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MSM Begs For Trust After Buzzfeed Debacle

MSM Begs For Trust After Buzzfeed Debacle

Following what the Washington Post has described as “the highest-profile misstep yet for a news organization during a period of heightened and intense scrutiny of the press,” mass media representatives are now flailing desperately for an argument as to why people should continue to place their trust in mainstream news outlets.

On Thursday Buzzfeed News delivered the latest “bombshell” Russiagate report to fizzle within 24 hours of its publication, a pattern that is now so consistent that I’ve personally made a practice of declining to comment on such stories until a day or two after their release. “BOOM!” tweets were issued by #Resistance pundits on Twitter, “If true this means X, Y and Z” bloviations were made on mass media punditry panels, and for about 20 hours Russiagaters everywhere were riding the high of their lives, giddy with the news that President Trump had committed an impeachable felony by ordering Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a proposed Trump office tower in Moscow, a proposal which died within weeks and the Kremlin never touched.

There was reason enough already for any reasonable person to refrain from frenzied celebration, including the fact that the story’s two authors, Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier, were giving the press two very different accounts of the information they’d based it on, with Cormier telling CNN that he had not personally seen the evidence underlying his report and Leopold telling MSNBC that he had. Both Leopold and Cormier, for the record, have already previously suffered a Russiagate faceplantwith the clickbait viral story that Russia had financed the 2016 election, burying the fact that it was a Russian election.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Trump’s Syrian Withdrawal Really Reveals

What Trump’s Syrian Withdrawal Really Reveals

A wise decision is greeted by denunciations, obstructionism, imperial thinking, and more Russia-bashing.

“Everything Is Fake”: Ex-Reddit CEO Confirms Internet Traffic Metrics Are Bullshit

“It’s all true: Everything is fake,” tweeted Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao regarding a Wednesday New York Magazine article which reveals that internet traffic metrics from some of the largest tech companies are overstated or fabricated. In other words; they’re bullshit.

Pao was responding to a tweet by the Washington Post‘s Aram Zucker-Schariff, quoting the following segment of the article:

The metrics are fake.

Take something as seemingly simple as how we measure web traffic. Metrics should be the most real thing on the internet: They are countable, trackable, and verifiable, and their existence undergirds the advertising business that drives our biggest social and search platforms. Yet not even Facebook, the world’s greatest data–gathering organization, seems able to produce genuine figures. In October, small advertisers filed suit against the social-media giant, accusing it of covering up, for a year, its significant overstatements of the time users spent watching videos on the platform (by 60 to 80 percent, Facebook says; by 150 to 900 percent, the plaintiffs say). According to an exhaustive list at MarketingLand, over the past two years Facebook has admitted to misreporting the reach of posts on Facebook Pages (in two different ways), the rate at which viewers complete ad videos, the average time spent reading its “Instant Articles,” the amount of referral traffic from Facebook to external websites, the number of views that videos received via Facebook’s mobile site, and the number of video views in Instant Articles.

Can we still trust the metrics? After the Inversion, what’s the point? Even when we put our faith in their accuracy, there’s something not quite real about them: My favorite statistic this year was Facebook’s claim that 75 million people watched at least a minute of Facebook Watch videos every day —

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Commits To “Indefinite” Occupation Of Syria; Controls Region The Size Of Croatia

“We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation” — a Syrian resident in US-controlled Raqqa told Stars and Stripes military newspaper. This as the Washington Post noted this week that “U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts.”

US forces in Syria, via ABC News

Like the “forever war” in Afghanistan, will we be having the same discussion over the indefinite occupation of Syria stretching two decades from now? A new unusually frank assessment in Stars and Stripes bluntly lays out the basic facts concerning the White House decision to “stay the course” until the war’s close:

That decision puts U.S. troops in overall control, perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria, a vast expanse of mostly desert terrain roughly the size of Louisiana.

The Pentagon does not say how many troops are there. Officially, they number 503, but earlier this year an official let slip that the true number may be closer to 4,000.

A prior New Yorker piece described the US-occupied area east of the Euphrates as “an area about the size of Croatia.” With no Congressional vote, no public debate, and not even so much as an official presidential address to the nation, the United States is settling in for another endless occupation of sovereign foreign soil while relying on the now very familiar post-911 AUMF fig leaf of “legality”.

