Truth in Media according to WhatReallyHappened.com

Consider Wikipedia. When it was first introduced, (and even now), it wasn’t considered a valid source of information. This is because it’s not written by one person who we can be sure is an expert on the topic. Instead, it’s a collection of facts and explanations inputted by various supposed experts, edited over and over until it’s exactly what we need to know. Anyone who uses Wikipedia knows that in fact, it’s one of the most valid sources on the internet. It’s everyone’s knowledge together and naturally unbiased because for every person that tries to input their opinion, there’s another to remove it.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about truth in media. People have been becoming less and less trusting towards large media corporations for a long time. What would happen if those corporations didn’t exist anymore? What if news was put into the hands of the public? Could there ever be such a system? When Ashton Kutcher beat CNN at being the first to have a million followers on Twitter, he said that it signified that we the people can have as loud a voice as major news outlets.

“In this day and age… for one person to have the ability to broadcast to as many people as a major media network I think sorta signifies the turning of tide from traditional news outlets to social news outlets, because with our video cameras on our cell phones and our picture cams and our blogging and our Twittering and our posting and our Facebooking we actually become the sources of the news, and the broadcasters of the news, and the consumers of the news.” -Ashton Kutcher in a video on youtube

Jencine Larsen has created a revolutionary kind of media with her website WorldPulse.com which features articles submitted by women around the world. It covers stories that wouldn’t be covered in traditional media and gets them to you right from the mouths (or rather fingers) of the women who are experiencing them. The stories you read on World Pulse are some of the realest out there.

Thinking about these things has brought up some questions for me, like “how can we make sure that our media sources are valid?” and “What is the nature of truth — is it one single voice or can it be a collection of voices?” The answers to these questions are huge in predicting where media is going. To try to get some answers I ventured to one end of the spectrum, WhatReallyHappened.com.

What Really Happened is an alternative news source website with the purpose of illuminating lies that the government and media has fed us. I figured that whoever was behind it, whom I found to be Michael Rivero, would have something to say about truth in media.

Extinct: What is the nature of truth in media/on the internet? Do you think that there is simply one truth or does it depend on perception?

MR: Truth is fact filtered through preconceptions and belief. I prefer  to deal in facts and trust my readers to figure out what it all means. Facts are, or in theory ought to be, absolute. Everything else is advertising for  some product or agenda.

Extinct: Is the mainstream media inherently corrupt?

MR: Corrupt may be too strong a word, but there is no question that  corporate media is subservient to the wishes of their owners and advertisers.  As just one benign example, after Disney purchased ABC, ABC never ever did a  bad review of a Disney movie. On a more serious level there was a  notorious case with FOX News and Synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone. Details for that  story are here. There are many more such examples.

Thomas Jefferson always said that the highest duty of all citizens  is to keep themselves fully informed, so that they can make good choices.  To that end, the First Amendment to the Bill Of Rights guaranteed a press free from censorship by the government. However, even in Ben Franklin’s time  it was recognized that Freedom of the Press really only applied if you  owned one, and owners of printing presses were motivated not only a desire for  more readership and and revenues, but were well aware of the power and  influence they wielded, and how much more wealth they could accumulate by  using it.
One of the worst abusers of the printing presses he owned was William Randolph Hearst. He saw it as his right to steer the political course of the United States into a war with Cuba, mostly because a war would sell more of his newspapers.
Because of the abuses by Hearst and others like him, laws were  passed that limited how large any one newspaper company could become. The idea was that if there were several newspapers in a city, each with their own  point of view, citizens could read several different versions of the same  story and work out for themselves what made sense. When radio, then television  came along, the laws were expanded to cover the new media as well. Thus adiversity of opinion was preserved in society.
But starting in 1990, George Bush (Sr.) started working on changing the laws. Bush knew that an objective media had been a huge factor in  arousing public anger against the war in Vietnam and eventually bringing it to an end. Bush needed a media which would not question his plans for wars  in the Mideast and so he made a deal with the largest media outlets. If  they would go along with the “embedding” and report the war the way the White  House wanted the war reported, Bush in turn would end the laws limiting  how much media any one corporation could own.  The media dutifully followed the government script on the wars without question (including the infamous”Incubator” hoax) and Bush rewarded them with a wide-open hunting  ground full of small stations and newspapers ready to be gobbled up. This was when we started to see the huge media mega-consolidations appear such as ClearChannel. As a result of this loosening of the rules in 1990 and more recently again in 2003, all corporate media in the US is under the  control of just a dozen CEOs, and they all know who they owe their wealth and power to.
Virtually every media CEO also sits on the Boards of Directors of  other corporations whose financial interests are very much affected by media reporting. It is an obvious conflict of interest in light of the  public trust of the airwaves, but at the moment, perfectly legal.

Extinct: How can you tell if a blogger or a website is telling the truth?

