STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Money Play? New Media Strikes Back
By Staff News & Analysis - October 17, 2013

Why Pierre Omidyar decided to join forces with Glenn Greenwald for a new venture in news … Yesterday word leaked out that Glenn Greenwald would be leaving the Guardian to help create some new thing backed by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. I just got off the phone with Omidyar. So I can report more details about what the new thing is and how it came to be. Here's the story he told me … – Jay Rosen's Press Think blog

Dominant Social Theme: Media entrepreneurs rise up to challenge Old Media.

Free-Market Analysis: In this article, we will comment on the New Media venture referred to in this blog from the standpoint of information control and also from a Daily Bell perspective. Ultimately, what is going on may reveal business opportunities, and we'll mention those as well.

Let's start with this article by Rosen. A skilled observer of the journalistic scene, Jay Rosen describes, probably as fully as anyone can at the moment, what this brand new venture of Omidyar and Greenwald will likely yield. It's big news.

Who is Jay Rosen? Here, from his bio:

Jay Rosen has been on the journalism faculty at New York University since 1986; from 1999 to 2005 he served as chair of the Department. He lives in New York City … Rosen is the author of PressThink, a weblog about journalism and its ordeals (www.pressthink.org), which he introduced in September 2003. In June 2005, PressThink won the Reporters Without Borders 2005 Freedom Blog award for outstanding defense of free expression. In April 2007 PressThink recorded its two millionth visit. He also blogs at the Huffington Post.

Rosen reveals in the article that he had consulted with Omidyar about forming a media company, which was something Omidyar began to think about after considering a bid to buy the Washington Post. We also learn that Glenn Greenwald, the journalistic ace behind the Snowden revelations, had been thinking of setting up his own venture. Thus the partnership between Omidyar and Greenwald is one born of mutual interest.

Rosen writes of what Omidyar and Greenwald may have in mind. While it is in no way a complete vision, as he warns us, the basic structure seems to be emerging rapidly. Here:

… Omidyar learned that Greenwald, his collaborator Laura Poitras, and The Nation magazine's Jeremy Scahill had been planning to form their own journalism venture. Their ideas and Omidyar's ideas tracked so well with each other that on October 5 they decided to "join forces" (his term.) This is the news that leaked …

But there is more. Omidyar believes that if independent, ferocious, investigative journalism isn't brought to the attention of general audiences it can never have the effect that actually creates a check on power. Therefore, the new entity — they have a name but they're not releasing it, so I will just call it NewCo — will have to serve the interest of all kinds of news consumers.

It cannot be a niche product. It will have to cover sports, business, entertainment, technology: everything that users demand. At the core of Newco will be a different plan for how to build a large news organization. It resembles what I called in an earlier post "the personal franchise model" in news.

You start with individual journalists who have their own reputations, deep subject matter expertise, clear points of view, an independent and outsider spirit, a dedicated online following, and their own way of working. The idea is to attract these people to NewCo, or find young journalists capable of working in this way, and then support them well.

By "support" Omidyar means many things. The first and most important is really good editors. (Omidyar used the phrase "high standards of editing" several times during our talk.) Also included: strong back end technology. Powerful publishing tools. Research assistance. And of course a strong legal team because the kind of journalism NewCo intends to practice is the kind that is capable of challenging some of the most powerful people in the world.

Omidyar said NewCo will look for "independent journalists with expertise, and a voice and a following." He suggested that putting together a team of such people means understanding how each of them does his or her best work, and supporting that, rather than forcing everyone into the same structure.

Part of the reason he thinks he can succeed with a general news product, where there is a lot of competition, is by finding the proper midpoint between voicey blogging and traditional journalism, in which the best of both are combined. The trick will then be to combine that with the things technology companies are good at.

"Companies in Silicon Valley invest a lot in understanding their users and what drives user engagement," he said, mentioning Netflix as a clear example. NewCo will have to serve users of news in the same personalized way, he said. He didn't want to reveal too much at this stage, but as the founder of eBay he clearly has ideas about how a next generation news company can be built from the ground up.

This is an approach that involves a good deal of capital, and we are surprised by its ambition. However, at the same time, it fits into the paradigm that we have long predicted, which is that as the Internet Reformation matures, the Hegelian dialectic itself begins to shift.

The dialectic is a fancy term for "information management." The top elites of the world – those interested in advancing globalism – use disciplined techniques to shape the West's public discourse. They set up systems that propose a certain series of beliefs – and politics stemming from the policies – and then they set up alternative facilities to provide a counterpoint.

The clash of ideas between two opposed facilities can be mediated and controlled via regulatory democracy. Create a conflict and then resolve it peaceably within a political venue and you can basically steer a society where you want it to go, so long as you control the political environment. The equation they use for war is similar.

The elite's enormous bankroll, surely stemming from control of central banking, allows it to control politicians. Also, its control of intelligence agencies ensures that the political process itself is well inspected and regularly disciplined. These techniques are not new. They are ancient as Rome, or even Sumer. Nothing much is new. It is not "conspiracy theory" to describe how some manipulate others.

In any event, when a new information technology like the Gutenberg press or the Internet comes along, the modern dialectic must inevitably accommodate what has taken place. That is what's happening now.

The Internet has revealed a vast and highly sophisticated network of dominant social themes that help the elites run society and move it in a desired direction. These "memes" are often scarcity based and their constant repetition encourages people to turn over wealth and power to globalist facilities such as the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, etc.

The paradigm in the modern era is not aimed at reinforcing the status quo but at reshaping the world into an ever more internationalist image. But information technology revolutions can easily shatter the delicate command-and-control systems that have been set up to steer society in a certain way.

It really doesn't take much. A single website, a single article, a single investigative insight properly circulated can have a tremendous and destructive impact on a meme that has cost the elites millions to circulate credibly.

This is where we think Greenwald and Omidyar may be going a bit wrong. You don't need to spend US$250 million to create a grand news network or to have a big impact. An example comes to mind: Here at The Daily Bell, with minimal staff and resources, we managed simply by writing a number of articles to help derail the Occupy Wall Street movement.

We did this simply by pointing out in a series of articles that the movement was apparently funded by elite billionaire George Soros and that it conformed to at least one strategy launched long ago by the Illuminati against France. This is not the modern Illuminati – which controversially may or may not formally exist – but the ancient one that historically DID exist.

Concerned, even panicked, by the US revolution and its adoption of individualism as the organizing force of freedom and social justice, those running the Illuminati set out to create a French Revolution that would emphasize the paramount role of the state and government as the bulwark of liberty.

The result, of course, was a ghastly bloodbath and a philosophical confusion that the French still haven't recovered from. In any event, Occupy Wall Street shared many of the same sentiments that animated the French Revolution. OWS's rhetoric was vicious and exclusionary. It sought to divide average people from the "one percent" based merely on wealth levels. It was even intended to combat the libertarian tendencies of the Internet itself.

In reality, there are only a tiny handful of people and families who are today's "controllers." These controllers may number a few thousand, or even a few hundred. By focusing on the "one percent," OWS was vastly expanding the pool of people, into the millions. This set up two levels of misinformation. First, it ensured that the REAL power elite would never be accurately categorized within the OWS paradigm. Second, it created a class struggle between "haves" and "have nots."

Our articles exposing OWS, including one that was indirectly picked up by Matt Drudge, helped shine the disinfectant of truth on those involved in the manipulation. We mention this not so much for the historical record (almost everything goes down the memory hole eventually) but because it really did happen.

Being in the middle of it, we became well aware of the impact. Today, we're focused on "public banking" and the "anti-usury" movement these days, which is another variant of the same elite ploy. Anyway … one doesn't need to build a huge news infrastructure to provide truthful information that will help rebuild civil society and avert, potentially, the kind of genocide that occurred in the 20th century. You don't need to invest millions or hire thousands.

You do need to make up your mind that you are going to be a credible observer of the modern scene to the best of your ability. And you have to be willing to try to tell the truth as you see it. You have to be courageous enough to pursue your vision even when it costs you dearly; you have to be courageous enough to forgive yourself for the mistakes you will inevitably make along the way.

One person with a pen and a vision can help change the world. Having said that, we return to our original point that the dialectic inevitably is changing and this new venture is yet more evidence of it.

The top elites themselves are not foolish. Their paradigm will accommodate the new and more libertarian media that is gradually taking shape. Glenn Beck, having decided apparently he is libertarian, has a US media company focused on free markets and freedom issues. Ron Paul is creating a media network as well. Now there will be three fairly major entities that we are aware of with this new effort.

This is where the dialectic is headed, and it is actually a most hopeful sign. The very paradigm that the top elites have adopted and utilized for centuries is forcing the current revolution. The poles of the conversation begin to shift.

In order to retain control of the conversation, the top men will have to tolerate these new ventures. But in tolerating them, they must allow the conversation to move in another direction, one far different than what occurred in the 20th century.

We see it happening, as you do, too. And practically speaking, from an investment standpoint, you should track this trend and be aware of its consequences. It is part of a larger media evolution, one that is turning away from the rigid information control that the elites have exercised for over 100 years.

After Thoughts

It is not a good time to invest in elite media properties, encumbered with all the barriers-to-entry of the past centuries … rickety printing presses, vast studios, etc. But you might do worse than to scrutinize the New Media. These are not just sociopolitical changes that are occurring; they are business-oriented ones as well.

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