“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
Watch this video, and make sure to pay attention and count closely.
…did you see the gorilla? Or were you too distracted by what I, a journalist, told you to focus on, instead of seeing the whole picture? You may have seen the “invisible” gorilla, either because of your keen powers of observation, or your general skepticism about being told what to do, or because you were subconsciously tipped off by this article’s headline. But most people won’t see the gorilla, or at least won’t pay attention to it. I certainly didn’t. I watched the video as a part of a business school in-class exercise a few years back, and had to watch it a second time to see the gorilla. But I did get the bounce count correct.
The “invisible gorilla” is a great metaphor for what the media-political complex is doing to America–mental sleight of hand to keep us from focusing on what’s really important. There have been so many moments lately when the media has directly intervened to shape political narratives, in some cases engaging in outright fraud and supporting conspicuous hoaxes. Just a few examples include the Covington Kids fake “racism” case, the Russia Collusion Hoax, the Hunter Biden Laptop Scandal, the “mostly peaceful” BLM riots, the utter fraud of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” literally everything related to Jussie Smollett, and the list goes on and on.
The media-political complex’s duplicity transcends domestic politics as well. Remember what we were told about the preparation of the Afghan Government to take over after we left? Or the COVID-19 “fixes” like lockdowns, social distancing and vaccinations, which did nothing and in many cases made things worse around the world? And who can forget the the “Ghost of Ukraine,” the (non-existent) fighter pilot who was downing Russian high-performance fighters right and left?
In every instance, the media, driven both by greed and political ideology, sacrifice truth for power and prestige. They do so with utter impunity, and in many cases with our blessing. We are FAR too comfortable focusing on what journalists tell us is important, instead of sussing that out ourselves.
The war between Hamas and Israel, prompted by the terrorist attacks that Hamas carried on in Israel in October 2023, is another example of the blatant lies told by the media-political complex to force their worldview upon us. In this latest example, worldwide mass media breathlessly repeated completely made-up reports–from Hamas–that an Israeli airstrike on a civilian hospital killed 500 people.
500 people? From one bomb? That the ***Israelis*** dropped? This is some Jussie Smollett–level improbability. To begin with, a single precision airstrike killing 500 people is simply unbelievable. Perhaps a large-enough bomb, dropped specifically to maximize casualties, could do the job. If the building was destroyed completely. A bomb, or say, a civilian airliner piloted by Islamist terrorists. But Israel knows how sensitive the Western world is to civilian causalities, and takes great steps to avoid them. They engage in phone warnings, “knock on the roof” strategies, directing civilians to safe areas, and other means of mitigating collateral damage. All that was missing was a claim that the pilot yelled “This is MAGA Country” before dropping the bomb.
It was simply not believable that this event had taken place. But millions of people DID believe it took place, and they reacted with outrange and–as per usual–violence. A strategic meeting involving no less than the President of the United States was cancelled over it. The reaction of King Abdullah of Jordan was typical, calling it a “shame on humanity” and blaming Israel (of course).
The worst part of this was that the sole source of the initial information was… Hamas! That’s right, a designated terrorist organization that just took credit for an atrocity that killed the most Jews since the Holocaust was deemed credible enough to believe in a situation that supported their narrative. There was so little information about this incident when it first happened, that The New York Times used a picture of A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BUILDING in their first scoop. They also had at least three different versions of their headline, which showed the migration from blaming the attack on the Israelis, to simply calling it “a blast.” They kept the outrageous (and unprovable) death toll, though.
Some of our nation’s political leaders are fueling the fire as well. Anti-Israeli far-left member of Congress Rashida Tlaib tearfully (and infamously) blamed Israel in an emotion-laden tirade immediately after the first reports broke of the “bombing.” And, predictably, she has yet to retract those statements.
The New York Times, Rashida Tlaib, and every other news publication, public figure or private individual who spread this nonsense did so because they wanted it to be true. And they wanted us to believe it was true. Because in our post-truth world, the only thing that matters is what you can get people to believe.
As it turned out, of course, there were no 500 deaths. The explosion didn’t hit the hospital, it hit a parking lot. And it wasn’t an errant Israeli bomb, it was… wait for it… a terror rocket launched from inside Gaza. Literally everything about this reported incident was false. But of course, once the true facts came out, the damage was done.
Misinformation is rife in our world, because that’s how our incentives structure is set up. The media-political complex thrives on it. We, as people, yearn for it. Without accountability in the media, these things are going to continue to happen. We need to be better consumers of news, and less tolerant of news outlets and politicians who are so willing to get things so wrong in order to exercise their power over us. We need to shake that invisible gorilla off our backs. It has to start with us.
There was a quote that I started this article off with, and you may have noticed that I didn’t attribute it to anyone. That was deliberate. And it wasn’t written by Scott Faith, it was from Malcolm X. Malcolm and I are very different people, and our politics are (well, “were,” in his case since he’s dead now) very different. But he foresaw, long before I did, the dangers of the alignment between the media and politics. And his words were prescient; whether the bad actors are intranational or domestic, we do indeed have a situation where the crybullies are the system convinced that they are the victims, and we are loving the real oppressors…
…because we’re all too busy looking at what the media-political complex is telling to look at, and not seeing the gorilla that’s right there in front of our faces.
Scott Faith is a veteran of a half-dozen combat deployments and has served in several different Special Operations units over the course of his Army career. Scott’s writing focuses largely on veterans’ issues, but he is also a strong proponent of Constitutional rights and has a deep interest in politics. He often allows other veterans who request anonymity to publish their work under his byline. Scott welcomes story ideas and feedback on his articles and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.