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Disgraced ex-NBC ‘fake news’ journalist Brian Williams on crusade against false reporting

RT | December 9, 2016

Journalist Brian Williams has become the latest person to slam ‘fake news,’ claiming it influenced the US election. But there’s some irony in his apparent defense of quality journalism, as he was let go from his NBC gig last year for… reporting fake news.

“Fake news played a role in this election and continues to find a wide audience,” Williams said on MSNBC on Wednesday night.

He went on to mention retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn – President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for national security adviser – for promoting links to fake news stories on his Twitter account.

Those “gems,” as Williams called them, included claims that Hillary Clinton was involved in a child sex ring and that US President Barack Obama laundered money from Muslim terrorists.

But they say those in glass houses should not throw stones – and when it comes to spreading fake news, there is no denying that Williams has done the same.

The former anchor of NBC Nightly News was suspended without pay in 2015, eventually losing his job, after admitting that he had lied about a story in which three Chinook helicopters came under fire in Iraq in 2003.

Although Williams claimed that he was in one of the helicopters, it later emerged that he was actually traveling in a different helicopter, located about an hour behind the other three.

He was caught out after crew members from the helicopters that were actually hit came forward.

“I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another,” Williams told Stars and Stripes newspaper in 2015.

Following Williams’ apology on his Nightly News program, NBC launched an internal investigation to look into other statements made by the journalist.

Although the results of the investigation were never made public, The Washington Post reported at the time that the Iraq claim was one of 11 “suspect statements” made by Williams.

Despite his problems at NBC, another station later gave Williams another chance, awarding him the position of chief breaking news anchor a few months later.

“I am fully aware of the second chance I have been given,” Williams told NBC’s ‘Today Show’ after being hired by MSNBC.

Meanwhile, the notion of ‘fake news’ continues to dominate headlines, with Hillary Clinton – the target of several false stories – calling the situation a “danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly” on Thursday.

“This is not about politics or partisanship,” Clinton said during a tribute to departing Senate minority leader Harry Reid. “Lives are at risk. Lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs, contribute to their communities.”

Clinton’s statements come after a fake news story alleging that she was running a child sex ring from the backrooms of a Washington DC pizzeria led to a dangerous incident inside the restaurant, after a man who believed the story began shooting a rifle in an effort to “self-investigate” the claim. The story, dubbed ‘Pizzagate,’ has led to the pizzeria’s staff and other nearby business owners receiving death threats.

Donald Trump fired the son of his national security adviser choice, Michael T. Flynn, on Tuesday, allegedly for his role in spreading the ‘Pizzagate’ scandal online.

Read more:

Washington Post admits article on ‘Russian propaganda’ & ‘fake news’ based on sham research

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 3 Comments

Rouhani, Like Countless Iranian Officials Before Him, Affirms: Iran Will Never Seek Nuclear Weapons

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | September 18, 2013

Speaking in Tehran to NBC’s Ann Curry in his very first interview with an American media outlet, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani again – and repeatedly, considering Ms. Curry kept asking him the same question over and over – asserted Iran’s wholesale condemnation of nuclear arms and its commitment never to build or acquire such weaponry.

Rouhani’s statements were consistent with those of nearly every high-level Iranian official and diplomat over the past twenty years.

After Curry stated (totally incorrectly), “The world believes that Iran could build a bomb very quickly,” Rouhani replied:

We have never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb and we are not going to do so. We are solely seeking peaceful nuclear technology.

Once wasn’t enough for Curry. She asked, “Can you say now categorically then, that Iran will not build a nuclear weapon under any circumstances whatsoever?”

So Rouhani repeated:

The answer to this question is quite obvious. We have time and again said that under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever.

Again, Curry pondered, “So the answer is ‘no’?” After Rouhani again affirmed this point, she gave it another shot. “I want to make sure I understand. So the American public, so the world understands. If you can say categorically that Iran will not seek a nuclear weapon under any circumstances whatsoever. Is the answer to that yes or no, sir?”

Rouhani was patient. “The answer is that this country will never seek nuclear weapons.”

He added that “Iran wants nothing beyond what is defined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regarding the nuclear [rights] of countries,” a common statement often made by Iranian officials who understand that the Western demand on Iran to shutter or scale back its IAEA-safeguarded nuclear program is in itself a violation of Iran’s inalienable national rights.

In fact, Curry shouldn’t be so surprised by such statements coming from the top Iranian executive, as she has made a habit out of asking Iranian president the exact same question multiple times in a row and receiving the same answer.

When she interviewed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in September 2009, he told her (as noted in the above litany), “We don’t have such a need for nuclear weapons. We don’t need nuclear weapons. Without such weapons, we are very much able to defend ourselves…It’s not a part of our any – of our programs and plans.”

