Special Report: By failing to tell the hard truth about Establishment wrongdoing, The New York Times — along with other mainstream U.S. media outlets — has destabilized American democracy, reports Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
Whenever The New York Times or some other mainstream news outlet holds itself out as a paragon of professional journalism – by wagging a finger at some pro-Trump “fake news” or some Internet “conspiracy theory” – I cringe at the self-delusion and hypocrisy.
No one hates fake news and fact-free conspiracy theories more than I do, but the sad truth is that the mainstream press has opened the door to such fantasies by losing the confidence of the American people and becoming little more than the mouthpiece for the Establishment, which spins its own self-serving narratives and tells its own lies.
Rather than acting as a watchdog against these deceptions, the Times and its mainstream fellow-travelers have transformed themselves into little more than the Establishment’s apologists and propagandists.
If Iraq is the “enemy,” we are told wild tales about how Iraq’s non-existent WMD is a danger to us all. If Syria is in Washington’s crosshairs, we are given a one-sided account of what’s happening there, black hats for the “regime” and white hats for the “rebels”?
If the State Department is backing a coup in Ukraine to oust an elected leader, we are regaled with tales of his corruption and how overthrowing a democratically chosen leader is somehow “democracy promotion.” Currently, we are getting uncritical stenography on every conceivable charge that the U.S. government lodges against Russia.
Yet, while this crisis in American journalism has grown more severe in recent years, the pattern is not entirely new. It is reflected in how the mainstream media has missed many of the most significant news stories of modern history and has, more often than not, been an obstacle to getting at the truth.
Then, if the evidence finally becomes so overwhelming that continued denials are no longer tenable, the mainstream media tries to reclaim its tattered credibility by seizing on some new tidbit of evidence and declaring that all that went before were just rumors but now we can take the long whispered story seriously — because the Times says so.
For instance, we have the case of Richard Nixon’s sabotage of President Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam War peace talks in 1968 to give himself a crucial boost in a tight presidential race against Vice President Hubert Humphrey. In “real time” – both as Nixon was executing his maneuver and in the years immediately afterwards – there was reporting by second-tier newspapers and independent journalists into what Johnson privately called Nixon’s “treason,” but the Times and other “newspapers of record” treated the story as little more than a conspiracy theory.
As the years went on and the case of Nixon’s guilt grew stronger and stronger, the story still never managed to cross the threshold for the Big Media to take it seriously.
Several years ago, I compiled a detailed narrative of the 1968 events from material declassified by Johnson’s presidential library and I published the material at Consortiumnews.com. Not only did I draw from newly available recordings of Johnson’s phone calls but from a file of top secret wiretaps – labeled “The ‘X’ envelope” – which Johnson had ordered his national security adviser, Walt Rostow, to remove from the White House before Nixon’s inauguration.
I also traced how Nixon’s paranoia about the missing White House file and who might possess it led him to assemble a team of burglars, known as the Plumbers, whose activities later surfaced in the Watergate scandal.
In other words, by unraveling the mystery of Nixon’s 1968 “treason,” you change the narratives of the Vietnam War and Watergate, two of the pivotal issues of modern American history. But the mainstream U.S. media studiously ignored these new disclosures.
Just last November, in a review of past “October Surprise” cases – in the context of FBI Director James Comey telling Congress that the FBI had reopened its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails – the Times offered this summary of the 1968 affair:
“President Lyndon Baines Johnson announced a halt to bombing of North Vietnam, based on his claim that peace talks had ‘entered a new and a very much more hopeful phase,’ and he invited the government of South Vietnam and the Viet Cong to take part in negotiations. Raising hopes that the war might end soon, the announcement appeared to bolster the standing in the polls of Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, the Democratic presidential nominee, but Humphrey still fell short in the election against former Vice President Richard M. Nixon, the Republican.”
In other words, the Times treated Johnson’s bombing halt and claim of peace-talk progress as the “October Surprise” to try to influence the election in favor of Humphrey. But the evidence now is clear that a peace agreement was within reach and that the “October Surprise” was Nixon’s sabotage of the negotiations by persuading South Vietnamese President Nguyen van Thieu to boycott the Paris talks.
