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How the NXIVM Sex Cult Defended Trump from Media Attacks

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Marlow Stern

Senior Entertainment Editor

If youre curious exactly how low the bar is to appear on Fox & Friends, the toadying talk show where President Donald Trump appears to get his policy positions, we may have found it.

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This analysis process was devised by none other than Raniere, a self-described genius who graduated college with a 2.26 GPA. You know, we get the negative press, and I think I know where it comes from, Raniere says in The Vow. But the good side of it is, in learning about it and watching how its done and watching how its done to me, I was able to come up with a useful toolset that can really transform media, and that can transform how people interact with mediaand the data within media.

Former NXIVM members in The Vow allege that Raniere created The Knife in order to train his physically and psychologically-abused adherents against media criticism of the cult. One of these members was Mark Vicente, a documentary filmmaker most famous for helming 2004s What the Bleep Do We Know!? Vicente says he was a founding member of The Knife, along with Rosa Laura Junco (daughter of Alejandro Junco de la Vega, the founder of Mexicos REFORMA newspaper); Battlestar Galactica star Nicki Clyne; Smallville actress Allison Mack; and Jens Erik Gould, a former Bloomberg and TIME reporter.

I was one of the founding members of The Knife, says Vicente in the film. So in essence, it was a media company and the idea was to analyze news for objectivityor lack of objectivity. I trained a group of people, what we call analysts, in logicor Ranieres ideas. We would talk about the kind of bias in articlesthe slant, the skew, the use of adjectives, basically talk about how objective something was versus very subjective. The idea was to give every newspaper article a rating.

So your site is committed to determining bias in the media, which I think is a very cool concept, called Knife Media, cooed Fox & Friends co-host Pete Hegseth to Gould whilst displaying the Knife Media logo.

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Gould touted Knife Medias hazy methodology, developed by Raniere, which includes: spin, slant, how logical is the coverage, and how accurate is the coverage. They then assign a rating based on those four criteria.

We actually havea large team of analysts that are doing this every day on the news stories, and they use that information and then plug it into the formulas, said Gould, adding, We found the [medias] Trump coverage in particular was especially biased.

Hegseth beamed as graphics for CNN, The New York Times, and Washington Post flashed on screen coupled with their low so-called integrity ratings.

[They use] words like constant chaos, infighting, abrupt and angry, warring factions, floundering. These are words that are not measurable, theyre not based on data and facts, said Gould. Theyre emotional, and they get us riled up and we get into that, but theyre not helping us get more informed.

Central to NXIVMand Ranieres brainwashing of his memberswas the idea of punishing people for showing heightened emotion, and viewing it as a sign of weakness. This was one of the governing principles of The Knife as well. [The Knife] was to prepare people for any negative press that would come against [NXIVM], because they would in essence discard it for its emotionality, Vicente says in The Vow. If you reduce everything down to the simplest thing, you go from a man raped a woman to a man did something, there was a woman involved. When you take all the emotionality out, you have no idea what actually happened.

Read more on: thedailybeast, sex


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