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Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller 5/3/22

Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis 4/26/22

Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis 4/10/22


Biden escalates his efforts to puncture the Fox News bubble. By Philip Bump 8/27/21

In a sense, Peter Doocy’s arrival in the White House press briefing room has been to his employer’s detriment. It used to be that Fox News could spend days condemning Democratic presidents for not responding to whatever controversy its hosts had been tumbling around in their rhetorical rock polishers. Now, though, there’s Doocy, who is regularly selected by White House press secretary Jen Psaki to ask questions probably in part so that the familiar process can be beheaded early. Her exchanges with Doocy drop into the political conversation like bang snaps, crackling with life for an instant before being forgotten, the gotcha almost always redirected to the junkyard.

That's at least in part because the questions often reflect a network or right-wing consensus that hasn't been exposed to any significant scrutiny. Little grains of ice snowball into scandals, with Sean Hannity, Dan Bongino and whoever else packing on more and more - and then they get removed from the cooler and placed on the sidewalk. It often doesn't take long for it to melt.

At other times, the inflection of Doocy's question itself gets at the point. As was the case Thursday evening, when President Biden called on Doocy after brief remarks about the suicide bombing outside the airport in Kabul.

"Let me take the one question," Biden said, "from the most interesting guy that I know in the press."

This was not really meant as a compliment.

"Mr. President, there had not been a U.S. service member killed in combat in Afghanistan since February of 2020," Doocy said. "You set a deadline. You pulled troops out. You sent troops back in. And now 12 Marines are dead. You said the buck stops with you. Do you bear any responsibility for the way that things have unfolded in the last two weeks?"

When Donald Trump was asked a similar question in March 2020 about the failure of coronavirus testing, he answered like Donald Trump: "No, I don't take responsibility at all, because we were given a - a set of circumstances, and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time." Rejection of the idea that he deserved blame and a pivot to his predecessor.

Biden's been doing this longer, so he accepted blame - and then pivoted to his predecessor.

"I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that's happened of late," Biden said. "But here's the deal: You know - I wish you'd one day say these things - you know as well as I do that the former president made a deal with the Taliban that he would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1. In return, the commitment was made - and that was a year before - in return, he was given a commitment that the Taliban would continue to attack others, but would not attack any American forces."

At that point, though, Biden went in a different direction: He challenged Doocy to admit that he knew that his own framing of the question was unsound.

Doocy tried to interject that Trump was no longer the president, but Biden kept at it.

"Now wait a minute," he said. "I'm asking you a question. Is that - is that accurate, to the best of your knowledge?"

"I know what you're talking about," Doocy conceded, before then trying to get Biden to opine on why Americans might be frustrated with the situation in the country. Biden, after resting his head on his hands in apparent frustration, replied that Americans "have an issue that people are likely to get hurt" as they had that day.

He then returned to the prior point: that U.S. forces had avoided attack thanks to the deal made by Trump that had included a withdrawal pledge. This was the case, he said, "whether my friend will acknowledge it" or not - his friend being Doocy.

Fundamentally, that was the Biden's point. Doocy and his network often don't provide or consider the context that would subject their theories to heat from the outset. As New York magazine's Jonathan Chait pointed out Thursday, Fox viewers often aren't really tuning in to the network's offerings for a considered debate on the news of the day. What keeps them engaged and watching is the diaspora of voices and range of volumes fuming at the day's outrage.

For all of the right's focus on Biden's mental acuity, he's sufficiently adept at the sort of exchange seen Thursday to be able to put Doocy on the defensive. Not that this friction between Fox News and a Democratic White House is newly emergent. Biden's willingness to engage offensively with Doocy echoes the disparagement and criticisms that were a frequent feature of Barack Obama's administration.

What's different now are the stakes. Fox News is powerful, capturing an audience of millions of viewers a night. It shifted during the Trump administration in part out of an effort to retain the attention of Trump's more fervent supporters. In 2013, Fox News's prime-time lineup flowed from Greta Van Susteren to Bill O'Reilly to Megyn Kelly to what was then its populist anchor, Hannity. Now, the channel is hosting a rotating slot of right-wing personalities in the 7 p.m. hour, before handing things over to Tucker Carlson, Hannity and Laura Ingraham. If those names aren't intimately familiar to you, trust me when I say it's a significant move away from the center.

The network (and Carlson in particular) remains a lodestone for much of the often-self-contained conversation on the political right. In November, after it became obvious that Biden had won the election, I pointed out that with Trump vanquished, Biden's main opponent - misinformation from the right - remained potent. (Right-wing misinformation, driven by Trump, then spent months claiming that no such vanquishing had occurred.) Biden and his team clearly recognize this threat, as evidenced by their willingness to engage with Doocy.

There's an overly neat analogy that could be drawn here about the White House entertaining a representative of a hostile power, but it's not entirely wrong. Doocy gives the White House a way into the often-sealed discourse on the right, a way to draw those snowballs into the sunlight. Psaki and Biden are confident in their ability to handle Doocy's questions and eager to reframe them. It's a bit like doing an interview with a local television station in rural Texas: You're pretty much guaranteed airtime that you wouldn't otherwise get.

Not that it seems to be having much effect.

Marty Baron and the eight years that reshaped The Washington Post — and journalism

At Voice of America, a sweeping ouster of Trump officials on Biden’s first full day. By Paul Farhi Jan. 21, 2021

Trump couldn’t have incited sedition without the help of Fox News. Opinion by Max Boot Columnist Jan. 18, 2021

It is hard to overstate the enormity of what occurred on Jan. 6, 2021 — a date that will live in infamy alongside Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 11, 2001. This was the first time the U.S. Capitol had been ransacked since the War of 1812 and the first time ever that the United States has not experienced a peaceful transfer of power. As a result, Donald Trump has become the only president ever impeached twice, and troops have been seen sleeping at the Capitol — a scene reminiscent of the Civil War.

Five people died during the storming of the Capitol, and it could have been a whole lot worse. The attackers chanting “Hang Mike Pence” came within a minute of finding the vice president. Federal prosecutors allege that a retired Air Force officer who was carrying zip-tie handcuffs wanted to “kidnap, restrain, perhaps try, perhaps execute members of the U.S. government.” Police officers interviewed by The Post described a “medieval battle scene” with rioters “battering the officers with metal pipes peeled from scaffolding and a pole with an American flag attached.”

The seditionists assembled at the president’s invitation. The Wall Street Journal reports that one social media post from the Proud Boys told their members “POTUS wants you in D.C. on 1/06/21.” Impeaching and convicting Trump is the least we can do, given his role in inciting this violent insurrection.

But while holding Trump to account is necessary, it is also insufficient. There is a whole infrastructure of incitement that will remain intact even after Trump leaves office. Just as we do with foreign terrorist groups, so with domestic terrorists: We need to shut down the influencers who radicalize people and set them on the path toward violence and sedition.

Some argue that trying to silence the voices of insurrection is a hopeless task — that hate will always find a way to get through. And it’s true that there is a danger that seditious plots will now move to encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram, where they will be harder to track. But research firm Zignal Labs found that online misinformation about election fraud fell 73 percent after Trump and key allies were suspended from social media.

That’s a good start. Anyone who cherishes our democracy should be grateful to the management of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites for their newfound sense of social responsibility. We should expect at least the same level of responsibility from broadcast media — and in particular from Fox News, which has the largest reach on the right.

To its credit, Fox News acknowledged that Joe Biden won. But, reports Media Matters for America, “in the two weeks after Fox News called the election for Biden, Fox News cast doubt on the results of the election at least 774 times.” According to NPR, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs said Trump’s opponents in the government were guilty of “treason” and that it would be “criminal” for Republicans to recognize Biden’s victory. Fox News host Mark Levin told viewers: “If we don’t fight on Jan. 6 on the floor of the Senate and the House — and that is the joint meeting of Congress on these electors — then we are done.”

The pro-Trump insurrectionists were listening. To take but one example, The Post reports that Ashli Babbitt, who was killed in the attack, “was an avid viewer of Fox News, praising Tucker Carlson and other far-right media personalities on the network as she derided their liberal targets.” This is dismaying but hardly surprising. As the New York Times notes, “Fox has long been the favorite channel of pro-Trump militants. The man who mailed pipe bombs to CNN in 2018 watched Fox News ‘religiously.’”

Cumulus Media, one of America’s largest talk-radio companies, has ordered its hosts — who include some Fox News personalities — to stop spreading false claims of election fraud. (If only Cumulus were doing a better job of enforcing its new policy.) But Fox News itself has issued no such edict.

James and Kathryn Murdoch, part of the family that controls Fox News, just called on “media property owners” to stop propagating “lies” that “have unleashed insidious and uncontrollable forces.” If James’s brother, Lachlan (co-chairman of News Corp and chief executive of Fox Corporation), and father, Rupert (executive chairman of News Corp and co-chairman of Fox Corporation), won’t listen, then large cable companies such as Comcast and Charter Spectrum, which carry Fox News and provide much of its revenue in the form of user fees, need to step in and kick Fox News off. And if smaller competitors such as One America News and Newsmax continue to incite viewers, they, too, should be booted off.

But while we should expect better behavior from media executives, we shouldn’t count on it. CNN (where I’m a global affairs analyst) notes that the United Kingdom doesn’t have its own version of Fox News, because it has a government regulator that metes out hefty fines to broadcasters that violate minimal standards of impartiality and accuracy. The United States hasn’t had that since the Federal Communications Commission stopped enforcing the “fairness” doctrine in the 1980s. As president, Biden needs to reinvigorate the FCC. Or else the terrorism we saw on Jan. 6 may be only the beginning, rather than the end, of the plot against America.

Trump is guilty of sedition. Impeach him again. Opinion by Max Boot Columnist Jan. 6, 2021 at 7:39 p.m. CST

We need to be clear about what has just happened at the U.S. Capitol. This was not a protest by “American Patriots,” the words used by Ivanka Trump in a now-deleted tweet. This was a violent and unlawful insurrection by a seditious mob bent on preventing the House and Senate from certifying the election results that will make Joe Biden the next president of the United States.

This is far worse than anything that antifa or any other left-wing group has done. It has nothing in common with the protests that swept the country last year after the killing of George Floyd — and which Republicans cited as evidence of an impending communist revolution. The invasion of the Capitol was a genuine and terrifying attack on our democracy the likes of which we have not seen in our lifetimes.

We also need to be clear about who was responsible for this attempted coup: not just President Trump but also his enablers in the executive branch, Congress and the media.

Trump invited his followers to come to Washington on Wednesday for a “big protest” premised on the false assumption that the election was stolen from him. “Be there, will be wild!” he tweeted on Dec 19. On Tuesday, he tweeted: “I hope the Democrats, and even more importantly, the weak and ineffective RINO section of the Republican Party, are looking at the thousands of people pouring into D.C. They won’t stand for a landslide election victory to be stolen.”

When his followers did show up on the Mall on Wednesday, Trump incited them further, telling them: “We will never give up. We will never concede. It will never happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” He castigated his own vice president, Mike Pence, for refusing to exceed his constitutional authority by not certifying the electoral votes of states that Trump lost. “We are going to have to fight much harder,” Trump said, and urged the assembled multitudes to march on the Capitol.

It is on Trump’s head that by Wednesday afternoon, his followers had surged past the overwhelmed Capitol Police to invade America’s citadel of democracy. The scenes that unfolded looked like something out of a horror movie, with police clashing with the attackers and members of Congress having to stop their proceedings and flee to safety.

Pleas from his own aides and members of Congress from both parties finally led Trump to issue a mealy-mouthed videotaped appeal to the mob to “go home.” But he refused to give up his false and incendiary claims that the election was stolen, and he paid tribute to the odious attackers: “We love you. You’re very special.” This was very much reminiscent of his ambivalent response to the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville in 2017 — “very fine people on both sides,” he said.

The leader of our government is inciting an assault on it. He is resorting to mob rule to tear down the rule of law. This is sedition, and it cannot be ignored. Congress needs to finish certifying the election results and then move on to the urgent business at hand — impeaching Trump for a second time. There are only 14 days left in his term, but that is enough time to act — not only to remove Trump from office but also to prevent him from running again. This is precisely the kind of “high crime and misdemeanor” that the impeachment clause of the Constitution was designed to address.

Or, failing that, Pence and a majority of the Cabinet can invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump. Perhaps now that the vice president and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been terrorized by Trump supporters, they will understand the danger that this aspiring authoritarian poses.

But whatever happens with the president, we must never forget the responsibility of his enablers for the ugly events of Wednesday. This would never have happened if Fox “News,” OAN, Newsmax, Mark Levin, the Daily Wire and all the rest had not been spreading poisonous lies to allege that the election was stolen. This would never have happened if more than 100 members of the House and at least 13 senators had not endorsed those theories by announcing that they would not certify the election results in battleground states that Trump lost. Members of the Sedition Caucus such as Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Josh Hawley (Mo.) should see their careers crash and burn, as Sen. Joe McCarthy’s did, for their shameful and cynical assault on the Constitution.

This was a day of infamy for American democracy. We can only hope that some good comes out of it by causing a backlash against the Trumpist attempt to pervert our most vital institutions. Many of us have been warning of the danger for years — only to have our words dismissed as overly alarmist, even hysterical. It is now clear that the only people who have been suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome” are those who have refused to acknowledge the danger from this American fascism.

Another Trump term could be a fatal blow to press freedom, 11/2/20

With attacks on journalists increasing and the space for free expression shrinking, Tuesday’s presidential election will be decisive for the future of press freedom in the United States and around the world.

We in the news media have closely covered Donald Trump’s presidency, but far too often the substance of the story has been obscured by the overall spectacle. This has desensitized many to the headline-grabbing personal assaults against reporters that have been a prominent feature of Trump’s presidency and, frankly, his popularity.

Respect for free speech is among the many norms shattered during this presidency. Trump’s recent “60 Minutes” meltdown and his decision to preemptively release his interview with Lesley Stahl make up just one example.

His habit of verbally abusing journalists, and inciting crowds to do the same, is a hallmark of authoritarian leaders instantly recognizable to citizens of such societies. For Americans, though, this approach to reporters and an independent media is still very new, so on the eve of Election Day, we must assess the damage that has been inflicted and how we might reverse course.

Even more corrosive than Trump’s combative speech toward and about journalists are his administration’s efforts to hamstring media outlets’ reporting by enveloping them in a vortex of red tape and imposing restrictions on who can cover what. The latest indications of how far the U.S. government has strayed from the promise of the First Amendment are chilling.

The Department of Homeland Security recently proposed rule changes that could heavily affect foreign news agencies and restrict their reporters’ ability to work in the United States. According to DHS, such decisions would be based on “defining a foreign media organization consistent with U.S. Department of State and DHS policy.”

When assessing the health of a democracy, official restrictions on domestic and foreign journalists’ ability to report within a society are a bad indicator. Disturbingly, such limitations are not only expanding but are also appearing in previously healthy democracies.

While the public rarely hears about such hurdles, correspondents in China, Russia, Iran and other authoritarian societies live and work under constant pressures that they understand are intended to impede their jobs. The Trump administration is simply employing moves from an old authoritarian playbook that have proved successful at limiting critical coverage in illiberal societies.

Along with attempting to limit foreign reporters’ access to the United States, the Trump administration has nearly completed its years-long effort to recast Voice of America as little more than a propaganda outlet for the Trump agenda.

Just last week, Michael Pack, Trump’s confirmed chief executive of the U.S. Agency for Global Media — VOA’s parent organization — unilaterally rescinded the firewall that blocked the person in his position (that is, a presidential appointee) from controlling the editorial content and decision-making at the government-funded news outlets within the agency. This firewall was the most essential pillar of the media organization’s independence.

Voice of America has long served as one of the lone independent and uncensored sources of news for millions of people around the world whose governments deny them access to unbiased reporting.

State-run media outlets that push the government line, limiting foreign correspondents’ ability to operate in a country, officials slandering journalists with impunity — this is the media landscape that the Trump administration envisions for the United States. And as Trump’s term winds down, he is close to achieving all of it.

Every day that Trump remains in office all but guarantees a further and faster slide toward a more suffocating environment. Americans’ continued rights to expression and our leaders’ commitments to upholding and promoting these rights and values are on the ballot.

For decades, the U.S. government could be relied on to stand up for this most basic American principle. Our president wielded enormous influence over governments that mistreated journalists. On Trump’s watch, however, the U.S. government has not only mistreated journalists but has also failed to hold accountable the jailers and killers of journalists elsewhere.

While Trump’s behavior has stirred outrage since before he was first elected in 2016, he has never faced any consequences. Four more years of Trump would only worsen the erosions of press freedom around the globe — while plunging this country further into crisis.

As The Post has regularly reported, attacks on journalists have become increasingly vicious in recent years. This is most alarming in countries that, until recently, had functioning democracies.

The devastating decline in press freedom around the world and this president’s targeting of journalists for abuse contribute to undermining U.S. credibility as a leading international force for democratic values. That credibility will be difficult, though not impossible, for the next president to win back. But Trump has already, and permanently, abdicated the moral authority of his office.

Media Freedom? Show me the MSM Journalist Opposing the Torture of Assange By Craig Murray 9/7/20

" Today, the corporate media that cried “Media freedom” when Extinction Rebellion blocked the billionaire owned propaganda presses, is silent as Julian Assange’s Calvary for bringing real truth unfiltered to the public moves on to its next station; the macabre Gothic architecture of the Old Bailey.

The Tories appeared remarkably tolerant in the days when Extinction Rebellion were causing general disruption to the public. But to threaten the interests of billionaire paymasters is something against which the entire political class will unite. At a time when the government is mooting designating Extinction Rebellion as Serious Organised Crime, right wing bequiffed muppet Keir Starmer was piously condemning the group, stating: “The free press is the cornerstone of democracy and we must do all we can to protect it."

It is surely time we stopped talking about “free press”, as if it was Thomas Paine or William Cobbett distributing pamphlets. Print media is now the subject of phenomenonal ownership concentration. It broadcasts the propaganda of some very nasty billionaires to a shrinking audience of mostly old people. The same ownerships have of course moved in to TV and Radio and increasingly into new media, and have a political stranglehold over those who control state media. At the same time, the corporate gatekeepers of Facebook and Twitter purposefully strangle the flow of readers to independent online media. The idea of a “free press” as an open marketplace of democratic ideas has no real meaning in modern society, until anti-monopoly action is taken. Which is the last thing those in power will do.

Quite the opposite, they are actively seeking to eliminate dissent even from the internet.

I do not want permanently to close down the Sun or the Telegraph; neither do Extinction Rebellion. But their excellent action is an important opening to the debate about controlled public narrative, not least on climate change. The highly paid stenographers to power have been quick to protest. Murdoch mouthpiece David Aaronovitch tweeted out that in fact 99% of the time there was no editorial interference from Murdoch. But that is the point. Murdoch employs reliable right wingers like Aaronovitch; he does not need to tell them what to write.

David Aaronovitch tweet

It's really complicated by the alternative scenarios. I'm pretty persuaded that we would be two or three titles lighter in this country if not for RM. And as I ought to know there is no direct command structure for the editorial line 99% of the time.

leftworks tweet

There's no need if the right people are picked. You can be relied upon to parrot Establishment bullshit 99% of the time, for example

Show me the Murdoch journalist who has more than once published about the human rights abuses against the Palestinians. Murdoch ejected his own son from his media empire because James was insufficiently enthusiastic about the slow genocide of the Palestinians, and does not believe that the market will magically fix climate change.

The corporate media selects its mouthpieces. Scotland has become an extreme example, where 55% of the population support Independence, but only about 5% of state and corporate media “journalists” support Independence.

Julian Assange has been a light in this darkness. Wikileaks have opened a window into the secret world of war crime, murder and corruption that underlies so much of the governance we live under throughout the “free” world. Coming in the wake of the public realisation that we had been blatantly lied into the destruction of Iraq, there was a time when it seemed Assange would lead us into a new age where whistleblowers, citizen journalists and a democratic internet would revolutionise public information, with the billionaire stranglehold shattered.

That seems less hopeful today, as the internet world itself corporatised. Julian is in jail and continuing today is an extradition hearing that has been one long abuse of process. The appalling conditions of solitary confinement in which he has been kept in the high security Belmarsh Prison, with no access to his legal team or a working computer, to his papers or to his mail, have taken a huge toll on his physical and mental health. The UN Special Representative has declared he is subject to torture. A media which is up in arms about the very dubious attack on Navalny, has no emotion for state torture victim Assange other than contempt.

It is constantly asked by Julian’s supporters why the media do not see the assault on a publisher and journalist as a threat to themselves. The answer is that the state and corporate media are confident in their firm alliance with the powers that be. They have no intention of challenging the status quo; their protection from those kicking Assange lies in joining in with the kicking.

I hope to be in court today, and throughout the extradition hearing. The public gallery of 80 has been reduced to 9 “due to Covid”. 5 seats are reserved for Julian’s family and friends, and I have one of these today, but not guaranteed beyond that. There are just 4 seats for the general public.

Journalists and NGO’s will be following the hearing online – but only “approved” journalists and NGO’s, selected by the Orwelian Ministry of Justice. I had dinner last night with Assange supporters from a number of registered NGO’s, not one of which had been “approved”. I had applied myself as a representative of Hope Over Fear, and was turned down. It is the same story for those who applied for online access as journalists. Only the officially “approved” will be allowed to watch.

This is supposed to be a public hearing, to which in normal times anybody should be able to walk in off the street into the large public gallery, and anyone with a press card into the press gallery. What is the justification for the political selection of those permitted to watch? An extraordinary online system has been set up, with the state favoured observers given online “rooms” in which only the identified individual will be allowed. Even with approved organisations, it is not the case that an organisation will have a login anyone can use, not even one at a time. Only specifically nominated individuals have to login before proceedings start, and if their connection breaks at any point they will not be readmitted that day.

Given these restrictions, I was very conscious I may need to queue from 5am tomorrow, to get one of the 4 public places, if I drop off the family list. So I went this morning at 6am to the Old Bailey to check out the queue and work out the system. The first six people in the queue were all people who, entirely off their own bat, without my knowledge and with no coordination between them, had arrived while London slept just to reserve a place for me. I was swept up by their goodness, their trust in me and by their sheer humanitarian concern about Julian and the whole miscarriage of justice. I chatted cheerily with them for a while, then came back to write this, but just got round the corner when I burst into floods of tears, overwhelmed by all this kindness.

I have to pull myself together now and get into that court.

Craig John Murray is a British former diplomat turned political activist, human rights campaigner, blogger and whistleblower. Between 2002 and 2004, he was the British ambassador to Uzbekistan during which time he exposed the violations of human rights in Uzbekistan by the Karimov administration.

The Stalinist trial of Julian Assange; whose side are you on? By John Pilger September 07, 2020

Having reported the long, epic ordeal of Julian Assange, John Pilger gave this address outside the Central Criminal Court in London on September 7 as the WikiLeaks editor’s extradition hearing entered its final stage.

When I first met Julian Assange more than 10 years ago, I asked him why he had started WikiLeaks. He replied: "TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ARE MORAL ISSUES THAT MUST BE THE ESSENCE OF PUBLIC LIFE AND JOURNALISM."

I had never heard a publisher or an editor invoke morality in this way. Assange believes that journalists are the agents of people, not power: that we, the people, have a right to know about the darkest secrets of those who claim to act in our name.

If the powerful lie to us, we have the right to know. If they say one thing in private and the opposite in public, we have the right to know. If they conspire against us, as Bush and Blair did over Iraq, then pretend to be democrats, we have the right to know.

It is this morality of purpose that so threatens the collusion of powers that want to plunge much of the world into war and want to bury Julian alive in Trump’s fascist America.

In 2008, a top-secret US Department of Defense report described in detail how the United States would combat this new moral threat. A secretly-directed personal smear campaign against Julian Assange would lead to “EXPOSURE [AND] CRIMINAL PROSECUTION."

The aim was to silence and criminalize WikiLeaks and its founder. Page after page revealed a coming war on a single human being and on the very principle of freedom of speech and freedom of thought, and democracy.

The imperial shock troops would be those who called themselves journalists: the big hitters of the so-called mainstream, especially the “liberals” who mark and patrol the perimeters of dissent.

And that is what happened. I have been a reporter for more than 50 years and I have never known a smear campaign like it: the fabricated character assassination of a man who refused to join the club; who believed journalism was a service to the public, never to those above.

Assange shamed his persecutors. He produced scoop after scoop. He exposed the fraudulence of wars promoted by the media and the homicidal nature of America’s wars, the corruption of dictators, the evils of Guantanamo.

He forced us in the West to look in the mirror. He exposed the official truth-tellers in the media as collaborators: those I would call Vichy journalists. None of these imposters believed Assange when he warned that his life was in danger: that the “sex scandal” in Sweden was a set up and an American hellhole was the ultimate destination. And he was right, and repeatedly right.

The extradition hearing in London this week is the final act of an Anglo-American campaign to bury Julian Assange. It is not due process. It is due revenge. The American indictment is clearly rigged, a demonstrable sham. So far, the hearings have been reminiscent of their Stalinist equivalents during the Cold War.

Today, the land that gave us Magna Carta, Great Britain, is distinguished by the abandonment of its own sovereignty in allowing a malign foreign power to manipulate justice and by the vicious psychological torture of Julian – a form of torture, as Nils Melzer, the UN expert has pointed out, that was refined by the Nazis because it was most effective in breaking its victims.

Every time I have visited Assange in Belmarsh Prison, I have seen the effects of this torture. When I last saw him, he had lost more than 10kg in weight; his arms had no muscle. Incredibly, his wicked sense of humor was intact.

As for Assange’s homeland, Australia has displayed only a cringing cowardice as its government has secretly conspired against its own citizen who ought to be celebrated as a national hero. Not for nothing did George W. Bush anoint the Australian prime minister his “deputy sheriff."

It is said that whatever happens to Julian Assange in the next three weeks will diminish if not destroy freedom of the press in the West. But which press? The Guardian? The BBC, the New York Times, the Jeff Bezos Washington Post?

No, the journalists in these organizations can breathe freely. The Judases on the Guardian who flirted with Julian, exploited his landmark work, made their pile then betrayed him, have nothing to fear. They are safe because they are needed.

Freedom of the press now rests with the honorable few: the exceptions, the dissidents on the internet who belong to no club, who are neither rich nor laden with Pulitzers, but produce fine, disobedient, moral journalism – those like Julian Assange.

Meanwhile, it is our responsibility to stand by a true journalist whose sheer courage ought to be inspiration to all of us who still believe that freedom is possible. I salute him.

If one reporter can demolish Trump, where are the rest? Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

Axios’s Jonathan Swan deserves praise for his revealing interview with the intellectually and temperamentally deficient president. Pressed on how he could crow about his handling of the pandemic when a thousand people a day were dying, President Trump replied: “They are dying. That’s true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can. It’s under control as much as you can control it." The sight of him shuffling through papers, unable to process unflattering information or respond to questions for which he did not have a stock answer, was sobering if unsurprising. His peevish refusal to recognize the late Rep. John Lewis’s greatness because Lewis did not attend Trump’s inauguration was yet another example of raging narcissism.

However, what is instructive — and disturbing — was the amazement expressed by other media personalities in response. They gawk and applaud as if Swan (like Fox News’s Chris Wallace) did something unprecedented. Instead, Swan — like Wallace — did his job, refusing to be flustered by Trump and eschewing congenial tactics that allow Trump to escape from tough encounters.

I cannot imagine a network anchor displaying the look of incredulity on Swan’s face or retorting “Why can’t I?" when Trump said he couldn’t count coronavirus deaths as a percentage of our population. I cannot envision a cable TV anchor (other than Wallace or CNN’s Jake Tapper) dwelling on a topic for as long as it takes to pin Trump down and refusing to rush off to another topic.

Swan and Wallace expertly displayed their craft, but they (and the reaction of their peers) wound up demonstrating how sadly deficient TV interviewers have been in the Trump era. There are two problems: the personnel hired to do tough, combative interviews and the mindset of too many news outlets.

TV news personalities are hired in part because they are congenial, likable and watchable. They put guests and the audience at ease. They do not allow pregnant pauses. They bail out interviewees who are at a loss for words. This is the wrong skill set for interrogating a president, especially one who is a serial liar. In nearly four years, TV news outlets have not figured this out; some simply threw in the towel and declined to switch to more effective interviewers because their star anchors draw TV viewers.

