The hidden impact of ‘fake news’ the mainstream won’t tell you

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Mick Meaney

I built RINF Alternative News around 12 years ago… it’s always been an independent news website, and I have always maintained it.

Recently the site found its way onto that list of supposed ‘fake news’. The same list that’s currently dominating the news.

Corporate media organisations attempted to smear every website that’s listed, and now there are even calls for the law to be changed that would stop us from presenting a counter-view to the mainstream offering.

The purpose of this post is not to delve into the politics of that list, but to talk about the immediate impact it has had, at least on my website.

You might think that such ‘naming and shaming’ across the global media would be bad for business.

Not so. In fact, this has possibly been the biggest endorsement we could have ever hoped to receive.

The independent media, by its very nature is the enemy of the mainstream. We only exist because they have frequently repeatedly failed to uphold journalistic integrity.

When that mainstream media considers us a threat, it signals that we are on the right path, we are doing a good job. That we are having an impact.

It’s no secret that polarizing audiences can do wonders for your brand – when it’s authentic.

It plays directly into the bandwagon effect, a common psychological phenomenon where people make choices based on the apparent choices of others.

The mainstream media were undoubtedly hoping to tap into herd mentality.

The harder you condemn a group of people, an idea or a cause, the more those who oppose that idea will align themselves to you. Politicians use the technique perfectly.

But for the most part, the attempt backfired.

When you’re being attacked by such a large entity as the mainstream media in this way, a strange thing happens… you instantly become the underdog.

Because the mainstream media’s reasons for publicising the list were entirely for their own gain, it was not in the best interests of their readers, their customers.

It was a selfish act, for their own preservation and as a result most people see through it.

My inbox is full of people thanking me for ‘standing up’ against them.

It puts us in a ‘David versus Goliath’ situation. People love an underdog, someone to root for. And it’s required absolutely zero additional effort on my part.

Another unexpected side-effect is the level of credibility it gives.

Suddenly, a sceptical public now have a list of ‘genuine’ independent news sources. The real deal. An ‘alternative’ media legitimised by the acknowledgement of how dangerous we are, how we must be stopped and how people should fear us.

Are we the new rock n’ roll? The latest designer drug?

No, it’s much less exciting than that. In fact the mainstream reaction has long been expected by us. We’ve been waiting for this. And there’s more to follow.

The mainstream media market share is steadily decreasing year on year, while ours increases.

Combine that with the fact that their business model is dying; newspaper sales are in freefall.

This means less advertising revenue. National newspapers reported an 11% fall last year alone, with some titles reporting a 13% fall.

This amounts to a 29% fall in profits for some newspapers.

They aren’t going to go quietly.

So a word of caution to all you entrepreneurs, it’s only a matter of time before print media in it’s current format becomes extinct. Avoid it or do it better than what’s out there at the moment.

But don’t think there is money to be found in the independent media.

Pretty much everybody in this started out because we felt exposing political corruption was the right thing to do.

But money doesn’t care about ethics and it doesn’t care how right you are.

So as a result most independent media sites don’t make a great deal of money, but a small number do and they have built a devoted following over many years. It’s taken a long time to get there, to work a 40 hour week would be a dream… a 16 hour day isn’t out of ordinary, vacations and days-off are rare.

Revenue is mostly generated through advertising. A payout is typically made for every 1000 people who visit.

For us a payout can often be as low as $0.10 per every 1000 people who visit, with the Cost Per Mille (CPM) advertising model.

This is because advertisers generally stay away from controversial websites, and you’d be hard-pushed to find a more controversial niche.

So you can imagine just how little most sites actually make.

This fact does somewhat prove an accusation by the mainstream media. We are dangerous, but not for the reasons they want you to believe. We’re dangerous because we can’t be bought.

If our motivation was financial gain, then there are much easier ways to make money.

Most of us never expected to make any money at all, and the prospect of losing it isn’t deterrent enough for us to quit. We do it because we need to do it, it’s a passion.

And for that reason taking away our exposure in search engines and social media won’t mean much to us, because those organisations already fail to promote most of what we produce.

Taking away what little advertising revenue we earn won’t make that much difference, most of us started this as a side passion and never thought it could become more than that – and in the early days even back when we knew hardly anybody was reading, the independent media still showed up everyday and exposed corruption, inequality and inhumanity.

The number of hits, Youtube views, etc, etc, are not important.

The number of readers and reach across social media is not something most talk about, it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t matter if just a handful of people read the info we share, or tens of millions.

The information is being published either way.

The motivation of the independent media is not the same as the corporate media, they are dealing with something they do not understand.

They work for statistics, for targets, for profit.

We work for truth, so we can look our children in the eye and tell them that somebody tried to stand up against mass surveillance, illegal wars and crimes against humanity, against corrupt politicians and the corporations who control them.

