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Objectivity. What more could you want? What could be more objective than science? What could be less open to dispute? Who could be more authoritative than a scientist? What could influence public opinion more thoroughly than a whole group of scientists, an establishment of scientists, backed by the government?
Notice that when a news anchor takes an unimpeachable statement from a scientist, they both sound like scientists. The double whammy.
It impresses the rubes and yokels and even the well-educated viewers.
This is no accident.
It’s a system of persuasion.
I published this quote yesterday. Here it is again:
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” —Marcia Angell, MD (“Drug Companies and Doctors: A story of Corruption.” NY Review of Books, Jan. 15, 2009.)
Essentially, Angell is saying that fraud dressed up to look like science is pervasive in official medical media.
So it is in the news business.
The veneer and the tone and pose of objectivity are a front, a con.
Take the breaking story of NBC’s Brian Williams, “the most trusted name in news.” He lied about being in a helicopter taking fire in Iraq in 2003. He admitted the lie yesterday, and in his confession he apparently lied again, giving the false impression that the helicopter right in front of his took the fire, when at least one soldier on the scene states that Williams’ helicopter wasn’t even in the same formation, but landed some time later.
The impact of Williams lying is magnified by his persona of objectivity, which is on display every night on NBC. The objective man was lying. He was making it up. He was faking it.
Consider the 2004 Pediatrics study which exonerated the MMR vaccine and claimed it was in no way connected to autism. Objective science. But last August, one of the authors of the study, William Thompson, a long-time researcher at the CDC, released a statement through his attorney, Rick Morgan, confessing that he and his co-authors had lied, omitted vital data, rigged the study, in order to give the vaccine a free pass.
An objective expert—a rank liar.
Centuries ago, when a ruling priest addressed an audience and shouted and pointed at the sky and warned of great danger and destruction, and told of curses, and laid out a path for appeasing the gods, he was considered an “objective authority.” He wasn’t accused of ranting.
Today, the appearance of scientific objectivity is the key. Whoever holds that key is considered an authority. Therefore, many, many people affect that pose. Especially in the news business.
In days gone by, priestly shouting was accepted as a truth-indicator and thus induced a trance. Today, the pose of science induces the trance.
Mainstream television news has staged itself as a “conveyer of science.” Because it works.
This is the reality egg: the pose and appearance of scientific objectivity. This is how the egg is built.
But here is the truth. The egg, the enclosed dome are being built for us by messengers who appear to be objective. They’re the narrators. They’re the news princes and the “scientists.” They’re the key actors.
They can mix image and word and algorithm and computer model to prove anything, and in doing so they can act as if they’re reporting facts—rather than building the egg.
The egg is there for one reason: to convince us that each one of us can’t invent his own open realities, to convince us that we can’t find ways to cooperate, as free and independent and powerful individuals, and crack the egg.
Their strategy and pose is failing. Badly.
Now that’s a news story.
That has legs.
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE 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 or .