The TV networks would do better to hire people — lawyers, specifically — who are attack dogs, who do not care about being liked and who do not care if they get “access." House Intelligence Committee counsel Daniel S. Goldman and Barbara McQuade, former U.S. attorney and now MSNBC interviewer, know how to prepare a line of questions. (Disclosure: I’m an MSNBC contributor.) They know how to listen to the answer and follow up. They shrug off bluster and body language meant to intimidate them. If the job of the media is to hold those in power accountable and to reveal the truth (not maintain phony balance), this is the kind of person you want grilling administration figures.

That brings us to the larger problems with a good deal of mainstream media coverage: the false supposition that Trump is a rational president whose actions can be analyzed as deliberate policy or political choices; the aversion to describing Trump’s statements accurately (“lie," “incoherent," etc.); and the reluctance to give up the false idol of “balance” when one side acts in bad faith.

In conducting themselves in this way, mainstream media help prop up Trump, conferring an aura of normality that is not earned. They also let other Republicans off the hook when they should be asking hard questions about their own moral failures. (How can you seriously support someone who blabbers nonsense about coronavirus deaths? Aren’t you embarrassed to defend Trump’s blatant appeals to racism?)

And they give cover to right-wing editors, pundits and columnists who concoct elaborate rationalizations and ignore what is in front of their noses — a haphazard, delusional and racist president.

After applauding their colleague Swan, the rest of the TV news universe might engage in some self-reflection. Why have they been so ineffective? Why have they played the false balance game? Do they have the people with the right skill set or have they simply given up asking the hardest questions for the sake of genial entertainment? These are tough but essential questions necessary if we are to have an effective, independent media. Right now, effective inquisitors are islands in a sea of froth and fog.

[This all derives from news being redefined as "entertainment." - CG]

Local journalism has collapsed. Can anything save it? By Susan Benkelman July 10, 2020

Not so long ago, the Youngstown Vindicator sent someone to cover every municipal or school board meeting in the surrounding three-county area.

“People knew that," said Mark Brown, former general manager of the northeastern Ohio newspaper, “and they behaved."

In other words, just the presence of a reporter helped keep local officials honest.

Those days are gone. And now so is the Vindicator. Its name and subscriber list were sold to a nearby paper that now has a Youngstown-area edition, but the family newspaper that had served the region for 150 years published its last edition on Aug. 31, 2019.

The Vindicator is among the victims of the local-media implosion that Margaret Sullivan chronicles in “Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy." As her title suggests, the collapse is taking with it one of the foundations of the journalist’s craft: holding city, county and state government officials to account.

The damage goes beyond the lack of accountability, argues Sullivan, a media columnist for The Washington Post. The erosion of local news means Americans are more polarized and more disconnected from their communities. They’re less interested in running for office. And taxpayers even pay more, according to one study she cites, as government spending and borrowing costs rise because of a lack of oversight.

In Sullivan’s conversations across the country, readers told her they were aware of the problem — they saw local news as increasingly partisan or shallow. But they apparently hadn’t made a crucial connection: The decline in quality is due to the erosion of the industry’s financial foundations. Two surveys last year, one from the Pew Research Center and one from the Knight Foundation and Gallup, showed that a majority of people believe that local news outlets are in good financial shape.

This lack of awareness of the threat facing local news is the essential problem Sullivan’s book addresses. She is sounding an alarm. She’s not the first to explore this crisis, but her book succeeds in its aim of delivering an urgent message in a concise way. It is part of a series of novella-length books that Columbia University commissions and publishes on current issues for “curious and busy” readers.

Sullivan is well-qualified to tell this story. Before joining The Post in 2016, she was the New York Times’ public editor. But her authority for this book derives mostly from her experience at her hometown newspaper, the Buffalo News, where she was the top editor for 13 years. Her firsthand accounts, and her impressions upon revisiting her old newspaper — now much smaller than when she worked there — personalize the story.

As she surveys the damage across the country, and outside the United States as well, Sullivan finds local newsrooms that are shells of their former selves, picked over by hedge funds or distant conglomerates that have no connection to local audiences. She looks at “news deserts” with no coverage at all. Those papers that are left face a precipitous drop in advertising, which has migrated to Google and Facebook. The ground shifted further even as she was writing the book, with the coronavirus pandemic cutting into what was left of the advertising base that news organizations rely on.

Sullivan also documents the ways people are responding. An Arkansas publisher is giving readers iPads to push them to digital; one in Texas is counterintuitively doubling down on print; a Michigan woman has created a “brigade” of citizen-reporters to dig into local issues for a nonprofit news site. In Youngstown, the investigative site ProPublica has sent a reporter to the region as part of its local reporting network, while the McClatchy Co., with start-up help from Google, has launched a news site there called Mahoning Matters as part of a project to explore new business models.

She gets hope from promising work by nonprofit news organizations in Texas, Minnesota and elsewhere. Others advocate finding ways to ensure that social media platforms that profit from news help pay for it. Government support, problematic because of concerns about potential political meddling, is even on the table. A number of groups are working to solve the problem, including the nonprofit organization where I work, the American Press Institute. There are seemingly as many proposed solutions as there are people working on it, and the answer probably depends on the community. What works in Minneapolis might not in Miami.

Sullivan does not advocate a particular approach. She is interested, she says, in “anything reasonable” that supports the function of local news. While there is hope in some places, she also admits at the end to feeling “a great deal of sadness” about what she sees.

That’s understandable. Those of us who came of age as journalists in the heyday of local newspapers had what we saw as the best job in the world. The pay was modest, but there was great satisfaction in telling the community when the city was giving a sweetheart deal to a local developer or a factory was dumping toxic waste into a river.

The old model worked because it was a buffet of offerings. News, opinions, obituaries, sports, comics and the crossword existed alongside ads, both classified and retail (with coupons), and people subscribed for all those things. But when that newspaper landed on the porch, the first thing they saw was the big headline of the day — perhaps a story germinated in one of those municipal meetings like the ones the Vindicator once covered.

Those in power saw it, too, because it was right there on the front page. And even when it wasn’t, as Youngstown’s Brown said, at least they knew someone was watching.

Ghosting the News
Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy
By Margaret Sullivan
Columbia Global Reports. 105 pp. $15.99 paperback.

New Yorker Cartoons

Trump thinks Fox News's success proves his popularity. Instead, it shows the size of his bubble.

Over the course of his life, President Trump has used a few particular data points to evaluate his success.

The first is stock indexes, which he has long used to measure his financial success. When he starred on NBC’s “The Apprentice” 16 years ago, he focused intensely on tracking television ratings. When he announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2015, he began tracking poll numbers.

All of these numbers are still integral to Trump’s sense of self and used by Trump to measure how his presidency is coming along. That’s not a contestable claim; he regularly talks and tweets about how each is faring. He’ll tweet that the Dow Jones industrial average has hit 25,000 (again) or that whatever poll from whatever pollster is good or bad depending on how well it suggests he’s doing.

He even still tweets about television ratings, oddly enough. Trump now uses Fox News ratings the way he uses the indexes, as an external proxy for how well he’s doing. If Fox beats CNN, Trump seems to think, that’s a measure of the extent to which he himself is crushing his opponents.

Fox beat CNN in the most recent ratings, and Trump noticed.

Trump tweet:

Can’t believe how badly @CNN has done in the newly released TV ratings. They are so far below @FoxNews (thank you President Trump!) that you can barely find them. Fredo should be given a big pay cut! MSDNC also did poorly. As I have long said, Fake News does not pay!!!

That little aside — "(thank you President Trump!)" — is the president’s heavy-handed attempt to try to strong-arm the network into wringing out any even modestly critical coverage of his administration. What’s more important, though, is the bigger throughline. Trump claims that Fox’s rivals are “fake news," a term he uses to describe critical coverage, and implies that they are failing specifically because of that lack of generosity in their reporting.

To Trump, this is a sign that his side is winning. But that’s not what these ratings show.

Consider new polling from Suffolk University, conducted for USA Today. Suffolk includes a question asking respondents which TV news or commentary source they trust the most. Among Democrats, responses are split broadly, with no single network or source earning being identified by more than a quarter of the partisan group.

Among Republicans, more than half identify Fox News. An additional quarter-plus say they don’t trust any source.

One result of this is that Fox News ends up with a bigger audience than CNN or PBS and NPR (combined as an option in Suffolk’s question). If we roughly overlap Suffolk’s responses with the distribution of the population by party (using Gallup’s latest numbers), you can see that the density of Republican confidence in Fox News makes it the most trusted single source.


One result of this is that Fox News ends up with a bigger audience than CNN or PBS and NPR (combined as an option in Suffolk’s question). If we roughly overlap Suffolk’s responses with the distribution of the population by party (using Gallup’s latest numbers), you can see that the density of Republican confidence in Fox News makes it the most trusted single source.


This is an approximation of how the cable news battle works, and Fox’s audience is a bit less homogeneous than that approximation suggests. But it makes clear one thing that the ratings contest reflects: Fox News is the go-to network for most Republicans, while Democrats divvy up their viewership more broadly. And that helps power Fox News to ratings victories.

That Suffolk asks people about their viewership preferences allows us to reinforce how strongly cable-news preferences overlap with partisan ones.

Take the head-to-head question about the 2020 presidential contest. Overall, former vice president Joe Biden leads Trump by double digits in the poll. That’s a function of broad Democratic support for Biden and broad Republican support for Trump. Independents also prefer Biden by a hefty margin.

But compare views of the contest as seen through the lens of trust in TV news and commentary sources. Those who say they trust CNN or PBS the most have views of the race that roughly mirror the Democratic view. Those who trust Fox look like Republicans.


That holds across the questions Suffolk asked. Democrats and those who trust CNN the most think Biden is likely to win. Those who watch Fox and Republicans think Trump will win.

On approval, the same pattern.

One pattern that emerges as we look at these questions is that those who say they trust Fox News the most seem to be a bit more aligned with Republicans than those who trust CNN or PBS are with the Democrats. Across the questions shown in this article, the average gap between the views of those who trust PBS the most and the views of Democrats was about 10 points. The difference between CNN viewers and Democrats was about six points. The average gap between those who trust Fox News the most and Republicans was about three points.

That includes three questions Suffolk asked about the personal characteristics of the candidates. Biden has distinct advantages on views of honesty and his ability to unite the country; the two are viewed generally evenly on the question of having a vision for the country.

[charts]

This correlation between Trump’s support and the audience that views Fox News as the most trustworthy source of news is neither new nor surprising. But, again, the lesson one should take from Fox’s success isn’t that there’s a massive-if-quiet universe of support for Trump that is muted in the popular conversation. It’s that Republicans heavily turn to one network that regularly bolsters Trump’s presidency. It’s that the breadth of support shown by members of one party to one network helps that network succeed in the ratings wars against multiple opponents that split non-Trump viewership.

Those ratings don’t show a quiet reservoir of pro-Trump sentiment. Like the Suffolk poll itself, it shows the boundaries of Trump’s obvious and visible base.

Sanctions of Mass Destruction: America's War on Venezuela

By Garikai Chengu, January 31, 2019 "Information Clearing House"

Prior to American sanctions, socialism in Venezuela had reduced inequality and poverty whilst pensions expanded..

American economic sanctions have been the worst crime against humanity since World War Two. America’s economic sanctions have killed more innocent people than all of the nuclear, biological and chemical weapons ever used in the history of mankind.

The fact that for America the issue in Venezuela is oil, not democracy, will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore history. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves on the planet.

America seeks control of Venezuela because it sits atop the strategic intersection of the Caribbean, South and Central American worlds. Control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.

From the first moment Hugo Chavez took office, the United States has been trying to overthrow Venezuela’s socialist movement by using sanctions, coup attempts, and funding the opposition parties. After all, there is nothing more undemocratic than a coup d’état.

United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas, recommended, just a few days ago, that the International Criminal Court investigate economic sanctions against Venezuela as a possible crime against humanity perpetrated by America.

Over the past five years, American sanctions have cut Venezuela off from most financial markets, which have caused local oil production to plummet. Consequently, Venezuela has experienced the largest decline in living standards of any country in recorded Latin American history.

Prior to American sanctions, socialism in Venezuela had reduced inequality and poverty whilst pensions expanded. During the same time period in America, it has been the absolute reverse. President Chavez funneled Venezuela’s oil revenues into social spending such as free+6 healthcare, education, subsidized food networks, and housing construction.

In order to fully understand why America is waging economic war on the people of Venezuela one must analyse the historical relationship between the petrodollar system and Sanctions of Mass Destruction: Prior to the 20th century, the value of money was tied to gold. When banks lent money they were constrained by the size of their gold reserves. But in 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon took the country off the gold standard. Nixon and Saudi Arabia came to an Oil For Dollars agreement that would change the course of history and become the root cause of countless wars for oil. Under this petrodollar agreement the only currency that Saudi Arabia could sell its oil in was the US dollar. The Saudi Kingdom would in turn ensure that its oil profits flow back into U.S. government treasuries and American banks.

In exchange, America pledged to provide the Saudi Royal family’s regime with military protection and military hardware.

It was the start of something truly great for America. Access to oil defined 20th-century empires and the petrodollar agreement was the key to the ascendancy of the United States as the world’s sole superpower. America’s war machine runs on, is funded by, and exists in protection of oil.

Threats by any nation to undermine the petrodollar system are viewed by Washington as tantamount to a declaration of war against the United States of America.

Within the last two decades Iraq, Iran, Libya and Venezuela have all threatened to sell their oil in other currencies. Consequently, they have all been subject to crippling U.S. sanctions.

Over time the petrodollar system spread beyond oil and the U.S. dollar slowly but surely became the reserve currency for global trades in most commodities and goods. This system allows America to maintain its position of dominance as the world’s only superpower, despite being a staggering $23 trillion in debt.

With billions of dollars worth of minerals in the ground and with the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela should not only be wealthy, but her people the envy of the developing world. But the nation is essentially broke because American sanctions have cut them off from the international financial system and cost the economy $6 billion over the last five years. Without sanctions, Venezuela could recover easily by collateralizing some of its abundant resources or its $8 billion of gold reserves, in order to get the loans necessary to kick-start their economy.

In order to fully understand the insidious nature of the Venezuelan crisis, it is necessary to understand the genesis of economic sanctions. At the height of World War Two, President Truman issued an order for American bombers to drop “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 140,000 people instantly. The gruesome images that emerged from the rubble were broadcast through television sets across the world and caused unprecedented outrage. The political backlash forced U.S. policy makers to devise a more subtle weapon of mass destruction: economic sanctions.

The term "weapons of mass destruction" (WMD) was first defined by the United Nations in 1948 as

"atomic explosive weapons, radioactive material weapons, lethal chemical and biological weapons, and any weapons developed in the future which have characteristics comparable in destructive effect to those of the atomic bomb or other weapons mentioned above."

Sanctions are clearly the 21st century’s deadliest weapon of mass destruction.

In 2001, the U.S. administration told us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction; Iraq was a terrorist state; Iraq was tied to Al Qaeda. It all amounted to nothing. In fact, America already knew that the only weapons of mass destruction that Saddam had were not nuclear in nature, but rather chemical and biological. The only reason they knew this in advance was because America sold the weapons to Saddam to use on Iran in 1991.

What the U.S. administration did not tell us was that Saddam Hussein used to be a strong ally of the United States. The main reason for toppling Saddam and putting sanctions on the people of Iraq was the fact that Iraq had ditched the Dollar-for-Oil sales.

The United Nations estimates that 1.7 million Iraqis died due to Bill Clinton’s sanctions; 500,000 of whom were children. In 1996, a journalist asked former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, about these UN reports, specifically about the children. America’s top foreign policy official, Albright, replied:

"I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it."

Clearly, U.S. sanctions policies are nothing short of state-sanctioned genocide.

Over the last five years, sanctions have caused Venezuelan per capita incomes to drop by 40 percent, which is a decline similar to that of war torn Iraq and Syria at the height of their armed conflicts. Millions of Venezuelans have had to flee the country. If America is so concerned about refugees, Trump should stop furthering disastrous foreign policies that actually create them. Under Chavez, Venezuela had a policy of welcoming refugees. President Chavez turned Venezuela into the wealthiest society in Latin America with the best income equality.

Another much vilified leader who used oil wealth to enrich his people, only to be put under severe sanctions, is Muammar Gaddafi. In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Perhaps, Gaddafi’s greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO, was his quest to quit selling Libyan oil in U.S. Dollars and denominate crude sales in a new gold backed common African currency. In fact, in August 2011, President Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of an African Central Bank and the African gold-backed Dinar currency.

Africa has the fastest growing oil industry in the world and oil sales in a common African currency would have been especially devastating for the American dollar, the U.S. economy, and particularly the elite in charge of the petrodollar system.

It is for this reason that President Clinton signed the now infamous Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, which the United Nations Children’s Fund said caused widespread suffering among civilians by “severely limiting supplies of fuel, access to cash, and the means of replenishing stocks of food and essential medications." Clearly, U.S. sanctions are weapons of mass destruction.

Not so long ago, Iraq and Libya were the two most modern and secular states in the Middle East and North Africa, with the highest regional standards of living. Nowadays, U.S. Military intervention and economic sanctions have turned Libya and Iraq into two of the world’s most failed nations.

"They want to seize Libya's oil and they care nothing about the lives of the Libyan people," remarked Chavez during the Western intervention in Libya in 2011.

In September 2017, President Maduro made good on Chavez’s promise to list oil sales in Yuan rather than the US dollar. Weeks later Trump signed a round of crippling sanctions on the people of Venezuela.

On Monday, U.S. National Security adviser John Bolton announced new sanctions that essentially steal $7 billion from Venezuela’s state owned oil company. At that press conference Bolton brazenly flashed a note pad that ominously said “5,000 troops to Colombia”. When confronted about it by the media, Bolton simply said,

"President Trump stated that all options are on the table."

America’s media is unquestionably the most corrupt institution in America. The nation’s media may quibble about Trump’s domestic policies but when it comes to starting wars for oil abroad they sing in remarkable unison. Fox News, CNN and the New York Times all cheered the nation into war in Iraq over fictitious weapons of mass destruction, whilst America was actually using sanctions of mass destruction on the Iraqi people. They did it in Libya and now they are doing it again in Venezuela. Democracy and freedom have always been the smoke screen in front of capitalist expansion for oil, and the Western Media owns the smoke machine. Economic warfare has long since been under way against Venezuela but military warfare is now imminent.

Trump just hired Elliot Abrams as U.S. Special Envoy for Venezuela, who has a long and torrid history in Latin America. Abrams pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Iran Contra affair, which involved America funding deadly communist rebels, and was the worst scandal in the Reagan Era. Abrams was later pardoned by George Bush Senior. America’s new point man on Venezuela also lied about the largest mass killing in recent Latin American history by U.S. trained forces in El Salvador.

There is nothing more undemocratic than a coup d’état. A UN Human Rights Council Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas, pointed out that America’s aim in Venezuela is to “crush this government and bring in a neoliberal government that is going to privatise everything and is going to sell out, a lot of transitional corporations stand to gain enormous profits and the United States is driven by the transnational corporations."

Ever since 1980, the United States has steadily devolved from the status of the world’s top creditor country to the world’s most indebted country. But thanks to the petrodollar system’s huge global artificial demand for U.S. dollars, America can continue exponential military expansion, record breaking deficits and unrestrained spending.

America’s largest export used to be manufactured goods made proudly in America. Today, America’s largest export is the U.S. dollar. Any nation like Venezuela that threatens that export is met with America’s second largest export: weapons, chief amongst which are sanctions of mass destruction.

This article was originally published by "Global Research"

NewsGuard and Microsoft Team Up To Destroy Independent Media Ahead Of 2020 Elections; Linked To Several Think Tanks, Government Officials, 1-30

Full graphic here: https://swprs.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/cfr-media-network-hdv-spr.png

The service NewsGuard, an establishment attempt to silence alternative media and independent media sites, has teamed up with Microsoft to help its effort to destroy free press. Meanwhile, the mysterious firm connected to intelligence agencies and former government officials on their advisory board has also just been linked to Saudi Arabia through Publicis Groupe, an investor in NewsGuard.

NewsGuard is now automatically included in Microsoft's Edge browser on iOS, Android and Microsoft phones. Microsoft's press release regarding the partnership states that NewsGuard "will empower voters by providing them with high-quality information about the integrity and transparency of online news sites."

Just one problem, who is providing transparency about the news rating agency?

When a user decides to search the Web, the extension tells the user whether or not a story is credible or not credible with 5 indicators and an information box judging the website.

Green icon - Sites that follow "basic standards of accuracy and accountability" based on nine criteria,which include full disclosure of possible conflicts of interest, financing, and “notable ideological or political positions held by those with significant financial interests in the site."

Red icon - Sites that do not fulfill NewsGuard's criteria for credibility and transparency.

Orange icon - Satire and humor sites that mimic real news.

Blue icon - Sites that primarily host user-generated content.

Gray icon - Unrated sites.

There is just one problem: the plugin is only blacklisting certain sites and does not actually have fact checkers looking into the story in question. So, in fact, the service is censoring alternative and independent media. But, let's be honest, that's exactly what its founders, creators, funders, and advisors want.

About that transparency - the list of advisors for NewsGuard includes Tom Ridge, the former secretary of Homeland Security, Richard Stengel, former editor of Time magazine and Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy (Obama administration), (Ret.) General Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA, former Director of the National Security Agency and former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence (George W. Bush administration), Don Baer, chairman of Burson, Cohn & Wolfe and former White House Communications Director (Clinton administration), Elise Jordan, political analyst, NBC, and former speechwriter for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Oh and then there are the journalists (traitors of free speech) like John Battelle, co-founding editor of Wired and founding chief executive of Industry Standard and Jessica Lessin, founder, and editor-in-chief of The Information.

If you aren't worried about a company with a former CIA director (who lied under oath to Congress misleading officials, according to the Senate report on the CIA's interrogation program) and a former secretary of Homeland Security official as its advisors, you may need a reality check. Please go see Dr. Benn Swann for a checkup stat!

Then there is Richard Stengel, a member of the Atlantic Council (neo-liberal think tank) and former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy under President Barack Obama who deserves a short blurb for his own involvement. Why? Because Stengel admitted his role in life at a previous discussion hosted last May by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). At the event Stengel described his past position at the State Department as a "chief propagandist" and further stated that he is "not against propaganda" and it was needed. H/T Disobedient Media.

"Every country does it and they have to do it to their own population and I don't necessarily think it's that awful," Stengel said.

Investors in NewsGuard - which raised a whopping $6M in funding - include the following people and corporations, according to Finsmes, a website for real-time VC and private equities and news. However, Finsmes appear to have left out a big investing group known as the Publicis Groupe. Publicis Groupe is the third largest global communications company in the world, with more than 80,000 employees in over 100 countries and an annual revenue of over €9.6 billion ($10.98 billion), according to its website.

Meanwhile, the current CEOs of NewsGuard are Steven Brill and Louis Gordon Crovitz, one of whom has a colorful history; the other is just a journalist. Crovitz is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and he further notes in his bio, available on NewsGuard's website, that he has been an "editor or contributor to books published by the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation."

Yes, the infamous Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute, a neoconservative think tank.

But it doesn't end there! In the early 1980s, Crovitz held a number of positions at Dow Jones and at The Wall Street Journal, eventually becoming executive vice president of Dow Jones and the publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

Ironically, Crovitz "Mr. I want to fix fake news" has consistently been accused of spreading misinformation into his Wall Street Journal columns, with groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation accusing him of "repeatedly getting his facts wrong" on NSA surveillance. And hilariously he falsely claimed that the Internet was invented entirely privately at Xerox PARC, which was exposed as "fantastically false claims" by the same people he cited for them.

The company is lobbying to have its rankings of news sites installed by default on computers in U.S. public libraries, schools, and universities as well as on smartphones and computers sold in the United States. And its partnership with Microsoft for its Edge browser just helped that effort rigorously.

Several articles represent NewsGuard as using "old-school journalism" to fight "fake news" through its reliance on nine criteria to determine whether a news site is credible or not.

However, as Breitbart pointed out (like them or not the information is credible), the news check extension is marking verifiable FAKE news stories as real news, a worrying prospect. Of course, it's worth noting that NewsGuard is probably (speculatory) in partnership with select news publications like The New York Times, LA Times, CNN, Washington Post, etc. (All the usual big players.)

Then there is the lack of mention by NewsGuard about the Washington Post's founder Jeff Bezos $600 million conflicts of interest with the CIA and Voice of America, the U.S. state-funded media outlet having been involved in propaganda admitted by its acting associate director, Ted Lipien, who said that the outlet produces "fluff journalism."

Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright has previously stated that VOA, Radio Free Europe, and many others "should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics." Fulbright's amendment to Smith-Mundt was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky, who argued that such "propaganda" should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. "from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity."

These are obvious red flags for anyone looking for a truly unbiased fact-checking service when such things are hidden and not publicly displayed ... that, or they just suck at researching, which would essentially mean they aren't qualified to determine what is real and fake news.

Digging even deeper into NewsGuard we may find answers as to why they are not fact checking every news story and just giving websites themselves a rating, because the company only has 21-30 employees according to Pitchbook.

If that's not enough, Publicis Groupe includes a vast number of P.R. firms whose sole purpose is to shape the news and influence the public on behalf of its corporate clients including the drug and tobacco industries. One of those firms connected to Publicis Groupe is Qorvis Group.

The Intercept describes how Qorvis tried to shape American public opinion in favor of Saudi Arabia's policy.

The Saudi Embassy's effort to shape media coverage is led by Qorvis, a consulting firm that has worked for the Saudi government since the months following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Qorvis' recent disclosures under the Foreign Agents Registration Act show that it created an entire website - operationrenewalofhope.com - to promote the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It also "researched potential grassroots supporters in select states" and provided an ongoing effort to reach out to reporters concerning the Yemen war.

[...]

In July, the Saudi Embassy announced the launch of Arabia Now, an "online hub for news related to the Kingdom," according to a press release. Since then, the site has work to promote Saudi Arabia as a bastion for human rights and progress, with posts claiming that the Kingdom is the "most generous country in the world." While Saudi Arabian war ships blocked humanitarian assistance to Yemen, the Arabia Now news hub claimed that "Saudi Arabia was the only country that responded to the humanitarian assistance appeal launched by the U.N. to help Yemen by extending a donation of $274 million."

[...]

Recently filed disclosures show that Targeted Victory, a consulting firm founded by Zac Moffatt, a GOP strategist who served as digital director for Mitt Romney's campaign, has helped to manage Arabia Now. Moffatt's firm was brought on by Qorvis.

For more information on NewsGuard, see the more in-depth NewsGuard backstory on MintPress News, about the firm's connections to Silicon Valley Giants and the government.

How a NeoCon-Backed "Fact Checker" Plans to Wage War on Independent Media - As Newsguard's project advances, it will soon become almost impossible to avoid this neocon-approved news site's ranking systems on any technological device sold in the United States.

This, of course, follows attempts by another service, PropOrNot, to do much of the same, who I ruined when I was working at We Are Change exposing them to the core. So much so they responded to my now-suspended Twitter account An0nkn0wledge. H/T guys! As a reminder, on the last attempt PropOrNot was found to be backed by none other than the Foreign Policy Research Institute. And what is the Foreign Policy Research Institute? A think tank with the mission of indoctrinating the U.S. with its foreign policy agenda

So here we have two attempts to censor information, both appearing to come from think tanks and several government officials as advisors on "NewsGuard." Which, if we're being honest should have a name change to "Propaganda Guard" because they are guarding propaganda by telling everyone it's real news, like the examples stated above. You can't judge sites with a rating of green, orange, blue, gray and red. This isn't a terror advisory, Tom Ridge (I can only guess the idea came from Ridge). When Ridge was the former secretary of Homeland Security under George Bush, he came up with the coded terror alert system after 9/11. The system is elementary at best and doesn't really require any type of thinking to come up with, so who knows who came up with it. But it's extremely flawed.

Knowing that both "Propaganda Guard" (NewsGuard) and PropOrNot had government involvement should scare the shit out of you because both companies are about as unbiased as The Washington Post was towards Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Both have a stake in the future foreign policy of America; NewsGuard through its former government advisors, and PropOrNot through the more hilariously connected Foreign Policy Research Institute. Neither company has a right to shape the opinions of Americans or anyone else by giving news websites like Activist Post and many others any type of rating. That's up to the readers themselves to decide, not a shadowy firm with "trained analysts" who are creating a censorship blacklist of information or opinions they don't like - you know, like the ones that hinder corporations or the military industrial complex's forever war machine.

In fact, it will be interesting to see where this goes if this plugin is adopted by the mainstream as a default into applications. I foresee class action cease and desist lawsuits against "NewsGuard" for intentionally causing harm to businesses with just a checkmark. This is already pretty well proven with a recent Gallup study that stated 63 percent of news readers were less likely to share a website with a red rating, while a green rating increased the likelihood of sharing by 56 percent. Although the study was funded by NewsGuard themselves, so the results should be taken with a grain of salt. That study actually could be used to bite them in the ass later.

