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MSNBC hires former FBI attorney Lisa Page as legal analyst

RT | June 6, 2020

Lisa Page, the FBI lawyer whose leaked anti-Trump text messages with another federal agent indicated deep-seated bias in the Russiagate probe, has been hired as an analyst at MSNBC, drawing jeers and praise alike.

Announcing the move on Friday, MSNBC said Page had been brought on as a national security and legal analyst after making her debut on the channel’s ‘Deadline: White House’ program. Wasting little time before weighing in on the decision, President Donald Trump deemed it a “total disgrace!”

Page rose to fame in 2017 after a series of text messages with FBI agent Peter Strzok – with whom she was then having an affair – were leaked, showing the two bureau employees disparaging Donald Trump, who had not yet won the Oval Office at the time. In one of the messages, Strzok told Page that “we can’t… risk” a Trump presidency, describing an “insurance policy” that was apparently meant either to guarantee he never got elected or to have a back-up plan in case he did. Due to his apparent bias, Strzok was removed from the special counsel probe into Trump’s alleged ties to Moscow following the leaks, while Page later left the bureau on her own accord.

Much like the president, critics online have also castigated MSNBC for the hiring decision, with some poking fun at her credentials as a “non-partisan” and “impartial” analyst.

Page is not the first MSNBC hiree to feature prominently in the Trump-Russia probe following the 2016 election, with jobs also handed to Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan and Andrew Weissmann – who the New York Times described as former special counsel Robert Mueller’s “pit bull.”

June 6, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 3 Comments

Court rejects OAN suit over MSNBC host Rachel Maddow’s claim about ‘Russian propaganda’

‘Rhetorical hyperbole’ and NOT FACT

© Global Look /ZUMA Press /Michael Brochstein
RT | May 23, 2020

A US judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit by One America News Network against MSNBC over Rachel Maddow’s claims that OAN was “literally” Russian propaganda, ruling that her segment was merely “an opinion” and “exaggeration.”

OAN sued the liberal talk show host and MSNBC for defamation, demanding over $10 million in damages, back in September 2019. The lawsuit was based on the July 22 episode of The Rachel Maddow Show, where Maddow launched a scathing broadside against the conservative television network, labeling it “the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America” and “really literally paid Russian propaganda.”

In the segment, Maddow cited a story by The Daily Beast’s Kevin Poulsen about OAN’s Kristian Rouz, who has previously contributed to Sputnik as a freelance author. Toeing the general US mainstream line on the Russian media, be it Sputnik or RT, Poulsen branded the Russian news agency “the Kremlin’s official propaganda outlet” and said Rouz was once on its “payroll.”

Shortly after MSNBC’s star talent peddled the claim, OAN rejected the allegations as “utterly and completely false.” The outlet, which is owned by the Herring Networks, a small California-based family company, said that it “has never been paid or received a penny from Russia or the Russian government,” with its only funding coming from the Herring family.

In their bid to win the case, Maddow herself, MSNBC, Comcast Corporation and NBCUniversal Media did not address the accusation itself – namely, that her claim about OAN was false – but opted to invoke the First Amendment, insisting that the rant should be protected as free speech.

Siding with Maddow, the California district court defined Maddow’s show as a mix of “news and opinions,” concluding that the manner in which the progressive host blurted out the accusations “makes it more likely that a reasonable viewer would not conclude that the contested statement implies an assertion of objective fact.”

“The statement constitutes opinion and rhetorical hyperbole protected under the First Amendment.”

The court said that while Maddow “truthfully” related the story by the Daily Beast, the statement about OAN being funded by the Kremlin was her “opinion” and “exaggeration” of the said article.

While the legal trick helped Maddow to get off the hook without ever trying to defend her initial statement, conservative commentators on social media wasted no time in pointing out that dodging a payout to OAN literally meant admitting that Maddow was not, in fact, news.

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

The Case of General Michael Flynn: The Use of Law as a Political Weapon

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute for Political Economy | May 20, 2020

The audacious corruption of the FBI and the US Department of Justice (sic) is demonstrated by their frame-up of the three-star general, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump.

US Department of Justice (DOJ) documents that the department was forced to turn over to General Michael Flynn’s attorney reveal that the FBI found no wrongdoing by Flynn in its investigation of him and recommended the investigation be closed. Corrupt FBI official Peter Strzok, a leader of the anti-Trump cabal in the FBI, intervened. Strzok convinced the official managing the investigation not to close the case as it was the wishes of the “7th floor” (top FBI officials) to keep the case open. In the absence of evidence against Flynn, released FBI documents prove that the FBI leadership decided to frame General Flynn. The documents reveal that the FBI’s plan is “to get him (Flynn) to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired. . . . we should try to frame them in a way we want.” General Flynn was forced to incriminate himself with a guilty plea. Otherwise, the corrupt DOJ prosecutors threatened to indict Flynn’s son.

When this proof of egregious government misconduct came to light, the DOJ had no choice but to drop the case against General Flynn. Otherwise it would be clear that law in the US is a weapon in the hands of government. This would mean that control of government would be a life and death matter for the two political parties as it is in Ecuador and Bolivia where incoming presidents arrest or attempt to arrest outgoing presidents.

But we didn’t hear a word about the frame-up of General Flynn from the corrupt presstitutes. On May 7 the editorial board of the New York Times published the largest and most egregious collection of lies in the entire history of the disreputable organization. The editorial— “Don’t Forget, Michael Flynn Pleaded Guillty. Twice.” —claimed the lies coerced from Flynn proved Flynn’s guilt, and that Attorney General William Barr is a “personal fixer for the president” and used the Department of Justice to protect friends and to go after political enemies.

The New York Times has it backwards. Going after political enemies is precisely what the Obama Regime’s concocted case against General Flynn (and Trump) was all about. Remember, it was General Flynn who said on television that it was a “willful decision” of the Obama Regime to send the mercenary jihadists to attack Syria, a decision Obama made in the face of contrary advice by General Flynn, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. When Flynn revealed this, it blew up the fake news story spread by the Obama Regime and the presstitutes that the Obama-supported invasion of Syria by CIA mercenaries was an uprising by Syrian moderates fighting for democracy. Flynn’s blood is blood that the corrupt Obama Regime wanted very badly.

Obama’s role in the frame-up of Flynn and the orchestration of the Russiagate hoax is now coming to light, making the former president nervous. On May 10 the Wall Street Journal editorial board asked if Obama’s nerves are getting in the way of his judgment:

“Barack Obama is a lawyer, so it was stunning to read that he ventured into the Michael Flynn case in a way that misstated the supposed crime and ignored the history of his own Administration in targeting Mr. Flynn. Since the former President chose to offer his legal views when he didn’t need to, we wonder what he’s really worried about.”

The Democrats’ frame-up of General Flynn and their two attempted frame-ups of President Trump show an extraordinary audacity and a corruptly compliant FBI and DOJ. They thought that they could get away with it, and, of course, they had all the help possible from the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and the rest of the presstitute scum for whom lies are the currency of their fake news realm. The presstitutes have made clear that the US media is devoid of integrity.

After high officials such as James Clapper, Susan Rice, Samatha Power, and others repeatedly claimed evidence of Trump and Flynn’s guilt, when under oath their story changed 180 degrees. Here is Director of National Intelligence James Clapper:

“I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election.”

