem to stop these outrages from continuing.
I guess we must all trawl the internet to find substacks, or relatively new publications like Unherd, that still try to communicate honestly with their readers.

Last edited 1 year ago by J Bryant
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The Russians and Chinese seem to very effectively control what large chunks of their populations think, mainly by restricting access to counter narratives such as Unherd and Substacks.

The tolerance paradox in action.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Anyone controlling the information is likely to practice “repressive tolerance” though AFAIK only the leftists like Marcuse and RP Wolf think its a virtue

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

…what large chunks say out loud, not what they think. Like the post covid West, people lie to pollsters on the door step. “I’m fed up with this government, I’ll probably vote for the other lot,” becomes a poll vote for the Opposition. There’s no other box to tick.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Anyone controlling the information is likely to practice “repressive tolerance” though AFAIK only the leftists like Marcuse and RP Wolf think its a virtue

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

…what large chunks say out loud, not what they think. Like the post covid West, people lie to pollsters on the door step. “I’m fed up with this government, I’ll probably vote for the other lot,” becomes a poll vote for the Opposition. There’s no other box to tick.

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

“relatively new publications like Unherd, that still try to communicate honestly with their readers.”

Hopefully.

Or are Unherd and similar just more subtly run psyops?

Trust will take a long time to rebuild.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

Imho about 90% of what is on UnHerd is pretty good and independent, but the coverage of the Russo/Ukraine War shows that UnHerd does have a paymaster who will crack down when he feels the need. And, using the familiar technique of simultaneously ignoring and deriding the disapproved narrative.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

The only way for Unherd to achieve a high level of trust would be to publish and maintain the editorial policy, including the crucial aspect of censorship. This would include censorship of comments.
As things stand, there is a lack of transparency, but readers and those who comment can make their own minds up. Even when they’re (in my opinion) wrong, that’s still evidence that differences of worldview can be aired.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I agree with you 100%. One of my beliefs is that you need to see and understand both sides of each story. Otherwise, posting on UnHerd would be a total waste of time.
For example, I don’t believe that older people have much to offer in any discussion of the future – but I am old and I still throw my opinions at people. Strangely, it is bad to say, “Older people don’t have much to offer
..” but not bad to say, “All of the ills of the world were caused by the Boomers”.
When I see a discussion and seem to change sides, this is because I see the point. Unfortunately, this is seen as trolling.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

No. It is seen as bigotry, which is what it is.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I think that’s silly to say old people shouldnt have part in a discussion about the future. The Older, the wiser is what they said to us. Not that we didn’t dispute it. We need wise, whether it is old or not.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Really? You don’t believe that older people have much to offer in any discussion of the future, but you’re old and, apparently, feel that you do. Which just goes to show one can’t make generalizations about a demographic because individuals within it are so different.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

probably because they are two different issues. not all oldsters are boomers. some are gen x, like me, and some are the silents, like my ma.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

No. It is seen as bigotry, which is what it is.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I think that’s silly to say old people shouldnt have part in a discussion about the future. The Older, the wiser is what they said to us. Not that we didn’t dispute it. We need wise, whether it is old or not.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Really? You don’t believe that older people have much to offer in any discussion of the future, but you’re old and, apparently, feel that you do. Which just goes to show one can’t make generalizations about a demographic because individuals within it are so different.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

probably because they are two different issues. not all oldsters are boomers. some are gen x, like me, and some are the silents, like my ma.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I agree with you 100%. One of my beliefs is that you need to see and understand both sides of each story. Otherwise, posting on UnHerd would be a total waste of time.
For example, I don’t believe that older people have much to offer in any discussion of the future – but I am old and I still throw my opinions at people. Strangely, it is bad to say, “Older people don’t have much to offer
..” but not bad to say, “All of the ills of the world were caused by the Boomers”.
When I see a discussion and seem to change sides, this is because I see the point. Unfortunately, this is seen as trolling.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

Imho about 90% of what is on UnHerd is pretty good and independent, but the coverage of the Russo/Ukraine War shows that UnHerd does have a paymaster who will crack down when he feels the need. And, using the familiar technique of simultaneously ignoring and deriding the disapproved narrative.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

The only way for Unherd to achieve a high level of trust would be to publish and maintain the editorial policy, including the crucial aspect of censorship. This would include censorship of comments.
As things stand, there is a lack of transparency, but readers and those who comment can make their own minds up. Even when they’re (in my opinion) wrong, that’s still evidence that differences of worldview can be aired.

Bruce Edgar
Bruce Edgar
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The truth is that most Americans do NOT see what is happening. Get out and meet them. Their blind trust and ignorance are stupefying.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Edgar

true and also even if they have evidence something switches off to where they deny it. a cope perhaps?

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Edgar

true and also even if they have evidence something switches off to where they deny it. a cope perhaps?

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The Russians and Chinese seem to very effectively control what large chunks of their populations think, mainly by restricting access to counter narratives such as Unherd and Substacks.

The tolerance paradox in action.

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

“relatively new publications like Unherd, that still try to communicate honestly with their readers.”

Hopefully.

Or are Unherd and similar just more subtly run psyops?

Trust will take a long time to rebuild.

Bruce Edgar
Bruce Edgar
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The truth is that most Americans do NOT see what is happening. Get out and meet them. Their blind trust and ignorance are stupefying.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Solzhenitsyn should have asked us why we still vote for them.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

And the worst part of this tragedy is the break up of families and lost friends that bought into the lies. Readers of once prestigious newspapers and watchers of most all of the networks were hoodwinked. The social fabric of the U.S. has been torn asunder and it will take a lot to repair it.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I also want to commend you on how well you lay this complex web of events out.”
That was the most impressive part of this article, imo. This story would once have been written off as an elaborate anti-government conspiracy theory, but sadly the story is true.
As the author notes, Americans mostly see through the psy ops being perpetrated against them by their own government, and they now have almost zero trust in most news outlets. Nonetheless, we can’t seem to stop these outrages from continuing.
I guess we must all trawl the internet to find substacks, or relatively new publications like Unherd, that still try to communicate honestly with their readers.

Last edited 1 year ago by J Bryant
Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Solzhenitsyn should have asked us why we still vote for them.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

And the worst part of this tragedy is the break up of families and lost friends that bought into the lies. Readers of once prestigious newspapers and watchers of most all of the networks were hoodwinked. The social fabric of the U.S. has been torn asunder and it will take a lot to repair it.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

“We know they are lying, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, but they are still lying.” â€“ Attributed to Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn
Thank you for writing this article Mr. Samuels. Many people who follow independent journalism have known this story and details for a while, but I always appreciate another journalist drawing attention to it. I also want to commend you on how well you lay this complex web of events out.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt Hindman
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Here in the UK we don’t need all this skulduggery. We pay for our own brainwashing through the BBC licence fee.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

You watch the BBC? Really?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  James Kirk

Radio 3 is excellent, bar for the odd burst of BLM propaganda, such as happened today.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

What have done to upset Ms Barrows?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

What have done to upset Ms Barrows?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

And the international wimmins’ day nonsense which they have been banging on about all week.
Still the CD player in my car works

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

And the international wimmins’ day nonsense which they have been banging on about all week.
Still the CD player in my car works

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  James Kirk

Radio 3 is excellent, bar for the odd burst of BLM propaganda, such as happened today.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Which prooves UK propaganda is more clever than America’s, since the government gets us to pay for it .