Did anyone think this through before saying, "oh yeah I want to help destroy the livelihoods of other people?"

All of this has an interesting timing, right before the 2020 primaries. Who's to say that this technology couldn't be used to sway the election far more than Russia, the UK or Israel ever could? Especially since the firm is seeking to have its tech implanted by default into every major technical device.

With all that stated, it's worth mentioning that 90% of U.S. media was owned by 6 different companies in 2012 including GE, NewsCorp, Disney, Viacom, TimeWarner, CBS. Which, as a fun fact, the CFR owns the media. As former Army Major Todd Pierce described, the CFR acts as "primary provocateurs" using "'psychological suggestiveness' to create a false narrative of danger from some foreign entity with the objective being to create paranoia within the U.S. population that it is under imminent threat of attack or takeover."

So with all that in mind, one finds it hard to believe that a CFR member and government cronies - some even connected to think tanks - want to "restore trust and accountability" in journalism.

This is far from the only effort to try and suppress the free flow of information online. In 2017 Activist Post reported that Full Fact foundation, backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and our favorite billionaire tycoon George Soros, were also planning to fight the efforts of "fake news" with their AI-powered "bull shit detector." Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was also planning to launch a crowd-funded news service called WikiTribune to help combat fake news.

Send your mail to NewsGuard’s Twitter feed and Facebook page, and flood them with your opinion about their efforts. If they ask who sent you, say George Orwell from his grave and make sure to tell them they aren't the Ministry Of Truth, this isn't 1984.

NewsGuard Facebook page

NewsGuard Twitter page

Putting the future of what we believe in anyone’s hands, let alone artificial intelligence, seems reckless; but a system backed by Soros and Omidyar or think tanks and government officials seems like a dangerously stupid idea that can only lead to a path paved toward a road of Orwellian censorship the likes of which even George Orwell couldn't have imagined.

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.

What This Election Is About--America is doomed. The people, with few exceptions, are not smart enough to continue to exist.

By Paul Craig Roberts November 06, 2018 "Information Clearing House" -

I never cease to be amazed at the insouciance of Americans. Readers send me emails asking why I ever supported Trump when he was the Establishment’s candidate. If Trump was the Establishment’s candidate, why has the Establishment spent two years trying to destroy him?

The failure to put two and two together is extraordinary. Trump declared war on the Establishment throughout the presidential campaign and in his inaugural address.

As I wrote at the time, Trump vastly over-estimates the power of the president. He expected the Establishment, like his employees, to jump to his will, and he did not know Washington or who to appoint to support his goals. He has been totally defeated in his intention to normalize relations with Russia. Instead, we are faced with both Russia and China preparing for war.

In other words, the same outcome that Hillary would have achieved.

Trump has been so harassed by the Establishment that he is having trouble thinking straight. He was elected by “the deplorables” as the first non-Establishment candidate since when? You have to go back in history to find one. Perhaps Andrew Jackson. Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan were not the choice of the Democratic and Republican establishments, and the ruling establishments moved quickly to constrain both presidencies.

So what is this midterm US election about?

It is about whether “the deplorables” have been brainwashed by the Establishment’s media whores and fail to support Trump in the House and Senate elections. If the Democrats, whose politics is Identity Politics, get the House and/or Senate, Trump will be completely impotent. The Establishment hopes to drive the lesson home to every future presidential candidate to never again appeal to the people over the vested interests of the Establishment.

In America democracy is a scam. The oligarchy rules, and the people, no matter how they suffer under the oligarch’s rule, must submit and accept. No more presidential candidates, please, who represent the people. This is the lesson that the Establishment hopes to teach the rabble in the midterm elections.

What should this election be about? If America had an independent media, the election would be about the dangerous situation created by Washington that has caused two militarily powerful countries to prepare for war with the US. This is the most serious development of my lifetime. Everything President Reagan worked for has been overthrown for the material interests of the power and profit of the military/security complex.

If America had an independent media, the election would be about the American police state that, based on the 9/11 lie, the weapons of mass destruction lie, the use of chemical weapons lie, the Iranian nukes lie, the Russian invasion of Ukraine lie, was accepted by the insouciant [showing a casual lack of concern; indifferent] Americans. Those responsible for these lies, which have caused massive war crimes, for which US administrations should be indicted, are feted and rich. The rest of us have experienced the loss of civil liberty and privacy. Any individual in the way of the police state is mowed down.

If America had an independent media, the election would be about the de-industrialization of the United States. Today, as this article makes clear—https://thesaker.is/the-pentagon-realised-what-it-has-done-the-chinese-put-the-us-army-on-its-knees/ —the offshoring of American manufacturing and industry has reduced the US military to dependence on Chinese suppliers.

And the Trump administration starts trouble with China!

If America had an independent media, the election would be about the 20 years of US and NATO/EU war crimes against Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen, and US and NATO support for Israel’s war crimes against the remnants of the Palestinian people, and US and NATO/EU support for the neo-nazi regime established by the Obama regime in Ukraine to commit war crimes against the breakaway Russian provinces, the populations of which refuse to become victims of Washington’s overthrow of the democratic elected Ukrainian government and installation by “America’s first black president” of a neo-nazi regime.

If America had an independent media, the election would be about the orchastrated demonization of Iran. The completely stupid dope that Trump appointed Secretary of State just declared (the utter fool should not be permitted to open his mouth) that Washington was going to drive Iran into the ground unless the government agreed to behave like a normal state.

What does Pompeo mean by a “normal state." He means a state that takes its marching orders from Washington. Iran has not invaded any country. The government in power is the continuation of the government that overthrew the Shah, a dictator imposed on Iran by Washington when Washington and London overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran.

What the despicable Pompeo is really saying is that Iran has to go, because Iran, like Syria, is in the way of Israel’s expansion into southern Lebanon, because Iran and Syria supply the Hezbollah militia, which has twice defeated Israeli invasions of southern Lebanon. The vaunted Israeli army is only good for murdering women and children in the disarmed Gaza ghetto.

If America had an independent media, someone would ask Pompeo precisely what Iran is doing that warrants Washington unilaterally, in the face of opposition of the European, Russian, and Chinese signatures to the Iran Nuclear Agreement, pulling out of the agreement and imposing sanctions that no other country on the planet, except Israel, supports?

But, of course, America has no independent media. It has a collection of whores known as NPR, Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, MSCBS, Fox News, etc.

Without an honest and independent media, there is no accountability of government. America has no honest and independent media. Therefore, in America there is no accountability of government.

“The deplorables” are faced with a dilemma. The president they elected has been overcome by the establishment and cannot represent them. Instead, Trump gives his supporters warmonger John Bolton as National Security Advisor and warmonger Pompeo as US Secretary of State. He might as well have appointed Adolf Hitler. In fact, Hitler was a more reasonable person.

So again, America is having an election in which nothing of any importance is discussed.

Unless the American people rise up in armed rebellion, they are finished as a free people, and, of course, they cannot rise up in armed rebellion. Not so much because the police and every agency of the government has been militarized as because Jewish cultural Marxism and the Democratic Party’s Identity Policics have the American people disorganized and at one another’s throats. Cultural Marxism and Identity Politics have divided the American population into victims and victimizers. The true victimizers and true victims are not part of the picture, which is a construction that serves ideological agendas. It is not the oligarchy that is the victimizer, but the Trump-voting white male. It is not the multi-billionaires, but the marginalized former manufacturing and industrial work force that is the source of oppression. This former work force is black and white, but the Democratic Party’s Identity Politics has blacks and whites at each other’s throats.

My conclusion is that America is doomed. The people, with few exceptions, are not smart enough to continue to exist. Perhaps the outcome of the elections tomorrow will change my mind. If the vote goes to the Establishment, all is lost.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.

MSNBC Does Not Merely Permit Fabrications Against Democratic Party Critics. It Encourages and Rewards Them Glenn Greenwald July 8 2018

DURING THE 2016 primary and general election campaigns, various MSNBC hosts were openly campaigning for Hillary Clinton. One of the network’s programs featured Malcolm Nance (pictured above), whose background is quite sketchy but is presented by the cable network (and now by NBC News) as an “intelligence expert” and former intelligence officer for the U.S. Navy.

On August 20, 2016, weekend host Joy Reid asked Nance about the supposed “affinity” for Russia harbored by Jill Stein supporters. In response, Nance told MSNBC viewers: “Jill Stein has a show on Russia Today."

Whatever your views might be about Stein and her third-party candidacy, there is no disputing the fact that Nance’s statement was a falsehood, a fabrication, a lie. Stein did not have a show on RT, nor did she ever host a show on RT. What Nance said was made up out of whole cloth — fabricated — in order to encourage MSNBC viewers to believe that Stein, one of the candidates running against Clinton, was a paid agent of the Kremlin and employee of RT...

Subsequently, a campaign was launched to urge MSNBC to correct the lie it broadcast, based on the assumption that MSNBC — which is part of NBC News — was a normal news outlet that functions in accordance with basic journalistic principles and would, of course, correct a false statement once that was brought to its attention.

The media watchdog group FAIR repeatedly documented the lie told by Nance and urged MSNBC to issue a correction. The Intercept wrote about this falsehood on several occasions and also noted that MSNBC was refusing to issue a correction of what everyone knows is a false — but an obviously quite significant — claim. Multiple tweets were directed at NBC News, MSNBC, Nance, and Reid asking them to correct the fabrication to their viewers:

To date — almost two years later — neither NBC News nor MSNBC, nor a single journalist who works for either one of those media outlets has corrected this significant falsehood

Worse, not only was Nance never sanctioned in any way for the lie he told, but he was rewarded: He has since gone from “MSNBC contributor” to “MSNBC intelligence analyst," and is far more pervasive on the network, and its hosts have spent the month aggressively promoting his new book on how Vladimir Putin is destroying U.S. democracy.

On MSNBC, lies are not corrected; they are rewarded, provided the lies are designed to smear the reputations of Democratic Party critics. Is this not definitive and conclusive proof of that: that this is not a news outlet but a political arm of the Democratic Party? What else could possibly explain, let alone justify, behavior like this? I’m asking that earnestly.

Obviously, anyone is free to criticize people who decide to visit Russia. Anyone is free to denounce those who speak with RT (such as Stephen Hawking, whose RT interview can be seen here, though I’d love to hear from those holding such views why it’s permissible to speak to think tanks such as Brookings and Center for American Progress, which are funded by Gulf state tyrannies). And, needless to say, anyone is free to attack or dispute any statements or views that I, or anyone else, express as part of such discussions.

This is because Nance knows that he is free to lie this way with impunity. That’s because he works for an organization — MSNBC — that masquerades as a news outlet but actively encourages its employees to lie this way about anyone who criticizes the Democratic Party.

Obviously, Nance is simply adhering to the post-World War II tactic of the U.S. military and intelligence community from which he emerged: For decades, they accuse any journalists they dislike, or dissidents of any kind, of being covert agents of Moscow.

That’s because NBC News and MSNBC have essentially merged with the CIA and intelligence community and thus, use their tactics. The network is filled with former generals and CIA officials who are part of the community that pioneered these smear tactics of accusing journalists and critics they dislike of being traitors, spies, and Kremlin loyalists. Indeed, Nance sometimes appears on MSNBC along with former CIA Director John Brennan, who MSNBC also hired as an “analyst." This is who they are.

MSNBC’S RACHEL MADDOW SEES A “RUSSIA CONNECTION” LURKING AROUND EVERY CORNER Intercept: Aaron Maté April 12 2017

ONE DAY AFTER her network joined the rest of corporate media in cheering for President Trump’s missile attack on Syria, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was back to regular business: seeing Russian collaboration with Trump at work.

It’s “impossible," fellow anchor Lawrence O’Donnell told Maddow on April 7, to rule out that “Vladimir Putin orchestrated what happened in Syria this week – so that his friend in the White House could have a big night with missiles and all of the praise he’s picked up over the past 24 hours."

The Washington Post noted that the “conspiracy theory” drew “derision from across the political spectrum." But it was not out of place.

MSNBC, the country’s most prominent liberal media outlet, has played a key role in stoking the frenzy over Trump’s alleged involvement with Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential race — in lock step with the Democratic Party’s most avid partisans.

Jennifer Palmieri, a senior member of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, captured the prevailing mentality when she recently urged party members to talk about the Russian “attack on our republic” — and to do so “relentlessly and above all else."

And no leading media figure has done so more than Maddow. In the period since Election Day, “The Rachel Maddow Show” has covered “The Russia Connection” — and Russia, generally — more than it has any other issue.

Maddow’s Russia coverage has dwarfed the time devoted to other top issues, including Trump’s escalating crackdown on undocumented immigrants (1.3 percent of coverage); Obamacare repeal (3.8 percent); the legal battle over Trump’s Muslim ban (5.6 percent), a surge of anti-GOP activism and town halls since Trump took office (5.8 percent), and Trump administration scandals and stumbles (11 percent).

Maddow’s focus on Russia has helped her ratings, which are at their highest level since 2008.

As MSNBC’s most popular host, Maddow over the years has become a critical voice for U.S. progressives, helping to shape the outlook of millions of viewers and the smaller left-leaning outlets that follow her lead. A supremely gifted journalist who Vanity Fair has dubbed “the smartest person on TV," Maddow’s influence is well-earned. She frequently brings pivotal national attention to overlooked stories, such as the poisoning of Flint, Michgan’s water supply.

While proof of collusion with Moscow could well emerge — and could well topple Trump’s presidency — the “above all else” focus on Russia lacks concrete supporting evidence, either of Russian hacking and cyber disinformation impacting the vote’s outcome or of the Trump campaign’s complicity with it. Journalist Matt Taibbi calls it “an exercise of conspiratorial mass hysteria."

This muddies the waters for a sober, credible investigation of Russia’s actions — but that is the least of its consequences. Democrats have avoided constructive introspection on their seismic election loss by blaming the Kremlin.

Maddow has acknowledged that allegations of Trump-Russia collusion are unverified. But she has ignored claims that cast them in a more skeptical light. For instance, James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, told NBC News on March 5 that U.S. intelligence has “no evidence” of collusion between Trump and Russia. On March 15, former CIA Director and Hillary Clinton surrogate Michael Morrell said “there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all." Those statements have gone unmentioned. The Coming Collapse By Chris Hedges May 21, 2018

The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny.

If we do not stand up we will enter a new dark age.

The press is one of the principal pillars of Trump’s despotism. It chatters endlessly like 18th-century courtiers at the court of Versailles about the foibles of the monarch while the peasants lack bread. It drones on and on and on about empty topics such as Russian meddling and a payoff to a porn actress that have nothing to do with the daily hell that, for many, defines life in America. It refuses to critique or investigate the abuses by corporate power, which has destroyed our democracy and economy and orchestrated the largest transfer of wealth upward in American history.

The corporate press is a decayed relic that, in exchange for money and access, committed cultural suicide. And when Trump attacks it over “fake news," he expresses, once again, the deep hatred of all those the press ignores. The press worships the idol of Mammon as slavishly as Trump does. It loves the reality-show presidency. The press, especially the cable news shows, keeps the lights on and the cameras rolling so viewers will be glued to a 21st-century version of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." It is good for ratings. It is good for profits. But it accelerates the decline.

Mainstream Media Just Admitted Billions of Your Tax Dollars Are Funding Child Rape on a Massive Scale Americans are funding a massive child rape operation—to the tune of $70 billion—and most people could not care less.

Afghanistan — As the Free Thought Project has previously reported, the US has known about and covered up horrifying acts of sexual abuse committed by US-allied commanders against children. Not only is the Pentagon covering up the abuse, but your tax dollars are funding it—to the tune of $70 billion.

According to the Leahy Law, no assistance shall be furnished to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the “Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights."

It is widely known that U.S.-funded Afghan units routinely engage in “bacha bazi” — boy play. This practice consists of military leaders kidnapping male children and holding them as sex slaves. As TFTP reported at the time, scores of witnesses have come forward to report the rampant sexual abuse committed by their Afghan allies and not only does the US do nothing about it but they are actually funding it.

Hard Censorship Hits the Internet By Paul Craig Roberts October 08, 2017

US Media Credibility Collapses

According to this report [https://www.naturalnews.com/2017-10-06-youtube-moves-to-shut-down-all-independent-media-coverage-of-las-vegas-shooting-desperate-maneuver-to-protect-the-official-narrative.html], YouTube has shut down all independent media coverage of the Las Vegas shooting in a desperate maneuver to protect the official narrative.

I am aware of books by former insiders that describe the CIA’s alliance with members of the media. When I was a member of the congressional staff, I was warned of the Washington Post’s collaboration with the CIA. And we have the case of Udo Ulfkotte, whose book, “Purchased Journalism," was a best seller in Germany, but the English translation was yanked from the market. Ulfkotte, an editor with one of Germany’s main newspapers, wrote that he and most European journalists post articles handed to them by the CIA.

The way that the One Percent rules is by controlling the explanations. They do that through official statements endlessly parroted by the presstitutes who have sold their souls.

Remember, the presstitutes sold to the public the false story of “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction," the false story of “Assad’s use of chemical weapons," the false story of “Iranian nukes," the false stories about Gaddafi, about “Russian invasion of Ukraine," about Afghanistan, and on and on. When the presstitutes are willing to lie at the expense of the destruction of millions of peoples, the infrastructures of the countries, and millions of refugees inflicted upon Europe, how can we believe the presstitutes about Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, etc., especially when contradictions in the official stories are never cleared up and in place of hard evidence we are given only assertions and photoshopped photos?


Media Consolidation

Media consolidation

Six corporations - Time Warner, Disney, News Corporation, Viacom, Comcast, and CBS - control roughly 90% of the media in the U.S.

These companies are in business to make a profit.

This is why you'll find plenty of advertisements in the media. Entertainment? Check. Sports? Definitely. Weather? Yep.

You'll also find plenty of "if it bleeds, it leads" stories designed to hook you in. Vendors, witnesses recall Venice hit-and-run horror. Fort Hood trial turns bizarre as shooter grills witnesses.

There's also plenty of political bickering: Democrats said this, Republicans said that. We let you decide (but we never weigh in with any facts or fact-checking).

What won't you hear? You won't hear the "liberal media" discuss the corporate media.

What to make of this

If the media were "liberal," it would serve the public interest and shine a light on issues like the ones above.

More people would also have a better understanding of global warming, peak oil, population growth, political lobbying, government's role in a functioning economy, how much we spend on the military, and countless other issues.

What you’re more likely to see in the media, however, are stories designed to get you to buy their paper, or watch their show, or listen to their radio station. If it bleeds, it ledes. This is why the media is concerned with scandal, celebrities, gossip, and fear.

If anything, our news consists of paid advertisements and outlets too scared of offending anyone to publish much of substance. Investigative journalism is also expensive; entertainment is cheap.

The way this corporate media behaves may not be surprising. I apologize if you feel any of this is beating you over the head.

This Buzzfeed-style list wasn't intended to introduce this idea as new (others have 'e a much better job), but rather to highlight the sheer absurdity of a "liberal media" for an audience who may not see it.

One way to approach the topic is to simply ask: If we have a "liberal media," where are the liberal stories?


---


Media Links

World Press Freedom Day
Is May 3rd

UN World Press Freedom Day "A free press is one of the most essential components of a democratic society, which in turn is a prerequisite for sustainable social and economic development"
5th Estate from vote.com
20 Years of Censored News, by Carl Jensen --excerpts
Ad Critic "the best work and brightest talent the industry has to offer" - the latest news in the ad industry
A.D.A.M. (Art, Design, Architecture, Media) huge searchable catalogue of Internet resources chosen by librarians; major categories are applied arts, architecture, design, fine arts, media, and museum studies
AdBusters promoting campaigns like TV Turnoff Week, Boycott Brand America, 101 Ways to Jam the War, "Adbusters offers incisive philosophical articles as well as activist commentary from around the world, addressing issues ranging from genetically modified foods to media concentration. Our aim is to forge a major shift in the way we will live in the 21st century"
ADVERTISING notes and quotes
Advertising Definition "Each year, U.S. businesses spend $135 billion dollars on TV, radio, and print ads. About one fourth of every television hour consists of advertising, and over 50% of most magazines and billboards consist of advertising. Advertising appeals to the general fantasy of the consumer.. It helps us attain feelings of youth, social acceptance,intimacy and power. It uses images and words to get these themes across.."
Alliance for Community Media covers topics such as legal, community, censorship, technical, professional, advocacy - for cable access, Internet, and electronic media
star Alternative News Sourcesstar compiled by C.Glass at PAC
Alternative Press Review publishes a wide variety of the best essays from radical zines, tabloids, books, and magazines
AlterNet a news service for the alternative press, supporting independent journalism and best known for sponsoring the Media & Democracy Congress
American Journalism Review monthly, national magazine that covers trends in the industry ethics and news in print, broadcast, and online journalism
American Press Institute provides high-quality resources for practicing journalists
American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) a membership directory, includes a list of 1,000 nonfiction freelance writers, their telephone and fax numbers
American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) discusses topics related to the current state and future of newspapers and journalism in this country
Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) committed to insuring diversity in American journalism and expressing the Asian-American perspective
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) the oldest and largest association of journalism and mass communication educators and administrators at the college level
Association of Alternative Newsweeklies organization of 113 alternative newsweeklies in the U.S. and Canada
Association of American Publishers (AAP) the principal trade association of the book publishing industry
Attacks on the Press in 2000 "a worldwide survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists"
BBC News, Lon'
Beginner's Guide to Media Reform
The Black Broadcasting Alliance
Black Press USA a partnership of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation (NNPAF) and Howard University; coordinates national internship, fellowship, and scholarship programs and creates innovative programs
CableNewser "With an unwavering eye, he provides incisive commentary about who's showing what and why, cutting through the bias and balance. A must-read for news junkies, this blog provides just the right blend of behind-the-scenes gossip and bold opinion to keep you in tune with the day's events"
Canadian Broadcast Standards Council
The Carol Kneeland Project for Responsible Television Journalism “to assure ethics and excellence in local broadcast news." The Project provides intensive training and education, building solid television news leaders, teaching Carole's collaborative style based on ethics and standards
Censored News: 10 Best of '96 article about Carl Jensen
Center for Democratic Communications focuses on the rights of all peoples to have access to a worldwide system of media and communications; an important force in microradio advocacy and activism
Center for Investigative Reporting
Center for Media Literacy works to help citizens, especially the young, develop critical thinking and media production skills needed to live fully in the 21st century media culture
Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting coordinates a national education campaign to reform public broadcasting as a public trust, independent of government and corporate control
Citizens for Media Literacy links media literacy to the concepts and practices of citizenship
Civic Media Center "If you have realized that the news you get in the mainstream press isn't really comprehensive or even truthful, and that a lot of news and views are filtered out of the mainstream press outlets, libraries, and thus, public debate, then you've found a home" - located in Gainesville, Florida
CLEAR CHANNEL notes and quotes
Clio Awards honors excellence in advertising
CNN News
Columbia Journalism Review latest media news
Commercial Alert "Commercial Alert's mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy"
Committee to Protect Journalists: organization of journalists dedicated to the defense of press freedom around the world
CyberJournalist "a news and resource site that focuses on how the Internet, convergence and new technologies are changing the media"
Dan El' "photojournalist for Reuters. In 1993, while covering a political uprising in Mogadishu, he was stoned to death along with three other journalists by an angry mod of Somalis" (YIL)
DayPop search engine for current events and breaking news
Documentography works of other independent photo-journalists
Drudge Report
Editor and Publisher America's oldest journal covering the newspaper industry; includes a section with job openings across the country
Educational Resources: Communications
"Empire of Lies and Deception" by E. Baskakov
Extra! published by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting; media criticism, featuring articles on biased reporting, censored news, media mergers, and more
Facts About Newspapers
star FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting)star
FCC and Public Airwaves Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting
FCC Deregulation in 2003 excerpts from The Washington Spectator
FCC Handbook Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
Fifty Years of Coca-Cola Television Advertising
Finding Data on the Internet Robert Niles
Flash Player, Macromedia download here
FOX NEWS CHANNEL notes
Fund for Investigative Journalism "gives grants, ranging from $500 to $10,000, to reporters working outside the protection and backing of major news organizations. Grants are limited to journalists seeking pre-publication help for investigative pieces involving corruption, malfeasance, incompetence and societal ills in general as well as for media criticism"
Fund for Investigative Reporting and Editing Our mission is to promote locally-based reporting that encourages citizen participation and the sense of community in the Southern Appalachian Mountain region. Because we believe that a strong democracy is based on freedom of speech and access to public information, we provide resources to local activists, reporters and editors who favor these principles
Funds for Writers free newsletter, information on jobs and other sources of income
Global Beat: Resources for the Global Journalist Center for War, Peace, and the News Media at NY University; has the latest international news
Google News
Graphic Witness "dedicated to social commentary through graphic imagery by artists working from the turn of the 20th Century to the present"
Historic Ad Campaigns from the Ad Council - Smokey the Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog, Friends ''t Let Friends Drive Drunk, Rosie the Riveter, American Red Cross, Iron Eyes Cody
Independent Media Center "a collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage"
Independent Media Institute "empowers people with independent journalism, information and media tools to change the world" (leftwing; from AlterNet)
Index on Censorship
Institute for Interactive Journalism "helps news organizations and citizens use new information ideas and innovative computer technologies to develop new ways for people to engage in critical public policy issues"
Institute for Public Accuracy
International Journalists' Network online service for journalists, media managers, media assistance professionals, journalism trainers and educators and anyone else with an interest in the state of the media around the world
International Center for Journalists provides professional development programs that promote excellence in news coverage of critical community and global issues. The Center offers many fellowships and exchanges, conducts a variety of training seminars, workshops and conferences, and provides a range of consulting services
INTERNATIONAL NEWS page of links
Investigative Reporters and Editors a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting; The site features tipsheets, conference notices and training information
IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors) Journal from the missouri School of Journalism - published six times a year; contains journalist profiles, how-to stories, reviews, investigative ideas, and backgrounding tips, and employment opportunities in the field of journalism
Jefferson Muzzles awarded as a means to draw national attention to abridgments of free speech and press and, at the same time, foster an appreciation for those tenets of the First Amendment - "calling attention to those who in the past year forgot or disregarded Mr. Jefferson's admonition that freedom of speech "cannot be limited without being lost." "
Jim Romenesko's Media News news about the media and journalists
Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS)
Journalism Jobs browse offerings or post your resume
Journalism.org research, resources, and ideas to improve journalism from the Project for Excellence in Journalism
Journalist Express great place to start gathering information; excellent links organized by subject; strong in current affairs and statistics
Journalist's Guide to Economic Terms
A Journalist's Guide to Statistics Robert Niles
A Journalist's Guide to the Internet everything related to deadline news reporting
Knight Center For Journalism in the Americas Founded in 2002, the Knight Center for Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin was created as a professional training and outreach program for journalists throughout the Americas
Kottke daily news of interest to Jason Kottke
Liberal Media opinions of Eric Alterman about the balance between liberal and conservative media
Male Bashing on TV article - "Warning for our male readers: The following article contains big words and complex sentences. It might be a good idea to have a woman nearby to explain it to you"
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky... review and excerpts.
Massive Media: Facts and Figures "How a handful of companies came to exercise such control over the media is one of the astonishing stories of our time"
Media Alliance independent reviews of Bay Area media issues
Media Control and public relations, article by Noam Chomsky
Media Guardian UK news about the media
"The Media is the Mess" failure to report adequately on election 2000 underscores the media's bias -- "The will of the American voters was overturned in large part because the Bush campaign and its conservative media allies succeeded in portraying Gore as the interloper and Bush as the rightful claimant of the presidency"
Media Matters monitoring all the right wing lies
Media Orthodoxy and Censorship from C.Glass at PAC
A Media Professional's Guide To the Net relevant links
Media Reform: Free Press a clearinghouse of online material about the U.S. media reform movement
Media Reform Net watchdog group
Media Watch "challenging racism, sexism and violence in the media through education and action"
Media Whores [Link is now dead; I wonder why?] "takes an unbiased, in-depth look at the astonishingly vast myriad of whores who call themselves "journalists""
Merchants of Cool a Frontline report on the "creators and marketers of popular culture for teenagers"
Misleader "a daily chronicle of Bush Administration distortion" for journalists and citizens from MoveOn
Mother Jones investigative reporting - "a legacy of raising hell"
The Nation: --"make[s] an earnest effort to bring to the discussion of political and social questions a really critical spirit, and to wage war upon the vices of violence, exaggeration, and misrepresentation"
National Association of Black Journalists
National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR) trains journalists in the practical skills of finding, prying loose and analyzing electronic information
Native American Journalists Association
Newseum
NewsMax
NewsWatch: Center for Media and Public Affairs
NTIA's Office of Policy Coordination and Management
Not the News a newsletter covering major stories not in the major media
NY Times Learning Network
Online Journal "building a NEW news media of, by and for the people"
Online Journalism Review
Opt-Out of Ad Tracking online to stop advertisers from tracking you with the use of cookies
Our Airwaves Campaign play the Greedy TV Game; grassroots effort to build support for proposals to require broadcasters to provide free air time for candidate ads, debates and issue statements in the period before an election. Free Air Time is a practical, innovative way to reduce the cost of political communication and open up the democratic process to more competition, fresh faces and new ideas
Ownership - Media Orthodoxy and Censorship article which is now out of date as far as ownership goes, although the basic definition of the problem still applies
Ownership - Who Owns the Media currently six corporations own most of the media. They are listed here
Ownership - Who Owns What Columbia Journalism Review lists major media owners and their holdings
Ownership - FCC Deregulation in 2003 excerpts from The Washington Spectator
Pictures of the Year photojournalism contest - winners from many years are shown
POLITICAL NEWS page of links
Poynter Institute "everything you need to be a better journalist" - Updated daily, it provides journalists with reliable information, useful tools, and provocative suggestions
PR Watch "Quarterly 12-page newsletter that specializes in blowing the lid off today's multi-billion dollar propaganda-for-hire industry, naming names and revealing how public relations wizards concoct and spin the news, organize phony 'grassroots' front groups, spy on citizens, and conspire with lobbyists and politicians to thwart democracy"
The Press and the Myths of War "If we saw how war turns young people into intoxicated killers, how it gives soldiers a license to destroy not only things but other human beings, and if we saw the perverse thrill such destruction brings, we would be horrified and frightened... If we saw the deep psychological scars of slaughter, the way it maims and stunts those who participate in war for the rest of their lives, we would keep our children away. Indeed, it would be hard to wage war"
Privacy International
Pulitzer Prizes
Pulitzer Prize Winners 1999
The Pulse, a PAC Student Newspaper
Quill publication of the Society of Professional Journalists
Radio & Record online magazine
Religion Newswriters Association
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press covers issues related to news reporting and the media, and the legal issues therein
Reporting Limits During War
Ryerson Review of Journalism progressive journalistic review from Ryerson Polytechnic University in Canada
SCIENCE NEWS page of links
SCI/TECH NEWS page of links
Shooting the Messenger excerpts from a story about a reporter in Seguin, Texas who was fired as a result of investigative reporting
Six Billion (population of the world) world journalism
Slate "best online magazine" (YIL)
Society of Environmental Journalists written by journalists for journalists, to provide information and guidance on covering the environmental beat
Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) the nation's largest and most broad-based journalism organization
SPEECHES page of links
SPORTS NEWS page of links
St. Louis Journalism Review the only local journalism review in the U.S.; primarily critiques what is covered or ignored by the local media
State of the News Media 2004 annual report on American journalism
Student Press Law Center "an advocate for student free-press rights, and provides information, advice, and legal assistance at no charge to students and the educators who work with them"
Suppressed News Stories
Telemedium, The Journal of Media Literacy promotes media literacy education with a positive, non-judgmental philosophy
TELEVISION notes
Television Turnoff Week is April 24-30, 2006
Texas Association of Broadcasters includes a job bank
TEXAS NEWS AND NEWSPAPERS page of links
Tim Robbins: Countering a Wave of Hate speech given to the National Press Club in Washington, DC on April 15, 2003
Time-Warner News
TODAY'S NEWS page of links
star Tom Dispatch: A Regular Antidote To the Mainstream Media a daily weblog for anyone in despair over post-September 11 US mainstream-media coverage of our world and ourselves
TRADE PUBLICATIONSstar Compiled by Dr. Richter, PAC
Transnational Foundation Links ..."There is a world. . . . . . beyond your national newspaper and television. We have gathered them for you at one place"
TV, How Much Do You Know About? According to child development specialists, the average child is 6-8 years old before he or she is able to understand that the purpose of advertising is to sell a product... So why is PBS peddling products on pre-school shows like Barnie and Sesame Street?... besides children, the quiz also covers the TV media business
Twenty Years of Censored News Interview with Carl Jensen
Tyndall Weekly Report monitors the television networks' nightly newscasts
U.S.News ONLINE
War Reporting and Technology a flash history of reporting wars
WEATHER page of links
Who Owns the Media currently six corporations own most of the media. They are listed here
Who Owns What Columbia Journalism Review lists major media owners and their holdings
Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press deceptive title -- it is primarily a directory of media owned and operated by women; includes women's radio groups, news services, film and video groups, and bookstores; coverage of international titles is exceptionally strong
Word on the Street copies of Scottish broadsides from 1620 to 1910
WRITING page of links



