Whom Do You Trust?

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The answer will tell your politics.

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

On June 27th, Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept, headlined “Latest Example of Media Recklessness on the Russia Threat”, and he documented gross misrepresentations, including many outright fabrications, in the ‘news’ reporting regarding the alleged ‘Russian’ ‘hacking’ of ‘the vote’ and other alleged manipulations, of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, by the Russian government; and these media-lies and other fabrications constituted the ‘news’ as supposed facts instead of fabrications, on CNN, MSNBC, Slate, C-Span, Fortune, Washington Post, New York Times, and Britain’s Guardian, just to cite the examples that Greenwald described — big-name media, including ‘reporting’ by Pulitzer-prize journalists.

Greenwald concluded that, “blatantly inane anti-Trump conspiracists and Russia conspiracies now command such a large audience because there is a voracious appetite among anti-Trump internet and cable news viewers for stories, no matter how false.” And, he said: “A related, and perhaps more significant, dynamic is that journalistic standards are often dispensed with when it comes to exaggerating the threat posed by countries deemed to be the official enemy du jour. That is a journalistic principle that has repeatedly asserted itself, with Iraq being the most memorable but by no means only example.” To him, this massive false ‘news’ reporting is innocent, and the motivation for it comes from the audience, not from the journalistic organizations that are doing it. However, strong evidence exists that it’s not innocent, at all — that it is systematic, and includes all of America’s major ‘news’media. But understanding what motivates it, requires digging far deeper than Greenwald did.

Furthermore, Greenwald’s reference to “Iraq being the most memorable” earlier example of this phenomenon, ignores the key fact: that in the Iraq ‘WMD’ or false reporting of weapons of mass destruction, issue, the problem was the U.S. press’s stenographic reporting of the Administration’s lies as if they were automatically truths, whereas today the ‘news’media are pouring forth with their own false concoctions, which sometimes cite as their sources people who are in the opposite (now out-of-power) political Party. No longer is the fake ‘journalism’ stenographically reporting what is being alleged by the White House. Now much of it is stenographically reporting the allegations by the political opposition to the White House.

On June 28th, Gallup bannered, “In US, Confidence in Newspapers Still Low but Rising”, and opened:

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

• 27% say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers

• 24% have high confidence in television news

• 16% have high confidence in news on the internet

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite an ongoing controversy over “fake news,” more Americans this year (27%) say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers than did so last year (20%). Although confidence in newspapers is up from last year’s record low, it remains lower than it typically was in the 1980s and 1990s.

Newspapers are one of 16 institutions Gallup tested in a June 7-11 poll. The jump of seven percentage points from 2016 is the largest one for any institution — though newspapers only tie for 11th overall on the list, based on Americans who have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence.

From a long-range perspective, confidence in newspapers hasn’t been high at any point over the past 30 years; the highest was 39% in 1990. The 27% who express confidence this year is the highest recorded since 2011.

Democrats primarily are driving the overall increase in confidence in newspapers this year from last year’s all-time low. In 2016, 28% of Democrats had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in printed media, but that percentage rose to 46% this year. Sixteen percent of Republicans last year had confidence but, in contrast to Democrats, that has edged down to 13% this year.

Gallup got closer to the truth than did Greenwald: Instead of this matter being driven by the audience, the response by the audience is now varying in accordance with the particular audience’s politics.

Another interesting finding by Gallup there, was that “Americans’ Already-Low Confidence in Internet News Declines,” while confidence in newspapers is soaring: “The jump of seven percentage points from 2016 is the largest one for any institution.”

