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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.

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

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

“Just A Human Being”: Rachel Maddow’s Latest Resistance Hero

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | May 6, 2019

This is where three years of failed Russiagate conspiracy theorizing and fixation leads you into the arms of fanatical endless war proponent John Bolton: “John Bolton God bless you, good luck..” one can now hear on “resistance” network MSNBC prime time.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is now championing neocon national security adviser John Bolton’s “humanity” given he apparently went loose cannon this past week, vowing to confront Russia over Venezuela even as his boss President Trump downplayed Moscow’s role in the crisis after a Friday phone call with Putin.

“This is what John Bolton, human being, thought his job was this week,” Maddow said on her show Friday night. Both Pompeo and Bolton had clearly gone a bit rogue with their overly bellicose Venezuela comments, while Trump appeared to be more restrained  and for Maddow this was of course cause for championing the neocon interventionist line: “Hey, John Bolton, hey, Mike Pompeo, are you guys enjoying your jobs right now?” she questioned.

On Friday Trump had said following the phone call, Putin is “not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he’d like to see something positive happen in Venezuela, and I feel the same way.”

Maddow, who once prided herself on slamming and deconstructing Bush-era regime change wars, now finds Trump not jingoistic enough. She stridently questioned:

“How do you come to work anymore if you’re John Bolton? Right, regardless of what you thought about John Bolton before this, his whole career and his track record, I mean, just think of John Bolton as a human being. This is what John Bolton, human being, thought his job was this week.”

She further cut to a clip of Bolton criticizing Russia’s alleged military involvement in Venezuela to prop up Maduro, because apparently uber-hawk Bolton is now a “fearless truth-teller” in Maddow’s world.

“You thought that was your job,” Maddow said. “But it turns out not at all, not after Vladimir Putin gets done with President Trump today.”

It bears repeating that among the loudest right-leaning voices who joined the chorus of leading establishment Democrat Russiagaters included previously forgotten about neocons who were quickly rehabilitated by the “Resistance” — David Frum, Max Boot, Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol among them.

And then there was the nauseating phenomenon of watching liberals lionizing Trump-skeptical Republican Congressional leaders like Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, and the late Sen. McCain.

Because it’s awful, just awful! – that Trump might actually prefer peace to waging war in multiple places…

Restraint vs. war in multiple places? Maddow apparently advances the humanity of those advocating the latter.

It amounted to, at times, a picture of a President at odds with the officials who this week have called vociferously for a change in power in Caracas and have consistently declined to rule out a US military intervention.

Trump has become frustrated this week as national security adviser John Bolton and others openly teased military options and has told friends that if Bolton had his way he’d already be at war in multiple placesCNN

And now, months into 2019, we get to hear Maddow waxing eloquent about the innocent “human side” of none other than John Bolton.

Of course, Maddow should first consider whether Bolton or his neocon ilk ever once paused to consider whether those they advocate dropping bombs on — from Iraq to Syria to Libya to Yemen to Gaza to Venezuela — are themselves actually human beings who simply wish to live out their daily lives in peace.

May 6, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Top 51 Fake News Russiagate ‘Bombshells’ Spread By The MSM

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 04/23/2019

Following the release of the Mueller report, the mainstream media tried to pull a fast one – absurdly claiming that their reporting for the last 2.5 years has been largely vindicated.

Except, they weren’t vindicated at all. In fact, they lied through their teeth, peddling falsehood after falsehood.

To that end, Breitbart‘s John Nolte isn’t about to let them get away with peddling even more fiction about their reporting, and has compiled a list of 51 instances where the MSM flat out lied, borrowing from the work of Sharyl AttkissonGlenn Greenwald, and Sohrab Ahmari.

John Nolte Via Breitbart

Top 51 Fake News ‘Bombshells’ the Media Spread About RussiaGate

The list below of 51 might sound like a lot, but it is a drop in the ocean when you recall the thousands and thousands of hours CNN, MSNBC, Meet the Press, This Week, PBS NewsHour, State of the Union, Good Morning AmericaReliable Sources, and the Today Show devoted to anchors and pundits pushing the hoax that Trump colluded with Russia.

Not to mention, millions and millions of establishment media tweets and Facebook posts.

Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Shepard Smith, Andrew Napolitano, Joe Scarborough, Chris Hayes, Chuck Todd, Joy Reid, Chris Matthews, Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Brian Stelter, Erin Burnett, et al.,  are alone responsible for thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of lies and conspiracy-mongering.

This list of 51 doesn’t count the half-million — half-MILLION — Russia collusion stories published over the past two years, almost all of which were premised on the idea that Trump did, indeed, collude with a foreign power to steal the 2016 presidential election.

This list cannot begin to count the countless times these 51 fake stories were repeated as fact throughout other news outlets, social media, and thousands upon thousands of cumulative broadcast hours.

What’s more, this list of 51 can’t begin to count the countless examples of fake news launched against Trump that have nothing to do with Russia — desperate and deliberate lies involving fish food and ice cream scoops…

Before we begin, credit where it’s due. This list would not have been possible without the lists already compiled by Sharyl AttkissonGlenn Greenwald, and Sohrab Ahmari.

  1. New York magazine, McClatchy:

Michael Cohen went to  Prague.

  1. BuzzFeed:

Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie, and Mueller has emails proving it.

  1. The New York Times:

Paul Manafort passed polling information to Kremlin.

  1. Axios:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein forced out.

  1. NBC News:

Federal investigators wiretapped Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, have recordings of Trump.

  1. Associated Press:

Phony Russia dossier was initially funded by Republican group.

  1. ABC News:

Donald Trump directed Flynn to make contact with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign

  1. Talking Points Memo:

Russian social media company provided documents to Senate about communications with Trump official.

  1. CNN:

Donald Trump Jr. conspired with WikiLeaks.

  1. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal:

Robert Mueller subpoenaed Trump’s Deutsche Bank records.

  1. ABC News:

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort worked with Russia intelligence-connected official as late as December 2017.

  1. The New York Times:

Trump Deputy National Security adviser K.T. McFarland lied about another official’s contacts with Russians.

  1. CNN:

Trump’s campaign was never wiretapped.

  1. NBC News:

Manafort notes from Russian meeting refer to political contributions.

  1. The New York Times:

Seventeen intelligence agencies concur Russia hacked the 2016 presidential race.

  1. CNN:

Congress investigating Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.

  1. The New York Times:

Former FBI Director James Comey says Attorney General Jeff Sessions told him not to call Russia probe an investigation but “a matter.”

  1. CNN:

James Comey will testify he never told Trump he was not under investigation.

  1. NBC News:

Putin admits he has compromising information about Trump.

  1. Politico, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, AP, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal:

Trump fired Comey after Comey asked for additional resources for the Russia investigation.

  1. The New York Times:

Numerous contacts between Trump campaign staff and “senior Russian intelligence officials.”

  1. MSNBC:

Among others, a Trump family member will be indicted on February 8.

  1. The Guardian:

Paul Manafort visited WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on three occasions.

  1. The Washington Post:

Trump campaign changed GOP platform on Ukraine.

  1. The Atlantic:

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied about meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

  1. McClatchy:

Michael Cohen really did visit Prague.

  1. CNN:

Trump is lying when he calls Russia dossier “phony.”

  1. Fortune:

RT had hacked into and taken over C-SPAN and C-SPAN “confirmed” it had been hacked.

  1. USA Today, MSNBC, Associated Press:

Russia’s hacked the election systems of 21 American states.

  1. The Washington Post, ABC News, CNN:

Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont.

  1. The Washington Post:

“More than 200 websites” were “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season.”

  1. NBC News, MSNBC:

Russia is the main suspect in the sonic attacks that sickened 26 U.S. diplomats.

  1. Slate:

Trump created a secret Internet server to covertly communicate with a Russian bank.

  1. CNN:

Donald Trump knew in advance of the Trump Tower meeting.

  1. CNN:

Mueller Report will show Trump “has helped” Putin “destabilize” the United States.

  1. NBC:

Russia supports Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).

    1. CNN:

Sessions failed to disclose meetings he had with the Russian ambassador.

  1. Vox:

“There’s actually lots of evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.”

  1. The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPRReutersthe Guardian, USA Today, CNN, BuzzFeed:

Trump revealed classified information to Russians.

  1. The Washington Post:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said Russia paid Trump.

  1. Fox News:

Mueller can show Trump campaign “had a connection to Russian intelligence.”

