What to Do About ‘Fake News’

Exclusive: A pushback is coming to the Internet’s success in giving the world access to diverse opinions and dissenting information. Politicians, mainstream media and technology giants are taking aim at what they call “fake news,” reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

In the wake of Donald Trump’s victory, a hot new issue – raised by President Obama in an international setting on Thursday and touted on The New York Times’ front page on Friday – is the problem of “fake news” being disseminated on the Internet.

Major Internet companies, such as Google and Facebook, are being urged to censor such articles and to punish alleged violators. Also, teams of supposedly “responsible” news providers and technology giants are being assembled to police this alleged problem and decide what is true and what is not.

President Obama in the Oval Office.

President Obama in the Oval Office.

But therein lies the more serious problem: who gets to decide what is real and what is not real? And – in an age when all sides propagate propaganda – when does conformity in support of a mainstream “truth” become censorship of reasonable skepticism?

As a journalist for more than four decades, I take seriously the profession’s responsibility to verify information as much as possible before publishing it – and as editor of Consortiumnews.com, I insist that our writers (and to the extent possible, outside commenters) back up what they say.

I personally hate “conspiracy theories” in which people speculate about a topic without real evidence and often in defiance of actual evidence. I believe in traditional journalistic standards of cross-checking data and applying common sense.

So, I am surely no fan of Internet hoaxes and baseless accusations. Yet, I also recognize that mainstream U.S. news outlets have made horrendous and wholesale factual errors, too, such as reporting in 2002-03 that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program (The New York Times) and was hiding stockpiles of WMD (many TV and print outlets, including The Washington Post).

And, mainstream outlets getting such life-and-death stories wrong was not just a one-off affair around the Iraq invasion. At least since the 1980s, The New York Times has misreported or glossed over many international issues that put the United States and its allies in a negative light.

For instance, the Times not only missed the Nicaraguan Contra cocaine scandal, but actively covered up the Reagan administration’s role in the wrongdoing through the 1980s and much of the 1990s.

The Times lagged badly, too, on investigating the secret operations that became known as the Iran-Contra Affair. The Times’ gullibility in the face of official denials was an obstacle for those of us digging into that constitutional crisis and other abuses by the Reagan administration. [For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “New York Times: Apologist for Power.”]

In that same era, The Washington Post performed no better. Leonard Downie, its executive editor at the time of the Contra-cocaine scandal, has continued to reject the reality of Ronald Reagan’s beloved Contras trafficking in cocaine despite the 1998 findings of CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz that, in fact, many Contras were neck-deep in the cocaine trade and the Reagan administration covered up their criminality for geopolitical reasons.

More recently, during the mad dash to invade Iraq in 2002-03, the Post’s editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt wrote repeatedly as flat fact that Iraq was hiding WMD and mocked the few dissenting voices that challenged the “group think.”

Yet, Hiatt suffered no accountability for his falsehoods and is still the Post’s editorial-page editor, still peddling dubious examples of Washington’s conventional wisdom.

Ministry of Truth

So, who are the “responsible” journalists who should be anointed to regulate what the world’s public gets to see and hear? For that Orwellian task, a kind of Ministry of Truth has been set up by Google, called the First Draft Coalition, which touts itself as a collection of 30 major news and technology companies, including the Times and Post, tackling “fake news” and creating a platform to decide which stories are questionable and which ones aren’t.

Correspondent Michael Usher of Australia’s “60 Minutes” claims to have found the billboard visible in a video of a BUK missile launcher after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. (Screen shot from Australia’s “60 Minutes”)

Correspondent Michael Usher of Australia’s “60 Minutes” claims to have found the billboard visible in a video of a BUK missile launcher after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014, but the scenes actually don’t match up at all. (Screen shot from Australia’s “60 Minutes”)

Formed in June 2015 and funded by Google News Lab, the First Draft Coalition’s founding members included Bellingcat, an online “citizen journalism” site that has gotten many of its highest profile stories wrong and is now associated with NATO’s favorite think tank, the Atlantic Council.

Despite Bellingcat’s checkered record and its conflicts of interest through the Atlantic Council, major Western news outlets, including the Times and Post, have embraced Bellingcat, apparently because its articles always seem to mesh neatly with U.S. and European propaganda on Syria and Ukraine.

Two of Bellingcat’s (or its founder Eliot Higgins’s) biggest errors were misplacing the firing location of the suspected Syrian rocket carrying sarin gas on Aug. 21, 2013, and directing an Australian news crew to the wrong site for the so-called getaway Buk video after the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

A screen shot of the roadway where the suspected BUK missile battery supposedly passed after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. (Image from Australian “60 Minutes” program)

A screen shot of the roadway where the suspected BUK missile battery supposedly passed after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. (Image from Australian “60 Minutes” program)

But like many news outlets that support establishment “group thinks,” Bellingcat wins widespread praise and official endorsements, such as from the international MH-17 investigation that was largely controlled by Ukraine’s unsavory intelligence agency, the SBU and that accepted Bellingcat’s dubious MH-17 evidence blaming the Russians.

If such a Ministry of Truth had existed in the mid-1980s, it might well have denounced the investigative reporting on the Contra-cocaine scandal since that was initially deemed untrue. And if “Minitrue” were around in 2002-03, it almost surely would have decried the handful of people who were warning against the “group think” on Iraq’s WMD.

Power and Reality

While it’s undeniable that some false or dubious stories get pushed during the heat of a political campaign and in wartime – and journalists have a role in fact-checking as best they can – there is potentially a greater danger when media insiders arrogate to themselves the power to dismiss contrary evidence as unacceptable, especially given their own history of publishing stories that turned out to be dubious if not entirely false.

It’s even more dangerous when these self-appointed arbiters of truth combine forces with powerful Internet search engines and social media companies to essentially silence dissenting opinions and contrary facts by making them very difficult for the public to locate.

Arguably even worse is when politicians – whether President-elect Donald Trump or Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or President Obama – get into the business of judging what is true and what is false.

On Thursday, an impassioned President Obama voiced his annoyance with “fake news” twice in his joint news conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel — “because in an age where there’s so much active misinformation and it’s packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television. … If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect.”

Let that phrase sink in for a moment: “We won’t know what to protect”? Is President Obama suggesting that it is the U.S. government’s role to “protect” certain information and, by implication, leave contrary information “unprotected,” i.e. open to censorship?

On Friday, a New York Times front-page article took Facebook to task, in particular, writing: “for years, the social network did little to clamp down on the false news.”

The Times added, in a complimentary way, “Now Facebook, Google and others have begun to take steps to curb the trend, but some outside the United States say the move is too late.”

Info-War

This new alarm about “fake news” comes amid the U.S. government’s “information war” against Russia regarding the Syrian and Ukraine conflicts. Obama’s State Department insists that it is presenting the truth about these conflicts while Russia’s RT channel is a fount of disinformation. Yet, the State Department’s propaganda officials have frequently made false or unsupported claims themselves.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Ukraine’s (now-former) Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

On Wednesday, there was the unseemly scene of State Department spokesman John Kirby refusing to answer reasonable questions from a Russian journalist affiliated with RT.

The RT journalist asked Kirby to identify the hospitals and clinics in Syria that he was claiming had been hit by Russian and Syrian airstrikes. You might assume that a truth-teller would have welcomed the opportunity to provide more details that could then be checked and verified.

But instead Kirby berated the RT journalist and tried to turn the rest of the State Department press corps against her.

QUESTION: Don’t you think it is important to give a specific list of hospitals that you’re accusing Russia of hitting? Those are grave accusations.

KIRBY: I’m not making those accusations. I’m telling you we’ve seen reports from credible aid organizations that five hospitals and a clinic —

QUESTION: Which hospital —

KIRBY: At least one clinic —

QUESTION: In what cities at least?

