Tag Archives: Mainstream media coverage

PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Press Reckoning on Russiagate

Jeff Gerth’s Columbia Journalism Review article should be earth shattering, and it would be if anyone in the mainstream media paid attention to it. But they won’t. From Patrick Lawrence at consortiumnews.com:

Jeff Gerth’s investigation for The Columbia Journalism Review exposes the dark heart of the news media’s coverage of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. 

Jack Anderson in 1973. (Rochester Institute of Technology, Public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

In the autumn of 1973, Jack Anderson, the wonderful iconoclast of the Washington press corps, published a syndicated column revealing that a Hearst Newspapers reporter had spied on Democratic presidential candidates in the service of Richard Nixon’s 1972 reelection campaign.

At the time of Anderson’s column, Seymour Frieden was a Hearst correspondent in London.  Anderson also reported, not quite in passing, but nearly, that Frieden tacitly acknowledged working for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Anderson’s column was as a pebble tossed in a pond. The ripples grew, if slowly at first.

William Colby, the C.I.A.’s recently named director, responded with a standard agency maneuver: When news is going to break against you, disclose the minimum, bury the rest, and maintain control of what we now call “the narrative.”

Colby “leaked” to a Washington Star–News reporter named Oswald Johnston. The paper fronted Johnston’s piece on Nov. 30, 1973. “The Central Intelligence Agency,” it began, “has some three dozen American journalists working abroad on its payroll as undercover informants, some of them full-time agents, the Star–News has learned.”

April 24, 1975: C.I.A. Director William Colby, right, with Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, left, and Deputy Assistant For National Security Affairs Brent Scowcroft during a break in a meeting of the National Security Council. (Public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

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The Rittenhouse Verdict is Only Shocking if You Followed the Last Year of Terrible Reporting, by Matt Taibbi and Matt Orfalea

The mainstream media plumbed new lows—just when you think they can’t go any lower—with its coverage of the Kyle Rittenhouse story. From Matt Taibbi and Matt Orfalea at taibbi.substack.com:

Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all six charges today, already causing a great exploding of heads in the pundit-o-sphere. Unrest wouldn’t be surprising. How could it be otherwise? Colleagues in national media spent over a year telling the country the 18-year-old was not just guilty, but a moral monster whose acquittal would be an in-your-face affirmation of systemic white supremacy.

It used to bother me that journalists were portrayed in pop culture as sniveling, amoral weenies. Take William Atherton’s iconic portrayal in Die Hard of “Thornburg,” the TV-news creep who gasps, “Tell me you got that!” with orgasmic awe when an explosion rocks the Nakatomi building. I got that — I’d seen that face on reporters.

But risking the life of hero John McClane’s wife Holly by putting her name on TV, and getting the info by threatening the family nanny Paulina with an immigration raid? We’re bad, I thought, but not that bad. I got that it was a movie, but my father was a local TV man, and that one stung a bit.

MSNBC Thursday pulled a Thornburg in real life. Police stopped a man named James Morrison who was apparently following a jury bus, and said he was acting at the direction of a New York-based MSNBC producer named Irene Byon. Even if all you’re after is a post-verdict interview, if a jury gets the slightest whiff that the press is searching out their names and addresses, that’s clear intimidation. People will worry about the safety of their spouses and children as they’re deliberating. Not that it matters to anyone but the defense, prosecution, judge, jury, and taxpayers, but you’re also putting the trial at risk. I’ve covered plenty of celebrity trials, from Michael Jackson to the Enron defendants, and know the identifying-jurors practice isn’t unheard of. However, in a powder-keg case like this, it’s bonkers to play it any way but straight.

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