  1. MSNBC:

“Rudy Giuliani just told America that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.”

  1. The Washington Post:

Evidence suggests Trump could be a Russian “asset.”

  1. NBC:

Russians began hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails on the day Donald Trump joked about it in July 2016.

  1. Mic.com:

Russia spy visited Trump’s Oval Office.

  1. CNN:

Phony Russia dossier has been “corroborated.”

  1. NPR:

Donald Trump Jr. lied under oath about Trump Tower deal in Moscow.

  1. NBC, The Hill, New York Daily News:

Russia successfully hacked voting systems in a number of states.

  1. CNN:

Trump is “bonkers” for claiming Hillary Clinton behind Russia dossier.

  1. CNN:

“Every intelligence expert, both under the Obama administration and under the Trump administration,” agrees with the assessment that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

  1. BBC:

Ukrainian president “authorized” an illegal payment of $400,000 to Michael Cohen for additional face time during a June 2017 meeting with President Trump.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Journalist says MSNBC politics editor bullied him on DNC’s behalf

RT | March 29, 2019

A freelance journalist has gone public about a bizarre intimidation attempt by a senior MSNBC editor who tried to “bully” him into keeping a story under wraps – on behalf of the Democratic National Committee, not the network.

MSNBC politics managing editor Dafna Linzer tried to pressure Yashar Ali, a journalist who has written for the Huffington Post and New York Magazine, into holding back the release of the Democratic primary debate dates, Ali has claimed in a series of tweets. Linzer wasn’t trying to beat him to the story, or calling on behalf of her own network at all – she was acting wholly on behalf of the DNC, according to Ali.

Ali got wind of the Democratic primary dates, information even the candidates didn’t have, on Thursday morning and called the party to verify them before publishing. They asked him to hold back the information while they made a few calls – which he refused, not wanting to lose the scoop – and then things got weird.

Linzer then called Ali and asked him to hold the story in order to give the DNC time to “make a few phone calls” to state party leaders, informing them of the debate dates. While her own network was planning to break the news later on that day, she spent the call “menacing” Ali, threatening to call his editor and trying several lines of reasoning to convince him to sit on the story – even bringing up her own history as a national security reporter at the Washington Post, when they “would hold stuff all the time.”

While MSNBC generally favors the Democratic Party in its news coverage, the network isn’t a party organ – not officially, at least – and Linzer’s “unethical” behavior, conspiring with party leadership to quash another journalist’s story, set off alarm bells in the journalist. Several other reporters he spoke to urged him to go public.

Neither MSNBC nor Linzer have made any public comment in response to Ali’s tweets so far. In the week since Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation, Rachel Maddow and other top-rated MSNBC shows have lost 20 percent of their viewers as Americans realize they spent the last two years being led down the garden path. It’s understandable that Linzer might be a little stressed, now that so much is riding on the network’s “pivot to 2020.”

March 30, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Democrats are the McCarthyites

By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | February 6, 2019

The unceasing torrent of Russiagate lies turns Democrats into war hawks and causes liberals to spout nonsense that was once consigned to the fringe right wing. It’s worse than the old McCarthyism.

A recent poll indicated that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to hold pro-war views. That revelation is hardly surprising considering the degree to which their party has promoted the trope of Donald Trump as a Russian government asset. This strategy is a focal point for them and a weapon to be used against the Republicans instead of the political opposition their voters need.

The ongoing investigation popularly known as Russiagate is a cynical hoax perpetrated by the Democratic Party leadership and their friends in corporate media. Russiagate distracts the public from taking a hard look at the Democratic Party corruption and resulting missteps that put Donald Trump in the White House. It also serves the interests of the bi-partisan surveillance state, which feared that Trump pronouncements indicated fundamental changes in foreign policy which they could not abide.

These allegations have Trump on the ropes, but mostly because of the relentless repetition of lies about the investigation. The litany of indictments paraded by the media involve crimes like tax fraud and payments to porn stars. None of the indictments point to collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Because no such connections have been made the media continue whipping up hysteria in an effort to keep the tale alive. The campaign is more shrill than ever because the hollowness of the case is clear to anyone who is really paying attention.