Susan Rice, Obama’s incompetent National Security Adviser, and Samatha Power, Obama’s Russia-baiting ambassador to the UN, along with the rest of the disreputable Obama cabal, have admitted that they saw no specific evidence of any collusion between Trump and Russia. The entire thing was an orchestrated hoax that proves beyond all doubt that the Democrat Party and the US media are corrupt beyond redemption.

When the case against Flynn was dropped as a result of the damning evidence of egregious government misconduct in framing a senior official of the US government, the corrupt prosecutors who had prosecuted the innocent Flynn all resigned in a huff, pretending that it was Barr, not them, who used the Department of Justice for self-interested political purpose.

Two Georgetown University law professors, Kean K. Katyal and Joshua A. Geltzer, totally discredited themselves and the Obama contingent in the DOJ, by alleging in the New York Times that the dropped charge against Flynn has resulted in the “utter demoralization” of “the law enforcement community.” In other words, for these law professors and “the law enforcement community” for which they claim to speak, dropping a case consisting entirely of an orchestrated frame-up, a contrived perjury trap, and threats against family members is demoralizing. The professors are so thoroughly dishonest that they use the lies coerced from Flynn—the price of his “cooperation with the investigation” in order that his son would not also be framed-up—as “evidence” of Flynn’s guilt and proof of the political use of the Justice Department by Trump and Barr in dropping the contrived case.

The frame-up of Flynn is not acknowledged by the law professors as political use of the Justice Department.

Instead the law professors describe the vindication of an innocent man on the basis of undeniable evidence as political use of the Justice Department.

If this is the kind of law Georgetown University teaches, the law school should be promptly shut down.

The question that demands an answer is how do people as corrupt and devoid of integrity as Comey, Mueller, and Strzok get into top FBI positions?

May 20, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Former Obama Official Criticized After Classified Testimony Contradicts Her Public Statements

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By Jonathan Turley | May 11, 2020

The long-delayed release of testimony from the House Intelligence Committee has proved embarrassing for a variety of former Obama officials who have been extensively quoted on the allegedly strong evidence of collusion by the Trump campaign and the Russians. Figures like James Clapper, who is a CNN expert, long indicated that the evidence from the Obama Administration was strong and alarming. However, in testimony, Clapper denied seeing any such evidence. One of the most embarrassing is the testimony of Evelyn Farkas, a former Obama Administration official who was widely quoted in her plea to Congress to gather the evidence that she knew was found in by the Obama Administration. In her testimony under oath Farkas repeatedly stated that she knew of no such evidence of collusion.

Farkas, who served as the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, was widely quoted when she said on MSNBC in 2017 that she feared that evidence she knew about would be destroyed by the Trump Administration. She stated:

“was urging my former colleagues, and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill… Get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration, because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior people that left. So it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy . . . the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their, the staff, the Trump staff’s dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. So I became very worried, because not enough was coming out into the open, and I knew that there was more.”

MSNBC never seriously questioned the statements despite the fact that Farkas left the Obama Administration in 2015 before any such investigation could have occurred. As we have seen before, the factual and legal basis for such statements are largely immaterial in the age of echo journalism. The statement fit the narrative even if it lacked any plausible basis.

Not surprisingly, the House Intelligence Committee was eager to have Farkas share all that she stated she “knew about [“the Trump folks”], their staff, the Trump’s staff’s dealing with Russian” and wanted to get “into the open.” After all, she told MSNBC that “I knew that there was more.”

She was finally put under oath in the closed classified sessions and there was nothing but classified crickets. Farkas was repeatedly asked to share that information that electrified the MSNBC hosts and audience. She repeatedly denied any such knowledge, telling then Rep. Trey Gowdy (R, S.C.), “I didn’t know anything.”

Gowdy noted that Farkas left the Obama administration in 2015 and asked “Then how did you know?” She repeated again “I didn’t know anything.”

Gowdy then asked “Well, then why would you say, we knew?”

Gowdy later asked, getting to the point “You also didn’t know whether or not anybody in the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia, did you?”

“I didn’t,” Farkas responded.

MSNBC has said nothing about its prior headline story being untrue. Indeed, the media has barely acknowledged that the new documents reinforce that there was never any evidence of collusion and ultimately the allegations were rejected by the Special Counsel, Congress, and inspectors general.

For her part, Farkas has moved on. She is running for Congress. She is still citing her role in raising “the alarm” about Russian collusion:

“After I left the Obama administration, I campaigned to help elect Secretary Clinton as our next President. When Russians interfered in that election, I was among the first to sound the alarm and urge Congress to take action. And I haven’t let up since then.”

She was indeed one of the first but it proved to be a false alarm based on nonexistent knowledge. Does that matter anymore?

May 11, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 5 Comments

Russiagate returns: MSM ecstatically exploit evidence-free NYT claim Moscow ‘helping Trump in 2020’

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | February 21, 2020

The same media that flogged the insane ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory for years are resurrecting that particular dead horse, in what appears to be an effort to stop the White House from cleaning up the US intelligence community.

“Russia is aiding President Trump in the 2020 election, intelligence officials told lawmakers,” the New York Times blared on Thursday, adding that President Donald Trump berated the acting Director of National
How nice of the Times to prove Trump’s (alleged) point, then – and with a story that relies entirely on anonymous, unverifiable sources no less. It’s just like the early 2017 stuff about the “Trump-Putin dossier” on which the president-elect was briefed by FBI chief Jim Comey and DNI James Clapper, only for this to immediately leak to the #Resistance press, and set the stage for years of “Russian collusion” investigations.

Sure, the ‘Russiagate’ nonsense failed to stop Trump from getting elected or being sworn in, just like it failed to provide a pretext for his impeachment, so the Democrats had to make one up with the Ukraine phone call. That doesn’t mean they can’t try again, though!

MSNBC – which never recanted its Russiagate reporting – immediately blared the Times report as breaking news. CNN went a step further, calling on Clapper to comment on the story – yes, the very same former spook who brazenly lied to Congress about spying on Americans, co-authored the infamous “intelligence community assessment” claiming Russia was meddling in the 2016 election, and claimed Russians were “genetically driven” to subvert the US.

In what surely speaks volumes by itself, the story was uncritically amplified by the Washington Post’s chief fact checker.

Notice that all of this is happening just a day after nearly every single mainstream Western outlet outright misinterpreted a quote – in exactly the same way – from a court hearing about WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, because it fit their narrative about “Russian meddling.”

This new alleged “bombshell” also comes a day after Trump named trusted envoy Richard Grenell to oversee the ODNI – Clapper’s old beat – causing much wailing and gnashing of the teeth among the #Resistance and NeverTrumper types.

Could it be that they’re just a tiny bit nervous Grenell might clean house of all the “resistance” types that have acted for years on the self-righteous conviction that they, not the elected president, should run US policy? Folks like Clapper, Comey, CIA chief John Brennan, or the “whistleblower”-who-must-not-be-named who initiated the Ukrainegate fiasco, for example.

While normal, sane people may think that ‘Russiagate’ was a failure – and on its face, it was – it did actually manage to accomplish two major things. One was to validate the Trump Derangement Syndrome of the mainstream media and the Democrats, eventually encouraging them to believe they could actually impeach him. We all know how that ended.

The other, and perhaps more important, was to provide cover for all the people involved in the spying on Trump’s campaign, illegal FISA wiretaps and “unmaskings” of names, perjury traps, trumped-up prosecutions, letting Hillary Clinton off the hook for private email server use, and whatever actually happened to the DNC computers that got blamed on Russia.

