“The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.” Gary Kasparov
You’ve probably heard by now about The Rolling Stone interview with Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s Meet the Press, How Disinformation Spreads, According to Chuck Todd.
Todd told Rolling Stone that his program’s consistent practice of having Republicans on the show who lie, and letting them get away with it, was simple naivete on his part. Actually, his words were “absurdly naive.” And that was the most interesting thing he said in the interview, the rest of it being himself of all people lecturing us about how disinformation spreads and taking very little blame for it even while acknowledging the liars were using his program to do it.
Todd tried to sell his naivete via several examples including this one that he must truly be naive to think anyone’s going to buy. Basically, Ted Cruz asked to be on the show and Todd said he had no idea why, but thought it meant he wanted to warn people about the dangers of Trump and all the lying:
“And by the way, they came to us. They came to us saying they wanted to come on this week. And I really naively thought, maybe he wants to remind people that with Russia [and blaming Ukraine] this is getting ridiculous. And it turned out not to be the case.”
There is no way he can possibly be that naive, of course. I have been a guest on a talk radio program just once in my life, but from that experience I learned that when you are a going to appear on a program, the host goes over with you generally what you are planning to say.
That is not the only time in the interview Todd gave a less than plausible version of how things work. He wants us to believe he’s been accidentally helping the Republicans lie for years due to naivete. Apparently, the producers and staff that work for MTP were also just as absurdly naive. So don’t waste your time reading Chuck Todd’s disingenuous interview but do read The Christmas Eve Confessions of Chuck Todd by Jay Rosen.
Here’s a sampler from The Christmas Eve Confessions of Chuck Todd.
Three years after Kellyanne Conway introduced the doctrine of “alternative facts” on his own program, a light went on for Chuck Todd. Republican strategy, he now realized, was to make stuff up, spread it on social media, repeat it in your answers to journalists — even when you know it’s a lie with crumbs of truth mixed in — and then convert whatever controversy arises into go-get-em points with the base, while pocketing for the party a juicy dividend: additional mistrust of the news media to help insulate President Trump among loyalists when his increasingly brazen actions are reported as news.
Chuck Todd repeatedly called himself naive for not recognizing the pattern, itself an astounding statement that cast doubt on his fitness for office as host of Meet the Press. While the theme of the interview was waking up to the truth of Republican actions in the information warfare space, Todd went to sleep on the implications of what he revealed. It took him three years to understand a fact about American politics that was there on the surface, unconcealed since the day after inauguration. Many, many interpreters had described it for him during those lost years when he could not bring himself to believe it. (I am one.)
The right wing ecosystem for news does not operate like the rest of the country’s news system. And increasingly conservative politics is getting sucked into conservative media. It makes more sense to see Fox News and the Trump White House as two parts of the same organism.
Read more at PressThink