The Times got the story upside-down by failing to reexamine the case in light of convincing new evidence that had been available for years, albeit circulating outside the mainstream.
However, finally, that disdain for the story may be dissipating. Earlier this month, the Times highlighted in an op-ed and a follow-up news article cryptic notes from Nixon’s 1968 campaign revealing Nixon’s instructions to top aide H.R. Haldeman.
Haldeman’s notes – discovered at the Nixon presidential library by historian John A. Farrell – reveal Nixon telling Haldeman “Keep Anna Chennault working on SVN,” meaning South Viet Nam and referring to the campaign’s chief emissary to the South Vietnamese government, right-wing Chinese émigré Anna Chennault.
Nixon’s gambit was to have Chennault pass on word to South Vietnamese President Thieu that if he boycotted Johnson’s Paris peace talks – thus derailing the negotiations – Nixon would assure Thieu continued U.S. military support for the war.
Monkey Wrench It
Another Haldeman note revealed Nixon’s intent to get Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen, R-Illinois, to berate Johnson about a planned bombing halt while Nixon looked for “Any other way to monkey wrench it? Anything RN [Richard Nixon] can do.”
Though Haldeman’s scribbling is sometimes hard to decipher, the next entry makes reference to “SVN” and adds: “tell him hold firm” – the same message that Anna Chennault later passed on to senior South Vietnamese officials in the last days of the 1968 campaign.
Though Farrell’s discovery is certainly newsworthy, its greatest significance may be that it has served as a tipping point that finally has forced the Times and the mainstream media to move past their longstanding dismissals of this “conspiracy theory.”
The Times gave Farrell space on its op-ed page of Jan. 1 to explain his discovery and the Times followed up with an inside-the-paper story about the Haldeman notes. That story included some favorable comments from mainstream writers, such as former Newsweek bureau chief Evan Thomas saying Farrell “nailed down what has been talked about for a long time.”
Of course, the story of Nixon’s Vietnam peace-talk sabotage has been more than “talked about for a long time.” A series of journalists have pieced together the evidence, including some as the scheme was unfolding and others from digging through yellowed government files as they became available over the past couple of decades.
But the major newspapers mostly brushed aside this accumulation of evidence apparently because it challenged their “authoritative” narrative of that era. As strange and vicious as some of Nixon’s paranoid behavior may have been, it seems to have been a bridge too far to suggest that he put his political ambitions ahead of the safety of a half million U.S. soldiers in the Vietnam war zone in 1968.
For the American people to have been told that troubling truth might have profoundly shaken their trust in the Establishment, given the deaths of 58,000 U.S. soldiers in the Vietnam War, plus the killing of several million Vietnamese. (Nearly half of the dead were killed after Johnson’s peace talks failed and as Nixon lived up to his commitment to Thieu by extending the direct U.S. combat role for four more years.)
[For more details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “LBJ’s ‘X-File’ on Nixon’s ‘Treason’” and “The Heinous Crime Behind Watergate.”]
But the mainstream media’s concealment of Nixon’s “treason” was not a stand-alone problem in terms of distorting recent U.S. history. If the American people had realized how far some top U.S. officials would go to achieve their political ambitions, they might have been more willing to believe other serious allegations of government wrongdoing.
For instance, the evidence is now almost as overwhelming that Ronald Reagan’s campaign reprised Nixon’s 1968 gambit in 1980 by undermining President Jimmy Carter’s negotiations to free 52 American hostages then held in Iran, another well-documented “October Surprise” case that the mainstream media still labels a “conspiracy theory.”
With more than two dozen witnesses – including U.S., Iranian, Israeli and other officials – describing aspects of that Republican behind-the-scenes deal, the reality of this “prequel” to Reagan’s later Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal should be widely accepted as a real piece of modern American history.
But a half-hearted congressional investigation in 1991-93 naively gave then-President George H.W. Bush the crucial job of assembling internal U.S. government records to confirm the allegations – despite the fact that Bush was a principal suspect in the 1980 operation.
Several years ago, I uncovered documents from the Bush presidential library in College Station, Texas, showing how Bush’s White House staff organized a cover-up to conceal key evidence and hide a key witness from the investigation.