Like the American public and even some Pentagon officials of late have been pointing out for years regarding Afghanistan, do US forces on the ground even know what the mission is? The mission may be undefined and remain ambiguously to “counter Iran”, yet the dangers and potential for major loss in blood and treasure loom larger than ever.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

MSM Is Getting Weirder, More Frantic, And More Desperate By The Day

MSM Is Getting Weirder, More Frantic, And More Desperate By The Day

When even the Washington Post is saying your Russiagate article is bad journalism, your Russiagate article is really, really bad journalism.

In an article titled “The Guardian offered a bombshell story about Paul Manafort. It still hasn’t detonated.”, WaPo writer Pul Farhi draws attention to the fact that it has been a week since the Guardian published a claim that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met repeatedly with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, without any evidence backing up the claim, using solely anonymous sources, and despite the claims contradicting known records of Assange’s guests at the Ecuadorian embassy. Criticism and demands for answers have been growing louder and louder from both friends and enemies of WikiLeaks, with new plot holes opening up in the Guardian‘s narrative daily, and the scandal is now moving into mainstream awareness.

And the Guardian remains silent, with its editor-in-chief Katharine Viner refusing to utter so much as a peep of defense this entire time. The only comment the publication has issued has been repeated day after day verbatim to every news outlet which writes about this bizarre occurrence: “This story relied on a number of sources. We put these allegations to both Paul Manafort and Julian Assange’s representatives prior to publication. Neither responded to deny the visits taking place. We have since updated the story to reflect their denials.” Which is basically just implying that they can print any libelous nonsense they want about anyone if their denials aren’t sent to the proper email address on time.

This, clearly, is bananas.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Deadliest Operation 

The Deadliest Operation 

Choose your battles wisely.

One month to the day after President Kennedy’s assassination, the Washington Post published an article by former president Harry Truman.

I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA. At least, I would like to submit here the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency during my Administration, what I expected it to do and how it was to operate as an arm of the President.

Truman had envisioned the CIA as an impartial information and intelligence collector from “every available source.”

But their collective information reached the President all too frequently in conflicting conclusions. At times, the intelligence reports tended to be slanted to conform to established positions of a given department. This becomes confusing and what’s worse, such intelligence is of little use to a President in reaching the right decisions.

Therefore, I decided to set up a special organization charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without department “treatment” or interpretations.

I wanted and needed the information in its “natural raw” state and in as comprehensive a volume as it was practical for me to make full use of it. But the most important thing about this move was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions—and I thought it was necessary that the President do his own thinking and evaluating.

Truman found, to his dismay, that the CIA had ranged far afield.

For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Guardian Faceplants As Manafort’s Passport Stamps Don’t Match “Fabricated” Assange Story

Further evidence that The Guardian “entirely fabricated” a report that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort visited Julian Assange in 2013, 2015 and the spring of 2016; his passports…

The Washington Times reports that Manafort’s three passports reveal just two visits to England in 2010 and 2012, which support his categorical denial of the “totally false and deliberately libelous” report in The Guardian, which said that Manafort visited Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy – ostensibly to coordinate on the WikiLeaks release of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The Times does note that Manafort could have conceivably entered the UK from another European country and not received a stamp – however a representative for Manafort insisted to the Times that Manafort has only made those two visits to England since 2008, and that a libel suit against the Guardian is under discussion.

While two of Manafort’s passports were entered as evidence at his tax evasion trial – something that The Guardian‘s Luke Harding and Dan Collyns could have easily looked up – the Times has obtained a copy of his third passport which confirms the two visits.

His attorney explained the passports this way: One was lost, one was used to submit to foreign embassies for visas, and one was used as a backup. Manafort later found the third passport. –Washington Times

WikiLeaks immediately fired back at The Guardian – betting the paper “a million dollars and its editor’s head that Manafort never met Assange.” 


