Adam Curtis

YOU THINK YOU ARE A CONSUMER BUT MAYBE YOU HAVE BEEN CONSUMED

One of the guiding beliefs of our consuming age is that we are all free and independent individuals. That we can choose to do pretty much what we want, and if we can't then it's bad.

But at the same time, co-existing alongside this, there is a completely different, parallel universe where we all seem meekly to do what those in power tell us to do. Ever since the economic crisis in 2008, millions of people have accepted cuts in all sorts of things - from real wages and living standards to benefits and hospital care - without any real opposition.

The cuts may be right, or they may be stupid - but the astonishing thing is how no-one really challenges them.

I think that one of the reasons for this is because a lot of the power that shapes our lives today has become invisible - and so it is difficult to see how it really works and even more difficult to challenge it.

So much of the language that surrounds us - from things like economics, management theory and the algorithms built into computer systems - appears to be objective and neutral. But in fact it is loaded with powerful, and very debatable, political assumptions about how society should work, and what human beings are really like.

But it is very difficult to show this to people. Journalists, whose job is to pull back and tell dramatic stories that bring power into focus, find it impossible because things like economic theory are both incomprehensible and above all boring. The same is true of "management science". Mild-mannered men and women meet in glass-walled offices and decide the destinies of millions of people on the basis of "targets" and "measured outcomes".

Like economics it pretends to be neutral, but it isn't. Yet it's impossible to show this dramatically because nothing happens in those glass-walled offices except the click of a keystroke that brings up another powerpoint slide. It's boring - and it's impossible to turn it into stories that will grab peoples imaginations - yet hundreds of peoples' jobs may depend on what is written on that slide.

I want to do a series of posts that will go back and reveal the forgotten roots of some of this fake objectivity that surrounds us today. They will be a series of stories that show how over the past fifty years both the political Right and the Left have gnawed away at the idea of objective truth. Sometimes almost colluding together to help bring about today's uncertainty and confusion about where power and influence really lies in our society.

The first is an odd story - with a very strange character at its heart. It is about how in the 1950s the richest man in the world, an oil billionaire in Texas, invented a new form of television journalism. It pretended to be objective and balanced but in fact it was hard core right-wing propaganda. It was way ahead of its time because, in its fake neutrality, it prefigured the rise of the ultraconservative right-wing media of the 1990s - like Fox News, with its copyrighted slogan, "Fair and Balanced"

The billionaire was called H. L. Hunt - Haroldson Lafayette Hunt. He made his fortune in the early 1930s by getting hold of one of the biggest oil fields in America - in the pine forests of East Texas. He was a ruthless, driven man and from early on he became absolutely convinced that he had superhuman qualities that made him different from other humans.

Here is a picture of Mr Hunt which gives you a sense of his conviction about himself.

From the 1920s onwards Hunt was a bigamist. He married two women and raised two families that were oblivious of each other. He told his second wife, Frania, that he was called Major Franklyn Hunt. There was a rocky moment when his picture was on the front page of all the Texas papers because of his spectacular oil deal. Frania asked Hunt if that was him - he told her no, that it was his uncle who had been so clever.

Hunt was part of a group of extreme right-wing oil men in Texas who had enormous influence because of their wealth. There is a brilliant book written about this group - The Big Rich by Bryan Burrough. Burrough describes how they had first risen up in the 1930s because they loathed President Roosevelt - "a nigger-loving communist", as one oil man called him. They were convinced that Roosevelt's New Deal was really run by Jews and communists - or "social vermin" as they politely put it.

A Texas congressman called Sam Rayburn summed up this group of right-wing oil men. "All they do is hate" - he said.

After the Second World War H L Hunt did two things. He added another, third, family to his bigamist's collection. And he also turned to the new medium of television to promote his ultraconservative views. In 1950 he wrote a pamphlet putting forward the idea of what he called an "Educational Facts League" - its purpose, Hunt wrote:

"will be to secure a impartial presentation of all the news through all the news channels concerning issues of public interest"

It would, said Hunt, be an organization where ordinary Americans would be supplied with the true facts of political life.

