By F. William Engdahl
(November 24, 2015)
After more than three decades of researching and writing on themes of mankind’s inclination to abuse and harm our fellow human beings, I rarely receive something so shocking I have difficulty to write about it. A recent decision of the United States Government’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to permit commercialization of the first-ever GMO animal for human consumption, despite an unprecedented 2 million opposing citizen petitions, and despite opposition of 40 members of Congress, more than 300 environmental, consumer, health and animal welfare organizations, salmon and fishing groups and even supermarket chains, is such an instance. It astonishes me.
The original House of Frankenstein Hollywood film of the 1940’s was based on a novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. It dealt with a fictional human cloning by a scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who makes an experiment in human cloning in which he creates an unexpected monster, cloned with the brain of a convicted murderer.
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As feds and Facebook join forces to rein in ‘fake news’ who will fact check the ‘fact-checkers’?
Facebook is the world’s most powerful social media platform, deemed by one observer as “the biggest nation in the world” with no semblance of democracy. The mass medium’s size and breadth is often obscured by its capacity to interlink 1.8 billion users with their friends and loved ones in the broader context of everyday life. Situated at this primary intersection of human relations one cannot overemphasize the significance of the outlet’s self-appointment as chaperon of public discourse.
By its own admission Facebook is no longer merely a for-profit corporation seeking to inject advertising and commerce into the abundant social interaction it oversees. The entity’s new censorial ventures, loosely masquerading as promotion of “good journalism” and “information you can trust,” strongly suggest combined government and corporate efforts to suppress citizen-generated “alternative” news and analysis.
In the United States alone close to half of the population (44% 2016 Pew Research) receive “at least some of their news” from the social media behemoth, putting Facebook among the nation’s most influential distributors of news. This makes the entity’s actual transition from neutral observer to forthright interventionist aided by often unprincipled, even amateurish news media, a momentous and worrisome political event.
Facebook’s recently-announced “news literacy” and “fact checking” initiatives must be recognized as coming in the wake of two other especially significant and likely uncoincidental developments: 1) corporate media’s recent propaganda campaign highlighting so-called “fake news” and alleged Russian-inspired media seeking to “undermine faith in American democracy,” and 2) US lawmakers’ December 8 passage of the “Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act” within the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act