Those people now have lucrative book deals or cushy jobs in the media and think tanks, rather than being charged with plotting a coup and being locked up in a federal penitentiary – even as they bleat how “no one is above the law.” Funny how Washington works, isn’t it?

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Linguist Refutes MSNBC Host Maddow’s Defense in ‘Russian Propaganda’ Defamation Suit

Sputnik – December 4, 2019

A Santa Barbara linguist may have just dealt the coup de grace to MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow’s legal defense in a suit brought against her by One America News (OAN) alleging defamation when she claimed the network “really literally is paid Russian propaganda.”

Maddow did not use any typical opinion-markers when she stated that OAN ‘really literally is paid Russian propaganda,’” Amnon Siegel, a lawyer for OAN owner Herring Networks, wrote in response to a motion to throw out the suit made by Maddow’s lawyers in late October.

Siegel retained UC Santa Barbara linguistics professor Stefan Thomas Gries, one of the most widely cited cognitive linguists in the world, as an expert witness for the legal filing, reported the Times of San Diego, which broke the story Monday.Noting that Maddow consistently uses markers such as “I mean” and “I guess,” as well as changes in intonation to distinguish her opinions from facts, Gries said in the filing that “there are virtually no lexical, grammatical, or intonational characteristics” that would lead viewers to conclude her statement was an opinion.

“In a highly-structured and transparent way, Maddow separates informational/factual reporting and opinion in a way that marks it as factual,” he noted. “It is very unlikely that an average or reasonable/ordinary viewer would consider the sentence in question to be a statement of opinion.”

“She is a graduate of Stanford and Oxford Universities and a Rhodes Scholar,” Siegel said of Maddow. Noting that misusing the word “literally” isn’t in the reporter’s repertoire, Siegel pointed out that ”on the show, Maddow regularly uses ‘literally’ in its primary meaning,” providing several supporting examples.According to the Times, Siegel supplied Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary definitions of “really” and “literally” as supporting evidence in his filing, alongside nearly three dozen references to state and federal courts citations and statutes.

In the segment in question, which aired on July 22, 2019, the MSNBC host blasted OAN for employing Kristian Brunovich Rouz, a former contributor to Sputnik News and a perennial favorite target for Maddow’s Russiagate crusade. Herring lawyers brought the $10 million suit in September.

Maddow lawyer Theodore J. “Ted” Boutrous Jr. has tried to parry the accusations by claiming his client’s use of the word “literally” was “a quintessential statement ‘of rhetorical hyperbole, incapable of being proved true or false.’”

Herring President Charles Herring also said in a declaration attached to Siegel’s response that the network was unaware of Rouz’s prior employment at Sputnik and that “neither Maddow nor anyone from Comcast Corporation, NBCUniversal Media, LLC, or MNSBC Cable LLC [sic]” had sought out answers from his company or OAN before airing the segment in question.

“Neither OAN nor Herring Networks has ever received money from Russia or the Russian government, and none of OAN’s content is influenced by Russians or the Russian government,” Herring said. “In fact, Herring Networks is exclusively financed by the Herring Family and has never received outside investment.”

December 3, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Lavrov responds to Pelosi claim Russia ‘had a hand’ in Trump-Zelensky impeachment scandal

RT | September 27, 2019

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claims that Russia was involved in the Trump-Zelensky phone conversation scandal as “obvious paranoia” and yet another “deadly sin” to pin on Moscow.

“Russia’s been accused of all the deadly sins, and then some,” Lavrov said at a press conference at the UN General Assembly on Friday, addressing a question about Pelosi’s claims that his country was somehow involved in the alleged quid pro quo between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“It’s paranoia, and I think it’s obvious to everyone.”

In an interview with MSNBC that aired earlier on Friday, Pelosi had claimed that Russia “has a hand in” what she referred to as Trump’s “shakedown” of the Ukrainian president during a telephone conversation back in July – released this week by the White House – as well as the subsequent “cover-up of the cover-up.”

Trump is “undermining our national security” by withholding military aid from Ukraine, she insisted, and “violated the constitution by overriding an act of Congress.”

The Democrats claim that Trump threatened to withhold military aid unless Ukraine restarted a corruption probe into the gas company that employed Hunter Biden, the son of then-vice president and current Democratic front-runner Joe Biden.

Pelosi launched an impeachment inquiry on Tuesday while admitting she had not read a transcript of the fateful call between the two leaders. She nevertheless accused Trump of betraying his oath of office, national security, and “the integrity of our elections.”

The call transcript, released the following morning, did not include any discussion of military aid, and mentioned the Biden investigation only in passing – a subject that was broached by Zelensky, not Trump.

September 27, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

The Greenland Connection

Irrussianality | August 22, 2019

US President Donald Trump has been rightly mocked in the past week for his alleged desire to buy Greenland from Denmark. What on earth put this crazy idea into Trump’s head, people rightly asked. Fortunately, we now have an answer, courtesy of The Guardian’s US columnist Richard Wolffe – Russia put him up to it!

I see that until recently Wolffe was ‘vice president and executive editor of MSNBC.com’, which explains a lot – MSNBC having been the no. 1 cheerleader in the Russiagate scandal in the US. The Trump-Russia story long since jumped the shark, but somehow it keeps finding extra sharks to leap over. Let’s take a look at what Wolffe has to say.

Greenland doesn’t just bubble into Trump’s mind randomly … But it is very much on Russia’s radar. Earlier this year, Russia revamped its arctic circle military base on tiny Kotelny Island, which sits close to the shipping routes that are opening up as the polar region warms catastrophically.

There are unknown quantities of oil, gas and rare earth minerals in the arctic, and the region’s powers – Denmark among them – can either green light a global free-for-all or restrain the usual human plunder of one of the last pristine frontiers on the planet. You can guess where Russia sits on this spectrum of environmental concerns in the middle of our climate crisis.

It is one of the sickest Trump jokes that his half-baked idea of buying Greenland should be seen as American machismo when it is yet another sign of Putin’s puppet American presidency at work.

‘Lazy journalism’ was the response of a distinguished British guest I showed this article to at breakfast today. It was very typical British understatement. There’s no argument here, no flow of logic from facts to conclusion, just an assertion entirely disconnected from everything which has gone before. Why Russia’s Arctic interests should prompt it to persuade Trump to try to buy Greenland isn’t explained. In reality, the last thing Russia would want, in an era of US-Russian tension, is an expanded American presence in an area of great and growing important to the Russian economy. The idea that Trump wanting to buy Greenland is proof that he’s a Russian ‘puppet’ is beyond bizarre.

By now, of course, it’s no surprise that the editors at outlets like The Guardian seem to have lost all sense of responsibility when it comes to the case of Trump-Russia, and are happy to publish any type of drivel. But Wolffe’s article makes the mind boggle at the lack of intellectual competence required to gain top executive positions at MSNBC. Perhaps the only explanation for it lies in the realm of pop psychology. For according to psychological research, debunking conspiracy theories doesn’t stop people believing in them; in fact, believers who are shown that their theories are wrong end up on average believing in them even more fervently. This article illustrates the point: the Trump-Russia connection has become an article of faith, a religious belief so absolutely true that all facts have to be bended to fit it, while all the evidence to the contrary serves only to reinforce the faith even further. Russiagate may be nonsense, but if this article is anything to go by, it has turned the brains of a large section of the political left into mulch.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

American Pravda: Our Great Purge of the 1940s

By Ron Unz • Unz Review • June 11, 2018

Although I’ve soured on him in recent years, for the first decade and more of Paul Krugman’s tenure at the New York Times I regarded him as about the only national columnist worth reading. Certainly many others felt the same way, and Krugman regularly ranked among the most influential liberal voices in the country, gaining that position by his uniquely strong stance against the Iraq War plans of President George W. Bush, while his prestige was capped by winning 2007 Nobel Prize in Economics.