Hunt announced that the organization would be called "Facts Forum" - and he found a man called Dan Smoot to be its public face. Smoot had been an FBI agent - and he was smooth and reasonable. Starting on radio, but then moving to television, Smoot presented a show called Facts Forum which every week would give you, the audience, a balanced presentation of the facts behind the news. Very reminiscent of the later catch-phrase on Fox News - "We Report, You Decide".

In fact this declaration of balance and fairness was rubbish. Smoot would begin by presenting the left or liberal viewpoint on a subject in a dull, bland way. Then would enthusiastically put forward the alternative, or what Hunt called, the "constructive" view. This view was simple - all government was bad, business should be left alone - and anyone who disagreed was a communist trying to take over the world. And was probably a Jew as well.

The programmes were radically skewed to promote an ultraconservative agenda while pretending to be neutral and balanced.

There was lots of implied racism in the shows. In his book Bryan Burroughs quotes from one episode where Smoot argued against fair employment legislation - and said:

"Remember that the negroes when first brought to America by Yankee and English merchants were not free people reduced to slavery. They were merely transferred from a barbaric enslavement by their own people in Africa to a relatively benign enslavement in the Western Hemisphere."

Facts Forum became a successful media enterprise - with two syndicated radio shows and three TV shows produced from their own studios in New York. They were backed up by books and pamphlets paid for by Hunt. One was called "We Must Abolish the United Nations" - written by Joseph Kamp. His previous "balanced" books had included one called "Hitler Was a Liberal".

Here is a wonderful documentary profile of H. L. Hunt. It was made in 1968. By now his first wife had died, the second had got fed up and moved away, and Hunt was now left with only his third wife - Rita Ray.

You get a very good sense of Hunt's obsessive drive to promote his conservative views - sending out endless pamphlets, training young men and women to become part of his League of Youth Freedom Speakers, and even insisting that his whole family sit at the dinner table to listen to one of his new radio shows. It was called LIFELINE. Again Hunt was ahead of his time - because the show fused right-wing anti-communism with fundamentalist religion.

What you don't see is the tragedy of Hunt's life - his eldest son Hassie. He had originally followed his father into the oil business, but had then become violent and paranoid. Hunt had tried his own treatment - bringing in lots of women for Hassie to have sex with. But what had worked for the father didn't do much for the son. Doctors tried ECT - but that didn't work. In the end Hunt was persuaded to let them give Hassie a prefrontal lobotomy and his son spent the rest of his life wandering the Hunt estate like a strange ghost.

At the end of the film Hunt and his wife get up in their living room and sing together "We're just plain folks". It's very spooky. And it's not true.

Hunt's Facts Forum was the model for much of what was later to come with the rise of the right in the media in the 1990s - both in radio and TV. But Hunt didn't just shape the future of the right, he also had a profound effect on the way the Left too attacked and corroded the idea of objectivity and neutrality in journalism.

It happened because of some pieces of paper that were found in the jacket pocket of Jack Ruby - the man who shot Lee Harvey Oswald. Two of them were scripts from Hunt's radio programme called LIFELINE. The third had a telephone number of one of Hunt's sons.

Many of Lifeline's programmes had attacked John F. Kennedy as a communist dupe who was destroying America - and Jack Ruby had apparently been outraged by such vicious propaganda against Kennedy.

Then it was discovered that a full page advertisement placed in the Dallas Morning News on the day of the assassination had been partly paid for by another of Hunt's sons - Bunker Hunt. It was surrounded by a black, threatening border - and was titled sarcastically "Welcome Mr Kennedy to Dallas"

Like his father, Bunker Hunt was an ultraconservative - and the advertisement was placed under a title that echoed Facts Forum. It was called "The American Fact-Finding Committee" who described themselves as "An unaffiliated and non-partisan group of citizens who wish truth". And it accused JFK of all sorts of treasonous acts against America - including:

"Why have you ordered your brother Bobby, the Attorney General, to go soft on communists, fellow-travellers and ultra-leftists in America, while permitting him to persecute loyal Americans who criticize you, your administration, and your leadership?