Rick Frazier
Rick Frazier
1 year ago

Oh trust me, we’re paying for it.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Rick Frazier

Including paying for that absolute pillock one Gary Lineker Esq.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Rick Frazier

Including paying for that absolute pillock one Gary Lineker Esq.

Rick Frazier
Rick Frazier
1 year ago

Oh trust me, we’re paying for it.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

You watch the BBC? Really?

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Which prooves UK propaganda is more clever than America’s, since the government gets us to pay for it .

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Here in the UK we don’t need all this skulduggery. We pay for our own brainwashing through the BBC licence fee.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago

This essay hasn’t looked at academia, the research industry or climate. Hopefully in a follow up.

Howard Bigham
Howard Bigham
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Thank you Hendrik, and lets add WHO, pandemic lockdown policy, vaccine mandates, all cause mortality rates and gender nonsense.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Yes!! I can‘t wait till we hear about the biggest con of all: Man Made “Climate Crisis”. Please UnHerd get some journalists cracking on this subject. Trillions wasted on so-called renewables, EVs etc. and no Western politician has the courage to speak out
 Most Third World countries use Climate Change to get money transferred. China, Russia and many Asian/ South American countries just ignore the subject or pay lip service to weaken the West and carry on with their cheap fossil fuel.
Why not invite Prof.Lindzen, Curry or other scientists, or sceptic journalists for in depth interviews?

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephanie Surface
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Really, Stephanie?! It’s disheartening to hear you say that you don’t think climate change is man made. Would you go for cyclical made worse by man?

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

How desperate are you? Enough to blame the end of the world on the human wish for comfort?
For more than 50 years now, every one of the Climate Cult’s frenzied predictions of global doom has been proven wrong …

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

How desperate are you? Enough to blame the end of the world on the human wish for comfort?
For more than 50 years now, every one of the Climate Cult’s frenzied predictions of global doom has been proven wrong …

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

imo it is man made. you can’t live on an enclosed sphere, spew tons of pollutants into the atmosphere for decades and expect nothing to happen. the problem is getting everyone to agree on how to solve it sensibly and not muck it up with stupid solutions that don’t work but make certain people loads of money.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Really, Stephanie?! It’s disheartening to hear you say that you don’t think climate change is man made. Would you go for cyclical made worse by man?

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

imo it is man made. you can’t live on an enclosed sphere, spew tons of pollutants into the atmosphere for decades and expect nothing to happen. the problem is getting everyone to agree on how to solve it sensibly and not muck it up with stupid solutions that don’t work but make certain people loads of money.

Howard Bigham
Howard Bigham
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Thank you Hendrik, and lets add WHO, pandemic lockdown policy, vaccine mandates, all cause mortality rates and gender nonsense.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Yes!! I can‘t wait till we hear about the biggest con of all: Man Made “Climate Crisis”. Please UnHerd get some journalists cracking on this subject. Trillions wasted on so-called renewables, EVs etc. and no Western politician has the courage to speak out
 Most Third World countries use Climate Change to get money transferred. China, Russia and many Asian/ South American countries just ignore the subject or pay lip service to weaken the West and carry on with their cheap fossil fuel.
Why not invite Prof.Lindzen, Curry or other scientists, or sceptic journalists for in depth interviews?

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephanie Surface
Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago

This essay hasn’t looked at academia, the research industry or climate. Hopefully in a follow up.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Well done article. Always good to know things are worse than ever. The deep state has truly run amuck. Well done, but depressing.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Well done article. Always good to know things are worse than ever. The deep state has truly run amuck. Well done, but depressing.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 year ago

An outstanding article.
One ought, however, to recognise that the history of these sort of influence operations go back much further than 9/11 and, in particular, to the early Cold War. In the late 1940s and 1950s the American and British intelligence establishments spent more time and money on “psychological warfare” than traditional espionage. Originally targeted at Italy, France and Germany where there were large communist parties, the initial focus was on splitting the old 1930s “popular fronts” of socialists and communists and then discrediting the latter. Control of news agencies, direct planting of articles and use of radio stations all played their part – the equivalent of the current attempts to manipulate social media – but the most memorable aspect was the publication, translation and global distribution of books like Animal Farm, 1984, the Don Camillo stories and Dr Zhivago.
Overall, these initial attempts to reshape European public opinion were largely successful. Social Democrats became resolutely anti-communist. But, as in this current wave, the approach spread back into USA and UK with the result that parts of the State were influencing domestic political opinion – which is, to put it mildly, constitutionally disconcerting. Hence the later ban on intelligence gathering on American citizens whose more recent removal is discussed in the article.
This latest attempt is even more pervasive and undeniably effective in the short term but, as the author recognises and was true of the early Cold War example, the main long term effect will be, I suspect, an increase in public cynicism about everything governments and the media say. As trust in both deservedly collapses, maybe we will all soon acquire a “natural immunity” to heavy handed attempts to e.g. convince us that the lab leak theory was implausible and start to think for ourselves. Maybe.
The more sites like UnHerd encourage rational but sceptical debate the better. Keep up the good work. Publishing this article was a pubic service.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Carnegie
Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

B F Skinner and behaviourism also have a lot to answer for with Walden 2 etc.
J W Krutch also has very prescient things to say in the Measure of Man, which was published in 1953 (!). The truth is they’ve been planning it for years.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Well, well, I had no idea that George Orwell was a conservative establishment stooge – who knew eh?

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

I wouldn’t say he was a “conservative establishment stooge”. He always saw himself as left wing but he was very anti-communist after his experiences during the Spanish Civil War. He even produced a list for the Foreign Office of individuals who he thought should never be employed because of their communist leanings.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Carnegie
Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I don’t think that he was ‘very anti-communist’ at all. What he was was very anti Soviet and Stalinist, not surprisingly as they wanted him dead in Spain. I could be wrong though!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Floreat Etona!

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I don’t think that he was ‘very anti-communist’ at all. What he was was very anti Soviet and Stalinist, not surprisingly as they wanted him dead in Spain. I could be wrong though!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Floreat Etona!

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Orwell was a well known Trotskyite and fought for the POUM in Spain. He was almost murdered by communist agents in Barcelona. Calling him a stooge is exactly the sort of useful idiot Bolshevist rhetoric he warned against.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

I wouldn’t say he was a “conservative establishment stooge”. He always saw himself as left wing but he was very anti-communist after his experiences during the Spanish Civil War. He even produced a list for the Foreign Office of individuals who he thought should never be employed because of their communist leanings.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Carnegie
R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Orwell was a well known Trotskyite and fought for the POUM in Spain. He was almost murdered by communist agents in Barcelona. Calling him a stooge is exactly the sort of useful idiot Bolshevist rhetoric he warned against.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I assume you meant to write “public service”. If not, there is a side to UnHerd where I fear to tread.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

B F Skinner and behaviourism also have a lot to answer for with Walden 2 etc.
J W Krutch also has very prescient things to say in the Measure of Man, which was published in 1953 (!). The truth is they’ve been planning it for years.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Well, well, I had no idea that George Orwell was a conservative establishment stooge – who knew eh?

