According to the general populace in America, the mainstream media is untrustworthy. And, if you believe the mainstream media, alternative news sites are pushing illegitimate stories about everything from politics, social trends, and finance.
Many Western regimes around the world are preparing to clamp down on legitimate, independent and free sources of news and information, particularly those on the Internet, due to the growing ‘threat’ of ‘fake news.’ Large websites that produce a narrative not aligned with the national leadership could be in danger of censorship in many countries. This is not conspiracy theory rhetoric – it’s is happening. Keep reading…
Fake News | Centuries-Old Tactic
Slanderous, misleading and even made up stories, have been force-fed to the general populace for centuries, particularly in the American press. One of the United States’ Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton, was also the founder of the New York Post, which he used to slander political opponents who didn’t align with his federalist approach.
Today, the same rings true. Bias is everywhere, with billionaires, special interest groups, and politicians running or influencing many of the traditional newspapers and news stations. However, the game has changed thanks to the maturity of social media and near 3 billion smartphones on the planet. The general populace now has unprecedented access and is finding its voice.
What were once small blogs are now self-funding entities with, in some cases, larger followings than mainstream channels…
Forced into self-preservation, the mainstream media, and some career politicians, are attacking upstart media outlets for reporting their findings, connecting the dots and exposing conflicts of interests and backdoor deals.
Some of the mainstream media and certain politicians are beginning to target sources of Internet media by labeling them as ‘fake news,’ yet have little to no quantifiable evidence of such. Furthermore, legislation is being passed in the U.S. that could make freedom of the press a thing of the past. Control or censorship is being driven, in many instances, by political motives that all self-directed investors need to be aware of.
More effort, on your part, will be required to truly get ahead of investment trends and geopolitical tensions – which are almost certain to escalate among world powers in the years to come.
The lines of state propaganda and real reporting are becoming increasing blurry.
The Emergence of the Fake News War
What was fake news before Donald Trump won the Presidency against all the odds? In short, something that could be ignored or laughed at. Take a look at the disgusting stories which received millions of views and shares in 2016:
Pretty much smut. It matters little if those stories are real or fake – and for years that type of click bait was ignored by mostly everyone with a brain. However, when the stories and columns involve individuals running for public office and large corporate interests, the facts and truth are what matter most…
Did fake news websites propel Trump into the Oval Office?
Unlikely, although the mainstream media and establishment would certainly like you to believe that was the case.
The battle for credibility in media and news reporting has turned into an all-out verbal war following Trump’s victory. Unlike in almost every past election, the individual, through the Internet and social media, can choose when and what information they consume and believe. Often, people seek to validate their own opinions. This has had an empowering effect on many and has brought iconic newspapers and media empires to the brink of ruin.
The Daily Caller reported in early November of 2016, that The New York Times Company announced an almost 96% decline in quarterly profits.
While revenue dropped just 1% to $363.6 million from $367.4 million, the net profit collapsed from $9.4 million last year to $406,000 for the third quarter.
Many of these media empires may no longer exist to make money as several operate at a loss. Instead of turning huge profits, they wield influence for the billionaires and special interests who control them. Carlos Slim, for example, is a part-owner of the New York Times. Slim’s net worth collapsed along with the Mexican Peso following Trump’s victory. Do you think he is unbiased?
With no prior experience in the newspaper business, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, bought the iconic Washington Post back in 2013 for $250 million…
Chelsea Clinton sits on the Board of Directors of IAC, which owns the Daily Beast – a popular online media and news site. The website published articles demonizing Bernie Sanders during the primaries.
CNN, affectionately referred to by many Conservatives as the ‘Clinton News Network,’ was so blatantly biased this Presidential campaign it was almost laughable. Just this past week, during Trump’s first official press conference since being elected, he snapped on CNN’s Jim Acosta, and accused the organization of being ‘fake news’. Click on the image below to watch the altercation.
Donald Trump’s chief strategist and Senior Counselor is Steve Bannon, the former executive chair for Breitbart, a popular right-wing news publication that endorsed the President-elect early in the primary season.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and newly appointed Senior White House Adviser, is a real estate titan and principal owner of *Observer Media which controls the New York Observer.
*Kushner has stated that he will resign from duties at Observer Media given his role with the White House.
As trust in the mainstream media plummets to all-time lows, emboldened YouTubers and independent blogger and vlogger (video blogger) journalists are wielding more influence than ever before.
The latest Gallup poll highlights Americans’ fading trust in mainstream media, which fell to a record low 32% on November 30th.
“Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history…”
What’s more, trust has been diminishing since 1972 and is falling at a rapid pace. The 32% trust level reported on November 30th is down 8% from 2015. Had the election been held a year earlier, the mainstream media may have had enough credibility left to push Clinton into the White House.
“The American Press Institute found that 6 percent have “a great deal of confidence” in the media.”
If the mainstream media wants to blame ‘fake news’ websites for influencing anything, they should first blame themselves for trashing their own integrity and creating a public desire for alternative sources. Simply blaming upstart websites and social media is weak, and once again the public sees through it.
Social media, where much of the so-called ‘fake news’ is propagated, has even worse trust ratings than mainstream media sources. The Washington Examiner continued:
“Just 12 percent who use Facebook, the fastest growing news source, said they trust what they are reading.”
The public isn’t stupid. They know better than to blindly trust what is posted by Joe Blow on Facebook or Twitter…
The general populace is hungry for credible news sources because the mainstream media has blown themselves up by letting their political biases distort their version of the truth.
Geopolitics Matters Most to Small-Caps
Nothing is more influential to small-cap investing than geopolitics. Politicians make the laws that entrepreneurs, along with small and large businesses, must follow. The trade deals struck, exploration licenses granted and overall chemistry between foreign leaders is critical to commodity cycles and technology development. Understanding risk in the geopolitical arena is paramount to a successful investing strategy.
