Category Archives: Media

US Journalism’s New ‘Golden Age’? by Robert Parry

The mainstream media sees itself as entitled to take sides in political disputes, rather than just report on them. From Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com:

Exclusive: The Washington Post and other big media are hailing a new journalistic “golden age” as they punish President Trump for disparaging them, but is this media bias a sign of good journalism or itself a scandal, asks Robert Parry.

The mainstream U.S. media is congratulating itself on its courageous defiance of President Trump and its hard-hitting condemnations of Russia, but the press seems to have forgotten that its proper role within the U.S. democratic structure is not to slant stories one way or another but to provide objective information for the American people.

By that standard – of respecting that the people are the nation’s true sovereigns – the mainstream media is failing again. Indeed, the chasm between what America’s elites are thinking these days and what many working-class Americans are feeling is underscored by the high-fiving that’s going on inside the elite mainstream news media, which is celebrating its Trump- and Russia-bashing as the “new golden age of American journalism.”

The New York Times and The Washington Post, in particular, view themselves as embattled victims of a tyrannical abuser. The Times presents itself as the brave guardian of “truth” and the Post added a new slogan: “Democracy dies in darkness.” In doing so, they have moved beyond the normal constraints of professional, objective journalism into political advocacy – and they are deeply proud of themselves.

In a Sunday column entitled “How Trump inspired a golden age,” Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote that Trump “took on the institution of a free press – and it fought back. Trump came to office after intimidating publishers, barring journalists from covering him and threatening to rewrite press laws, and he has sought to discredit the ‘fake news’ media at every chance. Instead, he wound up inspiring a new golden age in American journalism.

“Trump provoked the extraordinary work of reporters on the intelligence, justice and national security beats, who blew wide open the Russia election scandal, the contacts between Russia and top Trump officials, and interference by Trump in the FBI investigation. Last week’s appointment of a special prosecutor – a crucial check on a president who lacks self-restraint – is a direct result of their work.”

To continue reading: US Journalism’s New ‘Golden Age’?

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The Russian Hacking Fiasco, by Mike Whitney

The Democrats and their friends in Congress, the intelligence agencies and the FBI have been chasing the Russiagate story for eight months and have come up with…nothing. It’s all about taking President Trump down, and the investigation should be reversed 180 degrees and pointed at the people who’ve tried to make this sorry dog hunt. From Mike Whitney at theburningplatform:

There’s no proof that Russia hacked the US elections.

There’s no proof that Russian officials or Russian agents colluded with members of the Trump campaign.

There’s no proof that Russia provided material support of any kind for the Trump campaign or that Russian agents hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails or that Russian officials provided Wikileaks with emails that were intended to sabotage Hillary’s chances to win the election.

So far, no one in any of the 17 US intelligence agencies has stepped forward and verified the claims of Russian meddling or produced a scintilla of hard evidence that Russia was in anyway involved in the 2016 elections.

No proof means no proof.  It means that the people and organizations that are making these uncorroborated claims have no basis for legal action, no presumption of wrongdoing, and no grounds for prosecution. They have nothing. Zilch.  Their claims, charges and accusations are like the soap bubbles we give to our children and grandchildren. The brightly-colored bubbles wobble across the sky for a minute or two and then, Poof, they vanish into the ether. The claims of Russia hacking are like these bubbles. They are empty, unsubstantiated rumors completely devoid of substance. Poof.

It has been eight months since the inception of this unprecedentedly-pathetic and infinitely-irritating propaganda campaign, and in those eight months neither the media nor the politicos nor the Intel agents who claim to be certain that Russia meddled in US elections, have produced anything that even remotely resembles evidence. Instead, they have trotted out the same lie over and over again ad nauseam from every newspaper, every tabloid and every televised news program in the country. Over and over and over again. The media’s persistence is nearly as impressive as its cynicism, which is the one quality that they seem to have mastered. The coverage has been relentless, ubiquitous, pernicious and mendacious. The only problem is that there’s not a grain of truth to any of it. It is all 100 percent, unalloyed baloney.

To continue reading: The Russian Hacking Fiasco

The Media Blackout On The DNC Lawsuit Proves That It Is Nuclear, by Caitlin Johnstone

The mainstream media would  rather you not know about a suit against the Democratic National Committee by aggrieved Bernie Sanders supporters, alleging the DNC was runing a rigged game. From Caitline Johnstone at medium.com:

I had the privilege of interviewing my newest personal hero yesterday, attorney Elizabeth Lee Beck, about her legal team’s fraud case against the Democratic National Committee. One of the many useful insights that this straight-shooting mom on fire brought to light during our conversation was her story about a time she reached out to New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro to get some help cracking through the deep, dark media blackouton this extremely important case. Barbaro had previously interviewed Beck and featured her in a front-page story not long ago, so she had every reason to try and contact him. What happened next?