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I assume you meant to write “public service”. If not, there is a side to UnHerd where I fear to tread.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 year ago

An outstanding article.
One ought, however, to recognise that the history of these sort of influence operations go back much further than 9/11 and, in particular, to the early Cold War. In the late 1940s and 1950s the American and British intelligence establishments spent more time and money on “psychological warfare” than traditional espionage. Originally targeted at Italy, France and Germany where there were large communist parties, the initial focus was on splitting the old 1930s “popular fronts” of socialists and communists and then discrediting the latter. Control of news agencies, direct planting of articles and use of radio stations all played their part – the equivalent of the current attempts to manipulate social media – but the most memorable aspect was the publication, translation and global distribution of books like Animal Farm, 1984, the Don Camillo stories and Dr Zhivago.
Overall, these initial attempts to reshape European public opinion were largely successful. Social Democrats became resolutely anti-communist. But, as in this current wave, the approach spread back into USA and UK with the result that parts of the State were influencing domestic political opinion – which is, to put it mildly, constitutionally disconcerting. Hence the later ban on intelligence gathering on American citizens whose more recent removal is discussed in the article.
This latest attempt is even more pervasive and undeniably effective in the short term but, as the author recognises and was true of the early Cold War example, the main long term effect will be, I suspect, an increase in public cynicism about everything governments and the media say. As trust in both deservedly collapses, maybe we will all soon acquire a “natural immunity” to heavy handed attempts to e.g. convince us that the lab leak theory was implausible and start to think for ourselves. Maybe.
The more sites like UnHerd encourage rational but sceptical debate the better. Keep up the good work. Publishing this article was a pubic service.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Carnegie
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

«In its extreme form, it has the potential to fracture and fragment an entire society, so that it no longer has the collective will to resist an adversary’s intentions.”

It seems the Russians and Chinese didn’t need to bother, the democrats did it for them.

The Russians and Chinese do seem to manage it better with their own populations though.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

You mean that it is all the Democrat’s fault, and that Trump and the republicans did nothing to fracture society or destroy trust? Are you sure you did not miss the odd beam in your eye?

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Shush! It is forbidden to speak against Mr Trump on this site, you should know that by now.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

I know – which is one reason why I am not upset why my heavily downvoted post was temporarily removed for moderation. But I am trying to make the point that there are people who are calm, rational and reasonably open-minded – and still disagree with the Trump party line. Not sure how well it is working, though 😉

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I’m absolutely no fan of Trump and completely accept he and his Republican predecessors share much of the blame.

This particular article details how much further the democrats have taken this since 2016. Hence the comment.

I think it’s also true that progressive obsessions with identity politics have hugely contributed to the fracturing and fragmenting of society.

Serious question – do you see Trump as a phenomenon in his own right or a reaction to elite overreach?

Last edited 1 year ago by Martin Bollis
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I know that the question wasn’t addressed to me, but, if it’s ok, I’ll give my two-pennies worth. I think that it’s a bit of both. Mr Trump is a phenomenon; he was before he was elected and afterwards. He also has a pronounced god-complex – it is only through him and his disciples that the USA can be saved. However, it was, what you term, elite over-reach in addition to, and probably more important, the general neglect and disparagement of working-class people that got him elected in 2016.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

I agree he was a media phenomenon but could he have been elected before, say, 2008?

My gut feel is no. The rapid export of working class jobs since the millennium was starting to be felt about then and the critical theory nonsense burst into the mainstream from about 2010.

Yes he was awful. The fact he could be elected, for me, speaks more of how terrifyingly awful the other side had become.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

I agree he was a media phenomenon but could he have been elected before, say, 2008?

My gut feel is no. The rapid export of working class jobs since the millennium was starting to be felt about then and the critical theory nonsense burst into the mainstream from about 2010.

Yes he was awful. The fact he could be elected, for me, speaks more of how terrifyingly awful the other side had become.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

As a two-time Trump voter – I for one cast those two votes as BIG FU’s to the powers that be and I know I am not alone. And I relish the chance to do it again.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I know that the question wasn’t addressed to me, but, if it’s ok, I’ll give my two-pennies worth. I think that it’s a bit of both. Mr Trump is a phenomenon; he was before he was elected and afterwards. He also has a pronounced god-complex – it is only through him and his disciples that the USA can be saved. However, it was, what you term, elite over-reach in addition to, and probably more important, the general neglect and disparagement of working-class people that got him elected in 2016.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

As a two-time Trump voter – I for one cast those two votes as BIG FU’s to the powers that be and I know I am not alone. And I relish the chance to do it again.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Seems like Foghy reasoning to me.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I’m absolutely no fan of Trump and completely accept he and his Republican predecessors share much of the blame.

This particular article details how much further the democrats have taken this since 2016. Hence the comment.

I think it’s also true that progressive obsessions with identity politics have hugely contributed to the fracturing and fragmenting of society.

Serious question – do you see Trump as a phenomenon in his own right or a reaction to elite overreach?

Last edited 1 year ago by Martin Bollis
Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Seems like Foghy reasoning to me.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago

Weird isn’t it – he is seen as a God, like Thatcher on Conservative Home. I was indifferent to him until 2016 campaign when i dug down thought the monstering was undeserved – i was irritated by him as President BUT not as much as by Obama or Biden. Where i got off the train was the response to the flawed 2020 election. Clearly there were shenanigins on both sides, but Trump should’ve challenged ONLY through the courts.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
1 year ago

Nothing demonstrates tribal emotion better than the own goal of downvoting your comment. Unherd is very dissapointing sometimes. Thankfully, I can trust people like Rasmus to engage in points I don’t always agree with, but to do so in an intelligent and nuanced way, which is more than can be said for the majority of people who I ironically often agree with.

Mr. Swemb
Mr. Swemb
1 year ago

You make Unherd sound like Truth Social. Not that I’ve been reading here for very long, say a month or two, but I haven’t seen a single article blowing Trump’s trumpet. Not being slavishly progressive does not equal pro-Trump. You might not like to hear that.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

I know – which is one reason why I am not upset why my heavily downvoted post was temporarily removed for moderation. But I am trying to make the point that there are people who are calm, rational and reasonably open-minded – and still disagree with the Trump party line. Not sure how well it is working, though 😉

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago

Weird isn’t it – he is seen as a God, like Thatcher on Conservative Home. I was indifferent to him until 2016 campaign when i dug down thought the monstering was undeserved – i was irritated by him as President BUT not as much as by Obama or Biden. Where i got off the train was the response to the flawed 2020 election. Clearly there were shenanigins on both sides, but Trump should’ve challenged ONLY through the courts.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
1 year ago

Nothing demonstrates tribal emotion better than the own goal of downvoting your comment. Unherd is very dissapointing sometimes. Thankfully, I can trust people like Rasmus to engage in points I don’t always agree with, but to do so in an intelligent and nuanced way, which is more than can be said for the majority of people who I ironically often agree with.

