Narrating space and time: the elite television anchor
by Jon Rappoport
February 4, 2014
I grew up in the early days of television, when Edward R Murrow and Douglas Edwards were the voices of the news. Murrow came to be the king.
It was his hollow, somber delivery that seemed to resonate with poetry. For the first time, America had a voice and a picture, every night, to give rhythm and pace to events of its time.
The level of trance was remarkable.
I developed a healthy respect for the power of television news. Meaning, I stayed away from it. It was too pat, too modulated, too seductive.
Somehow, America was suddenly missing its sense of an Open Road. We were told matters of the day were too “profound” for something as ephemeral as Endless Possibility. No, that was gone. We were in the Cold War. That was our fate. The Tube had won.
In the twisted landscape of mass media, there has been one constant for millions of people: the elite television anchor.
He is the guide who tones down meaning and supplies assurance. He stems the tide. He stays in the dream.
He sells the soft way. He hints at fractures in the mass consensus, but then he sutures them together.
He is the voice and the rhythm and the pace of time. He exposes conflict, but he packs it with plastic bubbles to exclude the clamor.
He is on top of the moment and thereby cuts off the future.
He edits space down to a manageable size. He has his own version of sacred geometry.
He heralds spectatorship as the only answer.
He never lays an egg on-air. Instead, with a fine sense of where the power is, he keeps alive the corporate-government-banking-military goose that lays the golden eggs.
Humans love to study animals and catalog their unique habits. If we could back up far enough to see ourselves, surely we would rank our modern method of gaining something we call “the news,” through network television, one of our strangest customs.
A face and a voice on one of three preferred channels tells us what the world is like every day.
Millions of us consider such transmissions not only informative but authoritative. Somehow, the capsulized squibs and fragments form for us a picture of truth.
The first principle applied to the training of an elite anchor is: pay no attention to what opposing sides agree on.
It may seem like a strange place to start, but it’s absolutely crucial.
As a hopeful anchor rises up through the ranks toward cherished positions on the national evening news at NBC, CBS, and ABC, he is exposed to Washington politics. He learns those ropes well.
He perceives conflict and battle and anger and hatred. He is looking at issues on which the two major parties differ in the strongest possible terms. This is what he is supposed to see. This is his indoctrination.
He gets a feel for this. After all, it is what he is already predisposed to observe, because he knows that all news involves side A versus side B. Without that, there is no news.
“…a scheduled meeting between House leaders was canceled after a rancorous confrontation between…”
But here are a few items that are largely ignored: paid lobbyists and secret councils shaping legislative decisions; fraudulent medical research; the federal government aligning itself with Globalist policies; federal support of illegal corporate activities; enormous and illegal Federal Reserve power.
To the degree that both major parties agree in these areas, there is no news. It doesn’t exist.
The aspiring anchor learns to ignore such “dead subjects.”
Therefore, he’s conditioned to define what is news in very narrow terms with narrow boundaries. He consistently misses the big picture.
A reporter for one of the major networks once told me, “It’s useless to pitch stories [to producers] where there isn’t any clear conflict among the recognized players.”
Of course, a conspiracy consists of people who wholeheartedly agree on something behind the scenes. Conspiracy is often what the noisy out-front conflict is supposed to hide.
When a major news reporter makes light of conspiracies, part of what he’s saying is: “It wouldn’t be news because people aren’t fighting with each other about it.”
As a reporter moves closer to winning an elite anchor’s slot, something else happens. He’s introduced to what used to be called “the Eastern establishment.” At parties, at charity fundraisers, at meetings of the CFR, he meets players:
bankers, Congressmen, lobbyists, key lawyers, leaders of non-profit foundations, favored academics and technocrats, PR agency people, Beltway “facilitators,” corporate big shots, a few intelligence-agency friendlies, Pentagon execs.
He understands very well that his new friends are feeling him out and vetting him. They expect him to be earnest, glib, and facile. They watch for signs that a cloud of doubt is hanging over his head—meaning that he is skeptical of entrenched Power. That would be an overwhelming mark against him.
Essentially, a subliminal unspoken pact is forged. The heavy hitters assert: “We are the core of the country. What we do in secret is not to be discussed or aired.”
The anchor replies: “I understand that. Don’t worry. I won’t cover it unless you can’t conceal it. It’s not news. I’m looking for conflict.”
The reporter who is on his way up to an elite anchor’s job can affect a strong moral sense, because that is part of his persona, because being able to invoke it sells advertisers’ products on the evening news; he can and does apply his morals selectively.
Through tone of voice and facial expression, he can make his disapproval known to the viewing audience, when he “objectively” covers a a drug recall—the drug in question having caused deaths among patients.
