The New and Improved Sausage Factory

This is interesting, especially if you are like me, and believe almost nothing you hear, and well less than half as much of what you read. Yeah, I know, hell of a way to run a railroad, but then again Lee Smith, writing in The Tablet magazine does, I think, shed some light on the new and improved sausage factory. See what you think.

Donald Trump, Jr. appears to be the latest figure in President Donald Trump’s inner circle to be caught in the giant web of the Great Kremlin Conspiracy. Trump the younger said he was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, but that all he got in his June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer was an earful about dropping the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions Russian officials involved in the death of a Russian lawyer who was killed in detention.

If the Trump, Jr. meeting is just another chapter in the Beltway telenovela about Trump selling out America to the Russians through an ever-changing cast of supposed intermediaries—come back, Mike Flynn and Carter Page, we hardly knew ye—it sheds valuable light on the ways and means by which the news that fills our iPhone screens and Facebook feeds is now produced. You see, the Russian lawyer—often carelessly presented as a “Russian government lawyer” with “close ties to Putin”—Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump, also worked recently with a Washington, D.C. “commercial research and strategic intelligence firm” that is also believed to have lobbied against the Magnitsky Act. That firm, which also doubles as an opposition research shop, is called Fusion GPS—famous for producing the Russia dossier distributed under the byline of Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent for hire.

Steele’s report, a collection of anonymously-sourced allegations, many of which were said to come from “high-ranking former Russian government officials”—i.e. not exactly the kinds of people who seem likely to randomly shoot the shit with ex-British spooks—detailed Trump’s ties to Russian officials and strange sexual obsessions. Originally ordered up by one of Trump’s Republican challengers, the dossier circulated widely in D.C. in the months before the 2016 election, pushed by the Clinton campaign, but no credible press organization was able to verify its claims. After Clinton’s surprise loss, the dossier became public, and it’s claims—while still unverified—have shaped the American public sphere ever since.

If you haven’t noticed, there is almost no substance to any of this bullshit. I don’t carry water for Trump, but this is ridiculous, if you are going to attack the President, one should at least have him acting as the getaway driver for a two-bit robbery, but most of this seems made out of the whole cloth. And the main loom operator seems to be Fusion GPS.

Fusion GPS was founded in 2009—before the social media wave destroyed most of the remaining structures of 20th-century American journalism—by two Wall Street Journal reporters, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch. They picked up former colleagues from the Journal, Tom Catan, and Neil King, Jr., who were also well-respected by their peers. When the social media wave hit two years later, print media’s last hopes for profitability vanished, and Facebook became the actual publisher of most of the news that Americans consumed. Opposition research and comms shops like Fusion GPS became the news-rooms—with investigative teams and foreign bureaus—that newspapers could no longer afford.

As top reporters themselves, the principals of Fusion GPS knew exactly what their former colleagues needed in order to package and sell stories to their editors and bosses. “Simpson was one of the top terror-finance investigative reporters in the field,” says one Washington-based journalist, who knows Simpson professionally and personally, and who asked for anonymity in discussing a former reporter. “He got disillusioned when Rupert Murdoch took over the Journal because there was less room for the kind of long-form investigative journalism he thrived on.”

And now, says the journalist, “they’re guns for hire. They were hired to dig up dirt on donors to Mitt Romney’s campaign, they were hired by Planned Parenthood after a video exposing some of the organization’s controversial practices.”

Besides Russia, Fusion GPS has also worked with other foreign countries, organizing campaigns and creating news that furthers the aims of the people who pay for their services—using the fractured playing field of “news” to extend old-fashioned lobbying efforts in a way that news consumers have been slow to understand.

Fusion GPS, according to the company’s website, offers “a cross-disciplinary approach with expertise in media, politics, regulation, national security, and global markets.” What does that mean, exactly? “They were hired by a sheikh in the UAE after he was toppled in a coup and waged an information war against his brother,” one well-respected reporter who has had dealings with the company told me. “I believe they seeded the New Yorker story about the Trump Hotel in Azerbaijan with alleged connections to the IRGC. They may have been hired to look into Carlos Slim. It’s amazing how much copy they generate. They’re really effective.” (About the former example, New Yorker editor David Remnick said this was not true.)

Yet it is rare to read stories about comms shops like Fusion GPS because traditional news organizations are reluctant to bite the hands that feed them.

There’s lots more at the link above. I think you should read it, and attempt to understand it. I think it explains quite a lot of what we see in the legacy media, often well and truly called #Fakenews, not least because it is bought and paid for by actors who have an agenda, which may or may not be compatible with the Administration, or for that matter what the people want. In any case, it is advocacy, not reporting as any of us understand it. And that is very bad for a free country or even one that is trying to hang on to its citizen’s freedom.

The answer? I have no idea, and doubt anyone else does either. But the first step to solving anything is to recognize and define the problem. This goes some distance in doing that. In the meantime, Distrust and verify.

 

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About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

4 Responses to The New and Improved Sausage Factory

  1. the unit says:

    Yes, distrust and verify. But the progressives want the State (with them in charge) to replace God who they said is dead. Now they did take note of religious faith and expect us to substitute the State in the following… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Yep, pretty much so. Funny part is, it’s mostly America where we put them in different (often opposing) categories. But it certainly makes sense to me to do so, they each have a place.

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        Yep, there’s no other way. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Not that I see! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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