Mr. Swemb
Mr. Swemb
1 year ago

You make Unherd sound like Truth Social. Not that I’ve been reading here for very long, say a month or two, but I haven’t seen a single article blowing Trump’s trumpet. Not being slavishly progressive does not equal pro-Trump. You might not like to hear that.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Although both sides are certainly guilty, I’m not aware of any republican politician that was in favor of censorship or de-platforming people during the last 6 years. That is the most insidious part of the story, IMO.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

i don’t see how on the one hand, he was ineffective, but on the other, he was a fascist. most of us on the new right understand, and always understood that the trad republicans were horrible in their own way. they never fought for anything the base wanted (immigration restrictions, no war unless necessary, cultural conservation) but essentially we never had a choice once the dems became lunatics. he wasn’t perfect but he did achieve energy independence and got the immigration numbers down to a trickle and attempted to stop fugly architecture and the 1619 project from being added to the curriculum. i’m would be ecstatic if mcconnell, graham, romney, collins and murkowski along with their cohorts cornyn and mccall were sent packing. worthless all of them and only marginally better than the democrats.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Shush! It is forbidden to speak against Mr Trump on this site, you should know that by now.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Although both sides are certainly guilty, I’m not aware of any republican politician that was in favor of censorship or de-platforming people during the last 6 years. That is the most insidious part of the story, IMO.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

i don’t see how on the one hand, he was ineffective, but on the other, he was a fascist. most of us on the new right understand, and always understood that the trad republicans were horrible in their own way. they never fought for anything the base wanted (immigration restrictions, no war unless necessary, cultural conservation) but essentially we never had a choice once the dems became lunatics. he wasn’t perfect but he did achieve energy independence and got the immigration numbers down to a trickle and attempted to stop fugly architecture and the 1619 project from being added to the curriculum. i’m would be ecstatic if mcconnell, graham, romney, collins and murkowski along with their cohorts cornyn and mccall were sent packing. worthless all of them and only marginally better than the democrats.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Where has the thread gone?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

You mean that it is all the Democrat’s fault, and that Trump and the republicans did nothing to fracture society or destroy trust? Are you sure you did not miss the odd beam in your eye?

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Where has the thread gone?

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

«In its extreme form, it has the potential to fracture and fragment an entire society, so that it no longer has the collective will to resist an adversary’s intentions.”

It seems the Russians and Chinese didn’t need to bother, the democrats did it for them.

The Russians and Chinese do seem to manage it better with their own populations though.

Bruce Edgar
Bruce Edgar
1 year ago

Marvelous research and coverage here. Truly impressive and valuable.

Bruce Edgar
Bruce Edgar
1 year ago

Marvelous research and coverage here. Truly impressive and valuable.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

Waiting for this article to be fact-checked by the Washington Post. (Sarcasm.)

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

Thanks for that trigger warning.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

Thanks for that trigger warning.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

Waiting for this article to be fact-checked by the Washington Post. (Sarcasm.)

Steve White
Steve White
1 year ago

This is an epic article!

Steve White
Steve White
1 year ago

This is an epic article!

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago

Painstakingly researched article, and well argued reasoning, to explain how Dem operatives – with collusion of Republican elites at times – captured and promoted narratives for partisan benefit. It was all brilliantly orchestrated to develop one-party state control without much of the public even realising it. The CCP may look on with envy. Problem is, the breakdown of trust in government institutions may take decades – if ever – to restore.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago

Painstakingly researched article, and well argued reasoning, to explain how Dem operatives – with collusion of Republican elites at times – captured and promoted narratives for partisan benefit. It was all brilliantly orchestrated to develop one-party state control without much of the public even realising it. The CCP may look on with envy. Problem is, the breakdown of trust in government institutions may take decades – if ever – to restore.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

Thanks for this.
Somehow I just feel that there’s a Keystone Kops aspect to this, but I could be wrong.
Hey thanks Barack! You’re a real pal, as Lina Lamont once said.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

Thanks for this.
Somehow I just feel that there’s a Keystone Kops aspect to this, but I could be wrong.
Hey thanks Barack! You’re a real pal, as Lina Lamont once said.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

People believe what they want to believe. All the young folk were ecstatic when Obama got in. Why? I doubt they listened to any of his speeches. Yeah man, he’s black and he’s cool. When you tell them Obama dropped more tonnage of ordnance on the Middle East than George W they reject it. During the early pandemic one American woman called for a ban on Corona beer and others claimed it was from 5G masts. Democracy pah! Some people cherry pick their information; some are just unfit to vote. I doubt they take a blind bit of notice of government influencers.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

People believe what they want to believe. All the young folk were ecstatic when Obama got in. Why? I doubt they listened to any of his speeches. Yeah man, he’s black and he’s cool. When you tell them Obama dropped more tonnage of ordnance on the Middle East than George W they reject it. During the early pandemic one American woman called for a ban on Corona beer and others claimed it was from 5G masts. Democracy pah! Some people cherry pick their information; some are just unfit to vote. I doubt they take a blind bit of notice of government influencers.

Su Mac
Su Mac
1 year ago

To agree with Matt Hindman and others YES! Thank you David Samuels for laying out your expert knowledge of the who/why/how/when in such clear detail.

I too have been following this as it happened, as details became known to those that are willing to look. But to be able to read every damnable inch of the hideous progress of our current great, big mess in UnHerd is so gratifying.

I shall share it to the rooftops.

Su Mac
Su Mac
1 year ago

To agree with Matt Hindman and others YES! Thank you David Samuels for laying out your expert knowledge of the who/why/how/when in such clear detail.

I too have been following this as it happened, as details became known to those that are willing to look. But to be able to read every damnable inch of the hideous progress of our current great, big mess in UnHerd is so gratifying.