WikiLeaks
@wikileaks

Remember this day when the Guardian permitted a serial fabricator to totally destroy the paper’s reputation. @WikiLeaks is willing to bet the Guardian a million dollars and its editor’s head that Manafort never met Assange. https://archive.fo/pUjrj 

Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy | US ne…

archived 27 Nov 2018 14:26:32 UTC

archive.fo

WikiLeaks
@wikileaks

This is going to be one of the most infamous news disasters since Stern published the “Hitler Diaries”.


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the media encourages – and sustains – political warfare

Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has been waging war against the American press by dismissing unfavorable reports as “fake news” and calling the media “the enemy of the American people.”

As a countermeasure, The Washington Post has publicly fact-checked every claim that Trump has labeled as fake. In August, The Boston Globe coordinated editorials from newspapers across the nation to push back against Trump’s attacks on the press. The Associated Press characterized this effort as the declaration of a “war of words” against Trump.

News organizations might frame themselves as the besieged party in this “war.” But what if they’re as much to blame as the president in this back-and-forth? And what if readers are to blame as well?

In an unpublished manuscript titled “The War of Words,” the late rhetorical theorist and cultural critic Kenneth Burke cast the media as agents of political warfare. In 2012, we found this manuscript in Burke’s papers and, after working closely with Burke’s family and the University of California Press, it will be published in October 2018.

In “The War of Words,” Burke urges readers to recognize the role they also play in sustaining polarization. He points to how seemingly innocuous features in a news story can actually compromise values readers might hold, whether it’s debating the issues further, finding points of consensus, and, ideally, avoiding war.

A book born out of the Cold War

In 1939 – just before Adolf Hitler invaded Poland – Burke wrote an influential essay, “The Rhetoric of Hitler’s ‘Battle,’” in which he outlined how Hitler had weaponized language to foment antipathy, scapegoat Jews and unite Germans against a common enemy.

After World War II ended and America’s leaders turned their attention to the Soviet Union, Burke saw some parallels to Hitler in the way language was being weaponized in the U.S.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Killing Journalists Is Wrong When the Saudis Do It — and When the United States Does It, Too

Killing Journalists Is Wrong When the Saudis Do It — and When the United States Does It, Too

Fatima Ayyoub (top R), 4, daughter of Jordanian Al Jazeera correspondent Tareq Ayyoub, is seen next to pictures of her father with Naeem Ayoub (L), father of Tareq Ayyoub, during a protest outside the Al Jazeera office in Amman Novmber 24, 2005. Ayyoub was a victim of a missile attack that hit the Al Jazeera bureau in Baghdad on April 8, 2003. Britain has warned media organisations they are breaking the law if they publish details of a leaked document said to show U.S. President George W. Bush wanted to bomb Arabic television station Al Jazeera. REUTERS/Majed Jaber - RP2DSFHMGFADTareq Ayoub’s daughter, Fatima, 4, and father, Naeem Ayoub, during a protest outside the Al Jazeera office in Amman on Nov. 24, 2005.

Photo: Majed Jaber/Reuters

WHAT LESSON SHOULD be learned from the brutal murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi and the ongoing geopolitical fallout from his death? That governments cannot be allowed to kill journalists with impunity, correct? Everyone from the secretary general of the United Nations to hawkish Republican senators have lined up to make this point and to express their concern and anger.

But is this a lesson that only applies to Middle Eastern dictatorships? Or to Western democracies, too? The United States, perhaps? The reason I ask is that we all now know the name of Arab journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but very few of us know the name of Arab journalist Tareq Ayoub.

The difference between them? An unelected crown prince in the Gulf is blamed for killing Khashoggi, while an elected president of the United States has been blamed for killing Ayoub.

We rightly demand justice in the case of Khashoggi, so why not in the case of Ayoub?

On the morning of April 8, 2003, less than three weeks after U.S. President George W. Bush ordered the illegal invasion of Iraq, Al Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayoub was on the rooftop of his network’s Baghdad bureau. The 35-year-old Palestinian from Jordan and his Iraqi cameraperson, Zoheir Nadhim, were reporting live on a pitched battle between U.S. and Iraqi forces for control of the capital. It was just three days after Ayoub had arrived in the country.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

There Is No Good Kind of Nationalism

There Is No Good Kind of Nationalism

Trump is for nationalism. So the “Resistance” is predictably for . . . wait for it . . . the right kind of nationalism — or nationalism worn properly, as The Week advises. The problem isn’t nationalism, The Hill informs us, it’s phony nationalism and spurious nationalism, or as the Washington Post explains along with CNN, the problem is actually white nationalism. Of course, white nationalism is a problem, but not just because it’s white — also because of the nationalism. Unless you read Esquire which comes up with the oh-so-novel pronouncement that nationalism is indeed bad, but patriotism is good.

