Tuesday, July 11, 2017

MSM Puts the Pedal to the Meddle

*Updated below.

The corporate media is in full Russophobic overdrive again. The over-hyped meetup between Trump and Putin in Hamburg last week spurted more gallons of high octane gas into the tank of official discourse, to wit: the Kremlin Has Meddled, Does Meddle, and Will Meddle in American Democracy Forever and Ever Amen.

Elder CNN Situation Room Stentorian Wolf Blitzer, more breathless than usual on Monday afternoon, announced that Donald Trump Jr.'s gleeful response to an email claiming that Russians had dirt on Hillary is finally - finally! - exactly the proof we need...  of the possibility that the Trumps directly colluded with Putin to cost Clinton the election

This is an apparent upgrade from the improbability that Russia infiltrated the brains of the American electorate through a nefarious campaign of fake news,  making Trump a co-conspirator only by default. If a thing can now be deemed absolutely possible, then we're halfway home to reality itself. 

Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, meanwhile, can see the future despite admitting having no official current access to intelligence. Russia is prepping the 2018 Battlefield with its meddles of mass destruction even as we speak, he told CNN. Not that there is any actual evidence of this meddle-prep, mind you. The only requirement for intelligence is Possibility's close cousin, High Confidence.

The New York Times is creamily spreading, mini-scoop by mini-scoop, a whole series of friendly leaks from anonymous sources within the government, all regarding that "smoking gun" of emails to and from Trump's son.  The big scandal today is that Junior shockingly "loved it" when told that there was dirt on offer from Russia on Hillary Clinton. Plus, (and this engendered yet another news-flash to my inbox) the Times now has a physical copy of the email itself, an upgrade from simply reporting on what was dictated to them from their anonymous sources. Junior then proactively leaked said emails to the media himself, because if there's anything the Trumps hate, it's being scooped by the fake media on stuff that turns out to be totally unfake.

 The implicit message of the JuniorGate subsidiary of the Russophobic franchise is that Junior was unpatriotic and possibly -possibly! - treasonous for even talking to reps of Russian oligarchs, not to mention having the poor taste to gloat over oppo research on Hillary. The Times and other big media outlets neglect to add that these oligarchs have been given absolutely free and legal permission for the past several decades to launder their plundered money in luxury New York City real estate. The Trumps not engaging with rich Russians would therefore make no sense.

Junior's crime, if it is in fact a crime, is that he is stupid, a liar, and failed to disclose to the proper security agencies the meeting with a Russian attorney (who, as it turned out, was mainly a bait-and-switcher with the agenda of overturning Russian sanctions and not, in fact, in possession of any Hillary "dirt").

The inclusion of the eldest Trump son in RussiaGate gives added high entertainment, high-octane value to the Political-Media Complex's heretofore weak orchestrated campaign to weaken, if not get rid of, Trump himself. The very fact that President Trump sat down with Putin at the G-20  had been characterized as near-treasonous. It's as if they met in a back alley or Trump Tower rather than at a highly-publicized conference organized and attended by the global oligarchy.

Former CIA Director John Brennan, notorious for implementing Obama's Terror Tuesday policy of thousands of extrajudicial drone killiings, went on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday to scold Trump for saying it was "an honor" to meet Putin. “An honor to meet the individual who carried out the assault against our election?” Brennan fumed. “To me, it was a dishonorable thing to say.”

This, from the same spook who was caught hacking into Senate computers to spy on elected individuals who were reading a (still-suppressed and redacted) report of CIA torture. This, from the same spook who over a 30-year career was intimately involved in some of the 81 documented "meddlings" and attempted regime changes conducted by the United States, with varying degrees of success.

Here's Brennan's full friendly conversation with the Democratic Party-affiliated Chuck Todd:

If you think you're seeing more than the usual amount of blatant government propaganda couched in some unprecedented sensationalist tabloid language recently, you're not dreaming. Under cover of last Christmas, the outgoing President Obama quietly signed a law making government dissemination of domestic propaganda perfectly legal. Of course, it is cynically written in terms of being "anti-propaganda" in order to fool people into thinking that political campaigns such as RussiaGate are the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" - bipartisanly introduced by Republican Senator Rob Portman - established a Global Information Center within the State Department whose job is to collect and collate foreign attempts to endanger national security by spreading "fake news." The law also directs that money grants be given to "non-governmental agencies" willing to help the government keep track of all those efforts to undermine said national security interests.