As a perfect example of how the mainstream media operates, after the interview, Curry published a summative report entitled, “Ahmadinejad refuses to rule out weapons.”

Two years later, when Curry again interviewed Ahmadinejad in Tehran, she asked the president directly, “Is Iran working on a nuclear warhead?”

Ahmadinejad’s reply was consistent, as always:

This is an old and repeated story. These are the same claims made by the U.S. administration many times. They have been repeating these claims for many years. This is not a new thing for us. In principle, we are against nuclear weapons because it is against our beliefs and ideology. We do not consider nuclear weapons as a useful weapon. The period or era of nuclear weapons is over…

Can nuclear weapons offer solutions to the current international problems? Can they bring superiority for the nuclear states? Certainly the answer is ‘no.’

He further stated, “We think those who try to build or make nuclear weapons, they are doing something absurd and useless. They only jeopardize their own situation and they waste the wealth of their own nations if they do it,” and explained that, as opposed to “a period of nuclear bombs,” today is an “era of humanity.”

Responding to allegations of a clandestine Iranian nuclear weapons program, he explained (as he always had):

We have integrity and are sincere in what we say because we are not afraid of any power and we do not need to conceal our intentions. If we want to build a nuclear weapon, we have the courage to announce it openly. We are not afraid of others.

Still unsatisfied, Curry decided to repeat herself, asking, “Is the answer yes or is it no, with all due respect?”

When Ahmadinejad reiterated, “We do not need nuclear weapon and we do not accept nuclear weapons. We are against that,” Curry quadrupled-down, “So you’re saying the answer is no?”

The president replied, “Right, that’s right, certainly.”

Apparently, Ann Curry has trouble taking ‘no’ for an answer. And yet, all we hear is that Rouhani’s unequivocal statement against nuclear weapons is something new and unprecedented. Clearly, it’s not.

Brian Williams, during tonight’s broadcast of NBC Nightly News, told his audience that Rouhani’s exclusive interview with Curry is “significant because it represents the first reason for any optimism, the first sign of any movement from Iran on the issue of nuclear weapons.”

What an absurd thing to say. Such is the scope of perception in the mainstream media.

September 19, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on Rouhani, Like Countless Iranian Officials Before Him, Affirms: Iran Will Never Seek Nuclear Weapons

North Korea ‘Rattles Sabres’; Meanwhile, U.S. Pretends to Drop Nuclear Bombs on Them

By Peter Hart | FAIR | April 3, 2013

NBC's Brian Williams

It’s not easy to figure out what’s going on with North Korea. We hear that new leader Kim Jong-Un is making threats to attack the United States, South Korea or both–and that’s leading to some rather alarming, and alarmist, coverage.

As ABC World News reporter Martha Raddatz put it (3/31/13): “The threats have been coming almost every day, and each day become more menacing, the threat of missile strikes on the U.S., invading armies into South Korea and nuclear attacks.”

The dominant narrative would have you believe that the United States was basically minding its own business when North Korea began lashing out. On CBS Evening News (3/29/13), Major Garrett explained:

North Korean saber-rattling is common every spring when the United States and South Korea engage in military exercises.

So there are “exercises” right next door, conducted by the world’s most powerful military, which possesses thousands of nuclear weapons; and then there’s menacing saber-rattling.

While North Korea’s apparent threats are obviously troubling, one doesn’t have to be paranoid to take offense at those military drills. As Christine Hong and Hyun Lee wrote (Foreign Policy in Focus, 2/15/13):

The drama unfolding on the other side of the 38th parallel attests to an underreported escalation of military force on the part of the United States and South Korea. In fact, on the very day that Kim visited Mu Island, 80,000 U.S. and South Korean troops were gearing up for the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian. For the first time in its history, this war exercise included a simulation of a pre-emptive attack by South Korean artillery units in an all-out war scenario against North Korea. Ostensibly a defensive exercise in preparation for an attack by the north, the joint U.S./South Korea war games have taken on a decidedly offensive characteristic since Kim Jong Il’s death. What’s more, a South Korean military official discussing the exercise raised red flags by mentioning the possibility of responding to potential North Korean provocation with asymmetric retaliation, a direct violation of UN rules of engagement in warfare.

In other words, there are some real world events that might bother North Korea’s leadership–no matter what one might think about the level of North Korean paranoia. On much of the U.S. television coverage, the threats are virtually all coming from one side, without any explanation, and the United States is merely on the scene to bring down the level of tension.  As ABC‘s Raddatz (3/31/13) explained:

The U.S., which launched two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers last week to carry out a practice bombing run less than 50 miles from North Korea, says it will continue to respond to provocation.