The relationship between mainstream journalists and politicians has become symbiotic.

Journalists want scoops, it increases their value. To get scoops they need to buddy-up to politicians. They do that by writing stories that cast politicians or their policies in a favorable light.

Corporations buy influence with politicians through donations and lobbying.

The same corporations that advertise in the mainstream media.

The same mainstream media that wants to silence us.

Do you see how it works?

  • hvaiallverden

    Patient, is an virtue, every time I hear that I want to punch that face that says it, but its never the less true.
    I think the days of their hegemony is gone, the only thing that can change it, is them selfs, but that seems to not be the case, instead they just fill in with More nonsense and continue to dig them self downward.
    And of course, the revenues and income from large Corps, whom basically owns this so called news site is dying to, most of what I read is what I define as TV-shows commercial inputs to the owners TV channels aka Khardasians.
    What little left to news is what we are up against.
    And I think when the tide turns, the rest comes by it self, its an transitory stage right now and things do take time, so be patient.
    Quality contra quantity, its the game, not the amount of it, but how it resonates with truth.

    WE may never agree upon everything, I find that normal, no problems, as long we do it openly, and why I am against censure is also doe to that fact that One needs info from both sides of the fences, if not, you dont know what They know.
    Only an fool ignores the opposition, so dont, if open to both sides, even your enemy will respect you, thats what honesty does.

    Keep on rocking in the free world.

    peace

  • Well said, Mick.

    We have the startling example of what is likely the all-time great attack campaign by the press, ignoring every journalistic principle, the one conducted against Trump.

    There has never been anything quite like it for relentless intensity and comprehensiveness.

    And what happened? It failed, and Trump was elected.

    The old fable of the boy who cried “wolf” too often definitely applies here.

    So too does the traditional sympathy many people instinctively come feel for an underdog.

    To say nothing of the revulsion many feel towards showy displays of the arrogance of power.

    In the end, corporate journalism – and that is what all the mainline press and broadcasting are, corporate – cannot be honest journalism. It is literally impossible.

    We see how even the new hi-tech internet companies – all started with undoubtedly good intentions – have terribly abused their power now that they are very large and established corporations. You name the firm – Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple, etc – and it is seriously abusive and drunk on its own power.

    The press and broadcasting are not a whit different. Big corporations are big corporations, effectively all fairly powerful special interests.

    This current attack on “fake” news and on legitimate non-American news sources is just sickening. It comes from what are special interests, the corporate press and officials of a political party aggrieved by its failure.

    That number of 200 “fake news” sites immediately struck me because it is close to the number drunken old Senator Joe McCarthy claimed as the number of “commies” in the State Department was on one of his secret lists never even seen by anyone.

    Often-drunken McCarthy who was trying to spark a failing political career with some kind of shocking claims and briefly succeeded.

    He has long been totally discredited, but here is one of the best-known newspapers in America making a frighteningly similar claim. They do not even understand the source of their “information,” but they published anyway. Absurdly irresponsible.

    Perhaps they, too, are trying to spark a flagging career, flagging in terms of traditional advertising and in terms of readership vis-à-vis the alternate press, but I’m also quite sure they are serving the interests they always have served, interests such as CIA, special and corporate interests, and political insiders.

    Not everything the alternate press does is sound or even responsible – although that is precisely the case for the corporate press already – but the alternate press exercises free speech, the single most important right there is in distinguishing a free society from an authoritarian one. In that sense, they are on the side of the angels.

    And just reflect on the person who perhaps most strongly raises her voice against the alternative press and makes utterly unfounded claims about Russia, Hillary Clinton. She is a bitter person, angry about not winning the one thing she has long lusted after, and she has not an ounce of ability to engage in self-reflection about why that might be. And that’s all besides having been the most corrupt candidate ever to run for the presidency.

  • ladynada

    I remember you, RINF, from wayyyyyyy back when it was a message forum. I was glad to stumble on you while searching US ISRAEL supplying terrorists in Aleppo!

  • Joe Blow

    Right on the button! Denzel poked them in the eye the other day with his Mark Twain quote and in their face comment about how they didn’t want to be accurate, just first with the news, as if it is some sort of competition.

    “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
    William Casey CIA Director (from 1st staff meeting 1981)

  • John Doe

    FAKE perfectly fits the DC Crowd and their clown car buracracy. America is now a banana republic and the Govt has the same level of credibility as the LAME Stream media. Im not sure if burning it down is worth it.

  • abinico

    Knowing how kids do the opposite of what they are told to do, I bet lots of young people have now turned to alt news sites.

  • qbert

    Follow the money. The Jews, who own main stream propaganda ‘news’, aren’t just losing money, they’re losing control of the thoughts/information of the cattle (that’s us non- Jews). That puts their plans to subjugate all of us under them in jeopardy.