Newspapers are the core of the traditional newsmedia, and the tradition until recently has been that the broadcast media (radio and TV) base their news upon what the prestigious newspapers — New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal — post on their latest front page. Gallup’s finding is that the American public is increasing its respect for those print media, the very media that are actually leading in introducing today’s false ‘news’ reporting (as Glenn Greenwald and many others have pointed out), and Gallup also finds that the public are losing respect for online articles, even though only in an article online (such as you now are reading) is it even possible for a reader to click directly through to a source, and to evaluate for oneself, whether or not that source is at all trustworthy. The U.S. public are responding to the rampant false reporting in the print ‘news’media, by increasing its trust in those media, and by decreasing its trust in news that (like here) is being received online and can thus be web-searched in order to check out whether or not it is reliable. This reaction — trusting the reports that rely only upon (their own, actually shaky) ‘authority’ — is perverse, but it’s what Gallup is finding. The same mainstream ‘news’ media that the U.S. aristocracy used for deceiving the American people into believing that Saddam Hussein had WMD and was a danger to the U.S. in 2003, and that did the same to Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, and has been trying to do the same to Bashar al-Assad since then — and that wants to do it ultimately to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin — continues on with undiminished prestige and ability, to do the same ad nauseum.

The argument that will be made here is that neither the public nor the press-commentators has a truthful understanding of what is happening, nor why, and that there really is a nefarious truthful explanation of all this, an explanation that the public needs to understand. The owners of newsmedia consciously hide their motive from the public, in order to prevent the public from understanding international relations — the explanation for which is driven by the controlling stockholders of international corporations, not by national interest (nor by any public’s interest). The fallacious news-reports that will be examined here will be from mainstream and traditional media, but will be different from the ones that Greenwald discussed; and the focus here, as opposed to other articles that have been written about America’s trashy ‘journalism’, will be on the methods of deceit that are being employed by the press — intentional deceit, for business-purposes:

If you’re an American, do you trust the Washington Post, which headlined on June 23rd, “Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault”, and which reported there that “The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump”? That article linked to that newspaper’s earlier articles demonizing Russia’s President (such as “Putin ‘ordered’ effort to undermine faith in U.S. election and help Trump, report says”). It stated that, as a consequence of this ‘election assault’: “Obama faced a successor who had praised WikiLeaks and prodded Moscow to steal even more Clinton emails, while dismissing the idea that Russia was any more responsible for the election assault than ‘somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds’.” (The WP’s phrase ‘election assault’ presumes a reader’s belief in what the newspaper is conveying in this article — the reader is supposed to assent to that belief prior to reading the article, which article is clearly intended to reinforce this belief.)

President Obama was portrayed in that WP article as a modern-day real-world Hamlet, wracked by indecision — as having been deficient in his antagonism against Russia, too much of a peacenik, up against that horrible demon:

In political terms, Russia’s interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy. It was a case that took almost no time to solve, traced to the Kremlin through cyber-forensics and intelligence on Putin’s involvement. And yet, because of the divergent ways Obama and Trump have handled the matter, Moscow appears unlikely to face proportionate consequences.

The phrase “proportionate consequences” isn’t defined there, but some Democrats, and even a few neoconservative Republicans, have called what Russia allegedly did, an ‘act of war’ against the U.S.; and, thus, ‘proportionate consequences’ in that context would be extremely profitable for firms such as Lockheed Martin — which donated more to Hillary Clinton than to any other politician in 2016. (That team lost. But President Trump nonetheless has gifted them enormously. Is he trying to buy them away from the Democrats?)

Or, do you instead trust the independent investigative journalist Robert Parry, who headlined, online-only, on June 29th, “NYT Finally Retracts Russia-gate Canard”? He noted that “The New York Times has finally admitted that one of the favorite Russia-gate canards – that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concurred on the assessment of Russian hacking of Democratic emails – is false.” He pointed out that only four intelligence agencies had signed onto that report, and that “the false claim [of ‘17’] has been used by Democrats and the mainstream media for months to brush aside any doubts about the foundation of the Russia-gate scandal and portray President Trump as delusional for doubting what all 17 intelligence agencies supposedly knew to be true.”

Furthermore, the independent washingtonsblog had headlined on June 23rd, “Russia Hacking Allegations Driven by a Serial Liar”, and took aim there against one of the Washington Post’s few identified sources demonizing Russia and Putin, Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan. This article said “Brennan is a proven, documented liar,” and then linked to numerous occasions in which Brennan had, demonstrably, lied, to Congress, and others. Then, the article closed:

Postscript: The other intelligence official behind many of the Russian hacking claims – James Clapper – is also a confirmed liar. And see this and this.