KIRBY: You can go look at the information that many of the Syrian relief agencies are putting out there publicly. We’re getting our information from them too. These reports —

QUESTION: But you are citing those reports without giving any specifics.

KIRBY: Because we believe these agencies are credible and because we have other sources of information that back up what we’re seeing from some of these reports. And you know what? Why don’t [you] ask … Here’s a good question. Why don’t you ask your defense ministry … what they’re doing and see if you can get…”

QUESTION: If you give a specific list —

KIRBY: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

QUESTION: If you give a specific list of hospitals —

KIRBY: No, no, no.

QUESTION: My colleagues who are listening hopefully would be able to go and ask Russian officials about a specific list of hospitals that you’re accusing Russia of …”

KIRBY: You work for Russia Today, right? Isn’t that your agency?

QUESTION: That is correct. Yes.

KIRBY: And so why shouldn’t you ask your government the same kinds of questions that you’re standing here asking me? Ask them about their military activities. Get them to tell you what they’re – or to deny what they’re doing.

QUESTION: When I ask for specifics, it seems your response is why are you here? Well, you are leveling that accusation.

KIRBY: No, ma’am.

QUESTION: And if you give specifics, my colleagues would be able to ask Russian officials.

As Kirby continued to berate the RT journalist and stonewall her request for specifics, an American reporter intervened and objected to Kirby’s use of the phrase “‘your defense minister’ and things like that. I mean, she’s a journalist just like the rest of are, so it’s – she’s asking pointed questions, but they’re not …”

Kirby then insisted that since RT was “a state-owned” outlet that its journalists should not be put “on the same level with the rest of you who are representing independent media outlets.” (But the reality is that Voice of America, BBC and many other Western outlets are financed by governments or have ideological benefactors.)

Public Diplomacy

Kirby’s hostility toward legitimate questions being raised about U.S. or U.S.-allied assertions has become typical of Obama’s State Department, which doesn’t seem to want any challenges to its presentation of reality.

A screen shot of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland speaking to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, at an event sponsored by Chevron, with its logo to Nuland’s left.

A screen shot of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland speaking to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, at an event sponsored by Chevron, with its logo to Nuland’s left.

For instance, during the early phase of the Ukraine crisis in 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry called RT a “propaganda bullhorn” and Richard Stengel, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, issued a “DipNote” saying RT should be ostracized as a source of disinformation.

But Stengel’s complaint revealed a stunning ignorance about the circumstances surrounding the February 2014 putsch that overthrew Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

For instance, Stengel cited RT’s “ludicrous assertion” about the U.S. investing $5 billion to promote “regime change” in Ukraine. Stengel apparently wasn’t aware that Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland had cited the $5 billion figure in support of Ukraine’s “European aspirations” during a public speech to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013.

At the time, Nuland was a leading proponent of “regime change” in Ukraine, personally cheering on the Maidan demonstrators and even passing out cookies. In an intercepted, obscenity-laced phone call with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland said her choice to lead Ukraine was Arseniy “Yats is the guy” Yatsenyuk, who ended up as Prime Minister after the coup.

So, was Stengel a purveyor of “fake news” when he was accusing RT of disseminating fake news or was he just assembling some propaganda points for his underlings to repeat to a gullible Western news media? Or was he just ill-informed?

Both democracy and journalism can be messy businesses – and credibility is something that must be earned over time by building a reputation for reliability. There is no “gold seal” from the Establishment that makes you trustworthy.

It’s simply important to do one’s best to inform the American people and the world’s public as accurately as possible. Awarding trust is best left to individual readers who must be the ultimate judges of what’s real and what’s fake.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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87 comments for “What to Do About ‘Fake News’

  1. Dennis Rice
    November 18, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    Well, here we are to Orwell and 1984 (although a few years past that).

    No doubt, the US “Ministry of Truth” will come about, just as has spying on average Americans by the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, and others(?).

    Truth is, those in power in high places; government or Wall Street and the multi-rich, are the ones scared; scared of ordinary people, those of a different faiths (especially Muslims), Hispanics…. The ‘high powers and wealthy’ don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes, but they sure as hell want the military and the local police to protect them.

    The mainstream media can’t be trusted – period.

    • rosemerry
      November 19, 2016 at 4:34 am

      Correct. Remember also the cover-up by the NYT of James Risen’s report which might has influenced the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush. It was published only a YEAR later when Risen’s book was about to be released.

      Many of the stories of Iran’s wickedness concocted by “reporters” bear little relationship to truth. Reporting the words of General Flynn even now distort the truth big league!!

    • Roland Laycock
      November 19, 2016 at 6:52 am

      I listen to the lies pumped out of the US daily and the UK media pass it on down the chain, there is more truth on the internet and these day I find the Russian tell more truth

      • November 20, 2016 at 3:47 pm

        That’s not sketicism though. You should question it all. I agree that RT is awesome. But it still stinks, even if many of it’s journos are doing first rate work. And the reason I say that it stinks is that when RT recently ‘fixed’ it’s commenting features, it hired a company called Spot.IM, created and run by two Israelis. The buck stops with them, then, when we find that Spot.IM heavily censors comments on RT’s website. I found out QUICKLY that only people saying little and/or saying exactly what those whose interests align with the Russian government want to have visible were left alone. Don’t believe me? See for yourself. Pop in, read around, and comment, meaningfully. You can certainly attack US-inspired violence without danger of being disappeared, but you will be surprised at how, if you’re not sufficiently pro Putin and pro Jewish religion, you may run into difficulty. (And check out my blog post titled “Irony And An Iron Grip” – http://bit.ly/2er8gG9)

    • onno
      November 19, 2016 at 9:28 am

      Well said. Truth is also part of democracy and today’s Washington proves to be a center of tyranny not only for the American people but also for the world. Illegal actions by a government, military actions abroad, genocide and other atrocities overseas plus domestic anarchy and oppressing the American people by executing mostly innocent people on American streets by the police – without prosecuting them – is a far away from the famous Gettysburg speech – more than 150 years ago – in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln:’ that this nation under God, shall have a new birth of FREEDOM – and the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”
      It’s sad to see that in the past 50 years – since JFKenndy’s presidency this great nation has denied the American people to live FREE and in Peace. Washington is an autocracy with the rich and neocons ruling with an iron fist domestically and globally without ANY respect for human beings and their HUMAN RIGHTS. Washington attacking sovereign nations without a UN mandate and bombing civil targets like schools and hospitals in violation of the Geneva Convention.
      And now electing a Republican president who has to worry about his life because MSM propaganda under control of Democrats have brainwashed the people with a ‘SCARE Message’ initiated by a bloodthirsty Hillary Clinton. Booth Congress and the White House are guilty in this conspiracy.

      • Liam
        November 19, 2016 at 5:42 pm

        Great post. Highly recommend. We have descended way down the rabbit hole. That is why things have felt so strange for the past decade. The media is creating this madness. I’m a progressive anti-war former Dem who voted for Jill Stein but I think Trump will actually bring some normalcy back to life as we used to know it. The media are the ones stirring us all up and after all this war and anti-Russia propaganda they definitely can’t be trusted any longer. Frankly speaking, they are dangerous. If we just learn to cancel them out then life will be a lot nicer and closer to the truth. Thanks for your great comment.

  2. bfearn
    November 18, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Obviously governments need independent Truth Departments with teeth. Any politician or influential member of the public who lied could be sanctioned and forced to issue a truthful statement.

    Many people think this would never work because who is to say what is the truth. Ironic that our courts are supposed to be based on ‘the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ but when it really matters the truth is elusive at best.

