Posted by Thersites on  UTC 2020-10-25 07:12

Have you heard of the well-documented corruption scandal involving Joe and Hunter Biden selling political influence for huge amounts of money?

The chances are that if you only get your news from the mainstream outlets in Switzerland or Germany, you will know nothing of this. Nothing at all.

You will, however, be well versed in the many defects of Donald Trump. You will wonder how the American people can even consider electing such a white supremacist, climate denialist, pussy grabbing, tax avoiding, bleach injecting liar as their President. If, mysteriously, Trump does get over the line in the election, it has to have been achieved by the ballot rigging, redneck lyncher vote that is being manipulated by the Russians.

It is difficult not to mention the Biden scandal at all, but the MSM 'journalists' are skilled at such evasions. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung, for example, that bastion of 'quality journalism' was forced into mentioning it as a part of the latest debate between Trump and Biden. They mentioned the issue in the very last paragraph, drawing on the considerable reserves of indirect speech in German:

President Donald Trump called for the US Attorney General Bill Barr to undertake a corruption investigation into the family of his challenger Joe Biden. 'We have to get the Attorney General to act', said Trump on Tuesday (20.10). Extensive corruption was involved and that ought to be made public before the election, declared Trump. The President has accused the former Vice President and his son Hunter of corruption for a long time, accusations which have most recently been fired up by the tabloid New York Post.

Präsident Donald Trump hat Justizminister Bill Barr zu Korruptionsermittlungen gegen die Familie seines Herausforderers Joe Biden aufgerufen. «Wir müssen den Justizminister dazu bringen zu handeln», sagte Trump am Dienstag (20. 10.). Es handle sich um erhebliche Korruption und das müsse vor der Wahl bekannt sein, erklärte Trump. Der Präsident erhebt seit langem Korruptionsvorwürfe gegen den früheren Vizepräsidenten Biden und dessen Sohn Hunter, die zuletzt von der Boulevardzeitung «New York Post» befeuert wurden.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

Missing words and phrases: not denied, laptop, photos, crack pipe, the Big Guy, millions of dollars transferred, unfriendly prosecutor fired, meetings with the VP etc. The matter is merely a one-sided Trump accusation. The sinister 'We have to get the Justice Minister to act' is elegantly done. And by the way, it's William Barr to you, matey.

The European elites and their journalist friends read the New York Times and the Washington Post, not 'tabloids' such as the New York Post. The American 'reality' they pick up there is then passed down to the monolingual herd.

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Sleepy Joe? No. Hunter's laptop? No. Burisma? Of course not. 'Joe Biden promises voters free coronavirus vaccination.' Even your author can remember a time when Die Zeit was a newspaper of standing, but that time was long ago.

Talking among themselves

This problem is actually worse: it extends far beyond the US election.

Many of the major mainstream media outlets in German-speaking Europe are disappearing behind paywalls or some kind of subscription barrier. In Switzerland, this move has been provoked by the government throwing public money at news websites – as long as they can prove they have some sort of subscription income.

This time last year the non-aligned surfer could dip into scores of MSM offerings. These days almost every MSM website in Switzerland and Germany blanks the unregistered visitor out either immediately or beyond the front page.

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The stated aim is to support 'real journalism' (or some such unicorn) so that we the citizenry are kept well informed, protected from that terror of the new age, 'fake news'. MSM outlets in decline are kept going with taxpayers' cash (think of the model of state sponsored journalism Pravda, 'Truth').

As usual with such schemes, the result is fortunately the exact opposite of the declared aim: the readership of these outlets contracts and the hard core readership that is left forms an echo chamber in which only a limited number of voices are heard. Unbiased journalism and a range of opinions, at least among a range of websites, have vanished. Given the current tactical oblivion of the Biden scandal, we might just say 'good riddance' and leave it as that.

But there was a time when the interested surfer could dip a toe into many different points on a broad spectrum of interests. Now the Swiss and German surfer who is reluctant to take out a score of subscriptions (with built-in email spamming) is excluded from virtually all the mass media.

Thus we find a further unintended consequence: the non-aligned surfer is pushed more and more away from the mainstream media (a.k.a. 'trustworthy journalism') towards the vibrant and diverse offerings of the independent websites, just the kind of 'fake news' that 'real journalists' detest. Unfortunately, for those who are not native English speakers, the idiomatic writing on small websites is an appreciable barrier.

For the record, this website is perfectly aware of Trump's eccentricities. But given the mental state of Biden and the general derangement of the Democrats, the motto has to be: 'In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king'.

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