Clapper was yet another of the few named sources for the WP’s eight-thousand-word-plus featured article demonizing Putin and making him to blame for Trump’s being the current U.S. President.

The print and broadcast U.S. newsmedia (such as the WP) have portrayed as virtually certain, Vladimir Putin’s having wanted to sway, and the vague possibility that he might have swayed, the 2016 U.S. electoral outcome, and (some of them even say) perhaps even been the chief person who made Donald Trump President. The conclusion of these, the mainstream U.S. newsmedia, is that the U.S. government under President Trump needs to be far more aggressive against Russia than it is. They’re promoting: America needs more nuclear weapons, and more missiles to deliver them, and certainly needs more of the cloud-computer services that the owner of the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos (via his Amazon.com), supplies to the CIA and U.S. Pentagon. Lots more of that.

However, on June 30th, the top headline at the Republican Party’s Fox News Channel was “Sanders investigation: Bernie’s wife attempted to evict disabled group home residents, report claims” — nothing pertaining to Russia. It’s played down by Republican sites. They don’t defend Russia; they simply play down the entire issue.

America has two Parties, the Democrats, who used to be liberal but (due to America’s increasing corruption) have become only neoliberal and neoconservative (which are virtually the same); and the Republicans, who used to be aristocratic conservative but have become now populist conservative and aristocratic conservative (but both controlled by Republican aristocrats, and likewise virtually the same). Although extensive polling shows that the American public is none of those but mainly progressive, there is no longer representation for progressives in the U.S. federal government (except by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, one of the two members of the U.S. House who represents Hawaii — as a Democrat, and she had delivered the nominating speech for Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention in 2016).

The print and broadcast U.S. newsmedia say that this U.S. government is somehow a ‘democracy’, and that no question should be published to the contrary of such an allegation. What, then, is a “dictatorship,” if that government’s being a ‘democracy’ is not to be questioned? Is a “dictatorship” a government that’s imposed upon the public, rather than represents what the public wants? Is the U.S. such a government? Is Russia?

On 6 March 2016, the WP bannered, “How to understand Putin’s jaw-droppingly high approval ratings”, and opened, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has an 83 percent approval rating.” It found a way to blame Russian culture for this: In conversation with a Russian official who advises Putin, the WP reporter managed to quote (with no follow-up as to what he actually meant), “How can you understand what to do if you can’t understand the people?” This wasn’t taken by that reporter as a favorable reflection upon the Russian people. Yet, the article did not blame pollsters for Putin’s high rating: “The Kremlin is so ratings-conscious that it frequently commissions polls on the same topics from several firms simultaneously, pollsters said.” And, besides: “It is a development that has flummoxed Western nations and frustrated Russia’s motley band of oppositionists. Some of them say that Russians are too scared to speak their minds to pollsters. Others claim that the poll numbers are manipulated, although most Western polling firms arrive at similar figures.” It linked there to the Pew figures, which concerned only Russians’ satisfaction-level with Putin’s international policies, and which showed “Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) also express confidence in his ability to handle international affairs.” While the Pew survey asked questions about Russians’ satisfaction with the nation’s domestic affairs, no approval-rating for Putin was published by Pew on those matters — only the Kremlin itself, apparently, did that. But why would a ‘dictatorship’ be so concerned to satisfy the public? Isn’t that supposed to be the way a democracy is?

U.S. President Trump’s recent job-approval ratings range around 40%, with around 53% disapproval. At this time in his predecessor’s, Barack Obama’s, Presidency, it was closer to around 60% approval, 30% disapproval. No American President in modern times has had above 80% job-approval, except for George W. Bush, immediately after the 9/11 attacks (which resulted from his failure, or worse), and his father, immediately after the 1991 “Gulf War” forced Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait (which U.S. involvement was based not only on Saddam’s invasion but on U.S. lies, including the “Nurse Nayirah” hoax). Each of those two peaks above 80% was fleeting; Putin’s scoring above 80% is routine for him, because it’s based on his long-term performance, not on lies.