“The little piss head blocks me,” Beck said.

Why is a journalist for the New York Times blocking a potential source from contacting him? Why is the mainstream media refusing to go anywhere near a legal case that has heavy implications for the future of American democracy? You already know the answer to this deep down, whether you’re the kind of person who turns and faces reality or the kind of person who dissociates from reality at all costs while watching Samantha Bee and chugging cough syrup on the sofa. The function of the mass media is not to inform the American public of important things that are happening in their country, it is to turn attention away from the important things that are happening in their country and to keep them sleepy and compliant. The DNC lawsuit is one of the greatest threats to America’s power establishment right now, but only if people know about it. If the corporate media were to advance this story with even a fraction of the intensity that they’re advancing their xenophobic anti-Russia nonsense, they’d start waking up the sleeping masses to the fact that there is nothing resembling democracy happening in America at all.

And the DNC’s own lawyers have indeed made it abundantly clear to anyone who’s been listening that there is no democracy in America. You cannot make the case that you are not required to provide real primary elections in a rigidly-enforced two-party system and still say that democracy is happening to any extent within your nation. Being forced to choose between two establishment-selected corporatists is not democracy, and this revolutionary lawsuit has been showing in no uncertain terms that this is exactly what is happening both in practice and in theory. In order to say that there is any sort of democratic process in America at all, there would have to either be a way to run viable independent and third-party candidates, or the people would have to be able to determine who the candidates will be for the two parties that they are permitted to choose from. Currently neither of those things is happening.

To continue reading: The Media Blackout On The DNC Lawsuit Proves That It Is Nuclear

Classified America: Why Is the US Public Allowed To Know So Little? by Robert Koehler

Governments, all governments, are untrustworthy, so the more we know about what they’re doing and saying, the better. From Robert Koehler at antiwar.com:

For a journalist – especially one covering government and politics – the most suspicious, least trustworthy word in the language ought to be: “classified.”

As the drama continues to swirl around Russiagate, or whatever the central controversy of the Trump administration winds up being known as, that word keeps popping up, teasingly, seductively: “It appeared that there was a great deal more (former acting Attorney General Sally) Yates wished she could share,” the Washington Post informed us the other day, for instance, “but most of the information surrounding everything that happened remains classified.”

And the drama continues! And I have yet to hear a mainstream journo challenge or question that word or ask what could be at stake that requires protective secrecy even as the U.S. government seemingly threatens to collapse around Michael Flynn, America’s national security advisor for three weeks, and his relationship to Russia. Is there really any there there?

I’m not suggesting that there isn’t, or that it’s all fake news. Trump and pals are undoubtedly entwined financially with Russian oligarchs, which of course is deeply problematic. And maybe there’s more. And maybe some of that “more” is arguably classified for a valid reason, but I want, at the very least, to know why it’s classified. What I read and hear feels, instead, like collusion: journalists unquestioningly honoring bureaucratic keep-out signs as objective, even sacred, stopping points. Public knowledge must go no further because . . . you know, national security. But the drama continues!

And this is troubling to me because, for starters, nations built on secrecy are far more unstable than those that aren’t. Job #1 of a free, independent media is the full-on, continuous challenge to government secrecy. Such a media understands that it answers to the public, or rather, that it’s a manifestation of the public will. Stability and freedom are not the result of private tinkering. And peace is something created openly. The best of who we are is contained in the public soul, not bequeathed to us by unfathomably wise leaders.

To continue reading: Classified America: Why Is the US Public Allowed To Know So Little?

 

Shut Down the ‘Russia-gate’ Farce, by Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo says that Russia-gate is boring. SLL is certainly growing bored of it. Barring spectacular new developments, this may be the last article we post on it. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

It’s bogus, it’s boring, and it’s hurting the country

The level of lunacy we’ve reached can be measured by the brouhaha over the presence of Russian photographers in the Oval Office during Sergey Lavrov’s visit: no US photographers were allowed, but the Russians somehow got in and the Paranoid Brigade went into overdrive. They may have planted “bugs” there! No, this wasn’t nutjob Louise Mensch, the queen of the Russia-haters, but “former intelligence officials,” including the former deputy director of the CIA, David Cohen.

Given this kind of paranoia, why allow Lavrov in the Oval Office? After all, he could slip a bug into that sanctum just as easily as somehow who works for Tass – indeed, it would be far easier for him to do so, since photographers are routinely searched before they enter, and I doubt the Russian Foreign Minister is subjected to the same procedure.

