The good old days: Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, Scott Pelley—and Salvador Dali
by Jon Rappoport
July 25, 2017
Salvador Dali, surrealist, was one of the most reviled painters of the 20th century.
He disturbed Conventional Folk who just wanted to see an apple in a bowl on a table.
Dali’s apples and bowls were executed with a technical skill few artists could match—except that the apples were coming out of a woman’s nose while she was ironing the back of a giraffe, who was on fire.
“It doesn’t go together! It doesn’t make sense! He’s Satan!”
Yet, these same Folk sit in front of the television screen every night and watch the entirely surreal network news. Elite anchors seamlessly and quickly move from blood running in the streets of a distant land to a hairdryer product-recall to an unseasonal hail storm in Michigan to a debate about public policy on pedophiles to genetically engineered mosquitoes in Florida to a possible breakthrough in storing computer simulations of human brains for later recapture to squirrels gathering nuts in New Jersey.
Nothing surreal about this??
Cognitive dissonance is imprinted on viewers’ minds. It’s the news. It must be normal, even if it’s quite insane.
The best of the best mind control is supposedly applied by the three major network anchors. Recall the old trio: Brian Williams, Scott Pelley, and Diane Sawyer. They’re all gone now. The junior varsity has taken over. David Muir, Lester Holt, and a permanent CBS anchor to be named later.
When the elite anchor goes on air and digs in, he’s paid to be seamless. He could be transitioning from mass killings in East Asia to sub-standard air conditioners, and he makes the audience track through the absurd curve in the road.
Then there is the voice itself. The elite anchor has a voice that soothes just a bit but brooks no resistance. It’s authoritative but not demanding.
Scott Pelley (CBS) was careful to watch himself on this count, because his tendency was to shove the message down the viewer’s throat like a surgeon making an incision with an icepick. Pelley was a high-IQ android who was training himself to be human.
Diane Sawyer wandered into sloppiness, like a housewife who’s still wearing her bathrobe at 4 in the afternoon. She exuded sympathetic syrup, as if she’d had a few cocktails for lunch. And she affected a pose of “caring too much.”
Brian Williams was head and shoulders above his two competitors. You had to look and listen hard to spot a speck of confusion in his delivery. He knew how to believe his act was real. He could also flick a little aw-shucks apple-pie at the viewer. Country boy who moved to the big city.
The vocal delivery of an elite anchor has to work minor poetic rhythms into prose. Shallow hills and valleys. Clip it here and there. Give the important words a pop. This is hypnosis at work. Not the cheesy stage act with three rubes sitting in chairs, waiting to be made into fools by the used-car-salesman type waving a pendulum. This is higher-class stuff. It flows with certainty. It entrains brains. The audience tunes in every night to get their fix.
That’s the key. The audience doesn’t really care about content. They want the delivery, the sound, the voice of the face.
Brain Williams could do a story about three hookers getting thrown out of a restaurant by a doctor celebrating his anniversary with his wife, and it would come across like the Pentagon sending warships into the Gulf.
Diane Sawyer couldn’t. That’s why Williams’ ratings were higher.
Segues, blends are absolutely vital. These are the transitions between one story and another. “Earlier today, in Boston.” “Meanwhile, in New York, the police are reporting.” “But on the Hill, the news was somewhat disappointing for supporters of the president.”
Doing excellent blends can earn an anchor millions of dollars. The audience doesn’t wobble or falter or make distinctions between what went before and what’s coming now. It’s all one script. It’s one winding weirdness of story every night.
Therefore, the viewer doesn’t need to think. This is the acid test. If the ratings are high enough and the audience isn’t thinking, we have a winner.
Corollary: the audience doesn’t notice the parameters of stories, how they’re bounded and defined and artificially constructed to omit deeper themes and various criminals who are committing outrageous crimes that aren’t supposed to be exposed.
Brian Williams, with just a bit of his twanging emphasis, could say, “Today, pharmaceutical giant Glaxo was fined one-point-nine billions dollars,” but he would never tie all the horrendous stories of medical-drug damage together in a searing indictment of the whole industry.
The audience needs to remain oblivious to this larger story. That’s the anchor’s job. That’s his underlying assignment.
It’s called, in intelligence circles, a limited hangout. You expose a piece of a crime, in order to transmit the illusion of “justice served,” while the true RICO dimensions are kept out of view.
Elite anchors are the princes of limit hangouts. That is their stock in trade. Sell the illusion of justice while concealing the bulk of the iceberg that is under water.
The audience can watch and listen to hours of coverage on revolutions and counter-revolutions in the Middle East, but they can’t suspect that the US and NATO are funding terrorists dressed up as freedom fighters, in order to destabilize and destroy nations in that region.
“More gunfire and explosions in the capital city today…”
Then there is a little thing called conscience. The elite anchor can’t have one. He has to pretend to have one, but it isn’t real.
Every year, the anchor covers dozens of scandals that are left to wither and die on the vine and fall down the memory hole, never to be seen again, except perhaps for a much-later task-force or commission report that equivocates and exonerates the major players.