Furthermore, in terms of the performance of Russia’s economy under Putin, the results have been surprisingly higher than the forecasts, not only recently, but even before the economic sanctions were placed against Russia.

If a nation’s leader’s doing what that nation’s public wants that leader to do is a reflection of the degree to which that nation is a democracy, then a person would be hard-pressed to say that the U.S. is a ‘democracy’, and to say that Russia isn’t — unless that person is a propagandist for the U.S. government, of course (since no dictatorship calls itself a dictatorship; they’re all ‘democratic’). But, if a nation’s ‘news’media are propagandists for its government, then can that nation really be a democracy?

What else than that it’s not, can explain the fact that the most-preferred U.S. Presidential candidate in 2016 was actually the progressive Bernie Sanders, and that his Party’s leadership, the Democratic National Committee, rigged the primaries (and expert analyses also showed this, and more of this) so that his opponent, Hillary Clinton won the nomination? The DNC won the Democratic Party primaries. That’s a dictatorship. But, if this is the case, then doesn’t it likewise make sense that the ‘news’media that were propagandizing for the Democratic Party, would now be blaming Russia (bane of America’s aristocrats — the funders of America’s elections — both left and right), just as does Ms. Clinton herself? They won’t blame themselves unless they are forced to — and they’re not. Unfortunately, however, since all of America’s print and broadcast media (owned and controlled by aristocrats) support one or the other of the two Parties (and never any progressive), only a few independent online newsmedia, such as the present one, can publish this demonstrable fact.

And, consequently, the Americans who receive most of their ‘news’ from the print and broadcast media, are virtually mental slaves of the aristocrats who control those ‘news’media, and they cannot see outside their channeled tunnel, which was designed by agents of those aristocrats. A good example of this tunnel-vision is displayed by the passionate Democratic Party blogger, Joseph Cannon, whose Cannonfire blog headlined on June 24th, “Blame Obama”, and he took uncritically the WP’s “Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault”. He also, trustingly, quoted there other Party propagandists, who were saying, in response to that WP propaganda, such things as, “The idea that the Obama administration withheld the fact that the Russians were ratfcking the election in order to help elect a vulgar talking yam is a terrible condemnation of the whole No Drama Obama philosophy.” Now, they were starting to eat their own, in order not to see (nor acknowledge) that they’d been dupes all along — and not fools of Russia’s aristocracy nor leader, but only of America’s. For these fools, ‘democracy’ in the U.S. consisted only of the Democratic aristocracy, in its petty competition against the Republican aristocracy, to deceive and exploit the U.S. public. That’s not real progress. It’s more of the same, even when the Party-label gets switched — it is, in the real sense, a one-party government. This government doesn’t give the public what it wants; this regime gives them, instead, only what they will tolerate.

So, the operative standard here is no longer a government that the public approves, but instead one that they tolerate. The government is calibrated to meet this lower standard. It meets this standard because the oligarchs who control it are also in control of the ‘news’media. To control the ‘news’ that the public receives, is to control the public.

In order to understand how the U.S. came to be this way, I recommend, without reservation, the monumental 700-page fully documented 10-chapter book, and the mirroring 10-part documentary series, The Untold History of the United States, by historian Peter Kuznick, and documentarian Oliver Stone — a breakthrough account of the 20th Century that accurately exposes the history that America’s aristocracy (via their agents) have always kept hidden from the American public. The documentary presentation of this history is breathtaking, the best documentary I’ve seen. It can be purchased, but it is, at least now, also able to be viewed free online. Here are the first two chapters (and chapter 2 covers the most fatally important period, when WW II ended and the post-War world, starting with the Cold War, began):

1: https://vimeo.com/136182100

2: https://vimeo.com/136182101

I have separately published online an account of how the Cold War ended in 1991 on the Soviet side with the termination of the USSR and of its communism and of its Warsaw Pact military alliance, while U.S. President G.H.W. Bush privately instructed America’s allies, starting on the night of 24 February 1990, that the U.S.-NATO side would be secretly continuing the war against the rump remaining nation, Russia, until Russia itself is conquered and becomes a part of the U.S. empire. All U.S. Presidents afterward have been carrying out that plan. It’s crucial history, which in my opinion is not adequately explained elsewhere, and which needs to be known in order to be able to understand accurately U.S.-Russia relations after 1990. The Kuznick-Stone series only touches upon it, but is entirely accurate and displays the results of that plan, up till around 2012.