Aside from that, the same people who are making a fuss about this are convinced the Trump administration is a cabal of Kremlin agents: so why would the Russians even need to plant a bug in the Oval Office? After all, according to the conspiracy theorists, they’re getting the same intelligence directly from the White House.

Yes, folks, I’m really writing about this nonsense. Because that’s where we’re at these days.

Now the conspiracy theorists who have taken over the Democratic party are screaming that the firing of James Comey is all a part of the plot: Trump did it to scotch the year-long investigation into “Russia-gate,” which has so far yielded nothing. The White House denies this, although we’re now hearing a different and probably far more accurate account: the President was pissed off that Comey wasn’t investigating leaks of classified information, and was paying too much attention to the Russia probe.

If this is true, then one can only applaud the White House and urge them to be more upfront about the reason for Comey’s firing. The “Russia-gate” conspiracy theory is total nonsense, is based on completely unsupportable premises, and is bad for the country. The President should quash it, so he can get back to the job he was elected to do.

The whole thing is a media-driven hate campaign that has no relation to the facts: despite the “high confidence” our “intelligence community” says it has that the Russians somehow mysteriously “influenced” our election, the alleged evidencethey’ve made public is nothing but a joke. Indeed, it has been repeatedly debunked by cyber-security experts, and yet the media ignores this, just like they ignored the warnings of those of us who challenged the Bush administration’s “high confidence” that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction.”

To continue reading: Shut Down the ‘Russia-gate’ Farce

He Said That? 5/10/17

From Julian Assange’s Twitter Feed:

WikiLeaks would be happy to consider hiring James Comey to help lead its DC office should he like to properly investigate the US government.

FBI source says the FBI will now start leaking leaking like Niagara. But please FBI friends full docs or you know the press will spin it!

Comey’s firing will be an extraordinary boon for transparency as his loyalists leak and the admin counter-leaks. Will he run for 2020?

 

Mr. Comey knows where many bodies are buried. Working for WikiLeaks is fulfilling. James–don’t become another lobbyist for Glock or Donkin.

 


Farewell to Matt Drudge, by Justin Raimondo

Antiwar.com is an excellent website. It is devoted, on a nonpartisan basis, to preventing war. SLL has featured many antiwar.com articles. The website has been on the Drudge Report’s list of permanently linked websites for quite some time. Justin Raimondo, the guiding light of Antiwar.com, supported Trump’s candidacy as a potential break in the neoconservatives warmongering grip on Washington. Since the election, Raimondo has been a vocal critic of actions in which Trump seems to have abandoned his non-interventionist promises. Recently, the Drudge Report took Antiwar.com off its list. Raimono accuses Drudge of being co-opted by the Trump administration. He may be right. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

I’ve always been a big Matt Drudge fan. That’s because I was there at the beginning, when the Drudge Report was just another web site and the Legacy Media was still the main focus of the journalism business. I remember when he was an habitué of Freerepublic.com, one of the earliest gathering places for all sorts of dissidents in the Age of Clinton. I remember how his breaking of the Monica Lewinsky story propelled him into the spotlight, and I distinctly recall the vicious attacks on him by the “mainstream” media, which resented the by-his-bootstraps way he achieved what is essentially a hegemonic position in the journalistic universe. I particularly appreciated his famous 1998 speech at the National Press Club, in which the notoriously reclusive Drudge delivered a manifesto that all us bootstrappers cheered and took to heart:

We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices. Every citizen can be a reporter, can take on the powers that be. The difference between the Internet, television and radio, magazines, newspapers is the two-way communication. The Net gives as much voice to a 13-year-old computer geek like me as to a CEO or speaker of the House. We all become equal. And you would be amazed what the ordinary guy knows.

“From a little corner in my Hollywood apartment, in the company of nothing more than my 486 computer and my six – six-toed cat, I have consistently been able to break big stories, thanks to this network of ordinary guys.”

Drudge broke the monopoly of the Legacy Media, and he did it in a spectacular way. If the inventors of the Internet are the equivalent of Gutenberg, then Drudge was a modern day Peter Zenger – whom he alludes to in his speech. He took on the naysayers, the kind who resist any innovation because they think it threatens their perks and privileges. Drudge pointed out that the movie moguls and the radio networks tried to get the government to suppress television when it came out, but something else happened instead:

“No, television saved the movies. The Internet is going to save the news business. I – I envision a – a future where there’ll be 300 million reporters, where anyone from anywhere can report for any reason. It’s freedom of – freedom of participation, absolutely realized.”

To continue reading: Farewell to Matt Drudge