Here’s a ripe fantasy for you. Imagine this—
You’re the head of a multi-billion-dollar global corporation.
You know your most famous, best-selling product is toxic and can cause cancer. It’s an herbicide used around the world— not only in public locations, but even by people spraying their own lawns.
Your company has recently lost law suits, with gigantic payout penalties, because you covered up what you knew: the herbicide is carcinogenic.
A fearless reporter has written articles, and now a book, exposing your company. What to do about her?
Among other actions, talk to Google. Maybe they can help. They’re like you. They’re experts in cover-ups.
Wait. This isn’t a fantasy. It’s real. A real newspaper, The Guardian, has the details. Here are quotes from their new blistering investigation:
“Monsanto operated a ‘fusion center’ to monitor and discredit journalists and activists, and targeted a reporter who wrote a critical book on the company, documents reveal.”
“The records reviewed by the Guardian show Monsanto adopted a multi-pronged strategy to target Carey Gillam (twitter), a Reuters journalist who investigated the company’s weedkiller and its links to cancer. Monsanto, now owned by the German pharmaceutical corporation Bayer, also monitored a not-for-profit food research organization through its ‘intelligence fusion center’, a term that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies use for operations focused on surveillance and terrorism.”
“Monsanto paid Google to promote search results for ‘Monsanto Glyphosate Carey Gillam’ that criticized her work.”
“The internal [company] communications add fuel to the ongoing claims in court that Monsanto has ‘bullied’ critics and scientists and worked to conceal the dangers of glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide [Roundup]. In the last year, two US juries have ruled that Monsanto was liable for plaintiffs’ non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a blood cancer, and ordered the corporation to pay significant sums to cancer patients…”
“’I’ve always known that Monsanto didn’t like my work … and worked to pressure editors and silence me,’ Gillam…said in an interview. ‘But I never imagined a multi-billion dollar company would actually spend so much time and energy and personnel on me. It’s astonishing.’”
“Monsanto had a ‘Carey Gillam Book’ spreadsheet, with more than 20 actions dedicated to opposing her book before its publication, including working to ‘Engage Pro-Science Third Parties’ in criticisms, and partnering with ‘SEO experts’ (search engine optimization), to spread its attacks. The company’s marketing strategy involved labeling Gillam and other critics as ‘anti-glyphosate activists and pro-organic capitalist organizations’.”
“Gillam, who worked at the international news agency Reuters for 17 years, told the Guardian that a flurry of negative reviews appeared on Amazon just after the official publication of Whitewash [her book about Monsanto], many seeming to repeat nearly identical talking points.”
“’This is my first book. It’s just been released. It’s got glowing reviews from professional book reviewers,’ she said. But on Amazon, ‘They were saying horrible things about me … It was very upsetting but I knew it was fake and it was engineered by the industry. But I don’t know that other people knew that’.”
We’re talking about reality-construction here. Or should I say, reconstruction. Companies that can manipulate the ranking of search results online, and customer reviews, and professional reviews, and science, paint over the truth with lies, and the public believes what it is permitted to see.
That’s a pretty good description of tons of what is called Fake News.
“Well, we don’t like what this reporter is doing because it exposes us as naked and culpable and criminal, so let’s hide and defame the reporter’s work. Let’s move a cloud over it. In time, the reporter’s work will fade out, and we’ll still be here. We’ll keep pounding out the notion that we’re doing good, we’re devoted to public service, we’re providing a marvelous product, we’re cutting-edge researchers, and so on. Our product causes cancer? That’s ridiculous. We would never sell such a product. We’re fine people…”
The one big thing this company has going for it? A major segment of the public doesn’t want to believe something so visible and huge (the company) is committing evil acts left and right, out in the open. A company isn’t like a deranged individual with a gun who walks into a store and shoots people. No. A company is an organized and competent and polite entity that BELONGS. It’s part and parcel of the COMMUNITY. The idea that the company could be guilty of destroying and maiming life on a continuing basis…that would be tantamount to saying it is an organized-crime operation—which is absurd.
Yes. It’s absurd. Until it’s shown to be true.
And then, on top of it all, suppose the government, which has the resources and the laws and the agencies to bring this company to justice doesn’t lift a finger, but in fact supports the company with its own official brand of fake news?
Why, that’s a…a conspiracy.
Yes. The dreaded word.
Another absurdity. Until it’s shown to be true by the simple act of opening one’s eyes and looking.
Shall we take this a step further? Why not? In for a penny, in for a pound. We’re entering a new phase in the battle to expose high-level, society-wide, institutional crimes. In part, owing to a recent FBI “finding” that conspiracy theories can fuel individuals to commit “terrorist acts,” there will be increased propaganda aimed at persons who unearth actual conspiracies. They will be accused of fomenting violence. In order to “protect the community” (where have we heard that before?), there must be a limiter and a monitor on information. The public must be guarded against false news. Righteous censorship must prevail. For the greater good, the 1st Amendment must undergo a reformation.
To understand this, think “money laundering.” Criminal organizations, like drug cartels, have so much cash on hand they have to find ways to hide it. So they funnel it into friendly banks and legitimate businesses and shell corporations. Likewise, with the advent and expansion of the Web, there is so much information exposing high-level crimes, it must be hidden—but certainly not by its authors. Agencies of government and secret corporate units and social media giants must conceal this information by obscuring it and defaming it and dead-ending it and blacking it out and blaming it for inspiring heinous crimes. That’s the laundering operation, and it extends to every true conspiracy.
A final note for now—here’s a wrinkle on the laundering campaign. In the defunct subject called Logic, it’s called the Straw Man fallacy. You build up a patently ridiculous icon to represent a wide field of information, you knock down that icon, and then you claim it invalidates the whole field. For example, some pathetic paid agent publishes a piece claiming JFK never died in 1963, he’s living under the name, Jack Kenn, in Brooklyn, on Oswald Street. A paid blogger jumps on this “conspiracy theory,” and in the process declares that all conspiracy theorists are lunatics. The one becomes the many.
It’s a version of “we’re all normal people living normal lives and here are disruptors who want to take us off course into a storm and make us believe that official truth is different from actual truth.”
I have news. Millions and millions and millions of people are way past that moronic construction, and they aren’t turning back.
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