Comparisons have been made with McCarthyite “Red Scare” of the 1950s. But it can be argued that Russiagate is even worse. Bizarre assertions that were once consigned to the fringe right wing are now repeated on a daily basis by influential corporate media personalities and nearly all Democratic Party politicians.

The most prolific Russiagate practitioner is Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. She has ridden that horse so successfully that she now has the highest rated program on cable news. But she may have reached a moment which prompted the famous question asked at the army/McCarthy hearings. “At long last have you no sense of decency?”

Her assertion that Russia might be able to hack into the power grid and freeze Americans to death is quite dangerous . “What would you do if you lost heat indefinitely as the act of a foreign power on the same day that the temperature in your front yard matched the temperature in Antarctica? I mean, what would you and your family do?” It doesn’t matter that experts declared that the claim was highly improbable if not impossible. There is now no depth that cannot be reached in the effort to bamboozle Democrats and keep them stupid and needlessly fearful.

Prestigious newspapers like the New York Times are equally guilty of passing off lies as the truth. The Times reported that Trump and his associates had more than 100 interactions with Russians before inauguration day in 2017. But the story falls apart on even cursory inspection. The Times includes unproven claims of contacts with Wikileaks when it isn’t even a Russian organization. Roger Stone is the latest to be indicted because of his own stupidity, having claimed contacts with Wikileaks that never even took place.

But even as the case for collusion falls apart, the McCarthyite media find new ways to keep the narrative running. Russian press coverage of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential campaign is called a “campaign of support” for her candidacy. NBC called Russian reporting the “propaganda machine.” The real issue is that Gabbard dares to question U.S. foreign policy dictates. She met with Syrian president Assad and opposes the coup attempt against Venezuela. But stopping such heretical acts from taking place is a central feature of the Russiagate scare.

So insane is the conspiracy mongering that clear damage to Russian government aspirations are called “wins for Putin.” The Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the 30-year old INF missile treaty is not something that Vladimir Putin would ever want. The decades long effort to limit nuclear proliferation gives both countries security knowing that the other is restricted in the number and placements of nuclear weapons. Yet this very obvious reality is now turned on its head, and truth is twisted and disappeared.

The worst possible outcome of Russiagate is that it increases the likelihood of armed conflict between the United States and Russia. The same people who see MSNBC, CNN and national newspapers as divine oracles can be led to support any government act, no matter how dangerous it may be. Liberals who might once have opposed a hot war would now be the first to support it.

The Russiagate pimps are stoking fear and hatred. They spread outright lies and ignorance and they are doing so because of base motives. The Democratic Party rank and file ought to be demanding answers about the 2016 defeat and the previous loss of 900 legislative seats around the country. But they have been so badly misled that they don’t know that they should be asking anything at all. Even people who call themselves progressives are worshipping prosecutorial excess from the Robert Mueller investigation team and applauding surveillance state killers bloviating on cable news programs.

McCarthyism is back and it is being led by liberals. The entire world is endangered because of their leaders’ lies and cover ups and their determination to follow blindly. The outcome will be continued political defeat at home and an increased likelihood of what was once unimaginable, war between two nuclear powers.

Margaret Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Fake news’ is okay if it’s about #RussiaGate: Top 7 fake ‘collusion’ stories the media pushed

RT | January 21, 2019

BuzzFeed’s ‘bombshell’ claim last week that Donald Trump told ex-lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to congress is just the latest in a long line of ‘Russiagate’ stories that have later turned out to be false.

But BuzzFeed’s rubbished article is part of a phenomenon of what could be termed ‘acceptable fake news’ — fake news that gets a pass from the media because it serves a certain narrative. In this case, it furthers the ‘Russiagate’ narrative, which the mainstream media has been pushing breathlessly for two years. Lacking hard proof that Trump ‘colluded’ with Russia to win the 2016 election, they have clung to any shred of fake evidence they can find.

Last week, one astute Twitter user compiled a list of a whopping 42 Russiagate stories which were billed as bombshells but which ended up needing to be retracted or corrected. Here are seven of the most scandalous instances.

1. MSNBC pushed line that WikiLeaks released ‘fake’ Clinton emails

When WikiLeaks published the emails belonging to Hillary Clinton aide John Podesta in 2016, MSNBC sought to actively encourage its viewers to believe the emails were doctored by Russia.