One memo by one of Bush’s lawyers disclosed that the White House had received confirmation of a key October Surprise allegation – a secret trip by campaign chairman (and later CIA Director) William Casey to Madrid – but then withheld that information from congressional investigators. Documents also showed the White House frustrating attempts to interview former CIA officer Donald Gregg, a key witness.
Another document bluntly set out the White House’s goal: “kill/spike this story” to protect Bush’s reelection chances in 1992.
After I discovered the Madrid confirmation several years ago – and sent the document to former Rep. Lee Hamilton, who had headed the congressional inquiry which had concluded that there was no credible evidence supporting the allegations – he was stunned by the apparent betrayal of his trust.
“The [Bush-41] White House did not notify us that he [Casey] did make the trip” to Madrid, Hamilton told me in an interview. Asked if knowledge that Casey had traveled to Madrid might have changed the investigation’s dismissive October Surprise conclusion, Hamilton said yes, because the question of the Madrid trip was central to the inquiry.
Yet, to this day, both right-wing and mainstream media outlets cite the investigation’s inconclusive results as their central argument for defending Reagan and his legacy. However, if Nixon’s 1968 gambit – jeopardizing the lives of a half million U.S. soldiers – had been accepted as genuine history earlier, the evidence that Reagan endangered 52 U.S. embassy personnel might have seemed a lot easier to believe.
As these longstanding cover-ups slowly crack and begin to crumble, the serious history behind them has started to show through in the mainstream media. For instance, on Jan. 3, during a CNN panel discussion about interference in U.S. presidential elections, popular historian Doug Brinkley added, “One point: 1980, Ronald Reagan was taking on Jimmy Carter, and there was the October Surprise meeting keeping the hostages in Iran. William Casey, people in the Reagan administration were interfering with foreign policy then saying, ‘Keep the hostages in until after the election.’ So it has happened before. It’s not just Nixon here or Donald Trump.”
[For more details on the 1980 case, see Robert Parry’s America’s Stolen Narrative or Trick or Treason: The 1980 October Surprise Mystery or Consortiumnews.com’s “Second Thoughts on October Surprise.”]
But the denial of serious Establishment wrongdoing dies hard. For instance, The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major news outlets have long refused to accept the overwhelming evidence that Reagan’s beloved Nicaraguan Contra rebels engaged in cocaine trafficking under the benevolent gaze of the White House and the CIA.
My Associated Press colleague Brian Barger and I assembled a lot of that evidence in 1985 for the first story about this scandal, which undermined Reagan’s claims that he was fighting a relentless war on drugs. Back then, the Times also went to bat for the Establishment. Based on self-serving information from Reagan’s Justice Department, the Times knocked down our AP reporting. And, once the Times got taken in by its official sources, it and other mainstream publications carried on vendettas against anyone who dared contradict the accepted wisdom.
So, when San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb revived the Contra-cocaine story in 1996 — with evidence that some of that cocaine had fed into the “crack epidemic” — the Times and other big newspapers savaged Webb’s articles and destroyed his career. Not even an institutional confession by the CIA in 1998 that it had been aware of widespread Contra drug smuggling and looked the other way was enough to shake the mainstream media’s false conventional wisdom about the Contras’ and the CIA’s innocence.
After the CIA inspector general reached his damning conclusions admitting knowledge of the drug-running, the Times did run a story acknowledging that there may have been more to the allegations than the newspaper had previously believed, but the same article kept up the bashing of Webb, who was drummed out of journalism and, nearly penniless, committed suicide in 2004.
Despite the CIA admissions, The Washington Post also continued to deny the Contra-cocaine reality. When a movie about Webb’s ordeal, “Kill the Messenger,” was released in 2014, the Post’s investigative editor Jeff Leen kept up the paper’s long-running denial of the reality with a nasty new attack on Webb.
Leen’s story was endorsed by the Post’s former executive editor Leonard Downie Jr., who circulated Leen’s take-down of Webb with the added comment: “I was at The Washington Post at the time that it investigated Gary Webb’s stories, and Jeff Leen is exactly right. However, he is too kind to a movie that presents a lie as fact.”