Excuse me. I’m sorry. This is why the Resistance doesn’t resist. This is why people offering flags and manure win. The loyal opposition is offering smaller flags, manure, and air fresheners.

What’s wrong with nationalism, you ask. Can’t I love a location? Can’t I care for my loved ones? Must I hate babies and apple pie? What is wrong with you?

Well, if you love your town why not try out townism? Does your town have a flag? An anthem? Can you perform the proper rituals? Why not? You’re not a traitor, are you? Did Putin hire you to tear up treaties with Russia, and sanction Russia, and take over markets from . . . oh, forget it.

Do you love your state? Your region? Your continent? Well why aren’t you insisting on all of those isms? I’ll tell you why. Because they aren’t needed. It’s not that they aren’t needed because those levels of collective identity aren’t associated with war machines. Rather it is that nationalism consists of association with a war machine, identification with that war machine, and belief that you and your war machine are superior to others.

Well, can’t that be a harmless private matter?

Some have seriously tried to make that case, and I’ve found it completely unconvincing.[i]

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?

Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?

The Saudi “investigation” into the Khashoggi murder, conducted on the demand of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is not yet complete. But preliminary conclusions have been announced in the Saudi media. Turns out (surprise, surprise!) Khashoggi died while in a choke-hold following a fist-fight in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in a botched effort to detain him.

Asked Saturday in Arizona if he found the Saudi account credible, Donald Trump said that he did, praising the investigation as “a very important first step and it happened sooner that people thought it would happen”—as though its timing had not been determined by Pompeo’s pressure.

“I think it’s a good first step, it’s a big step,” the president repeated (as the world sighed). “Saudi Arabia has been a great ally,” he added, like that was relevant. Then in an interview with the Washington Post he indicated that he felt Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman may have learned of the murder only after the fact. He went out of his way to praise the prince—his son-in-law Jared’s good buddy. He actually said he’d “love it” if the prince was not responsible.

This raises the real prospect of the administration—which according to the Post demands a “mutually agreeable explanation” from Riyadh—signing on to a narrative radically different from that provided by Turkish police. According to the latter,  the Saudi court ordered the gruesome murder in the consulate on Oct. 2.  It dispatched 15 assassins including members of MbS’s personal security detail and the kingdom’s top forensic doctor equipped with a bone-saw to execute the deed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Skripal and Khashoggi: West Manufactures Absurd Fantasy to Pin on Russia, Lets Saudi Get Away With Chopping up WaPo Journalist Alive

Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry by Western governments and media over the Skripal affair was deafening and resulted in Britain, the US and some 28 other countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats on the back of unsubstantiated British allegations that the Kremlin tried to assassinate an exiled spy with a deadly nerve agent. The Trump administration has further tightened sanctions citing the Skripal incident.

London’s case against Moscow has been marked by wild speculation and ropey innuendo. No verifiable evidence of what actually happened to Sergei Skripal (67) and his daughter Yulia has been presented by the British authorities. Their claim that President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a hit squad armed with nerve poison relies on sheer conjecture.

All we know for sure is that the Skripals have been disappeared from public contact by the British authorities for more than seven months, since the mysterious incident of alleged poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.

Russian authorities and family relatives have been steadfastly refused any contact by London with the Skripal pair, despite more than 60 official requests from Moscow in accordance with international law and in spite of the fact that Yulia is a citizen of the Russian Federation with consular rights.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Be Skeptical Whenever The Political/Media Class Converges On A Single Narrative

Be Skeptical Whenever The Political/Media Class Converges On A Single Narrative

The Trump administration has ended its weeks-long silence on the disappearance of the Saudi Arabian Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Following a briefing from Secretary of State Pompeo who has just returned from a visit to Riyadh and Ankara, the president has said that contrary to some hopeful speculation that had emerged early on after his disappearance, Khashoggi does indeed appear to have been killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. If it is determined that the Saudis were responsible, Trump warned that there will be “very severe” consequences. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin has announced that he will not be attending the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh next week.