But few probably remember that just a couple of years into his column there was a concerted effort to pressure the Times into firing him, a campaign spearheaded by blogger Andrew Sullivan, then an ardent Bush supporter. Given the steady drum-beat of harsh accusations and the climate of that period, I had feared that it would succeed. Now suppose that he had been purged from all media access in 2002, and also that Bush’s Iraq adventure had turned out to be a considerable success, rather than the utter disaster it actually became. A couple of decades hence, would anyone remember Krugman, except in some minor historical footnote recounting the misguided naysayers whom our heroic President “W” had fortunately overcome?

Perhaps by 2040 any mention of Krugman’s name would either draw a blank stare or evoke a vague sense that he had been some sort of disreputable radical activist, perhaps with pro-Islamicist leanings and even suspected by some of having had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. History has traditionally been written by the political winners, and this was especially true in the days before the growth of the Internet weakened the total monopoly of our establishment media.

These were some of the thoughts that gradually crossed my mind during the middle part of the 2000s as I discovered some remarkable anomalies while creating my content-archiving website, a system intended to provide convenient access to millions of articles from America’s most influential publications of the last 150 years. Since I had never really studied American history, my views were generally quite conventional ones, formed from a mixture of the History 101 classes I had taken and what I had casually absorbed over the years from all the newspapers and magazines that I read.

Many of the most frequent names I encountered in America’s prestigious and respectable periodicals of the past were reasonably well known to me, but others were not. It was a strange feeling to see the overwhelming presence of writers who were either completely obscure or else whom I had always regarded as denizens of the disreputable radical fringe, distributing their angry mimeographed tracts on street corners, rather than respected figures regularly gracing the pages of The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, and The Nation. My comprehension of the past was obviously mistaken.

Take the case of John T. Flynn, probably unknown today to all but one American in a hundred, if even that. Given my much broader ideological explorations, I had sometimes seen him hailed as an important figure in the Old Right, a founder of the America First Committee, and someone friendly to both Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the John Birch Society, though falsely smeared by his opponents as a proto-fascist or Nazi-sympathizer. This sort of description seemed to form a consistent if somewhat disputed picture in my mind.

So imagine my surprise at discovering that throughout the 1930s he had been one of the single most influential liberal voices in American society, a writer on economics and politics whose status may have roughly approximated that of Paul Krugman, though with a strong muck-raking tinge. His weekly column in The New Republic allowed him to serve as a lodestar for America’s progressive elites, while his regular appearances in Colliers, an illustrated mass circulation weekly reaching many millions of Americans, provided him a platform comparable to that of any major television personality in the later heyday of network TV.

To some extent, Flynn’s prominence may be objectively quantified. A few years ago, I happened to mention his name to a well-read and committed liberal born in the 1930s, and she unsurprisingly drew a complete blank, but wondered if he might have been a little like Walter Lippmann, the very famous columnist of that era. When I checked, I saw that across the hundreds of periodicals in my archiving system, there were just 23 articles by Lippmann from the 1930s but fully 489 by Flynn.

Much of Flynn’s early prominence came from his important role in the 1932 Senate Pecora Commission, which had pilloried the grandees of Wall Street for the 1929 stock market collapse, and whose recommendations ultimately led to the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission and other important financial reforms. Following an impressive career in newspaper journalism, he had moved over to The New Republic as a weekly columnist in 1930. Although initially sympathetic to Franklin Roosevelt’s goals, he soon became skeptical about the effectiveness of his methods, noting the sluggish expansion of public works projects and wondering whether the vaunted NRA was actually more beneficial to big business owners than to ordinary workers.

As the years went by, his criticism of the Roosevelt Administration turned harsher on economic and eventually foreign policy grounds, and he incurred its enormous hostility as a consequence. Roosevelt began sending personal letters to leading editors demanding that Flynn be barred from any prominent American print outlet, and perhaps as a consequence he lost his longstanding New Republic column immediately following FDR’s 1940 reelection, and his name disappeared from mainstream periodicals. However, he still authored a number of best-selling books over the years sharply attacking Roosevelt, and after the war his byline occasionally surfaced in much less mainstream and influential publications. A decade ago the libertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute republished a couple of Flynn’s books, and a lengthy introduction by Prof. Ralph Raico sketched in some of this background.

Supporters of my local Palo Alto library hold a monthly book sale at which donated items are sold for a pittance, and I usually drop by to browse the shelves out of curiosity for what I might find. A few years ago, I happened to notice one of Flynn’s FDR books, published in 1948, and bought it for a quarter. The material presented on the yellowing pages of The Roosevelt Myth were eye-opening to me.

Anyone can write a book saying anything, and if some obscure right-winger leveled astonishing charges against a liberal president, I might not pay much attention. But if Paul Krugman had spent years expressing growing doubts about Barack Obama’s policies and effectiveness, then finally turned against him and published a national best-seller denouncing his administration, surely those opinions would carry much more weight. And so it was with Flynn’s accusations against Roosevelt.

I am no expert on the New Deal Era, but Flynn’s work seemed soberly and persuasively written, although in a journalistic muck-raking style, and he makes all sorts of claims I had never previously encountered. My software system provides cross-referenced book reviews and I read a dozen of these. A few from around the time of the book’s publication were extremely critical, denouncing the contents as total nonsense written by a notoriously crazed “Roosevelt-hater.” But no specific rebuttals were provided and the general tone was much like that of the numerous Wall Street Journal op-eds from the mid-2000s which issued blanket denunciations of books written by “crazed Bush-haters.” Indeed, the sum-total of the one 1949 review consisted of the single sentence “Unadulterated venom from a professional F.D.R.-hater.” However, other, more recent reviews, admittedly drawn from the libertarian camp, were overwhelmingly favorable. Having no great expertise, I cannot effectively judge.

But Flynn’s claims were extremely precise, detailed, and specific, including numerous names, dates, and references. Most surprisingly, he accused the Roosevelts of exhibiting an extraordinarily degree of familial financial corruption, which he claimed may have been unprecedented in American history. Apparently, despite his wealthy and elite background FDR’s eldest son Elliott never attended college and had essentially no professional qualifications in anything. But soon after FDR became president, he began soliciting large personal payments and “investments” from wealthy businessmen who needed favors from the massively growing federal government, and seemingly did so with FDR’s full knowledge and approval. The situation sounded a little like Billy Carter’s notorious activities during the late 1970s, but the money involved totaled as much as $50 million in present-day dollars relative to the household income of that era. I had never heard a word about this.

