On Sunday, March 26, 2017, 60 Minutes featured a special on fake news.

One of the people interviewed was Mike Cernovich of Danger & Play, his alternative media website that did much to persuade Millennials to vote for Donald Trump in 2016.

Cernovich is a lawyer, author, free speech activist, and documentary filmmaker:

I’ve written three books, produced a documentary on media hoaxes, and am producing a second documentary on free speech culture in the West. My books have over 1,000 reviews on Amazon and Audible. My podcast is also five-stars. (Scroll down to watch my documentary and learn more.)

While my Twitter is high profile, it’s the least interesting aspect of my writing and speaking. I’ve travelled around the world giving seminars and writing books. Most “journalists” who write hit pieces about me don’t even know how to describe me. Everyone from Gawker to Politifact to Slate has covered me, and MSNBC had a “special report” about my Tweets.

This is his 11-minute film from September 2016 discussing media distortion of news during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions:

CBS’s 60 Minutes team are piqued that Cernovich’s site and Twitter feed are more popular than theirs. In February 2017, he reached 83m Twitter readers. When interviewed, he said that his Twitter feed sometimes gets as many as 150m hits per month.

The upshot of the 60 Minutes enquiry into fake news is that they are envious of citizen journalists who can do their job better than they do. So, they condemn anyone with a keyboard, camera and microphone. Scott Pelley from 60 Minutes called Cernovich’s articles ‘lies’.

Big Media are also out to censor — if not remove — independent citizen journalists from the Internet. Twitter and Facebook, as some of you know, have been censoring links, videos and pictures (e.g. photographs of Donald Trump) for a few months now.

It was curious that, in his interview with Cernovich, Pelley focussed on three subjects from last year: Spirit Cooking, Pizzagate and Hillary Clinton’s health. Hmm. Why are those topics bothering Big Media so much that they brand them as fake?

Spirit Cooking and Pizzagate emerged from the content of last year’s Podesta emails from WikiLeaks.

Big Media documented Hillary’s health problems widely, from the coughing fits after Labor Day to her collapse at the 9/11 memorial ceremony the following weekend. In between those events, The Hill published a long article, ‘Clinton campaign warns media to tread carefully’. An excerpt follows:

The pushback signaled that Clinton’s campaign intends to sharply counterattack news organizations that take questions about her health seriously.

“They’re trying to work the refs a little bit as they try to push back on the mainstream media’s willingness to pick up on some of this stuff that’s usually left to the fringes,” Clinton surrogate Jim Manley explained.

The Drudge Report and other conservative media sites have largely driven the coverage of Clinton’s health, following the concussion she suffered in late 2012 and years before she announced her intention to run again for president.

But Manley said the Democrat’s camp has seen the coverage “bleeding to the mainstream media” in recent weeks.

After Trump insinuated recently that Clinton wasn’t healthy, the campaign responded forcefully, ripping Trump allies for concocting fake documents from Clinton’s doctor.

“They’re trying to stop it,” Manley continued. “I think they learned a long time ago that you can’t just ignore these things. There’s always a fine line between react or not, but in this day in age, to say nothing is often not the best way to go.”

Clinton aides and supporters see the healthcare stories as a bunch of baloney, and they want the media to cover it as such.

Ironically, a few days later, an ordinary bystander, Zdenek Gazda, happened to be where Clinton slumped against a bollard before being bundled in to her van by aides and Secret Service detail. If it weren’t for him, the world would never have known. Because of the emergency situation, media photographers would not have been there. Gazda filmed the following:

Spirit Cooking involves Marina Abramovic’s performance art. According to her, it is nothing more than that. However, last year, WikiLeaks tweeted part of the ritual. We Are Change tells the story (graphic content!):

As for Pizzagate, Big Media and others want to quash persistent questions about suspected child trafficking and molestation networks. Yet, in addition to the frequent and peculiar mentions of pizza on Podesta WikiLeaks, older videos already existed on YouTube about this topic. A few featured a popular pizza parlour in Washington DC. Also, Instagram accounts of certain individuals with links to that location had disturbing photos of children.

That said, Pizzagate refers to the broad American network of child sex abusers, wherever they might be.

Citizen journalists and alternative media began using the existing resources to present circumstantial evidence that this was going on. Nearly everyone who wrote or talked about the subject admitted that they could go no further. The hope was that Donald Trump would win and get a strong Attorney General to launch investigations.

Alex Jones always maintained that Pizzagate was a ‘distraction’ (his word) from deeper corruption in government. Yet, because one or two of his reporters put out a couple of videos on the subject last autumn, someone forced Jones to issue an on-air apology at the weekend:

This brings us to Mike Cernovich, who hasn’t had to apologise for anything but has been branded as a purveyor of fake news because he covered these two topics last year.