They based that spurious claim on the fact that a fake transcript of a Clinton speech to Goldman Sachs was drifting around Twitter. The fake transcript had not been published by WikiLeaks, however. Rather, it was the creation of a pro-Clinton troll who had intended to trick Trump supporters into believing it was real so he could later embarrass them for their gullibility. MSNBC reporters who used the fake Twitter transcript to tarnish WikiLeaks’ authentic documents never corrected their false claims.

2. WaPo claims Russia ‘hacked’ the Vermont power grid

In one of the most infamous cases of a botched Russia-related story, the Washington Post claimed that Russia had hacked the Vermont power grid. In its zeal to deliver bombshell proof that Russia was attempting to attack the US, the Post reporters didn’t even bother to contact the utility company which could have told them that there had been no hacking or penetration of the power grid at all. The Post admitted later in an editor’s note that the story was fake.

3. CNN fires three journalists over botched story

It’s not often journalists who publish fake Russia-related ‘bombshells’ face real consequences, but last June, three CNN journalists, including the executive editor of a shiny new ‘investigative’ branch had to resign following the retraction of a false story which claimed Congress was investigating a Russian investment fund “with ties” to Trump’s team. The story quoted a single anonymous source and CNN later admitted that its reporters failed to follow “some standard editorial procedures” before publishing it.

4. Oops? CNN gets date on email wrong, causes mass panic

In a rush to prove that the Trump campaign had advance knowledge of and access to hacked DNC emails published by WikiLeaks, CNN (again) got the date of an email wrong. CNN claimed “multiple” sources had told them the email about the documents had been sent to the Trump campaign on September 4, but in reality, it had been sent on September 14 — a day after the WikiLeaks documents were made public — not, as CNN had claimed, nine days before.

5. ABC’s dud on Michael Flynn and ‘contact’ with Russians

Veteran ABC journalist Brian Ross was suspended after reporting last December that Trump had ordered former adviser Michael Flynn to contact Russian officials during the presidential campaign. It turned out, Trump had made this request of Flynn after he had won the election — not an unusual request for someone about to become the president of the US. Ross left ABC for good a while later after a career littered with embarrassing reporting blunders.

6. Russian supersonic tech or…crickets?

MSNBC reported last year that Russia was likely responsible for a supersonic attack on US diplomats stationed in the Cuba embassy. One ‘expert’ appeared on the channel stating that possible Russian “sophisticated microwaves” targeted the diplomats, while a reporter claimed Russian guilt had been “backed up” by interceptions of Russian communications. Meanwhile, intelligence sources told the New Yorker that no such evidence existed. When the Associated Press later released an audio recording, two US scientists deciphered that the sounds the diplomats had heard were more than likely the sounds of a species of Caribbean crickets during mating season.

7. Guardian claims Manafort had ‘secret meetings’ with Assange

WikiLeaks raised more than $55,000 in donations to sue the Guardian after the British newspaper published a story alleging (without corroborated evidence) that Julian Assange had held secret meetings with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where Assange has been living since 2012. The story which WikiLeaks claims is completely false — and which has also been questioned by other journalists — was written by Luke Harding, a Guardian reporter who has been accused before of fabricating stories and who went AWOL after the report was received with serious skepticism.

Unfortunately, the regularity with which these Russiagate stories have turned out to fake still hasn’t raised any red flags with establishment journalists, who seem more eager to bolster a narrative than to uncover actual facts.

January 21, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Secret Brain-frying Microwave Technology UNMASKED!!! – #PropagandaWatch

corbettreport | January 16, 2019

Watch this video on BitChute / BitTube / DTube / YouTube or Download the mp4

Remember how the conspiracy peddlers in the mainstream press freaked out over the super secret Russian microwave technology that was frying diplomats brains in Cuba. Well, it turns out that was just a tad exaggerated. So what was the real culprit? Find out in this week’s edition of #PropagandaWatch.

