As I sat there wondering how to explain the latest twist in the US presidential election, this story popped up on my Twitter feed: Bank of America analysts claim there’s a 50% chance we live in a “Matrix reality simulation”.
As I read, it all began to make “sense”:
“Top bank analysts claim there’s a 50% chance our world is a computer simulation and we’re all plugged into a Matrix-style virtual reality.
“And they also reckon if it’s true – then there’s no way we’ll ever find out about it.
“The Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch made the astonishing claim in a research note citing comments by top scientists, astrophysicists and philosophers….
“It said: ‘Many scientists, philosophers, and business leaders believe that there is a 20-50% probability that humans are already living in a computer-simulated virtual world. In April 2016, researchers gathered at the American Museum of Natural History to debate this notion.’”
There’s no need to debate this notion any longer, because there is indeed a way to discover whether it’s true. One merely has to read sports reporter Cindy Boren’s recent article in the Washington Post – a “respectable” newspaper – to confirm this theory as fact:
“Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who has made the NFL so uncomfortable with his discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the brains of deceased players, suggests that Hillary Clinton’s campaign be checked for possible poisons after her collapse Sunday in New York.
“Omalu, whose story was famously told in the movie ‘Concussion’” made the suggestion on Twitter, writing that he advised campaign officials to ‘perform toxicologic analysis of Ms. Clinton’s blood.’
“The suggestion was greeted somewhat skeptically in the replies.
“But this is Omalu, whose credentials and tenacity are well known. He wasn’t giving up on Twitter, adding that his reasoning is that he does not trust Russian President Vladimir Putin or Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee who has expressed admiration for Putin.
“Putin, as The Washington Post reported, was implicated by a British inquiry in January in the poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB operative, in London in 2006.”
How in the name of all that’s holy did this article make it past the editors of the Washington Post? This is a question that one might ask if journalists were living in a rational universe – but are they? I would submit that the answer is an emphatic no.
Either the Matrix theory advanced above is correct, or – and this seems more likely – the media is so unhinged by TDS – Trump Derangement Syndrome – that “reporters” are no longer able to distinguish fantasy from reality. And it isn’t just the Post: the Boston Globe, not to be outdone in the irrationality sweepstakes, picked up the Omalu story and reported it with a straight face. Indeed, in an op ed for the Los Angeles Times, I made the argument that the media has dropped all pretense at objectivity and become an arm of the Clinton campaign, but there’s more to the story.
TDS seems to be a disease linked to yet another mass infection: the epidemic of Russophobia that seems to be sweeping the most “liberal” precincts of the country – with the epicenter in Washington, D.C. , and ground zero located at the precise coordinates of the Washington Post’s editorial offices.
Consider this: the Post has run the following pieces over the last few weeks:
A story averring, without proof, that the Russians are intent on rigging the election via cyberwar – and while the Post reporter doesn’t come out and say they’re trying to rig it in Trump’s favor, references to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the subsequent resignation of DNC Debbie Wasserman Schultz make the implication all too clear. The DNC incident, we are told, is “not yet officially ascribed by the U.S. government to Russia,” but the author of this piece isn’t letting facts – or the skepticism of technical experts – get in the way of drawing the “right” conclusions. While “the intelligence community is not saying it has ‘definitive proof’ of such tampering,” the piece goes on to inform us, citing an anonymous “official,” “or any Russian plans to do so,” we should take this seriously because “even the hint of something impacting the security of our election system would be of significant concern.”
In other words: there no facts to back up what is clearly just pure propaganda, but since this is being published in the Washington Post you have to take it seriously.
I challenge anyone to take seriously this Washington Post opinion piece by Anne Applebaum speculating that the Russians are rigging the election in Hillary Clinton’s favor in order to frame her:
“On or before Election Day, Russian hackers will seek to break into the US voting system. … The Russians attempt to throw the election. They might try to get Trump elected. Alternatively – and this would, of course, be even more devastating – they might try to rig the election for Clinton, perhaps leaving a trail of evidence designed to connect the rigging operation to Clinton’s campaign. Once revealed, the result will be media hysteria, hearings, legal challenges, mass rallies, a constitutional crisis – followed by confusion, chaos and an undermining of the office of the presidency. Trump might emerge from the process as president after all. He will then go on, as promised at so many rallies, to ‘lock her up,’ and of course to open a broad relation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the only foreign leader he seems to truly admire.”
This reads like the script of a Hollywood thriller that’s been rejected by every producer in town. How do you refute what is clearly fiction – and very bad fiction at that?
Oh, but there’s more in WaPo’s arsenal, including an “open letter” from two former top intelligence officials asserting that
“Mr. Trump, with all due respect to you as the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, you cannot credibly serve as commander in chief if you embrace Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
After all, “Putin has interfered in the internal affairs of a host of nations on his periphery – through information operations, manipulation of elections and direct support, including providing weapons, to insurgent groups.” Yes, the danger of Putin supplying the Trumpian insurgency with weapons is something we should certainly be preparing for.
The nation’s leading newspapers, especially the New York Times, are marching in lockstep with this Russophobic theme song: Trump is the Manchurian candidate! The “liberal” media has torn a page from Joe McCarthy’s book – except for the fact that McCarthy was right about the commies who had infiltrated the Roosevelt administration during the halcyon days of the Popular Front and the FDR-Stalin Pact. The neo-McCarthyites are simply making it up as they go along.
The danger that this propaganda campaign poses to the national security of the United States – and the future of the republic – cannot be overemphasized. Regarding the former: Russian is a nuclear power. A propaganda war with the Kremlin could easily turn into a military confrontation in any one of a number of hotspots, especially Syria and Ukraine. And the threat to our republican form of government lies in the witch hunt for “pro-Russian” “agents of influence” that is bound to occur if and when Hillary Clinton wins the White House. With the Clinton campaign openly accusing the Russians of trying to elect Trump – and does anyone doubt they’re also pushing the story that they’re trying to “poison” her? – get ready for a new “Red Scare” once Queen Hillary is enthroned.
Please don’t tell me there are no more reds to scare us: CNN pundit Joy Ann Reid thinks Russia is still Communist. Yes, she does, she really does.
The “mainstream” media is a propaganda machine for the Powers That Be: it’s a megaphone for the War Party and a pernicious influence no matter how you cut it. That is why we established Antiwar.com in the first place, and the reasoning behind this was confirmed in the run up to the Iraq war, when “reporters” simply played the role of stenographers taking down the government’s pronouncements and “reporting” them as facts. And did they learn their lesson in the aftermath of that unmitigated disaster? Of course not! The situation has only gotten much worse. As one presidential candidate would put it: Sad!
Yet it’s worse than merely sad: it’s downright dangerous. The replacement of news with propaganda isn’t just occurring in the realm of political reporting, it’s also taking over international reporting, where distortions are the rule rather than the exception. And these distortions are always – coincidentally! – to the advantage of those agitating for US intervention abroad.
Yes, it’s depressing, but there is one bright spot: support for Antiwar.com is increasing, along with our audience. Our recent fundraiser was a success – and it was a little easier, this time around, to make our goal. I want to thank each and every one of my readers who made this possible: it’s thrilling to know that we are the one and only web site devoted to foreign affairs that is entirely supported by our readers. And most donations are quite small, by these standards: less than $50.
The state of the American media is a big problem – but we’re working to counter their influence 24/7. Thank you all for your support – because we couldn’t do it without you.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.