The way I see it there are only two possible explanations for the unanimous consensus in mass media on these issues:
Those are the only two
possibilities, and only one can be true, since any mixture of the
two would result in the loss of consensus.
The things they see on,
...are all accurate
descriptions of what's really going on in the world, and the
consensus in their descriptions exists because they're all
describing the same objective reality.
Well, for starters if the mainstream media reporters are telling us the 'truth' all the time it would mean that the same power institutions which slaughtered millions in Vietnam and Iraq for no good reason are actually virtuous and honest.
It would mean the positive, uncritical picture that is consistently painted of those same institutions which wage nonstop campaigns of bloodshed and oppression to ensure the profit of economic manipulators and war profiteers is due to those institutions possessing merits which are overall so positive that no criticism of them is needed.
It would mean that,
...are all things people
voted for using the excellent democratic political system the
mainstream media defends, based on the accurate information the
mainstream media gave them about what's in their best interests.
We know that the system is spectacularly screwed up, and we know that the political establishment which these mainstream outlets always defend does unforgivably evil things, so we should expect to see a lot more critical reporting and a lot less protecting of the status quo.
But we don't...
But that leaves only Explanation 2.
This part of a 1996 interview between Noam Chomsky and the BBC's Andrew Marr describes a foundational element of Explanation 2:
Chomsky describes a "filtering system" which ensures that only those loyal to power rise to the top within the plutocrat-owned media, to which Marr objects and insists that his peers are brave truth-tellers who hold power to account.
Subsequently, the following exchange takes place:
Owning media is in and of itself a profitable investment,
So when it comes to the news media outlets which form people's perceptions of the world,
It certainly wouldn't
make him any more money, and if anti-establishment ideas like
socialism, anarchism, non-interventionism or skepticism of
government agencies gained popular footing in public consciousness,
it could upset the foundation of the plutocrat's dynasty and cause
him to lose everything.
A whole lot of maneuvering has had to happen over the course of many years to create a political system,
If you've ever wondered what motivates all those blue-checkmarked corporate media journalists to spend so much time on Twitter defending the powerful and attacking the disempowered, this is your answer.
They spend their own free time smearing Jill Stein, calling Jeremy Corbyn an antisemite, attacking Julian Assange, supporting longtime neoconservative war agendas against Russia, Syria and Iran and uncritically reporting intelligence agency assertions as fact not because there's a CIA officer hovering over their shoulder at all times telling them exactly what to tweet, but because they're auditioning for a job.
They're creating a public
record of their establishment loyalism which current and future
employers will look at when weighing hiring and promotion decisions,
which is why both journalism schools and journalism employers now
encourage journalists to cultivate a social media presence to "build
their brand", i.e. their public resume.
A pro-establishment consensus is artificially built, and now you've got an environment where someone who stands up and says,
...or whatever, is instantly greeted by a wall of shunning and shaming (observe Aaron Maté's interactions with other journalists on social media for a good example of this), which can be psychologically difficult to deal with.
Anyone who's ever gone to high school can understand how powerful the social pressures to seek peer approval and fit in can be, and anyone who's ever worked a normal job anywhere can understand the natural incentives that are in place to behave in a way that is pleasing to one's bosses.
In any job with any kind of hierarchy, you quickly learn the written rules, and you pay close attention to social cues to learn the unwritten ones as well.
You do this in order to learn how to avoid getting in trouble and how to win the approval of your superiors, to learn which sorts of behaviors can lead to raises and promotions, and which behaviors will lead to a career dead-end.
You learn what will earn
you a pat on the back from a leader, which can be extremely
egoically gratifying and incentivizing in and of itself.
Reporters might not always be consciously aware of all the pro-establishment guidelines they're expected to follow in order to advance their careers, but they know how the reporters who've ascended to the top of the media ladder conduct themselves, and they see how the journalists who win the accolades behave.
With the help of editors and peers you quickly learn where all the third rails and sacred cows are, and when to shut your mouth about the elephant in the room.
And for those rare times that all these filtration devices fail to adequately filter out dissident ideas, you see the example that gets made of those few who slip between the cracks, like CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill for his defense of Palestinian human rights or Phil Donahue for his opposition to the Iraq invasion.
So plutocrats own the mass media and platform status quo-friendly voices, which creates an environment full of peer pressure to conform and workplace pressure to advance establishment-friendly narratives.
Add to this the phenomenon of access journalism, wherein journalists are incentivized to cozy up to power and pitch softball questions to officials in order to gain access to them, and things get even more slanted.
It's easy to understand how all this can create an environment of consensus which has nothing to do with facts or reality, but rather with what narratives favor the US-centralized empire and the plutocrats who control it.
But all those dynamics aren't the only factors going into making sure a consensus worldview is maintained.
Remember that hypothetical CIA officer I mentioned earlier who isn't actively leaning over every journalist's shoulder and dictating what they tweet?
Well, just because he's
not dictating every word produced by the mass media machine doesn't
mean he's not involved.
It is a known and undisputed fact that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been intimately involved in America's news media since the 1950s, and it remains so to this day.
In 2014 it was a scandal when reporter Ken Dilanian was caught collaborating with the CIA in his publications, but now veterans of the US intelligence community like John Brennan and James Clapper openly fill out the line-up of talking heads on MSNBC and CNN.
Just recently The Guardian published a lie-filled smear piece on Julian Assange which was almost certainly the result of the outlet's collaboration with one or more intelligence and/or defense agencies, and when that article caused an outcry it was defended as the likely result of Russian disinformation in an evidence-free article by a CIA veteran who was permitted to publish anonymously in Politico.
The Washington Post is solely owned by Jeff Bezos, who is a CIA contractor, and who we may be certain did not purchase the Post under the illusion that newspapers were about to make a lucrative comeback.
agencies are deeply involved in the workings of western news media,
in many ways we know about, and in far more ways we don't know
I sometimes get people telling me,
But it doesn't work that way...
If the TV tells you a celebrity has died then it's probably true, and if they say it's about to rain you should probably roll up your car windows. If they lied about everything all the time they would instantly lose all credibility, and their ability to propagandize effectively would be lost.
only when they have to, and only as much as they need
This is the system of
narrative manipulation we are up against when we try to sow
dissident ideas into public consciousness, and as the old adage
goes, it is easier to fool people than to convince them that they
have been fooled.
The unelected power establishment,
...trust in the mass media is at an all-time low, and it's continuing to plummet.
More and more people are
waking up to the fact that they are being lied to,
which is good, because the only thing keeping them from pushing for
real change is the fact that there are all these screens in
everyone's lives telling them that real change isn't needed.
A populist information
revolution is looking more winnable than ever...