Media Quotes

      "One night, probably in 1880, John Swinton, then the preeminent New York journalist, was the guest of honour at a banquet given him by the leaders of his craft. Someone who knew neither the press nor Swinton offered a toast to the independent press. Swinton outraged his colleagues by replying:

      "There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

      "The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

(Source: Labor's Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, published by United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, NY, 1955/1979.)


"If you think there is freedom of the press in the United States, I tell you there is no freedom of the press... They come out with the cheap shot. The press should be ashamed of itself. They should come to both sides of the issue and hear both sides and let the American people make up their minds" - Bill Moyers

"..a recent study by Columbia University's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that the TV stations owned by smaller media firms generally produce better newscasts" (Phillips, Peter, and Project Censored. Censored 2004: The Top 25 Censored Stories. NY: Seven Stories Press, 2003: 88).

"..Clear Channel is now widely seen as the poster child for what's wrong with our hyper-consolidated media environment...

"In January 2002, a train carrying 10,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia derailed in the town of Minot, North Dakota, sausing a spill and a toxic cloud. Authorities attempted to warn the residents of Minot to stay indoors and to avoid the spill. But when the authorities called six of the seven radio stations in Minot to issue the warning, no one answered the phones. As it turned out, Clear Channel owned all six of the stations, and none of the station's personnel were available...

"..the so-called "derelict rodeo roundup," in which employees give homeless people a $20 bill, a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor, and a bus ticket to the edge of town, was pioneered in spring of 2003 by a Clear Channel station in Cincinnati...

"Egregious examples of [Clear Channel's].. unconscionable.. behavior.. [include] banning the Dixie Chicks and more than 200 peace-related songs..; the many station-sponsored pro-war rallies; the intense union-busting; automated on-air programming and the train wreck in Minot, North Dakota; and the "derelict rodeo roundup"" (88-89).

"Clear Channel's.. non-music coverage was dominated by crime, drugs, and violence"(Phillips, Peter, and Project Censored. Censored 2004: The Top 25 Censored Stories. NY: Seven Stories Press, 2003: 90).

See..

Clear Channel Sucks "this powerful company has grown unchecked, using their monopoly to control the entire music industry. If you find this alarming, ClearChannelSucks.org is the place for you"
Media Alliance "promoting media excellence, ethics, diversity, and accountability"
Youth Media Council "building youth power through media advocacy and media accountability"
Center for Public Integrity investigative journalism in the public interest


"Journalists, George Bernard Shaw once said, "are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization"" (Eric Alterman. "Bush's War on the Press." The Nation, May 9, 2005: 11).


"Why is science in the media so often pointless, simplistic, boring or just plain wrong? Like a proper little Darwin, I've been collecting specimens, making careful observations, and now I'm ready to present my theory. It is my hypothesis that in their choice of stories, and the way they cover them, the media create a parody of science, for their own means. They then attack this parody as if they were critiquing science.

"Science stories usually fall into three families: wacky stories, scare stories and "breakthrough" stories...

"[the bogus stories] help perform a crucial function for the media, which is selling the reader to their advertisers...

"And last, in our brief taxonomy, is the media obsession with "New breakthroughs": a more subtly destructive category of science story. It's quite understandable that newspapers should feel it's their job to write about new stuff. But in the aggregate these stories sell the idea that science, and indeed the whole emperical world view, is only about tenuous, new, hotly contested data. Articles about robustly supported emerging ideas would be more stimulating, of course, than most single experimental results, and these themes are the real developments in science. But they emerge over months and several bits of evidence, not single rejiggable press releases. Often, a front-page science story will emerge from a press release alone, and the formal academic paper may never appear, or appear much later, and then not even show what the press reports claimed it would.

"Scientists never said that tenuous small findings were headline news--journalists did...

"The central theme: there is no useful information in most science stories.

"Remember all those stories about the danger of mobile phones? I must have read 15 newspaper articles on the subject in a single week. Not one told me what the experiment flagging up the danger was. What was the exposure, the measured outcome, was it human or animal data? Figures? Nothing.

"Why? Because papers think you won't understand the "science bit", all stories involving science must be dumbed down...

"Nobody dumbs down the finance pages.

"So how do the media work around their inability to deliver scientific evidence? They use authority figures, the very antithesis of what science is about, as if they were priests, or politicians, or parent figures. And if they want balance, you'll get two scientists disagreeing, although with no explanation of why" (Ben Goldacre. "''t dumb me down." Guardian Weekly, Sep. 16, 2005: 19).


How the Media Can Restore Credibility

"... the Gallup poll finds that 49% of Americans consider the news mostly or completely unreliable...

"... the endemic vices of elitism, unaccountability, and star worship that afflict our journalistic institutions beginning with the top management. It will take more than another pro forma mea culpa to rebuild their eroded creditbility. Systemic changes are essential:

"Journalists shouldn't get cozy with government officials... A reporter's job is to discover and tell the truth... politicians and reporters are natural enemies...

"Press conferences produce lies, not news. What comes out of them should be treated as news only after it has been independently verified.

"Journalists should be accessible. Isolation impairs accountability... Every newspaper byline should carry its writer's direct phone number and email address, and they should be required to return their messages...

"Ban patriotism. While I was covering the war in Afghanistan in 2001, a colleague from a major US paper informed me: "We've captured Kunduz!" We? Never mind editorial independence--she identified with the Norther Alliance because they were backed by the United States. CNN mimicked Fox News' perpetually waving stars-and-stripes logo and TV anchors from Maine to Hawaii sported flag lapel pins--a prop on state television in dictatorships. Even when the US is at war, reporters should remain neutral. Skeptics make better journalists than patriots.

"Embedded reporters are whores... ersatz journalists who rode into Iraq in American tanks and armored personnel carriers... Correspondents who participate in a story--a war, say--deserve to be fired" (Ted Rall. "It's the Skepticism, Stupid." The Progressive Populist, Dec. 15, 2005: 2, 19).

Media Quotes

"To keep information from the public is the function of the corporate media." - Gore Vidal, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

"The media serve the interests of state and corporate power, which are closely interlinked, framing their reporting and analysis in a manner supportive of established privilege and limiting debate and discussion accordingly." - Noam Chomsky, American linguist and US media and foreign policy critic.

"One of the intentions of corporate-controlled media is to instill in people a sense of disempowerment, of immobilization and paralysis. Its outcome is to turn you into good consumers. It is to keep people isolated, to feel that there is no possibility for social change." - David Barsamian, journalist and publisher

Chomsky: There's an Overt Corporate Effort to Indoctrinate American Children education and indoctrination... and the way "capitalism" actually works in the United States.

The Crisis of Democracy was published in 1975, and it was a discussion of the destructive effect of the 1960s. The destructive effect was that it called for too much democracy. You have to read it to believe it. The picture was that before, people were mostly passive and obedient and they did what they were told and democracy functioned fine.

Anyone who looked at the media could see that it's overwhelmingly conformist. But there was some criticism. I mean, there were people in the media who were saying, "The war's too costly. Maybe we shouldn't continue with it" and so on. And they said even that's too much. You can't have the media being this oppositional and critical of power. So maybe the state should step in with some form of censorship and control over the media.

How Establishment Propaganda Gaslights Us Into Submission The mass media has given elites the ability to effectively turn a false story that they themselves invented into an established fact.


The dynamics of the establishment Syria narrative are hilarious if you take a step back and think about them. I mean, the western empire is now openly admitting to having funded actual, literal terrorist groups in that country, and yet they're still cranking out propaganda pieces about what is happening there and sincerely expecting us to believe them. It's adorable, really; like a little kid covered in chocolate telling his mom he doesn't know what happened to all the cake frosting.

Or least it would be adorable if it weren't directly facilitating the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people.










Media Lies

This media failure really could help Trump politically

We constantly talk about the news media's failure to aggressively call out President Trump’s serial lies. We talk somewhat less often about the media’s failure to adequately convey just how deeply corrupt and absurd Trump's explicitly stated positions really are (a somewhat lonely obsession of this blog).

But there's a third way in which Trump challenges the media that generates far less attention than either of those: the ways in which the conventions of political reporting often constrain reporters from conveying just how crazy, depraved and saturated in malice and hate some of his rally performances are.

Vox’s Aaron Rupar has a fascinating but deeply dispiriting look at one such example. After Trump’s rally in Wisconsin on Tuesday night, an NPR segment basically sanitized away all of the wretchedness and insanity.

As Rupar notes, at the rally, Trump delivered on those qualities in a big way:

Trump bragged about war crimes. He joked about former Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson perhaps being in hell and about his possibly serving more than two terms in office. He said he’d like to see Hillary Clinton locked up and trashed “filthy, dirty” blue cities like San Francisco in a manner that’s highly unusual for a president.

In reality, Trump didn’t merely “snap back” against Democrats who impeached him; he ranted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district is “filthy” and “disgusting," heaping malice on a place where people — urban, coastal people, but people nonetheless — actually live.

Trump didn’t merely “take on” Democrats; he called for Hillary Clinton to be imprisoned while encouraging the crowd’s “lock her up” chants. Trump didn’t merely “defend” the assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani; he boasted of plans to hit back against any Iranian attacks with an insane threat to obliterate so much of Iran that it would have “taken 30 years to rebuild, if that was even possible," which drew cheers.

The problem, of course, is that any report that neutrally but accurately rendered all of this would probably come across as negatively slanted, which is a no-no. But as Georgetown professor Don Moynihan pointed out, such omissions of the "insane stuff" end up presenting Trump "as a normal president," which is fundamentally and grotesquely misleading.

I would like to suggest one way this could have real political consequences.

To be clear, I don’t mean to pick on this one report. Nor do I claim to have any sense of how widespread a problem this is or how much political impact it might have.

Rather, I want to use this moment to plant a flag on something to watch for going forward.

[...]

These rally performances are all about achieving that electrification. The need to do this is why he paints the opposition as illegitimate, works to deceive those parts of the country into believing his impeachment is an effort to overturn their electoral will, rages at Rep. Adam B. Schiff and his “pencil neck," slimes urban districts as being infested with rodents and so forth.

One key question is whether Trump can supercharge those parts of the country with such tactics without activating a backlash — among young and nonwhite voters, and among the sort of suburban and educated whites who remain alienated by Trump — that overwhelms the numbers in even hyper-energized Trump country. This plainly worries Trump’s advisers, who know the base might not be enough.

Press coverage that sanitizes away the wretched, hateful sides of Trump’s performances could help his appearances carry forward Trump’s mission of electrifying the base, under the radar, without clearly conveying to all those other voters — those who may not be tuning in as attentively to the 24/7 manure show that is this presidency — the truly depraved nature of what he’s dumping in their backyards.

Again, I don’t claim to know how serious a problem this is or how much of an impact it will have. But it seems like something those who aspire to render this moment faithfully would not want any part in enabling.

***

Former MSNBC Reporter Spills Details On Pro-Establishment Bias In Media

By Caitlin Johnstone. August 18, 2019 "Information Clearing House"

The ridiculous corporate media freakout over Senator Bernie Sanders’ entirely legitimate accusations of pro-establishment bias continues today, with shrill, absurd new headlines like “Sanders campaign continues attacks on journalists” and “Bernie Sanders isn’t sorry” featuring hysterical MSM drama queens rending their garments over the suggestion that plutocrat-owned media outlets could be favorable to the plutocrat-owned establishment.

In response to this cartoonish display of billionaire-sponsored performance art, The Hill‘s Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjati aired a segment on their online show Rising which is as damning an exposé on the dynamics of mass media empire propaganda as we are ever likely to witness. With startling frankness and honesty, the pair disclose their experience with the way anyone who is critical of the establishment consensus is excluded from mainstream media platforms, as well as the way access journalism, financial incentives, prestige incentives and peer pressure are used to herd mainstream reporters into toeing the establishment line once they’re in.

I strongly urge you to watch the eight-minute segment for yourself, but I’ll be transcribing parts of it as well for those who prefer reading, as well as for posterity, because it really is that historically significant. I will surely be referring back to this segment in my arguments about plutocratic media bias for years to come, because it confirms and validates everything that analysts like Noam Chomsky have been saying about mass media propaganda like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Status quo propaganda is the underlying root of all our problems, and Ball and Enjati have gifted us with an invaluable tool for understanding and attacking it.

Video: Krystal Ball exposes anti-Bernie media bias

**Video: Noam Chomsky - The 5 Filters of the Mass Media Machine

Propaganda Is The Root Of All Our Problems

As I never tire of saying, the real underlying currency in our world is not gold, nor bureaucratic fiat, nor even raw military might. The real underlying currency of our world is narrative, and the ability to control it.

After laying out the evidence from some recent examples of bias against Sanders in the mainstream media, former MSNBC reporter Krystal Ball (yes, her real name) asked rhetorically, “Now the question is why?"

“Look, obviously I’ve worked in this industry for a minute at this point and journalists aren’t bad people, in fact, they’re some of my closest friends and favorite people," Ball said. “But they are people, they’re human beings who respond to their own self-interest, incentives and group think. So it’s not like there’s typically some edict coming down from the top saying ‘Be mean to Bernie’, but there are tremendous blind spots. I would argue the most egregious have to do with class. And there are certain pressures too — to stay in good with the establishment [and] to maintain the access that is the life blood of political journalism. So what do I mean? Let me give an example from my own career since everything I’m saying here really frankly applies to me too."

“Back in early 2015 at MSNBC I did a monologue that some of you may have seen pretty much begging Hillary Clinton not to run," Ball continued. “I said her elite ties were out of step with the party and the country, that if she ran she would likely be the nominee and would then go on to lose. No one censored me, I was allowed to say it, but afterwards the Clinton people called and complained to the MSNBC top brass and threatened not to provide any access during the upcoming campaign. I was told that I could still say what I wanted, but I would have to get any Clinton-related commentary cleared with the president of the network. Now being a human interested in maintaining my job, I’m certain I did less critical Clinton commentary after that than I maybe otherwise would have."

“Every journalist at every outlet knows what they can say and do freely and what’s going to be a little stickier," Ball said. “No one is ever going to have their anti-Bernie pieces called in to question since he stands outside the system. Their invites to the DC establishment world are not going to be revoked, and may even be heightened by negative Bernie coverage. "

“Back in the run up to 2016 I wanted to cover the negotiations on TPP more," Ball disclosed a bit later. “I was told though, in no uncertain terms that no one cared about trade and it didn’t rate. To be clear, this was not based on data but on gut feeling and gut feeling that had to influenced by one’s personal experience mixing and mingling with upscale denizens of Manhattan. I didn’t really push it; maybe they were right. Of course TPP and trade turned out to be one of the most central issues in the entire 2016 election. It turns out that people did, in fact, care. Now this class bias translates into bad coverage of candidates with working class appeal, and it translates to under-coverage of issues that are vitally important to the working class."

Ball’s co-host Saagar Enjati went on to describe his own similar experiences as a White House correspondent.

“This is something that a lot of people don’t understand," Enjati said. “It’s not necessarily that somebody tells you how to do your coverage, it’s that if you were to do your coverage that way, you would not be hired at that institution. So it’s like if you do not already fit within this framework, then the system is designed to not give you a voice. And if you necessarily did do that, all of the incentive structures around your pay, around your promotion, around your colleagues that are slapping you on the back, that would all disappear. So it’s a system of reinforcement, which makes it so that you wouldn’t go down that path in the first place."

“I’ve definitely noticed this in the White House press corps, which is a massive bias to ask questions that make everybody else in the room happy, AKA Mueller questions," Enjati continued. “Guess what the American people don’t care about? Mueller. So when you ask a question–I’ve had this happen to me all the time. I would ask a question about North Korea, like, you know, war and nuclear weapons that affect billions. Or I would ask about the Supreme Court, the number one issue why Trump voters voted for President Trump, and I would get accused of toadying to the administration or not asking what Jim Acosta or whomever wanted me to ask. It’s like, you know, everybody plays to their peers, they don’t actually play to the people they’re supposed to cover, and that’s part of the problem."

“Right, and again, it’s not necessarily intentional," Ball added. “It’s that those are the people that you’re surrounded with, so there becomes a group-think. And look, you are aware of what you’re going to be rewarded for and what you’re going to be punished for, or not rewarded for, like that definitely plays in the mind, whether you want it to or not, that’s a reality."

“Every time I took that message to ask Trump a question, I knew that my Twitter messages were going to blow up from MSNBC or Ken Dilanian or whomever for ‘toadying’ up to the administration, and it takes a lot to be able to withstand that," Enjeti concluded.

As we just discussed the other day, Ken Dilanian is literally a known CIA asset. This is not a conspiracy theory, it’s a well-documented and historically undeniable fact, as shown in this Intercept article titled “The CIA’s Mop-Up Man”. The testimony that Dilanian’s establishment sycophancy affects not just his own reporting but those of other reporters as well via strategically placed peer pressure is highly significant.

The Epstein Case: Everyone’s a Conspiracy Theorist - The only problem with the term is the meaningless use of it as a pejorative, writes Caitlin Johnstone.

Plutocratic propaganda outlet MSNBC has run a spin segment about the medical examiner’s determination of the cause of Jeffrey Epstein’s death “pending further information."

“Our sources are still saying that it looks like suicide, and this is going to set conspiracy theorists abuzz I fear," said NBC correspondent Ken Dilanian. “NBC News has been hearing all day long that there are no indications of foul play, and that this looks like a suicide and that he hung himself in his cell."

Dilanian, who stumbled over the phrase “conspiracy theorists” in his haste to get it in the first soundbite, is a known asset of the Central Intelligence Agency. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is a well-documented fact. A 2014 article in The Intercept titled “The CIA’s Mop-Up Man” reveals email exchanges obtained via Freedom of Information Act request between Dilanian and CIA public affairs officers which “show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication." There is no reason to give Dilanian the benefit of the doubt that this cozy relationship has ended, so anything he puts forward can safely be dismissed as CIA public relations.

The CIA’s Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories With Agency Before Publicatio

For obvious reasons these insider confessions are as rare as hen’s teeth, so we must absorb them, circulate them, and never forget them. I’m still floored and fall-to-my-knees grateful to Ball and Enjati for putting this information out there for the sake of the common good. Our task is now to use the information they provided to help wake people up from the narrative control matrix.

Society Is Made Of Narrative. Realizing This Is Awakening From The Matrix.

Trump’s Iran summit shows just how far he is from the rest of the west2-15-19

Does Mike Pompeo realise what a foolish figure he cuts, spouting risible tosh about America as "force for good" in the Middle East?

By Simon Tisdall, February 15, 2019 "Information Clearing House"

Does Mike Pompeo realise what a foolish figure he cuts as he shambles around Europe, spouting risible tosh about Donald Trump’s commitment to a “new liberal order” and America as “force for good” in the Middle East? It seems he does not. Pompeo is a former soldier, Tea Party Republican, hawkish CIA chief and enthusiastic torture advocate who complained in 2013 that Guantanamo Bay inmates on hunger strike had “put on weight”. Self-awareness is not really his thing.

Whatever else he is, Pompeo is plainly no diplomat. Yet thanks to Trump, his job since April last year is US secretary of state, arguably the world’s most influential diplomatic post. It’s a role previously held by such towering figures as James Monroe, John Foster Dulles and George Shultz. By comparison, Pompeo is a political pufferfish floundering out of his depth. His latest self-inflicted embarrassment is Wednesday’s conference in Warsaw, envisaged (by him) as an international rally to put pressure on Iran.

Why The DNC Was Not Hacked By The Russians, 2-15

By William Binney, former Technical Director NSA and Larry Johnson, former State CT and CIA, February 15, 2019 "Information Clearing House"

The FBI, CIA and NSA claim that the DNC emails published by WIKILEAKS on July 26, 2016 were obtained via a Russian hack, but more than three years after the alleged “hack” no forensic evidence has been produced to support that claim. In fact, the available forensic evidence contradicts the official account that blames the leak of the DNC emails on a Russian internet “intrusion”. The existing evidence supports an alternative explanation--the files taken from the DNC between 23 and 25 May 2016 and were copied onto a file storage device, such as a thumb drive.

If the Russians actually had conducted an internet based hack of the DNC computer network then the evidence of such an attack would have been collected and stored by the National Security Agency. The technical systems to accomplish this task have been in place since 2002. The NSA had an opportunity to make it clear that there was irrefutable proof of Russian meddling, particularly with regard to the DNC hack, when it signed on to the January 2017 “Intelligence Community Assessment," regarding Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election:

We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.

The phrase, “moderate confidence” is intelligence speak for “we have no hard evidence." Thanks to the leaks by Edward Snowden, we know with certainty that the NSA had the capability to examine and analyze the DNC emails. NSA routinely “vacuumed up” email traffic transiting the U.S. using robust collection systems (whether or not anyone in the NSA chose to look for this data is another question). If those emails had been hijacked over the internet then NSA also would have been able to track the electronic path they traveled over the internet.

This kind of data would allow the NSA to declare without reservation or caveat that the Russians were guilty. The NSA could admit to such a fact in an unclassified assessment without compromising sources and methods. Instead, the NSA only claimed to have moderate confidence in the judgement regarding Russian meddling. If the NSA had hard intelligence to support the judgement the conclusion would have been stated as “full confidence."

We believe that Special Counsel Robert Mueller faces major embarrassment if he decides to pursue the indictment he filed--which accuses 12 Russian GRU military personnel and an entity identified as, Guccifer 2.0, for the DNC hack—because the available forensic evidence indicates the emails were copied onto a storage device.

According to a DOJ press release on the indictment of the Russians, Mueller declares that the emails were obtained via a “spearphising” attack:

In 2016, officials in Unit 26165 began spearphishing volunteers and employees of the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, including the campaign’s chairman. Through that process, officials in this unit were able to steal the usernames and passwords for numerous individuals and use those credentials to steal email content and hack into other computers. They also were able to hack into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) through these spearphishing techniques to steal emails and documents,covertly monitor the computer activity of dozens of employees, and implant hundreds of files of malicious computer code to steal passwords and maintain access to these networks.

The officials in Unit 26165 coordinated with officials in Unit 74455 to plan the release of the stolen documents for the purpose of interfering with the 2016 presidential election. Defendants registered the domain DCLeaks.com and later staged the release of thousands of stolen emails and documents through that website. On the website, defendants claimed to be “American hacktivists” and used Facebook accounts with fictitious names and Twitter accounts to promote the website. After public accusations that the Russian government was behind the hacking of DNC and DCCC computers, defendants created the fictitious persona Guccifer 2.0. On the evening of June 15, 2016 between 4:19PM and 4:56PM, defendants used their Moscow-based server to search for a series of English words and phrases that later appeared in Guccifer 2.0’s first blog post falsely claiming to be a lone Romanian hacker responsible for the hacks in the hopes of undermining the allegations of Russian involvement.(https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/grand-jury-indicts-12-russian-intelligence-officers-hacking-offenses-related-2016-election)

Notwithstanding the DOJ press release, an examination of the Wikileaks DNC files do not support the claim that the emails were obtained via spearphising. Instead, the evidence clearly shows that the emails posted on the Wikileaks site were copied onto an electronic media, such as a CD-ROM or thumbdrive before they were posted at Wikileaks. The emails posted on Wikileaks were saved using the File Allocation Table (aka FAT) computer file system architecture.

An examination of the Wikileaks DNC files shows they were created on 23, 25 and 26 May respectively. The fact that they appear in a FAT system format indicates the data was transfered to a storage device, such as a thumb drive.

How do we know? The truth lies in the “last modified” time stamps on the Wikileaks files. Every single one of these time stamps end in even numbers. If you are not familiar with the FAT file system, you need to understand that when a date is stored under this system the data rounds the time to the nearest even numbered second.

We have examined 500 DNC email files stored on Wikileaks and all 500 files end in an even number—2, 4, 6, 8 or 0. If a system other than FAT had been used, there would have been an equal probability of the time stamp ending with an odd number. But that is not the case with the data stored on the Wikileaks site. All end with an even number.