I shall share it to the rooftops.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago

Thorough and well researched piece, i knew the issues but not such detail on the mechanicas and causality. What happens next is interesting: The Cold War had a similar stranglehold on public info. Truths hidden included IMF/World Bank links to starvation in the 3rd World & the brutality of our “pals” Suharto, Pinochet & Somosa. That was a consensus of all but communists and national liberation movements. People publishing unwelcome truths in Class War, Morning Star and An Phoblacht were condemned as red menaces and pro -terror – which many were. They still managed to get some truths out amongst their drivel. Now the boot is on the other foot and the consensus centred on the left wing axis – with far right free market and libertarian bogeymen taking the place of the Reds under the bed. This new leftist cabal also gets the odd thing right – EG Trump may not be ideal President material. Longer term the pendulum will swing back – Biden’s issues with Hunter and Burisma will only get worse, the cover-ups being seen as worse than the sins. There will be an alternative Government to them in due course…. as long as a Trump isn’t on the ballot. My feeling is our better natures will prevail and regulation will right the ship. Alternatively the pendulum may swing so far it destroys itself in conflict and better natures and regulation emerge from the ashes. I hope its the former.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago

Thorough and well researched piece, i knew the issues but not such detail on the mechanicas and causality. What happens next is interesting: The Cold War had a similar stranglehold on public info. Truths hidden included IMF/World Bank links to starvation in the 3rd World & the brutality of our “pals” Suharto, Pinochet & Somosa. That was a consensus of all but communists and national liberation movements. People publishing unwelcome truths in Class War, Morning Star and An Phoblacht were condemned as red menaces and pro -terror – which many were. They still managed to get some truths out amongst their drivel. Now the boot is on the other foot and the consensus centred on the left wing axis – with far right free market and libertarian bogeymen taking the place of the Reds under the bed. This new leftist cabal also gets the odd thing right – EG Trump may not be ideal President material. Longer term the pendulum will swing back – Biden’s issues with Hunter and Burisma will only get worse, the cover-ups being seen as worse than the sins. There will be an alternative Government to them in due course…. as long as a Trump isn’t on the ballot. My feeling is our better natures will prevail and regulation will right the ship. Alternatively the pendulum may swing so far it destroys itself in conflict and better natures and regulation emerge from the ashes. I hope its the former.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Absolutely brilliant article.

“In cognitive warfare, the human mind becomes the battlefield,” “The aim is to change not only what people think, but how they think and act. Waged successfully, it shapes and influences individual and group beliefs and behaviours to favour an aggressor’s tactical or strategic objectives. In its extreme form, it has the potential to fracture and fragment an entire society, so that it no longer has the collective will to resist an adversary’s intentions.”

F*cking Terrifying. Where does this end and how far have they really gone? When is this not OK?

‘A key turning point in transforming these tactics from a war-fighting technique to a new theory of Western governance happened quietly a decade ago…… Obama’s war on foreign propaganda and disinformation was founded on an outright lie’

Lies. Dodgy psyops, false information and censorship issues. America doesn’t even trust its own press. Doesn’t say much for America.

‘the only fraud that occurred was the promotion by every normative authority and publication in the county of a hallucinatory conspiracy theory that allowed the DC establishment to bring the GWOT back home and use it an instrument to control the American public’

Again. We should be very worried about this stuff. How far does our own intelligence service take this I wonder…. Aren’t they all tied up together with the Americans and five eyes and such? It’s getting more dystopian by the day, I feel like this is close to how they deal with the news in 1984, change news and history to suit, censorship, biased to the ruling party…

Also, for anyone interested I read this the other day, really good article on similar issues:

https://original.antiwar.com/cook/2023/02/28/how-social-networks-became-a-subsidiary-of-the-fbi-and-cia/

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Keep an eye on David Reich, an American geneticist, Ms Emery.
There will be trouble ahead!

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Blimey, another American nutter? Its hard to keep tabs on it all.
I’m not even sure which trouble to prioritise in the information war these days, it’s all very exciting.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Certainly better than “Listen with mother”.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

We actually had that on video! With sausage the puppet dog, Andy Pandy etc. The time to go home song I think. She made paper lanterns too. Very old fashioned we used to love it though. They don’t do TV like that anymore.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

No, sadly not!

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

I think that may have been watch with mother we had actually thinking about it?
They have bought the clangers back, I like that one.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

My grandchildren still have a couple of ‘Clangers’, sadly the batteries have packed up!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

My grandchildren still have a couple of ‘Clangers’, sadly the batteries have packed up!

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

I think that may have been watch with mother we had actually thinking about it?
They have bought the clangers back, I like that one.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

No, sadly not!

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

We actually had that on video! With sausage the puppet dog, Andy Pandy etc. The time to go home song I think. She made paper lanterns too. Very old fashioned we used to love it though. They don’t do TV like that anymore.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Certainly better than “Listen with mother”.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Blimey, another American nutter? Its hard to keep tabs on it all.
I’m not even sure which trouble to prioritise in the information war these days, it’s all very exciting.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

“America doesn’t even trust its own press. Doesn’t say much for America.” If you’re serious about this, you must not have read the article. Do Americans have a sacred obligation to say “Amen!” to every bit of nonsense spouted by their pretentious pontificators in the press? To me, their new-found skepticism is a healthy phenomenon — though perhaps slightly overdue.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

‘Only 16% of American adults in a recent Gallup poll expressed “a great deal” of confidence in the information they receive from newspapers, with 11% expressing similar levels of confidence in what they see on television. Among Republicans, the number expressing confidence in newspapers is 5%.’

Learn to read. Well done.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

‘Only 16% of American adults in a recent Gallup poll expressed “a great deal” of confidence in the information they receive from newspapers, with 11% expressing similar levels of confidence in what they see on television. Among Republicans, the number expressing confidence in newspapers is 5%.’

Learn to read. Well done.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Keep an eye on David Reich, an American geneticist, Ms Emery.
There will be trouble ahead!

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

“America doesn’t even trust its own press. Doesn’t say much for America.” If you’re serious about this, you must not have read the article. Do Americans have a sacred obligation to say “Amen!” to every bit of nonsense spouted by their pretentious pontificators in the press? To me, their new-found skepticism is a healthy phenomenon — though perhaps slightly overdue.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Absolutely brilliant article.

“In cognitive warfare, the human mind becomes the battlefield,” “The aim is to change not only what people think, but how they think and act. Waged successfully, it shapes and influences individual and group beliefs and behaviours to favour an aggressor’s tactical or strategic objectives. In its extreme form, it has the potential to fracture and fragment an entire society, so that it no longer has the collective will to resist an adversary’s intentions.”

F*cking Terrifying. Where does this end and how far have they really gone? When is this not OK?

‘A key turning point in transforming these tactics from a war-fighting technique to a new theory of Western governance happened quietly a decade ago…… Obama’s war on foreign propaganda and disinformation was founded on an outright lie’

Lies. Dodgy psyops, false information and censorship issues. America doesn’t even trust its own press. Doesn’t say much for America.

