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When The Official Story IS Propaganda

For many years, the tagline for the RT News network has been “Question More”, and it is my sincere belief that much of the derision they receive from commercial media comes explicitly from promoting that line of thought. Because commercial media doesn’t want anybody to question anything, and are petty enough to stoop to the lowest levels to get that point across. This can just as easily be acknowledged on a much smaller scale, where citizen journalists are commonly derided and degraded by corporate and governmental mouthpieces simply for electing to do what they do for any reason other than a sweet payday. As though a news story is not legitimate unless its reporting is conducted by persons enjoying substantially more than the “average” 40k per year earnings which most citizens only wish they could be granted by their own keepers, census stats be damned.

Even with the tiny niche of comics blogging, if a big story is broken by an independent voice, it will be ignored by the larger platforms for no better reasons than snobbery over getting upstaged by those down below, and the ruthless obligation to safeguard the publishers and studios which the larger platforms run unpaid adverts for under the guise of copy and paste press releases. Yet for every Chris Sims who eventually gets rewarded for years of keeping his nose up the asses of these publishers and studios with paid work for them directly, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of comics journalism hopefuls following the carrot on the stick faithfully under the delusion that someday, they too can put words in Wolverine’s mouth. Any notion of said publishers and studios not having their best interests at heart, or of seeing the cacophony of free publicity given to the latest products in line for sales pitches to the masses of consumers as less important than wondering why the Hero Initiative should even exist in the first place, is widely viewed as controversial, forbidden and toxic. Don’t question why these publishers and studios continue counting among their numbers users and abusers, but dare to dream that someday you too might work alongside these users and abusers. Writing about comics invariably amounts to endless, nonrefundable favors. But to question why that is, to the ears of the believers, is on par with questioning all of time and space.

On the other end of the media spectrum, National Geographic has publicly demeaned itself, by granting Russian novel-length article space in print and online to a known propagandist, Michelle Quinn, who since 1994 has served as the Silicon Valley bureau chief for Voice of America, a media platform literally owned and operated by the federal government. How a government then led by Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich had the foresight for designating a government-funded, Silicon Valley news bureau chief, a full year before the awesomeness of Windows 95, is surely a stunner for the ages. She here writes an excessive effort at white-washing the Libertarian fiefdom, casually acknowledging some stumbling blocks along Silicon Valley’s way to its latest supposedly all-encompassing passions of responsibility and empathy. Minor stumbling blocks such as rampant sexism and widespread tax evasion and a county-wide gentrification program which has shoved thousands of local residents into blunt homelessness. Quinn informs NatGeo readers that such blights were only fragmented setbacks of negligible misunderstandings, and that the desire from the many cults within Silicon Valley remains focused on saving the world by making as much profit for their billionaire and trillionaire angel investors as inhumanly possible, to sell even more exciting products and services to masses of consumers which the consumers do not honestly need or want and for the most part cannot in truth financially or spiritually afford. And that all of this is in fact good and natural and will only get more good, more natural. Don’t listen to the families somehow staying alive living in garages whose only revenue comes from scrubbing the toilets of Silicon Valley’s micro-dosing wunderkinds after their rents were carjacked too high by business associates of the same Silicon Valley micro-dosing wunderkinds, listen instead to the life-hacking podcasts of trust-fund baby elites as they pass product placements for Silicon Valley’s micro-dosing wunderkinds off as news.

Even the nighttime and daytime talk shoes airing on network television, are nothing but mere product placements masked as individual perspectives from enchanting personalities. But don’t dare listen to the little guy, even should he or she have firsthand experience in what’s actually going down. Charges of fake news are only ever wielded against smaller venues, a sociopolitical action now known as punching down, and never against corporate or governmental news platforms. Charges of fake news are never thrown at persons who gush for the USA military, its government’s business interests. Short of Donald Trump declaring it against anyone who he happens to feel is not nose-browned enough to shake loose his dingle-berries. Such as CNN, who publicly employ persons formerly with the CIA, like Anderson Cooper. The CIA which exists for the singular purpose of diverting all blame from past and present participants of the federal government to anywhere else.