Even more shocking was the case of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who also had never attended college and apparently had little formal education of any sort. Soon after FDR was inaugurated, she began a major round of very well-paid personal advertising for corporate consumer products such as soap and took all sorts of other large payments over the next few years from various businesses, especially those crucially dependent upon government regulatory decisions. Imagine if recent First Ladies such as Michelle Obama or Laura Bush were constantly seen in TV ads hawking cars and diapers and fast food. The payments Eleanor personally received over the course of the FDR’s dozen years in office allegedly came to an astonishing $150 million, again relative to current family incomes. This, too, was something that I had never suspected. And all this was occurring during the very depths of the Great Depression, when a huge fraction of the country was desperately poor. Perhaps Juan and Eva Peron just didn’t hire the right PR people or simply aimed too low.

Obviously, the unprecedented growth in the spending and regulatory power of the federal government during the New Deal years increased opportunities for this sort of personal graft by an enormous amount. But Flynn notes how odd the situation seemed since FDR’s inherited fortune meant that he had already come into office as one of the wealthiest presidents of modern times. And as far as I’ve heard, his successor Harry S. Truman left the White House about as poor as he had entered it.

Some of Flynn’s other shocking claims were easier to verify. He argues that the New Deal was largely a failure and in support of that contention notes that when FDR entered office in 1933 there were 11 million unemployed and in 1938 after six years of enormous government spending and deficits and the creation of an alphabet soup of New Deal programs there were…11 million unemployed. That claim appears to be factually correct.

Indeed, Flynn alleges that by late 1937, FDR had turned towards an aggressive foreign policy aimed at involving the country in a major foreign war, primarily because he believed that this was the only route out of his desperate economic and political box, a stratagem not unknown among national leaders throughout history. In his January 5, 1938 New Republic column, he alerted his disbelieving readers to the looming prospect of a large naval military build-up and warfare on the horizon after a top Roosevelt adviser had privately boasted to him that a large bout of “military Keynsianism” and a major war would cure the country’s seemingly insurmountable economic problems. At that time, war with Japan, possibly over Latin American interests, seemed the intended goal, but developing events in Europe soon persuaded FDR that fomenting a general war against Germany was the best course of action. Memoirs and other historical documents obtained by later researchers seem to generally support Flynn’s accusations by indicating that Roosevelt ordered his diplomats to exert enormous pressure upon both the British and Polish governments to avoid any negotiated settlement with Germany, thereby leading to the outbreak of World War II in 1939.

Such an interventionist foreign policy may have represented a remarkable reversal of Roosevelt’s promises. All my introductory history books had always indicated that an Isolationist-leaning Congress had passed the various Neutrality Acts of the mid-1930s over FDR’s strong opposition and that these were intended to handcuff him. But according to Flynn, FDR had not only initially proposed that very legislation to his close Congressional allies, but actually made his personal advocacy and support for the Neutrality laws ones of the most popular centerpieces of his successful 1936 reelection campaign, thereby helping him carry the Mid West against Kansas Gov. Alf Landon. Once gain, Flynn provides a very specific and detailed description of that history. Unsurprisingly, Wikipedia provides the opposite, totally conventional account.

Leaving aside the extraordinary level of family financial corruption alleged by Flynn, his portrayal of FDR reminds me more of “W” than any other recent president. We must remember that “W” had run for office promising a “humble” foreign policy and the removal of various kinds of anti-Muslim government profiling, but quickly reversed himself when the 9/11 attacks gave him the opportunity to enter the history books as a “war president.”

The background of the book’s publication provides an indication of the publication obstacles faced by critics of government policy. Notwithstanding Flynn’s outsize reputation and his previous string of best-sellers, his manuscript was rejected by virtually every major publisher, and in desperation, he finally turned to an obscure Irish-American house. Yet despite such an inauspicious launch and his near-complete exclusion from mainstream media outlets, his book quickly rose to the #2 spot on The New York Times list. Merely a decade earlier, he had been at the pinnacle of American influence, and the ongoing blacklisting by the mainstream media had apparently not yet fully managed to smother his memory.

Although Flynn was perhaps the most prominent public figure to disappear from public visibility around that time, he was hardly alone. As I began to explore the aggregate contents of so many of the publications that had influenced our ideas since the 19th century, I detected a significant discontinuity centered around a particular period. Quite a number of individuals—Left, Right, and Center—who had been so prominently featured until that point suddenly disappeared, in many cases permanently, near the start of the Great American Purge of the 1940s.

I sometimes imagined myself a little like an earnest young Soviet researcher of the 1970s who began digging into the musty files of long-forgotten Kremlin archives and made some stunning discoveries. Trotsky was apparently not the notorious Nazi spy and traitor portrayed in all the textbooks, but instead had been the right-hand man of the sainted Lenin himself during the glorious days of great Bolshevik Revolution, and for some years afterward had remained in the topmost ranks of the Party elite. And who were these other figures—Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Rykov—who also spent those early years at the very top of the Communist hierarchy? In history courses, they had barely rated a few mentions, as minor Capitalist agents who were quickly unmasked and paid for their treachery with their lives. How could the great Lenin, father of the Revolution, have been such an idiot to have surrounded himself almost exclusively with traitors and spies?

But unlike their Stalinist analogs from a couple of years earlier, the American victims who disappeared around 1940 were neither shot nor Gulaged, but merely excluded from the mainstream media that defines our reality, thereby being blotted out from our memory so that future generations gradually forgot that they had ever lived.

Sometimes echoes of their former existence remained in the most unlikely contemporary contexts. For example during the early 2000s when I occasionally browsed websites of the ultra-right fringe, I might sometimes see favorable references to some totally unknown individual named “Harry Elmer Barnes,” who apparently seemed to have been some long-forgotten homegrown Fascist ideologue of the 1930s.

Imagine my shock at later discovering that Barnes had actually been one of the most frequent early contributors to Foreign Affairs, serving as a primary book reviewer for that venerable publication from its 1922 founding onward, while his stature as one of America’s premier liberal academics was indicated by his scores of appearances in The Nation and The New Republic throughout that decade. Indeed, he is credited with having played a central role in “revising” the history of the First World War so as to remove the cartoonish picture of unspeakable German wickedness left behind as a legacy of the dishonest wartime propaganda produced by the opposing British and American governments. And his professional stature was demonstrated by his thirty-five or more books, many of them influential academic volumes, along with his numerous articles in The American Historical Review, Political Science Quarterly, and other leading journals.

A few years ago I happened to mention Barnes to an eminent American academic scholar whose general focus in political science and foreign policy was quite similar, and yet the name meant nothing. By the end of the 1930s, Barnes had become a leading critic of America’s proposed involvement in World War II, and was permanently “disappeared” as a consequence, barred from all mainstream media outlets, while a major newspaper chain was heavily pressured into abruptly terminating his long-running syndicated national column in May 1940.

In many respects, Barnes’ situation typified those who fell in the purge. Although many powerful critics of FDR’s presidency seem to have suffered from a considerable amount of government investigation and IRS harassment throughout the 1930s, America’s movement towards involvement in a new world war seems to have been the central factor behind a wider purge of public intellectuals and other political opponents. The combined influence of the pro-British Eastern Establishment together with powerful Jewish groups was deployed to clear the media of opposing figures, and after the Germans broke the Hitler-Stalin Pact by attacking the USSR in June 1941, Communists and other leftists also joined this effort. Polls seem to have shown that as much as 80% of the American public was opposed to such military involvement, so any prominent political or media figure giving voice to that popular super-majority needed to be silenced.

Over a dozen years after his disappearance from our national media, Barnes managed to publish Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, a lengthy collection of essays by scholars and other experts discussing the circumstances surrounding America’s entrance into World War II, and have it produced and distributed by a small printer in Idaho. His own contribution was a 30,000 word essay entitled “Revisionism and the Historical Blackout” and discussed the tremendous obstacles faced by the dissident thinkers of that period.