The DNC emails are in 3 batches (times are GMT).

Date Count Min Time Max Time FAT Min Id Max Id
2016-05-23 10520 02:12:38 02:45:42 x 3800 14319
2016-05-25 11936 05:21:30 06:04:36 x 1 22456
2016-08-26 13357 14:11:36 20:06:04 x 22457 44053

The random probability that FAT was not used is 1 chance in 2 to the 500th power or approximately 1 chance in 10 to the 150th power - in other words, an infinitely high order.

This data alone does not prove that the emails were copied at the DNC headquarters. But it does show that the data/emails posted by Wikileaks did go through a storage device, like a thumbdrive, before Wikileaks posted the emails on the World Wide Web.

This fact alone is enough to raise reasonable doubts about Mueller’s indictment accusing 12 Russian soldiers as the culprits for the leak of the DNC emails to Wikileaks. A savvy defense attorney will argue, and rightly so, that someone copied the DNC files to a storage device (Eg., USB thumb drive) and transferred that to Wikileaks.

We also tested the hypothesis that Wikileaks could have manipulated the files to produce the FAT result by comparing the DNC email files with the Podesta emails (aka Larter file) that was released on 21 September 2016. The FAT file format is NOT present in the Podesta files. If Wikileaks employed a standard protocol for handling data/emails received from unknown sources we should expect the File structure of the DNC emails to match the file structure of the Podesta emails. The evidence shows otherwise.

There is further compelling technical evidence that undermines the claim that the DNC emails were downloaded over the internet as a result of a spearphising attack. Bill Binney, a former Technical Director of the National Security Agency, along with other former intelligence community experts, examined emails posted by Guccifer 2.0 and discovered that those emails could not have been downloaded over the internet as a result of a spearphising attack. It is a simple matter of mathematics and physics.

Shortly after Wikileaks announced it had the DNC emails, Guccifer 2.0 emerged on the public stage, claimimg that “he” hacked the DNC and that he had the DNC emails. Guccifer 2.0 began in late June 2016 to publish documents as proof that “he” had hacked from the DNC.

Taking Guccifer 2.0 at face value—i.e., that his documents were obtained via an internet attack—Bill Binney conducted a forensic examination of the metadata contained in the posted documents based on internet connection speeds in the United States. This analysis showed that the highest transfer rate was 49.1 megabytes per second, which is much faster than possible from a remote online connection. The 49.1 megabytes speed coincides with the download rate for a thumb drive.

Binney, assisted by other colleagues with technical expertise, extended the examination and ran various tests forensic from the Netherlands, Albania, Belgrade and the UK. The fastest rate obtained -- from a data center in New Jersey to a data center in the UK--was 12 megabytes per second, which is less than a fourth of the rate necessary to transfer the data, as it was listed from Guccifer 2.

The findings from the examination of the Guccifer 2.0 data and the Wikileaks data does not prove who copied the information to a thumbdrive, but it does provide and empirical alternative explanation that undermines the Special Counsel’s claim that the DNC was hacked. According to the forensic evidence for the Guccifer 2.0 data, the DNC emails were not taken by an internet spearphising attack. The data breach was local. It was copied from the network.

There is other circumstantial evidence that buttresses the conclusion that the data breach was a local effort that copied data.

First there is the Top Secret information leaked by Edward Snowden. If the DNC emails had been hacked via spearphising (as alleged by Mueller) then the data would have been captured by the NSA by means of the Upstream program (Fairview, Stormbrew, Blarney, Oakstar) and the forensic evidence would not modify times - the data would be presented as sent.

Second, we have the public reporting on the DNC and Crowdstrike, which provide a bizarre timeline for the alleged Russian hacking.

It was 29 April 2016, when the DNC claims it became aware its servers had been penetrated (see https://medium.com/homefront-rising/dumbstruck-how-crowdstrike-conned-america-on-the-hack-of-the-dnc-ecfa522ff44f). No claim yet about who was responsible.

According to CrowdStrike founder, Dimitri Alperovitch, his company first detected the Russians mucking around inside the DNC server on 6 May 2016. A CrowdStrike intelligence analyst reportedly told Alperovitch that:

Falcon had identified not one but two Russian intruders: Cozy Bear, a group CrowdStrike's experts believed was affiliated with the FSB, Russia's answer to the CIA; and Fancy Bear, which they had linked to the GRU, Russian military intelligence.

(https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a49902/
the-russian-emigre-leading-the-fight-to-protect-america/)

And what did CrowdStrike do about this? Nothing. According to Michael Isikoff, CrowdStrike claimed their inactivity was a deliberate plan to avoid alerting the Russians that they had been “discovered." This is nonsense. If a security company detected a thief breaking into a house and stealing its contents, what sane company would counsel the client to do nothing in order to avoid alerting the thief?

We know from examining the Wikileaks data that the last message copied from the DNC network is dated Wed, 25 May 2016 08:48:35. No DNC emails were taken and released to Wikileaks after that date.

CrowdStrike waited until 10 June 2016 to take concrete steps to clean up the DNC network. Alperovitch told Esquire’s Vicky Ward that:

Ultimately, the teams decided it was necessary to replace the software on every computer at the DNC. Until the network was clean, secrecy was vital. On the afternoon of Friday, June 10, all DNC employees were instructed to leave their laptops in the office.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a49902/
the-russian-emigre-leading-the-fight-to-protect-america/

Why does a cyber security company wait 45 days after allegedly uncovering a massive Russian attack on the DNC server to take concrete steps to safeguard the integrity of the information held on the server? This makes no sense.

A more plausible explanation is that it was discovered that emails had been downloaded from the server and copied onto a device like a thumdrive. But the culprit had not yet been identified. We know one thing for certain—CrowdStrike did not take steps to shutdown and repair the DNC network until 18 days after the last email was copied from the server.

The final curiosity is that the DNC never provided the FBI access to its servers in order for qualified FBI technicians to conduct a thorough forensic examination. If this had been a genuine internet hack, it would be very easy for the NSA to identify when the information was taken and the route it moved after being hacked from the server. The NSA had the technical collection systems in place to enable analysts to know the date and time of the messages. But that has not been done.

Taken together, these disparate data points combine to paint a picture that exonerates alleged Russian hackers and implicates persons within our law enforcement and intelligence community taking part in a campaign of misinformation, deceit and incompetence. It is not a pretty picture.

This article was originally published by "Sic Semper Tyrannis"-

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela, 2-10

A Case of News-Suppression All Across the Mainstream Media


By Eric Zuesse, Introduction

This news-report is being submitted to all US and allied news-media, and is being published by all honest ones, in order to inform you of crucial facts that the others — the dishonest ones, who hide such crucial facts — are hiding about Venezuela. These are facts that have received coverage only in one single British newspaper: the Independent, which published a summary account of them on January 26th. That newspaper’s account will be excerpted here at the end, but first will be highlights from its topic, the official report to the UN General Assembly in August of last year, which has been covered-up ever since. This is why that report’s author has now gone to the Independent, desperate to get the story out, finally, to the public.

THE COVERED-UP DOCUMENT

On 3 August 2018, the UN’s General Assembly received the report from the UN’s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, concerning his mission to Venezuela and Ecuador. His recent travel th[r]ough both countries focused on "how best to enhance the enjoyment of all human rights by the populations of both countries."

He "noted the eradication of illiteracy, free education from primary school to university, and programmes to reduce extreme poverty, provide housing to the homeless and vulnerable, phase out privilege and discrimination, and extend medical care to everyone."

He noted "that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Ecuador, both devote around 70 per cent of their national budgets to social services." However (and here, key paragraphs from the report are now quoted):

22. Observers have identified errors committed by the Chávez and Maduro Governments, noting that there are too many ideologues and too few technocrats in public administration, resulting in government policies that lack coherence and professional management and discourage domestic investment, already crippled by inefficiency and corruption, which extend to government officials, transnational corporations and entrepreneurs. Critics warn about the undue influence of the military on government and on the running of enterprises like Petróleos de Venezuela. The lack of regular, publicly available data on nutrition, epidemiology and inflation are said to complicate efforts to provide humanitarian support.

23. Meanwhile, the Attorney General, Tarek Saab, has launched a vigorous anticorruption campaign, investigating the links between Venezuelan enterprises and tax havens, contracting scams, and deals by public officials with Odebrecht. It is estimated that corruption in the oil industry has cost the Government US$ 4.8 billion. The Attorney General’s Office informed the Independent Expert of pending investigations for embezzlement and extortion against 79 officials of Petróleos de Venezuela, including 22 senior managers. The Office also pointed to the arrest of two high-level oil executives, accused of money-laundering in Andorra. The Ministry of Justice estimates corruption losses at some US$ 15 billion. Other stakeholders, in contrast, assert that anti-corruption programmes are selective and have not sufficiently targeted State institutions, including the military.

AU travel: Do not travel to Venezuela due to the unstable political
and economic situation, food, water, medicine and petrol shortages and
high levels of violent crime. Many hospitals are closed. Power and water outages are common.

29. …Over the past sixty years, non-conventional economic wars have been waged against Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to make their economies fail, facilitate regime change and impose a neo-liberal socioeconomic model. In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. Human rights are being "weaponized" against rivals. Yet, human rights are the heritage of every human being and should never be instrumentalized as weapons of demonization.

30. The principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States belong to customary international law and have been reaffirmed in General Assembly resolutions, notably [a list is supplied].

31. In its judgment of 27 June 1986 concerning Nicaragua v. United States, the International Court of Justice quoted from [UN] resolution 2625 (XXV): "no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State".

36. The effects of sanctions imposed by Presidents Obama and Trump and unilateral measures by Canada and the European Union have directly and indirectly aggravated the shortages in medicines such as insulin and anti-retroviral drugs. To the extent that economic sanctions have caused delays in distribution and thus contributed to many deaths, sanctions contravene the human rights obligations of the countries imposing them.Moreover, sanctions can amount to crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. An investigation by that Court would be appropriate, but the geopolitical submissiveness of the Court may prevent this.

37. Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns with the intention of forcing them to surrender. Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees. A difference, perhaps, is that twenty-first century sanctions are accompanied by the manipulation of public opinion through "fake news", aggressive public relations and a pseudo-human rights rhetoric so as to give the impression that a human rights "end" justifies the criminal means.

39. Economic asphyxiation policies are comparable to those already practised in Chile, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua and the Syrian Arab Republic. In January 2018, Middle East correspondent of The Financial Times and The Independent, Patrick Cockburn, wrote on the sanctions affecting Syria:

There is usually a pretence that foodstuffs and medical equipment are being allowed through freely and no mention is made of the financial and other regulatory obstacles making it impossible to deliver them. An example of this is the draconian sanctions imposed on Syria by the US and EU which were meant to target President Bashar al-Assad and help remove him from power. They have wholly failed to do this, but a UN internal report leaked in 2016 shows all too convincingly the effect of the embargo in stopping the delivery of aid by international aid agencies. They cannot import the aid despite waivers because banks and commercial companies dare not risk being penalised for having anything to do with Syria. The report quotes a European doctor working in Syria as saying that “the indirect effect of sanctions … makes the import of the medical instruments and other medical supplies immensely difficult, near impossible”. In short: economic sanctions kill.


41. Bearing in mind that Venezuelan society is polarized, what is most needed is dialogue between the Government and the opposition, and it would be a noble task on the part of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to offer his good offices for such a dialogue. Yet, opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Julio Borges, during a trip through Europe to denounce the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called for further sanctions as well as a military "humanitarian intervention".

44. Although the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has not yet reached the humanitarian crisis threshold, there is hunger, malnutrition, anxiety, anguish and emigration. What is crucial is to study the causes of the crisis, including neglected factors of sanctions, sabotage, hoarding, black market activities, induced inflation and contraband in food and medicines.

45. The “crisis” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is an economic crisis, which cannot be compared with the humanitarian crises in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Haiti, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, or Myanmar, among others. It is significant that when, in 2017, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requested medical aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the plea was rejected, because it "is still a high-income country ... and as such is not eligible".

46. It is pertinent to recall the situation in the years prior to the election of Hugo Chávez. Corruption was ubiquitous and in 1993, President Carlos Pérez was removed because of embezzlement. The Chávez election in 1998 reflected despair with the corruption and neo-liberal policies of the 1980s and 1990s, and rejection of the gulf between the super-rich and the abject poor.

47. Participatory democracy in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called "protagónica", is anchored in the Constitution of 1999 and relies on frequent elections and referendums. During the mission, the Independent Expert exchanged views with the Electoral Commission and learned that in the 19 years since Chávez, 25 elections and referendums had been conducted, 4 of them observed by the Carter Center. The Independent Expert met with the representative of the Carter Center in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who recalled Carter'48. An atmosphere of intimidation accompanied the mission, attempting to pressure the Independent Expert into a predetermined matrix. He received letters from NGOs asking him not to proceed because he was not the "relevant" rapporteur, and almost dictating what should be in the report. Weeks before his arrival, some called the mission a "fake investigation". Social media insults bordered on “hate speech” and “incitement”. Mobbing before, during and after the mission bore a resemblance to the experience of two American journalists who visited the country in July 2017. Utilizing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, critics questioned the Independent Expert's integrity and accused him of bias, demonstrating a culture of intransigence and refusal to accept the duty of an independent expert to be neutral, objective, dispassionate and to apply his expertise free of external pressures.


48. An atmosphere of intimidation accompanied the mission, attempting to pressure the Independent Expert into a predetermined matrix. He received letters from NGOs asking him not to proceed because he was not the "relevant" rapporteur, and almost dictating what should be in the report. Weeks before his arrival, some called the mission a "fake investigation". Social media insults bordered on "hate speech" and "incitement". Mobbing before, during and after the mission bore a resemblance to the experience of two American journalists who visited the country in July 2017. Utilizing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, critics questioned the Independent Expert's integrity and accused him of bias, demonstrating a culture of intransigence and refusal to accept the duty of an independent expert to be neutral, objective, dispassionate and to apply his expertise free of external pressures.

67. The Independent Expert recommends that the General Assembly:

(g) Invoke article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations and refer the following questions to the International Court of Justice: Can unilateral coercive measures be compatible with international law? Can unilateral coercive measures amount to crimes against humanity when a large number of persons perish because of scarcity of food and medicines? What reparations are due to the victims of sanctions? Do sanctions and currency manipulations constitute geopolitical crimes?

(h) Adopt a resolution along the lines of the resolutions on the United States embargo against Cuba, declaring the sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela contrary to international law and human rights law....

70. The Independent Expert recommends that the International Criminal Court investigate the problem of unilateral coercive measures that cause death from malnutrition, lack of medicines and medical equipment.

72. The Independent Expert recommends that, until the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court address the lethal outcomes of economic wars and sanctions regimes, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, the Russell Tribunal and the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission undertake the task so as to facilitate future judicial pronouncements.

On January 26th, Britain's Independent headlined "Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens", and Michael Selby-Green reported that:

Mapa de regiones naturales (Venezuela) - Wikimedia

The first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years has told The Independent the US sanctions on the country are illegal and could amount to "crimes against humanity" under international law.

Former special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who finished his term at the UN in March, has criticized the US for engaging in "economic warfare" against Venezuela which he said is hurting the economy and killing Venezuelans.

The comments come amid worsening tensions in the country after the US and UK have backed Juan Guaido, who appointed himself "interim president" of Venezuela as hundreds of thousands marched to support him...

The US Treasury has not responded to a request for comment on Mr de Zayas’s allegations of the effects of the sanctions programme.

US sanctions prohibit dealing in currencies issued by the Venezuelan government. They also target individuals, and stop US-based companies or people from buying and selling new debt issued by PDVSA or the government.

The US has previously defended its sanctions on Venezuela, with a senior US official saying in 2018: “The fact is that the greatest sanction on Venezuelan oil and oil production is called Nicolas Maduro, and PDVSA’s inefficiencies," referring to the state-run oil body, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA.

Mr De Zayas’s findings are based on his late-2017 mission to the country and interviews with 12 Venezuelan government ministers, opposition politicians, 35 NGOs working in the country, academics, church officials, activists, chambers of commerce and regional UN agencies.

The US imposed new sanctions against Venezuela on 9 March 2015, when President Barack Obama issued executive order 13692, declaring the country a threat to national security.

The sanctions have since intensified under Donald Trump, who has also threatened military invasion and discussed a coup...

Despite being the first UN official to visit and report from Venezuela in 21 years, Mr de Zayas said his research into the causes of the country’s economic crisis has so far largely been ignored by the UN and the media, and caused little debate within the Human Rights Council.

He believes his report has been ignored because it goes against the popular narrative that Venezuela needs regime change.

The then UN high commissioner, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit, and the Venezuela desk of the UN Human Rights Council also declined to help with his work after his return despite being obliged to do so, Mr de Zayas claimed...

Ivan Briscoe, Latin America and Caribbean programme director for Crisis Group, an international NGO, told The Independent that Venezuela is a polarising subject. … Briscoe is critical of Mr de Zayas’s report because it highlights US economic warfare but in his view neglects to mention the impact of a difficult business environment in the country. … Briscoe acknowledged rising tensions and the likely presence of US personnel operating covertly in the country...

Eugenia Russian, president of FUNDALATIN, one of the oldest human rights NGOs in Venezuela, founded in 1978 before the Chavez and Maduro governments and with special consultative status at the UN, spoke to The Independent on the significance of the sanctions...

“In contact with the popular communities, we consider that one of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis in the country is the effect that the unilateral coercive sanctions that are applied in the economy, especially by the government of the United States," Ms Russian said.

She said there may also be causes from internal errors, but said probably few countries in the world have suffered an “economic siege” like the one Venezuelans are living under…

In his report, Mr de Zayas expressed concern that those calling the situation a "humanitarian crisis" are trying to justify regime change and that human rights are being "weaponised" to discredit the government and make violent overthrow more "palatable"...

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and an abundance of other natural resources including gold, bauxite and coltan. But under the Maduro government they're not easily accessible to US and transnational corporations.

US oil companies had large investments in Venezuela in the early 20th century but were locked out after Venezuelans voted to nationalise the industry in 1973.

Other than readers of that single newspaper, where has the public been able to find these facts? If the public can have these facts hidden from them, then how much trust should the public reasonably have in the government, and in the news-media?

Important Notes

Zeid Raad Al Hussein, who “reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit," is Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a Jordanian Prince. Jordan is a vassal-state in the US empire. But Prince Hussein is a Jordanian diplomat who served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014 to 2018 — hardly an unbiased or independent person in such a supposedly nonpartisan role.

Here is the garbage that a reader comes to, who is trying to find online Mr. de Zayas’s report on this matter. As intended, the document remains effectively hidden to the present day. Perhaps the UN needs to be replaced and located in Venezuela, Iran, or some other country that’s targeted for take-over by the people who effectively own the United States Government and control the UN’s bureaucracy. The hiding of this document was done not only by the press but by the UN itself.

On January 23rd, Germany's Die Zeit headlined "Christoph Flü:gge: 'I am deeply disturbed': The UN International Criminal Court Judge Christoph Flü:gge: Accuses Western Nations of Threatening the Independence of the Judges". Flü:gge: especially cited US President Trump's agent, John Bolton. That same day, the Democratic Party and Labour Party organ, Britain's Guardian, bannered "International criminal court: UN court judge quits The Hague citing political interference".

This news-report said that, "A senior judge has resigned from one of the UN's international courts in The Hague citing 'shocking' political interference from the White House and Turkey." The judge especially criticised Bolton:

The American security adviser held his speech at a time when The Hague was planning preliminary investigations into American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. The American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate. It is shocking. I had never heard such a threat." Flü:gge said that the judges on the court had been "stunned" that "the US would roll out such heavy artillery."

Flü:gge told the Guardian: "It is consistent with the new American line: ''e are No 1 and we stand above the law'."

On February 6th, a former UK Ambassador to Syria vented at an alt-news site, 21st Century Wire (since he couldn't get any of the major-media sites to publish it), "A Guide to Decoding the Doublespeak on Syria", and he brazenly exposed there the Doublespeak-Newspeak that the US Government and press (what he called America's "frothing neocons and their liberal interventionist fellow travellers") apply in order to report the 'news' about Syria.

So: how can the public, in a country such as the US, democratically control the Government, if the government and its press are lying to them, like that, all the time, and so routinely?

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity

No Hay Comida = There is no food










New York Times Dishonesty

Rachel Maddow Rips NY Times on Hillary Coverage

Tonight, Rachel Maddow went after the NY Times’ destructive coverage of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign — and to date. The occasion was the Justice Department conclusion, despite a politicized investigation, that Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong conerning her emails. And despite its obsessive coverage of the phony “scandal” during the campaign, the NY Times has not to date run any story about the exoneration.

When the State Department reached a similar conclusion a few months ago, the story was on page A16 of the Times — quite a contrast to their almost daily front page stories in 2016.

Maddow also went into the Times horrible coverage of the Clinton Foundation — which included a partnership with Brietbart slimer Peter Schweizer on the totally bogus Uranium One matter. The Trump Foundation has to give back $2 million to charities it stole from — yet hardly a peep from the Times about that.

Next do Morning Joe, Rachel.

tweet from Florida Chris:

I hope @HillaryClinton got the chance to watch @maddow tonight to see this brilliant discussion of the New York Times' creepy fake obsession with her emails.

If we could only just ctl-alt-dlt this entire saga from our national memory.

Here is my book proposal "No Clear Link: How the NY Times Helped Elect Trump in 2016." With Table of Contents:

1. Introduction: The stature and influence of the New York Times

2. Remember the ‘90s? Jeff Gerth and the Times’ role in flogging Whitewater et al.

3. Times 2016 Coverage by the Numbers: Stories, May-June 2016

Clinton Foundation: 260;

Trump Foundation: 62

HRC Emails: 849 Trump U.: 177

4. Undercoverage of

Trump history: e.g., Mob ties, USFL debacle, Trump Tower laborers

Trump Associations: e.g., Alex Jones (two Times mentions, May-June 2016)

Deutsche Bank — Trump’a only lender was a money laundering suspect

6. Foundation of Lies: Collaboration with White Supremacist Rag Breitbart

7. Policy v. Scandal Coverage: See Graph

8. “No Clear Link:" Credulous acceptance of rogue FBI lies on Russia -10/31 story

9. “Donald the Dove, Hillary the Hawk:" Maureen Dowd’s pathological HRC hatred

10. Epilogue: Post-election coverage

"Cloud lifted:"Barr coverage

Post election books by reporters covering HRC: “her fault; not ours”

"Courtier" coverage: "Trump family: the new Kennedys," Haberman and access journalism

COMMENTS:

PrahaPartizan: This entire saga is one of the principal reasons I refuse to subscribe to the NYT, why I don’t look at their articles and I ignore them. They are dead to me because of the way they’ve handled their attacks on Hillary Clinton and the way they enabled Dubya to go to war in Iraq. The mendacity is just too deep and caustic for my tastes.

subtropolis: What was left out of the video was her glowing appreciation for the New York Times, despite this bizarre slant of theirs.

This very much needs addressing, and not on page A16, but with, at least, a 2-column headline. Answers need to be provided about who was pushing it; who was responsible for bringing in right-wing shills and never fucking letting up. It’s a great newspaper — a giant. It needs to fess up and make changes, and continuing to do what it does best.

eater: Their tech and arts coverage is outstanding... but their political coverage and too many of their columnists are so fucking terrible that it obliterates any chance I’ll ever give them money again.

Ellid: I ignore the front section and read the rest of the paper at work.

MargaretPOA: Then you are rewarding them for lying to you.

anastasia p: Maureen Down should be forbidden from writing another column until she comes up with someone ideas. She flogged the same crapped about the Clintons for 25 years.

Bruins101: Kudos Rachel for taking on the NYTimes for the way they treated HRC! I have yet to hear a true mea culpa from that “paper of record” about how they wrongly threw the election to Demagogue Donald and made HRC a virtual war criminal for the ridiculous private server nonsense that they pushed throughout 2016.

Maureen Dowd, from the get-go, has had a pathological hatred of both Clintons. Just about every column she writes always manages to drag them in even on unrelated issues and savagely attack them. I have no idea why the publishers of the NYTimes savagely hate the Clintons. Maybe Southerner Howell Raines when he wrote for them influenced them by saying that Bill was virtually “white trash” who had to be “put in his place." All I know is that Dowd should be fired and the Times should apologize for bringing trashy plus Donald to the nation. For more on politics, read www.cameinonsaturdays.com/...

Slightly Wobbly: Their columnists seem to be either idiots who always try to split the difference between the divergent parties, like David Brooks, or increasingly, right-wing flacks who are given space in the paper to lie with impunity.

Pariah Dog: I long ago stopped following links to them when they’re posted here. FTM I don’t know why people continue to post links to them. As far as I’m concerned, if they can’t be relied on for the big things, what else are they misleading us about?

PalmFrond: And Rachel keeps covering stories reported by the NYT, and has the NYT reporters on air to explain them.

NonpassiveVoice: I don’t think the problem is with the reporters so much as with the editors—the folks who decide what to publish and in what part of the paper.

Dale: Reporters are just going to go where the story is. Reporters — even at The NY Times — are under tremendous pressure at the best of times, with so many stories of downsizing and buyouts over the past few years, with the remaining skeleton staff expected to do multiple things at once. Landing a scoop is job security.

It is the editor who is in a position to determine whether the reportage brought to them by these harried, overworked reporters falls on page A1 or A16. It’s likely the editors, too, who make a determination to throw their resources at the Clinton Foundation story and ignore the Trump Foundation story.

hawaiigirl: Michael Schmidt and Amy Chozick wrote a bunch of those articles

itsbenj: reporters write about what they are asked to write about. they don’t even get to write the headlines for their own pieces, and they certainly don't get to determine where the stories are placed in the paper.

reporters are not the enemy here. it's the super-rich owner class, same as every other media outlet staffed by largely decent people trying to do a good job, only to have their hard work warped and twisted into some noxious crap that benefits the rich & powerful and smears anyone who opposed them. there are almost no major media outlets in American that aren’t owned by rich, neofascist Republican warmongers.

Grabber by the Heel: To your point, the demonstration against Bush the Lessor’s 2nd Iraq War was covered by a Times reporter who reported that early in the morning there were only a few thousands protesters. A few hours later and before her article would go to print, she informed her editor that there were now tens of thousands of protesters, possibly 50-100 thousand. Enough to form a 2 mile long human chain around the White House and still tens of thousands to spare.

The NYTs editor told her he was going with her early figure despite the facts she was now reporting. After the largest world wide protest in history, the NYTs reported that only 9,000 were in the streets in DC.

anastasia: I think it’s important though, in this era of the right demonizing the mainstream media as “fake news” to emphasize that the NY Times doesn’t do “fake” — it does “biased” (although it did have to retract parts of several Clinton Foundation stories and its purchase of the rights to print excerpts from rightwing hit book Clinton Cash was certainly a low). The bias comes in what it covers and what it does, how much it covers things (which the diarist talked about) and placement of articles.

Page 16, which the diarist mentioned, is an interesting page. It’s not just buried, it’s also weak, being a left-hand page. It’s their news burial page. This is the same page where it printed the news that New York’s attorney general had filed a civil suit against the Trump Foundation and could possibly consider criminal charges later. You’d think this news about a sitting president would make the front page, right? It would have if Hillary had been elected!

And you know it would merit daily front-page negative coverage if Hillary were president and made Chelsea a senior advisor, and was making foreign policy decisions based on what benefited Chelsea’s bottom line. Trump doing this? Ivanka and Jared’s businesses benefiting from administration policy — buried in the business section under a bland headline that didn’t even hint at potential conflicts!

On the other hand, one of my favorite (in a negative way) statistics about the NY Times' 2016 election coverage is that the paper ran MORE front-age stories about Hillary’s emails in the six days before the election than about ALL ISSUES COMBINED in the 69 days before the election.

Think about that. This influential paper considered that Hillary's emails would have many many multiples more impact on our lives than healthcare, education, immigration, climate change, women’s rights, wage stagnation, labor issues, the opioid crisis, foreign policy, infrastructure, transportation and more COMBINED.

MDgluon16: Actually I am sure that this influential “news”paper considered Hillary’s emails would have many multiples of impact on their bottom line profits…...and that is why in part they went after her. Apparently the owners, the Sulzberger, don’t like her for some reason.

Golden Owl: "Apparently the owners, the Sulzberger, don’t like her for some reason." Excellent point. Can someone find out? Or was this the NYT backdoor to help the Trumper win, without making it so obvious. Afterall Trumper was often pictured as metaphorically strutting through Times square as the city behemoth, maybe the owners were just covering their ass. /s

madtownpopulist: You raise a very important point. Those on both the left and the right sides of the political spectrum condemn the mainstream media, But, those on the left, also rely on MSM gatekeepers, like CNN and NYT, to be a factual buttress against the Fox News/Brietbart/Trump tweet propaganda machine. So, an outright dismissal of the MSM’s credibility would play right into the hands of right wing factions.