We DEMAND answers to these questions, and we want them NOW."

As a result newspapers across America attacked Hunt's operations for creating the "climate of hate" in Texas that might have contributed to the President's death. And Hunt and his sons became targets in the FBI investigation that would then become part of the Warren Commission.

And it got worse. In 1967 the ambitious District Attorney in New Orleans, Jim Garrison, opened a new investigation into Kennedy's killing. Garrison started talking about how there had been a conspiracy that might have included certain unnamed Texas oilmen.

Hunt's head of security managed to get hold of a diagram drawn out by Garrison's team where "H L Hunt" was at the heart of a complicated network of lines drawing connections between the Dallas police, Ruby, Oswald, plus all kinds of small-time players in Dallas. And although Garrison's investigation folded in 1969 - it, and its diagrams, became the template for the growing conspiracy theories from the left.

One of the earliest - and most powerful - expressions of this was a film called Rush To Judgement made in 1967 by a left wing filmmaker called Emile de Antonio and a lawyer-turned-investigator called Mark Lane. De Antonio is a fascinating character - he came out of the avant-garde art world, and had worked with Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg - and he shared their knowing distrust of the media world of two-dimensional images that was then becoming so prevalent.

Rush to Judgement sets out to propose an alternative explanation for Kennedy's assassination. At the heart of this other story is the idea that there is a group of powerful, shadowy men in Texas who used their wealth and power to create a distorted fiction - Oswald the lone nut - to disguise their conspiracy. A fiction that the public then believed.

The film interviews a whole host of extraordinary bit players from the Texas world and builds up a very powerful mood of uncertainty and suspicion. Underlying this is a message that says these hidden forces in America will never allow you to know the truth. Which means that what you are told by the media may be a lie. That you are being manipulated.

Just as H. L. Hunt himself was gnawing away at the idea of objectivity and truth through his own TV programmes, so too were the left also using a demonic caricature of H L Hunt to do the very same thing. He and other shadowy figures, the left said, will never let you know the truth.

Here is a section of the Rush To Judgement film. It had its world premiere in 1967 on BBC television - broadcast for an hour and a half at prime time. The section starts with the presenter in the studio introducing it - and framing how the viewer should interpret it. Then I have cut straight to the latter part of the film - which is all about how intertwined Jack Ruby was with the Dallas police and establishment.

It is long, but I have left it like that deliberately, because I think it is important to see how Emile de Antonio uses a particular technique to persuade you that he is presenting the real truth. The interviews are held long, and an archive interview with the Dallas police chief is used repeatedly to counterpoint them. It has a cumulative power that feels real and also feels like it is allowing you to judge the characters. That technique would rise up and become central to many of the more mainstream liberal documentaries of the last thirty years.

But it is also very much a technique borrowed from avant-garde cinema and in that sense is as artificial a language as anything you see on Fox News.

We report. You decide.

Mark Lane went on to help write a film in 1973 called Executive Action. It was about how a group of Texas oilmen kill President Kennedy. It was the same idea that resurfaced in Oliver Stone's JFK. But the best, and earliest, caricature of Hunt is in the film Billion Dollar Brain - also made in 1967. It was written by Len Deighton and directed by Ken Russell. The villain is a raving right-wing Texas oilman called General Midwinter who runs an organisation called Crusade For Freedom - modelled on Facts Forum and Lifeline - and wants to use his giant computer to bring down the Soviet Union.

Here's a short clip of General Midwinter in full-on Hunt mode.

But H L Hunt was far more than a caricature right-wing nutbag. The roots of so much of the distrust of the media today lie back with him and his ideas - with his Facts Forum in the 1950s and the strange role he played in Dallas in the 1960s.

In later posts I want to trace how what Hunt started, spread out from the dark pine forests of East Texas and began to develop into a much more powerful force undermining the idea of neutrality and objectivity in our age.