60 Minutes invited him to appear on the show and discuss it. Cernovich accepted. Who wouldn’t? He did not expect to get fair coverage, but there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Here is his interview, just over two minutes long. (If the video below doesn’t work, try this one):

Here is an excerpt from the brief discussion of Clinton’s health:

Pelley: She had pneumonia.

Cernovich: How do you know? Who told you that?

Pelley: Her campaign told us that.

Cernovich: Why would you trust the campaign?

Pelley: Uh… Ummm… the point is, you never talked to anyone who examined Hillary Clinton.

Cernovich: I don’t take anything Hillary Clinton is going to say at all as true. I’m not going to take her at her word. The mainstream media says ‘we’re not gonna take president Donald Trump at his word’ and that’s why we are in these different universes.

Cernovich was pleased he gave a good interview. Imagine the traffic he must have had as 60 Minutes gave a lingering close up of one of his Danger & Play articles.

Replies to this Cernovich tweet show various pictures of Clinton needing assistance with standing or climbing stairs.

The following dialogue ended up on the digital equivalent of the cutting room floor (emphases mine):

Scott Pelley: Who’s gunning for you?

Mike Cernovich: You are. I’m on 60 Minutes. Right?

Scott Pelley: What do you mean, we’re gunning for you?

Mike Cernovich: Do I really think that you guys are going to tell the story that I would like to have told, no. Your story’s going to be here’s a guy, spreads fake news, uses social media, these social media people better … I know the story you guys are doing before you do it.

Scott Pelley: What’s wrong with that story?

Mike Cernovich: Because it is an agenda. The agenda is … The truth is you’ve talked to a person who sincerely believes it’s true, you must also admit that there have been many stories reported by major outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Rolling Stone, that were false.

Scott Pelley: Agreed.

Mike Cernovich: People get it wrong, so why then come guns blazing at me, and not guns blazing at everybody? Why isn’t this segment going to say, how did the New York Times get conned? How did the Washington Post believe that Russia had hacked the power grid? We all together, collectively need to discover what the truth is, and converse with one another what the truth is, that’s a different story.

Another story is, here is a person that is able to bypass traditional media outlets, reach people directly to tell a story. Maybe he’s a good guy, maybe he’s not. People decide.

This is another story, ’cause I know the story you guys are going to tell. Hillary Clinton’s perfectly healthy. This guy Cernovich that said she’s not, he has no reason to say that. Facebook and Twitter need to crackdown on this kind of stuff.

Scott Pelley: What’s wrong with that story?

Mike Cernovich: I just told you, because that is an agenda. You could tell a more whole picture. You could tell a full story, but that’s one narrow thing. ’Cause I know by the questions you’re asking, the story you’re going to tell.

Cernovich posted more dialogue left out of the televised segment. An excerpt follows:

Scott Pelley: Well, the benefit of intermediaries is having experienced editors check things out and research people. Check the facts before it goes out to the public. You don’t do any of that.

Mike Cernovich: Where are the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

Scott Pelley: That was a big mess, but that was because the Government –

Mike Cernovich: And how much –

Scott Pelley: Told us they existed.

Mike Cernovich: And how much, then why trust the government?

Scott Pelley: We also, we also reported that they didn’t exist.

Mike Cernovich: Right. Well, how much damage was caused by the fake news story about weapons of mass destruction? How much damage was caused by that Rolling Stone rape hoax, where the fraternity was shut down? Bang, bang, bang. People attacking them. Assault.

So the critique is, and the Washington Post recently of course had said that the Burlington power grid had been hacked by the Russians. And then it turned out well, actually some guy, maybe he had been watching some stuff he wouldn’t have been watching on the internet. And maybe his computer was compromised. But even then, nobody knows. That’s the Washington Post, right?

New York Times, weapons of mass destruction. None ever found. Washington Post, Russia attacking the power grid. Can you believe it? Unbelievable. What a disaster.

Obama prosecuting whistle-blowers all the time, everywhere. Obama spending money to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests. All the time. I don’t see any complaints about that. But then people want to come after me guns blazing. Come after me hard. I’m not starting wars in Iraq, which was a disgrace. I’m not starting wars in Afghanistan. I’m not getting people into deep deficits. And ruining lives, right?

Cernovich posted on Medium.com that 60 Minutes garnered 15.19m viewers that night. In another post, he cited 10.6m. Either way, that viewer tally left the other networks in the dust between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. The programme in second place attracted a paltry 5.77m.

Cernovich said the actual footage of his interview is 45 minutes long. He has asked that people who want CBS to release the full version tweet at #Cerno60. Also:

Big Media — and special interests — want alternative news sources to disappear.

On an immediate level, they want that to happen because a) there are certain stories they don’t want hitting the general public and b) they want to stifle support for Trump.

However, one must ask why alternative news sources exist in the first place.

The answer is that Big Media are not doing their job properly. They editorialise instead of report. They obfuscate instead of tell the truth. They distort instead of present both sides of a story.

Oh, the irony: an Internet sensation being the most popular person on television, however briefly.

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