To make an informed opinion you need the facts. The best way to identify ‘real news’ is by collecting information from multiple, trusted sources and forming your own opinion. It’s rare to find an unbiased source these days, which is why we encourage you to read both left and right leaning publications that are credible – the truth is in between…
To find new, trusted sources in this foggy media environment, one has to consistently read the information a publication releases over several weeks to properly vet that organization and understand their biases. We’re not saying a bias is all bad; a bias can demonstrate belief and interest in something. After all, we are biased when it comes to the stocks we cover. However, a reputable publication must provide a level of balance we don’t often see in the mainstream media these days.
With Trump’s inauguration just a few days away, the traditional power structure in Washington is desperately trying to regain lost trust and the narrative. To properly explain what we see as a potential threat to independent research, and what could be the next wave of content censorship, not just in America, but around the world, we have to go back to 2011 for context…
On New Year’s Eve, 2011, when champagne and parties were on people’s minds, Obama signed into law the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). A controversial subsection of the Act permitted indefinite military detention without charge or trial of any US citizen thought to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda or associated organizations. Even for the U.S. this was an extreme step toward a constitutional crisis. But thankfully for the politicians backing it, few American citizens were paying attention.
Fast-forward 5 years…
WeAreChange.org reported that,
“This bill, as we reportedly previously, will “Criminalize ‘Fake News, Propaganda’ on the Web,” a key piece of legislation meant to crack down on free speech and independent media. In Layman’s terms, the act will allow the government to crack down with impunity against any media outlet it deems “propaganda.” The next piece of the legislation will provide substantial amounts of money to fund “counter propaganda,” to make sure the government’s approved stories drown out alternative media and journalists who question the status quo.”
Simon Black, Founder of SovereignMan.com, shared his thoughts on the Act:
“It has one purpose: to combat fake news.
The Global Engagement Center will fund and train journalists around the world to push a never-ending flow of US propaganda and cripple any independent outlet that doesn’t conform to the official government narrative.”
Speaking in Berlin on November 17th, one month before signing this updated Act, Obama stated, with respect to ‘fake news,’ that:
“If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect.”
What does that open-ended statement mean?
When did it become the government’s job to tell us what news sources are credible?
Who is going to decide what is fake and what is not when the course of a nation’s future is at stake?
Now, more than ever, we have to be critical thinkers. The days of cruise control (turning on the 6 o’clock news to catch up on world events) are over.
War on Fake and Real News Happening Outside the US
Obama isn’t the only politician seeking to control the narrative and shut down media the government deems ‘fake’.
Simon Black wrote,
“Israel’s government is close to passing a bill that authorizes them to demand Facebook (and other social media platforms) to remove content that they deem threatening.”
“Germany’s government is talking about passing a similar bill to stop “fake news” during the election cycle, even suggesting that Facebook could be fined if it does not remove certain content within 24 hours of being told by the government to do so.”
With the U.S. election over, the end game for the populist movement sweeping the West will be played out on European soil in 2017.
In September of 2016, we predicted Trump would likely win the Presidency…
“Like him or not, if you are still in denial or in the naysayer camp, wake up. Trump has a better shot at winning this election than Clinton… and his policies will greatly impact all of our portfolios.”
The above is an excerpt from our September 18th, 2016, Weekly Volume titled Trump Takes Aim at The Fed.
We are now predicting that either the Netherlands, Italy or France will elect a leader who has promised to hold a referendum on EU membership. If one of these nations successfully opts out of the EU, specifically Italy or France, the bloc’s days are numbered. With the currency bloc of the euro in jeopardy, Europeans will rush into other currencies and gold like never before. We saw the English do it after Brexit…
The French National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, wrote recently:
“I would go to Brussels to immediately launch negotiations allowing me to give back to the French people their sovereignty.”
Beppe Grillo, head of the populist Five Star movement, wrote in his blog:
“Newspapers and television news programmes are the biggest manufacturers of false news in the country, with the aim of ensuring those who have power keep it.”
Nigel Farage, who successfully orchestrated Brexit, is the UKIP founder of which Italy’s Five Star movement is a member.
Newsweek reported, “Farage said work will continue for an “anti-Euro referendum” in Italy, which is part of Five Star’s European programme.”
Italy’s economy has performed terribly since the crisis of 2008, contracting by 10%. Unemployment is sky-high and people are desperate for change. It’s ripe for a populace takeover.
Liberals/progressives in the West are preparing to go to battle with the rising populist fronts. You need to be aware that both factions will attempt to discredit the other to no end in 2017 – labelling each other’s supporting media outlets as ‘fake news’. Remember, most media empires are owned by billionaires with various financial interests and likely want content tailored to their beliefs. These individuals are powerful and will not give up attempting to influence election outcomes.
There is little doubt fake news could have negative implications on your investing performance, if you let it. The rise of fake news is representative of the demise of critical thinking in our society. Do not be a victim, take responsibility for your actions. Seek multiple news sources in 2017 from both sides of the political spectrum. Read books on major financial events of the past as history has a way of repeating itself. Use sites and newsletters such as Pinnacle Digest as a starting point in your due diligence process… fact check and exercise prudence.
We know most of our readers are self-directed investors and individuals that research topics thoroughly and carefully. If you haven’t been thorough with your due diligence in the past, we suggest making it a resolution for 2017. It’s time to get serious about the information you absorb on a daily basis.
We look forward to an exciting and historic investing year in 2017. Thanks for coming along with us. Until next week…
All the best with your investments,
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