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments.

  • Comment number 60. Posted by Benjamin

    on 24 Apr 2013 08:00

    Hello Adam - Please post again soon, having not heard from you since 5 March I'm getting withdrawal symptoms that include the need to watch AWOBMOLG again. Please don't spend too much time on your magazine work ;-)

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 60: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 60: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 59. Posted by Simon Eaves

    on 21 Apr 2013 20:54

    @theartteacher Don't worry your not alone checking this site several times a day. I am anticipating another post from AC soon though and it can't be sad to get excited about that?

    I think it's very important that you mention Adam Smith in your post, possibly the most misinterpreted man in history. Of course it is his theory of the 'invisible hand' that has for so long been used to justify the calls for laissez faire capitalism and the ruling neoliberal doctrine of free markets and free trade. This teaching has served elite power and control through the rise of corporate power and private tyranny which would otherwise, in a well informed, well educated, truly democratic society, never have become the dominant ideology throughout the world.
    We live within a system designed and cultivated by elites which to this day is being carefully managed in the process of manufacturing public consent. As direct violence is no longer a suitable method of coercion in a supposed democratic developed world (although such a method is obviously open for use against developing countries) compulsory schooling, the mass media, marketing and public relations systems become the important tools of the propaganda trade. The aim is threefold, to manufacture; 1. an apathetic electorate
    2. an obedient labour force 3. a mass of passive, mindless consumers.
    Let's be clear, educated, knowledgeable people are a danger to elite structures of power, especially within an economy based on efficiency, mass production and mass consumption for private profit. A system that just simply doesn't require a great number of its citizenry to be able to think for themselves.
    Adam Smith understood that the division of labour and the mindless working environment would cause great damage to society. It is this part of his teaching that has purposefully been forgotten. The working classes can't be allowed to understand everything they read and information must be withheld if the current elitist capitalist social order is to be maintained.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 59: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 59: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 58. Posted by theartteacher

    on 21 Apr 2013 13:04

    12. Back in the day the economist Adam Smith told the story of pins being made in the factory, and if you divided the process into smaller processes in which people would concentrate and specialise, then you could produce pins more efficiently. Smith gives some, but less, thought to other considerations e.g. what effect this has on the individual worker, where the surplus from greater efficiency goes…..
    13. I'd make the argument this is what happened with knowledge, for a variety of reasons. I suspect it was part of the greater idea that if you separate or isolate things you can understand them. This is true if you're taking a telly apart. This is also the kind of idea you find in 'old' physics i.e. that if you break nature down into atom sized chucks, you can understand it's mechanisms. We've worked out things are a bit more complicated than that.
    14. Sometime around Smith and the Industrial Revolution something big happened to academic disciplines - they were created. I don't want to be too strong on this, but before this time 'economics' as a discipline didn't exist as such. It was part of a much broader type of study which was called 'political economy'. There are other examples - Psychology as an isolated discipline appears in the 19th century, and some have argued (strongly) this was in response to the rise in anxiety associated with industrialisation, and, rationalisation that came through the rise of a particular economic arrangement - Capitalism.
    15. The big problem with this is the same as with the 'efficiency' that Smith promotes - that ideas become rationalised and separated in themselves, so economics becomes abstract, and its relation to history, sociology, psychology and philosophy increasingly diminishes. I'm being a bit unfair on Smith, for reasons AC has pointed out - that he really was much more sophisticated than most of the the modern economics profession, particularly people in the 'Adam Smith' institute, in the sense he understood some of the serious question capitalism posed in other more broad terms e.g. freedom, democracy, the (probably innate) importance of 'the social' in human life.
    16. I think economics and business today can be viewed as part of this history, we bought into the idea of separating to understand - including in understanding human nature and capabilities, viewing people in isolation as homo economicus, race as classification etc. The modern education system also fails for the same reasons - there's separation in subjects learned at school, strict curriculums and controls over teachers etc. But most of all it exists in the highly rationalised way in which students are judged - the entire system of grading comes from the faith in the 'objectivity' of numbers, but belief in the objectivity of numbers is a product of very subjective idea that statistics (another separated academic discipline) can be used as sole measurement of the worth of a student, in isolation. I'd also note the way Michael Gove talks about 'pseudo-subjects' and that the Coaiition have reduced funding for humanities subjects by 100% I think - but things like business or maths courses by less, 80% I think.
    17. The world can be scary, unpredictable and chaotic, from the weather to economic crashes to relationships, so we've clung to the idea of certainty and objectivity offered by certain disciplines, rather than doing the more sophisticated thing of looking to create a society which is able to dynamically react to an unpredictable and unknowable future.
    18. We've also clung to the present in the hope that things won't change, and tried to force things to be static. I think both of these points relate to the big numbered list that DS rudely put up :), I'm saying that the question is not just what nasty people are doing bad things, but what is their motivation, where does it come from, and what is the context in history of these activities.
    19. What I suspect we should be trying to do is recognise, and it would be a true liberation, that maybe in the chaos and complexity of the world lies freedom, and that this is the ultimate thing of true value in human life. I don't mean we start burning calculators or anything like that, I mean we should just start to realise what calculators can and can't do.
    20. Twenty seems like a nicer number to finish on so I'll just write anything here.