The book itself was dedicated to the memory of his friend, historian Charles A. Beard. Since the early years of the 20th century, Beard had ranked as an intellectual figure of the greatest stature and influence, co-founder of The New School in New York and serving terms as president of both The American Historical Association and The American Political Science Association. As a leading supporter of the New Deal economic policies, he was overwhelmingly lauded for his views.

Yet once he turned against Roosevelt’s bellicose foreign policy, publishers shut their doors to him, and only his personal friendship with the head of the Yale University Press allowed his critical 1948 volume President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941 to even appear in print. Beard’s stellar reputation seems to have begun a rapid decline from that point onward, so that by 1968 historian Richard Hofstadter could write: “Today Beard’s reputation stands like an imposing ruin in the landscape of American historiography. What was once the grandest house in the province is now a ravaged survival”. Indeed, Beard’s once-dominant “economic interpretation of history” might these days almost be dismissed as promoting “dangerous conspiracy theories,” and I suspect few non-historians have even heard of him.

Another major contributor to the Barnes volume was William Henry Chamberlin, who for decades had been ranked among America’s leading foreign policy journalists, with more than 15 books to his credit, most of them widely and favorably reviewed. Yet America’s Second Crusade, his critical 1950 analysis of America’s entry into World War II, failed to find a mainstream publisher, and when it did appear was widely ignored by reviewers. Prior to its publication, his byline had regularly run in our most influential national magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly and Harpers. But afterward, his writing was almost entirely confined to small circulation newsletters and periodicals, appealing to narrow conservative or libertarian audiences.

In these days of the Internet, anyone can easily establish a website to publish his views, thus making them immediately available to everyone in the world. Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter can bring interesting or controversial material to the attention of millions with just a couple of mouse-clicks, completely bypassing the need for the support of establishmentarian intermediaries. It is easy for us to forget just how extremely challenging the dissemination of dissenting ideas remained back in the days of print, paper, and ink, and recognize that an individual purged from his regular outlet might require many years to regain any significant foothold for the distribution of his work.

And this situation actually understates the tremendous obstacles faced by Flynn, Barnes, and similar writers, which they themselves probably did not fully recognize at the time. We must remember that by the early 1950s, television and films had only just begun to displace all other forms of media in their reach and influence, but soon the three networks and the handful of Hollywood studios began to enjoy an overwhelming stranglehold on the popular interpretation of historical events and all other types of information. So although many of the once-prominent individuals we have discussed sometimes retained a foothold in books, small-circulation magazines, and even some radio broadcasts, their total exclusion from TV and movies effectively transformed them into un-persons.

Given the remarkable prosperity and domestic tranquility of the 1950s, most ordinary Americans were reasonably content, and saw no great need to question the veracity of what they heard and saw on their magical screens, whether small or large. If once-prominent but now half-forgotten intellectuals sought to rehash the past political decisions of 15 or 20 years earlier, they inevitably attracted small audiences.

The year 1940 seemed to mark the point at which some of the most significant dissenting voices in the national media were either removed or intimidated into silence. Once that had been accomplished, the strategic landscape obviously shifted, facilitating political maneuvers that might have been far more difficult under a climate of robust press scrutiny.

Given the overwhelming popular opposition to war intervention, Roosevelt’s prospects for an unprecedented third term might have seemed difficult, since he would either be forced to strongly commit himself to that position or else risk defeat against his Republican opponent, drawn from a party that was overwhelmingly anti-interventionist. But in one of the most unlikely twists in all of American political history, the June 1940 Republican convention held in Chicago selected as its nominee the obscure Wendell Willkie, a strongly pro-interventionist individual who had never previously held any public office and until just a few months earlier had been a committed lifelong Democrat. Two decades ago, historian Thomas E. Mahl thoroughly documented that British intelligence agents played a crucial role in that extremely unexpected turn of events, quite possibly even employing lethal means. The resulting Roosevelt-Willkie race thus provided voters virtually no choice on foreign policy matters, and FDR was reelected in a huge landslide, thereby largely freeing his hands to pursue a much more aggressive foreign policy.

Alarmed by their growing fear that America might be drawn into another world war without voters having had any say in the matter, a group of Yale Law students launched an anti-interventionist political organization that they named “The America First Committee,” and it quickly grew to 800,000 members, becoming the largest grass-roots political organization in our national history. Numerous prominent public figures joined or supported it, with the chairman of Sears, Roebuck serving as its head, and its youthful members included future presidents John F. Kennedy and Gerald Ford as well as other notables such as Gore Vidal, Potter Stewart, and Sargent Schriver. Flynn served as chairman of the New York City chapter, and the organization’s leading public spokesman was famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, who for decades had probably ranked as America’s greatest national hero.

Throughout 1941, enormous crowds across the country attended anti-war rallies addressed by Lindbergh and the other leaders, with many millions more listening to the radio broadcasts of the events. Mahl shows that British agents and their American supporters meanwhile continued their covert operations to counter this effort by organizing various political front-groups advocating American military involvement, and employing fair means or foul to neutralize their political opponents. Jewish individuals and organizations seem to have played an enormously disproportionate role in that effort.

At the same time, the Roosevelt Administration escalated its undeclared war against German submarines and other naval forces in the Atlantic, unsuccessfully seeking to provoke an incident that might stampede the country into war. FDR also promoted the most bizarre and ridiculous propaganda inventions aimed at terrifying naive Americans, such as claiming to have proof that the Germans—who possessed no large surface navy and were completely stymied by the English Channel—had formulated concrete plans to leap across two thousand miles of the Atlantic Ocean and seize control of Latin America. British agents supplied some of the crude forgeries he cited as evidence.

These facts, now firmly established by decades of scholarship, provide some necessary context to Lindbergh’s famously controversial speech at an America First rally in September 1941. At that event, he charged that three groups in particular were “pressing this country toward war[:] the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt Administration,” and thereby unleashed an enormous firestorm of media attacks and denunciations, including widespread accusations of anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathies. Given the realities of the political situation, Lindbergh’s statement constituted a perfect illustration of Michael Kinsley’s famous quip that “a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.” But as a consequence, Lindbergh’s once-heroic reputation suffered enormous and permanent damage, with the campaign of vilification echoing for the remaining three decades of his life, and even well beyond. Although he was not entirely purged from public life, his standing was certainly never even remotely the same.

Meanwhile, FDR’s drive to have America enter the war continued on various parallel tracks. Over the years, diplomatic historians have demonstrated that faced with such stubborn domestic opposition to direct military intervention in Europe, the Roosevelt Administration undertook a wide range of steps directly intended to provoke a Japanese attack and thereby achieve a “back door to war” as Prof. Charles C. Tansill later entitled his important 1952 book on that history. These measures include a complete freeze on Japanese assets, an embargo on the oil absolutely vital to the Japanese military, and the summary rejection of the Japanese Prime Minister’s personal plea to hold top-level governmental negotiations aimed at maintaining peace. As early as May 1940, FDR had ordered the Pacific Fleet relocated from its San Diego home port to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, a decision strongly opposed as unnecessarily provocative and dangerous by James Richardson, its commanding admiral, who was fired as a result.