[For more on Leen’s hit piece, see Consortiumnews.com’s “WPost’s Slimy Assault on Gary Webb.” For more on the Contra-cocaine story, see “The Sordid Contra-Cocaine Saga.”]
Lies as Truth
The fact that mainstream media “stars” lie in calling facts a lie – or they can’t distinguish between facts and lies – has contributed to a dangerous breakdown in the public’s ability to sort out what is and what is not real.
Essentially, the problem is that the mainstream media has sought to protect the integrity of the Establishment by dismissing real cases of institutional criminality and abuse of power. However, by shoring up these defenses – rather than challenging systemic wrongdoing – the mainstream media has watched its own credibility erode.
One might hope that someone in a position of power within the major news organizations would recognize this danger and initiate a sweeping reform, which might start by acknowledging some of the long-buried historical realities even if it puts Establishment icons, such as Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, in a negative light.
But that is clearly not the direction that the mainstream U.S. news media is heading. Instead, the Times, the Post and other mainstream outlets continue to take whatever Establishment sources hand out – now including dubious and bizarre U.S. intelligence allegations about Russia and President-elect Donald Trump.
Rather than join in demanding real evidence to support these claims, the mainstream media seems intent on simply channeling the Establishment’s contempt for both Russia and Trump. So, whatever is said – no matter how unlikely – merits front-page headlines.
The end result, however, is to push more and more Americans into a state of confusion regarding what to believe. While some citizens may seek out honest independent journalism to get what they’re missing, others will surely fall prey to fake news and conspiracy theories.
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).
“By failing to tell the hard truth about Establishment wrongdoing, The New York Times — along with other mainstream U.S. media outlets — has destabilized American democracy, reports Robert Parry.”
So it was not that part of the Establishment which had been acting foolishly who was responsible for the mess but the press which had failed to report what was going on…
One of the best examples of a logical fallacy I ever encountered…
I’m not trying to white wash anybody but let’s get real!
It is always about peeling the onion to reveal deeper truths isn’t it?
America statrted off as the Virginia Company est: 1609 by King James’ aristocrats, and post war renamed itself The United States of America, Inc. The myth of a democracy or corporation yet to be explained by “historians.”
In spite of all the deceit, lies, murder, etc. the core of the early immigents was a creative, hard working, caring people in general. Yes the relationship with Native Americans, slaves, Irish, etc. was a disgusting period. The controlers understand the occult (hidden not evil) powers of sight, sound, and words and have been using them in nefarious ways for centuries.
Most Americans are now quite controlled to be consumers of material goods, pop culture trivialities, internal combustion recreation, electronic communication, celebrity and sports worship who read very little and are unable to discuss issues beyond the boundaries cleverly implanted with a cognitive dissonance result. Unable to extricate themselves from this morass they plod along from consumer holiday to holiday, TV season to season.
The clever wordsmithing in print and on air using neurolinguistic programing (as Obama used regularly) strengthens the conditioning. Freedom fighter/terrorist, runway/tarmac, group of houses/compound, long gun/assault rifle. Compounded with constant reference to false flag operations to validate talking points..Orlando, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Boston, etc. all msm wet dreams of lies.
Alternative news has become infiltrated with spinners and greed as well making the search for truth a full time job.
“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
William Casey CIA Director (from 1st staff meeting 1981)
It’s not for the media to decide whether or not we can handle the truth. The key to taking back the media is to selectively boycott advertisers and let media outlets know what you’re doing and why.
Robert I have been a big supporter of yours since I discovered your work. What puzzles me is your continued use of the specious term ‘conspiracy theory’. This appellation was invented in 1967 by the very CIA you continually castigate. It was used to malign anyone who questioned the Warren Report, and is used today to marginalize investigative reporters like you and Webb, et al.
I suggest you stop using this fictitious term. Instead, go to Black’s Law Dictionary and read what actually constitutes a ‘conspiracy’. Then, use words like ‘supposition’ or ‘hypothesis’ when you feel a writer’s conclusions may or may not be unsubstantiated.
You forget that Johnson got us into Vietnam in the first place. He told the military brass that if they helped him kill Kennedy, they could have their war. I believe the CIA, acting through the Washington Post, got rid of Nixon once he requested the CIA’s files on the Kennedy assassination.