Could the mainstream, corporate-funded media be included in the category of a helpful non-government agency?

Given their spreading groupthink willingness to engage in counter-propaganda propaganda to the near-exclusion of actual independent investigatory journalism, I wouldn't be too surprised. As it is, CNN and MSNBC and Fox all employ "former CIA analysts," retired generals, revolving-door political hacks and officials, corporation-funded think tank "scholars," and even cross-over Times and Post reporters, to form panels and disseminate what are increasingly the same talking points, repeated ad infinitum, the better to manufacture the public consent.

Not that propagandist stenography is anything new, of course, but in this digital age, it has the added strength of traveling at the speed of light. Or should I say darkness?

For a primer on how the New York Times, in particular, has historically relied upon red-baiting and Russophobia to help enhance the interests of the ruling class, look no further than this damning piece by Edward S. Herman. The Times started hating on Russia during the 1917 Revolution, and they've never looked back.

Fake news, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. And the Times and its media cousins are looking none too gorgeous these days.

*Update 7/12

I wrote this post before the publication of Junior's email chain, which is a pretty chilling encapsulation of the casual corruption of the Trump clan in particular, and the international oligarchy in general. These people have a hands-on, clannish approach to a politics in which, as Trump as gaffed in the past, there is literally no line between the country and his company. They not only think they own the place, they do own the place, and they act with breathtaking impunity. Why not? Despite decades worth of evidence of larceny and fraud, law enforcement has never called them to account. Why should they quit just because Big Daddy is now president of the United States?

They're being called to account now because it is not in the best interests of other segments of the ruling class to be nice to Russia. Trump's interest in making friends with Putin connotes sharing of global looted wealth, especially oil, combined with a lessening of NATO sabre-rattling for fun and defense industry profit.

The mega-dot - more of an exclamation point, really - connecting all the events in question is that Daddy Don apparently knew more about the June 2016 meeting on Hillary dirt than he's let on. Coincident with this meeting was Trump's promise, at a rally, for a major reveal about Clinton corruption in the coming days. That big reveal never materialized, probably because the dirt that the Russians promised on Hillary was never forthcoming. The Trumps have been revealed to be as gullible as they are greedy.

If Trump goes down for this, others should go down too. They probably won't, but at least they might have to squirm for a while before the choking dust from the smoking gun clears, and they (think a minute about President Mike Pence) can urge us all to "look forward, not back."

Meanwhile, Trump is so desperate that he has submitted to a ritual Laying On of Hands. Although no devils were seen fleeing the Oval Office, one evangelical participant was quoted as saying, "I get goosebumps thinking what God is going to do."

It Don't Mean a Thing If You Ain't Got That Good Christian Bling


Jamie said...

"If you look at Facebook, the vast majority of the news items posted were fake. They were connected to, as we now know, the thousand Russian agents."

- Crooked Hillary

Mark Thomason said...

Don, Jr. was offered proof that Hillary was colluding with Russia.

What would Democrats have done if offered the same sort of proof about Don, Sr., from a foreign intelligence agent quoting Russian intelligence sources?

They were. They took it. It is called the Steele Dossier, and they shopped it all over DC, only very belatedly going to the FBI when nobody else would accept it. That finally got it public, when the FBI included it in a "secret" brief which was immediately leaked, become news because leaked from the FBI's secret brief on its existence.

Voters are irritated that they keep hearing this stuff instead of what will be done for them, about things that matter to them. Add to that the extreme double standard -- they did what we did! -- and voters are going to reject again the "I'm better than Trump so hold your nose and vote for me" argument.

Jay–Ottawa said...

MSM journalists are gods. They create great stories out of nothing and disappear the real by simply looking away.

So what if a big piece of ice just decided to float free from Antarctica, so what if most people on earth are rapidly getting more poor and more sick, so what if people are fleeing their homes in numbers not seen since WWII, so what if more than half of the US discretionary budget is spent on war? The papers remain transfixed by what they alone can see, which is what might have happened in the last presidential campaign, which still ain't over.