    Just my opinion, but that's a bit of where I reckon we are.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 58: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 58: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 57. Posted by theartteacher

    on 21 Apr 2013 12:59

    I'll summarise what I reckon so far, and I make the serious caveat that I'm grossly simplifying the history of the west in the last 300 years.

    1. Langauge can have the effect of restricting the way you think about the world, basically George Orwell is the king in making this point understood.
    2. Very specialised language and knowledge of certain techniques and processes can have the effect of allowing the complexity of complicated things to be understood, and communicated quickly.
    3. However this (inevitably?) narrows the number of people who can then interpret the complexity. It might also be important to everyday people to know the things that are being discussed in these specialised terms.
    4. If what's being said is important, and if you can understand business jargon, economic theory etc. this puts you in a position of greater power than someone who can't.
    5. Production of stuff has always been important to human life. This was even truer when there was greater scarcity of stuff. Therefore methods of production is an example of powerful knowledge within societies.
    6. It can mean that there are groups, or perhaps 'classes', of people who have some interest in retaining this power. It's not a conspiracy, but one who was in such a group might find themselves trying to discover ever more esoteric and impenetrable ways to describe important processes, techniques or ideas.
    7. What you can end up with is a very illiberal censorship (that might be too strong a word) of important information. The book ain't burned, that's old hat - it's now just written in a language you don't understand.
    8. Another effect is that if you create impenetrable language, and therefore an impenetrable set of customs and ideas, that people who specialise in other disciplines also will be left outside the sphere of understanding. And you yourself, having now framed everything within this language, are hermetically sealed within its boundaries.
    9. As a consequence different disciplines or ways of understanding the world become demarcated.
    10. Some might argue that this is a positive thing i.e. the idea that people can specialise. If you accept that not everyone can know everything, then perhaps this is inevitable.
    11. But - if this sounds like 'division of labour', well in my opinion that's exactly what it is.....

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 57: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 57: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 56. Posted by theartteacher

    on 21 Apr 2013 12:53

    I don't know about anyone else but I check on here multiple times a day for a new post. Saddo.

    @onwhosplanet - you're a legend for finding that transcript of Question Time, I'm glad it matches how I remember it. Imagine if they'd pursued that point for the rest of the show. I like Dimbleby but watching QT is a bit like the Ali G show at times, it's a pantomime and the guests are the stooges. It furthers contempt for politicians at times. The biggest example is the Nick Griffin episode. He was treated poorly, as if the others on the show and the audience didn't feel the courtesy to really attack and damage his bigotry, it turned into a mocking session. It was a further personalisation of politics, which actually plays into the BNP's hands in many ways. Question - did BNP support go up or down as a result of that show? I might be completely wrong, I don't know if you could measure it, but I suspect it went up.