“The best-selling drug Vioxx was taken off the market today when it was revealed that…its manufacturer nevertheless suggested that many people were helped by…”
But the anchor would never recommend collecting many such stories and welding them into a wide-ranging indictment of the FDA or the drug companies. That’s not on his radar. That’s not permitted. That’s called inventing a conflict that doesn’t exist.
A crime dug up solely by reporters is almost always non-starter. At best, it might run as a brief “feature” on the evening broadcast, and then the coverage would contain sufficient generalities to obscure the perpetrators. And once this feature is aired, it is forgotten. It was filler.
Take a story like Wall Street bankers committing huge and ongoing RICO financial felonies. A certain amount of coverage is allowed, but it’s verboten to highlight the fact, over and over again, that these people aren’t being arrested, tried, and sentenced to prison terms.
A Bernie Madoff gets the full treatment, but only after the Justice Department arrests him. And then Madoff is portrayed as the crazy Ponzi-scheme hustler, the exception, the lone wolf.
The vetting of an elite anchor is very thorough, because normally he is going to be the managing editor for his own national evening broadcast. That means he will have the final word on which stories run and where they run in the line-up.
His bosses want no blowups. They want no visible wrangling between the anchor and his editors and producers. They definitely don’t want the anchor going off the reservation to bring in a dangerous (to favored players) story out of left field. A few of these gross transgressions and he’ll be fired. But the whole point is to avoid the mess by choosing the “right” anchor to begin with.
Several years before golden boy Brian Williams was tapped to sit in the prince’s throne at NBC, it was obvious he was the heir apparent. He could affect an aura of honesty, a sincere dedication to the truth. He passed the “character test” with flying colors.
On the scale of “believable moral sense,” Williams was within shooting distance of a young Walter Cronkite. Of course, if you started to qualify where and how his moral commitment would be exercised, and where it would be excused from duty, you would find yourself traveling down into a very deep and disturbing rabbit hole.
If you’re looking for Williams to cover the nexus of the CIA, the Pentagon, mega-corporations, NATO, and other players in their ongoing program of destabilizing foreign nations, you’ll be wasting your time. Unless some giant blow-up over this issue surfaces in the Congress, Williams will be silent. And in this regard, you’ll see an effort to minimize and distort coverage of Rand Paul, because he, like his father, states that he wants to bring US troops home from their massive foreign deployments.
If, by chance, a long-form interviewer at C-Span or PBS, addled for the moment by a prescription drug, throws out a question to Williams about US government empire-building, Williams will talk out of several sides of his mouth simultaneously, leaving the impression that this is “a profound issue he really cares about.”
The elite news anchor a) believes the news only involves visible conflict, b) misses the big picture through ignorance, c) understands there is a big picture and intentionally ignores it, d) is truly honest, e) is a liar down to his shoes, f) opposes undo corporate influence on government and politics, g) is completely sold out to the corporate-government partnership, h) has no clue about the true intentions of US foreign policy, while purposely omitting coverage of those intentions and their consequences.
The elite news anchor is an actor who can know and not know, at a moment’s notice, that he is acting.
He can deal with these massive internal contradictions because he is a roaring success; he is admired; he banks a big check every month; he exerts influence; he has a certain amount of power; he thinks about ratings and what he has to do to improve them; he lives in a bubble where all the important people lie all the time. He is familiar with the culture and is part of it.
If everybody else in his world is a multiple personality, he can be, too, and it isn’t disturbing. It’s how the stage play works.
Over time, though, the elite anchor performs a kind of psychic surgery on himself, cuts away the rough edges and the doubts and the consciousness of the con and the scam. It’s more comfortable that way.
In other words, he lowers his own IQ and blurs the boundaries of his perception. The lies he never really believed before he does believe now.
His own multiplicity and contradictions are mixed into a sludge, whereby the apt summary and the capsule explanation, beamed out to millions of people every night, are “the best that can be done under the circumstances.”
The elite anchor comes to know, intimately, the mad rush and the deadline and the fever to beat the competition. If he needs a final distraction to lead him away from what he once comprehended about reality at a deeper level, this is it. “We have to get this story on in five minutes…”
The elite anchor is everything the CIA would program into existence, if they needed to. But they don’t. Because all over America, children are growing up who want to do the news. And out of all of them, the few who will rise to the top are already internalizing the personal and professional requirements of the job, day in and day out. They haven’t even visited Washington DC yet, and they’re sopping up psychic clues like sponges.
This is a piece of how the Matrix operates. In a highly organized society, roles are available. People will cast themselves in those roles and learn how to play them. They’ll reach out for the brass ring. Some will do a better imitation than others. Some will do the imitation and believe in it. And the winners will believe it and not believe it.
The elite anchor knows that if he wanders too far afield, if he becomes too real, if he brings in stories that don’t fit the mold, if he goes up against the forces with whom he is allied, he will suffer.
There is no need to point this out to him. There is no need, because the anchor has already geared his persona and intelligence to the machine he represents.