SHOW NOTES:
Dangerous sound? What Americans heard in Cuba attacks

Russia Believed To Be Main Suspect In Attack On U S Diplomats Velshi Ruhle MSNBC

Russia Suspected In ‘Sonic Attacks’ But How Involved Was Cuban Government Andrea Mitchell MSNBC

U.S. Officials Suspect Russia In Mystery Medical Attacks On Diplomats In Cuba | NBC Nightly News

The Mystery of the Havana Syndrome

Cory Gardner Renews Call for Russia to Be Declared Sponsor of Terrorism After Reports on Sonic Attacks

Recording of “sonic attacks” on U.S. diplomats in Cuba spectrally matches the echoing call of a Caribbean cricket

Indies short-tailed cricket

January 17, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 3 Comments

Mueller Withheld “Details That Would Exonerate The President” Of Having Kremlin Backchannel

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | December 3, 2018

It appears that special counsel Robert Mueller withheld key information in its plea deal with Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, which would exonerate Trump and undermine the entire purpose of the special counsel, according to Paul Sperry of RealClearInvestigations.

Cohen pleaded guilty last week to lying to the Senate intelligence committee in 2017 about the Trump Organization’s plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow – telling them under oath that negotiations he was conducting ended five months sooner than they actually did.

Mueller, however, in his nine-page charging document filed with the court seen by Capitol Hill sources, failed to include the fact that Cohen had no direct contacts at the Kremlin – which undercuts any notion that the Trump campaign had a “backchannel” to Putin.

On page 7 of the statement of criminal information filed against Cohen, which is separate from but related to the plea agreement, Mueller mentions that Cohen tried to email Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office on Jan. 14, 2016, and again on Jan. 16, 2016. But Mueller, who personally signed the document, omitted the fact that Cohen did not have any direct points of contact at the Kremlin, and had resorted to sending the emails to a general press mailbox. Sources who have seen these additional emails point out that this omitted information undercuts the idea of a “back channel” and thus the special counsel’s collusion case.RCI

Page 2 of the same charging document offers further evidence that there was no connection between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin; an August 2017 letter from Cohn to the Senate intelligence committee states that Trump “was never in contact with anyone about this [Moscow Project] proposal other than me,” an assertion which Mueller does not contest as false – which means that “prosecutors have tested its veracity through corroborating sources” and found it to be truthful, according to Sperry’s sources. Also unchallenged by Mueller is Cohen’s statement that he “ultimately determined that the proposal was not feasible and never agreed to make a trip to Russia.”

“Though Cohen may have lied to Congress about the dates,” one Hill investigator said, “it’s clear from personal messages he sent in 2015 and 2016 that the Trump Organization did not have formal lines of communication set up with Putin’s office or the Kremlin during the campaign. There was no secret ‘back channel.’”

“So as far as collusion goes,” the source added, “the project is actually more exculpatory than incriminating for Trump and his campaign.” –RCI

The Trump Tower Moscow meeting – spearheaded by New York real estate developer and longtime FBI and CIA asset, Felix Sater, bears a passing resemblance to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian attorney (who hated Trump), and which was set up by a British concert promotor tied to Fusion GPS – the firm Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid to write the salacious and unverified “Trump-Russia Dossier.”

British concert promotor and Fusion GPS associate Rob Goldstone

“Specifically, we have learned that the person who sought the meeting is associated with Fusion GPS, a firm which according to public reports, was retained by Democratic operatives to develop opposition research on the president and which commissioned the phony Steele dossier” –Washington Post

In both the Trump Tower meeting and the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations, it is clear that nobody in the Trump campaign had any sort of special access to the Kremlin, while Cohen’s emails and text messages reveal that he failed to establish contact with Putin’s spokesman. He did, however, reach a desk secretary in the spokesman’s office.

What’s more, it was Sater – a Russian immigrant with a dubious past who was representing the Bayrock Group (and not the Trump Organization), who cooked up the Moscow Trump Tower project in 2015 – suggesting that Trump would license his name to the project and share in the profits, but not actually commit capital or build the project.

Felix Sater, FBI and CIA asset, real estate developer, ex-con

Sater went from a “Wall Street wunderkind” working at Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, to getting barred from the securities industry over a barroom brawl which led to a year in prison, to facilitating a $40 million pump-and-dump stock scheme for the New York mafia, to working telecom deals in Russia – where the FBI and CIA tapped him as an undercover intelligence asset who was told by his handler “I want you to understand: If you’re caught, the USA is going to disavow you and, at best, you get a bullet in the head.”

The Moscow project, meanwhile, fizzled because Sater didn’t have the pull within the Russian government he said he had. At best, Sater had a third-hand connection to Putin which never panned out.

