Tag Archives: alternative media

Propaganda? Republican Indiana Governor Mike Pence to Launch Government-Run News Site

At the end of February, Republican Indiana Governor Mike Pence plans to debut a news website called “Just IN” which will compete head-to-head with independent news outlets. According to The Indianapolis Star, the site will feature articles written by employees of the Pence administration. Pence’s office has tapped former Indianapolis Star writer Bill McCleery to oversee the project. The site will reportedly contain a mix of news articles, personality profiles, and feel-good stories.

The price tag on the taxpayer-funded news project is as-yet unknown, but The Indianapolis Star uncovered state records indicating that Just IN already has two full-time employees who are being paid a combined total of $100,000. The news service will be steered by a board of directors and editorial board appointed by Governor Pence. Bill McCleery will also serve on Just IN‘s editorial board.

Pence’s administration has sent mixed signals about the purpose of the site. On the one hand, administration officials have portrayed the news outlet as a high-style, glorified press release distribution service to assist the media in obtaining breaking news from the governor’s office. On the other hand, state documents describing the site said, “We expect reporters to find the site useful, and some features are designed specifically for media professionals. Just IN, however, will function as a news outlet in its own right for thousands of Hoosiers.”

Critics claim that Just IN will feature articles with a pro-administration slant and will compete directly with independent news sites using taxpayer funds. Hoosier State Press Association executive director Steve Key told The Indianapolis Star, “It’s not uncommon throughout history for governments to do what they can to control the message. Is that done in a benign way because they’re trying to get more info out to the public, or is it done with hidden motivations in making sure their message is seen in the best light possible?”

A tweet written by Indianapolis Star investigative journalist John Russell and cited by The Huffington Post said, “Every professional journalist in Indiana should join me in denouncing Gov. Pence’s state-run ‘news service.'” Journal Gazette reporter Niki Kelly tweeted about Just IN and asked, “So what happens if I ask a state agency for specific information? Do they write my story before I do?”

Portland Commercial Review publisher Jack Ronald, who, during the late ’90s, traveled to former Soviet states to assist journalists in creating independent media outlets in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, said, “I have no problem with public information services — the Purdue University agriculture extension service does a great job. But the notion of elected officials presenting material that will inevitably have a pro-administration point of view is antithetical to the idea of an independent press.”

MSNBC writer Steve Benen wrote, “What’s unfolding in Indiana sounds an awful lot like taxpayer-funded propaganda from the Pence administration.”

Governor Mike Pence is rumored to be considering a 2016 run for the Republican nomination for president. CNN notes that Pence said in 2005, “As a conservative who believes in limited government, I believe the only check on government power in real time is a free and independent press.”

Ben Swann Talks with Ron Paul: Is Alternative Media Losing Momentum?

In a recent video for Voices of Liberty, former Texas Congressman Dr. Ron Paul interviewed investigative Journalist Ben Swann about bias in the media, the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and about the United States’ foreign policy.

Given the current situation with ISIS in the Middle East, Paul started by asking how it differed from the situation in the Middle East one year ago, when the U.S. Government was pushing to go to war with Syria.

A year ago, our efforts to tone down the war and to not expand the war were doing quite well,” said Paul. “But here, just recently, with some of the killings, and the advance, and the description of ISIS, all of a sudden there’s a tremendous shift.”

Swann pointed out that, “A year ago the American public overwhelmingly rejected that idea, and that was an enormous victory for the alternative media and for new media, because the old media continued to respond the same way they always have.”

Swann said that the images ISIS has released of their militants “cutting off journalists’ heads” and “slaughtering Christians in Iraq and Syria,” has created a sense of fear among Americans.

What’s different here, is that with ISIS, there is this fear, the propaganda of fear, that was much more and is much more successful than what we saw in Syria,” said Swann. “Because, at the end of the day, regardless of where Americans fell on the issue of Syria, virtually no one was afraid of Assad over here.

People have these archetypes, I think, built into their minds,” said Swann, who went on to describe the tendencies people have to fall back and to say, “Okay, we shouldn’t be involved everywhere in the world, but this time, and on this occasion, now we’ve got to go back and we’ve got to do something again.”

Swann pointed out that the mainstream media does not discourage Americans from these tendencies, due to the fact that they are operating under a left/right paradigm.

On the left, or on the right, it doesn’t matter where media pretends to fall, they’re all pushing for the same thing: Intervention.”

When Paul asked Ben Swann about what projects he was working on, and what reports he was trying to expose, Swann discussed the newest episode of Truth in Media.

Swann explained that the episode was about Cannabis and CBD Oil, and the focus was on “explaining to people, not just what it is, but here’s the real threat that it faces in our government’s system.”

I think people are going to be very surprised to see, while government is saying one thing, their actions on the other side of that issue are polar opposite.

Swann also mentioned that he is working to create another piece that will “demonstrate to people, the truth about where ISIS came from.”

It is not inaction that created ISIS,” said Swann, who instead blames “direct action,” by the U.S. government, due to the fact that they are funding “so-called rebels in Syria,” along with “groups along the Iraq-Syria border, in order to overthrow Assad that created this in the first place.”

Beyond just Journalism, I think this is one of the most important stories that we can share with folks,” Swann said.

