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How Independent Journalists are Disturbing Mainstream Narratives

Over the past two years, in the wake of the fraudulent Democratic presidential primary and the subsequent loss of Hilary Clinton to a racist shady real estate developer political novice TV game show host, it’s become remarkably common to see corporate media across the political spectrum openly discussing “the deep state”. Normally, this is something that would have been confined to certain corners of the Internet, not-that-well-known books and documentaries, cold war obsessives, assassination researchers, etc.

Whether the media outlet in question speaks of the deep state with reverence or vitriol (or straight-up denial of its existence) is almost immaterial to the larger issue: They’ve never really talked about it as an entity before. They don’t want to talk about it. They’ve been forced to talk about it! And why have they been forced to talk about it? Well, this is where things become speculative, but it’s not too difficult to imagine that information about the machinations of the deep state — revealed through naked documents releases and analysis by Edward Snowden, Wikileaks and, increasingly, a cross-section of Internet-driven independent media that lies outside of corporate control — has had an abiding impact on public conversation. And that this public conversation, made much more visible by social media and website commenting tools, has become a bit too loud to ignore.

Indy media is driving the conversation

For people who aren’t super familiar with the history of the U.S. government’s transformation into the national security state after WWII, you’d think the media would, if they’re going to talk about it, at least explain what the deep state is. But they don’t. They either launch right into the diatribe of the day or go with “some crazy people think the deep state is….” or, better yet, “some crazy people think there is a deep state”, which essentially absolves them (falsely) of responsibility for fact-based research and reporting about the issue.

But not unlike the way in which independently produced newspapers, magazines and pamphlets (powered in part by a change in accessible technology, the mimeograph machine) pulled a portion of the American public away from establishment media during the 60s and early 70s. Today we have trained and untrained journalists creating online newspapers, blogs, videos, films and podcasts. And an increasing number of citizens are tuning the fuck in. Click To Tweet

Let’s talk about Caitlin

One of several independent journalists who’ve been gaining traction during this strange, terrifying, exhilarating period is the Australian essayist and poet, Caitlin Johnstone. She’s been on fire for nearly two years, pulling in thousands of readers (and, of course, many detractors) with her decidedly irreverent, provocative, matter-of-fact, non-ideological (though she’s a proud lefty, humanist socialist) and devastating prose. A great case study on how an indy journalist can gain an audience these days, she publishes her work semi-simultaneously on her own websiteMediumFacebook and new content platform Steemit and makes a living from Paypal and Patreon donations.

Back on May 30th, she published a piece about the similarities and differences between Q’Anon followers and Russiagaters.

In that piece, she offered up the most succinct, reasonable and understandable definition of the deep state I’ve seen to date, explaining that it is simply the:

“…loose nonpartisan collaboration between corporatist plutocrats and intelligence/defense agencies which remains in place while America’s official elected government officials come and go.”

She goes on to say that:

“That politically influential plutocrats and secretive government agencies exist is not disputable, nor is it disputable that they collaborate with one another to advance their own agendas, nor is it disputable that this collaboration more or less ignores national and partisan boundary lines whenever it’s convenient to do so…

This unelected permanent government is the real seat of power in the United States, and it is therefore the thing that any real revolution is directed against….”

The she hits you with her killer metaphor:

“…You don’t punch at shadows if you want to win a fight. When you see the shadow of someone coming up behind you with a knife, you don’t attack the shadow, you turn and face the threat. Donald Trump is merely a shadow of the ominous dark forces he serves. If you judge him by his actions (my emphasis), you will see a man being puppeted by the same deep state that used Obama, and used Bush before him. The same actions are playing out through the bodies of different men. The stories about why they do these same actions over and over change with each president, but the actions are always the same.”

Wham! This really hits home because I suspect that many Americans have had this uneasy feeling for decades that despite their trying, through all the approved channels of our system of government, nothing seems to get better for non-rich people. Politicians make promises but wars never stop. Social services never get better. Wages never go up. Corporations do whatever they want. Criminals who are wealthy and connected never go to jail. Strings must be getting pulled for everything to stay so stubbornly the same. But who’s pulling them? Where are they? Dylan understood this feeling way back in the early 60s when he wrote Masters of War:

“You put a gun in my hand, and you hide from my eyes. And you turn and run farther when the fast bullets fly…”

But back to the corporate media

Here’s one of the areas where the issue of corporate media and the deep state really connect. Remember those influential plutocrats she mentions in her definition of the deep state? Also, remember that a mere 6 companies control 90% of the media in the U.S.? Guess who runs these mega media corporations? You got it, plutocrats. And, by their stations in life and the scale of their operations, media plutocrats naturally come into contact with people from the upper levels of deep state-affiliated government agencies like the NSA, CIA, Pentagon and DHS. And these are the groups of people who think they simply know better about what America should do and how it should be. So they collaborate.

For the plutocrat, collaborating with these agencies is good for business. Just ask Jeff Bezos, who now gets to be two kinds of plutocrat at once: a titan of tech as head of Amazon (with the CIA as one of his lucrative clients) and a media mogul as owner of the Washington Post (and its longstanding affiliations with the CIA and deep state viewpoints). And deep state agencies win as well, because they gain access to mass-audience media outlets they can count on to foster narratives about the world that keep citizens from poking their noses too far into what plutocrats and deep state power players believe should not concern them.

This is why indy media is driving corporate media nuts

The deep state does its work behind the scenes. That’s where they can be the most effective. They’re not camera hogs. They leave it to the politicians and the talking heads and the celebrities to run interference and distract the public (an important function) — while they get down to the serious business of trying to run the world.

Whistleblowers and independent media are starting to disturb the peace, the quiet, the shimmering mirage the deep state relies on to do its thing. They’re pulling people away from the talking heads and the blue TV screen light. Having a writer like Caitlin Johnstone laying things out in such a simple and evocative way is extremely valuable — not for the deep state, not for corporate media which desperately needs citizens to pay attention to its babble—but for citizens. And she’s just the tip of the iceberg of what more and more people are tuning into.

Just imagine what your own political outlook and activity might be if you fully absorb what Caity’s saying, which is consistent with Chris Hedges and his Sheldon Wolin-inspired analysis of “the anonymity of the corporate state”:

“This unelected permanent government is the real seat of power in the U.S., and it is therefore the thing that any real revolution is directed against.”

Amen. Say it again. Amen. Say it again. Amen. Say it again

Stephen Boni
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Stephen Boni

Stephen Boni is both Ghion Journal's current editor and a contributing writer. His main interest is in analyzing the workings of empire and exploring ways to dismantle and replace systems of oppression. A conflicted New Englander with an affinity for people, music and avoiding isms, he lives in Oakland, California with his wife and young daughter.
Stephen Boni
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