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The Orphan Conspiracies: 29 Conspiracy Theories from The Orphan Trilogy
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THE PRICE OF A FREE MEDIA > Can we trust news media outlets?

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message 1: by Lance, Group Founder (last edited Jul 27, 2017 12:30PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance Morcan | 2479 comments Excerpt from The Orphan Conspiracies: 29 Conspiracy Theories from The Orphan Trilogy:


There’s no escaping the media. Whether radio, television, newspapers, magazines, billboards, feature films, documentaries, online news or social media – it’s everywhere.

If media in all its forms is compromised then frankly, we’re all screwed!

One of us (Lance) writes from personal experience on this subject: as a former journalist, newspaper editor and public relations consultant with experience in television, radio, print and online reporting, he has observed the workings of the media from the inside over the past 45 years.

You don’t need to be a former journalist however, to realize that manipulating the media is akin to poisoning a nation’s water supply – it affects all of our lives in unimaginable ways.

Journalists are the barometer of a nation’s freedom of speech. If they are threatened, gagged or otherwise silenced then who is going to ask the tough questions and keep the authorities honest?


“No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary. I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed. I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers–I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man once said: “An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.” –President John F. Kennedy, speech to the American Newspaper Publishers Association. April 27, 1961, New York City.


In our thriller The Orphan Factory, the novel’s lead female character Helen Katsarakis is a student journalist in Chicago. When she learns the shocking truth of the Pedemont Orphanage and starts to write about it, her life is suddenly endangered. Without giving away any spoilers, let’s just say the powers that be swing into action to prevent her story ever reaching the masses.

Helen’s character was partly a plot device designed to ask tough questions about the modern media. In particular, questioning the commonly held belief that here in the West we have a free press.

So, what’s the truth? Do we really have a free press or are our journalists, or journos, being dictated to and told what they can and can’t report on? Are certain topics suppressed from the public’s consciousness by those who own or greatly influence the media? Are there any free-thinking, free-speaking journos left – alive and not retired that is?


What made it worse was Helen wasn’t just any old journalist. She was a student reporter unconnected to any of the mainstream media outlets – outlets Omega could usually control as a result of the moles the agency had planted in their midst. No, Helen and her university newspaper could not be bought or controlled. She was a free agent, able to investigate whatever took her fancy, and The Daily Illini newspaper was free to publish whatever it wanted to. –The Orphan Factory


The Orphan Conspiracies 29 Conspiracy Theories from The Orphan Trilogy by James Morcan


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimliedeka) | 593 comments I think the real problem is we want and expect a disinterested media but there ain't no such animal. Newspapers, radio/TV stations, blogs, etc. are run by people with a point of view. That point of view may or may not be in alignment with what is good for us. The fact that the CIA infiltrated many media outlets during the cold war almost doesn't matter. We need to treat the media with the same skepticism we wish they would apply to announcements from government folks.

I try to pay attention to media watchdogs like FAIR, FactCheck, Project Censored, etc.


message 3: by Lance, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance Morcan | 2479 comments Jim wrote: "I think the real problem is we want and expect a disinterested media but there ain't no such animal. Newspapers, radio/TV stations, blogs, etc. are run by people with a point of view. That point ..."

Totally agree Jim. There's a number of points here - not just who is running media these days, but also the amount of contributed (outside) 'news' items from parties with vested interests...

Those interests include the corporates, governments and govt. depts., the military, medical/health sectors etc. etc.

Frightening when you consider (estimated) 9/10 of what we read, hear and see in the media on any given day has been 'placed' by those same outside parties via their in-house spin merchants or contracted PR agents.

Problem is, by the time a 'placed' article has been edited (by that I mean a word changed here and there) and a journo's byline has been added, the article comes over as genuine news rather than what it really is - the promotion of someone's product, service, religion, prescription drug, political ideal etc. etc.


message 4: by Lance, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance Morcan | 2479 comments Any other journalists or former journos in this group?
If so, I'd love to hear their point of view...
If not, (members) feel free to invite any you know and/or consider could be interested in this group. I'm sure you'll agree there's a growing number of discussion threads that are newsworthy and very topical.


message 5: by Laureen (new)

Laureen (laureenandersonswfcomau) | 478 comments I have much to say on this subject but lack for time. Suffice to say, I listen to news and documentaries with much scepticism. I have to see another interpretation of the story presented. We never seem to get the other side.

How can the public be informed when news and dockos are being presented as truth. If the public are discerning and intelligent then they require both sides of a viewpoint to be able to decide their "truth" which is subjective anyway.


message 6: by Lance, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance Morcan | 2479 comments Laureen wrote: "I have much to say on this subject but lack for time. Suffice to say, I listen to news and documentaries with much scepticism. I have to see another interpretation of the story presented. We nev..."