    • Erik
      November 18, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      Very true, if you mean that governments need independent means of verification rather than Orwellian “Truth Departments.” As you note the truth is elusive, in large part because it annoys most people to be cautious, even in the rare cases when social commitments and inclinations do not bias them.

      This is why I advocate an independent federal college of policy analysis constituted to protect all points of view, and to debate among university experts of several disciplines the status and possibilities of each world region, and the policy options. Prevention of bias is the major issue, but if made an independent branch of the federal government it would be free of the groupthink bias of other branches. It should produce debate summaries commented by all sides and available to the public for comment. The ability to see all sides challenged and responding in an orderly manner is essential to public understanding.

      The availability of such debates would have much reduced the groupthink and hysteria which have led to our endless mad wars since WWII. The debates would also show the superficiality and deceptiveness of most right-wing thinking in foreign and domestic policy, and would also require a much higher standard of left-wing argument. Political candidates unaware of existing debates would be easier to expose, and media commentators would have a starting point and a standard for media investigation and analysis.

      It is very hard work to do the research, dig up sensible views in opposition, criticize and perhaps change one’s own views, and present the troubling alternative viewpoints honestly and courageously. Good journalists such as those found here do much of that work for the public, but organized expert debate can cover a lot of the ground for them and give them a foundation from which to explore current events and unexamined views and evidence.

      The Library of Congress runs the Congressional Research Service which attempts to answer such questions from Congress with a mere 108 million annually (for tens of thousands of major questions), providing mostly commented summaries of published papers, which can include stink tank propaganda and research that they cannot evaluate professionally. We could do a lot better with a College of Policy Analysis.

      As others have noted or feared, the problem of ensuring the independence and impartiality of such a college of debate is a great and largely new problem, which I hope to solve with the help of others.

    • Jack Flanigan
      November 18, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      You endorse truth departments, “with teeth”?
      Are you serious?
      Maybe I have missed some subtle irony here.

      regards

    • Dr. Ip
      November 19, 2016 at 5:47 am

      “Governments need independent Truth Departments with teeth.” So that “Any politician or influential member of the public who lied could be sanctioned and forced to issue a truthful statement.”?

      What kind of dystopian future are you pimping for? Torture until the truth is told? Excuse me, until you tell me the truth I want to hear.

      The Man is going to take over the High Castle in January
      (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_in_the_High_Castle_(TV_series)).

      By then, most of the elements of the new repression will be in place. Find non-USA servers for your news outlet, move your valuables to a place not directly under the thumb of the new regime. Difficult to do of course. And if you organize resistance, use encrypted communication, or, better yet, talk face to face with people, ditch Facebook and the social media traps.

      Or, just keep your head down, fade into the background and hope that the poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group, does not come true… again!

      The following is a poetic version of his statements:

      First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Socialist.

      Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Jew.

      Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

      • Bill Cash
        November 19, 2016 at 8:32 pm

        Glad to see a post recognizing the danger from a Trump regime.

  3. Dennis Merwood
    November 18, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    State Department spokesman John Kirby’s answers to reasonable questions from that Russian journalist affiliated with RT should immediately result in him being fired for his despicable treatment of this young lady on Wednesday. What a shocking display of bias, hubris and ignorance from a State Department employee. This can’t be allowed to be swept under the rug.

    • Gregory Herr
      November 19, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      A quick link that begins with Maria Zakharova’s response to Kirby’s insolence and then picks up the exchange between Kirby and the RT reporter:

      https://youtu.be/p_1d9MR_Wzk

      • backwardsevolution
        November 19, 2016 at 5:43 pm

        Dennis Merwood – OMG, yes, he should be immediately fired. What arrogance and stupidity!

        Gregory Herr – thanks for the link. To read about it is one thing; to actually see it is another.

  4. Kiza
    November 18, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    I assure you that when the communist country regimes were censoring the news it has always been with the greatest concern for the proper informing of the citizenry and against “fake news” distributed by the questionable entities. Likewise with all other insecure regimes and totalitarian regimes. They always worry about the poor consumers of news and how they will be miss-informed. The fact that the Western regimes are now applying identical concerns about accuracy of informing public against the challengers of its propaganda is just another irony of the win in the previous Cold War.

    BTW, for me personally the official “news” is the synonymous with official propaganda, there are not as many “errors” in the “news” as Mr Parry politely claims. It is all blatant, old-fashioned regime propaganda.

  5. Derek
    November 18, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    The New York Times is one of the most biased publications in existence. There’s is “fake news” like everyone else’s. Basically, there ARE no news sites that give factual reporting, without leaning toward one of the two choices in political parties that the government has allowed us to choose between. I opted out long ago. This article itself is fake news, to me.

  6. John
    November 18, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Attention earthlings…..humans with an IQ over 140 know truth does not exist……At the 10 dimension every potential exist simultaneously……Humans are boring …….Storm the castle anyway : )

    • Realist
      November 19, 2016 at 6:48 am

      Well, yeah, everyone knows that’s what the Telosians revealed to Captain Kirk: “Captain Pike has his reality and you have yours.” Exactly how an uncountable number of entangled probability waves precisely collapse defines your life alone, and no one else’s (until it’s repeated several quadrillion times to the quintillionth power… in an infinite universe).

  7. Joe Lauria
    November 18, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Excellent and necessary piece. Regarding Kirby’s remarks about RT not being on the same level as Western independent media: Just because most Western media aren’t state-owned doesn’t mean they are independent. They are corporate-owned, and the state is essentially corporate-owned, so the media has the same owner as the state does. I totally agree that it must be up to readers alone to identify fake sites and not share anything from them and warn others, who can then make up their own minds. Here, for instance, are three that I find untrustworthy: Christian Times, EU Times, and Your News Wire.

    • Sam F
      November 19, 2016 at 9:03 am

      Yes, it is interesting that big business moves to the extent possible to control public information and elections. That may in itself be sufficient reason for state control of businesses larger than a few hundred employees. Constitutional amendments restricting funding of elections and mass media to registered limited individual contributions may not be enough.

    • November 20, 2016 at 7:40 am

      Yes, much of the propaganda of the West’s state-controlled media has simply been outsourced to the private sector. Publications like the Times, Washington Post, Guardian, don’t have to be told what to do or print, they instinctively know, since they inhabit the same privileged, socio-economic status as high-ranking state functionaries, celebrities, and the super rich. Essentially the western ruling elite is, in fact, a coalition of elites, of which the media is one. The great American theorist C Wright Mills pointed this out in the 1950s, in works such as ‘The Power Elite’ and ‘The Sociological Imagination’ where he identified this elite triumvirate as 1. The corporate rich, 2., The political directorate, and 3., The Warlords. This coalition has since been joined by the mass media. A much-neglected thinker and writer who ought to be more widely read.

  8. Joe Tedesk
    November 18, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    When a government installs a Ministry of Truth that is a sign that the government is being caught in to many lies. You have heard the saying, and the truth will set you free, well true freedom wouldn’t need to have a Ministry of Truth, because the truth would be out in the open for everyone to see. Only those with something to hide need to regulate the truth. So while the U.S. deregulates unscrupulous business practices, the commons will be made to hear regulated news stories, which is deemed good for the commons to hear. A Ministry of Truth, would surpass the evilness of Citizens United, and the Revolving Door Politicos, plus a few other unwanted things we in modern America have succumbed to live with. If this keeps up, we will all be passing around secret notes to each other, while attempting to learn what is real…God help America!

    • Joe Tedesk
      November 19, 2016 at 12:04 am

      Do any of you remember way back when the TSA and Homeland Security was installed how everyone said, well if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about? Will the new meme on the streets be, if the press writes the truth then the press will have nothing to worry about? I’m a little weary of this innocent trap, and the way it gets thrown around. People forget that when these type of laws are constructed and implemented that that puts the ball into some authoritarians hands, and your fate relies on the interpretation of that authoritarians principles, and that there my friend is the slippery slop which threatens our free press, and basic freedoms to boot.

