FROM THE ARCHIVES: Daring Greatly - A Tribute to the Brave
Standing in the breach, fighting for what’s right and decent
Originally published March 11, 2023.
A Tribute to the Brave
In a war for the soul of our country, it no longer matters when we press send.
News delayed is news denied, and keeping ahead of corporate media’s gutless headlines and making our own headlines is critical as we fight the fascist creep.
Yesterday, in a conversation with a former editor of mine we recalled how long it took corporate media to apply the word “lie” to Trump. They used every euphemism they could find to protect their golden goose, furthering his unreality - to admit their abject failure to inform citizens of our peril in 2016 is to admit not being fit for purpose - or worse yet, collaborators.
I recall a pal in the media explaining she was hired at a new network by promising to wipe all of her social media and not having a public opinion about anything.
Pretty fucking inconvenient to have reporters under gag order when the nazis showed up.
As I wrote in Unmasked, corporate media has failed to confront the fact that their outdated ideas of journalistic impartiality are failing the very people they’re meant to serve.
Reality became the burden of the brave - those willing to stick their necks out at a time when burying one’s head in the sand was more convenient.
It was impolite to talk about the truth - big business was so keen to cozy up to the fascists.
So I just wish to take a moment to pay tribute to the brave - the warriors who never stopped using their words and their skillsets to tell people the gravity of our situation.
It is going to get ugly - the ugliness has already begun. But it is not 2016.
It is 2023, and we know who and what we are battling now.
“It is time to think of the GOP as an autocratic force working from within to destroy our democracy, in tandem and in sympathy with foreign autocratic states which have that same goal.”-Ruth Ben-Ghiat
The leaders of the American party formerly known as the GOP are working for and with the head of the Russian Federation’ and other authoritarian states.
If we do not rise up and stop them, our very imperfect democracy and the freedoms we have each taken for granted will be no more. In its place will be an ugly scar - a note pinned to it - “This once was a country of promise, and we did not fight hard enough.”
We are allowing our country to be divided from within - we are allowing families to be divided from within.
It is our civic duty to rise above and prevent further division.
As RAND Senior Behavioral Scientist Todd Helmus explained on Ep28 of RadPod:
“Russia, in 2016, 2018, 2020, they’re targeting both the left and the right. The interesting approach about what Russia does is they take people’s views and make them more extreme. They want conservatives to not just be conservatives - they want them to hate immigrants. They don’t want African Americans to just be suspicious in how the Western world engages with them, they want them to be isolationist and militaristic. They wanted to turn Hillary Clinton supporters into Bernie supporters. Whatever position they’re in, they want them further away. The whole goal of that - and they definitely supported Trump over Clinton, was clear - they want to make Americans hate each other.”
I can’t make it any more clear - we are being psyoped daily toward extremism, toward extreme hatred for one another. As I noted in my report on the Ionov indictment, which showed Russia paying both left and right groups for more than a decade to cause chaos and destabilization, to destroy us from within, there are no rear areas in an information war. It is cheap and those causing the harms are easily purchasable.
Please note the character of those working on behalf of the Kremlin to commit harms against people doing the labor of democracy have some things in common.
As Keir Giles, author of Russia’s War on Everybody noted on Ep55 of RadPod:
“The pattern unfortunately that seems to underlie a lot of the most enthusiastic Russian propagandists is that they have been dealing with severely damaged personalities and personal failure for most of their lives. In fact, the overlap between the number of Russian propagandists who also turn out to be convicted sex offenders is absolutely startling. There are some deep-seated fundamental personality flaws that actually predispose people to being available to be made use of by Russia. And if you look back at the KGB handbooks for recruiting agents of influence, agents of subversion, or indeed propagandists, then you can see very clearly that Russia understood the misfits make the good targets - the people with a grudge, the people who feel they've been treated unfairly by the world because they've been consistent failures, and therefore seek revenge. And the revenge coming through so strongly in some of the verbal attacks that you hear from the trolls, from the so-called independent journalists, the ones pushing the Russian propaganda lines, because the bile and the vitriol and the hatred that they pour out when they're talking about people who criticize Russia, it's extremely personal. And it's plainly tapping deeply into their own personality defects.”
In my post, “Reds Under the Bed”, I transcribe much of RadPod’s interview with Keir, and it is vitally important to see who and what we are fighting and why we need Western leadership to declare we are being targeted with cognitive warfare.
I seek my inspiration from those on the frontlines - both virtually and in reality - as well as looking backward, seeking historians and the words of those who came before us, who know what it takes to fight for what’s right.
As I wrote in Confessions of a Fox Blonde, newsrooms can be a lonely place and a former boss once comforted me with these words from Theodore Roosevelt, written 113 years ago. I would like to share them with you (the gender references are dated, the sentiment is not):
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Daring greatly, neither timid or cold, we continue.
Coda: the editor I refer to in this post has passed away — one less witness to how media used to be. Thank you to everyone supporting my work with a paid membership. We have a long year ahead.
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More info about Bette Dangerous - This magazine is written by Heidi Siegmund Cuda, an Emmy-award winning investigative reporter, author, and veteran music and nightlife columnist. She is the cohost of RADICALIZED Truth Survives, an investigative show about disinformation and is part of the Byline Media team. Thank you for your support of independent investigative journalism.