Every television newscast: staged reality
The news is all about manipulating the context of stories. The thinner the context, the thinner the mind must become to accept it. If you want to visualize this, imagine a rectangular solid. The news covers the top surface. Therefore, the mind is trained to work in only two dimensions. Then it can’t fathom depth, and it certainly can’t appreciate the fact that the whole rectangular solid moves through time, the fourth dimension.
Focus on the network evening news. This is where the staging is done well.
First, we have the studio image itself, the colors in foreground and background, the blend of restful and charged hues. The anchor and his/her smooth style.
Then we have the shifting of venue from the studio to reporters in the field, demonstrating the reach of coverage: the planet. As if this equals authenticity.
Actually, those reporters in the field rarely dig up information on location. A correspondent standing on a rooftop in Cairo could just as well be positioned in a bathroom in a Las Vegas McDonald’s. His report would be identical.
The managing editor, usually the elite news anchor, chooses the stories to cover and has the final word on their sequence.
The anchor goes on the air: “Our top story tonight, more signs of gridlock today on Capitol Hill, as legislators walked out of a session on federal budget negotiations…”
The viewer fills in the context for the story: “Oh yes, the government. Gridlock is bad. Just like traffic on the I-5. A bad thing. We want the government to get something done, but they aren’t. These people are always arguing with each other. They don’t agree. They’re in conflict. Yes, conflict, just like on the cop shows.”
The anchor: “The Chinese government reports the new flu epidemic has spread to three provinces. Forty-two people have already died, and nearly a hundred are hospitalized…”
The viewer again supplies context, such as it is: “Flu. Dangerous. Epidemic. Could it arrive here? Get my flu shot.”
The anchor: “A new university study states that gun owners often stock up on weapons and ammunition…”
The viewer: “People with guns. Why do they need a dozen weapons? I don’t need a gun. The police have guns. Could I kill somebody if he broke into the house?”
The anchor: “Doctors at Yale University have made a discovery that could lead to new treatments in the battle against autism…”
Viewer: “That would be good. More research. Laboratory. The brain.”
If, at the end of the newscast, the viewer bothered to review the stories and his own reactions to them, he would realize he’d learned nothing. But reflection is not the game.
In fact, the flow of the news stories has washed over him and created very little except a sense of (false) continuity.
Therefore, every story on the news broadcast achieves the goal of keeping the context thin—night after night, year after year. The overall effect of this staging is: small viewer’s mind, small viewer’s understanding.
Next we come to words over pictures. More and more, news broadcasts are using the rudimentary film technique of a voice narrating what the viewer is seeing on the screen.
People are shouting and running and falling in a street. The anchor or a field reporter says: “The country is in turmoil. Parliament has suspended sessions for the third day in a row, as the government decides what to do about uprisings aimed at forcing democratic elections…”
Well, the voice must be right, because we’re seeing the pictures. If the voice said the riots were due to garbage-pickup cancellations, the viewer would believe that, too.
We see Building #7 of the WTC collapse. Must have been the result of a fire. The anchor tells us so. Words over pictures.
It mirrors what the human mind, in an infantile state, is always doing: looking at the world and seeking a brief summary to explain what that world is, at any given moment.
Since the dawn of time, untold billions of people have been urging a “television anchor” to “explain the pictures.”
The news gives them that precise solution, every night.
“Well, Mr. Jones,” the doctor says, as he pins X-rays to a screen in his office. “See this? Right here? We’ll need to start chemo immediately, and then we may have to remove most of your brain, and as a follow-up, take out one eye.”
Sure, why not? The patient saw the pictures and the anchor explained them.
Eventually, people get the idea and do it for themselves. They see things, they invent one-liners to explain them.
They’re their own anchors. They short-cut and undermine their own experience with vapid summaries of what it all means.
And then, of course, when the news cuts to commercial, the fake products take over:
“Well, every night they’re showing the same brand names, so those brands must be better than the unnamed alternatives.”
Which devolves into: “I like this commercial better than that commercial. This is a great commercial. Let’s have a contest and vote on the best commercial.”
For “intelligent” viewers, there is another sober mainstream choice in America, a safety valve: PBS. That newscast tends to show more pictures from foreign lands.
“Yes, I watch PBS because they understand the planet is interconnected. It isn’t just about America. That’s good.”
Sure it’s good, if you want the same thin-context or false-context reporting on events in other countries. Instead of the two minutes NBC might give you about momentous happenings in Syria, PBS will give you four minutes.
