Breaking the Alternative Media’s Dependence on the Mainstream Media, by Robert Gore

In the 1930s, when the federal government decreed that the airwaves were public property and frequencies must be licensed, objectivity in radio and television were grounded before they ever took flight. A broadcaster operating at the government’s sufferance cannot be independent. Newspapers are a different story. Since the founding of the republic, newspapers have been a pain in the government’s ass. Thomas Jefferson hated the press but to his credit concluded that, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Newspapers don’t exist at government sufferance, so neutering them has been a more gradual process.

World War II and the Cold War, painted as existential struggles, turned much of the media into government toadies. Even Hollywood jumped on board. The war gave rise to the US’s first intelligence agency, the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA, which was formally established in 1947. By secret executive order, Harry Truman established the National Security Agency, or NSA, in 1952. You can’t understand history since the war, or the present state of affairs, without understanding the intelligence agencies and their relationship with the media. This is difficult because so much of what has been done has been cloaked in secrecy and disinformation—which is the officially approved, twenty-dollar term for lies.

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