‘the only fraud that occurred was the promotion by every normative authority and publication in the county of a hallucinatory conspiracy theory that allowed the DC establishment to bring the GWOT back home and use it an instrument to control the American public’

Again. We should be very worried about this stuff. How far does our own intelligence service take this I wonder…. Aren’t they all tied up together with the Americans and five eyes and such? It’s getting more dystopian by the day, I feel like this is close to how they deal with the news in 1984, change news and history to suit, censorship, biased to the ruling party…

Also, for anyone interested I read this the other day, really good article on similar issues:

https://original.antiwar.com/cook/2023/02/28/how-social-networks-became-a-subsidiary-of-the-fbi-and-cia/

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago

Top journalism. Thank you David Samuels.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago

Top journalism. Thank you David Samuels.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago

“Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.” (Stalin)
Indeed.
And since ideas feed on information, flow from information, and flourish given a healthy & unending supply of information, what better way to control ideas than to constrain & guide that information flow into the fragile, eggshell & very much pre-disposed, progressively educated minds of the media-drenched public.
The author suggests that these efforts have failed because American confidence in Mainstream Media has so precipitously declined. On the contrary. In fact there are two interlinked goals of all Goebbels-like Information Operations: 1) the elimination of erroneous thoughts (which is the more obvious target), and 2) the creation of a shared thought reality (the social imaginary) in the minds of the voting public
In terms of bad-thought-elimination, these cognitive warfare ops have fallen short. Wrong-thought still exists and is most visible in places like Fox News (which has their own challenges) and more broadly across the Conservative Web in any number of Anti-Woke enclaves (Unherd, for one)….despite the endless efforts of the Thought Police. BUT… in terms of the Social Imaginary they’ve succeeded wildly.
David Foster Wallace told the story of the two young fish, swimming along, meeting the older fish, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” The two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and asks, “What the hell’s water?” ‘Water’ is the Social Imaginary, defined more specifically as “the way ordinary people ‘imagine’ their social surroundings”. It is how we think of the world and our place in the world. We recognize it not as theory but as images, stories, shared experiences, legends, etc. It is the ‘common understanding’ (a kind of Overton Window) which makes possible common practices and a widely shared sense of what is and is not legitimate.
We all know THIS Social Imaginary. Hell, we swim in it constantly. It is Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity. It is Social Justice and MicroAggressive #MeToo Patriarchal Oppression. It is LGBTQ+ (don’t forget the +). It is the Devil called Transphobia. It is the BLM. It is Intersectionality. It is the belief in Subjective Reality (our Lived Truths) and the absolute conviction that men really can become women (and visa versa) just by clicking their heels and saying, “I’ve always been one!”
It is the surety that the Arc of History bends Left, bends Progressive, bends Climate Change WOKE. (And who on earth wants to be on the ‘wrong side’ of that history?) The SI is the truth that the West is horrible, terrible, no good, very bad. It is the conviction that the only way to combat racism is to be racist in return (now conveniently called anti-racist…to make that pill easier to swallow). The SI knows absolutely that border security is both evil and xenophobic and that there is no difference whatsoever between men & women. Here, the End always justifies the Means (and omelets always require a few broken eggs).
The fact that all this idiocy is not just familiar but is seen as bedrock truth by all but the rotten reprobates who like to kill Bambi, tells us just exactly how deeply it’s been planted. So deeply, in fact, that to draw attention to it is like drawing attention to the fact that water is wet. Duh. Of course it is. It should be, shouldn’t it????
The author suggests that these Info Ops have been horribly destructive.
Well maybe. But it’s only destructive if you don’t like what 50 years of Progressive Cant have ended-up delivering. It’s only bad….if you’re drowning in the water in which everyone else is blithely splashing, waiting for Lennon’s ‘Imagine’.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago

“Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.” (Stalin)
Indeed.
And since ideas feed on information, flow from information, and flourish given a healthy & unending supply of information, what better way to control ideas than to constrain & guide that information flow into the fragile, eggshell & very much pre-disposed, progressively educated minds of the media-drenched public.
The author suggests that these efforts have failed because American confidence in Mainstream Media has so precipitously declined. On the contrary. In fact there are two interlinked goals of all Goebbels-like Information Operations: 1) the elimination of erroneous thoughts (which is the more obvious target), and 2) the creation of a shared thought reality (the social imaginary) in the minds of the voting public
In terms of bad-thought-elimination, these cognitive warfare ops have fallen short. Wrong-thought still exists and is most visible in places like Fox News (which has their own challenges) and more broadly across the Conservative Web in any number of Anti-Woke enclaves (Unherd, for one)….despite the endless efforts of the Thought Police. BUT… in terms of the Social Imaginary they’ve succeeded wildly.
David Foster Wallace told the story of the two young fish, swimming along, meeting the older fish, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” The two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and asks, “What the hell’s water?” ‘Water’ is the Social Imaginary, defined more specifically as “the way ordinary people ‘imagine’ their social surroundings”. It is how we think of the world and our place in the world. We recognize it not as theory but as images, stories, shared experiences, legends, etc. It is the ‘common understanding’ (a kind of Overton Window) which makes possible common practices and a widely shared sense of what is and is not legitimate.
We all know THIS Social Imaginary. Hell, we swim in it constantly. It is Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity. It is Social Justice and MicroAggressive #MeToo Patriarchal Oppression. It is LGBTQ+ (don’t forget the +). It is the Devil called Transphobia. It is the BLM. It is Intersectionality. It is the belief in Subjective Reality (our Lived Truths) and the absolute conviction that men really can become women (and visa versa) just by clicking their heels and saying, “I’ve always been one!”
It is the surety that the Arc of History bends Left, bends Progressive, bends Climate Change WOKE. (And who on earth wants to be on the ‘wrong side’ of that history?) The SI is the truth that the West is horrible, terrible, no good, very bad. It is the conviction that the only way to combat racism is to be racist in return (now conveniently called anti-racist…to make that pill easier to swallow). The SI knows absolutely that border security is both evil and xenophobic and that there is no difference whatsoever between men & women. Here, the End always justifies the Means (and omelets always require a few broken eggs).
The fact that all this idiocy is not just familiar but is seen as bedrock truth by all but the rotten reprobates who like to kill Bambi, tells us just exactly how deeply it’s been planted. So deeply, in fact, that to draw attention to it is like drawing attention to the fact that water is wet. Duh. Of course it is. It should be, shouldn’t it????
The author suggests that these Info Ops have been horribly destructive.
Well maybe. But it’s only destructive if you don’t like what 50 years of Progressive Cant have ended-up delivering. It’s only bad….if you’re drowning in the water in which everyone else is blithely splashing, waiting for Lennon’s ‘Imagine’.

Richard Harris
Richard Harris
1 year ago

I very much appreciate this thorough assessment of what Michael Schellenberger has dubbed “the Censorship Industrial Complex.” This is the real threat to democracy…as opposed to the clownish J6 “insurrection” or the Mis-Dis-Mal-Information terror problem confected by the NSA. That said, I was surprised and disappointed that this article provided no links to the courageous, pathbreaking reporting by Schellenberger, Taibbi, Weiss, & Fang on the Twitter Files. Much in this essay is deeply derivative and their initial reporting should have been honored and supported, especially given the craven smears they have endured.

Richard Harris
Richard Harris
1 year ago

I very much appreciate this thorough assessment of what Michael Schellenberger has dubbed “the Censorship Industrial Complex.” This is the real threat to democracy…as opposed to the clownish J6 “insurrection” or the Mis-Dis-Mal-Information terror problem confected by the NSA. That said, I was surprised and disappointed that this article provided no links to the courageous, pathbreaking reporting by Schellenberger, Taibbi, Weiss, & Fang on the Twitter Files. Much in this essay is deeply derivative and their initial reporting should have been honored and supported, especially given the craven smears they have endured.