      Another thing, will a law against fake news ever get pass a person such as Steve Bannon. Compare Brietbart News and Huffington Post to news sites such as consortiumnews or counterpunch. Brietbart has often broke news with stories which are not actually that factual. I have never seen Breitbart report anything Israeli without the American conventional bias. I’m not knocking opinion pieces, but when opinion obfuscates the facts, well that is a different story, because then that author is lying to you. Why in fact almost all articles written by the MSM misreports the Palestintian’s struggle against their Zionist overlords, and that’s a fact.

      So will the Trump Adminstration go after the fake news outlets. Will both Houses of Congress be okay with this, and will the same Houses of Congress be okay with the fallout of such a freedom of press issue tying up their congressional phones lines, and jamming away their Tweeter accounts with their voter complaints? This time it will all be on the Republicans, and for now the Republicans, who desperately need a new face lift, will be for not if they dare throw down the gauntlet on the press, by going after the fake news. Will the Republicans find it worth the trouble, or will they punt to 2020?

      • Monte George Jr.
        November 19, 2016 at 3:33 pm

        Good points. The three Greatest Lies Ever Told are:

        1. “The check is in the mail.”
        2. “A land without a people, for a people without a land”
        3. “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”

        • Joe Tedesk
          November 20, 2016 at 12:36 am

          Thanks for keeping your comment clean.

          Anyway this whole ‘fake news’ freak out is because Hillary loss. It’s plain and simple. I’m not sure what liberal in America means anymore. Hillary got pretty ugly with Russia, and now the Democrate’s are pointing to fake news, as being a problem. I’m one of those old fashion liberals, I don’t like war, and I want so much freedom of the press, that I’ll decide what’s true and what’s not true. And you can damn me for doing it.

          You can’t stop lies during an election season. Way back when in the olden days political parties would pay drunks to go from tavern to tavern spreading rumors and lies. Politics is what it is. It’s an evil brew of power and greed getting over on other powerful and greedy creatures all with the same goal, and that is to take the people’s money. So, there will always be the skeleton in the closet, and everybody’s got something to hide, except for me and my monkey. Thanks again for your three greatest lies ever told.

  9. evelync
    November 18, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    I was troubled when Obama made that statement because he seemed angry that the “truth” he and the establishment are pushing (and believe?) is being challenged.
    I feel bad for him. He’s lost control of the narrative.
    If he publicly welcomes and thanks Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and the other leakers who have been informing the public with facts then his “search” for the “truth” will gain some validity.

    • rosemerry
      November 19, 2016 at 4:41 am

      Bingo, evelync! Truthtellers are on of Obama’s favorite victims, and Hillary C and Joe (Biden) are relentless against Assange and Snowden who deserve every praise for bringing the truth to us all. As Assange points out, in all the ten years of its existence Wikileaks has NOT been found to disseminate false information. Who can claim that in the US MSM?

  10. Joe Tedesk
    November 18, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    For consortiumnews IT; 9:04pm est, on this iPad I have 10 comments so far, on my MAC desk top I have only the first 2 comments that were posted. Just thought you may like to know this.

    • evelync
      November 18, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      Thanks, Joe, for pointing this out.
      On my iPad I see 15 comments at 8:46 Central time.
      On the IMac using Safari where I am recognized with I’d and email addressfor CN i also see 15 comments.

      But with your tip about the comments showing only 2 on your desk top, I was curious.
      I used my Mac desktop but used Firefox which apparently does not automatically recognize my user name and email address for CN.
      and there were only 2 comments
      Dennis Rice and bfeam.
      Those are also the first 2 comments on the list of 15.
      Perhaps all comments are only available to people who have signed in with an user name and email address.
      And unidentified readers only get to see those that were previewed by Editors?

      I’m pretty sure I’ve noticed this phenomenon before.

      Not sure what if any editor function may be responsible for this.

      Interestingly the “….Pointing Fingers” article has the same phenomenon.

      37 comments when my email address is recognized for me ( on the Mac) vs 31 on Firefox – no recognition.

      I haven’t checked any others.

      Perhaps “known” commenters, get immediate access while unknown “readers” only see what has passed through an editors’ screen?

    • evelync
      November 18, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      I think when I noticed this phenomenon before and then checked back later, the newer comments were eventually added to the rest and the total was correct….

      • Joe Tedesk
        November 19, 2016 at 12:08 am

        Open the door Hal.

        • Curious
          November 19, 2016 at 3:44 am

          Correction Joe, that should be “open the pod bay door Hal”

          But it’s a good esoteric reference for an older generation.

          • Joe Tedesk
            November 20, 2016 at 12:44 am

            Curious, thanks for the correction. I guess that’s why I fail at auditions because I ad lib too much. I make a great extra, though. Take care my friend see you at the pod bay door, and say hi to Hal for me.

            I’ll ignore that older generation remark, as soon as I get up to change the tv channel.

  11. Fritz
    November 18, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    I new this kind of information control would be inevitable. Obama is abominably devious making such statements.

  12. Sammy TT
    November 18, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    Just stop trying to care. There is no way back. There is no hope. This is the way the world ends.

  13. ltr
    November 18, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Brilliant essay. I needed this because I did not understand the issue. Also, I was especially bothered by the way in which the RT reporter was treated.

    • Kiza
      November 19, 2016 at 12:35 am

      Well, this was definitely not the first time that “Admiral” (of McHails Navy) Kirby spat the dummy, I recall at least two other occasions a very similar thing happened. It appears that US State Department is proud of such treatment of journalists – question the official narrative and stand accused of being an employee/agent of the opponent’s Ministry of Military. Even the fact that someone came up with a brilliant idea to appoint a rough and tumble military character into a sensitive and sophisticated role of Public Relations illustrates a terminal decline of a former superpower. Because a true power does not need to dress down the non-embedded journalists as if they were misbehaving sailors, just to maintain the lies.

      • Curious
        November 19, 2016 at 4:03 am

        Kiza,

        Kirby is obviously wound a bit too tight I would say, but the lies are rather consistent coming out of the State Department over the years. Do you remember Jen Psaki and her lies? There are so many but it was unbelievable when she referenced the violence and the people leaving Eastern Ukraine for Russia by saying there is no violence and these people are just probably going over to see their Aunties, or relatives. On youtube there is still the version of her reacting to V. Nulands’ phone conversation about the EU and Yats. Her cover was basically saying ‘I don’t know why Russia would put something like that out on the news’ etc. and blaming Russia for the things Nuland herself said. It is quite amazing.

        And then Psaki gets moved to a PR, or similar position in the White House…. go figure.

        • Kiza
          November 19, 2016 at 5:54 am

          There is a big difference between Psaki and Kirby, obviously. Psaki’s lies and justifications were good humor and produced many a laugh despite all the deaths sitting behind those lies. Kirby’s call is: kill them all no prisoners taken. Kirby is a rep of the US Government which nothing can embarrass any more – if (more than) half of all US voters (probably not all citizens) can vote for the Clinton corruption and body count then why not attack a foreign journalist at a press conference, on top of the regular patriotic lying? All criteria are gone, humanoid wild animals are on the prowl, only a global nuclear war can cure their madness.

  14. November 18, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Hello Folks, I like your site and I like your spot on news as I am a “News Junkie”.. I do however wish to tell your writers and Editors
    to cut down on the verbiage.. They, the writers can be much and more expressive with less .. To be blunt, They are too Fucking
    Windy… Please tell them to be less repetitive.. Are you paying them by the word??? That is a mistake .. Brief and to the point can
    be very essential in this day and age, something we need.. Can Consortium do this or are you another Zionist Helpmate..