Thus, the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941 actually marked the success of Roosevelt’s strategy by putting America into the war. Indeed, some scholars have even pointed to considerable evidence that the highest levels of the U.S. government were fully aware of the impending attack and allowed it to proceed in order to ensure that a sufficiently large number of American casualties would sweep away all popular obstacles to full-scale involvement in the world war.

There was also a very strange domestic incident that immediately followed the Pearl Harbor attack, one which seems to have attracted far too little interest. In that era, films were the most powerful popular media, and although Gentiles constituted 97% of the population, they controlled only one of the major studios; perhaps coincidentally, Walt Disney was also the only high-ranking Hollywood figure perched squarely within the anti-war camp. And the day after the surprise Japanese attack, hundreds of U.S. troops seized control of Disney Studios, allegedly in order to help defend California from Japanese forces located thousands of miles away, with the military occupation continuing for the next eight months. Consider what suspicious minds might have thought if on September 12, 2001, President Bush had immediately ordered his military to seize the CBS network offices, claiming that such a step was necessary to help protect New York City against further Islamicist attacks.

Most of us live within a comfortable framework of what we have been taught and therefore believe to be true, and breaking out of that sheltering cocoon often entails considerable mental adjustments. This was certainly the case for me a dozen years ago as I increasingly noticed the sharp divergence between the claims and implications of my history books and the actual facts contained within the scanned pages of old publications.

The notion of a sweeping purge of media dissidents in the past seemed far easier for me to accept when I myself had witnessed something rather similar only a couple of years earlier, once again aimed at clearing away the obstacles to an American foreign war.

In the patriotic fervor following the 9/11 attacks, few national media figures dared challenge the plans and proposals of the Bush Administration, with Paul Krugman’s column at the Times being a very rare exception; expressing “unpatriotic sentiments” as very broadly defined could severely impact a career. This was especially true of the electronic media, with its vastly greater reach and therefore subject to more extreme pressure. During 2002 and 2003, it was very rare to find an Iraq War naysayer anywhere on network television or among the fledgling cable alternatives, and even MSNBC, the least popular and most liberal of the latter soon began a sharp ideological crackdown.

For decades, Phil Donahue had pioneered the daytime television talk show, and in 2002 he revived it to high ratings on MSNBC, but in early 2003 his show was canceled, with a leaked memo indicated that his opposition to the looming war was the cause. Conservative Pat Buchanan and liberal Bill Press, both Iraq War critics, hosted a top-rated debate show on the same network, allowing them to spar with their more pro-Bush opponents, but it too was cancelled for similar reasons. If the cable network’s most famous hosts and highest rated programs were subject to summary termination, lesser ranking personalities surely drew the appropriate conclusions about the risks of crossing particular ideological lines.

My old friend Bill Odom, the three-star general who ran the NSA for Ronald Reagan and possessed among the strongest national security credentials in DC was similarly blacklisted from the media for his opposition to the Iraq War. Numerous other prominent media voices were “disappeared” around the same time, and even after Iraq became universally recognized as an enormous disaster, most of them never regained their perches.

By this time the early Internet had come into existence, so these media disappearances were often noted by angry commentators, and therefore less completely effective. Buchanan might no longer have a show on cable television, but his pungent print commentaries were still available on the web, and the same was true for others. However, the political impact of an audience of thousands of selected website readers was very different than that of a national audience of millions of mainstream viewers.

When we seek to understand the past, we must be careful to avoid drawing from a narrow selection of sources, especially if one side proved politically victorious in the end and completely dominated the later production of books and other commentary. Prior to the existence of the Internet, this was an especially difficult task, often requiring a considerable amount of scholarly effort, even if only to examine the bound volumes of once popular periodicals. Yet without such diligence, we can fall into very serious error.

The Iraq War and its aftermath was certainly one of the central events in American history during the 2000s. Yet suppose some readers in the distant future had only the collected archives of The Weekly Standard, National Review, the WSJ op-ed page, and FoxNews transcripts to furnish their understanding the history of that period, perhaps along with the books written by the contributors to those outlets. I doubt that more than a small fraction of what they would read could be categorized as outright lies. But the massively skewed coverage, the distortions, exaggerations, and especially the breathtaking omissions would surely provide them with an exceptionally unrealistic view of what had actually happened during that important period.

Over the last fifteen-odd years, I’ve gradually come to believe that exactly the same is probably true of much of the American history I had always assumed that I knew.

Related Reading:

August 24, 2019 Posted by | Book Review, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

Moscow Mitch, Secret Russian Subs… and Russophobia Derangement

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 11, 2019

Arch Republican Senator Mitch McConnell is being taunted by major US media outlets and at political rallies as a “Russian asset”. Meanwhile, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports on “super-secret” Russian submarines which are “operating unseen” in British territorial waters.

The collapse in rational thinking among American and British political mainstream circles is highlighted by the rampant Russophobia. Such thinking is delusional, paranoid and ultimately horrifying at a time of heightened international tensions between nuclear superpowers.

First, let’s deal with the farcical furore over Senator McConnell being labelled a Russian asset. The Senate majority leader has been dubbed by US news channel MSNBC and the Washington Post as “Moscow Mitch” and “doing Putin’s bidding”. The monikers followed McConnell’s blocking of legislation aimed at tightening security of electoral systems ostensibly to prevent “foreign meddling”.

It’s not clear why McConnell objected to the proposed legislation. It seems he doesn’t agree with extra federal controls over state-level electoral systems. Also, he claims that hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent upgrading electoral systems, and therefore additional expenditure is not warranted. He is a fiscal hawk after all.

Nonetheless, it is a preposterous leave of senses when paranoid Russophobia in US politics and media are inferring that McConnell’s opposition to the proposed electoral legislation is “evidence” that he is a Russian agent, by allegedly enabling Russian hacking into US elections.

At a recent political event in his home state of Kentucky, McConnell was heckled and booed by Democrat supporters chanting “Moscow Mitch, Moscow Mitch!” The protesters were wearing T-shirts and brandishing placards with images of McConnell donning a Cossack hat with Soviet-era hammer and sickles.

Understandably, the 77-year-old senator has been aghast over the political attacks. He called it “modern-day McCarthyism” harking back to the Cold War years of Red Baiting. He even said it was worse than the past McCarthyism. And he has a point there.

McConnell’s exasperation is borne out of the complete irrational vacuousness of the accusations. The six-time elected lawmaker is the longest-serving Republican senator. He is a grandee of the traditionally rightwing party, with an “impeccable” record of being hawkish towards Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

How anyone can construe that good ole boy McConnell is a Russian stooge is too absurd for words. What the accusations do betray is the total derangement and politically illiterate condition of mainstream American political and media culture.

As Princeton Professor Stephen Cohen remarked in a recent interview Russophobia and paranoia over alleged interference in US politics has become a permanent mindset among too many American politicians, pundits, military-intelligence agencies and Democrat supporters. Cohen rightly deplores how the whole baseless narrative of “Russia-gate” continues with a life of its own, having not been finally made redundant after the two-year Mueller probe spectacularly failed to provide any substantive details or evidence.

Still, however, former FBI chief Robert Mueller in recent hearings before Congress was permitted to reiterate hollow accusations that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential elections and, he asserted, Moscow will do so again in the 2020 elections. This is simply doctrinal thinking which is, in turn, accepted as “fact” that Russia’s President Putin ordered an “interference campaign” to subvert American democracy. (Moscow has always vehemently rejected that.)