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago

Two observations:
(1) “Public-private partnerships” might also be described as “the union of corporate and state power”, which was Mussolini’s own definition of Fascism.
(2) Signals intelligence (the role of the American NSA and the British GCHQ) is a war measure on conducts against enemies. If a government is conducting signals intelligence against its own citizens, it is proof the government regards its citizens as enemies.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Yetter
David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago

Two observations:
(1) “Public-private partnerships” might also be described as “the union of corporate and state power”, which was Mussolini’s own definition of Fascism.
(2) Signals intelligence (the role of the American NSA and the British GCHQ) is a war measure on conducts against enemies. If a government is conducting signals intelligence against its own citizens, it is proof the government regards its citizens as enemies.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Yetter
James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago

Bin Laden succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. He jumpstarted the intelligence/surveillance state into high gear, and accelerated the erosion of liberties that were already underway in the West. Now you have Democrats (and not a few establishment Republicans) opining that censorship isn’t such a bad thing, and that Big Government should use Big Tech and social media to overtly shape their desired narrative.

Welcome to Oceania. Remember, we have always been at war with Eurasia. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago

Bin Laden succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. He jumpstarted the intelligence/surveillance state into high gear, and accelerated the erosion of liberties that were already underway in the West. Now you have Democrats (and not a few establishment Republicans) opining that censorship isn’t such a bad thing, and that Big Government should use Big Tech and social media to overtly shape their desired narrative.

Welcome to Oceania. Remember, we have always been at war with Eurasia. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

What a screed. Hilariously one-sided.
Not a word about Fox News running stories it considered to be mendacious:
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/rupert-murdoch-admits-fox-news-hosts-election-lies-1234687700/
I enjoy Unherd, just as I subscribe to, and enjoy, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, but all 3 publications are about as balanced as a one-sided dumb-bell. 
Bias is everywhere, and only a simpleton thinks their pet thought-bubble is immune.

Steven Campbell
Steven Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

You might have a great point but referencing a Rolling Stone article might not get your point much credibility. Bias exposing bias.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Not a word about the craziness that exudes from NPR and the other alphabet networks either
.

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

It may be so.

Non the less, comparing the size of Fox to FBI, Twitter and Google, turns your argument way out and off the table. If not far off the table, consider the author’s mention of the bipartisan history of censorship and manipulation and than arrive to the present with eyes wide open.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

What about The Belfast Telegraph?

Mr. Swemb
Mr. Swemb
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

What’s hilarious is how little you understood the article. 
The clue is in the subtitle.
Your bias got the better of you.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr. Swemb

It always does.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr. Swemb

It always does.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

The Rolling Stone is infamous for doing 180s depending on the prejudices and fashions of its readership.

https://archive.org/details/lost-wachowski-piece-in-rolling-stone

Simon Bonini
Simon Bonini
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Indeed, I fund the article of very low quality with many assertions that simply don’t stand up. As for the commentators slagging Rolling Stone, well you could always read the court filings and Rupert Murdoch’s sworn statement, Tucker Carlson’s message, Hannity’s etc etc. It is true that there is a lot of disinformation but it’s not a left-wing conspiracy.

Steven Campbell
Steven Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

You might have a great point but referencing a Rolling Stone article might not get your point much credibility. Bias exposing bias.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Not a word about the craziness that exudes from NPR and the other alphabet networks either
.

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

It may be so.

Non the less, comparing the size of Fox to FBI, Twitter and Google, turns your argument way out and off the table. If not far off the table, consider the author’s mention of the bipartisan history of censorship and manipulation and than arrive to the present with eyes wide open.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

What about The Belfast Telegraph?

Mr. Swemb
Mr. Swemb
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

What’s hilarious is how little you understood the article. 
The clue is in the subtitle.
Your bias got the better of you.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

The Rolling Stone is infamous for doing 180s depending on the prejudices and fashions of its readership.

https://archive.org/details/lost-wachowski-piece-in-rolling-stone

Simon Bonini
Simon Bonini
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Indeed, I fund the article of very low quality with many assertions that simply don’t stand up. As for the commentators slagging Rolling Stone, well you could always read the court filings and Rupert Murdoch’s sworn statement, Tucker Carlson’s message, Hannity’s etc etc. It is true that there is a lot of disinformation but it’s not a left-wing conspiracy.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

What a screed. Hilariously one-sided.
Not a word about Fox News running stories it considered to be mendacious:
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/rupert-murdoch-admits-fox-news-hosts-election-lies-1234687700/
I enjoy Unherd, just as I subscribe to, and enjoy, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, but all 3 publications are about as balanced as a one-sided dumb-bell. 
Bias is everywhere, and only a simpleton thinks their pet thought-bubble is immune.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Maybe I’m wrong, but haven’t the Russians on more than one occasion recently admitted to meddling in and influencing the 2016 USA election?

Mr. Swemb
Mr. Swemb
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

I’m not sure admitted is the right word. Putin would certainly like you to think that.

Mr. Swemb
Mr. Swemb
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

I’m not sure admitted is the right word. Putin would certainly like you to think that.

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago

Maybe I’m wrong, but haven’t the Russians on more than one occasion recently admitted to meddling in and influencing the 2016 USA election?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

“The battle to control America’s mind”.
Without wishing to sound arrogant but does America really have a mind in the normal sense of the word?
From afar it appears not. Rather it appears to be some sort of primeval struggle between various racial groups, each hell bent on executing their own agenda regardless of the consequences.

I’m always puzzled by this as we ‘England’ set the place up in the first place, then produced the Founding Fathers etc.
So what went wrong! The barbarism of Abu Ghraib and the ludicrous denials were a clear indication that a feral element had crept in and wrecked the place. How was this possible? ‘Riddle me that’!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Some cultures change when they’re exported. For example the Dutch, here, are very conservative. America is a country of extremes just like it’s weather. For the most part the coasts are liberal, and the middle and south religiously patriotic, conservative and racist.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

These days I’d say there are as many or more racists on the coasts than in the south or middle. They may identify as “anti”-racists, but that’s just a euphemism for the “separate development” they champion, and separate development is racist to the core.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

These days I’d say there are as many or more racists on the coasts than in the south or middle. They may identify as “anti”-racists, but that’s just a euphemism for the “separate development” they champion, and separate development is racist to the core.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Some cultures change when they’re exported. For example the Dutch, here, are very conservative. America is a country of extremes just like it’s weather. For the most part the coasts are liberal, and the middle and south religiously patriotic, conservative and racist.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

“The battle to control America’s mind”.
Without wishing to sound arrogant but does America really have a mind in the normal sense of the word?
From afar it appears not. Rather it appears to be some sort of primeval struggle between various racial groups, each hell bent on executing their own agenda regardless of the consequences.

I’m always puzzled by this as we ‘England’ set the place up in the first place, then produced the Founding Fathers etc.
So what went wrong! The barbarism of Abu Ghraib and the ludicrous denials were a clear indication that a feral element had crept in and wrecked the place. How was this possible? ‘Riddle me that’!

