Few matters are so important as the integrity of the information we receive and the recent degradation in its reliability.
The recent leak of a Supreme Court draft related to the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion case underscores how corrupted so many of our important institutions have become by those dedicated to shaping public opinion in a sometimes dishonest way.
Nearly every facet of our American institutions has been infiltrated by activists, corporate and political propagandists, and even criminals.
Here are 10 key institutions that have been successfully infiltrated by information-shapers:
1. CorporationsHigh-profile corporations increasingly do business, or withhold business, on the basis of political considerations in an effort to sway public opinion.
2. SportsSports organizations have stepped into the political realm to try to force some views and censor or punish those who take opposing viewpoints. One recent example is Major League Baseball stripping the All-Star Game from Atlanta over a Georgia law designed to strengthen election integrity following a troubled and error-riddled 2020 election.
3. Big TechBig Tech’s well-known fake fact-checks, censorship, and disinformation have manipulated the information landscape in a more dramatic and chilling way than most any other factor. The biggest example is Big Tech’s censorship of arguably the most important political figure of our time: Donald Trump.
Recent major examples of the sector fostering disinformation include amplifying claims that the Hunter Biden laptop story was Russian disinformation and censoring stories about it, repeatedly backing false information related to COVID-19 while censoring accurate information or legitimate scientific views, and falsely labeling the COVID-19 lab origin story as a conspiracy theory.
4. Public Health AgenciesThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health agencies have increasingly departed from the realm of public interest and science in order to advance false narratives and disinformation. Recent examples include the head of CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, a year ago falsely claiming that people who are vaccinated don’t carry and can’t spread COVID-19; and the agency knowingly putting out disinformation that falsely claimed original studies showed the vaccine's benefit for people who had already had COVID-19.
5. CongressMembers of Congress in both parties have gotten caught taking part in questionable information-shaping and manipulation, particularly when it comes to pharmaceutical-related material. One recent example is members of Congress unilaterally writing letters to or contacting Big Tech in order to get certain topics or scientific studies and discussions controversialized or banned.
6. The Executive BranchHaving lost the most powerful tool in its arsenal to shape information, the executive branch has now formed its own extra-constitutional agency to serve that function: the Disinformation Governance Board. The named head of the board, Nina Jankowicz, has widely furthered disinformation in the past.
7. The MediaWith blogs and quasi-news outlets such as Axios, Slate, Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Vox, Salon, Talking Points Memo, and Rolling Stone joining more traditional partisan outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, Politico, MSNBC, NBC, The Washington Post, CNN, and The New York Times in dominating the information landscape—while their conservative equivalents are controversialized—the media has proven to rank close to Big Tech in terms of its influence in further misinformation.
8. Academia and Public SchoolsAmerica’s colleges and universities have taken increasingly heavy-handed roles in terms of squelching free speech and free thought (when it leans against progressive or radical views), in exchange for a managed environment where only carefully filtered views are allowed, and specific language, expressions, and behavior are mandated.
9. Dept. of Justice, FBI, and Other Intel AgenciesThe very agencies that should remain furthest above the fray with clean hands have found themselves repeatedly muddied involving major investigations and their political influence efforts. One recent example is the criminal conviction of FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, who falsified a document in order to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page. Though multiple people would have known about the crime—possibly participating and staying silent—only Clinesmith was charged.
And he was only charged with a relatively minor crime in relation to the significance and avoided any prison time. Meanwhile, the agency hasn't offered any apology or redress to Page. Other examples include the Department of Justice targeting school parents as possible terrorists, and lopsided prosecution efforts regarding the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach, compared to many more violent events and crimes.