Black Market Info Trade

By James Buckley   |   August 2, 2018
Sharyl Attkinsson (seen here with a copy of her latest book, Smear) spoke to a sold-out audience at the Ronald Reagan Ranch Center on lower State Street in Santa Barbara

Sharyl Attkinsson is smart. Really smart. And accomplished: previously a CNN anchor, then an on-air investigative correspondent for CBS until after 21 years with the company; the subject matter she chose to cover displeased her CBS bosses. She wrote Stonewalled, which became a New York Times best-seller, and continues to promote that and her 2017 best-seller, The Smear, How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote. She can be seen weekly on Full Measure with Sharyl Attkinsson, a public-affairs program syndicated by Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Ms Attkinsson’s recent talk at the Ronald Reagan Center on lower State Street was a sold-out lunch event that required setting up monitors for the overflow crowd. Her talk was a warning about how extensive and insidious the power of the press and technology sector really is. 

She made a point in noting that novelist Philip Roth (Portnoy’s Complaint) had trouble changing his Wikipedia entry that contained some inaccurate information. As soon as he made the change, Wikipedia editors would immediately remove the corrections. When Mr. Roth finally tracked down someone at Wikipedia who knew something about how the information gatherer operates, he asked why the corrections he’d made were continually removed. The answer? Philip Roth wasn’t considered “a reliable source” to make changes on Philip Roth’s Wikipedia page.

Sharyl catalogued a number of false and malicious narratives promulgated by major press sources, such as “Hands up, don’t shoot,” and the evil influence of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others. It was a refreshing and optimistic talk about the persistence of what she refers to as “the black market information trade,” or “transactional journalism.” All of it “advocacy journalism,” and almost all of which is left-wing oriented.

The speakers’ forum is sponsored by the Wendy McCaw Foundation, which is and has been responsible for presenting an array of high-profile speakers in an ongoing Freedom Lecture Series at the Reagan Ranch Center in conjunction with the Young America’s Foundation.


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