    • evelync
      November 18, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      Hello there, Frank.

      Some of us appreciate the depth of the articles we read here.
      So I for one like them just as they are written.

    • Curious
      November 19, 2016 at 4:07 am

      Hello Frank, let me guess “bluntly” that you are so Twitter Brained out that 140 characters is relevant to you.

      Or, just read faster. This is just a suggestion.

    • rosemerry
      November 19, 2016 at 4:43 am

      I can’t bother to read the rest of your pathetic comment. Go figure.

    • Joe B
      November 19, 2016 at 7:43 am

      Occasionally an article will go into more depth in some areas than one needs at the moment, but having the detail is important to others. Writers here must compromise comprehensive coverage for new readers, with conciseness for those familiar with the subject and prior articles. Learning to skim unneeded paragraphs can help.

  15. November 18, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    Hello Folks, I like your site and I like your spot on news as I am a “News Junkie”.. I do however wish to tell your writers and Editors
    to cut down on the verbiage.. They, the writers can be much and more expressive with less .. To be blunt, They are too Fucking
    Windy… Please tell them to be less repetitive.. Are you paying them by the word??? That is a mistake .. Brief and to the point can
    be very essential in this day and age, something we need.. Can Consortium do this or are you another Zionist Helpmate.. I hope
    not..

    • Zachary Smith
      November 19, 2016 at 2:00 am

      Can Consortium do this or are you another Zionist Helpmate.

      Krazy Krap here!

      (hope that’s a “brief enough” comment for this fellow)

      In my opinion the Internet Tubes are full of places for the people with 30-second attention spans. Joe Bageant once wrote of trying to help a “newbie” computer user learn to use Google to find out about his rights against getting evicted” He watched the guy type in the words “rinters kicked out” before the two of them got sidetracked on a porn site which turned up in the search.

      Yet two weeks later he had found the neoconservative website NewsMax.com and learned how to bookmark it. Sometimes I think the GOP emits a special pheromone that attracts fools and money.

      • Joe B
        November 19, 2016 at 7:54 am

        I think that this fellow’s comment was merely one of impatience.

        The GOP pheromone exuded is ignorance plus selfishness. For acceptance into their trust, acceptance of the Repub social contract of “do unto them before they can do unto you” must then be proven by statements showing that virtue=money, democracy=mob rule, humanitarianism=subversion, and justice=tyranny. It satisfies the individual need to have available efficient means to defeat any residue of moral consideration remaining from youth, without wasting time on complex rationales for the most selfish conduct. It reminds me of a dog sniffing the posterior to identify friend or foe.

  16. Pat
    November 18, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Ironically, it’s Trump the “fascist” who says he’ll defend the Bill of Rights. Whether he actually will, remains to be seen, but at least it’s included in his official policy statement. In a year of one bizarre twist of events after another, it would be strange indeed if President Trump went after Google and Facebook for violating Americans’ right to freedom of speech.

    (“Fascist,” according to anti-Trump protesters, who believe it because they read it in The Washington Post and The New York Times.)

    • Pat
      November 18, 2016 at 11:40 pm

      P.S. I agree with others who view this article as extremely important. The left will be watching President Trump on many issues, but someone other than the mainstream media need to keep an eye on First Amendment rights.

  17. Zachary Smith
    November 19, 2016 at 2:33 am

    What to Do About ‘Fake News’

    I can describe my own experience on this issue by admitting I’ve been gulled by “fake news” for most of my life. It simply never dawned on me that the Power Elites controlled virtually every source of information to which I had access. A person would suppose he/she could rely upon the public library, and in the old days that did help. As the years passed I learned that some of the things I’d accepted as God’s truth were lies. Today that’s a chancy proposition, for my own public library has been taken over by Right-Wing Christianists. Have I ever mentioned the 7 books on Sarah Palin I ran into on their shelves a few years ago? A check of their online catalog showed they carry all three movies of the abysmal Atlas Shrugged movies. They offer many dozens of the “Left Behind” books and movies. There are some token Climate Change materials, but many more Denier books and movies. In their magazine racks I once counted over a dozen journals with “Christian” in their titles. Try to research “abortion” and you’ll run into 6 feet of shelf space by the “anti” authors and one solitary book in favor. That single book was horribly written – which is probably why it’s allowed to remain there.

    TV was equally bad. I slowly put each of the major network evening news on my no-watch list until only the one with Peter Jennings was left. One night I watched him tell a bald-faced lie (one he surely knew was a lie!) about an issue in the Middle East with that professional solemn and earnest expression on his face, and that was the end of my TV news watching.

    We’re a “one-holer” around here with regard to newspapers. The Indianapolis Star is a right-wing rag, and probably a signficant reason Indiana remains an ignorant right-wing state.

    With the internet a person can compare what he sees with other sites, and all of it against his education and trusted old books. If and when the Power Elites crack down on the internet I’ll have to try to locate a short-wave radio and attempt to get some glimpses of real news from overseas from that, for I won’t have any other method I can now imagine.

    • Kiza
      November 19, 2016 at 6:18 am

      The largest Australian “private” printed news company, Fairfax covering Sydney and Melbourne market, started a push to move its content online more than 20 years ago. But what was truly interesting was that at that time it had two different versions of the news, one for the printed edition and another for the online edition. This was the simplest and the best differentiation and segmentation of the news market I have ever experienced. Essentially, the print readers were not computer savvy enough to peruse the Internet and get the variety of information it offered, which meant that they were easier to be lied to. If the printed edition would lie 95% about some world news topic, the online edition would lie only about 10%. I also heard an explanation that the editors of the two editions were different and that the one online was under much less political pressure, so maybe it was not all a planned, that is smart differentiation.

      I do not peruse the Fairfax stinking pile any more, printed or online, so I cannot state if this differentiation is still maintained. But I would guess not, because there are far fewer people now who cannot use the Internet – now it would be all pure propaganda.

  18. Abe
    November 19, 2016 at 2:45 am

    Thank you, Robert Parry, for your ongoing attention to the deception operations conducted by Eliot Higgins and the fake “citizen investigators” at Bellingcat.

    The fake “news” generated by Higgins and Bellingcat is employed by the more aggressive factions in Western governments, which seek to sabotage peace efforts in Ukraine, Syria and other parts of the world.

    NGOs: Grassroots Empowerment or Tool of Information Warfare?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro1byfe5vUM

    The Internet offers a ubiquitous, inexpensive and anonymous method for “open source” deception and rapid propaganda dissemination.

    With no credible evidence of crimes by the Syrian government in its battle against terrorists or direct Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine, and faced with the prevailing distrust of the Pentagon or Western intelligence agencies, Washington advanced an internet-based “open source” Propaganda 3.0 strategy.

    The Pentagon and Western intelligence agencies now disseminate propaganda by making it “publicly available” via numerous channels, including “investigations” conducted by fake “citizen journalist” Higgins and his Bellingcat site.

    The actual purpose of deception operatives like Higgins and bellingcat is to provide a channel for Western propaganda to more effectively reach the public and be perceived as truthful.

    As Ray McGovern pointed out in “Propaganda, Intelligence and MH-17” on Consortium News (August 17, 2015):

    “The key difference between the traditional ‘Intelligence Assessment’ and this relatively new creation, a ‘Government Assessment’ is that the latter genre is put together by senior White House bureaucrats or other political appointees, not senior intelligence analysts. Another significant difference is that an ‘Intelligence Assessment’ often includes alternative views, either in the text or in footnotes, detailing disagreements among intelligence analysts, thus revealing where the case may be weak or in dispute.