Once in a great while, he probably plays out a little scene in his head: he brings in an incredible story that mangles the highest people he knows in the pyramid of power; he achieves great recognition for his courage; and then one night he dies on a lonely road.
But this cautionary tale is sheer fantasy, because he is the incarnation of what social planners and engineers and psyops specialists and spooks and mind-control researchers and PR experts would have cooked up to fill his chair in the studio of NBC, ABC, or CBS. He’s that guy.
And he did it himself, which always works better because the result is more convincing.
A retired propaganda operative once told me that the index of an anchor’s performance is his sources. For those shadowy types who keep track of how well an anchor is working his mass deceptions, an examination of sources is revealing.
More specifically, who is feeding stories to the reporters who work for the anchor? A list compiled over the years will tell you whether the anchor is staying within the prescribed boundaries. When you see hundreds or even thousands of names from government, from foundations, from corporations, from think-tanks, from favored academia, and almost no names from anywhere else, you know the anchor is in the right wheelhouse.
The anchor is the magnet created to attract specific kinds of metal filings.
He can say, “We take our information from the most reliable people out there. What else can you ask for?”
Not much, if you want the news to emanate from a sealed universe, with one highly structured hole for IN and one for OUT.
Because of that architecture, the major news businesses of the country are failing. Their bottom lines are shrinking. They’re going up against this other universe we all know about and access, which has at least 500 million holes for in and out.
But don’t discount the hypnotic effect an anchor like Brian Williams has on the public. There is a marriage there, no question about it.
Williams, like others before him, fits the stripped down concept of the operator, one who can push and pull all the right gears, to convey Factoid and Summary.
Sit down at the meal, Brian’s here. He’s a smooth server. He brings only what is necessary, and because of that, we can trust him.
America wants (and therefore gets) a newsman to tell its national stories every night in terms a salesman who has risen through the ranks would use: he doesn’t persuade or cajole or push; he’s above that; he’s shed the big smile and the glad hand.
He’s a pro’s pro. He need only tilt his head in a direction and people follow. He need only indicate with a glance and the message is picked up by the millions. He informs us, by his very manner, that we are all now operating in a vacuum jar. All our battles and oppositions are being played out in a strange silence at the core of the surrounding noise.
We’re all dead, except we’ve forgotten the fact. In this limbo, he will guide us. There is no boat to take souls across the river. There is no inner life of the individual; that is over. There are only the slight changing shades of feeling that signify one thing is more important than another.
Postmortem America presents its own peculiar problems, and Williams understands them well. He schooled himself to be the guide in this moonscape, where his ministrations are like changing ticks in the stock market of drained souls.
Up a little today, down a little tomorrow. A crisis here, a crisis there. This is better, that is worse. Today the machine outperformed the machine yesterday by seven degrees of calculation.
He speaks in atomic strings of thought, adjusted and groomed.
Yes, this is a marriage. The public wants this. It wants the conversion rate of consciousness at 6:30 every night, presented in terms a computer can fathom and store until the next modulation.
He, the anchor, will decide how horrible an event can become. He will draw the line. He will make the distinctions. Nothing is measured or given meaning outside the vacuum.
Underneath and between his words, the alive Desire that once animated souls washes up on the beach of television like a dead fish, every night.
Spiritually and cosmologically speaking, it is his job to move steadily ahead, broadcast by broadcast, and present debris, fragments of existence after the Fall. It is his job to walk the parched deserts and translate into beveled English the aftershocks of detonations set off by the crime bosses called leaders.
What he conveys, and what the medium through which he reaches us proposes, is a declaration of surrender. The loss of a war. We’re supposed to believe that the war fought on behalf of the inner fecund life of the individual is lost.
This is the imperative peddled by our official salesmen.
They don’t realize that such a war can never be lost. Any person can pick up the scent and the sound of the river within his own psyche and awaken his need for open water.
Any one of us can stop calculating gains and losses by a serial morbid clock. Any one of us can stop hammering new pieces into a mechanical fortress, which is only an impregnable symbol of despair.
We can awaken from the dream of motion, time, and energy inside the vacuum. Then we will see there are trillions of other dreams, none of them yet created, but wholly dependent on our capacity to invent Something from Nothing.
This is the spark. After the fire begins to burn in the true soul, not the fabricated one, The News will fade away like an old skin, no longer needed.
The hunger for a voice to tell us what death after death is like will vanish, and so will the news, as we know it.
People will say, “Yes, there was once a rare specimen who narrated reality to the rest of us. It was a hypnotic dream we were all engaged in. But that specimen is now extinct. It outlived its usefulness.”
Is such a heraldic future possible? The answer each one of us makes draws a line in the sand. On one side are those who consent to the declaration of surrender. On the other side are those who intimately understand the terms of the struggle and never give in.
The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com