That’s why when someone as antipathetic towards Russia as Senate leader Mitch McConnell exercises relative sanity by rejecting the alleged need for more electoral security systems to “prevent foreign meddling” he is then assailed with hysterical accusations of being a “Russian asset”. The utter irrationality is self-reinforcing because of unhinged delusions about Russian malignancy. No evidence is required. It’s “true” because “we believe it is true”.

McConnell has hit back at his detractors by calling them “leftwing hacks” and “communists”. He made that conclusion by referring to the Democrats’ policy of seeking to expand free healthcare for American citizens. He proudly called himself the “Grim Reaper” who would protect America from a “socialist agenda”.

This inane back and forth demonstrates how dumbed down American political culture is. Increasingly bitter partisan accusations and slander are flying around based on no facts, no evidence, no reason, nor any intelligent understanding about policy, history or political philosophy.

But, lamentably, at bottom the crazed political discourse relies on an embedded Russophobia. Russia is viewed as evil and malicious, by both sides of the political coin. Rather than addressing inherent problems in American society, the discourse finds a common false explanation – blame it on Russia or association with presumed communism. The Cold War nihilism of American politics and propaganda has never stopped. It’s just become more delusional and divorced from any semblance of reality. In this context, the modern-day Russophobia is perhaps more dangerous because of its irrationality and evidence-free doctrinal thinking.

Which brings us to the “super-secret” Russian submarines that are stalking Britain, according to the Daily Telegraph. The so-called report (more accurately, psy-ops piece) is a must-read for exposing the delusional anti-Russia paranoia that the British political class have in common with the Americans.

“A new breed of super quiet Russian submarines are feared [sic] to be operating unseen [sic] in British territorial waters, according to military sources [sic],” the Telegraph claimed.

The sources were, as usual, anonymous, betraying that the Telegraph was being used, as it often is, as a conduit for British intelligence propaganda.

Not one scrap of evidence was presented to substantiate these “fears” of “unseen” Russian submarines. Supposedly, the “unseen” vessels are “proof” of how dastardly and stealthy those damn Russians are. The point of the article was to deliver a public message for more military spending on Britain’s Royal Navy.

What makes it possible for the Daily Telegraph to publish such bogeyman rubbish is the systematic inculcation of Russophobia among many, but not all, Britons.

As with its American counterpart, British political culture has become degenerate and depraved. It is the equivalent of medieval sorcery and “magical thinking”. Standards of proof, reason and due process have been abandoned. It’s like a regression to pre-Enlightenment times. The fact that the US and Britain possess nuclear arsenals aimed at Russia makes the deranged thinking of their political class a truly frightening prospect for the entire world.

August 11, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

MSNBC host claims Putin helped BoJo become PM

RT | July 25, 2019

Boris Johnson’s political rise has been analyzed and dissected in plenty of ways since he landed in 10 Downing Street this week, but MSNBC put a particularly odd spin on his premiership, calling it a “big win” for Russia.

Recalling the US’ own debunked Russiagate “collusion” narrative, host of ‘The Last Word’ Lawrence O’Donnell dramatically declared that Russia had a hand in Johnson’s rise to power — but in true MSNBC fashion — offered exactly zero evidence to back up his outlandish claim.

“Like Donald Trump, Boris Johnson made it to the top of British politics with the help of Vladimir Putin and Russians who attacked the British voting system and helped deliver an electoral victory for Brexit.”

O’Donnell went on to remind viewers that 51.9 percent of British voters had chosen Brexit in a 2016 referendum, but added a large dollop of fake news, saying the outcome had been delivered “with Russian support.”

It was a reference to rubbished claims that Moscow had interfered in the Brexit vote by posting pro-Brexit messages and memes online. Both Twitter and Facebbok have dismissed the notion that Russian bots had anything to do with the Brexit outcome. Of course, that didn’t stop the fearless O’Donnell from telling his viewers that Russia had “attacked the British voting system” anyway.

Disinformation seems to be totally fine when it’s about Russia, well, according to MSNBC at least.

O’Donnell continued on his lengthy rant denouncing Johnson and Brexit; naturally, two ‘analysts’ were on hand to back up his baseless conspiracy theory.

Jeremy Bash, MSNBC’s ‘national security analyst’ and former chief of staff at the CIA told O’Donnell that there were “strong allegations that Russia interfered in the British selection of Brexit as their future path,” despite no such “strong allegations” actually existing.

Preferring to rely on the always trustworthy CIA, O’Donnell obviously hadn’t heard former deputy UK PM Nick Clegg say in a recent BBC Radio 4 interview that there is “absolutely no evidence” of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum.

Lawrence, like many of his MSNBC colleagues is known for concocting and revelling in extravagant Russia-related conspiracy theories. In 2017, he suggested that Vladimir Putin had orchestrated a chemical weapons attack in Syria to help out Trump by distracting his critics at home. Very reasonable indeed.

It’s not the first time a high-profile American has linked Johnson to Russia. In congressional hearings on Wednesday, Republican Devin Nunes asked former special counsel Robert Mueller if it was possible that the new UK PM had been “compromised” by Russia because of his appearance in a photograph with alleged spy Joseph Mifsud.

A recent Financial Times article also speculated that Johnson may be some kind of Kremlin agent due to his relationship with a Putin-hating Russian oligarch. Go figure.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | 3 Comments

As obsession with Trump tanks CNN ratings, network doubles down

RT | May 31, 2019

The pioneer cable news network is getting crushed in the ratings, coming in below Home and Garden TV, and has recently downsized and changed freelance payment terms – but shows no interest in changing the tone of its programming.

Both CNN and MSNBC have allowed themselves to be defined by hostility to both the administration and President Donald Trump personally since the 2016 election, breathlessly pushing the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory.

While this strategy has largely worked for MSNBC – at least until special counsel Robert Mueller was forced to admit Russiagate was bogus – CNN has struggled to attract an audience beyond those trapped at hospitals and airports.

Nielsen TV ratings for May show Fox News dominating for the 35th straight month with 1.3 million total day viewers, MSNBC lagging behind with 909,000, and CNN in the eighth place with 552,000.

CNN wasn’t even in the top 15 primetime spots (for comparison, HGTV came in fifth), and its three main primetime shows – hosted by Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon – ranked 25, 26, and 35, respectively.

Could this have anything to do with the network’s obsession with Trump and his administration that no longer bothers hiding naked partisanship? No way, says CNN leadership, insisting they are “real news” and claiming to be victims of Trump’s “attacks” on “free press.”

In the real world, CNN offered buyouts to 100 or so people at its Atlanta, Georgia headquarters, earlier this month, including CNN International executive vice president Tony Maddox. Since then, it has also laid off a number of people from its Health division and drastically cut back production at its London bureau.

Furthermore, the network’s parent company Warner Media recently sent out a notice to contractors that it is changing payment terms beginning in June, from 30 days to 90 days – essentially asking anyone it contracts to wait three months to get paid.

But hey, have you heard that the US government now owns a condominium in New York City’s Trump Tower, because of the Mueller probe? Priorities, people!

The twist is that CNN boss Jeff Zucker is laughing all the way to the bank, because CNN’s annual profits have doubled to $1.2 billion during his tenure. Some 70 percent of the network’s revenue comes not from advertisers but from carriage fees charged from cable and satellite operators. Some 90 million US households pay these fees every year, effectively subsidizing CNN and giving the network very little incentive to change its ways.

May 31, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 3 Comments