Even from a distance, as an avid supporter of Nixon at the time, I could and did foretell that Nixon’s “Secret Plan” was to continue to try and win the war.
Great article as usual.
You could also list the long sad saga of Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton gave his analysis of the film after the debut of “The Hunting of the President” written and directed by Nickolas Perry and Harry Thomason. Edited by Nickolas Perry. Distributed by Regent Entertainment/20th Century Fox.
You can watch the trailer here and Bill Clinton’s analysis.
The takeaway for me is that the whole sordid affair was another case of the media in bed with Ken Starr dutifully taking dictation and reporting every leaked sensational tidbit or rumor. There are plenty of reporters that were given the cold shoulder or were shown the door unless they “got on board” with the group think.
Those were not wasted years. The government perfected the art of turning BS into reality. The media perfected the art of making the BS appear true and substantial.
Meanwhile many urgent stories are under reported since general public awareness of them might give rise to public outrage and demands for changes that would threaten entrenched interests. The media won’t talk about that. Talk about Global Warming is all but dead and main stream coverage about the governments role in silencing the debate and the role of powerful special interests in silencing the debate is severely under reported due to the fact it has every indication of causing enormous global economic, social and environmental carnage. The media have come to fear special interests, politicians and their own customer advertisers who increasingly demand that they turn off the truth spigot until not one drop of it leaks out into the World.
The CIA and the military and the government and media all learned some very important lessons from Vietnam. If you give people too much truth, there will be riots on every college campus. Consumers won’t shop. Socialism will rise etc.
Deluging us with our daily dose of pabulum and BS seems to have done the trick. Now neither they nor we have to worry about such things.
Our daily diet of infotainment is typified by:
First and foremost news must contain no actual useful information. That is a prerequisite for consideration of being news worthy.
Straw men and paper tigers are on the loose and prowl around the news rooms. Pundits rail on endlessly about the paper tiger of the “liberal press” for example when no such thing actually exists. Red herrings are also news worthy. The most pressing political debates of the day are over derailment stories like trans gender toilet policy which are deliberately inserted into the echo chamber to side track us and get us all arguing about whether Nero’s fiddle is out of tune or is he really just a bad fiddler, never mind the conflagration or the fact Nero should be doing something about it other than playing the fiddle.
Then there are the professional liars which saturate the main stream press. These pseudo journalistic opinionated Town criers are allowed to constantly inject BS directly into our veins every time we watch. I won’t come down in favor of one flavor versus the other but it is polarizing and destabilizing when we are reduced to shouting and name calling and lying.
Then there are the “official” stories like “The Russians Did It!” It is truly Orwellian when speaking truth by calling BS on this story makes you an enemy of the state. The NY Times surely has done their fair share of BS foisting and has done the heavy lifting for the government before to get us all to believe a pack of lies.
The truth will never be told in retrospect either. No media organization will expose itself by preparing a version of Britain’s “Chilcott Report” exposing the lies on which war with Iraq was justified. The media is not about to change and neither is government. Corporations are not going to change either.
But did Obama really do anything to address it either? His advise to Trump to “just go with the flow” typified his presidency.
Now Donald Trump is being compared to Charles Lindbergh and Lindbergh’s isolationist and anti-Semitic views before World War II as if somehow what the US is doing in Syria somehow equates to America’s involvement in Europe in WWII fighting the Nazis. We are handed a proposition without evidence that Donald Trump’s opposition to US military actions in Syria are the functional and moral equivalent of Charles Lindbergh’s opposition to US intervention in Europe before WWII. I would humbly disagree with that proposition. America has never since WWII engaged in any military operation which was the functional or moral equivalent of that last great war. Comparing Donald Trump to Charles Lindbergh implying therefore he is motivated by anti-Semitic beliefs for disagreeing on foreign policy is just plain nuts. Apparently, they feel free to just make this crap up.
Across the pond, the Brits have come clean and have called BS on the Iraq War as a war of choice not necessity, but here at home if you refuse to go along with America’s interventionist military policies you are branded the equivalent of a Nazi sympathizer.
