cyberjournal news-posting policies


Richard Moore


One never really knows, based on feedback, what the 'sense of an 
audience' is. Most feedback I get about our lists is positive, but 
that may simply mean that those who are unhappy don't want to get 
into an argument, and don't send in comments. (I'd hardly blame 
them.) In any case, I do get complaints from time to time, often 
attacking the credibility of postings. These may or may not be the 
tip of an iceberg of more widespread unhappiness. In any case, I'd 
like to clarify my posting policies.

Each news source has its own publication policies. Some, like the New 
York Times, are known to print lies from time to time, in support of 
regime objectives. And yet for some kinds of news, the Times can be 
useful and reliable. For many other kinds of important news (such as 
DU poisoning), the Times is unlikely to provide any coverage at all 
(another kind of lying -- not telling the whole truth). The core 
mission of the Times, and similar mainstream sources, is to sell 
regime programs. In order to succeed in this mission, they lie about 
the big things that are difficult to verify, and tell the truth about 
the little things that are easy to verify. In this way many people 
are fooled into considering the sources reliable, making those people 
susceptible to the Big Lies when they come along (eg., 'WMDs', 
Iranian 'nuclear threat', 'Hezbollah started it').

In the case of 'alternative' media we see a wide range of editorial 
policies and objectives. Some are just as dishonest as the Times (but 
for their own purposes), some are sincere but unreliable, and some 
are both sincere and reliable. My judgement of reliability, by the 
way, is measured not by the authority of their sources, but by the 
quality their track record in breaking stories which are later 
verified, or contradicted, by additional evidence. In addition to 
this, I also adjust my 'reliability rating' by whether or not the 
piece seems likely to be true, based on my overall understanding of 
what's going on and who's doing what to whom these days.

With the cyberjournal lists, I have my own editorial policies and 
objectives, as regards news stories. I often publish pieces (as from 
the Times) that I consider to be unreliable, in order to examine the 
spin and ferret out the hidden regime agenda motivating the story. 
When I publish pieces as 'real news', I use my 'reliability filter', 
as defined above, and which I think has worked rather effectively 
these many years. In any case, I can assure you that I am sincere and 
careful about what I post. If there are failings, they are of 
judgement not intention.

My task is difficult because I am particularly interested in the most 
controversial stories. These are the stories at the 'leading edge' of 
important events and of propaganda spin. They are the stories where 
the truth is particularly difficult to determine, where evidence is 
being covered up, people are lying, and sincere sources have 
difficulty getting hard information from 'on the ground'. And yet, 
these are the most important stories, about events which are 
critically important to our futures. If we reserve giving serious 
attention to such stories (eg, 911) until 'all the facts are known' 
it will be too late to do us any good.

I find the detective metaphor very useful in this regard. Suppose 
there is a serial killer on the loose, and there are only a few clues 
to go by. What kind of detective would say, "I'm going to sit in my 
office until more clues appear; no use chasing blind alleys." If the 
killer is to be stopped, the detective must take whatever clues she 
has, make guesses and inferences, build a theory of the case, and use 
it to seek out more clues. CSI explains this process very well.

As regards news, I see my job as being just like the detective's. Big 
time serial killers are indeed on the loose (US, Britain, Israel, 
WTO, IMF) and we need to understand what they're up to as best we 
can. They control the media, which does all it can to distract and 
deceive, and so we must tap other sources as best we can. The media 
itself provides much of the information we need, both about basic raw 
events and, between the lines, about regime intentions. But if we 
want additional 'physical evidence' (on-the-ground information) we 
need to seek out sources like Dahr Jamail, who has access to evidence 
and a very good reliability record.

In some cases an alarming blip shows up on my radar from a source of 
unknown reliability. It might signal nuclear war or it might only be 
a flight of geese. It might be an important and unique early warning, 
or it might be a false alarm. If the blip 'seems credible', based on 
overall considerations, then I think the right thing to do is share 
that blip with you, and let you judge for yourself. If it 
occasionally turns out to be a false alarm, we've wasted a few 
moments of our time. If it turns out to be an early warning, then it 
outweighs whatever time we've 'wasted' in this process. By paying 
attention to such blips early, we can 'tune our frequencies' to that 
thread and be better prepared to notice additional information, or 
lack thereof, in that part of the spectrum.



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