    “The absence of an ‘Intelligence Assessment’ suggested that honest intelligence analysts were resisting a knee-jerk indictment of Russia, just as they did after the first time Kerry pulled this ‘Government Assessment’ arrow out of his quiver trying to stick the blame for an Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack outside Damascus on the Syrian government.”

    The primary source in both “Government Assessment” episodes, both the 2013 chemical attack in Syria and the 2014 crash of MH-17 in Ukraine, the one person in common who generated what McGovern accurately described as “pseudo-intelligence product, which contained not a single verifiable fact”, was British blogger and media darling Eliot Higgins.

    Higgins and the Bellingcat site serve as deception “conduits” as defined by the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Joint Publication 1-02), a compendium of approved terminology used by the U.S. military.

    Within military deception, “conduits” are information or intelligence gateways to the “deception target”, defined as the “adversary decision maker with the authority to make the decision that will achieve the deception objective.”

    The primary “deception targets” of Propaganda 3.0 are Western government policymakers and the civilian populations of the United States and Europe Union.

    Higgins has vigorously promoted this deception strategy. In a January 2015 article, “Social media and conflict zones: the new evidence base for policymaking”, Higgins citied “Bellingcat’s MH17 investigation” as a prime example. Higgins’ “overarching point” was that “there is a real opportunity for open source intelligence analysis to provide the kind of evidence base that can underpin effective and successful foreign and security policymaking. It is an opportunity that policymakers should seize.”

    US and EU policymakers definitely have seized the opportunities provided by Higgins, Bellingcat and other “open source” deception operatives.

  19. F. G. Sanford
    November 19, 2016 at 2:48 am

    Passing government lies off as fact has actually been codified in a document produced by Cass Sunstein, Harvard law professor and husband of hysterical harpy Samantha Power. He was the administration’s “Information guru” during the first term. It’s a “how to” manual that has apparently been circulated among government agencies. It has a historical antecedent in the form of the infamous CIA Dispatch #1035-960 encouraging news agencies to ridicule doubters as “conspiracy theorists”. If the oldest profession is prostitution, then the second oldest must be blackmail. Disinformation has been around and documented at least since Aristotle. But with the passage of legislation permitting actual state-sponsored and funded disinformation campaigns directed against the domestic population by agencies such as the Broadcasting Board of Governors, we’ve gone way beyond anything Orwell imagined. Not only do they lie, but they are so bold as to write down and describe the methodology and make it publicly available. And nobody seems to care! Sunstein had a press encounter not unlike Kirby’s when some journalists confronted him. They were armed with a copy of his treatise on “Cognitive Infiltration”, the guidelines for introduction of the “Distort, Degrade, Deny and Deceive” elements into mainstream social discourse. FOLKS, I AIN’T MAKIN’ THIS UP! It’s fascinating to watch Sunstein’s emotionless denials of flat fact when confronted with irrefutable evidence. Kirby, at least, looked somewhat taken aback. Not Sunstein. He appeared cool and collected with a complete lack of remorse. I only know of one place to find the video: it’s in a documentary on Youtube called, “The ‘Conspiracy Theory’ Conspiracy”. Not that I’m pushing the idea, but I don’t know anyplace else to find it. But back to the second oldest profession. I suspect that by now, there’s a lot of behind the scenes negotiations taking place. Hillary doesn’t want to go to jail, there’s a legacy to protect, and legitimacy on the world stage has been tarnished. Erdogan is certifiably loony, Ukraine is a failed state tumbling into chaos, European nationalists are vying for supremacy, and refugees are destabilizing the social order. The money supply is in turmoil, unemployment is rampant and there is a global recession. I’m waiting for somebody to “spill the beans” to save themselves. I think it’s either that…or war. I can’t wait to read the fake news. Odds are, it’ll be about 89% true!

    • Brad Owen
      November 19, 2016 at 6:05 am

      I’ve stopped reading all main news mags, like time and newsweek (does that still exist?), all newspapers, and all TV news and talk shows about 25 years ago. I used to participate in all of that stuff, big time, in the seventies and eighties, but I saw how it all messes with your head and subtly shapes your perceptions until you don’t know if your thoughts are your own, or are just “plants”. It’s a subtle difference from not caring. It is not permitting the MSM inside my head in any case, despite their sheep-herding “Ministry of Truth”, which, BTW, already exists folks. The Soviets were wise to just sit quietly in the park and play their chess games, waiting out the “storm of lies and deceit”. They made it through. We’re just entering ours.

      • Gregory Kruse
        November 19, 2016 at 1:07 pm

        Blade Runner.

    • Gregory Kruse
      November 19, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      Fascinating.

    • Abe
      November 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      The Conspiracy “Theory” Conspiracy (2015)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0sB0MF3Ozs

      When did the term ‘conspiracy theory’ become an automatic excuse for dismissal? The documentary film by Adam Green, The Conspiracy “Theory” Conspiracy provides an in-depth examination of this phenomenon, particularly as it is propagated by the media elite.

      “The mainstream media’s agenda is clear,” instructs the narrator during the film’s opening minutes. “They want you to believe that conspiracies don’t exist, the world is exactly like they say it is, and anyone who disagrees is to be marginalized, mocked and shamed.”

      As presented in the film, some conspiracy theories are admittedly rooted in wild and grandiose fantasy, but many others are serious societal considerations which have stemmed from those who have dared to question the official accounts given to us by figures of power and authority. For their efforts, these dissenters are far too often labeled as part of the lunatic fringe, and the mainstream media dismisses their concerns as the nonsensical ramblings of a conspiracy theorist.

      The film argues that our responsibility as citizens is to question, especially when those in power have the motivation and the influence to provide a false narrative.

      The mainstream media’s vilification of many of those who dare to question official accounts is illustrated through a rapid fire succession of hundreds of media clips from the likes of every major news network, including the 24-hour cycles of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.

  20. Jay Diamond
    November 19, 2016 at 2:49 am

    One other pitfall in the matter of “truth squading” is that I have witnessed so many instances where people point out “untrue” stories that are in reality not too subtle satire that goes over the alleged heads of hapless readers. Satire in the eye of a witless beholder can be easily derided as “fake news”.

  21. jaycee
    November 19, 2016 at 3:05 am

    One of the most effective fake news stories occurred in 1991, when the Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter portrayed a nurse who had witnessed Iraqi atrocities, and made a heartfelt (but fake) appearance before the US Congress. This performance was said to have sealed Congressional support for what became the first Gulf War. It is highly illegal to lie in testimony before these lawmakers, but no one ever faced censure, even after it was learned that PR firm Hill & Knowlton had cooked up the whole thing. The 1991 Gulf War began the post-Cold War military interventions in the Middle East which continue to this day.

    Obviously, the power structure cares little if news is “real” or “fake” – just that their message is being received. A result of the sudden concern over fake news is that Google will be withdrawing its Adsense program from designated fake news purveyors, taking away a source of revenue for some alternative outlets. Obama could have instead called for prioritizing critical thinking skills in the education system, assisting the public to cut through the BS themselves rather than have the government and its corporate sponsors engage in forms of censorship.

    • backwardsevolution
      November 19, 2016 at 7:00 am

      jaycee – “Obviously, the power structure cares little if news is “real” or “fake” – just that their message is being received.” Yes, in order to herd the crowd in whatever direction they want us to follow. And so many people blindly follow, never thinking for a minute that their government might be lying to them.

      The elite must be going crazy right about now. I mean, how are you going to get away with looting, lying and overthrowing when the Internet and whistle blowers are breathing down your neck?

      As far as there being some government department overseeing information, OMG, no! Wouldn’t they just love that?

  22. KilbankerI
    November 19, 2016 at 3:24 am

    It’s totalitarianism, and it’s going to keep oppressing, impoverishing, and murdering everyone but the handful of crooks at the apex. Govrrnment must he eradicated in order to cease all illigitimate, criminal, evil acts. That can’t be peaceful.

