Fourth Estate in Peril and the Need for Alternative Voices: Conversations with Robert Parry and Abby Martin
By Michael Welch, Robert Parry, and Abby Martin
Global Research, December 10, 2017

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What you’re getting now is less of a menu of choices in terms of trying to understand the world and that’s what the internet had promised us.  There was the hope we had and increasingly now in the past year, under this umbrella of Russia-gate, we are seeing a reversal of that.”

– Robert Parry (from this week’s interview)

“Fake news is a term that was propagated by the Washington Post and of course it was taken and run by a lot of corporate media entities to try to discredit … very legitimate, progressive news outlets that are doing the real work, getting their hands dirty, based on literally donations from citizen activists who want to see a peoples’ media being represented.”

– Abby Martin (from this week’s interview)  


Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

As discussed in a previous installment of this radio program, the major media within the U.S., and indeed much of the West, are dominated by and situated within an infrastructure of corporate profiteering interests which have the capacity through flak, advertising, and other mechanisms to restrict and contain news stories which could impact their bottom lines.

Some would argue that the capacity for the one percent to shape media into propaganda instruments has only increased over the last 35 years. In 1983, 50 companies controlled 90% of the media consumed by Americans. Today, the number controlling 90% of what Americans see, hear and read is down to six media conglomerates, namely General Electric, Viacom, News Corp, Disney, Time Warner, and CBS. [1]

Since the unexpected election of Donald Trump to the presidency, those entrenched special interests, many of whom appeared to be banking on the election of his rival Hillary Clinton, were confronted with the realization that they could not control the political narrative anymore.

Pundits and policy makers alike came to the quick and, on the face of it, absurd conclusion that Russians interfered with the 2016 presidential election. In the waning days of his presidency, Barrack Obama authorized an act which would restrict the ability of Russians to propagandize Americans. From the moment of his inauguration, President Trump has been dogged by a scandal known as Russia-Gate which sober analysts including Veteran Intelligence Professionals say is groundless.

The dissident Russia government-funded television network RT was forced in November into registering as a ‘foreign agent’ while the Qatar government-funded Al Jazeera and British government-funded BBC are not. Google and facebook have altered their search algorithms to make it harder to access stories and analysis which depart from the narratives put forward by this modern day ‘Ministry of Truth.’

The Press has the power to bring down presidents, expose scandals, mobilize the populace behind war, rally donations behind disaster relief, and manipulate the consumer habits of a mesmerized populace. With the immense geopolitical dilemmas and environmental crises descending upon humankind at this time in history, the inclusion of alternative voices to those endorsed by America’s Military Industrial Congressional complex are essential. The Global Research News Hour radio program therefore focuses this week on the mainstream media propaganda machine’s solidifying grip on the public imagination as well as some of the independent media tools we can reach for to secure release before it’s too late.

Robert Parry is a long-time investigative journalist, and the editor of, which he co-founded in 1995. He helped expose the Iran-Contra scandal for The Associated Press in the mid-1980s and in tribute to his work over the years, he was honoured with the Martha Gilhorn Prize for Journalism last June. Parry describes how and why journalistic standards have declined since he first started in the field in the mid-70s, he discusses the consequences for democracy, and briefly explains the importance of reader-financed news outlets, such as Consortiumnews. (Their end-of-year fund-raiser is currently underway.)

Abby Martin is the host of The Empire Files for Telesur. She is the former host of RT’s Breaking the Set and has become a much sought after commentator. In an interview originally broadcast for host station CKUW‘s fund-raising drive back in February of 2017, Abby talks of her own foray into journalism, the need for media literacy in a Wild West alternative media landscape, and the challenges facing authentic journalists who don’t fall into line with the U.S. imperial narrative.

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Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

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