Unfortunately the public have been duped into accepting whatever the media presents as Gospel. And what used to be hard news is now being presented as 'infotainment' (especially TV news) as competing media outlets compete for lucrative advertising dollars.


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimliedeka) | 593 comments I agree with you but I think we're in the minority. Even so, people who are naturally skeptical can still be brainwashed by a lie they hear often enough. I didn't study enough psychology to be able to explain that but I'm convinced it's right.

Ultimately, the media (Networks, cable news, talk radio, blogs, whatever) are able to frame the debate which immediately gives a leg up to the point of view they are pushing. The rest of us are salmon trying to get home to breed. Some of us will get eaten by bears on the way.


message 8: by Donald (new)

Donald | 6 comments I think the primary reason we're in the mess we're in is the fact we have no actual journalists in the mainstream media. Professional journalists serve primarily to dutifully pass along "official" statements from various powerful sources.

The only real investigative work being done today is by amateurs on the internet. They are the true reporters- asking the hard questions, showing a hardened skepticism of all those in power. There are still a few publishers left that approach controversial topics, but no mainstream newspaper, or magazine, or television show, ever does.

I will give just one examine from my book, that reveals quite clearly just how controlled our media is. In 1987, Pennsylvania State Treasurer R. Budd Dwyer shot himself in the head during a live press conference. This generated a lot of sensational publicity, all of it concentrated on the gory aspects. Dwyer was reported, by all outlets, to have taken his life after reading a "rambling statement." In fact, he accused then Governor Richard Thornburgh of serious crimes, and stated he was taking such a drastic action to focus attention on his corruption.

There was never any mention of WHAT Thorburgh said in his "rambling statement" by a single representative of the assembled, supposedly competitive press. Real journalists would have salivated over such a story. There are plenty of other examples like this, many of which I detail in "Hidden History." However you look at it, our mainstream media is completely worthless as a source of information.


message 9: by Lance, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance Morcan | 2479 comments Donald wrote: "I think the primary reason we're in the mess we're in is the fact we have no actual journalists in the mainstream media. Professional journalists serve primarily to dutifully pass along "official" ..."

How true Donald - especially your statement "The only real investigative work being done today is by amateurs on the internet." Citizen Journos I call 'em. They've taken over from the genuine hard news reporters of olde.

However, the problem remains, as with mainstream media reports, we the consumer still have to sort the wheat from the chaff as a percentage of those internet amateurs you refer to are also pushing their own barrows (agendas) and are anything but reliable.

I guess it comes down to being discerning and retaining a healthy skepticism regarding everything we're told.


message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimliedeka) | 593 comments I'm not disagreeing with you about the major media outlets being more or less in lockstep. They are owned by a handful of large corporations with the same or similar interests. My point is that even before consolidation, the press was never unbiased. Hearst's tabloids come to mind when I think about where we came from.

We have to work especially hard to be skeptical now. Even so, lies repeated often enough can wear down skeptical minds.


message 11: by Lance, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance Morcan | 2479 comments Edward wrote: "Jim wrote: "I think the real problem is we want and expect a disinterested media but there ain't no such animal. Newspapers, radio/TV stations, blogs, etc. are run by people with a point of view. ..."

Edward - You bet I did...but it ain't necessarily about getting facts right. It's about unsuspecting journos (like me in my past life) inadvertently promoting Management's bias be that political or otherwise. Also, tis fair to say the little provincial newspapers I worked for Down Under are a far cry from the likes of the NY Times or Washington Post...so more often than not I reported on the weekly meeting of the local ladies' knitting club as opposed to Presidential elections and the like.


message 12: by Lance, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance Morcan | 2479 comments Jim wrote: "I'm not disagreeing with you about the major media outlets being more or less in lockstep. They are owned by a handful of large corporations with the same or similar interests. My point is that e..."

Very true Jim...altho I feel the problem has increased outta sight since consolidation. As has the problem of 'infotainment' replacing genuine hard news - especially TV news.


message 13: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Martino | 49 comments I totally agree that the major media outlets being more or less in lockstep. To add on the comment, I would like also to say that there is an agenda to their reporting. Whether it be with Ebola, the Ukraine, North Korea, Iran or other major topics, they attempt to sway the mass of sheeples' opinions and concerns.
That is why I enjoy talk radio and blogs. Even if I disagree with them, it is refreshing to see a different point of view.
Also: nice about point Donald about Pennsylvania State Treasurer R. Budd Dwyer. Spot on.


message 14: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Shellim (shhhhstudios) | 152 comments A Saudi planted in the WH:

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=...


message 15: by Lance, Group Founder (last edited May 08, 2015 05:38AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance Morcan | 2479 comments Here's some of the key discussion topics in this media section:

Taking on the Establishment https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

News reporting or storytelling? https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

The kingmakers https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

The trend toward media consolidation https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Censoring the truth https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Spin doctors https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Media manipulation https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Operation Mockingbird https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Orwell movie adaptation CIA financed https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

The power of the Internet https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Concealed messages in ads https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Should subliminals be legal? https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Do subliminals work? https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Political manipulation https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Subliminal specialists https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Subliminals, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

(Subliminal messages in) Cartoons https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

New frontiers https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 16: by Lance, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance Morcan | 2479 comments If We Can’t Trust Media, Who Can We Trust? http://fortune.com/2016/09/15/trust-i...