    • backwardsevolution
      November 19, 2016 at 7:01 am

      Kilbankerl – yes, yes, and yes.

  23. David Scherer
    November 19, 2016 at 4:42 am

    So Bob Parry hates conspiracy theories. That’s too bad. Two or more parties who collude to deceive others for selfish motives would seem to be the meat and potatoes of real investigative journalism. Pity. He’s really one of the best and I’d hope he’d take on the conspirators.

    • Brad Owen
      November 19, 2016 at 6:42 am

      He’s a journalist, David. Think of a street light named “Respectability”. Journalists can look anywhere within that circumscribed area on the street, but dare not venture into the Darkness just beyond. Only detectives go there on a hunch, and just to satisfy their own curiosity.

    • Joe B
      November 19, 2016 at 8:16 am

      He seems to have done that often, but sensibly avoids affirming the unsupported theory until evidence emerges. No one wants to have to retract a careless judgment, and journalists can avoid that without denying possibilities.

  24. November 19, 2016 at 6:22 am

    @ dennis-
    i was going to post an obligatory 1984 reference, as far as newspeak is now operative: fake=real/real=fake, true=false/false=true, etc…
    it REALLY has devolved to the level where language is perverted beyond meaning, where words don’t mean what we think, where simple morality has no place…
    journalists are among the first to feel the lash of Empire: you are either a toady and bow, or you are an enemy and die…
    it is simply astonishing that this slow-motion trainwreck is taking place in front of our eyes…
    surreal, fucking surreal…

    • backwardsevolution
      November 19, 2016 at 7:05 am

      art – you are right, it is absolutely scary.

  25. Realist
    November 19, 2016 at 6:33 am

    The corporate mainstream media was quite conspicuously pushing an agenda to get Hillary elected. I guess all the current carping by Obama and some of his dead end supporters who control media are sour grapes, because obviously their self-serving subjective narrative was rejected by the voters in favor of the other side’s self-serving subjective narrative in the recent election. One thing about Obama that has grown worse over his eight years in office: he resents being wrong, being called out on being wrong, and losing in the court of public opinion. His remedy is usually to become very snarky and talk trash about his critics or opposition. It’s a very annoying trait he has that I have just about had a bellyful of. I distinctly dislike the way he is busy in Europe right now trying to paint Trump into a corner on continuing NATO aggression and extending the sanctions against Russia just before Trump is to take office and be making these decisions. And they say Trump is insulting! He is, but he doesn’t PRETEND to be civil like Obama would have you believe he is. Trump gives it back to you in return for your disrespect. He’s not a stealth slanderer like Obama has been. And, that’s the truth.

    • backwardsevolution
      November 19, 2016 at 7:08 am

      Realist – very well said. Obama is a fake, but he’s fooled a lot of people.

  26. Bob Van Noy
    November 19, 2016 at 11:17 am

    As always thank you Robert Parry. Watching MSM trying to explain President Trump is frustrating to say the least… Never has there been such a total concentration of disinformation in Both reporting And editorializing in the large news entities of the press and television. The aspect that was most notable and distinct this election cycle was the totality of it, coupled with little or no dissent within the various media. Even the commentary sections of print media lost there edge somehow by editing or by massive trolling. Freedom Of The Press seems like a fading concept of long ago, seemingly silenced by the constant appearance by political spokespersons, and think tank experts. Thank goodness for those unfettered, idealistic classes of the distant past that mentioned, in passing, that one should be credible, honest and sincere, because it was important to Democracy itself…

  27. David F., N.A.
    November 19, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    I wonder if the corporate media (or another corporate entity) is behind all this fake fake news. Now the multinationals’ real fake news (msm) can justify its existence to a public consisting of mostly mindless conservative and conservaDem drones. I loved watching the real fake news prancing around as if they own the monopoly on the truth (that’s Orwellian for lies (FoxNews) and half-truths (MSNBC)). They busted me up. On a serious note: our bought-and-paid-for government will use this fake fake news to pass laws that will outlaw it and the real real target, any real real news that isn’t deemed real fake news. Globalization marches on.

  28. November 19, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    GLADIO.

    Gladio, Gladio, Gladio, Gladio.

    Censored History: Gladio, Europe, Turkey
    https://politicalfilm.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/censored-history-gladio-europe-turkey/

    Et tu Robert Parry? Why don’t you ever mention Operation Gladio?

    28 Pages of Treason
    https://politicalfilm.wordpress.com/2016/09/11/911-28-pages-of-treason/

    Americans are more easily brainwashed because they don’t know what their government is capable of and already been exposed of doing.

    • Gregory Herr
      November 20, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      Thanks for your thoughtful essay on the 28 pages and also the piece on Gladio. Another example of scoundrel capability was Operation Northwoods, a Pentagon plan of false flag terrorism that was rejected by a horrified JFK.

    • Curious
      November 21, 2016 at 6:16 am

      Joe,

      I brought up Gladio before during the discussion regarding the coup, or potential coup in Turkey. The ex-defense minister was quoted as saying Gladio has been running Turkey for years. There was also a reference to the forces ‘left behind’ after WW2 creating a subliminal, or hidden army in the European countries, with brand new weapons and much more hidden all over Europe. I don’t have the info from the author who wrote a book on the subject right now, but it does pop up on a search. One such place hidden was in the floor of an Italian church. He stated flat out that the countries involved, if the politicians in fact know something, will not admit to knowing and will not talk about it at all.

      II found this bit of information very troubling, and very mysterious, especially when the entire ‘event’ in Turkey was happening. Maybe those who know something fear for their lives, but I don’t know. Whatever happened inTurkey took a lot of money, equipment and manpower. It is a very under-reported story. Good luck in your search.

  29. Bill Cash
    November 19, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    I see a lot of normalizing of Trump on this site. I do realize there’s a lot of misinformation from our media but we do know who they are and have the chance to criticize and disagree with them. Most of the fake news give you no idea who they are or who they represent . A great deal of it favors Trump. I see criticism of the MSM for favoring Hillary. What they’ve done is tell us what Trump says and that is seen as pro Hillary. Trump is attacking the press constantly trying to undermine it so people will believe his tweets which are mostly lies. Trump is a danger to our government. Much of his election can be seen as the result of tremendous voter suppression by the republicans and it is going to get a lot worse. Steve Bannon is the guy calling the shots and he wants to destroy the government. He is very dangerous.

  30. November 19, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    First, you should know that I never received this particular article from this site….tho I have received all others, as far as i know.I SUSPECT NETZERO, my ISP and, yes, I do believe there are conspiracies. They exist. Humans conspire. We are–quintessentially I think—the animal that conspires.

    So, I found this article on Tom Feely’s site and commented there….posted here below:
    ———————–

    DENNIS MORRISSEAU · 1 minute ago
    Ministry of Truth
    ‘So, who are the “responsible” journalists who should be anointed to regulate what the world’s public gets to see and hear? For that Orwellian task, a kind of Ministry of Truth has been set up by Google, called the First Draft Coalition, which touts itself as a collection of 30 major news and technology companies, including the Times and Post, tackling “fake news” and creating a platform to decide which stories are questionable and which ones aren’t.’

    THIS, BY ITSELF, IS ENOUGH REASON FOR MILLIONS OF MEN YOUNGER THAN I AM TO DECLARE A NEW US REVOLUTION AND BEGIN RIPPING DOWN EVERYTHING AND EVERYBODY…..I imagine. [Don’t forget to include the words “I imagine” if and when you quote me here!] Yes, it’s hard to laugh in the face of crap like this…..conspiratorially encouraged by “our” government, but LAUGH we must. And we might also begin doing other things too, I imagine.