PBS’ experts seem kinder and gentler. “They’re nice and they’re more relaxed. I like that.”
Yes, the PBS experts are taking Valium, and they’re not drinking as much coffee as the CBS experts.
Anchors deliver the long con every night on the tube, between commercials.
They’re marketing thin context.
There are various forms of mind control. The one I’m describing here—the thinning of context—is universal. It confounds the mind by pretending depth doesn’t exist and is merely a fantasy.
The mind, before it is trained away from it, is always interested in depth.
Another way of putting it: the mind naturally wants more space, not less. Only constant conditioning can change this.
Eventually, when you say “mind,” people think you’re referring to the brain, or they don’t know what you’re talking about at all.
Mind control by eradicating the concept of mind.
That’s quite a trick.
But now, on the national evening news, something has changed. The quality of the elite anchors has plummeted. These mind-control pros are less and less capable of delivering: the voice of authority.
In the old days, you had Water Cronkite, Harry Reasoner, Chet Huntley, Tom Brokaw, and (before he crashed and burned) Dan Rather. Big-time fakers.
Eventually, this devolved into a B-team of bench players: Dianne Sawyer, Brian Williams, Scott Pelley. Less believable—but still fairly effective.
However, now, at the three major networks, it’s androids on parade. Two pretty boys, David Muir and Jeff Glor, and the NBC cadaver, Lester Holt.
The ship is sinking.
Instead of trying to label their competition Fake News, the networks should look to themselves and try to figure out why they can’t find father figures to deliver their no-context broadcasts.
The audience is wising up. The correct notes on the scale of mind control aren’t being struck.
The system is falling apart.
When I named this site No More Fake News 16 years ago, I could see a fatigue factor setting in—not only in the mainstream news audience, but in the networks themselves. They were playing out the string, hoping to coast on their prior reputations. They weren’t just putting their viewers to sleep (their covert goal), they were slowly falling asleep themselves.
In the following years, the situation grew worse. The networks were moving on auto-pilot.
And now, they’re reaching the end of the line. They’re focusing on the only story that can deliver them ratings: Trump.
They fear him, they hate him—and they love him, because he gives them the numbers that justify their advertising rates with sponsors.
It’s always problematical when the only thing maintaining your survival is your enemy. Especially an enemy whose whole method of attack is to accuse you of subverting your basic mission, which is telling the truth.
And it’s far worse when he’s right.
No matter what you think of Trump, he’s delivering hammer blows to the foundation of network news.
I’ve been aware of every president since Roosevelt, and nothing like this has happened in that time span. A sitting president is virulently going up against The News. Not just the content—which would be bad enough—but the people delivering it.
Since the dawn of time on this planet, news has been controlled, for good reason. It’s the source of supposed fact. Important objective fact. The people who own the news have therefore been able to paint an overall portrait of reality for the masses. Which has been their intent.
In this age of science, the news has donned that cloak. “We’re recording events in the lab. We only relay confirmed results, checked and double-checked.”
And now this crazy cowboy hustler comes along, swaggers into the spotlight, and demeans the whole enterprise. IT’S FAKE!
And millions of people, who have long believed that very thing in the recesses of their minds, sit up straight in their couches and say THAT’S RIGHT!
Overnight, the situation turns surreal.
Up is down, down is up.
The bull is wandering through the china shop, deciding which object to crash next.
Naturally, the networks call him crazy, mentally ill, unfit for office, a Russian agent—while they’re reaping ratings from going to war with him. They have to strike back, and it‘s good for their desperate business to do so.
Whether Trump is, in fact, unfit for office is beside the point of the war.
The truth about Trump, whatever it may be, went out the window a long time ago. It was never in the house.
As the network news business was in a long slide from its former prominence, Trump showed up and stepped on its neck and ground in his heel. Impolitely, he spat in its face.
If you think the total effect was to draw people to Trump’s side, or to the networks’ side, think again.
People began swimming out of their hypnotic attachment to The News. The spell broke. Rudely. The swaggering gunslinger was showing up in their living rooms, accusing and laughing and setting off explosions.
And yes, you can separate that from everything else Trump has been doing or not doing, saying or not saying, committing or not committing.
And you should.
Because The News is supposed to be the ears and eyes and mouth and brain of the public.
And now—for several reasons, Trump very much included—it no longer is.
Which is a good thing, a very good thing.
Even if your hatred of Donald Trump knows no bounds.
Jon Rappoport, the author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.