Part of the problem is that the right wing has been so effective in establishing a wide spread belief that the MSM has a "liberal" bias, though, as your examples illustrate, the ideological tilt is clearly toward the right. As a result, the terms of the debate have been fundamentally distorted in ways that makes it very difficult to present a reasoned analysis of the MSM in terms of what it does well and its systematic biases.

The only place where I differ from your post is the idea (and perhaps you were being ironic) that the NYT ran all those stories on Hillary Clinton’s emails because they believed that issue as would have more impact than other big issues.

I would say, instead, the NYT was profitably riding the hysterical wave (and hence helping to perpetuate it) that the GOP had managed to create in respect of this otherwise trivial matter. The NYT could get eyeballs and clicks from running endless variants on this story and simultaneously prove they were not acquiescing to any liberal biases which , in turn, allowed them to “objectively” serve the interests of the pro-tax cut, big biz crowd.

PrahaParizan: Unfortunately, since the mid-1990s the NYT has been dimming those bulbs itself. Their biased reportage and editorial policies damaged Democrats repeatedly and they have never uttered a mea culpa.

The NYT virtually made sure that Dubya would get a pass for plunging into the morass in Mesopotamia. We’re not talking about the occasional error here but a consistent policy of being on the wrong side and slanting the news.

This situation just highlights how they essentially defamed Hillary Clinton and now it’s crickets in their reporting, especially their reporting about how wrong their earlier reporting was. Where does she go to get her good name and reputation back? Where can we go to get a rerun of the 2016 election? They can call themselves a national newspaper but they’ve been working hard at making sure they’re really fit only to line birdcages.

Greenguy2: ... And the NYT also banged the drum for the Iraq war in the same way, by selecting the “news” — typically, just something some pol said — to print that sold the establishment lie, over and over on page one, while the doubters are relegated to a fraction of the stories that are buried.

Tookish: This has been going on for about a century.

Here’s my example, of criminal coverage by NYT of Holodomor.

Maggie Duranty -2
Maggie Duranty -2
Ukrainian Genocide Coverup
NYT Journo who Covered Up Genocide
Explicit comparison of the same type of modern reporting as existed under Walter Duranty
Western Press Coverage of Holodomor [The Holodomor (Ukrainian: derived from "to kill by starvation") was a man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 that killed millions of Ukrainians. -WIkipedia]

tulsakatz: actually the media (both print & video) tried to make a big deal out of that. Day after day (sometimes many times a day) they seemed to work very hard at making Hillary look guilty even though it was never proven that she did anything wrong! I remember I was watching someone on MSNBC & the person asked, why don’t voters trust her? I thought, it’s probably because you guys keep telling people that they shouldn’t trust her!! At the same time, they ignored Trump’s crimes, even the ones that had already proven he was guilty!! After all of these years where republicans have been slinging mud against her, it wasn’t a big deal for the media to do the same thing!

dewtx: Our local Houston Chronicle will often reprint news stories or editorials from the New York Times. If I see a NY Times byline, I will look at the title and author(s) and maybe quickly scan through the first few paragraphs, but more often than not I’ll skip it.

I do believe in supporting your local newspaper. That’s why I have home delivery of the Chron. Also it’s the only Houston newspaper now. We used to have the Houston Post, but it went under years ago. The Chron is useful for keeping track of local events (like book signings for me and various arts events). Even though I don’t like everything in the Chron, there is a lot that I do. I can’t imagine the fourth largest city in the country without its own newspaper. I can handle the occasional frustration, but would be really really sad if the Chron wasn’t here at all. I do read a lot of news stuff online too (especially The Guardian), but I just like sitting in my comfy chair, floor lamp on, with some newsprint in my hand. Yes I’m old, but this boomer is ok.

DaveInColumbus: "The Clinton Foundation, which has saved millions of lives," is how it should ALWAYS be cited. 14 million is the lowest I have seen, and that was many years ago. Also, “the non-partisan Clinton Foundation, supported even by George W Bush” is a good thing to say.

anastasia p: I always refer to its as “the transparent, scandal-free, life-saving Clinton Foundation” when I am comparing it to the “self-dealing, lawbreaking shell that was the Trump Foundation."

PoolHouseDoctor: Yeah. And how many lives has the Trump Foundation saved?

None that I know of but they’ve probably taken a few. Definitely not a foundation designed to spread good in the world, unless “good” is defined as lining Donald Trump’s pockets.

RhodeIslandAspie: NY Times has much great content. But they are too much hit and miss. They used to be America’s newspaper of record. But I believe long ago, The WaPo surpassed them as the best paper in America.

dedwords: Here is the comment I posted under WaPo’s story yesterday:

The NYT is slow to pick up this story, but I have my comment ready:

Dear NYT Editor, this should be the first of 100 straight days of above-the-fold (and before the click bait) screaming headlines talking about Hillary’s exoneration. Putin wasn’t the only one to help elect Trump. You certainly did yeoman’s work at the NYT.

RhodeIslandAspie: Nobody covers inside the Beltway stories better. They are not content to rest on their laurels of Watergate. They were onto so much of the problems going on with the W administration when nobody else was.

If you checked out the WaPo on a regular basis, you knew of the K street project long before anyone else heard about it. The K street project wasn’t some super secret conspiracy — it was being organized in plain view. But what looked on the surface to be an attempt to get work for unemployed republicans was far worse. It was a plan to build a new class of lobbyist who would give contributions not simply to the politicians who might be open to listening to their clients interests, or better still, giving away the store, but to only given contributions to repub office holders only.The WaPo kept hammering away at it, until the national media finally caught on. They also covered the dealings of Jack Abramoff before the other national media started giving it attention.

sphealey: The WaPo is a Republican/conservative-leaning organ that got lucky (or possibly unlucky depending on whose point of view) with the Watergate story. It was 93% in the tank for the Cheney/Bush Administration and its illegal unprovoked war on Iraq. It did admittedly seem to take the lessons of that failure to heart and were much better on the Trump crime syndicate during the 2016 election than the NYT. But make no mistake: the day Elizabeth Warren is elected in 2020 the WaPo will go back to attacking progressive and Democratic politics full strength.

RhodeIslandAspie: You may have an incredible scoop here. A really shocker. You should do a diary on this. The WaPo has been Fox all these years, and even the Republicans didn’t know that. Wow.

I suspect you want nothing to do with any news source that does not tell you 100% of the time what you want to hear, and will constantly reinforce your opinions.

sphealey: That’s amusing. The WaPo is the organization that attempted to outsource its coverage of Social Security and Medicare to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and may well still be having that organization review all stories on retirement programs. Similarly the WaPo has never met a war, an invasion, or a massive increase in military spending it couldn’t find a reason to support.

PalmFrond: I think that The Guardian is the best paper in America, and it is published in England.

RhodeIslandAspie: The Guardian is a great outlet. But I don’t see it as a newspaper in the sense of the papers that bring us our daily news. It’s not a local daily that tells us about the world, national, and local news and gives us also sports, weather, classifieds, crossword puzzles, comic strips and the big car crash on the interstate. The Guardian is great at what they do, but it’s more like The Atlantic, than it is a big city paper that is read by the masses. The Guardian is going be read by committed liberal/progressive types. The WaPo is going to be read by a broader audience. I’ll say that both outlets are top of the line in fulfilling what should be their message.

I’ll certainly agree. But I have at best damned the NY TImes with faint praise in the comment I made that kicked off this thread, and compared them quite unfavorably with the WaPo — who BTW has excellent sports coverage, and coverage of the neighborhoods where ordinary people actually live. The NYT, on the other hand can’t shake it’s elitism. They use Mr and Ms titles for everyone, instead of using last names, because that is oh so dignified. It was remarked in another diary recently how Meat Loaf is referred to as Mr Loaf in the Times, and I pointed out that back in the Sex Pistols day, they wrote of Mr Rotten and Mr Vicious. But they don’t give the same courtesy to athletes. Aaron Judge is not Mr Judge. It’s almost like athletes are seen as intelligent animals, not worthy of the Mr or Ms title. Perhaps they make and exception for golfers and tennis players.

I’m certainly not going to say the NYT is piece of garbage. But it is at times, quite disappointing. The WaPo is my first stop usually to find what is going on in national politics. Nobody does it better.

flavor411: Maddow didn’t “rip” the NY Times…..she simply showed actual Time’s headlines and stated facts and timeline. They ripped themselves and ripped this country with their Orwellian bullshit. How much did the fake wmd’s Iraqi/ Afghan War scam cost America? What price did we pay for that? What price will America pay for trump? Who are the people who made out like bandits both times?

Hey New York Times…...fool me once…..fool me twice…...there isn’t going to be a third time.

FellowTraveler: The NYT has a lot of great reporters. Its publishers and editors deserve to be tarred and feathered.

anastasia p: There was some issue last week — and I wish I could remember what it was — where someone, probably Eric Boehlert — posted responses from a half dozen media honchos and Dean Baquet’s (NY Times editor) jumped out as materially different from the others and exceptionally obsequious to the Trump administration’s viewpoint.

Bethesda1971: Baquet is awful and still doesn’t get it. He needs to go, but I fear he’ll be replaced by James Bennet, the op-ed editor, who hired Bret Stephens.

anastasia p: Many feel it’s the reverse: that the op-ed section tries to compensate for biased news coverage by slamming Trump. But the biased news coverage doesn’t come so much in reporters not doing their jobs (mostly). It comes in what the paper devotes space to and where that coverage appears. Again: five times more front-page coverage of Hillary’s emails in the six days before the election than ALL policy issues combined in the 69 days before the election.

And for those who think this doesn’t have impact because the number of NY Times subscribers is small compared to the sizeof the electorate: newspaper coverage drives TV coverage. What the NY Times covers is considered news by other news outlets.

I saw the impact of this when I was canvassing in 2016. I canvassed exclusively in Cleveland’s inner city neighborhoods, where 95% of the people I talked to were black. I never encountered a Trump voter. But I did talk to people who said, “Of course I would never vote for Trump but I just don’t like Hillary." When I asked why, the inevitable answer was “I keep hearing on TV/reading in the paper about her emails."

There’s been talk about black voters not turning out in 2016. The NY Times has to take some of the credit for that.

sphealey: So where are the NYT’s investigative pieces on the many shady and possibly criminal aspects of the Trump organization’s New York real estate empire?

1BQ: When she [Rachel Maddow] started out praising the Times, saying “I believe that the New York Times is one of the great wonders of the world and we are a better country and a better world for having the New York Times in it," I cringed. Then she said “But…” and tore into their coverage of Clinton. I’ve never heard her criticize a media org whose reporters she often invites on her show. But they deserve it. Their blatant anti-Clinton and anti-Obama bias turned me off long ago, so it was refreshing to hear someone with her platform say it!

trumpeloeil: They’ll do what the Sultzbergers tell them to do. Rachel doesn’t matter to them. She’s not invited to the parties they attend.

voidstuff: “No Clear Link:" Credulous acceptance of rogue FBI lies on Russia -10/31 story

The story wasn’t really a lie. It was more of a misleading spin on the investigation. From the story:

"Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government."

At the time of that story, the FBI hadn’t gotten far enough into the investigation to make a definitive conclusion on Russian interference. The story presented that in a way that appeared to absolve Trump and Russia from wrongdoing when it actually did no such thing. “No Clear Link” was really “No Clear Link,..Yet”.

onionjim: No clear link is actually BS. In order to say that you have to think that Deripaska and Torshin and all the others had no link to Putin. In the language of international dealings, they are called “cut-outs." No Russian officials were directly involved in the Trump operation or election interference. But a Russian oligarch can do whatever, and the media can say “no clear link." Its bullshite. They were working together, and they worked for the Kremlin.

Mueller had the same issue, saying he couldn’t connect all this stuff to Putin. I say baloney.

dadadata: There’s the legally provable connection, and then there’s the connection deliberately set up so it isn’t legally provable. Bob Mueller was a legal literalist in his conclusion s but there’s enough there to make the case on a pragmatic level.

anastasia p: OMG that had slipped my mind. Awful, awful spin. Many thought they were embarrassed about being scooped by Mother Jones. Yes, they stated it as if the investigation had proven that Russia had been found blameless; certainly the headline suggested that. The headline should have said something like “FBI says it’s too early to draw conclusions about Trump/Russia link."

annieli: she should have called out the individual reporters

annieli: for example, Michael Schmidt’s wikipedia page has scant notice of his role in the HRC email smear

LeMojoust: Now Nicolle Wallace of Deadline White House & Duh-bya fame left her husband for Mike Schmidt, no wonder she always has big wet kisses for the Times

Leftleaner: The only honorable response from the Times is a front page apology.

KiB: Yes!

Wha th duck: And then Hell freezes over?

nelsonlp: Maddow is right, but her tone sounds like it was no big deal, with a kind of “ha ha isn’t this funny” vibe. She needs some anger to cement to gravity and importance of the Times OBVIOUS bias and malfeasance.

anothervoice; It’s enough that Rachel pointed their journalistic lapse out for them with a huge audience.

Let’s judge them by their response. Pretty pivotal moment in the life of a newspaper.

BlackMax: But had she done that, wouldn't she have risked being too shrill?

Another day, another one tone policing women.

crystaline: I’ve seen Rachel angry but it was so controlled and subtle you’d have to watching for it; the night the country found out IL Douche was tearing children as young as two away from their parents and we heard audio of them crying she visibly broke down in tears. I think she was also angry that night too.

SamHill: ironic that an innocent person was so tainted from years and years of lies told about her that she was a doomed candidate from the start without ever getting a chance to counter their lies with the truth. all of this was done by our mass media that prefered to show drumpf’s empty podium rather than ever air the truth about HRC. meanwhile, an obvious liar and fraud was/is somehow protected from ever being called a liar while getting away with airing huge obvious lies to the public. behold the corrupting influence of wealth upon our mass media. the truth never stood a chance just like HRC when the liars showed up with fistfulls of cash. our mass media screwed us all for a few dollars and they continue to do so for their wealthy owners.

LamontCranston: The glory days of the New York Times being a reputable newspaper is now long gone. Judith Miller and the shoddy dishonest reporting just excelerated the downward spiral.

Shame. It used to be a contender in the world of reputable news, fit to print.

FractalGas: When I was a young newspaper reporter, a copy of the New York Times internal newsletter on the craft of journalism was on my desk when I arrived every morning. Their excellence was our bright star.

I was once at the paper in Albany where they printed the weekly color insert for the NYT. When I walked past the Times trucks lined up and waiting to load, I skipped a few breaths.

It’s been very difficult over the years to watch them steadily slide downward, but sliding they have been. This is the newspaper that defied Nixon and published the Pentagon Papers?

No longer.

jblogger: If I had to guess, NYT is actually colluding and getting False street cred from POTUS (I was taken in by this) - it’s a dance where he mentions Failing NY Times but actually pulls his punches on them unlike other outlets where he goes after specific journalists aggressively.

MargaretPOA: Stop reading the fucking New York Times! They are not our ally. They are not even honest. Stop PAYING them to lie to us! Stop giving their website traffic to lie to us! All these people understand is money. If we stop paying them, they will either improve or die. Either way, it’s a win.

PlinytheWelder: It always pissed me off that they manage to charge a monthly subscription fee 13 times a year...

Sandy1: I read the digital version of The Times daily. I find it hit and miss. They do excellent in depth pieces on various topics and yet do a less than stellar job on other stories. This is Trump’s hometown paper and he has a long history with it. You can be sure that as much as he rails against it he’s reading the paper daily. I do believe they were prejudiced towards Trump in large part because he was the hometown boy. He continues to give access to reporters like Maggie Haberman who always seems very much in the loop regarding him and his all hours calls to reporters is probably still going on. I don’t see this changing. He’s not going to break up with The Times or he them. I ignore this because I want to read non Trump related stories. It’s the only way to continue enjoying what is still a good paper.

anastasia p: I get the NY Times newsletter each day; I don’t subscribe. I also get the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post (which I have a digital subscription to), the Hill, the Guardian and Huffington Post. Of those, I find the NY Times probably the least useful or interesting. They also seem to be a small step behind everyone else, and they pull their punches a lot.

wmpmacm: The NYT is an enemy of our democracy and has turned into a yellow journalism rag because they are afraid of trump. They are afraid to lift a voice in defense of the rule of law and against the ravings of a very dangerous psychotic hell bent on getting his way.

Sue DeNym: Seriously?! “The new Kennedys”?!

The Trumps compare to the Kennedys like a tapeworm compares to a honeybee.

Did Trump pay them to come up with this bilge, or did they do it all on their own?!

The New York Times really should have known better. Many people who live in New York have been negatively affected by Trump, or know someone who has. He’s a known destructive force in that city. You’d think a newspaper based in said city would know all of the crap he’s done through the years and set off the alarms that hey, this fellow won’t make a good President. But no, who cares about the destruction of the USA, gotta go chase the Almighty Dollar.

anastasia p: The NY Times really tried hard to promote the glamor of the Trump family with its huge front-page puff piece on Ivanka which basically amounted to "She's pretty and exudes platitudes in that carefully modulated voice so she must be sincere and compassionate even though we have no real evidence of this." The problem will this whole spin — which died more than two years ago for most of the media — is that the larger public just isn't buying it.

Imagine a first family brimming with attractive young people — of course they'll be all over the celebrity magazines, news publications and tabloids. And initially, they were. And then they vanished. My guess is that public response was negative. I noticed something interesting shortly after Trump was elected. There were a lot of magazine covers with the younger generation, especially Ivanka and the blonde trophy wives of Eric and Donnie Jr. (now ex-wife of Donnie Jr!) Every time I saw them in Target I turned them around or covered them with something less offensive, like the Kardashians (who don’t make any pretense about what they are). Then I started to see that other people had already gotten there before me to do this. I suspect that was happening across the country. You never see stories about them any more.

GoldenOwl: In no way shape, or form will the Trump WH ever compare on any level to the Kennedy’s. Imagine and I can’t Mellie or Ivanie or Tiffany ever comparing to Jackie Kennedy—wash your mouth out with soap. Outright blasphemy.

Seashells: I remember after the Recount was ended and SCOTUS decided our POTUS rather than American voters, the NYTimes had the headline saying something like "Bush Would Have Won Recount" (I don’t remember exactly what it said) but midway into the article it said the EXACT OPPOSITE.

anastasia p: Actually, it wasn’t that simple. The NY Times was part of a media consortium that took possession of the official, certified Florida ballots to recount them. But the recount wasn’t finished immediately so the NY Times would have had no way of knowing that when the Supreme Court made its decision. It took ten months, and the results were ready for publication in September 2001. Immediately after 9/11.

"We have to rally around our president!!!!" said everyone.

So they were in a quandary about how to reveal that he never should have been our president at all. What they ended up doing was writing headlines that said “Bush would have won the recount*" (*if only the nine counties Gore went to the U.S. Supreme Court asking to be recounted had been recounted. However, that recount would have slashed Bush’s 537 vote win in half, which would have undoubtedly triggered a statewide recount which Gore would have won).

And yes, they buried * down in about the 25th paragraph because “We have to rally around our president!!!!"

SotteVoce: In their coverage of Hillary, their headlines also often made accusations that were not reflected in—or were contradicted by—the actual story. A lot of the blame for their coverage goes to the editors who decide what goes where and who write the often deceptive headlines to get attention.

MargaretPOA: Stop reading the New York Times or stop griping about it when they do shit like this. Because until enough people start to do the former, they couldn’t care less about the latter. If the Times was interested in exposing hypocrisy, they don’t have to leave the building. That could write reams about their own.

jrasicmark: I saw a video on YouTube by TYT about this yesterday, and they pointed out something I had never heard before (and I only did a quick scan here, so maybe it's mentioned here as well, but I may have missed it). It's that Bannon backed the guy who wrote "Clinton Cash" and helped get it published and also seems to have had a part in getting the NYT stories to run. So then the NYT and mainstream media would base their reporting on the "expert" Clinton "author" who wrote that book and invite him on for interviews. And a lot of reports and pundits on the cable shows would also say, "Hey look, this ran in the respectable and liberal New York Times" to help convince liberals in independents that the Hillary smears must be true.

mgtucaz: This actually caused my sister to not vote for Hillary because the story appeared in the NYT, therefore it had credibility.

anastasiap: It’s been no secret since the day that excerpt appeared in the NYT that the author of Clinton Cash was a right-wing hit artist. It was shameful that the NYT purchased rights to publish excerpts. It’s as if in 2004 they had bought rights to publish some of Jerome Corsi’s Unfit for Command, the book that started the swift boating of John Kerry.

SotteVoce: I remember reading that the Times bigwigs didn’t like Bill Clinton because they considered him an Arkansas hayseed, beneath their dignity. Some of it must have been fallout from the impeachment of Clinton for unseemly behavior, which probably bolstered their initial distaste for him. That may have carried on to their attitude about Hillary: I can’t be sure. They certainly gave Maureen Dowd prime real estate to savage both Bill and Hillary’s every word and deed for years (thank goodness she was on book leave for most of the 2016 election, or the Times coverage would have been even worse). I’m convinced they thought that endorsing Hillary on the OpEd page in the very last days before the election gave them cover for the horrible coverage during the election. But why the Times, a New York paper, gave Trump with such kid glove treatment, when everyone in the City had known forever what pig, a shyster, a liar and a loser he was, I'll never know.

Cmae: 'All the bias, that's fit to print.'

mbn1023: I'm of two minds about the NYT; on one hand, I really like the investigative reporting that Mike Schmidt does, but I can't stand the constant toadying to Repugnican politicians and money men. I cancelled my subscription last summer because of their refusal to cover Drumpf and report his lies and crimes.

garderhill: Like Robert MacNamara, admitting 5 years before his death a few years ago that "oh yeah those damn dirty fuckin hippies were right about Vietnam all along whoops sorry." Which helped the country and the people irrevocably changed by that horror not a bit.

The NYT needs to name and shame the people who turned Hillary into the Antichrist and Thing into the Eccentric Real-Estate Guy — above-the-fold, front fucking page — daily, until that vile Thing they helped enthrone is out of office.

yogibear1963: f Bloomberg or Steyer really want to make a difference they should spend their millions of dollars hiring people to picket in front of the New York Times.

40 people at $50,000 per year is only $2 million. Steyer just spent $24 million in South Carolina and Colorado. That could have been used to hound the NYT for the next 10 years. In fact if he had put $24 million in an interest bearing account it would raise several hundred thousand dollars in interest each year and that would probably extend the time out to 20 or 30 years.

Having dozens of people marching in front of their building for years (or decades) on end might get the NYT to change its tune about publishing lies against liberals.

Or maybe Bloomberg could buy the NYT and get actual journalists to write for it.

Merlin1963: I'm probably picking nits here, but Rachel's piece would have been more hard hitting if she named names of those reporters and editors that wrote and approved those hit pieces on Hillary Clinton. How many of those same reporters show up on panels on MSNBC? Anyone know?

Pucifer: Michael Schmidt wrote many of the front-page articles about Hillary Clinton's emails. Schmidt is also listed as a "National Security Contributor" for MSNBC.

yogibear1963: He broke the story that Hillary was using a private server for her email.

Strangely, he didn’t break the story that Colin Powell was using America Online.

notimpressed: And how many suckers here have believed this crap for decades? Unable to separate fact from fiction? Promoting how awful she was. How just like a republican she was? Didn't vote for her or repeated the same tired lies that the Republicans said?

Blaming media for producing a product that sells is a cop out. Its a sign of failure for the individual to take responsibility for not helping conservatives promote thru propaganda. Progressives need to be smarter. They need to evaluate not only what is needed but what is possible. People want winners not whiners or sore losers. When we win, others will get on board and we will get to where we want to be.

This next election is it. If you don't like the eventual nominee, you need to sit down shut up and vote no matter who he or she is.

trumpeloeil: She hinted at a little bit of editorial divergence in the NYT on Clinton matters. This has come from the top, specifically from the Sulzbergers, who hated the Clintons ever since they came to Washington from (shudder) Arkansas. Apparently Bill would not kiss the Sultzberger ring and they have had a vendetta against Bill and Hillary ever since.

More billionaires who think they are Norse Gods.

aj oliver: The Gray Lady pulled the same sensationalistic lying crap about the Clinton’s way back in the 1990’s with the Whitewater nothing burger. They had teams of reporters swarming Arkansas before Clinton was even sworn in.

newdawg: Hey you know how everything Trump accuses anyone of doing is a confession to a crime he. committed. How does a guy that frequently accuses a paper of being a failure and fake news get private meetings with their reporters all the times. And their owners? Oh, and Rachel should have also gone after Maureen Dowd. Clearest indication the NYTimes is untrustworthy is that she is still employed by them.

juggalo1: Since we can't rerun the 2016 election and remove that sh!tstain on our national honor, then all loyal Americans have a duty to indelibly commit to memory how stupid the coverage was.

On the same note we’d better make damn sure we remember the bang-up job our free press did in the run-up to Iraq, given that we are halfway down the runway to another Middle East cluster-F.

eodell: Please do write that book. But change the subtitle to "How the New York Times Helped Elect Trump in 2016 and Is Helping Re-Elect Him in 2020."

This is what gloating looks like... NY Times distorts war-torn Syria, ICH

By Finian Cunningham, August 22, 2019 "Information Clearing House"

A supposed survey of war-torn Syria by America’s so-called "newspaper of record" was not merely shoddy journalism; it was a cynical attempt to rewrite the history of the eight-year war.

The meandering report of more than 2,700 words was headlined: "What 'Victory' Looks Like: A Journey Through Shattered Syria." It would have been more accurate to have used the title, "What Gloating Looks Like."

Even the sly way the word ‘victory’ is put in quotation marks indicates, from the outset, the insidious purpose of the article. To pour scorn on how Syria and its people have in actual fact defeated a foreign-sponsored criminal war for regime change. The regime-change plot goes back to at least 2005 as this old CNN interview clumsily admits.

With mawkish words, the New York Times reporters effect to lament the rubble and grief among the Syrian population. But all the while, the implication conveyed is that President Bashar Assad "presided over the destruction."

It would be easy to dismiss the article for the ropey, agenda-led "journalism" that it is. But since journalism is reputed to be the "first draft" of writing history, it is therefore important that the distortion presented by the NY Times is repudiated for the outright falsification that it is.

We can't go into every erroneous, obnoxious detail. And readers would be advised to go to alternative reports by independent journalists like Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley for accurate accounts of how Syrians are dealing with the aftermath of war and what the people actually think about who caused their war-torn fate.

War on Syria: A Manufactured ‘Revolution’ and Fake Media Narratives, 21st Century Wire

Vanessa Beeley articles

But suffice to say that three salient distortions or omissions can be cited to condemn the NY Times as a purveyor of propaganda. First is the staggering assertion that Syria’s lunar landscape of destruction was brought about by warplanes and artillery deployed by the state’s armed forces.

Secondly, there is not a single mention of US and other NATO states carrying out – and continuing to carry out – air strikes on Syrian infrastructure for the past five years, which have resulted in thousands of civilian deaths. Probably the most infamous episode was the American obliteration of the city of Raqqa two years ago during which an estimated 1,600 people, including women and children, were buried under rubble from indiscriminate bombing.

The NY Times would have us believe that Assad callously and gratuitously inflicted a pyrrhic victory on his people, instead of telling readers that the country was targeted covertly for regime change by the US, its NATO allies, and regional partners.

A third astounding distortion is the apparent absence of terror groups in Syria’s war. Not once is it mentioned that the militants who served as proxies for their foreign sponsors were mostly composed of Al Qaeda-linked terrorists recruited for their barbaric dirty work from all over the world and infiltrated into Syria by NATO operatives. Former urban areas like eastern Aleppo and Douma held siege under a reign of terror are referred to as “rebel-held” districts. The liberation of those hell-holes by Syrian government forces, supported by Russian airpower, is not reported as "liberation" but as something sinister, in complete disregard for how the Syrian people relate the events to the smarmy NY Times journalists. The latter presume to know better about what really happened, and consequently routinely infer that "regime minders" accompanying them are coercing the civilian interviewees to mouth pro-Assad propaganda.

Imagine the feat of mental gymnastics. In a supposed in-depth survey of war-ravaged Syria, there is not one reference to the army of jihadists belonging to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Nusra Front, Jaish Al Islam, and dozens of other alphabet soup names used to conceal the fact that all were terrorist proxies weaponized by the US and NATO military intelligence.