While it’s unpopular to remember back even this far, unless in reference to a retro fashion or a remixed song or a rebooted TV show, during the Occupy Wall Street protests there were coordinated efforts by law enforcement agencies nationwide to violently crack down on the various Occupy encampments. All at once protesters in cities around the country would simultaneously find themselves arrested by the hundreds, with the public informed that the busts happening in unison were pure coincidence. But expected as they were of course all havens for the most unkempt debauchery of flag-burning and repeated sayings of the good lord’s name in vain. I’m saying that we just witnessed this same, exact scenario play out in the pocket dimension that is big media. USA Really quietly went live in late May of 2018, still developing itself in beta until ready for a public launch. Throughout its fifth and sixth weeks of existence, it was abruptly attacked by virtually every major news platform in the country, from NBC to the Daily Beast, Foreign Policy and McClatchy to the Drudge Report itself. All suddenly inflamed to call out this brand new little webzine as a Russian troll farm hellbent on election interference and warping the public narrative. With not one specific example of either charge to be actually listed in any of the clearly pre-scripted by committee news articles. Its founder and editor in chief was named in every article, but never any of his staff, in a concisely tokenized manner. This man was announced as a Russian-American citizen who had burst onto the leftist protest scene in the polluted city streets of Washington, DC just years prior. It was dramatically unearthed by all of these articles that this man had at one point in the past been employed by a Russian-based company, one which produced cheap, syndicated content for diverse news agencies. Like the Associated Press were it yet another brave startup.

Probable side-note territory but if Ambrose Bierce were confined to a tune then this is it.

I took all of this in, and I saw how nobody anywhere was even hinting at questioning any portion of this. All the major players jointly deciding this badly-designed, English as a fifth language-versed web-blog was a dire threat looking to uproot everything we hold dear about the American way and the Democratic process. Like the idea of presumed innocence until proven guilty. I took this all in and I saw all of its circular strands of web and I contacted its submissions editor, offering my services as a freelance journalist of packaged, exclusive articles. Half were to relate to the Bluegrass state, while the rest were to utilize historical context for reevaluating national politics today. All my idea, and with each and every article I submitted to Leo the editor, I absolutely never had to pitch them. Not for a single topic I wished to write about. No stories were assigned to contributors. Main news stories were authored uncredited by in-house staff, but they wanted to emphasize the portal as a community blog, so I became perhaps the fifth contributor to sign on. Followed by another twenty or so in the three months of my work for them, up until I quit, with even more in the half-year since. I would submit packaged articles, hyperlinks and cleared visual accompaniment, etc, and they never rejected a single one. They did however, screw with my spelling here and there, and fuck with my punctuation usage by adding or subtracting. Leo explained in our last back and forth that I had to dumb down my presentation just a wee bit, as I had to presume their average readers may not have gone much farther than a high school education. Which actually made sense. I have always been purposeful in my mistakes, so as to make it less difficult to later catch wind of whenever my lines might be repeated by others. Realistically, it is the larger portion of the population who haven’t traversed much further beyond high school, myself included.

USA Really was immediately attacked by a flash mob of a monopoly, a lynch mob of a variety act; platforms with a thousand times the budget all using the exact same arguments and accusations, and so I was drawn to involve myself from behind their enemy’s lines to see with my own eyes if they were the underdog, or if there was something else afoot. I have an unbelievable intuition. With my third published article I started an account on the vk social network, scornful of online social media as I am, to dig in extra deep. All to stab out the truth, but also for shits and giggles, what with the predominance of my time taken by cleaning and cooking.