"If a thing can now be deemed absolutely possible, then we're halfway home to reality itself." Karen's essay weighs the wisps of nothing events, the invisible threads being woven tight, and the countless possibilities that fuel the Russiagate story. The fact that those nonevents still hog the front page is accepted as proof that they are real.

Her essay is in a class with Orwell's bare-bones dissections showing how lies broadcast with timing and gravitas become truth. Gifted liars on big outlets are the alchemists of our day. They prove that you can indeed turn lead into gold, at least to satisfy most of the people most of the time.

Giving money––or even your time––to MSM media only encourages them. Here's a site that lists the big papers around the country beside a description of who is likely to be reading them on a regular basis. Are you in this picture?


Meanwhile, our attention is diverted from the real wolves at the door. The big papers and TV news are usually busy covering something other than existential threats for the many.

Give up on the MSM. Make them disappear by your inattention. But what about the other organized groups with long traditions and good money who are also supposed to step in to defend the vulnerable? You know, the good side of America's Deep State. Nader has put out a call to the pillars of our society to stand tall in support of justice in these trying times. I can't wait until the NY Times picks up that story and gives more life to our better angels.


Zee said...

Mark Thomason pretty much has the "right" of it in ré Donald J. Trump, Jr.'s part in the latest chapter of the never-ending
"Russia-Gate saga:"

Stupid? Yes. Consequential? No more than the "Steele Dossier."

Hope DJT, Sr. sacks dim-bulbed DJT, Jr, but otherwise, give it a rest, MSM.

Otherwise you're gonna get Mike Pence, who just might know what he's doing with a Republican Congress.


annenigma said...

No matter how many new condiments the MSM dishes up to make Russiagate into a big deal meal, it still tastes like a giant nothingburger.

Where's the beef? The hearsay 'evidence' in Goldstone's email stating Russian intentions? A bait and switch trick by a Russian lawyer to win a meeting?

Who gives a rat's ass anyway? As they've done for months on end with breathless, daily Breaking News reports on the latest Trump lie, the MSM expects us to believe that until Trump came along, no one lied and certainly not His Awesome Awesomeness Obama, and there was no corruption, certainly not Secretary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation slush fund.

Russiagate has been the biggest gift Hillary Clinton gave herself, having strategized to blame Russia from day 1 after her loss, and it's a gift that keeps on giving. All her shenanigans have been quietly swept away.

Patrice Ayme said...

Subscriber to the New York Times for decades, I argued against the Iraq invasions under BOTH Bushes (but for Krugman, the NYT was for it, all the way, even n 2003). Now, for several years (Before Trump) they have banned me, and will not even try to fake an answer when I ask them why.
So they are violating their fiduciary duty (official press).

The tragedy of McCarthyism in the 1950s is now repeated as farce. Instead of Nixon and other rightwing fascists in the lead, the self-described "liberals" are in the lead. Thus revealing themselves even more ridiculous and indecent than Nixon and McCarthy (the USSR was a real enemy, and there was real spying going on).

The fight with Trump is a sort of vaccination that most of the plutocracy, and ALL the media it owns, is using to try to imprint We The Sheeple upon the notion that they are not part of the global plutocracy...

Notice that I have been banned by many MSM media and pseudo-left sites like Daily Kos (since 2009), and this has stalled the growth of my readership very efficiently... Thus the grossest ways work, just as they did under Nazism...
Patrice Ayme

stranger in a strange land said...

@Jay - thanks for the link to that Nader letter to the slacking pillars of society. Sure hoping along with you that the pendulum swings back in the 'Raider' direction sooner rather than later. Also not waiting for the NYT to lead the charge : )

Let's revive the pamphleteer vibe of Thomas Paine and bring the news that's fit to print directly to The People! Print some copies of that letter and distribute to a few local churches and Rotary/Lion's Clubs.

Not so sure about the lawyers/doctors though, "cast not your pearls before swine" and all that. The good ones are already onboard - the rest are too deeply vested in their trough.

Anonymous said...

What does it mean if in a dream an aeroplane falling into the sea, right
in front of your eyes. But because you are on land you are safe.?

It is a warning that we must due care