What we have instead is the NY Times affecting a kind of grief and condescension towards the Syrian people who have been, it is claimed, plunged into misery by their government and its Russian ally. It is inconceivable, according to this narrative, that the Syrian people and their armed forces may have perhaps won the most dramatic, heroic battle in modern times against a behemoth of US-backed enemies whose terror tactics plumbed the depths of depravity.

Rather amusingly, if it weren’t so sickening, was a separate report by the NY Times only the day before which proclaimed that, "ISIS [Islamic State] Is Regaining Strength in Iraq and Syria".

So, in the previous screed masquerading as a detailed survey of Syria, there is no mention of terror groups. Yet, in the second report the reader is told that the "Islamic State is on the rise again". How is such a colossal contradiction entertained by the editors?

That other report kicks off with this laughable claim: "Five months after American-backed forces ousted the Islamic State from its last [sic] shard of territory in Syria, the terrorist group is gathering new strength, conducting guerrilla attacks across Iraq and Syria, retooling its financial networks and targeting new recruits at an allied-run tent camp, American and Iraqi military and intelligence officers said."

Yes, that’s right, we are being told that US forces vanquished Syria's terrorist tormentors from their "last shard of territory". But now they are resurgent and "well-equipped" numbering about 18,000 fighters. We might indeed wonder how this change of good fortune happened for the militants. Could it be that powerful foreign sponsors are aiding and abetting once again? The NY Times never hints at such an obvious possibility.

The point of the article seems to be an attempt to undermine President Trump's drawdown of US troops from Syria. The NY Times and its military intelligence sources are arguing for more American forces to be deployed in Syria and Iraq. "The resurgence [of terrorists] poses a threat to American interests and allies, as the Trump administration draws down American troops in Syria," the report editorializes.

While the NY Times is cynically exploiting Syria for its own agenda-driven story-telling, the real task of defeating foreign-backed terror groups was continuing this week in Idlib province, northwestern Syria. The Syrian Arab Army captured the town of Khan Sheikhoun from militants affiliated to Hayat Tahrir al Sham (formerly Nusra Front, formerly Al Qaeda.) That is in spite of credible claims of armed support from NATO member Turkey whose military incursion into Syrian territory was pushed back. The US is also allegedly implicated in covertly arming the last redoubt of terror groups in Idlib.

credible claims, Syrian Arab News Agency

allegedly implicated, Friends of Syria

Eight years of hideous war in Syria are coming to an end as Syrian state forces push on to claim every last inch of the nation's territory from foreign intruders. The plain truth is that the Syrian people won a formidable victory against implacable malign powers, led by the US.

The systematic distortion and lies told by Western corporate-controlled media about Syria continues, even when victory against Washington's infernal imperialist crimes is staring them in the face.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by "RT"










NYT Dishonesty

Rachel Maddow Rips NY Times on Hillary Coverage

Tonight, Rachel Maddow went after the NY Times’ destructive coverage of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign — and to date. The occasion was the Justice Department conclusion, despite a politicized investigation, that Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong conerning her emails. And despite its obsessive coverage of the phony “scandal” during the campaign, the NY Times has not to date run any story about the exoneration.

When the State Department reached a similar conclusion a few months ago, the story was on page A16 of the Times — quite a contrast to their almost daily front page stories in 2016.

Maddow also went into the Times horrible coverage of the Clinton Foundation — which included a partnership with Brietbart slimer Peter Schweizer on the totally bogus Uranium One matter. The Trump Foundation has to give back $2 million to charities it stole from — yet hardly a peep from the Times about that.

Next do Morning Joe, Rachel.

tweet from Florida Chris:

I hope @HillaryClinton got the chance to watch @maddow tonight to see this brilliant discussion of the New York Times' creepy fake obsession with her emails.

If we could only just ctl-alt-dlt this entire saga from our national memory.

Here is my book proposal "No Clear Link: How the NY Times Helped Elect Trump in 2016." With Table of Contents:

1. Introduction: The stature and influence of the New York Times

2. Remember the ‘90s? Jeff Gerth and the Times’ role in flogging Whitewater et al.

3. Times 2016 Coverage by the Numbers: Stories, May-June 2016

Clinton Foundation: 260;

Trump Foundation: 62

HRC Emails: 849 Trump U.: 177

4. Undercoverage of

Trump history: e.g., Mob ties, USFL debacle, Trump Tower laborers

Trump Associations: e.g., Alex Jones (two Times mentions, May-June 2016)

Deutsche Bank — Trump’a only lender was a money laundering suspect

6. Foundation of Lies: Collaboration with White Supremacist Rag Breitbart

7. Policy v. Scandal Coverage: See Graph

8. “No Clear Link:" Credulous acceptance of rogue FBI lies on Russia -10/31 story

9. “Donald the Dove, Hillary the Hawk:" Maureen Dowd’s pathological HRC hatred

10. Epilogue: Post-election coverage

"Cloud lifted:"Barr coverage

Post election books by reporters covering HRC: “her fault; not ours”

"Courtier" coverage: "Trump family: the new Kennedys," Haberman and access journalism

COMMENTS:

PrahaPartizan: This entire saga is one of the principal reasons I refuse to subscribe to the NYT, why I don’t look at their articles and I ignore them. They are dead to me because of the way they’ve handled their attacks on Hillary Clinton and the way they enabled Dubya to go to war in Iraq. The mendacity is just too deep and caustic for my tastes.

subtropolis: What was left out of the video was her glowing appreciation for the New York Times, despite this bizarre slant of theirs.

This very much needs addressing, and not on page A16, but with, at least, a 2-column headline. Answers need to be provided about who was pushing it; who was responsible for bringing in right-wing shills and never fucking letting up. It’s a great newspaper — a giant. It needs to fess up and make changes, and continuing to do what it does best.

eater: Their tech and arts coverage is outstanding... but their political coverage and too many of their columnists are so fucking terrible that it obliterates any chance I’ll ever give them money again.

Ellid: I ignore the front section and read the rest of the paper at work.

MargaretPOA: Then you are rewarding them for lying to you.

anastasia p: Maureen Down should be forbidden from writing another column until she comes up with someone ideas. She flogged the same crapped about the Clintons for 25 years.

Bruins101: Kudos Rachel for taking on the NYTimes for the way they treated HRC! I have yet to hear a true mea culpa from that “paper of record” about how they wrongly threw the election to Demagogue Donald and made HRC a virtual war criminal for the ridiculous private server nonsense that they pushed throughout 2016.

Maureen Dowd, from the get-go, has had a pathological hatred of both Clintons. Just about every column she writes always manages to drag them in even on unrelated issues and savagely attack them. I have no idea why the publishers of the NYTimes savagely hate the Clintons. Maybe Southerner Howell Raines when he wrote for them influenced them by saying that Bill was virtually “white trash” who had to be “put in his place." All I know is that Dowd should be fired and the Times should apologize for bringing trashy plus Donald to the nation. For more on politics, read www.cameinonsaturdays.com/...

Slightly Wobbly: Their columnists seem to be either idiots who always try to split the difference between the divergent parties, like David Brooks, or increasingly, right-wing flacks who are given space in the paper to lie with impunity.

Pariah Dog: I long ago stopped following links to them when they’re posted here. FTM I don’t know why people continue to post links to them. As far as I’m concerned, if they can’t be relied on for the big things, what else are they misleading us about?

PalmFrond: And Rachel keeps covering stories reported by the NYT, and has the NYT reporters on air to explain them.

NonpassiveVoice: I don’t think the problem is with the reporters so much as with the editors—the folks who decide what to publish and in what part of the paper.

Dale: Reporters are just going to go where the story is. Reporters — even at The NY Times — are under tremendous pressure at the best of times, with so many stories of downsizing and buyouts over the past few years, with the remaining skeleton staff expected to do multiple things at once. Landing a scoop is job security.

It is the editor who is in a position to determine whether the reportage brought to them by these harried, overworked reporters falls on page A1 or A16. It’s likely the editors, too, who make a determination to throw their resources at the Clinton Foundation story and ignore the Trump Foundation story.

hawaiigirl: Michael Schmidt and Amy Chozick wrote a bunch of those articles

itsbenj: reporters write about what they are asked to write about. they don’t even get to write the headlines for their own pieces, and they certainly don't get to determine where the stories are placed in the paper.

reporters are not the enemy here. it's the super-rich owner class, same as every other media outlet staffed by largely decent people trying to do a good job, only to have their hard work warped and twisted into some noxious crap that benefits the rich & powerful and smears anyone who opposed them. there are almost no major media outlets in American that aren’t owned by rich, neofascist Republican warmongers.

Grabber by the Heel: To your point, the demonstration against Bush the Lessor’s 2nd Iraq War was covered by a Times reporter who reported that early in the morning there were only a few thousands protesters. A few hours later and before her article would go to print, she informed her editor that there were now tens of thousands of protesters, possibly 50-100 thousand. Enough to form a 2 mile long human chain around the White House and still tens of thousands to spare.

The NYTs editor told her he was going with her early figure despite the facts she was now reporting. After the largest world wide protest in history, the NYTs reported that only 9,000 were in the streets in DC.

anastasia: I think it’s important though, in this era of the right demonizing the mainstream media as “fake news” to emphasize that the NY Times doesn’t do “fake” — it does “biased” (although it did have to retract parts of several Clinton Foundation stories and its purchase of the rights to print excerpts from rightwing hit book Clinton Cash was certainly a low). The bias comes in what it covers and what it does, how much it covers things (which the diarist talked about) and placement of articles.

Page 16, which the diarist mentioned, is an interesting page. It’s not just buried, it’s also weak, being a left-hand page. It’s their news burial page. This is the same page where it printed the news that New York’s attorney general had filed a civil suit against the Trump Foundation and could possibly consider criminal charges later. You’d think this news about a sitting president would make the front page, right? It would have if Hillary had been elected!

And you know it would merit daily front-page negative coverage if Hillary were president and made Chelsea a senior advisor, and was making foreign policy decisions based on what benefited Chelsea’s bottom line. Trump doing this? Ivanka and Jared’s businesses benefiting from administration policy — buried in the business section under a bland headline that didn’t even hint at potential conflicts!

On the other hand, one of my favorite (in a negative way) statistics about the NY Times' 2016 election coverage is that the paper ran MORE front-age stories about Hillary’s emails in the six days before the election than about ALL ISSUES COMBINED in the 69 days before the election.

Think about that. This influential paper considered that Hillary's emails would have many many multiples more impact on our lives than healthcare, education, immigration, climate change, women’s rights, wage stagnation, labor issues, the opioid crisis, foreign policy, infrastructure, transportation and more COMBINED.

MDgluon16: Actually I am sure that this influential “news”paper considered Hillary’s emails would have many multiples of impact on their bottom line profits…...and that is why in part they went after her. Apparently the owners, the Sulzberger, don’t like her for some reason.

Golden Owl: "Apparently the owners, the Sulzberger, don’t like her for some reason." Excellent point. Can someone find out? Or was this the NYT backdoor to help the Trumper win, without making it so obvious. Afterall Trumper was often pictured as metaphorically strutting through Times square as the city behemoth, maybe the owners were just covering their ass. /s

madtownpopulist: You raise a very important point. Those on both the left and the right sides of the political spectrum condemn the mainstream media, But, those on the left, also rely on MSM gatekeepers, like CNN and NYT, to be a factual buttress against the Fox News/Brietbart/Trump tweet propaganda machine. So, an outright dismissal of the MSM’s credibility would play right into the hands of right wing factions.

Part of the problem is that the right wing has been so effective in establishing a wide spread belief that the MSM has a "liberal" bias, though, as your examples illustrate, the ideological tilt is clearly toward the right. As a result, the terms of the debate have been fundamentally distorted in ways that makes it very difficult to present a reasoned analysis of the MSM in terms of what it does well and its systematic biases.

The only place where I differ from your post is the idea (and perhaps you were being ironic) that the NYT ran all those stories on Hillary Clinton’s emails because they believed that issue as would have more impact than other big issues.

I would say, instead, the NYT was profitably riding the hysterical wave (and hence helping to perpetuate it) that the GOP had managed to create in respect of this otherwise trivial matter. The NYT could get eyeballs and clicks from running endless variants on this story and simultaneously prove they were not acquiescing to any liberal biases which , in turn, allowed them to “objectively” serve the interests of the pro-tax cut, big biz crowd.

PrahaParizan: Unfortunately, since the mid-1990s the NYT has been dimming those bulbs itself. Their biased reportage and editorial policies damaged Democrats repeatedly and they have never uttered a mea culpa.

The NYT virtually made sure that Dubya would get a pass for plunging into the morass in Mesopotamia. We’re not talking about the occasional error here but a consistent policy of being on the wrong side and slanting the news.

This situation just highlights how they essentially defamed Hillary Clinton and now it’s crickets in their reporting, especially their reporting about how wrong their earlier reporting was. Where does she go to get her good name and reputation back? Where can we go to get a rerun of the 2016 election? They can call themselves a national newspaper but they’ve been working hard at making sure they’re really fit only to line birdcages.

Greenguy2: ... And the NYT also banged the drum for the Iraq war in the same way, by selecting the “news” — typically, just something some pol said — to print that sold the establishment lie, over and over on page one, while the doubters are relegated to a fraction of the stories that are buried.

Tookish: This has been going on for about a century.

Here’s my example, of criminal coverage by NYT of Holodomor.

Maggie Duranty -2
Maggie Duranty -2
Ukrainian Genocide Coverup
NYT Journo who Covered Up Genocide
Explicit comparison of the same type of modern reporting as existed under Walter Duranty
Western Press Coverage of Holodomor [The Holodomor (Ukrainian: derived from "to kill by starvation") was a man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 that killed millions of Ukrainians. -WIkipedia]

tulsakatz: actually the media (both print & video) tried to make a big deal out of that. Day after day (sometimes many times a day) they seemed to work very hard at making Hillary look guilty even though it was never proven that she did anything wrong! I remember I was watching someone on MSNBC & the person asked, why don’t voters trust her? I thought, it’s probably because you guys keep telling people that they shouldn’t trust her!! At the same time, they ignored Trump’s crimes, even the ones that had already proven he was guilty!! After all of these years where republicans have been slinging mud against her, it wasn’t a big deal for the media to do the same thing!

dewtx: Our local Houston Chronicle will often reprint news stories or editorials from the New York Times. If I see a NY Times byline, I will look at the title and author(s) and maybe quickly scan through the first few paragraphs, but more often than not I’ll skip it.

I do believe in supporting your local newspaper. That’s why I have home delivery of the Chron. Also it’s the only Houston newspaper now. We used to have the Houston Post, but it went under years ago. The Chron is useful for keeping track of local events (like book signings for me and various arts events). Even though I don’t like everything in the Chron, there is a lot that I do. I can’t imagine the fourth largest city in the country without its own newspaper. I can handle the occasional frustration, but would be really really sad if the Chron wasn’t here at all. I do read a lot of news stuff online too (especially The Guardian), but I just like sitting in my comfy chair, floor lamp on, with some newsprint in my hand. Yes I’m old, but this boomer is ok.

DaveInColumbus: "The Clinton Foundation, which has saved millions of lives," is how it should ALWAYS be cited. 14 million is the lowest I have seen, and that was many years ago. Also, “the non-partisan Clinton Foundation, supported even by George W Bush” is a good thing to say.

anastasia p: I always refer to its as “the transparent, scandal-free, life-saving Clinton Foundation” when I am comparing it to the “self-dealing, lawbreaking shell that was the Trump Foundation."

PoolHouseDoctor: Yeah. And how many lives has the Trump Foundation saved?

None that I know of but they’ve probably taken a few. Definitely not a foundation designed to spread good in the world, unless “good” is defined as lining Donald Trump’s pockets.

RhodeIslandAspie: NY Times has much great content. But they are too much hit and miss. They used to be America’s newspaper of record. But I believe long ago, The WaPo surpassed them as the best paper in America.

dedwords: Here is the comment I posted under WaPo’s story yesterday:

The NYT is slow to pick up this story, but I have my comment ready:

Dear NYT Editor, this should be the first of 100 straight days of above-the-fold (and before the click bait) screaming headlines talking about Hillary’s exoneration. Putin wasn’t the only one to help elect Trump. You certainly did yeoman’s work at the NYT.

RhodeIslandAspie: Nobody covers inside the Beltway stories better. They are not content to rest on their laurels of Watergate. They were onto so much of the problems going on with the W administration when nobody else was.

If you checked out the WaPo on a regular basis, you knew of the K street project long before anyone else heard about it. The K street project wasn’t some super secret conspiracy — it was being organized in plain view. But what looked on the surface to be an attempt to get work for unemployed republicans was far worse. It was a plan to build a new class of lobbyist who would give contributions not simply to the politicians who might be open to listening to their clients interests, or better still, giving away the store, but to only given contributions to repub office holders only.The WaPo kept hammering away at it, until the national media finally caught on. They also covered the dealings of Jack Abramoff before the other national media started giving it attention.

sphealey: The WaPo is a Republican/conservative-leaning organ that got lucky (or possibly unlucky depending on whose point of view) with the Watergate story. It was 93% in the tank for the Cheney/Bush Administration and its illegal unprovoked war on Iraq. It did admittedly seem to take the lessons of that failure to heart and were much better on the Trump crime syndicate during the 2016 election than the NYT. But make no mistake: the day Elizabeth Warren is elected in 2020 the WaPo will go back to attacking progressive and Democratic politics full strength.

RhodeIslandAspie: You may have an incredible scoop here. A really shocker. You should do a diary on this. The WaPo has been Fox all these years, and even the Republicans didn’t know that. Wow.

I suspect you want nothing to do with any news source that does not tell you 100% of the time what you want to hear, and will constantly reinforce your opinions.

sphealey: That’s amusing. The WaPo is the organization that attempted to outsource its coverage of Social Security and Medicare to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and may well still be having that organization review all stories on retirement programs. Similarly the WaPo has never met a war, an invasion, or a massive increase in military spending it couldn’t find a reason to support.

PalmFrond: I think that The Guardian is the best paper in America, and it is published in England.

RhodeIslandAspie: The Guardian is a great outlet. But I don’t see it as a newspaper in the sense of the papers that bring us our daily news. It’s not a local daily that tells us about the world, national, and local news and gives us also sports, weather, classifieds, crossword puzzles, comic strips and the big car crash on the interstate. The Guardian is great at what they do, but it’s more like The Atlantic, than it is a big city paper that is read by the masses. The Guardian is going be read by committed liberal/progressive types. The WaPo is going to be read by a broader audience. I’ll say that both outlets are top of the line in fulfilling what should be their message.

I’ll certainly agree. But I have at best damned the NY TImes with faint praise in the comment I made that kicked off this thread, and compared them quite unfavorably with the WaPo — who BTW has excellent sports coverage, and coverage of the neighborhoods where ordinary people actually live. The NYT, on the other hand can’t shake it’s elitism. They use Mr and Ms titles for everyone, instead of using last names, because that is oh so dignified. It was remarked in another diary recently how Meat Loaf is referred to as Mr Loaf in the Times, and I pointed out that back in the Sex Pistols day, they wrote of Mr Rotten and Mr Vicious. But they don’t give the same courtesy to athletes. Aaron Judge is not Mr Judge. It’s almost like athletes are seen as intelligent animals, not worthy of the Mr or Ms title. Perhaps they make and exception for golfers and tennis players.

I’m certainly not going to say the NYT is piece of garbage. But it is at times, quite disappointing. The WaPo is my first stop usually to find what is going on in national politics. Nobody does it better.

flavor411: Maddow didn’t “rip” the NY Times…..she simply showed actual Time’s headlines and stated facts and timeline. They ripped themselves and ripped this country with their Orwellian bullshit. How much did the fake wmd’s Iraqi/ Afghan War scam cost America? What price did we pay for that? What price will America pay for trump? Who are the people who made out like bandits both times?

Hey New York Times…...fool me once…..fool me twice…...there isn’t going to be a third time.

FellowTraveler: The NYT has a lot of great reporters. Its publishers and editors deserve to be tarred and feathered.

anastasia p: There was some issue last week — and I wish I could remember what it was — where someone, probably Eric Boehlert — posted responses from a half dozen media honchos and Dean Baquet’s (NY Times editor) jumped out as materially different from the others and exceptionally obsequious to the Trump administration’s viewpoint.

Bethesda1971: Baquet is awful and still doesn’t get it. He needs to go, but I fear he’ll be replaced by James Bennet, the op-ed editor, who hired Bret Stephens.

anastasia p: Many feel it’s the reverse: that the op-ed section tries to compensate for biased news coverage by slamming Trump. But the biased news coverage doesn’t come so much in reporters not doing their jobs (mostly). It comes in what the paper devotes space to and where that coverage appears. Again: five times more front-page coverage of Hillary’s emails in the six days before the election than ALL policy issues combined in the 69 days before the election.

And for those who think this doesn’t have impact because the number of NY Times subscribers is small compared to the sizeof the electorate: newspaper coverage drives TV coverage. What the NY Times covers is considered news by other news outlets.

I saw the impact of this when I was canvassing in 2016. I canvassed exclusively in Cleveland’s inner city neighborhoods, where 95% of the people I talked to were black. I never encountered a Trump voter. But I did talk to people who said, “Of course I would never vote for Trump but I just don’t like Hillary." When I asked why, the inevitable answer was “I keep hearing on TV/reading in the paper about her emails."

There’s been talk about black voters not turning out in 2016. The NY Times has to take some of the credit for that.

sphealey: So where are the NYT’s investigative pieces on the many shady and possibly criminal aspects of the Trump organization’s New York real estate empire?

1BQ: When she [Rachel Maddow] started out praising the Times, saying “I believe that the New York Times is one of the great wonders of the world and we are a better country and a better world for having the New York Times in it," I cringed. Then she said “But…” and tore into their coverage of Clinton. I’ve never heard her criticize a media org whose reporters she often invites on her show. But they deserve it. Their blatant anti-Clinton and anti-Obama bias turned me off long ago, so it was refreshing to hear someone with her platform say it!

trumpeloeil: They’ll do what the Sultzbergers tell them to do. Rachel doesn’t matter to them. She’s not invited to the parties they attend.

voidstuff: “No Clear Link:" Credulous acceptance of rogue FBI lies on Russia -10/31 story

The story wasn’t really a lie. It was more of a misleading spin on the investigation. From the story:

"Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government."

At the time of that story, the FBI hadn’t gotten far enough into the investigation to make a definitive conclusion on Russian interference. The story presented that in a way that appeared to absolve Trump and Russia from wrongdoing when it actually did no such thing. “No Clear Link” was really “No Clear Link,..Yet”.

onionjim: No clear link is actually BS. In order to say that you have to think that Deripaska and Torshin and all the others had no link to Putin. In the language of international dealings, they are called “cut-outs." No Russian officials were directly involved in the Trump operation or election interference. But a Russian oligarch can do whatever, and the media can say “no clear link." Its bullshite. They were working together, and they worked for the Kremlin.

Mueller had the same issue, saying he couldn’t connect all this stuff to Putin. I say baloney.

dadadata: There’s the legally provable connection, and then there’s the connection deliberately set up so it isn’t legally provable. Bob Mueller was a legal literalist in his conclusion s but there’s enough there to make the case on a pragmatic level.

anastasia p: OMG that had slipped my mind. Awful, awful spin. Many thought they were embarrassed about being scooped by Mother Jones. Yes, they stated it as if the investigation had proven that Russia had been found blameless; certainly the headline suggested that. The headline should have said something like “FBI says it’s too early to draw conclusions about Trump/Russia link."

annieli: she should have called out the individual reporters

annieli: for example, Michael Schmidt’s wikipedia page has scant notice of his role in the HRC email smear

LeMojoust: Now Nicolle Wallace of Deadline White House & Duh-bya fame left her husband for Mike Schmidt, no wonder she always has big wet kisses for the Times

Leftleaner: The only honorable response from the Times is a front page apology.

KiB: Yes!

Wha th duck: And then Hell freezes over?

nelsonlp: Maddow is right, but her tone sounds like it was no big deal, with a kind of “ha ha isn’t this funny” vibe. She needs some anger to cement to gravity and importance of the Times OBVIOUS bias and malfeasance.

anothervoice; It’s enough that Rachel pointed their journalistic lapse out for them with a huge audience.

Let’s judge them by their response. Pretty pivotal moment in the life of a newspaper.

BlackMax: But had she done that, wouldn't she have risked being too shrill?

Another day, another one tone policing women.

crystaline: I’ve seen Rachel angry but it was so controlled and subtle you’d have to watching for it; the night the country found out IL Douche was tearing children as young as two away from their parents and we heard audio of them crying she visibly broke down in tears. I think she was also angry that night too.

SamHill: ironic that an innocent person was so tainted from years and years of lies told about her that she was a doomed candidate from the start without ever getting a chance to counter their lies with the truth. all of this was done by our mass media that prefered to show drumpf’s empty podium rather than ever air the truth about HRC. meanwhile, an obvious liar and fraud was/is somehow protected from ever being called a liar while getting away with airing huge obvious lies to the public. behold the corrupting influence of wealth upon our mass media. the truth never stood a chance just like HRC when the liars showed up with fistfulls of cash. our mass media screwed us all for a few dollars and they continue to do so for their wealthy owners.

LamontCranston: The glory days of the New York Times being a reputable newspaper is now long gone. Judith Miller and the shoddy dishonest reporting just excelerated the downward spiral.

Shame. It used to be a contender in the world of reputable news, fit to print.

FractalGas: When I was a young newspaper reporter, a copy of the New York Times internal newsletter on the craft of journalism was on my desk when I arrived every morning. Their excellence was our bright star.

I was once at the paper in Albany where they printed the weekly color insert for the NYT. When I walked past the Times trucks lined up and waiting to load, I skipped a few breaths.

It’s been very difficult over the years to watch them steadily slide downward, but sliding they have been. This is the newspaper that defied Nixon and published the Pentagon Papers?

No longer.

jblogger: If I had to guess, NYT is actually colluding and getting False street cred from POTUS (I was taken in by this) - it’s a dance where he mentions Failing NY Times but actually pulls his punches on them unlike other outlets where he goes after specific journalists aggressively.

MargaretPOA: Stop reading the fucking New York Times! They are not our ally. They are not even honest. Stop PAYING them to lie to us! Stop giving their website traffic to lie to us! All these people understand is money. If we stop paying them, they will either improve or die. Either way, it’s a win.

PlinytheWelder: It always pissed me off that they manage to charge a monthly subscription fee 13 times a year...

Sandy1: I read the digital version of The Times daily. I find it hit and miss. They do excellent in depth pieces on various topics and yet do a less than stellar job on other stories. This is Trump’s hometown paper and he has a long history with it. You can be sure that as much as he rails against it he’s reading the paper daily. I do believe they were prejudiced towards Trump in large part because he was the hometown boy. He continues to give access to reporters like Maggie Haberman who always seems very much in the loop regarding him and his all hours calls to reporters is probably still going on. I don’t see this changing. He’s not going to break up with The Times or he them. I ignore this because I want to read non Trump related stories. It’s the only way to continue enjoying what is still a good paper.

anastasia p: I get the NY Times newsletter each day; I don’t subscribe. I also get the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post (which I have a digital subscription to), the Hill, the Guardian and Huffington Post. Of those, I find the NY Times probably the least useful or interesting. They also seem to be a small step behind everyone else, and they pull their punches a lot.

wmpmacm: The NYT is an enemy of our democracy and has turned into a yellow journalism rag because they are afraid of trump. They are afraid to lift a voice in defense of the rule of law and against the ravings of a very dangerous psychotic hell bent on getting his way.

Sue DeNym: Seriously?! “The new Kennedys”?!

The Trumps compare to the Kennedys like a tapeworm compares to a honeybee.

Did Trump pay them to come up with this bilge, or did they do it all on their own?!

The New York Times really should have known better. Many people who live in New York have been negatively affected by Trump, or know someone who has. He’s a known destructive force in that city. You’d think a newspaper based in said city would know all of the crap he’s done through the years and set off the alarms that hey, this fellow won’t make a good President. But no, who cares about the destruction of the USA, gotta go chase the Almighty Dollar.

anastasia p: The NY Times really tried hard to promote the glamor of the Trump family with its huge front-page puff piece on Ivanka which basically amounted to "She's pretty and exudes platitudes in that carefully modulated voice so she must be sincere and compassionate even though we have no real evidence of this." The problem will this whole spin — which died more than two years ago for most of the media — is that the larger public just isn't buying it.