MR: You have to take that on a case by cases basis. Get the facts then decide for yourself. And remember this; a lot of fake bloggers (or  floggers) are working for the government. They will be honest and truthful while  building their audience, then when needed ordered to sell you a lie. Like TV and radio and newspapers, 90% of everything you will get will be truthful. It’s that 10% you have to watch out for. Your best defense is to have a  healthy dose of skepticism for ALL media, corporate or alternative.

I discourage trusting anyone, even me. (I can make mistakes or get  used just like anyone else).

Extinct: What sources do you personally find most trustworthy?

MR: My method of operation is to search the foreign press for a story,  then look in the media of a different country for confirmation. The very first question you should ask when you read a story is whether it makes  any sense at all. You have probably heard all these dire warnings that Iran is  going to bomb this or that, but does it really make sense? Iran is trying  to avoid a war, not start one. Then when you realize that a story does not make sense, the next question is, who benefits? Who gets what they want  if this story is believed?

Anyone can be lying, or if not lying, they might be a victim of a hoax played on them. Common sense has to tell you that everyone in history who was ever  used, betrayed, or double-crossed had it done to them by someone they  trusted.Covert operatives, like FBI informants will work for weeks and  months to win your trust, then use it when they need to trick you into doing  whatever it is they need done. Look up the history of COINTELPRO some time.

Extinct: What do you think is the best way to get reliable information?

MR: Multiple sources. And I do not mean 5 websites quoting the same  original report. And having enough education to spot an obvious lie really helps. You need to learn to trust your own common sense.

Back in 2003 Bush (the younger) tricked America into war with Iraq  with this story about how Iraq was buying uranium ore from Niger. The story  was an obvious lie because a quick check of Iraq’s industrial base  confirmed that Iraq has lots of natural uranium within their own borders. They did  not need to import it from Niger.

Extinct: If we were to give up believing in mainstream media, what would be the consequences?

MR: I don’t think people should allow belief to control their lives,  regardless of whether we are talking about the mainstream media or something  else. As children we are literally bribed to allow beliefs to control us.  Believe in the Easter Bunny and you get chocolate. Believe in the Tooth Fairy  and you get money. Believe in Santa and you get a bicycle, etc. Children are  taken into Kindergarten and Sunday school when they are still too young to understand that the big people tell fibs and they are indoctrinated  with beliefs of a benevolent and loving government. As people grow older,  their personalities grow up around those core beliefs until those beliefs  become the core of their identity. The proof is in the language. “I am a Republican.” “I am a Democrat.” “I am a Muslim.” The identity of the  person becomes submerged and they BECOME that which is believed in.

And once you allow beliefs to control you, you become controlled by  those who shape the myths that you believe in. But getting back to your question, I think we have already reached  the state where most people no longer trust the corporate media, which is why  we are seeing them lose their audiences and advertisers to alternative  media. And I think that as people stop trusting the corporate media it will put the burden of proof back on that media and the government. If government cannot get away with lying any longer, then maybe they  will decide truth is a better option.

Extinct:  If CNN were to go out of business, would the next trusted news source simply turn into a replacement of the same nature?

MR: Initially, yes. But when CNN, FOX, ABC, etc. etc. etc, all go out of business, someone is going to realize that a fundamental change needs to occur for future corporate media to survive at all. The old model of a monologue by the news programs is already obsolete. New media will  have to get used to the idea of an audience that can and will fact-check their stories.

Extinct: How can we as a society support valid news reporting without mainstream media?

MR: Same way we did before there was mainstream media. We talk to each other.

Extinct: How would you define the blogosphere?

MR: The ultimate expression of democracy in action at the informational level.

Extinct: Has the internet helped us to spread the truth or has the expanse of sources muddled it?

MR: Overall, the internet has brought the truth out to the public. The Internet is a brutal jungle for information where only the fittest (most truthful) survives. Prior to the blogs, a lie by the government might not become known to the general public for decades. It took thirty years to reach the point where 50% of the American public understood that there was a cover-up in John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Today the life expectancy of a government lie is measured with an egg timer!

Extinct: Is a “citizen journalist” e.g. a blogger speaking from their own experience, more or less reliable than a paid journalist?

MR: I think it is more accurate to say that we are LESS likely to be influenced by money and politics than our better-paid comrades! We are outside the system, and there in lies our freedom to remain objective.

There it is, folks. Wanna fight about it? Tell it to the comment box!

