Naomi Klein on “Selective” Information About Israel and Gaza
Host Brian Stelter joins Naomi Klein for a trip into the mirror world, the subject of her unsettling new book, Doppelganger. They discuss Klein’s own mirror self—the conspiratorial writer Naomi Wolf—how right-wing podcast host Steve Bannon helps“a parallel reality,” and the challenges of understanding what’s happening on the ground in Israel and Gaza as an information war plays out alongside the carnage.
“We curate our own feeds,” Klein said. “I have made a decision to follow lots of people who are in Gaza right now, and who are journalists, who are civilians. So when I look at my feed, I don’t see it as a win-lose situation, I think this is absolutely horrific, and nobody is winning anything. I see a lot of what is going on in Gaza right now, but I have no sense of whether or not my parents are seeing that, my relatives in Israel are seeing that. It’s so strange to be able to curate reality in the way that we’re able to right now.” It partly explains, she said, how you “can have such diametrically opposed interpretations and emotional responses. To a moment like this.”
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen an information war like this,” Klein said later. “We have to check absolutely everything we’re seeing: hacked accounts, doctored screen grabs, you know, selectively edited AI. I mean, everybody I talk to is saying, I have never seen anything like this. And I think the tricky thing is, if it gets us to a point, and I think a lot of people are at a point of, ‘I don’t know what I can trust.’ Then just anything is possible, and in some ways, who wins when we can’t trust anything, right? I think the stronger party probably wins because you can just dismiss anything. ‘Well, what was that? You don’t believe that. I mean, we can’t believe anything.’”
Klein recalls following Naomi Wolf, a writer she’s long been confused with, as Wolf became a recurring guest on Bannon’s show. “Bannon is so explicit on his podcast, The War Room, that he’s building a parallel reality, so that they will not be able to cancel you,” Klein said. “He’s very clear about this. So you need your own currency. You need your own social media platforms. You need your own publishing companies. And it’s a very direct replica of the world that you and I might recognize. The reason why it’s kind of a mirror world is that people who aren’t paying attention to that world, don’t really understand that it exists, because if it’s not in your social media feeds…then does it exist, right? But of course, it’s huge.”