In addition to the conglomeration of corporate media standing in then-unprovoked opposition, and yet still without any pundit anywhere actually citing a single article which categorically exemplified either swaying any domestic election or warping the public narrative by any definable means, all of the largest social media networks separately but together opted to expel and nix USA Really’s accounts. Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, Google and YouTube, and several others, all killed USA Really profiles without warning, without citing a single red flag-worthy post to explain themselves. Such universal sway towards the censor of a singular platform isn’t even applied towards the KKK. There are hundreds upon hundreds of KKK-affiliated pages all over Facebook. Half of Twitter is nothing but rape jokes and death threats, with far more coming from persons with multiple accounts than bots or foreign troll farms, yet posing so much more of a visceral threat. But no news platform larger than USA Really observed the uniqueness of that unification of normally competitive companies all finally agreeing on this one really bad thing. A bad thing where half the content or more was produced by people who would never in a zillion years be published by any of the mainstream platforms, yet persist with completing thousands of words of news coverage without the respectable resources. Contrasted with someone like Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of the Intercept and host of its official podcast. For the first year of the Intercept’s publishing content, he wrote a total of three articles, but grossed over 70k in earnings. The Intercept, who weren’t selling adspace at the time as they were the recipients of private funding. Same as USA Really. My pay-rate averaged at 50 bucks per article.

So many powerful media forces uniting against USA Really, but with no real explanation for it, and nobody of equal or greater media presence scratching their head over the unfolding melodrama. I detailed much of my accounting of the experiences under their banner right here, as it happened and in the aftermath. But realizing there’s more to say, and with reporters now from both the New York Times and the Daily Beast all completely ignoring my offer of actual firsthand knowledge of such characters, I am indulging in what you read here. Right-wing commentators used to call out Obama for being a Kenyan-born Muslim, basically just making shit up, because his actual grievances of ordeals such as the mass deportations or the foreign bombing streak unmatched by any President beforehand, all are actually in keeping with the right-wing playbook. But such actions held obviously disastrous consequences so rightwing commentators wished to milk it and stoke any flames that much higher. What they desired was madness so what they spread was madness. Trump is a fine example to this effect, a birther who has proven quite open to the concept of deporting and bombing foreign civilians sight unseen.

What’s been done to USA Really is no different.

Of their actual and tangible, provable flaws, the noticeable lack of any masthead on the site was glaring, with the only names to be found anywhere were those of the community bloggers contributing half to two-thirds of all content. But anyone who dug around LinkedIn could find at least 6 or 7 names of staff persons, and anyone who bothered to scope out their public vk account could find another dozen, from editorial, sales, etc. Not intrinsic research by any stretch although evidently well beyond the capabilities of any of those red herring-throwers writing for New York Times, Daily Beast, Foreign Policy, McClatchy, etc. Of those persons like myself, selling articles to the site, I’d say about 80% were based in the USA, generally born and bred, with additional contributors living in the UK, Germany, France and India. Of the USA Really bullpen itself, the inner circle, I would say that about 90% were citizens of the USA of Russian descent. Some were born of emigrants, while some were here on long-standing visas for school and/or work and eager to someday obtain proper citizenship. I could only find perhaps 3 names who were both living and working full-time in Russia, but none of them held any position outranking the popular founder/editor in chief. Who has been quoted a few times at least as saying he eagerly pays all relevant taxes, as he hopes to grow the news platform into a lucratively successful venture. Which is certainly the singular aim of every news portal’s head honcho in existence, short of we blackblogs folk.

I don’t believe however, that any other contributor was remotely interested in who exactly would be signing their paychecks though. I know that I was the first to even think of reaching out to establish contact with fellow contributors. Pay was contractually rendered once per month, covering whichever articles were published over the month prior. The lowest tier was for 500 words, the main for 1000+, with a far-lesser explored third tier applying strictly to original video content. The big issue here was that the exact time for payments issued changed from one month to the next, going from the first of the month to the first Monday of the month, and then to sometime before the tenth at the latest. And it wasn’t just that they dodged, but they would bluntly lie about it, lie that each email from them would contradict some part of the email preceding it, whether moments or weeks. They would jump to argumentative mode over any suggestion that they lacked the funds for payroll. I think that, more often than not, they did, that they were cutting it short in getting everything squared. Which is not at all uncommon, but it is always frustrating when employers fail to see the starved importance for their own fucking reliability. The abominably inexperienced, unprofessional lack of either regularity or consistency in communication was probably the main reason behind this.