    @Foinkfoink - I think AC goes down the roads you talk about a bit. Check out the posts White Negro for Mayor, and also The Curse of Tina Part 2. LIke everything else I write here I could be totally wrong, but I think he might be partly referencing the things you mention. Also….

    @Thom - check out Century of the Self part 3, gives some background I think to this idea about hippies.

    On the creation of money story - you have a few ways to explain this. You can talk about fiat money, fractional reserve banking, money as debt and go back to Bretton Woods, gold standard, deregulation of capital controls, the history of inflation/deflation, productive/speculative lending - the whole project of financialisation. I think you can get this to people, it's not that it's too complicated as such, but just look at the phrases and words I've used - this ain't common parlance for most people. The other, bigger story of which this is part is the one Curtis is telling here.

    The subject of this post has kicked off big time in the broader news I think - I like this piece from the Beeb, ruthless propaganda machine that it, of course, is - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22213219.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 56: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 56: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 55. Posted by Thom

    on 20 Apr 2013 15:20

    Dear Adam,

    I'd be interested to know where your ideas about hippies being the ultimate individualists comes from. Is it your own notion, or has the idea come from any books in particular? I'd be interested in reading them if this is the case, and if not, hearing you talk about the hippies a bit more. I'd be interested to see if many hippies became yuppies during the Thatcher era.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 55: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 55: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 54. Posted by DS

    on 20 Apr 2013 14:47

    While attempting to be "fair and balanced", I think you omit some important points that make your report skewed and imbalanced, as if your purpose is to laugh at silly H.L. Hunt as an eccentric as if there are very few like him and their effects minimal, while making out like any suspicions of their control and manipulation are crazy.

    Alex Carey's work alone shows such to be untrue. Then there's also William Domhoff's "Who Rules America", as well as Scott Noble's "Power Principle".

    "You've reported, we've decided". Here's why -
    Proof of means, motive and opportunity point to the real suspects on the right, not the left . . .

    1) Money/riches are addictive; the more that's had the more that's desired
    2) Money is power
    3) Power like money is addictive; the more that's had the more that's desired
    4) Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely
    5) The real populist "left" opposition (smeared as "communist"/"socialist") in the USA has never had much money and hence little power
    6) The Democratic Party in USA, which is presumed to be the opposition party, has a history of co-opting American populist movements for its own ends.
    7) The American left's accusations of corporate "business" conspiracy are much more "real" than the American right's accusations of "communism"
    8) There has never been an attempted coup by the left in the USA, but there has been an attempted coup by the right
    (See biography of US Major General Smedley Butler and his "War Is A Racket", as well as Dwight D. Eisenhour's farewell speech 1960, and Franklin "Chuck" Spinney's testimony before US Congress about Pentagon boondoggle)
    9) Sinclair Lewis said that when fascism comes to America, it will be draped in the flag and carrying a cross.
    10) The right is composed of elitists whose agenda is to return to the unregulated days of "free trade" like was had in the Roaring Twenties when the elitist oligarchs first made vast fortunes.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald said that the rich aren't like you and me, they think they're better than us even when they've lost everything, they still think they're better.
    11) Accusations of "communism" are favored propaganda of the American right (See Alex Carey "Taking The Risk Out Of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda vs. Freedom and Democracy")
    12) Trade unions are smeared as "communist" even though they have no affiliation with the IWW.
    13) Anti-union busting was bloody and violent in USA, unlike rest of the world.
    14) There are many more elitist oligarchs like H.L. Hunt. The story of the Koch family will read similarly, as would many others.
    15) The elitist 1% may be few in number, but they make up for it with their money and "connections". (See William Domhoff "Who Rules America"
    Also See - Cracked dot com, 6 Insane Conspiracy Theories (That Actually Happened)
    16) Your own "Century of Self" shows how psychology is used to manipulate and control. That use is by the right in its advertising, not by the left. After WWI, Freud's nephew, Eddie Bernays, coined the phrase for Woodrow Wilson - "Making The World Safe For Democracy". Wilson intended to see that the European monarchies did not return to power as before.
    17) "Making The World Safe For Democracy" is double speak for "making the world safe for US industrial corporate foreign investment". Bernays own work for United Fruit Company shows that to be true, as does "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change" by Stephen Kinzer (especially the original 9/11 perpetrated by USA against Chile), and Anthony C. Sutton - "Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution", "Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler", and "The Best Enemy Money Can Buy", and
    "A History of CIA Complicity in Drug International Trafficking", "How the CIA Enlisted the Chicago Mob to Put a Hit on Castro", "The French Connection Revisited", "The CIA & Drugs: Narco-colonialism in the 20th Century", and
    "How America helped the Mafia", "Mafia Allies: The True Story of America's Secret Alliance with the Mob in World War II", and
    history of the FBI, especially it's COINTELPRO perpetrated against US citizens and it's latest shenanigan travel abroad to interrogate an Icelandic citizen - great use of taxpayer $!
    18) The US "military-industrial(-congressional) complex" appropriates nearly as much money for militarism as all the rest of the nations of the world combined, which amounts to nearly half of US budget discretionary spending. There is and never has been much debate over this, yet there is plenty of discussion of how to "cut" social programs, and attacks on the Social Security Administration which is looted on a yearly basis. (See - National Priorities Project, and "How Your Social Security Money Was Stolen – Where Did the $2.5 Trillion Surplus Go?"

