"The biggest division on the left is not on substantial political matters but between those who understand that the political and media elites are manipulating the public discourse to weaken us and those who accept *their* argument that claims of such manipulations, smears and mind-games are just conspiracy theories.
I and others have been seeking to expose these manipulations for many years - there are lots of examples on my blog. And it is not as if we lack evidence for this. Nick Davies of the Guardian had a chapter (number 6) in his book Flat Earth News with shocking details of the extent to which the major western security agencies had penetrated media around the world, including in Britain and the US.
Now we have a whole book that develops this theme further: The Smear, by former CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson. She points out that political operatives have brought the CIA's dark arts into the world of modern social media. It was the CIA that promoted in the 1960s the idea of the "conspiracy theory" to discredit dissidents and regime opponents. In his review of the book, Neil Clark observes:
'The CIA internal memo of April 1967 goes on to advise station chiefs to "employ propaganda assets" – adding that "book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose." In 1977, Carl Bernstein revealed that over 400 American journalists had secretly carried out assignments for the CIA in the previous 25 years. 'Which begs the question: How many journalists, are working for it – and other allied intelligence agencies today – pushing the Deep State line on foreign policy and seeking to marginalize those who dare to challenge?'
Attkisson argues that nowadays, in our inter-connected world, these assets / smear merchants are working everywhere: government agencies, PR firms, "think-tanks," Super PACs, media conglomerates, and other lobby groups. She concludes with a warning whose importance I cannot emphasise enough: develop your critical thinking. 'One thing you can count on is that most every image that crosses your path has been put there for a reason. Nothing happens by accident. What you need to ask yourself isn't so much, "Is it true," but "Who wants me to believe it – and why?" '
'Google’s new search engine bias is no accident': "...the claim of “fake news” does usefully offer western security agencies, establishment politicians and the corporate media a powerful weapon to silence their critics. After all, these critics have no platform other than independent websites and social media. Shut down the sites and you shut up your opponents." Sept. 30, 2017 J Cook