The remaining 8 chapters are also very gripping, because they display the way in which what is shown in chapter 2 has played out, extending right into Barack Obama’s first Administration. However, Obama was hiding his plans for crippling Russia, until his successful re-election, at which point he publicly exposed by his actions, that he actually agreed with Mitt Romney’s assertion made (and mocked by Obama) during the campaign, that “Russia, this is without question America’s number one geopolitical foe.” So, the history continues on after when Kuznick-Stone end. And here are the remaining 8 chapters of that:

3: https://vimeo.com/136256488

4: https://vimeo.com/143509988

5: https://vimeo.com/148421741

6: https://vimeo.com/151432899

7: https://vimeo.com/154794997

8: https://vimeo.com/album/3810613/video/159082231

9: https://vimeo.com/album/3810613/video/161845469

10: https://vimeo.com/album/3810613/video/162599340

I think that if America’s Founders, who wrote the Declaration of Independence and then topped it off with the U.S. Constitution, were to learn about this America, today, they would say: “We did not conquer the British aristocracy in order to establish our own. These people are usurpers; this is not the country that we founded.” Even merely reading the Preamble to the Constitution, the part of the document that asserts the public’s sovereignty here, makes this intention of the Founders absolutely clear. There has been in America a secret counter-Revolution, and it has succeeded. The U.S. today has the highest incarceration-rate in the world (except for Seychelles, whose total population is only 92,000). In China, “The total number of prisoners held, 1.6 million, is second to that of the United States despite its population being over four times larger.” But routinely, the U.S. ‘news’media treat China as a dictatorship, and the country they deceive as being ‘the land of the free’. Look at the chart there, “Incarcerated Americans, 1920-2014”: it shows that the prison-population was gradually rising (along with the nation’s population) until it reached a half-million around 1980, and then (starting with Reagan) just skyrocketed, to above two million in 2000, and it’s still above that, but no longer soaring; and that period, of around 1981-2002, also happens to be the very same period that the only scientific investigation into whether or not the U.S. is a democracy examined, and the study (which still is the only one ever done) found that the U.S. definitely is an aristocracy, not a democracy: it found that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.” The common word to refer to such a nation is that it’s an “oligarchy” or a nation that’s ruled by its aristocracy; or, in short (and the most ordinary term), the country is an “aristocracy” instead of a “democracy.” So: did America’s Founders conquer the British aristocracy in order to establish their own? The founding documents say no — this is not the country they founded. It is a very alien government, nothing of what the Founders had intended. It’s been stolen — removed from its foundation, to a very alien place.

This will be very difficult for Americans to believe, because we have been so inundated, for so long, by the lies from the American aristocracy. But, if a reader wants to explore and test-out in more detail the ramifications of this in a specific case — that of an American couple who lived and worked in Libya and travelled extensively throughout Libya until the U.S. and its allies destroyed that country in 2011, and who have presented their written account, “The truth about Gaddafi’s Libya, NATO’s bombing, and the Benghazi ‘consulate’ attack”, and who were then interviewed about it in a podcast, and who have, since at least 2014, been advertising their services as “housesitters” in Dallas — then, the reader will find, in that case, an account of America’s invasion of Libya that is almost diametrically the opposite of what Americans have been told, and the reader can then judge that test-case, by considering which historical narrative (the standard one, or this very opposite one) is the likelier one to be true. 

Whom do you trust — reporters such as Robert Parry and the writers at washingtonsblog and the “Signs of the Times” blog, or instead ones such as are employed by the Washington Post and by the New York Times? The answer will tell your politics. But if you click onto the sources here, you’ve now read a summary of what you will find. And it’s not what the owners of (and advertisers in) the mainstream media want you to believe. It is American samizdat.

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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.