Sidestream Media: The Backstory

Guest post by he-of-the-great-truthdar…

You think I peel the onion…my special guest poster here (I gave him the fancy handle 🙂 sometimes goes over my head, but he’s been right about too much for too long, so I encouraged him to share his thoughts-what’s your reaction? feel free to comment below.

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Much is made today of the “mainstream/liberal/establishment media” epitomized by media giants such as CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Politico and sometimes The Washington Post. However, relatively little analysis is dedicated to other major media blocs, all of which, despite the assertion that the liberal media is the sole outlet for the establishment and elite, are subtly and quietly bolstered by elite and establishment factions themselves. The only greater media bloc of any significance to the public at large other than the liberal-centrist media is a nebulous and loosely related faction I label the “sidestream media.”

The sidestream media is composed of two relatively distinct parts – the mainstream right-wing media and the so-called alternative media (which despite for the most part rejecting being labeled is largely aligned with the American right-wing). The two pillars of the mainstream right-wing media are Fox News and conservative talk radio. Newsmax and similar conservative publications (such as American Spectator), which straddle the line between alternative and mainstream, play a supporting role. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Newsmax/Chris Ruddy and friends was an instrumental right-wing media agenda-setter and served as the model for future alternative right-wing media operations, but since the Clinton and Bush II eras has lost significant pull.

The alternative media isn’t nearly as monolithic as the Fox News-conservative radio punditry nexus and is therefore a somewhat less accurate and useful categorization, but can still be analyzed. The most notable alternative outlets currently are Breitbart (for now – is gradually becoming mainstreamed), Alex Jones/Infowars, Drudge, WorldNetDaily and Russia Today. The majority of these are right-wing/conservative in their politics, the major exception being Russia Today, which despite leaning slightly to the left politically, is more than willing to get into bed with the right-wing alternative media to push anti-government stories given their anti-American establishment prerogative. Legitimate left-wing alternative media outlets exist such as The Young Turks, Democracy Now, AlterNet, RawStory, SecularTalk, etc., but none have ever been able to even come close to the way that the right-wing alternative media has on occasion miraculously seized near complete control of the news cycle. Left-wing alternative media used to be much more influential during the heyday of Air America and HuffPo, but has since lost a considerable amount of influence. Currently, there is no disputing that the alternative media is largely dominated by the right-wing.

The history of the mainstream/liberal/traditional Midtown Manhattan media’s liaising and outright plotting with the CIA, State Department, and other powerful areas of government (be they public or private) is somewhat well known among those exposed to conspiracy. However, the sidestream conservative media’s history with the CIA and America’s corporate and governmental elite is relatively obscure.

The right-wing counter establishment media is almost entirely the result of a massive concerted right-wing/conservative effort beginning in the mid 1970s through the early 1980s to reassert themselves after decades of liberal/moderate political domination during the postwar era. This effort involved the creation and financing of propaganda outlets such as media organizations like Fox and think tanks such as the Heritage and Koch Foundations, the promotion of certain politicians, the creation of a right-wing faction in academia and ultimately culminated in what is known as the “Reagan Revolution” and “New Right” (and today, we’re seeing many of the same players and tactics reappear). The early 1980s also saw the foundation of the Council for National Policy, whose (known) member list reads like a who’s who of the right-wing elite (Erik Prince, Oliver North, etc.) and very much represents a kind of modern analog to the John Birch Society. By far the most impacting and lasting component of the operation was the right-wing pro-Reagan propaganda machine that Reagan CIA director William Casey, CIA operative Walter Raymond Jr., FoxNews‘s father as well as to-be kingmaker Rupert Murdoch, and heir to the Pittsburgh-based Mellon family’s multi billion dollar oil & banking fortune Richard Mellon Scaife orchestrated during the Reagan administration.

As far as anyone knows, the operation was kicked off by two face-to-face meetings in 1983 between Rupert Murdoch and Ronald Reagan, mediated by none other than political fixer and Donald Trump mentor Roy Cohn and the director of the USIA Charles Wick. Quite obviously, Murdoch was instructed to bolster pro-Reagan propaganda through his various holdings controlled through Murdoch’s News Corp., whose core assets were Fox and The New York Post (today, Murdoch also has control over The Wall Street Journal through Dow Jones). While Murdoch’s empire was and still is very much the core and old guard of the right-wing media, the counter-establishment right-wing media did not stop at Fox in the slightest. Casey, Scaife, Roger Ailes (Murdoch’s long-time deputy), and others worked tirelessly to expand the conservative media nexus.

Perhaps the most visible and important example was the facilitation of Rush Limbaugh by the Casey clique. Limbaugh’s ascent was part of what was a larger operation headed by Casey and fellow CIA-man Lowell Thomas to turn ABC into a centrist-conservative outlet as opposed to a strictly liberal news organization through the acquisition of ABC by Capital Cities, a CIA front founded by Casey and Thomas among others. The acquisition was the subject of heavy scrutiny at the time due to the fact that Capital Cities was considerably smaller than ABC, which required that CapCities procure funding and protection from Warren Buffet to go through with the purchase. ABC‘s network president, Edward McLaughlin was tasked by ABC‘s new owners to recruit conservative talent, which they found at an obscure Sacramento radio station in Rush Limbaugh, who had voiced a spirited defense of the Reagan administration and Oliver North during Iran-Contra. Limbaugh was promoted by his new bosses in New York, paraded on national television, and heavily advertised. He cemented his role in American politics after doing the most in the right-wing media to get Newt Gingrich elected Speaker of the House and propagandize for Gingrich. Limbaugh still to this day very much sets the intellectual tone for the right-wing at large and remains faithful to the right-wing/Republican power structure that brought him up and still likely handles him. It is interesting that CIA-facilitated Limbaugh from the beginning of the 2016 election season was the most effective communicator of Trump propaganda in the mainstream right-wing media, which largely consisted of Limbaugh constantly reiterating the blatantly false claim that Donald Trump was a political outsider.

Later, in the 1990s, this same Murdoch-Casey-Scaife clique birthed the Clinton (and later Obama) rumor-scandal-conspiracy mill and controversialization cottage industry. The Clinton Chronicles’ producer, Pat Matrisciana, was funded by Richard Mellon Scaife and Casey as was Chris Ruddy/Newsmax (behind Vince Foster-Ron Brown story) and the American Spectator (behind the Whitewater story). Ken Starr, who was connected to Scaife through tens of academic institutions, NGOs, and think tanks (one of them being the Council for National Policy) served as the seemingly legitimate face of several politically charged investigations into Bill Clinton, Lewinsky, Paula Jones, and Vince Foster being the most well known. Indeed, the most effective contraversialization tactic against the Clintons has been the exposure of more than a few sex scandals involving everything from infidelity to outright rape, which never would have come out without agitation by the counter establishment media.

Stay tuned for the next installment of this story which delves into the sidestream media in more depth…

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