The anchor is happy to deal with this. He’s happy to develop memory loss.
In editorial meetings at his own network offices, if someone mentions trillions in government bailouts to banks, he can frown slightly and thus impart, “It’s stale, it’s old, we already covered that, let’s move along.”
And when it comes to elites, to whom the anchor pledges allegiance, and with whom he occasionally hob-nobs? CFR, Rockefeller interests, Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, AIPAC, government-allied Big Medicine, and so on? Nothing to see, nothing to say. No problem.
Therefore, the viewing audience doesn’t suspect these controlling entities are doing anything wrong or, in some cases, even exist.
The elite anchor: “Conspiracy? Aw shucks, I really do have sympathy for the people who dig up this stuff. And I’m not saying all of it is wrong, either. But you know, journalism is about plumbing for facts and verifying them. That’s the hard truth we have to face in this business. Going on the air with a possible this and a possible that is ultimately irresponsible. If we who present the news feel an occasional impulse to wing it, we have to rein ourselves in. Restraint is part of our job…”
Show these jokers a few devastating books by Anthony Sutton or Carroll Quigley and they’ll nod and say, “I did read that one in college. It was interesting but a little thin, I thought…”
The anchors project a sense they’re doing science. Gathering facts, verifying, testing, repeating the study to see if it holds up, checking the checkers, confirming the sources, tailoring the assertions to make sure there’s no wandering off the well-researched path.
It’s part of the act.
The elite anchor has to impart the impression that he’s personally familiar with the events he’s reporting. That’s nonsense. He isn’t touching actual events with a ten-foot pole. He isn’t doing journalism himself. But the audience must think he is.
“Washington has been the scene of many battles. But the current tussle at the top of the fiscal cliff is becoming an exercise in outrage on both sides. Today, behind closed doors…”
Some anchors are managing editors of their own broadcasts. That means they sit around like newspaper editors and listen to lesser editors present the stories of the day. The anchors ask questions and pick and choose which pieces they’ll cover on the evening news, and they decide the sequence, but their hands never touch the events themselves.
It’s more illusion. A well-trained and literate high-school sophomore from Nome could go on air, with a decent haircut, and read the news.
But backed up by expert technicians, a good set decorator, and a pro make-up person, Williams, Pelley, and Sawyer gave people the kind of living fiction that has become its own genre.
Elite anchors have a dual aspect. They control minds and they also put themselves in a mind-controlled state, in order to (temporarily) believe in what they’re saying on-air. It’s all self-inflicted.
No need to censor stories from above. The anchors have a finely honed sense of what is permissible and what isn’t.
In early human societies, the story teller was a principal figure. He wove the tribe’s experiences into a coherent whole, and built layers of cosmology. Story tellers formed an elite priest caste and spun official metaphysical doctrine.
Today, people feel the same need for narrators: the anchors. Although these front men for the news no longer use metaphysics to control the masses, they do covertly obey the old rule: tell only part of story.
Guard the rest from public view.
In ancient times, the rationale for hiding key secrets was explained in terms of stages of privileged initiations into “the magic.” Today, millions of people are led to believe their news narrators are giving them everything there is. Other than anchors’ stories, there is nothing. So in this secular media religion, viewers think they have only two choices: swallow the news reality, or face a cold vacuum.
Their bottomless need for a story teller survives.
Came the Internet.
And then the whole world turned upside down.
The networks began to realize they were made out of eggshells and cardboard, and the holes and fractures and disintegrating pieces were out there, on television, for all to witness.
As a veteran reporter who quit the business and went online told me, “Network mind control is expensive. You have to keep doing it every day. And that’s without competition. Now, competitors are everywhere.”
It takes a village. The “it” in this case is network news and the village is the staff and crew. But the village is experiencing typhoons. Once upon a time, crazy surreal mainstream television news required no apologies. But that entitlement has peeled away and blown offshore.
Independent online news outlets are catching up to, and in some cases, surpassing MSM audience numbers. And the content is quite different.
For one thing, the content often features devastating critiques of elite news. For example: The Washington Post, once considered (by the uninformed) an unimpeachable source, is presently owned by Jeff Bezos, the billionaire boss of Amazon. Amazon has a $600 million contract to provide cloud-computing services to the CIA.
This is more than a crippling conflict of interest. It’s a death rattle. Every story the Post publishes about the CIA, and every story that has a named or unnamed CIA source is as reliable as an antelope’s press agent justifying the extinction of all lions.
The NY Times’ daily attacks on Trump for his supposed Russian connections? Well, in 2015, the Times published a devastating piece detailing the Clintons’ role in selling 20% of US uranium production to Putin. But the Times conveniently refuses to follow up on its own story. Needless to say, if Trump had played such a decisive role in enriching Putin and transferring a top national-security resource to Russia, he’d already be wearing a prison jump suit and awaiting a firing squad.
Day by day, elite mainstream news is fading.
This is what happens to elitist authority, no matter how skillful their production.
It’s not a perfect seal.