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15 comments

  1. People Power and the Upside-Down Pyramid

    Peter Arkle
    A lot of us have seen or lived the organizational chart of the last century, in which power and influence (whether possessed by church, state or corporation) are concentrated in the uppermost point of the pyramid and pressure is exerted downward. But in this new century, and especially in some parts of the developing world, the pyramid is being inverted. Much has been written about the profits to be made at the bottom of the pyramid; less has been said about the political power there. Increasingly, the masses are sitting at the top, and their weight, via cellphones, the Web and the civil society and democracy these technologies can promote, is being felt by those who have traditionally held power. Today, the weight bears down harder when the few are corrupt or fail to deliver on the promises that earned them authority in the first place.The world is taking notice of this change. On her most recent trip to Africa, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton bypassed officials and met instead with representatives of independent, nongovernmental groups, which are quickly becoming more organized and more interconnected. For example, Twaweza, a citizen’s organization, is spreading across East Africa, helping people hold local officials accountable for managing budgets and delivering services. (Twaweza is Swahili for “we can make it happen.”)

  2. I just read the above in the NY Times, from Bono’s list of what will shape the next decade. What a coincidence.

  3. What is needed–Corperations must not be considered legally as a person. today’s law protects persons(Crop.) to freedom of speach. When media lies,they can not be taken to task or sued in court.
    Secondly, No advertisement in any media for election purposes. Notice most candidates don’t bother with knocking on doors or meeting the public :^/

  4. Nice interview. I particularly like the portion where Mike is talking about their beliefs controlling people. This is one of the biggest obstacles I’ve run into when trying to wake people up. Currently, people that are “democrats” close their eyes and cover their ears singing “la la la la I can’t hear you…” when I point out how Obama is no better (and in fact worse) than Bush Jr. because if they believe hard enough santa will bring them their shiny new Hope ‘N Change….

  5. Mike Rivero’s WRH blog is my PRIMARY source for world news. I have found it to be about six months ahead if the mainstream media. It amazes me how often I have gotten information from it that I was absolutely ridiculed for believing at the time that became “common knowlege” some months later.

    I find his anti Christian and anti Jewish stance to be excessive and sometimes troubling, but even in those areas there is some valuable information revealed at times.

    Keep up the good work Mike.

  6. Michael Rivero and What Really Happened (.com and his radio program) are the Best source of news. He rates HIGH on integrity (but is willing to admit when he’s made the occasional ‘mistake’ or has be ‘had.’ He knows a Lot about a Lot of subjects (including science – worked for NASA) and therefore educates his readers/listeners. His comments posted to articles are rich – either right-on truth-full or downright pithy/hilarious. Wonderful sense of humor for having waded in the mire of poly-tics lo these many years.
    Thank you for having seen the value of WRH, and for interviewing Mr. Rivero.

  7. There’s before “WhatReallyHappened.com” and there’s after “WhatReallyHappened.com”. That’s how influential Mike Rivero’s work is. He can not be surpassed in his dedication to truth and educating others to the same. Echoing “t quigly”, Mike is a person with a sense of humor and acute insight, fun to read, reliable, and trustworthy.

  8. I’ve been a huge fan of WRH.com for about 10 years now. Micheal really deserves this pat on the back for the work he’s done over the years. There is no better place to go on the web that has real news that doesn’t have a lot of personal opinion thrown in.

    Micheal probably doesn’t know how inspirational he is to many of us out there.

    He’s a good guy that hasn’t let his popularity go to his head like other well known news blogs.

  9. Rivero is a comforting voice in the wilderness and he is so on the money yet witty and charming that I worry the PTB will consider him a real threat to their agenda.

    One thing Mike. Corrupt is NOT too strong a word. Criminal would be more accurate concerning the MSM.

  10. Mike Rivero is my main source of news also. I read WhatReallyHappened.com everyday rather than the mainstream newspapers.

    If you want to “deprogram” people then make sure you send them to Rivero’s page.

    We need EVERYONE to become aware of his news site. Please promote it as much as you can !

    Only with an informed population can we stop the currently corrupted system.

  11. I have been a fan of WRH for years and have endured the many quirks of Rivero’s reporting. He’s convinced that “No plane at the Pentagon” is a honey pot designed to lure us into a “Truther Trap” in which the govt will suddenly produce the evidence of a real plane crash. Well, we’re still waiting for that one. His ego comes crashing into his reporting but none the less, its a good site. I find it curious that he desires to earn a living in Hollywood making films, but his incessant attacks on Zionism, makes his goal impossible. I think Rivero can be bought off and corrupted like the Huffinton Post, but his anti Zionism will make it impossible for him ever to ride on Air Force One. Infowars.com is also a great source for news.

  12. MR: It took thirty years to reach the point where 50% of the American public understood that there was a cover-up in John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Today the life expectancy of a government lie is measured with an egg timer! >>

    As someone with film industry experience, could you please comment on how the Zapruder film stays alongside the car as it travels down the street when Zapruder and his camera were supposedly stationary?

  13. As a blogger myself, I’ve been thinking about truth in media for quite some time. It is really hard today to know what media sources to trust. Although there are many fairly credible websites and blogs, most feel the need to sensationalize everything in order to compete for the headlines. Wikipedia is probably the source I trust above all others, not only because the articles are written by more than one person, but also because they don’t try to sensationalize their headlines or their content. They just stick to the facts.

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