The U.S. will not say specifically what those counter-provocation measures may be. But an indication of how serious they are, the Pentagon says they hope they never have to put them into effect.

Again, the standard is pretty clear: Statements by North Korea says are threatening provocations, while when the U.S. pretends to drop nuclear bombs just across your border, well, that’s just how you “respond to provocation.”

While it is certainly difficult to get a sense of what exactly the North Koreans are actually saying, one of the most interesting takes came from B.R. Myers, a professor at Dongseo University in South Korea. He was quoted by a New York Times blog (Lede, 3/29/13):

We need to keep in mind that North and South Korea are not so much trading outright threats as trading blustering vows of how they would retaliate if attacked. The North says, “If the U.S. or South Korea dare infringe on our territory, we will reduce their territory to ashes,” and Seoul responds by saying it will retaliate by bombing Kim Il-sung statues. And so it goes.

I think the international press is distorting the reality somewhat by simply publishing the second half of all these conditional sentences. And I have to say from watching North Korea’s evening news broadcasts for the past week or so, the North Korean media are not quite as wrapped up in this war mood as one might think. The announcers spend the first 10 minutes or so reporting on peaceful matters before they start ranting about the enemy.

That’s important context.

Meanwhile, NBC reporter Richard Engel (NBC Nightly News, 4/1/13) told viewers that “if you watch North Korean state TV, the country looks like it’s at war.” And he closed:

The world’s last Stalinist state talking war to stay in power. Pyongyang’s secrecy makes the old Soviet Kremlin look transparent. North Korea appears to want to pick a fight and the U.S. says if it comes to that, it is ready.

April 5, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran: This Is What Propaganda Looks Like

By Peter Hart | FAIR | February 1, 2012

Alarmist corporate media coverage of the “threat” from Iran is everywhere, thanks to a Senate appearance yesterday by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

But Clapper said very little in his remarks that would justify the propagandistic coverage we’re seeing.  His main point was that Iran could launch attacks if it felt threatened. It is hard to see how this is particularly surprising. Clapper pointed to the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington D.C. as evidence that Iran seems more eager to assert itself, perhaps even inside the United States. But there were many people who raised serious questions about that rather implausible scenario (which involved hiring a Mexican drug gang to carry out the assassination).

As the Wall Street Journal reported (one of the few corporate outlets I saw pushing back against the official alarmism):

There is still widespread doubt that an alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador was authorized at the highest levels in Tehran, said Karim Sadjadpour, a Middle East analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“If that’s the only data point, I think it’s a stretch to conclude that the regime is now looking to commit acts of terror on U.S. soil,” he said.

That kind of caution was in short supply on the network newscasts. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams (1/31/12) announced:

Iran’s threat. Not just the nuclear program. Tonight, U.S. intelligence warns Iran may be prepared to strike on American soil.

Williams called Clapper’s testimony  a “chilling new assessment about the scope of the threat from Iran.” As correspondent Andrea Mitchell explained,  “Experts warn that the U.S. is even more vulnerable than Israel if Iran retaliates or launches a pre-emptive bomb plot…. Soft U.S. targets like embassies throughout the Persian Gulf, and 90,000 American troops in Afghanistan, next door to Iran.”

It wasn’t until the end of Mitchell’s report that any notes of caution were sounded:

Still, intelligence officials told the Senate today they don’t think Iran has taken the final step, deciding to build a bomb. But Israel does think Iran has crossed that red line, and U.S. officials say if attacked, Iran would not hesitate to retaliate against both Israel and the U.S.

So Iran is a substantial threat, though then again it might not even be developing the weapons the U.S. and Israel claim are in the works. And really, the “threat” seems mostly that Iran might be ready to respond to an attack on its country–something virtually any country in the world would do.

But for sheer propaganda value, ABC World News January 31 broadcast would be tough to top.

First, start with alarming graphic:

Then Pentagon correspondent Martha Raddatz announced, “The saber rattling from Iran has been constant.”

Match that with threatening B-roll footage from the enemy country. Weapons  on display at a military parade, for instance:

Iran “may be more ready than ever to launch terror attacks in the United States,” Raddatz explained. Cue footage of apparently menacing soldiers:

Don’t forget to show the enemy county’s leader (or, rather, a close approximation) meeting with other Official Enemies. Like this:

And why not one more, while reminding viewers that such figures “have little love for the U.S.”:

It’s important to remember, amidst all this hoopla, that it is U.S. military officials and the president who have regularly threatened that “no options” are “off the table” in dealing with Iran. That is code for using nuclear weapons–and Barack Obama’s latest repetition of that apocalyptic threat got a standing ovation from Congress.

It is hard to argue honestly that the real escalation  is coming from the Iranian side. But that’s what propaganda is for.

February 1, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment