A couple of years ago, I launched my Unz Review, providing a wide range of different alternative perspectives, the vast majority of them totally excluded from the mainstream media. I’ve also published a number of articles in my own American Pravda series, focusing on the suspicious lapses and lacunae in our media narratives.
The underlying political strategy behind these efforts may already be apparent, and I’ve sometimes suggested it here and there. But I finally decided I might as well explicitly outline the reasoning in a memo as provided below.
The Mainstream Media is the Crucial Opposing Force
Groups advocating policies opposed by the American establishment should recognize that the greatest obstacle they face is usually the mainstream media.
Ordinary political and ideological opponents surely exist, but these are usually inspired, motivated, organized, and assisted by powerful media support, which also shapes the perceived framework of the conflict. In Clauswitzian terms, the media often constitutes the strategic “center of gravity” of the opposing forces.
The Media Should Be Made a Primary Target
If the media is the crucial force empowering the opposition, then it should be regarded as a primary target of any political strategy. So long as the media remains strong, success may be difficult, but if the influence and credibility of the media were substantially degraded, then the ordinary opposing forces would lose much of their effectiveness. In many respects, the media creates reality, so perhaps the most effective route toward changing reality runs through the media.
Discrediting the Media Anywhere Weakens It Everywhere
The mainstream media exists as a seamless whole, so weakening or discrediting the media in any particular area automatically reduces its influence everywhere else as well.
The elements of the media narrative faced by a particular anti-establishment group may be too strong and well-defended to attack effectively, and any such attacks might also be discounted as ideologically motivated. Hence, the more productive strategy may sometimes be an indirect one, attacking the media narrative elsewhere, at points where it is much weaker and less well-defended. In addition, winning those easier battles may generate greater credibility and momentum, which can then be applied to later attacks on more difficult fronts.
A Broad Alliance May Support the Common Goal of Weakening the Media
Once we recognize that weakening the media is a primary strategic goal, an obvious corollary is that other anti-establishment groups facing the same challenges become natural, if perhaps temporary, allies.
Such unexpected tactical alliances may drawn from across a wide range of different political and ideological perspectives—Left, Right, or otherwise—and despite the component groups having longer-term goals that are orthogonal or even conflicting. So long as all such elements in the coalition recognize that the hostile media is their most immediate adversary, they can cooperate on their common effort, while actually gaining additional credibility and attention by the very fact that they sharply disagree on so many other matters.
The media is enormously powerful and exercises control over a vast expanse of intellectual territory. But such ubiquitous influence also ensures that its local adversaries are therefore numerous and widespread, all being bitterly opposed to the hostile media they face on their own particular issues. By analogy, a large and powerful empire is frequently brought down by a broad alliance of many disparate rebellious factions, each having unrelated goals, which together overwhelm the imperial defenses by attacking simultaneously at multiple different locations.
A crucial aspect enabling such a rebel alliance is the typically narrow focus of each particular constituent member. Most groups or individuals opposing establishment positions tend to be ideologically zealous about one particular issue or perhaps a small handful, while being much less interested in others. Given the total suppression of their views at the hands of the mainstream media, any venue in which their unorthodox perspectives are provided reasonably fair and equal treatment rather than ridiculed and denigrated tends to inspire considerable enthusiasm and loyalty on their part. So although they may have quite conventional views on most other matters, causing them to regard contrary views with the same skepticism or unease as might anyone else, they will usually be willing to suppress their criticism at such wider heterodoxy so long as other members of their alliance are willing to return that favor on their own topics of primary interest.
Assault the Media Narrative Where It is Weak Not Where It Is Strong
Applying a different metaphor, the establishment media may be regarded as a great wall that excludes alternative perspectives from the public consciousness and thereby confines opinion to within a narrow range of acceptable views.
Certain portions of that media wall may be solid and vigorously defended by powerful vested interests, rendering assaults difficult. But other portions, perhaps older and more obscure, may have grown decrepit over time, with their defenders having drifted away. Breaching the wall at these weaker locations may be much easier, and once the barrier has been broken at several points, defending it at others becomes much more difficult.
For example, consider the consequences of demonstrating that the established media narrative is completely false on some major individual event. Once this result has been widely recognized, the credibility of the media on all other matters, even totally unrelated ones, would be somewhat attenuated. Ordinary people would naturally conclude that if the media had been so wrong for so long on one important point, it might also be wrong on others as well, and the powerful suspension of disbelief that provides the media its influence would become less powerful. Even those individuals who collectively form the corpus of the media might begin to entertain serious self-doubts regarding their previous certainties.
The crucial point is that such breakthroughs may be easiest to achieve in topics that seem merely of historical significance, and are totally removed from any practical present-day consequences.
Reframe Vulnerable “Conspiracy Theories” as Effective “Media Criticism”
Over the last few decades, the political establishment and its media allies have created a powerful intellectual defense against major criticism by investing considerable resources in stigmatizing the notion of so-called “conspiracy theories.” This harsh pejorative term is applied to any important analysis of events that sharply deviates from the officially-endorsed narrative, and implicitly suggests that the proponent is a disreputable fanatic, suffering from delusions, paranoia, or other forms of mental illness. Such ideological attacks often effectively destroy his credibility, allowing his actual arguments to be ignored. A once-innocuous phrase has become politically “weaponized.”
However, an effective means of circumventing this intellectual defense mechanism may be to adopt a meta-strategy of reframing such “conspiracy theories” as “media criticism.”