But the absolute worst of their provable faults, was the blandness. While generally critical of the government, its law enforcement and drug policies and its leniency towards Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry, easily half of the contributors write at a high school level. Skim through any ten headlines and you get the impression more of their voices favor Trump than are objectionable. There’s more than a few Anarcho-Libertarian-Capitalists or whatever the flying fuck is hot on github this week. Some of the more risque bits were probably in my own offerings. Outlets like Gateway Pundit, which is actively supported by Drudge, manifestly build each and every headline around a lie. Its own founding editor has settled so many out of court settlements over the years that he is obliged to always remain halfway in hiding. Most of the articles at USA Really would benefit astronomically from more research, more copy-editing, more proofreading in general. But none of them are necessarily wrong. I know I gave good, original content. And with so many dozens of sets of paws in the punch, I realize I’m not alone. There was also Caleb Maupin, who reports far more for RT News. Some could know him from YouTube viral videos where he calls out and embarrasses a former White House Press Secretary more intelligently than any fancy press badge ever. Many more won’t recognize him though, because of his questioning more, which the official narrative habitually will deny, deny, deny; and suppress, suppress, suppress.

The public is very seriously expected to believe by the authoritative voices behind NBC, PayPal, Facebook and the federal government, that Russian agents evidently paid me, a high school dropout, to play ringer for a webzine where I would, either unknowingly or solicitously, interfere with elections and warp the public narrative by composing such articles as this, where I called out a small town’s police department for letting a former candidate for sheriff escape first degree murder charges. A story covered by and with same conclusions reached by much bigger news presenters, such as Paula Zahn. Exactly which of my other 10 articles is seeking to destroy America, or to spread the business or political aspirations of the Russian empire? Was it my piece based on a press release from the federal Housing & Urban Development office in regards to its lawsuit against Facebook for actively enabling housing discrimination, a story which none of the corporate sites named in this article felt was important enough to acknowledge? Is my work, or what can be found throughout the rest of USA Really, really demonized for anything seedy, or for simply questioning more, and hopefully prompting readers themselves to question more? Does engaging in free speech make me a soviet provocateur? I’ve emailed a link for this essay to “good guy” journalists Glenn Greenwald, Yasha Levine and Max Blumenthal, but they are not interested in an insider’s perspective either. Their damnable silence only necessitates true citizen journalistic efforts all the more.

And further convinces me that if someone is getting paid fruitfully for their journalism, then their journalism is suspect. The opposite of the official story is unquestionably closer to the tried and true.

I think USA Really was a red herring, actually. Not in the sense of collusion with the Russian government, but that what were essentially Russian actors living stateside, were hired by Uncle Sam, likely the CIA which there is precedent for both foreign and domestically, to pretend to be the fallguy. Their own contributors have no clue to this effect, and are never meant to. While Russian diplomats were being expelled from DC left and right, the USA Really founder and his circle were flying forth and back, seemingly under no restraints at all. Now with Paypal boycotting any transactions to or from the brand, it is crippled, and persons who opposed such power used against Wikileaks are unironically fine with this. Paypal I think is the intended killing blow, as any usefulness from USA Really has run its course. Which also means that the few dozen remaining contributors, whether once a month or twice a day, are not getting their little piece of the chump change. And they keep writing. But the feds needed an actual Russian troll factory for scapegoat, and since none existed one was manufactured. This is why heads of the bigger news outlets, the bigger social media networks, and Paypal, were all in on it. Because each and every corporation can win cookie points with the consumers for standing up to those rat bastard Commies. For them, USA Really was secretly a welcome thing, a token sacrifice they could beat their chests over for the photo op without requiring any real obligation on their part. As they knew this challenger was a guise, a PR stunt from start to finish. Like Oswald, and 9/11.