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago

Brilliant, accurate, and truly scary. ‘We’ have become ‘them’. Thus unfree.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago

Brilliant, accurate, and truly scary. ‘We’ have become ‘them’. Thus unfree.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago

Excellent summary.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago

Excellent summary.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

9/11 was perpetrated mainly by Saudis. It was paid for by Saudis. The day that the US used it as a pretext to attack Iraq was the day that Americans knew they had been lied to.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

9/11 was perpetrated mainly by Saudis. It was paid for by Saudis. The day that the US used it as a pretext to attack Iraq was the day that Americans knew they had been lied to.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
1 year ago

There has been a number of articles by US bureaucrats Fiona Hill for one that are part of the Deep State and fully devoted to info warfare. BE CAREFUL don’t be naive and fully vet your submissions

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Lee

And think Fiona Hill was one of ‘ours’!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Does the caption photograph remind anyone one ‘Elliott Bjorn’ of this august site?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Does the caption photograph remind anyone one ‘Elliott Bjorn’ of this august site?

John Cartledge
John Cartledge
1 year ago

“Washington is waging an information war” according to the subtitle of this essay – but fewer and fewer Americans are paying attention, as pointed out in the next to last paragraph. Twenty years ago, Washington started a war in the middle East over “weapons of mass destruction” that didn’t exist, so the problem of fecklessness and utter ineptitude within Washington’s beltway has been with us for a good long while.
To (truly) make America great again, make Washington irrelevant. The “sanctuary city” phenomena has been around for years, the time has come for “sanctuary states.” Several states are already testing the waters along those lines.

John Cartledge
John Cartledge
1 year ago

“Washington is waging an information war” according to the subtitle of this essay – but fewer and fewer Americans are paying attention, as pointed out in the next to last paragraph. Twenty years ago, Washington started a war in the middle East over “weapons of mass destruction” that didn’t exist, so the problem of fecklessness and utter ineptitude within Washington’s beltway has been with us for a good long while.
To (truly) make America great again, make Washington irrelevant. The “sanctuary city” phenomena has been around for years, the time has come for “sanctuary states.” Several states are already testing the waters along those lines.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

*

Last edited 1 year ago by Kat L
LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

David, I think that this is most eye-opening, expository piece of journalism I have ever read.
It certainly explains a lot about, for instance, these two contemporary phenomena: the Hunter Biden laptop, and the tendency of conservatives, maga madmen and the trumpian republicans to blame so many things on George Soros.
I am seeing now, it seems to me, that this business of distributing information and politics on social media, especially the big two, Twit and Faceb, will probably provoke controversies that could actually render our classical evaluation of “freedom of speech,” “freedom of the press” as a hopelessly impossible prospect.
In other words, freedom of speech, unchecked, will destroy us, because the checking–the monitoring, censoring and deleting of provocative content–will ultimately trap us in the corner where the wall of freedom and the wall of security meet.
I am starting to believe that only a man as wise as Abraham Lincoln could resolve the mounting civil war between fact-checkers and fact-despisers will drag us down into a 21st-century gettysburg.. . God forbid.
In God we Trust. God bless America! We must call upon him to get us out of this controversy before it destroys us.
If you don’t believe me, look at the civil war that is brewing now between Raskin/Schiff and Jordan/McCarthy, which confrontation is merely the congressional skirmish between congressional partisans whose disputes will ultimately be bled out in the battle lines of a maga rebellion against a formerly magnificent democracy… a battle, the beginning of which has already been engaged on January 6, 2021.
God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her, through th(this coming) night, with a light from above.

Simon S
Simon S
1 year ago

Great article except for the bin Laden framing. I think you might have the wrong end of the stick on 9/11.

Simon S
Simon S
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon S

“How can a man in a cave out-communicate the world’s leading communications society?” wondered Richard Holbrooke, the dean of the American Diplomatic Corps, in the aftermath of 9/11. What startled Holbrooke, and presumably many of the readers of his Washington Post editorial, wasn’t Osama bin Laden’s terror attacks themselves but rather the Al Qaeda chief’s ability to control the framing of those attacks without a state or a television station of his own. To answer this new threat, Holbrooke called for a centralised authority run by the White House..”

Enough said.

Or perhaps the author is playing a very clever game.

Simon S
Simon S
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon S

“How can a man in a cave out-communicate the world’s leading communications society?” wondered Richard Holbrooke, the dean of the American Diplomatic Corps, in the aftermath of 9/11. What startled Holbrooke, and presumably many of the readers of his Washington Post editorial, wasn’t Osama bin Laden’s terror attacks themselves but rather the Al Qaeda chief’s ability to control the framing of those attacks without a state or a television station of his own. To answer this new threat, Holbrooke called for a centralised authority run by the White House..”

Enough said.

Or perhaps the author is playing a very clever game.

Simon S
Simon S
1 year ago

Great article except for the bin Laden framing. I think you might have the wrong end of the stick on 9/11.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

If you are a Trumper, you will believe all of this. If you are not, as I am not, you will notice that nothing is said about information operations, or reducing trust, or possible errors, by the republican side. And conclude that this is just another blow in the information war. Just because you don’t like the fact-checkers does not mean that the other side is not lying.

In a way it is too bad – it would be great if someone with some kind of cross-aisle credibility could tell us about all this, so I could actually engage with the content. But maybe there is no one left? As it is, this reads like Seymour Hersh or Noam Chomsky, just from the other side. They may have interesting and shocking things to say, but unless you are a true believer already you have no reason to trust them.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Just keep burying your head in the sand.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

For all his (many) faults Trump did warn people about the lies of the Establishment and Fake News. Plus he was not an Establishment Republican so he was often working against both the red and blue Powers That Be.
How much of a hint do you need?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Trump also took Germany to task for getting rid of their nuclear plants, cozying up to Russian oil and for not keeping up their NATO obligations
.pre-Ukrainian War

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

But he was a purveyer of “fake news” himself, or at the least a supporter of those who put out “fake news”.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
1 year ago

Name a fake news article by Trump.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Lee

He won the 2020 election.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago

The fact that a half dozen states changed the voting rules in the midst of an election knocked the confidence out of a good proportion of the electorate. There are still many issues that have not been addressed especially in Pennsylvania.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago

The fact that a half dozen states changed the voting rules in the midst of an election knocked the confidence out of a good proportion of the electorate. There are still many issues that have not been addressed especially in Pennsylvania.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Lee

He won the 2020 election.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

EXACTLY.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
1 year ago

Name a fake news article by Trump.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

EXACTLY.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Trump also took Germany to task for getting rid of their nuclear plants, cozying up to Russian oil and for not keeping up their NATO obligations
.pre-Ukrainian War

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

But he was a purveyer of “fake news” himself, or at the least a supporter of those who put out “fake news”.

Pat Rowles
Pat Rowles
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Just because you don’t like the fact-checkers does not mean that the other side is not lying.

Similarly, just because you do like the fact-