I’ve been following this story with some interest, but I haven’t been writing about it until now. This is one of those rare stories that has drawn the focus of both mainstream and alternative media, the latter because it’s seen as an opportunity to criticize the west’s extremely immoral involvement in the depraved activities of a murderous theocracy, and because it’s an opportunity to attack the hypocrisy of the establishment in decrying the murder of a single man while ignoring Saudi Arabia’s far more unconscionable behavior like its war crimes in Yemen and facilitation of bloodshed in Syria. Killing one man is very, very far from the top of the list of the most horrific things Saudi Arabia has done; criticizing them for that is like criticizing Henry Kissinger for not tipping well at restaurants.

The dominant anti-establishment criticism of the mainstream coverage of this story has been that they’re only upset at the Saudi royals now because their bloodshed finally touched a member of the political/media class, who are meant to be untouchable. And hey, that could be it, who knows.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Arabian Game of Thrones Heats Up

The Arabian Game of Thrones Heats Up

The Arabian Game of Thrones Heats Up

The reported torture, murder, and dismemberment of Washington-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate-general in Istanbul reminded the world that an intense power play is now taking place within the monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula and between them.

In November 2017, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the arrest and detention at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton Hotel of over 200 members of the Saudi royal family, including eleven rival princes, as well as government ministers and influential businessmen. That came after an October 2017 meeting in Riyadh between MBS and Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, conclave that lasted well into the early morning hours. At the meeting, Kushner is said to have turned over to MBS a list of the names of the Crown Prince’s opponents: leading figures of the Saudi royal house, government, and major businesses. The list may have also contained the name “Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi.”

The list of Saudi names was, reportedly, compiled by Kushner from top secret special code word documents he had specifically requested from the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency. The documents were specifically requested by Kushner, not because he was an expert in communications intercepts, but because he likely had a control officer who told him what files to obtain. The Kushner family have longstanding ties to the Israeli Likud Party, as well as the Mossad intelligence service. The Mossad enjoys a close working relationship with the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate, which is now firmly committed to MBS after a previous purge of its upper ranks following MBS’s rise to the heir apparent position in the House of Saud.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Khashoggi Extortion Fiasco:

The Khashoggi Extortion Fiasco:

A mystifying diplomatic escalation ensued following the disappearance of Saudi Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Why would the United States of America make such a fuss over the disappearance of a non-American citizen? Why would America turn a blind eye to the Saudi killing of thousands of Yemeni civilians and the starving of millions others and then make “threats” against Saudi Arabia after one single Saudi journalist disappeared and has presumably been murdered by Saudi authorities?

And since when did Erdogan worry about human rights? After all, this is the same man whose army has committed countless atrocities against Syria and Turkish Kurds.

And the repercussions did not stop at the official level. Even Western business leaders are cancelling trade deals with Saudi Arabia and asking its government for explanations. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/business-leaders-cancel-saudi-events-ask-crown-prince-mohammed-bin-salman-for-info-on-jamal-khashoggi-disappearance/

Let us not forget that America does not only ignore the war on Yemen, but it also assists the Saudis and supplies them with arms and intelligence. What’s behind the sudden U-turn? Why would the President of the United States of America be personally involved in this? https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/11/donald-trump-demands-answers-saudi-arabia-missing-journalistjamalkhashoggi/

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has a long history of persecuting dissidents and suppressing any opposition. So once again, why was Khashoggi singled out in this instance to become such a person of interest to the USA? His status as a journalist and columnist for Washington Post certainly does not answer this question.

And back to Erdogan, the man who reached the cliff-edge with America on a number of strategic and trade issues, why would he be concerned about the “murder” of a foreign journalist allegedly at the hand of his own government? According to the story, the “murder” was committed at the Saudi Consulate, and technically, Turkey has no jurisdiction within this diplomatic precinct albeit it is within Turkey.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

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