For example, in faking medical reality
Let’s start there…
News is defined, within the media industry, as stories being reported as they’re happening.
Troops invade Libya. Germany protests over US spying. Car crash in fog in Indiana. President states plan to restructure jobs program.
Sub-news is any number of reports, statements, interviews that occur outside the news cycle, or express a summing-up of a problem.
In a half-sane media landscape, certain sub-news statements would become the basis for extensive investigation by media outlets. Sub-news contains, from time to time, a great deal of juice. It’s provocative, even astonishing.
But overwhelmingly, sub-news is left lying on the side of the road like discarded garbage. Why? Because it threatens established interests. Furthermore, the media outlets who could magnify sub-news are aligned with those established interests. Joined at the hip.
For example, here’s a staggering piece of sub-news:
On January 15, 2009, the NY Review of Books published a devastating quote from a woman who, for 20 years, was an editor at one of the most prestigious medical journal in the world:
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.
For any ambitious medical reporter, the quote could have been the jumping-off point for an investigation aimed at taking down medical journals and the whole peer-review system that underpins medical publishing.
But nothing happened. No dots were connected. The quote was left hanging in mid-air like a Hindenburg whose explosion had been indefinitely postponed.
Here is another Hindenburg quote of a similar nature, also published in the NY Review of Books (May 12, 2001, Helen Epstein, “Flu Warning: Beware of Drug Companies”):
Six years ago, John Ioannidis, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, found that nearly half of published articles in scientific journals contained findings that were false.
Here’s another quote from the same article:
Last year, GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug Avandia was linked to thousands of heart attacks, and earlier in the decade, the company’s antidepressant Paxil was discovered to exacerbate the risk of suicide in young people. Merck’s painkiller Vioxx was also linked to thousands of heart disease deaths. In each case, the scientific literature gave little hint of these dangers.
A review of seventy-four clinical trials of antidepressants, for example, found that thirty-seven of thirty-eight positive studies [that praised the drugs] were published. But of the thirty-six negative studies, thirty-three were either not published or published in a form that conveyed a positive outcome.
It turns out that the informational pipeline that feeds the entire perception of pharmaceutical medicine is a rank fraud.
Relentlessly investigating that pipeline, over the course of a year or two, would uncover scandals that would rock the foundations of the medical cartel.
But no. The sub-news is cast aside, ignored, left to rot in the sun.
To the terms “news” and “sub-news,” we could add, in parallel, “major consensus” and “minor consensus.” Major consensus is manufactured. It attempts to block out the sun.
People who encounter sub-news within the mainstream are often driven to distraction, when they expect major revelations to follow—and nothing happens. They can’t figure out what’s going on.
They need to realize their confusion is entirely proper and natural; and they should move on from there to challenge the builders of news and major consensus. They should become relentless.
From their ranks can be born the new generation of real reporters.
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 NoMoreFakeNews.com or OutsideTheRealityMachine.