Sources say Sater, whom Cohen described as a “salesman,” testified to the House intelligence panel in late 2017 that his communications with Cohen about putting Trump and Putin on a stage for a “ribbon-cutting” for a Trump Tower in Moscow were “mere puffery” to try to promote the project and get it off the ground.

Also according to his still-undisclosed testimony, Sater swore none of those communications involved taking any action to influence the 2016 presidential election. None of the emails and texts between Sater and Cohen mention Russian plans or efforts to hack Democrats’ campaign emails or influence the election. –RCI

As Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch noted of Mueller’s strategy: “”Mueller seems desperate to confuse Americans by conflating the cancelled and legitimate Russia business venture with the Russia collusion theory he was actually hired to investigate,” said Fitton. “This is a transparent attempt to try to embarrass the president.”

The MSM took the ball and ran with it anyway

CNN, meanwhile, said that Cohen’s charging documents suggest Trump had a working relationship with Putin, who “had leverage over Trump” due to the project.

“Well into the 2016 campaign, one of the president’s closest associates was in touch with the Kremlin on this project, as we now know, and Michael Cohen says he was lying about it to protect the president,” said CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer.

Jeffrey Toobin – CNN‘s legal analyst, said the Cohen revelations were so “enormous” that Trump “might not finish his term,” while MSNBC pundits said that the court papers prove “Trump secretly interacted with Putin’s own office.”

“Now we have evidence that there was direct communication between the Trump Organization and Putin’s office on this. I mean, this is collusion,” said Mother Jones‘s David Corn.

Adam Schiff, the incoming Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, said Trump was dealing directly with Putin on real estate ventures, and Democrats will investigate whether Russians laundered money through the Trump Organization. –RCI

As Sperry of RealClearInvestigations points out, however, “former federal prosecutors said Mueller’s filing does not remotely incriminate the president in purported Russia collusion. It doesn’t even imply he directed Cohen to lie to Congress.

“It doesn’t implicate President Trump in any way,” said former independent counsel Solomon L. Wisenberg. “The reality is, this is a nothing-burger.”

December 3, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd Fears Russia May Be Behind Bomb Scare

Sputnik – 26.10.2018

The FBI and other agencies are continuing to hunt for the person or people responsible for shipping a number of explosive devices to prominent Democrats beginning with billionaire financier George Soros on Monday and most recently Hollywood actor Robert De Niro on Thursday.

As should be expected, while the FBI and other authorities conduct their investigation, the mainstream US press is also hunting down clues, pondering motives, talking to experts and analyzing the facts in an effort to make sense of the chaos.

Some in the mainstream media, however, really just seem to be throwing things out there and seeing what sticks to the wall. The host of MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd, who is also the political director for NBC News, is one commentator engaging in breathless guesswork to a national audience.

Who is the culprit, according to Todd? Is it a lone wolf, driven crazy by the political rhetoric of the past two years, or the “#MAGAbomber” as Twitter has theorized? Perhaps it’s a Democratic voter disgruntled by the direction of the party.

If you thought those things, you’ve probably learned nothing over the past couple of years, because Todd did not make any of those conjectures. Instead, he pointed the finger at Russia — like any good liberal media newsman would.

“This feels like a spot — I have this fear this could be some Russian operation too — designed to do what’s happening now. More of this — you know. In some ways, we shouldn’t rule out — it is dividing us,” Todd said during a panel on the bombing attempts.

Senior MSNBC Political Editor Beth Fouhy, Daily Beast columnist Jonathan Alter and prominent commentator John Podhoretz joined Todd for the discussion.

The anchor began the segment by playing a clip of US President Donald Trump calling on political leaders on Wednesday night to stop portraying their opponents as “morally defective.” Trump blamed the media for “anger” in American society on Thursday.

Perhaps ironically, Todd’s fearful remarks about the lengths Russia will go to in order to spread discord followed a discussion of the “big lie.”

Alter spoke about a propaganda technique called the “big lie,” popularized by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels in 1941 when he said, “The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big and stick to it.” The term has since come to mean that effective lies are so “colossal” that nobody could believe that the person who told the lie “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously,” in Hitler’s words.

“You just tell a lie as big as you can, because you know a lot of people are gonna believe it,” Alter said before Todd floated the “Russian operation” theory.

October 25, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment