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STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
New Era: Hillary Loses Control of ‘Net Narrative
By Daily Bell Staff - September 15, 2016

Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban, a fierce supporter of Hillary Clinton, said the Democratic nominee’s recent health episode is being overblown.  “It’s not crazy, it’s lazy,” he told Business Insider in a Monday interview regarding coverage of Clinton’s pneumonia. -Business Insider

It’s a battle of memes and elite dispensers are growing irritated and increasingly worried about losing control (see excerpt, above).

This didn’t happen in the  20th century or even at the beginning of the 21st. It’s something new, spawned directly by the Internet.

And right now Hillary is the main target and victim. At least the most high profile.

Hillary herself saw it coming. During remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee back in early 2011, she stated (here) that the US was engaged in an information “war” and was losing.

At the time she pointed toward the Chinese and the Russians as “winning” the information war and indicated watching their English-language channels was “instructive.”

But if one judges from recent statements by Hillary and her campaign, the real concern is domestic reporting.

Her campaign recently bashed conservative/libertarian publishing group Breitbart and in a speech she directly attacked one of the most prominent alternative media groups, Alex Jones and his Infowars.

Cuban is expressing irritation at a single topic, Hillary’s health, but the larger issue is even more important:

Gradually elite propaganda is being undermined by ‘Net information watched by more and more people. Additionally, this information is obviously seen as credible or the audience would be shrinking not growing.

The influence of alternative ‘Net media is becoming overwhelming. Even a few years ago ‘Net information might debunk a given elite meme. But debunkery focused on specific issues, ones such as vaccines, central banking and US serial warfare.

But now Internet information is superseding elite propaganda and is choosing its own targets.

It is become proactive rather than reactive.

Hillary never issued much information on her health but it became an issue nonetheless. The Internet forced the issue. And then as events occurred, the ‘Net meme spread considerably.

More:

“You know, it’s one thing to speculate on Hillary’s health and that’s fair game for obvious reasons, but the reality is in one week, we’ll know,” Cuban said …

He added that he’s frustrated with the media’s focus on such issues, pointing the finger at both online and more traditional outlets.

Cuban can continue to be frustrated and that’s probably because he is missing the point. He is reacting to a specific story but he is not addressing the larger issue.

The “mass media” in an unprecedented fashion is losing control.

This is not merely opinion. Statistics regularly indicate this is occurring.  Just the other day, Gallup updated a poll on “confidence in media.”

  • 32% say they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust
  • 14% of Republicans express trust, down from 32% last year
  • Confidence drops among younger and older Americans

Now it is true that the article did not exactly differentiate between mainstream and alternative media. In fact, in using the term “mass media,” the survey purposefully blurred the responses. Here:

With the explosion of the mass media in recent years, especially the prevalence of blogs, vlogs and social media, perhaps Americans decry lower standards for journalism.

When opinion-driven writing becomes something like the norm, Americans may be wary of placing trust on the work of media institutions that have less rigorous reporting criteria than in the past. On the other hand, as blogs and social media “mature,” they may improve in the American public’s eyes. This could, in turn, elevate Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media as a whole.

This is nonsense, of course. We can see clearly that as the mainstream media shrinks, alternative media proliferates. The most influential news service in the US if not the world is Drudge.com.

But there are plenty of other large, alternative news sources. Breitbart is another one. WorldNetDaily is a third. Mises and LewRockwell.com, too.

Meanwhile, mainstream organizations like the New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, BusinessWeek, Newsweek and many, many more, struggle to continue publishing. Increasingly, they are sold and resold for pittance or even given away to a new owner willing to tolerate the continued losses.

The result increasingly is that Internet media doesn’t just respond to mainstream memes but is actually launching its own. ‘Net analysis now creates the conversation rather than perpetuates it.

Conclusion: We are acutely aware of the evolution of the ‘Net conversation because we analyze it every day. We can see it shifting and growing. And, yes, as a result there will be significant attacks launched against it. Those are just beginning.

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