History just continues to repeat itself, and unless we show people, ‘Step back from the emotion, and think sensibly about what’s happened here,’ we’re doomed to keep making these same mistakes.”

When asked about his relationship with Journalists who work in the mainstream media, Swann said that he is often told that his work is “a little too conspiratorial.”

What’s sad to me about that, is that if you go and look at the body of our work, there’s nothing conspiratorial about anything that we do,” said Swann.

As a Journalist, I think your highest calling is to be the most critical eye in the room,” said Swann. “Instead, we’ve actually adopted a belief that a reporter is just a repeater. Just repeat whatever you’re told, and if you don’t do that, then there’s something wrong with you.”

Whose Media? Pulitzer Prize-winning Seymour Hersh defends his report on Syria (VIDEO)

Pulitzer Prize-winning Seymour Hersh says the Obama Administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a war with Syria. Hersh is a Pulitzer, Polk, George Orwell and National Magazine Award-winning investigative journalist who has written for the New Yorker since 1991, discussing military and security matters there. He covered the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam and more recently the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal. The message of his London Review of Books essay was simple: Barack Obama’s haste to go to war and cherry-picked intelligence “data” pose a serious security threat to America.

Earlier this year, Obama said that Assad’s use of Sarin gas constituted a “red line” – mimicking Benjamin Netanyahu’s discussion of Iran’s nuclear capabilities – beyond which American intervention would be necessary. The largest and most widely reported of these attacks occurred on August 21, and the evidence regarding this particular attack was the focus of Hersh’s essay.

Hersh’s essay confirmed what many independent voices suspected, that Obama’s attempt to involve America in Syria’s Civil War was rash, as rebel forces have the capabilities and knowledge to make gas and rockets. The essay added concrete data, facts and information to this idea, and provided a clear illustration of exactly how the Obama Administration cherry-picked and manipulated the intelligence in favor of a Syria strike.

Hersh told the Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone that the New Yorker, who previously published his work, passed on his extensive and detailed rich investigative report. The Washington Post passed on it too.

Later, Hersh said it was a mistake to believe the Post would publish such a provocative story.

“Why did I think a mainstream press paper would want to go so hard against, you know, from a freelancer? It was silly of me. I should have just gone to the London Review very quickly. My mistake,” said Hersh.

The Administration and hawkish Republicans created a narrative that was pushed out by the mainstream media. Investigative journalist Ben Swann and Hersh were the few independent voices who challenged the Administration’s narrative by reporting facts not covered by the main stream press.

Last week Ben Swann wrote, “For well over a year and half, I have been a dissenting voice in media on this issue.  But to be the dissenting voice means taking a stand when others will criticize what you do.”

Watch Hersh respond to his critics in the video below.


Is Alternative Media Preventing A War With Syria?

We are only two weeks away from the anniversary of 9/11 and how far we have come.  The Obama administration has been making the case for using cruise missiles to strike Syria.  Unlike 12 years ago when the U.S. entered Afghanistan or in 2003 when the U.S went to Iraq to prevent Saddam’s WMD’s (which were never found) this time, Americans aren’t buying it.

Two polls conducted this week make a strong point about how the majority of Americans feel about the U.S. carrying out cruise missile strikes against Damascus.  The first poll, conducted by Reuters found that only 9% of Americans support any U.S. intervention in Syria.

The second poll, conducted by NBC News finds 79% Americans, including nearly 70% of Democrats and 90% of Republicans say President Obama should be required to receive authority from Congress before taking any action against the Syrian regime for its suspected use of chemical weapons in the ongoing civil war.

NBC Poll Syria War

It is important to note that the demand for the President receive “authorization” follows the Constitution but is not something President’s have done since WWII.  This is a significant shift and one that likely reflects an American electorate that no longer believes whatever claims its government makes about the need for military intervention.

I talked Wednesday with Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie about the need for Congressional authorization for a military strike against Syria.  You can see the interview here:

So what has changed over the past 12 years since September 11, 2001?  Could it be that the rise of alternative media over the past decade have provided a much stronger voice in balancing information for the American people?

For example, Monday Secretary of State John Kerry made the case that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime was “morally wrong”.  He went on to insist that the only force in Syria with access to chemical weapons is the Assad regime.  Secretary Kerry is of course, wrong.  As we pointed out, Kerry ignored the fact that al Nusra Front the Syrian wing of al Qaeda in Iraq was caught with 2kgs of sarin gas.

Sec. Kerry’s claims along with claims by the rest of the Obama Administration have done little to nothing to shift the views of the American public.  The national media has not been the one to challenge erroneous claims about chemical weapons, nor has the national media done much to cover the strength of al Nusra Front in Syria.  The alternative media has.

It is alternative media such as Benswann.com that has explained that by the U.S. working to overthrow Assad, that we will, in effect, be handing Syria over to al Qaeda.

Now, with the British Parliament voting down action against Syria, and virtually no support around the world, President Obama is left in a tough position.  A position that no President has found themselves in some time.  That position… one where an increasing number of people have access to good information about what is happening in the Middle East and more importantly an American electorate that is becoming increasingly educated about U.S. foreign policy that doesn’t make much sense.  It is a position President Bush did not find himself in as he led the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but it is a position American presidents will hopefully find themselves in going forward.