    Dennis Morrisseau
    USArmy Officer[Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR
    FOR TRUMP
    Lieutenant Morrisseau’s Rebellion
    FIRECONGRESS.org
    POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT 05775
    dmorso1@netzero.net
    802 645 9727

  31. jimbo
    November 20, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Amid his bullshit Kirby did make one fair point and that is that RT does go easy on the Russian government and Putin.

  32. Max
    November 20, 2016 at 9:12 am

    When Obama says Fake news he means protecting the main stream media so they can manipulate the population & protect his agenda. Until the US government comes clean on 9/11 they will always be criminals. Calling #altnews Fake is just a pathetic sick joke.

  33. jimbo
    November 20, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Also, how come one of the “acceptable” journalists didn’t ask the same question as the RT reporter? You know, back her up. Kirby couldn’t have used the “because you’re from RT” excuse. There was that one guy who kind of defended the RT reporter but then chickened out of confronting Kirby and said they’d talk about it later “offline.”

    BTW, is it just me or is anyone else finding logging into Consortium News a little hinky lately? I’ll hit the button and get a nothing page (I don’t know the lingo, kids.) After a few tries the site appears. But no one would fuck with CT, would they?

    • Gregory Herr
      November 20, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      The answer to your question is that they are afraid to challenge their spoon-feeders. They need their paychecks more than they need their integrity, I suppose?
      The questions from the RT reporter were basic journalism. Hospitals are alleged to have been bombed by a certain entity. Which hospitals and what evidence against the alleged perpetrator? Sources say! The question is settled! Front page news….then, when contrary evidence emerges later…it’s buried…and people have already got it in their minds that the Russians wantonly bomb hospitals. It’s like with the sarin false flag, consumers of MSM think Assad “gassed his own people,” the facts be damned.

  34. November 20, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    “As a journalist for more than four decades, I take seriously the profession’s responsibility to verify information as much as possible before publishing it – and as editor of Consortiumnews.com, I insist that our writers (and to the extent possible, outside commenters) back up what they say.”

    Robert, apparently, could have added:

    ‘So when I allow CIA assets like Graham Fuller a platform (for him to sell himself to progressives), I make very sure that he’s not spouting propaganda, so that when he lulls progressives in, he can, later, and in other places and articles perhaps, hopefully fool them’. -?

  35. David Howard
    November 20, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    What is it like when Donald Trump ties you up and rapes you when you are a 13 year old virgin? Then threatens to murder you and your family if you ever talk? Ask Katie Johnson, now age 35. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkhqMbY5e9w

  36. Val Valerian
    November 20, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    “1948 Smith–Mundt Act Altered In 2012 To Legalize MSM/Gov’t Propaganda”

    “….There is a word for what the MSM and the current sitting government are engaged in, and that word is propaganda. Once upon a time, it was illegal for this weapon to be directed at and used on its own citizens, but no more. You may have never heard of the US Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, better known as the Smith–Mundt Act, but that does not make it any less real. This act was enacted to protect the citizens of the United States against its own government. Yet, ironically enough, this act was struck down in its old form and “reborn” as the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012. A very odd coincidence indeed. By any intelligent person’s measure, this act has very little in common with the original act and is a twisted, perverted version of its original self, which allows the United States government to engage in direct propaganda on its own citizens, legally. Yes, you did read that correctly, the US government is now legally allowed to engage in propaganda on its citizens, therefore allowing them to manipulate and shape the thoughts of the people if they deem it “necessary”.[…]”  

    https://www.sprottmoney.com/blog/the-government-and-msm-are-engaged-in-direct-propaganda-on-its-own-citizens-worst-of-all-its-legal-nathan-mcdonald.html

  37. jimbo
    November 20, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    I was always intrigued by Randi Rhodes’ solution that if you advertise your publication, broadcast, web site, etc., as “news” like Fox News, but you are found to be delivering bullshit then the Federal Trade Commission could get you for false advertising. Bullshit providers could call themselves “information” or “propaganda!” but only actual news could be delivered by a “news” outlet, an excellent example being Consortium News. I heard this proposal years ago and writing it today it sounds so paltry.

  38. Call A Spade
    November 21, 2016 at 1:27 am

    And we wonder why there are terrorists when we live in a world were we are used at the elites behest.

  39. Curious
    November 21, 2016 at 8:07 am

    I am a bit surprised that Mr Parry does not like conspiracy theories. Would the entire Iran Contra scheme, which he worked so hard to report, not be considered a conspiracy? Would the NYTs and its agenda not be considered a conspiracy? Maybe this is just due to the use of the word within a certain context.

    The business model has radically changed for the print media. Even fifteen years ago an individual could read a local newspaper, or even a national paper, and could be guaranteed a lot of advertising with some key stories sandwiched in between. When the digital era hit many papers were caught unaware and did not have the expertise to get income from 1s and 0s. As a result, many papers could not survive in the new didgital era without an extra source of income. Hence, the pattern of ‘looking for a sponser’ developed and many try to survive on ‘clicks’ and ‘likes’ for their advertising dollar. The sponsors could be the billionaires buying these papers.

    In my 30 years experience in the ‘visual media’ I had the chance to witness the progression of the net and its influence first hand. Since the print media has basically lost its revenue stream, the buyers of newspapers seem to want a ‘bang for their buck’ and I can’t imagine them sitting idle and letting a newspaper run itself without interference or some sort of message, aka, bias. This change in format makes the Kirby comment even more laughable as we struggle to find out what he would consider to be an independent news network.

    I was impressed by the RT reporters questions, because I haven’t seen this type of questioning in a long while. Even the ruckus caused by Sam Donaldson in the days of his White House questions were often driven by ego, or the desire to put himself front and center of a story. What has transpired in the background for years has been the mantra of ‘don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story’. So today, these unsavory newspapers can put out drivel and falsehoods as they try to grab ‘clicks’ from their competition by running a story that is half true, or completely false, so they can go to their advertisers and show results. They will half heartedly correct it later if cornered.

    I wish it weren’t this way. But if one were paying attention to Moonves at CBS regarding the ‘revenue hyped news’ around the election (or to some, fake news) could bring in, he said “it may not be good for the country, but its good for CBS”. I use this as an example of a person lacking any journalist values outside of a revenue stream. I have not witnessed the ethics in journalism Mr Parry writes about, at lest not in the visual media. People do not seem motivated by some journalistic standard, but rather how to get a job out of school, and how to keep that job by not ‘ticking off’ the advertisers or the owners with too much in depth reporting. In the new business digital model, the papers are becoming less influential and, sadly, less relevant as a result. People can watch what they want, listen to what they want and surround themselves with like minded individuals around the country and never question their presuppositions.

    I apologize for the length of my response but I have watched this dynamic grow as I travelled around the country and was shocked by the illiteracy it produced. Most people are simply not educated about many facts and it certainly won’t change under some algorithm brewed up by the digital gorillas in control. It simply won’t happen. The powerful want to control the story (that hasn’t changed) and their minions become stenographers of some leak from a ‘high official’ that can now infect many in the world, and it helps if they always put “gate” behind every word central to the misinformation.

  40. November 23, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Perry says he hates ‘conspiracy theories’ in which people speculate about a topic without real evidence and often in defiance of actual evidence”.

    Which I find curious since I thought the common usage of the phrase “conspiracy theory” was for someone who does not believe the official government line on some event. And of course the traditional meaning of the phrase referred to a theory that involved more than a single actor.

    But I also find it curious because surely most investigations begin with speculation about a topic. What else could inform the investigator of what questions to ask and what evidence to seek out. So perhaps he does not really hate such conspiracy theories but only when some ordinary person, not a credentialed journalist or other investigator engages in this kind of speculation.

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