Posted by: CS | January 4, 2014

Controlling the Controllers of Public Opinion: Carrots and Sticks

Steve Sailer is a journalist whose blog, i.steve,  has a huge following.  But exactly where this following is being led, seems not entirely clear.

For example, the other day Sailer had a piece entitled Carrots and Sticks, which responded  to a reader who questioned why America’s so-called “free press” is so deferential to the national leadership. “It’s interesting to speculate,” Sailer wrote

upon the carrot-and-stick balance in the U.S. Occasionally, bad things, such as sex scandals, happen to inconvenient people. Perhaps something like that explains the hilariously weak 60 Minutes story recently on the NSA.

But then he went on to argue that nothing much bad seems to happen to American journalists who fail to take the government line. As a possible example to the contrary, he cites the spectacular and fiery death of Michael Hastings, an outstanding and highly independent investigative journalist for Rolling Stone Magazine whose exposé on the failure of U.S. General Stanley McChrystal’s Afghanistan counterinsurgency strategy had angered some in the military. But then Sailer breezily dismisses the likelihood of assassination:

But the more I looked into it, the less suspicious it seemed: he [Hastings] was driving recklessly. Now, Uncouth Reflections has an interview with Hastings’ brother that confirms that the poor man was going through another manic phase.

Which seems rather, well, superficial, given the circumstances.

Such as that before his death Hastings was onto what he believed to be a big story concerning the CIA’s program of overseas assassination by drone. Or that, as he told his neighbor, Jordanna Thigpen, he feared that he was under government surveillance.  “He was” she said “scared, and he wanted to leave town,” in which connection he asked to borrow her car as he believed his own vehicle’s computer system may have been hacked. Moreover, on the night of his death, Hastings contacted Wikileaks attorney Jennifer Robinson, to say he had a big story and was “going off the radar.”

So when Hasting’s car suddenly sped up as it was driving through the Melrose intersection on Highland Avenue in Hollywood, slamming into a palm tree, ejecting its engine several hundred feet, some have questioned whether this was merely the result of  Hastings being a bit hyper.

But to Sailer, the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from Hasting’s spectacular death is that we are left only with carrots to explain the sycophancy of the American media. “And” he says, “there are a lot of carrots in a big, rich country like ours.”

Well, yes, there are lots of possible carrots for those who serve the interests of the elite, but seemingly, Sailer doesn’t like to dwell on those any more than on the possible application of the stick. At least so I have to assume from the fact my rather bland comment referring to a particular putative carrot failed to pass “moderation.”

Specifically, I mentioned that Amazon Inc. (Jeff Bezos, Prop.) had received a $600-million-dollar contract to supply cloud computing services to the CIA around the same time it was announced that Bezos had acquired ownership of the Washington Post, one of America’s few nationally and globally significant newspapers.

Now I was not suggesting that Amazon is incompetent to provide the service purchased by the CIA or that it was to be overpaid for that service. I understand that Amazon’s cloud computing services are highly regarded among those who understand such things. Rather, I wished only to draw attention to a clear conflict of interest.

Or, to use Sailer’s terminology, a large carrot to encourage sober reflection by the new owner before giving WaPo a green light to diss the CIA, the US military, or the Government of the United States.

But perhaps my comment was less coherent than I recall, or that it was rejected automatically by a spam filter that takes automatic exception to any reference to the CIA, or carrots even.

Yet it makes one wonder: how much of the blogsphere is controlled by Crass Sunstein and his agents of cognitive infiltration.

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