    so much more evidence, too much to tell all here . . .

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 54: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 54: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 53. Posted by Omar

    on 17 Apr 2013 09:49

    I like AC's pov but he has not and does not offered a workable definition of "objectivity." There's a good reason that the art of persuasion has become the tool of all ideologies in the modern age: nobody agrees on the meaning of basic facts -- let alone those that require inferential reasoning. Conspiracy theories (and perhaps all theories) usually presuppose a desire to believe in a conclusion before the argument. Even the best scientific approaches are theory-laden before they are properly tested. People think about the world and surmise how it works before they examine it. Pure science is fine -- but it almost never exists when it comes to human affairs. So left with that, choosing to listen to "the facts" is often itself as much an ideological choice as it is an epistemological one.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 53: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 53: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 52. Posted by doska

    on 15 Apr 2013 19:01

    Looking forward to the next posts. Also would like to see how that distrust infected journalists/filmmakers on the left and more exploration of the roots of that kind of journalism. I don't really think it was just HL Hunt because the US has long history with these ultra-conservative radio/tv preachers as well. Still going on today where you end up with guys like Alex Jones, very interested in what you make of guys like him. I guess he's just the guy that adapted that voice for the internet, like Hunt maybe did for TV?

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 52: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 52: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 51. Posted by Foinkfoink

    on 15 Apr 2013 15:04

    Adam I recently rewatched your series 'The Trap'. In that series you portray the mechanisms of control to which we are all now subject as being a development from Game Theory; that in an attempt to free their people, Western governments have ultimately created circumstances that are far more controlling than existed previously; and that the application of Free Market principles to all aspects of society have destroyed our sense of meaning and community.

    I accept this narrative but I feel it inadequately accounts for two realities with which we all live: the actual possibility of nuclear conflict, and the legacy of the Jewish Holocaust. Implicit within the notion of freedom provided for us since the end of the Second World War has been the intention to totally inhibit violence between the worlds major powers for these two reasons. The method for this inhibition has been the discouragement of ideology and communal action, and the encouragement of consumption within our society. That this has led to a lonely constriction for the individual can be seen as a necessary cost of this program.

    Rather than being an unintended consequence of attempts at liberation, our circumstances are a product of practical and historical reality. Whether or not this is implicit in 'The Trap' I feel it is worth stating plainly.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 51: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 51: 0
    Loading…
More comments

More Posts

Previous

Next