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Deep Throats and Deep Pockets | The View from Ipanema

omidyargroup

New and noted:

  1. On the Meaning of Journalistic Independence | The Intercept
  2. How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations | The Intercept

It took some time for The Intercept to make its way onto my personal Open Source Bloomberg Box — a huge Gmail inbox full of keyword alerts that is in need of some serious pruning, but here it is, Ctl-Ded and filed under OSBB after the Brazilian journalism “watchdog” — “observatory” — site cast the issue of oligarchy-funded journalism in a sensible light.

Glenn Greenwald — painted by foes as a lackey of Chairman Omidyar of the People’s Republic of e-Bay, writes

Let’s leave to the side the laughable hyperbole that Omidyar is now the mastermind who has secretly engineered the Ukrainian uprising. Let’s also leave to the side a vital fact that people like this Pando writer steadfastly ignore: that there are numerous media entities in possession of tens of thousands of Snowden documents, including The Guardian, Bart Gellman/The Washington Post, The New York Times, and ProPublica, rendering absurd any conspiracy theories that Omidyar can control which documents are or are not published.

The real falsehood here is that Omidyar himself has any access, let alone “exclusive access”, to “the NSA secrets.” This is nothing short of a fabrication. The writer of this article just made that up.

Pando’s Paul Carr had cited a story from the Christian Science Monitor, which declares

Mr. Greenwald [….] a very popular guy on Twitter, with about 320,000 followers. And he has earned a reputation for bullying people who don’t share his views, frequently using his megaphone to launch unfair and frequently dishonest personal attacks. It will be interesting to see if he keeps this up at the $50 million news venture he’s starting that’s being bankrolled by eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar.

Yes, it will be interesting — a harmless enough remark, with perhaps a soupçon of skepticism.

A certain polarization in the area of “transparency” has always struck me as deeply surreal.

Every FAIR and PR Watch seems to have its doppelganger digging dirt on those who insist that Fox News: Fair and Balanced is Newspeak of the most nefarious kind. Swift brought us his Battle of the Books. Two centuries one, we have now arrived at the Battle of the Think Tanks..

Looking over my –still sloppy — notes on Brazilian infowar, Mídia sem Máscara stands out as an endless font of diatribes against every bit of news coverage or opiinion to the left of Adolf Hitler.

Brazilian journalist Carlos Castilho writes with admirable clarity.  

The journalistic profession finds itself faced with a new and highly complex dilemma. It arises from the delicate issue of reputation management, both personal and institutional, on the Internet — a field of communications increasingly considered strategic by the major national security agencies of the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom. [These nations make up the so-called Five Eyes Alliance. … ]

Certain confidential documents of the deeply secret Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group reveal the strategies underway to destroy the reputations of individuals and organization with the use of “fabricated” news destined for dissemination on the social networks and spreading from these to the mainstream media. Some of these document were published by the Web site Intercept and included the material handed over by Edward Snowden to the journalist Glenn Greenwald.

The revelation opens up another front in a cybernetic war whose strategic objectives are every more immaterial — that is to say, focusing on the so-called “assassination of reputations” instead of military assaults, through manipulation of data and news. The new strategy, though bloodless, is no less lethal in that it destroys the image and the public credibility of persons and institutions without the benefit of due process.

The mainstream media, consciously or not, is instrumental in this process because it is the media that selects and delivers what it deems constructive news on the issues and opinions covered. There is nothing new about this role. In the age of the Internet, however, facts, data and events have begun to circulate in social networks and as a result are much less transparent than before. The mainstream media have begun fishing for newsworthy content among sources that often prove nebulous.

This makes it extremely difficult to identify the the origin and real objectives of a news item gleaned from some irrelevant blog that is echoed in Twitter or Facebook and ends up in the inbox of some reporter, editor or blogging journalist. This process can prove instantaneous depending on the nature and format of the content produced and communicated.

It is nearly impossible to maintain a clear line between character assassination and information of genuine public interest. What is clear is that both are funneled through the media, though increasingly circulate without the mediation of the traditional news organization. Many lament the fact that the press has lost its monopoly on verifying the origin of news items, but this monopoly is no longer practical in the face of the oversupply of information generated by the Internet.

The reputation and image of individuals have become the key target in online politics now that groups of crackers — programmers who illegally break into databases and user accounts, as opposed to hackers, who are generally young IT students — have begun using their technical know-how to crack databases, extract embarrassing information and publish them anonymously on the social networks. The former are those responsible for the emergence of Anonymous, a nebulous group that may be said to represent the key contradiction of Internet politics: its simultaneous visibility and anonymity.

Anonymous, subject of a study by the American anthropologist Gabriela Coleman of McGill University, has achieved the status of a cybernetic phantom — a characteristic paradoxically adopted by the intelligence services of the Five Eyes Alliance. Both factions seek publicity for their actions because both are interested in a media effect that for which the media has an enormous appetite: the secret. On the other hand, they demonstrate an obsessive concern with anonymity out of an awareness that their methods are socially condemned.

Both sides seek opportunities to assassinate reputations. Anonymous reveals the dirty little secrets of governments, corporations and celebrities, while the JTRIG produces false profiles, misinformation, and watered-down or adulterated versions of the facts in order to confuse the public and neutralize adversaries by attacking their character. Killing people bears a considerable social cost, while killing their good name pays off handsomely.

The problem is that the product of both of these factions winds up as raw material for the journalist, who enters into collusion with slander and disinformation about subjects with which most of the time they lack the slightest familiarity.

As for me, I have suspicions as to whether or not I and my humble blog are not the target of a defamation campaign. The modest page advertising my editorial services was cracked and then stuffed with the worst sort of gross-out nymphet porn. I did not even look at it. I just authorized tech support to use their best judgment and take down anything under ../public_html that a reasonable person would find pornographic if they saw it, as a celebrated magistrate once said.

Pando

 

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