Here’s Why Trust in the Media Is at an All-Time Low http://fortune.com/2016/09/15/trust-i...


message 17: by Scire (new)

Scire Estdivinum | 28 comments Are we screwed if the media is compromised? I see the argument for this, but there seem to be, possibly, another few sides to this coin. The world has always been a mass of conflicting opinions, there is some part of us maybe that wants to clutch onto an idea and make it our own, make it defining. (And if that's a human tendency there is maybe an interesting reason why it developed btw.) But there is evidence that people can learn to deal with strong opinions , (it might even be a related innate ability that just needs awakening). There is a fun video from Samantha Bee below, ok, more fun than research, but a useful taster maybe.
https://youtu.be/wwAzU5ji-CM
Letting people express opinions is perhaps a freedom we want to keep, however irritating it might be, and however dangerous. Some opinions have always been dangerous, it is hard to stop them, perhaps because it is not only the ideas that are dangerous but more the animus behind them. Strip out the 'hatred' and what is often left? We have new platforms for ideas now which broaden their audience and make distribution much more accessible. But perhaps the answer is not controlling media more, but educating people about how opinions form, and how entrenched they become, how to see opinions in 'the round' and test their own. They are attempting something similar in Finland maybe.


message 18: by Linda (new)

Linda Brunner (welpony) | 1 comments In my opinion, do your research before you subscribe to any information source; person, web site or otherwise.

Follow the money is usually a safe bet and then go from there.


message 19: by Lance, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance Morcan | 2479 comments Linda wrote: "In my opinion, do your research before you subscribe to any information source; person, web site or otherwise.

Follow the money is usually a safe bet and then go from there."


You're onto it Linda.


message 20: by Lance, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance Morcan | 2479 comments Lance wrote: "Here's some of the key discussion topics in this media section:

Taking on the Establishment https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

News reporting or storytelling..."


We have some notable journos and former newshounds in this group... Would be great to have more comment from those of you who are, or have been, 'inside' the media. To you, I put the question again: Can we trust news media outlets?


message 21: by Scire (new)

Scire Estdivinum | 28 comments Linda wrote: "In my opinion, do your research before you subscribe to any information source; person, web site or otherwise.

Follow the money is usually a safe bet and then go from there."


Yes, or just subscribe (if it's free) and do a full internal 'faculty system check' before reading. It can maybe be useful, instructive and harmless to know what's going on in the world of those with with biased opinions with which we very much disagree sometimes.

But what do you mean here by trust? What I like to see in journalism is at least a 'nod' by the writer to all the important facts and opinions surrounding a story, even those with which they disagree of course. But many journalists find this 'difficult'. Sometimes I think they really just don't see the whole picture, genuinely blinded by their presuppositions, sometimes they decide to conveniently leave out information that they know doesn't support their argument. But that's ok, they might still have something useful to say, we just need to have an understanding of the personal context in which they are writing. I am not sure we need to trust them, as such. I possibly don't trust second hand car dealers, but I learn enough to know the pitfalls so I can buy a car with some confidence. It would be great if I could trust used car salesmen, but its not necessary perhaps to have this kind of relationship with them. After all the salesman might genuinely not know what's wrong with the car he is selling. Its different I know, news media affects millions with one story, but I wonder if this is the right, or most important question to ask in the current debate.


message 22: by John (new)

John Graham Wilson | 154 comments I once visited the Sun offices in Fleet Street, London. The elevator was full of lunchtime-o-booze journalists talking about their jobs. I voiced the thought, "Its page three that sells the paper." (Page three was devoted to giant nude photos.) My comment did not go down well.


message 23: by Scire (new)

Scire Estdivinum | 28 comments I think they have have removed nudity from the English tabloids now? It's surprising they were sensitive about it when it had seemed to be a strategy that helped their success. But journalists are unusual people, very wonderful of course, but often a little strange :)


message 24: by James, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 10108 comments Scire wrote: "But what do you mean here by trust? ..."

One of a about a billion blatant examples of mainstream media regularly being nothing but a PR outlet for corporations and corrupt governments, albeit in disguise as "news reporting outlets", was this: https://www.goodreads.com/photo/group...

