Bombing Journalistic Integrity, by Ted Galen Carpenter

Mainstream media coverage of the Nordstream sabotage has shown that dying institution at its cowardly worst. From Ted Galen Carpenter at

Media coverage of the Nord Stream sabotage has been another episode of journalistic misconduct.

The slavish willingness of the New York Times and other establishment news outlets to help authorities track down Jack Teixeira, the apparent source of leaks revealing that U.S. and NATO officials had lied about the Ukraine war and other matters, has brought journalistic integrity to a new low. Unfortunately, it also has eclipsed another episode of gross journalistic malfeasance that began months earlier but continues to the present day: defective coverage of the Nord Stream pipelines bombing.

It is imperative not to forget the wretched performance of the press with respect to that incident, however, because it highlights just how willing Western (especially American) journalists are to parrot even the flimsiest government cover stories with respect to foreign policy or national security issues. Even reasonably independent and competent press outlets should have raised serious questions about the Biden administration’s assertions that Russia likely was responsible for the September 2022 bombing. Predictably, though, the New York Times quickly echoed the administration’s suspicions. Other elite publications followed suit, with some expressing no doubts whatsoever about the Kremlin’s culpability.

There were multiple reasons to have severe doubts about that allegation, and even administration officials eventually conceded that there was no “conclusive evidence” that Moscow was guilty. The first question good investigators ask about any crime is cui bono? (Who benefits?). Russia would have been far down the list of suspects on that basis.

Russian investors had poured billions of dollars into building Nord Stream 1 and the just-completed Nord Stream 2. Now, those pipelines were useless pieces of metal at the bottom of the North Sea. Russophobic hawks in the United States contended that, despite the short-term damage to Russia’s economic interests, Vladimir Putin took that step to cut off the flow of natural gas to European countries and demonstrate the pain he could inflict if they continued to support Ukraine’s war effort. However, officials and analysts who embraced that theory did not explain why Moscow would destroy its own valuable infrastructure when the Kremlin could achieve the same result by closing the valve on its end of the pipelines. Worse, very few journalists asked them that question, much less pressed them for a coherent answer.

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