Imagine a first family brimming with attractive young people — of course they'll be all over the celebrity magazines, news publications and tabloids. And initially, they were. And then they vanished. My guess is that public response was negative. I noticed something interesting shortly after Trump was elected. There were a lot of magazine covers with the younger generation, especially Ivanka and the blonde trophy wives of Eric and Donnie Jr. (now ex-wife of Donnie Jr!) Every time I saw them in Target I turned them around or covered them with something less offensive, like the Kardashians (who don’t make any pretense about what they are). Then I started to see that other people had already gotten there before me to do this. I suspect that was happening across the country. You never see stories about them any more.

GoldenOwl: In no way shape, or form will the Trump WH ever compare on any level to the Kennedy’s. Imagine and I can’t Mellie or Ivanie or Tiffany ever comparing to Jackie Kennedy—wash your mouth out with soap. Outright blasphemy.

Seashells: I remember after the Recount was ended and SCOTUS decided our POTUS rather than American voters, the NYTimes had the headline saying something like "Bush Would Have Won Recount" (I don’t remember exactly what it said) but midway into the article it said the EXACT OPPOSITE.

anastasia p: Actually, it wasn’t that simple. The NY Times was part of a media consortium that took possession of the official, certified Florida ballots to recount them. But the recount wasn’t finished immediately so the NY Times would have had no way of knowing that when the Supreme Court made its decision. It took ten months, and the results were ready for publication in September 2001. Immediately after 9/11.

"We have to rally around our president!!!!" said everyone.

So they were in a quandary about how to reveal that he never should have been our president at all. What they ended up doing was writing headlines that said “Bush would have won the recount*" (*if only the nine counties Gore went to the U.S. Supreme Court asking to be recounted had been recounted. However, that recount would have slashed Bush’s 537 vote win in half, which would have undoubtedly triggered a statewide recount which Gore would have won).

And yes, they buried * down in about the 25th paragraph because “We have to rally around our president!!!!"

SotteVoce: In their coverage of Hillary, their headlines also often made accusations that were not reflected in—or were contradicted by—the actual story. A lot of the blame for their coverage goes to the editors who decide what goes where and who write the often deceptive headlines to get attention.

MargaretPOA: Stop reading the New York Times or stop griping about it when they do shit like this. Because until enough people start to do the former, they couldn’t care less about the latter. If the Times was interested in exposing hypocrisy, they don’t have to leave the building. That could write reams about their own.

jrasicmark: I saw a video on YouTube by TYT about this yesterday, and they pointed out something I had never heard before (and I only did a quick scan here, so maybe it's mentioned here as well, but I may have missed it). It's that Bannon backed the guy who wrote "Clinton Cash" and helped get it published and also seems to have had a part in getting the NYT stories to run. So then the NYT and mainstream media would base their reporting on the "expert" Clinton "author" who wrote that book and invite him on for interviews. And a lot of reports and pundits on the cable shows would also say, "Hey look, this ran in the respectable and liberal New York Times" to help convince liberals in independents that the Hillary smears must be true.

mgtucaz: This actually caused my sister to not vote for Hillary because the story appeared in the NYT, therefore it had credibility.

anastasiap: It’s been no secret since the day that excerpt appeared in the NYT that the author of Clinton Cash was a right-wing hit artist. It was shameful that the NYT purchased rights to publish excerpts. It’s as if in 2004 they had bought rights to publish some of Jerome Corsi’s Unfit for Command, the book that started the swift boating of John Kerry.

SotteVoce: I remember reading that the Times bigwigs didn’t like Bill Clinton because they considered him an Arkansas hayseed, beneath their dignity. Some of it must have been fallout from the impeachment of Clinton for unseemly behavior, which probably bolstered their initial distaste for him. That may have carried on to their attitude about Hillary: I can’t be sure. They certainly gave Maureen Dowd prime real estate to savage both Bill and Hillary’s every word and deed for years (thank goodness she was on book leave for most of the 2016 election, or the Times coverage would have been even worse). I’m convinced they thought that endorsing Hillary on the OpEd page in the very last days before the election gave them cover for the horrible coverage during the election. But why the Times, a New York paper, gave Trump with such kid glove treatment, when everyone in the City had known forever what pig, a shyster, a liar and a loser he was, I'll never know.

Cmae: 'All the bias, that's fit to print.'

mbn1023: I'm of two minds about the NYT; on one hand, I really like the investigative reporting that Mike Schmidt does, but I can't stand the constant toadying to Repugnican politicians and money men. I cancelled my subscription last summer because of their refusal to cover Drumpf and report his lies and crimes.

garderhill: Like Robert MacNamara, admitting 5 years before his death a few years ago that "oh yeah those damn dirty fuckin hippies were right about Vietnam all along whoops sorry." Which helped the country and the people irrevocably changed by that horror not a bit.

The NYT needs to name and shame the people who turned Hillary into the Antichrist and Thing into the Eccentric Real-Estate Guy — above-the-fold, front fucking page — daily, until that vile Thing they helped enthrone is out of office.

yogibear1963: f Bloomberg or Steyer really want to make a difference they should spend their millions of dollars hiring people to picket in front of the New York Times.

40 people at $50,000 per year is only $2 million. Steyer just spent $24 million in South Carolina and Colorado. That could have been used to hound the NYT for the next 10 years. In fact if he had put $24 million in an interest bearing account it would raise several hundred thousand dollars in interest each year and that would probably extend the time out to 20 or 30 years.

Having dozens of people marching in front of their building for years (or decades) on end might get the NYT to change its tune about publishing lies against liberals.

Or maybe Bloomberg could buy the NYT and get actual journalists to write for it.

Merlin1963: I'm probably picking nits here, but Rachel's piece would have been more hard hitting if she named names of those reporters and editors that wrote and approved those hit pieces on Hillary Clinton. How many of those same reporters show up on panels on MSNBC? Anyone know?

Pucifer: Michael Schmidt wrote many of the front-page articles about Hillary Clinton's emails. Schmidt is also listed as a "National Security Contributor" for MSNBC.

yogibear1963: He broke the story that Hillary was using a private server for her email.

Strangely, he didn’t break the story that Colin Powell was using America Online.

notimpressed: And how many suckers here have believed this crap for decades? Unable to separate fact from fiction? Promoting how awful she was. How just like a republican she was? Didn't vote for her or repeated the same tired lies that the Republicans said?

Blaming media for producing a product that sells is a cop out. Its a sign of failure for the individual to take responsibility for not helping conservatives promote thru propaganda. Progressives need to be smarter. They need to evaluate not only what is needed but what is possible. People want winners not whiners or sore losers. When we win, others will get on board and we will get to where we want to be.

This next election is it. If you don't like the eventual nominee, you need to sit down shut up and vote no matter who he or she is.

trumpeloeil: She hinted at a little bit of editorial divergence in the NYT on Clinton matters. This has come from the top, specifically from the Sulzbergers, who hated the Clintons ever since they came to Washington from (shudder) Arkansas. Apparently Bill would not kiss the Sultzberger ring and they have had a vendetta against Bill and Hillary ever since.

More billionaires who think they are Norse Gods.

aj oliver: The Gray Lady pulled the same sensationalistic lying crap about the Clinton’s way back in the 1990’s with the Whitewater nothing burger. They had teams of reporters swarming Arkansas before Clinton was even sworn in.

newdawg: Hey you know how everything Trump accuses anyone of doing is a confession to a crime he. committed. How does a guy that frequently accuses a paper of being a failure and fake news get private meetings with their reporters all the times. And their owners? Oh, and Rachel should have also gone after Maureen Dowd. Clearest indication the NYTimes is untrustworthy is that she is still employed by them.

juggalo1: Since we can't rerun the 2016 election and remove that sh!tstain on our national honor, then all loyal Americans have a duty to indelibly commit to memory how stupid the coverage was.

On the same note we’d better make damn sure we remember the bang-up job our free press did in the run-up to Iraq, given that we are halfway down the runway to another Middle East cluster-F.

eodell: Please do write that book. But change the subtitle to "How the New York Times Helped Elect Trump in 2016 and Is Helping Re-Elect Him in 2020."










Local Newspapers

Horsey 11/24/21

Local journalism has collapsed. Can anything save it? By Susan Benkelman July 10, 2020

Not so long ago, the Youngstown Vindicator sent someone to cover every municipal or school board meeting in the surrounding three-county area.

“People knew that," said Mark Brown, former general manager of the northeastern Ohio newspaper, “and they behaved."

In other words, just the presence of a reporter helped keep local officials honest.

Those days are gone. And now so is the Vindicator. Its name and subscriber list were sold to a nearby paper that now has a Youngstown-area edition, but the family newspaper that had served the region for 150 years published its last edition on Aug. 31, 2019.

The Vindicator is among the victims of the local-media implosion that Margaret Sullivan chronicles in “Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy." As her title suggests, the collapse is taking with it one of the foundations of the journalist’s craft: holding city, county and state government officials to account.

The damage goes beyond the lack of accountability, argues Sullivan, a media columnist for The Washington Post. The erosion of local news means Americans are more polarized and more disconnected from their communities. They’re less interested in running for office. And taxpayers even pay more, according to one study she cites, as government spending and borrowing costs rise because of a lack of oversight.

In Sullivan’s conversations across the country, readers told her they were aware of the problem — they saw local news as increasingly partisan or shallow. But they apparently hadn’t made a crucial connection: The decline in quality is due to the erosion of the industry’s financial foundations. Two surveys last year, one from the Pew Research Center and one from the Knight Foundation and Gallup, showed that a majority of people believe that local news outlets are in good financial shape.

This lack of awareness of the threat facing local news is the essential problem Sullivan’s book addresses. She is sounding an alarm. She’s not the first to explore this crisis, but her book succeeds in its aim of delivering an urgent message in a concise way. It is part of a series of novella-length books that Columbia University commissions and publishes on current issues for “curious and busy” readers.

Sullivan is well-qualified to tell this story. Before joining The Post in 2016, she was the New York Times’ public editor. But her authority for this book derives mostly from her experience at her hometown newspaper, the Buffalo News, where she was the top editor for 13 years. Her firsthand accounts, and her impressions upon revisiting her old newspaper — now much smaller than when she worked there — personalize the story.

As she surveys the damage across the country, and outside the United States as well, Sullivan finds local newsrooms that are shells of their former selves, picked over by hedge funds or distant conglomerates that have no connection to local audiences. She looks at “news deserts” with no coverage at all. Those papers that are left face a precipitous drop in advertising, which has migrated to Google and Facebook. The ground shifted further even as she was writing the book, with the coronavirus pandemic cutting into what was left of the advertising base that news organizations rely on.

Sullivan also documents the ways people are responding. An Arkansas publisher is giving readers iPads to push them to digital; one in Texas is counterintuitively doubling down on print; a Michigan woman has created a “brigade” of citizen-reporters to dig into local issues for a nonprofit news site. In Youngstown, the investigative site ProPublica has sent a reporter to the region as part of its local reporting network, while the McClatchy Co., with start-up help from Google, has launched a news site there called Mahoning Matters as part of a project to explore new business models.

She gets hope from promising work by nonprofit news organizations in Texas, Minnesota and elsewhere. Others advocate finding ways to ensure that social media platforms that profit from news help pay for it. Government support, problematic because of concerns about potential political meddling, is even on the table. A number of groups are working to solve the problem, including the nonprofit organization where I work, the American Press Institute. There are seemingly as many proposed solutions as there are people working on it, and the answer probably depends on the community. What works in Minneapolis might not in Miami.

Sullivan does not advocate a particular approach. She is interested, she says, in “anything reasonable” that supports the function of local news. While there is hope in some places, she also admits at the end to feeling “a great deal of sadness” about what she sees.

That’s understandable. Those of us who came of age as journalists in the heyday of local newspapers had what we saw as the best job in the world. The pay was modest, but there was great satisfaction in telling the community when the city was giving a sweetheart deal to a local developer or a factory was dumping toxic waste into a river.

The old model worked because it was a buffet of offerings. News, opinions, obituaries, sports, comics and the crossword existed alongside ads, both classified and retail (with coupons), and people subscribed for all those things. But when that newspaper landed on the porch, the first thing they saw was the big headline of the day — perhaps a story germinated in one of those municipal meetings like the ones the Vindicator once covered.

Those in power saw it, too, because it was right there on the front page. And even when it wasn’t, as Youngstown’s Brown said, at least they knew someone was watching.

Ghosting the News
Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy
By Margaret Sullivan
Columbia Global Reports. 105 pp. $15.99 paperback.










India

TV news depicted Bollywood as a den of illegal drug use. Now, India’s stars are fighting back. By Niha Masih

NEW DELHI — Druggies. Filth. Scum.

Night after night, prime-time television anchors in India described the country’s beloved Hindi movie industry — known as Bollywood — as a den of illegal drug use, mixing innuendo and sensationalism to boost their own ratings.

Now, Bollywood’s biggest stars are fighting back in court.

The spectacle of India’s most-loved stars taking on two pro-government news channels and widely known anchors is an escalation that reflects the increasing polarization of the country’s media industry, once considered a crucial pillar of the world’s largest democracy.

The pushback from movie stars is “unprecedented,” said Shubhra Gupta, a film critic with the Indian Express. “It has never happened before in this concerted manner.”

The dispute began in June with the suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, a 34-year-old rising star. His tragic story transfixed the country: an engineering dropout who spent years acting in television shows and was on the cusp of superstardom in Bollywood. While the story dominated airtime on every channel, Republic TV and Times Now, ran salacious coverage accusing the industry of abetting his suicide or having him killed, pivoting then to charges of drug abuse and even money laundering by stars. The allegations were unsubstantiated.

Finding themselves at the center of a “media trial,” Bollywood stars say the channels’ coverage is defamatory and have asked the court to block such reporting. Though the petition does not ask for reporting on the issue to cease, it requests an injunction against reporting that violates defamation laws and rules governing television broadcasters.

Nearly every major star, production house and industry association are part of the lawsuit, which accuses the channels of invading their privacy, damaging their reputation and inciting hatred in the public against them.

The overwhelming coverage of the circumstances of Rajput’s death became a convenient distraction from multiple crises facing the country, Gupta said — from a fast-spreading virus to a tense border dispute with China.

A prime-time show on the two channels named in the lawsuit consists of as many as a dozen guests yelling at one another with an anchor egging them on. The issues are amplified by the use of dramatic hashtags pushed on social media.

Both channels have routinely been called out by fact-checking websites for running misinformation. They are criticized for supporting government actions unquestioningly. Activists, Muslims and opposition politicians have also been subjected to similar vilification campaigns by the two channels.

Much of the histrionics on Indian television news can be traced to Arnab Goswami, the controversial anchor and co-founder of Republic TV. Goswami, a bespectacled man in his mid-40s, has come to define the ills of television news in the country with his enraged monologues and the dangerous propensity to play “executioner” in media trials of his own making. As his videos went viral and the channel steadily climbed the ratings chart, others began to follow suit.

Recently, Mumbai police launched an investigation into Republic TV, which claims to be the most-watched channel in the country, on allegations that the station has rigged its ratings setting off another battle with Goswami. On Wednesday morning, in a dramatic development, Goswami was arrested by police in a 2018 abetment to suicide case. Many in India condemned the arrest as an abuse of power by the local state government, which is run by parties opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Experts say that overall media freedom has shrunk considerably under Modi, who has been in power since 2014. Journalists and outlets seen as critical of the government have faced attacks, tax investigations and a decline in advertisement from government ministries. In the latest report by Reporters without Borders, India lags behind less-developed countries like South Sudan and Afghanistan.

“India is currently full of government-friendly journalists, particularly in television media,” said Pritish Nandy, a film producer and former newspaper editor. “So they made a huge song and dance about how corrupt, nepotistic, heavily into drugs Bollywood was to make it into some Sodom and Gomorrah case.”

Bollywood has been largely secular in politics and liberal in outlook, making it a ripe target for Hindu nationalist ideologues. Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, has sought to move the country away from its secular founding principles into a nation where the Hindu majority has primacy.

This friction is spilling into Bollywood. Three of the industry’s top male actors are Muslims, and the Muslim community has historically been an integral part of Bollywood. Several popular stars have had interfaith marriages, another issue that riles Hindu nationalists, who see such marriages as a ploy by Muslims to lure and convert Hindu women.

Muslim actors often have been at the receiving end of the anger of pro-government groups. Earlier this year, Aamir Khan, a Muslim superstar who is part of the current lawsuit, was berated for meeting the wife of the Turkish president while filming in the country. The incident drew the ire of the Hindu nationalists because Turkey, a Muslim country, has been critical of India’s policy in the restive region of Kashmir.

Bollywood’s power lies in its tremendous reach. Nandy said that the industry has been able to capture “the entire audience of India, irrespective of religion, caste, community and even language.”

Last year, Bollywood recorded its highest earnings, with box office collections topping $538 million. The $2.46 billion industry based in Mumbai employs thousands of people and serves as a crucible of the dreams of a young nation.

Rajput’s suicide case was handed over to the country’s premier investigating agency. Though the status of the probe remains unclear, a panel of doctors recently ruled out murder. Last week, a court in Mumbai hearing a separate matter on media regulation in the wake of the Rajput case remarked that media should not cross “boundaries” and wondered if “excessive reporting” could affect justice.

Some of that reporting included leaked private WhatsApp chats belonging to Rajput’s girlfriend and other top female actors discussing drugs. They were later questioned by authorities. Television reporters chased the actors’ convoys, reporting their every movement. Calling Bollywood the “dirtiest industry in the country,” the channels said they were responsible for enabling Pakistan to carry out narcoterrorism in India and that “skin crawling crime” was coming to light.

“We may have 800 channels and [100,000] publications, but they do not provide any news — what they generate is the clamor of clashing egos, trumpet blasts of fanatical dogmas, fountains of obsequious slime, truckloads of hatred and anger,” a former bureaucrat recently wrote.

Rahul Shivshankar, a Times Now anchor named in the petition said in a tweet that the case sets a “bad precedent” and would “not weaken the resolve” of the channel.

Courts have been reluctant to censor media in recent cases, instead arguing for greater self-regulation. It could be weeks before the court makes a ruling in the Bollywood case. In the meantime, the channels have dropped Rajput’s death from prime-time bulletins.










Fox News

Mike Luckovich 11/24/21

Doonesbury, Gary Trudeau 102421

Sheneman 11/24/21

Biden escalates his efforts to puncture the Fox News bubble. By Philip Bump 8/27/21

In a sense, Peter Doocy’s arrival in the White House press briefing room has been to his employer’s detriment. It used to be that Fox News could spend days condemning Democratic presidents for not responding to whatever controversy its hosts had been tumbling around in their rhetorical rock polishers. Now, though, there’s Doocy, who is regularly selected by White House press secretary Jen Psaki to ask questions probably in part so that the familiar process can be beheaded early. Her exchanges with Doocy drop into the political conversation like bang snaps, crackling with life for an instant before being forgotten, the gotcha almost always redirected to the junkyard.

That's at least in part because the questions often reflect a network or right-wing consensus that hasn't been exposed to any significant scrutiny. Little grains of ice snowball into scandals, with Sean Hannity, Dan Bongino and whoever else packing on more and more - and then they get removed from the cooler and placed on the sidewalk. It often doesn't take long for it to melt.

At other times, the inflection of Doocy's question itself gets at the point. As was the case Thursday evening, when President Biden called on Doocy after brief remarks about the suicide bombing outside the airport in Kabul.

"Let me take the one question," Biden said, "from the most interesting guy that I know in the press."

This was not really meant as a compliment.

"Mr. President, there had not been a U.S. service member killed in combat in Afghanistan since February of 2020," Doocy said. "You set a deadline. You pulled troops out. You sent troops back in. And now 12 Marines are dead. You said the buck stops with you. Do you bear any responsibility for the way that things have unfolded in the last two weeks?"

When Donald Trump was asked a similar question in March 2020 about the failure of coronavirus testing, he answered like Donald Trump: "No, I don't take responsibility at all, because we were given a - a set of circumstances, and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time." Rejection of the idea that he deserved blame and a pivot to his predecessor.

Biden's been doing this longer, so he accepted blame - and then pivoted to his predecessor.

"I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that's happened of late," Biden said. "But here's the deal: You know - I wish you'd one day say these things - you know as well as I do that the former president made a deal with the Taliban that he would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1. In return, the commitment was made - and that was a year before - in return, he was given a commitment that the Taliban would continue to attack others, but would not attack any American forces."

At that point, though, Biden went in a different direction: He challenged Doocy to admit that he knew that his own framing of the question was unsound.

Doocy tried to interject that Trump was no longer the president, but Biden kept at it.

"Now wait a minute," he said. "I'm asking you a question. Is that - is that accurate, to the best of your knowledge?"

"I know what you're talking about," Doocy conceded, before then trying to get Biden to opine on why Americans might be frustrated with the situation in the country. Biden, after resting his head on his hands in apparent frustration, replied that Americans "have an issue that people are likely to get hurt" as they had that day.

He then returned to the prior point: that U.S. forces had avoided attack thanks to the deal made by Trump that had included a withdrawal pledge. This was the case, he said, "whether my friend will acknowledge it" or not - his friend being Doocy.

Fundamentally, that was the Biden's point. Doocy and his network often don't provide or consider the context that would subject their theories to heat from the outset. As New York magazine's Jonathan Chait pointed out Thursday, Fox viewers often aren't really tuning in to the network's offerings for a considered debate on the news of the day. What keeps them engaged and watching is the diaspora of voices and range of volumes fuming at the day's outrage.

For all of the right's focus on Biden's mental acuity, he's sufficiently adept at the sort of exchange seen Thursday to be able to put Doocy on the defensive. Not that this friction between Fox News and a Democratic White House is newly emergent. Biden's willingness to engage offensively with Doocy echoes the disparagement and criticisms that were a frequent feature of Barack Obama's administration.

What's different now are the stakes. Fox News is powerful, capturing an audience of millions of viewers a night. It shifted during the Trump administration in part out of an effort to retain the attention of Trump's more fervent supporters. In 2013, Fox News's prime-time lineup flowed from Greta Van Susteren to Bill O'Reilly to Megyn Kelly to what was then its populist anchor, Hannity. Now, the channel is hosting a rotating slot of right-wing personalities in the 7 p.m. hour, before handing things over to Tucker Carlson, Hannity and Laura Ingraham. If those names aren't intimately familiar to you, trust me when I say it's a significant move away from the center.

The network (and Carlson in particular) remains a lodestone for much of the often-self-contained conversation on the political right. In November, after it became obvious that Biden had won the election, I pointed out that with Trump vanquished, Biden's main opponent - misinformation from the right - remained potent. (Right-wing misinformation, driven by Trump, then spent months claiming that no such vanquishing had occurred.) Biden and his team clearly recognize this threat, as evidenced by their willingness to engage with Doocy.

There's an overly neat analogy that could be drawn here about the White House entertaining a representative of a hostile power, but it's not entirely wrong. Doocy gives the White House a way into the often-sealed discourse on the right, a way to draw those snowballs into the sunlight. Psaki and Biden are confident in their ability to handle Doocy's questions and eager to reframe them. It's a bit like doing an interview with a local television station in rural Texas: You're pretty much guaranteed airtime that you wouldn't otherwise get.

Not that it seems to be having much effect.

Tucker Carlson’s racist, riotous double standard. Opinion by Erik Wemple Media critic Jan. 7, 2021

Tucker Carlson showed a human touch in discussing the death of a Trump supporter who was fatally shot in a Capitol hallway amid the Wednesday riots. Several videos captured the shooting, and though Carlson didn’t show the footage, he narrated certain details: “The camera closes in on the woman’s face. She looks stunned,” says Carlson. “She stares ahead unblinking. In her eyes you can see that she knows she’s about to die, which in the end she did.”

“So what can we learn from this?” he continued. “It’s not enough to call it a tragedy. Imagine for a second getting a call and learning that was your daughter. The last time you spoke to her, she was heading to Washington for a political rally. Now she’s dead. You’ll never talk to her again. Seriously, imagine that. If you have children, it will put you in the right frame of mind.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if Carlson lamented all deaths at the hands of law enforcement as he did on Wednesday night? “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” though, cannot boast such evenhandedness.

It was Wednesday, May 27, 2020, when Carlson first had the opportunity to address the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. How did he do that? This is how: “Good evening and welcome to ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’ We’ll have the latest on those riots in Minneapolis last night. And yes, they were in fact riots no matter what they’re telling you on the other channels. That’s a fact, and we have the tape.”

The program went on to do precisely that: cover the riots. Lost in the protest porn was precisely the sort of material that Carlson provided on the Trump supporter who died in the Capitol. There was no detailed mention of the incomprehensible way in which Floyd died. No mention of the way he cried for “momma.” No mention that Floyd, too, had dreams and loved ones, as The Post reported in an exhaustive series on his life.

That’s not all, though. Anyone who contrasted Carlson’s reaction to the Floyd protests with his reaction to Wednesday’s invasion of the Capitol has got to wonder how he juggles the incompatibility. In his ever-so-earnest discussion of the MAGA election riot, Carlson made sure to condemn the violence. “We have a duty to oppose all of this,” he said. Good, hard-edged stuff. Yet there’s always a “but” when guys like Carlson and Sean Hannity “condemn” right-wing America. And as always, Carlson did it with his trademark cleverness: “When thousands of your countrymen storm the Capitol building, you don’t have to like it, but if you don’t bother to pause and learn a single thing from it … then you’re a fool.”

Boldface inserted to highlight conjunctional pivot. The gist here is that, yeah, these White folks may have gotten a little out of hand, but they kind of have a case! At another point in the proceedings, Carlson said, “They’re, like, kind of solid Americans and they’re deeply frustrated. And I wonder if people in Washington — where I spent most of my life — understand why and really understand and empathize with their frustration? Sincere question.”

Had Carlson applied the same thinking to the Black Lives Matter movement, he would have condemned the violence associated with some of the protests following Floyd’s death, while acknowledging that the movement stemmed from serious concerns about how police have treated Black people. Instead, we got this:

- “The indiscriminate use of violence by mobs is a threat to every American of all colors and backgrounds and political beliefs. Democracy cannot exist when people are rioting. Rioting is a form of tyranny. The strong and the violent oppress the weak and the unarmed. It is oppression.” (May 27)

- “What we do know is that riots are now acceptable because racism is a national emergency. That’s the new standard. Okay. So now that we’re in a state of national emergency, the question is, what is not acceptable? What’s not okay? Anything?” (May 28)

- “The rioters in Minneapolis and in other places act as if they’re allowed to loot and burn and in fact, they are allowed. No one stops them. The authorities don’t arrest them. Instead, they pander to them, flatter them, desperately try to win their love.” (May 29)

- “America went insane over the weekend. … This was without precedent in the modern era, a small group of highly aggressive, emotionally charged activists took over our culture. They forced the entire country to obey their will. It all happened so fast and with such ferocity that virtually no one resisted it.” (June 8)

Boldface added in that final quote to highlight the versatility of this language — it could well be applied to current events with the smallest of edits: “A small group of highly aggressive, emotionally charged activists took over our national legislature.”

Layered on top of Carlson’s commentary was a big lie that infuses Fox News coverage of the post-election chaos. As he discussed the motivations of the rioters, he cited their faltering faith in the system: “Democracy is a pressure relief valve. As long as people sincerely believe they can change things by voting, they stay calm. … But the opposite is also true. If people begin to believe that their democracy is fraudulent, if they conclude that voting is a charade, the system is rigged and it is run in secret by a small group of powerful, dishonest people who are acting in their own interests, then God knows what could happen.”

People have indeed begun to conclude that their democracy is fraudulent. Those conclusions, of course, have a provenance: They come from President Trump, who tweets and pronounces false claims about the election all the time. And just as powerfully, they come from Fox News and other conservative media outlets such as Newsmax and One America News. Over the past two months, Fox News host Hannity — No. 1 in 2020 cable-news rankings — has forked over his program to the promotion of Trump’s lies about the Nov. 3 election. Other Fox anchors — Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro — have also helped misinform viewers about the integrity of the election.

They’re all responsible in varying degrees for the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. At one point in Wednesday night’s show, Carlson expressed wonder at the curious fact that some of the insurrectionists were “older people.” Yeah, just like the Fox News demographic.

Instead of acknowledging this hard truth, Carlson laid the violence at the feet of the “people with all of the power” who have “decided to clamp down so harshly on the population.” Right — these Trumpers have been oppressed by the president’s deregulatory state.

To top it all off, Carlson indulged a guest who claimed that “the rumor is that even possibly antifa insurrectionists possibly could have infiltrated some of these movements and maybe instigated some of this.” Carlson allowed that stray bit of speculation to go unmolested. Why interrupt someone who’s heaping blame on the left?


Please send comments to: Professor C. Glass, PhDc, MLIS, MAc, MS, Prof. Emeritus