Also, if you're not already aware, research the now declassified Operation Mockingbird in which the CIA hired many of America's top journalists (e.g. senior journos in Washington Post, NY Times, etc) to release CIA approved content at all times: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operati...


message 25: by Tony (new)

Tony Sunderland | 289 comments Maybe our 'journalists' need to make themselves and their own core beliefs known first. At least we will get an idea of what perspective they are coming from. There is no such thing as independence of truth and expression. For me , this site (Underground knowledge) and also Thruthstream media have been a real revelation of what post modern media communication could be... Open communication and personal commitment.


message 26: by Scire (new)

Scire Estdivinum | 28 comments James wrote: "Scire wrote: "But what do you mean here by trust? ..."

One of a about a billion blatant examples of mainstream media regularly being nothing but a PR outlet for corporations and corrupt government..."


Propaganda operations by secret services... fair point!


message 27: by John (new)

John Graham Wilson | 154 comments Okay, but ask yourselves What is it that makes a person want to become a journalist? I am sure we would all get some very different answers.


message 28: by Laurette (new)

Laurette (PoetLaurette) | 25 comments Lance wrote: "Linda wrote: "In my opinion, do your research before you subscribe to any information source; person, web site or otherwise.

Follow the money is usually a safe bet and then go from there."

You'r..."

Yes I agree totally with Linda, research, research. And follow the money. Too often false news or propaganda spreads like wildfire because people simply lap up whatever is put in front of them as the gospel truth but these days very little that the mainstream media is reporting is the truth and nothing but the truth.


message 29: by Laurette (new)

Laurette (PoetLaurette) | 25 comments John wrote: "Okay, but ask yourselves What is it that makes a person want to become a journalist? I am sure we would all get some very different answers."
Oh that is a great question. I think the best journalists are the ones with the inquisitive minds, curious, want to know every detail, researchers, like a detective uncovering the layers, ah but how many like that are out there? Few and far between in the mainstream these days.


message 30: by James, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 10108 comments Good point - uncompromising investigative journalists aren't too popular in mainstream media these days...


message 31: by John (new)

John Graham Wilson | 154 comments Well, as I said, I met some pretty odd journalists in the UK. Virtual alcoholics (for which Fleet Street is famous) and excessive sensationalists in every way. The satirical magazine Private Eye has a column devoted to them in every issue. The problem is, of course, they mess around with the truth, and, by that, are the opposite of investigative work. They can, in no way, be regarded as "intellectuals".


message 32: by Anne (new)

Anne Hiltner | 1 comments I'm currently writing a book about mass media spying - America's most closely held 'secret.' It's primarily a narrative about how illicit interception of an individual provides the press, media, and entertainment industries with subject matter to convert into saleable products. A form of electronic trafficking, it attempts to challenge many myths about the free press while also describing the totalitarian control of society by covert intelligence means it represents. I'm looking for beta readers or knowledgeable people to present parts of the book in order to ensure that it would be clear to the public how distorted media is. Any suggestions are welcome


message 33: by B. (new)

B. | 206 comments Simple answer-No! It’s all about sensationalism and being 1st...not about telling truth.


message 34: by James, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 10108 comments Spooks Turned Spox: US Media Now Filled With Former Intelligence Agents https://www.zerohedge.com/political/s...

After years in the shadows overseeing espionage, kill programs, warrantless wiretapping, entrapment, psyops and other covert operations, national security establishment retirees are are turning to a new line of work where they can carry out their imperial duties.

That is, propagandizing the public on cable news. Reborn as cable news pundits, these people are cashing in. So many years working in the dark, only to emerge in the studio lights of the same networks that rail all day everyday against state TV from countries that America hates.


message 35: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 1260 comments It can also be carelessness. I once did a brief interview, and my comments were reproduced almost word for word. Almost? Well, they left out one word: "NOT"


message 36: by James, Group Founder (last edited Oct 07, 2019 03:37PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 10108 comments Ian wrote: "It can also be carelessness. I once did a brief interview, and my comments were reproduced almost word for word. Almost? Well, they left out one word: "NOT""

Ian..."US Media Now Filled With Former Intelligence Agents"...I repeat: "US Media Now Filled With Former Intelligence Agents"...That's a bigger deal than routine sloppiness by well meaning journalists...


message 37: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 1260 comments I agree James. It was just that I could not resist putting up that post :-)


message 38: by James, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 10108 comments Ian wrote: "I agree James. It was just that I could not resist putting up that post :-)"

You're obviously a Kiwi spy being paid to infiltrate the Underground on behalf of the Maori Party to further their interests...

Okay, I've calmed down now and my new motto is "DON'T PANIC": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR0lO...


message 39: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 1260 comments Ssshh. Don't tell anyone. Can't have that getting around. My name will be mudd


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