Way to go main stream press! Now, anyone who doesn’t support carpet bombing the middle east is a Nazi!
The media is filled with new stories about how Donald Trump is going to get us in a war. Where were such concerns when president Bush was promising to do just that while the World refused to go along and we changed French Fries to Freedom Fries? The entire World except Britain, which has since recanted, refused to agree that there was a just cause for war and yet our main stream press supported it and fed us lies so we would support it. There were no concerns for war then? What are we to make of these new alarmists in he media who are afraid Trump will start a war?
What we see is an establishment facing a non compliant outsider who questions everything. That is very troubling for them. I will predict that this is just the beginning of a new media witch hunt this time, “The Hunting of Donald Trump”.
How can the government and the media possibly, without apparent shame, place all blame for fake news on the Russians? Well I guess if it is so completely used to just making up BS then it can make up BS on who is making all the BS too!
Suggestion to the author.How about instead of the Nixon long gone era,try writing on the all USA media’s 100% lies given that Muslims pulled off Sept 11 2001 attacks. Why is it no major author dares to expose the 911 truth but rambles about Nixon? Over 3000 Americans lost their lives to goed Americans to attack 7 middle east countries. Shameful!
Fake news started with “access journalism,” and news releases treated as reporting.
They did that in large part to save money. Real reporting, and editors making demands of reporters to do a better job, all cost money. They fired the editors, closed the bureaus, and hired younger new “reporters” who were ignorant of what they reported on, but cheaper.
“Fake news” differs only in whose lies it repeats.
No one outside the US takes the mainstream media seriously any more. But the world is definitely interested in Trump’s new direction. Surprisingly, most I have spoken with in our part of the world, applaud the new President for his views on making America great again – that is if this extraordinay mission can be accomplished without the national security establishment putting some kind of spoke in the wheels. We wait with our fingers and legs crossed!
CIA & MSM = PARTNERS IN CRIME … “The media industry has been reduced to a few huge corporations that control most of the outlets. Control of information has become the key to the oligarchy’s success. Very few independent news organizations are able to compete with the giants, or get information out across the country, so people really have to search for facts on the Internet.” Quoted from: THE CIA AS ORGANIZED CRIME: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World by Douglas Valentine. This book is required reading for every American who wants to know the truth!
Vietnam is ancient history.
I’m still shocked and appalled that the very real Treason of September 11th, as proven by the 28 Joint Inquiry pages, goes ignored. It’s far more relevant, and the players are still alive and still selling wars of aggression, the entire point of 9/11.
9/11 & 28 Pages of Treason
Helping Saudis get away with mass murder in NYC and at the Pentagon is high Treason! Why has the US media let them get away with it? Is the CIA that powerful in editorial board rooms?
Joe you are so right about the ’28 pages’, and it dropping out of the news. I swear if there were a written test to be held on Friday, and one of the questions were ‘what is the 28 pages’ everyone would get the answer wrong…probably most answers would be left blank. Questioning 911 gets you branded with the not so flattering title ‘911 truther’. This public shamming is reminiscent of when I was a kid growing up, and a grown up was laughed at for questioning the Warren Report….because everyone though that Earl Warren was a straight shooter, and a honest man. Well, maybe he was or maybe he wasn’t, but as more documents are made public, it sure looks as though the kindest thing that could be said regarding that old Supreme Court Justice was that Allen Dulles duped him, and Warren bought what Dulles was selling. But Joe you are right Saudi Arabia, Israel, and a few of Dick Cheney’s bunch should be put on the dock and made to fest up for what happened on that early morn of September 11th 2001. Great comment Joe….Joe
You did it again! Truth about Iran-Cintra and the crack cocaine that flooded the inner cities. I was a social worker in the aftermath of that fiasco, and I saw the generations of drug affected newborns, loss of businesses, homelessness, crime, and scourge on the cities of poor black people. It remains today. The money made on the drugs is another story. First we dumped it (drugs) then we started a “war” on it. Many got rich and still do. Shameful for our country. Thanks for your truth telling. Too bad ” they ” will call it fake news. Let’s hope they don’t ban the free speech of those they disagree with. Nazi germany is alive and well.
“…the problem is that the mainstream media has sought to … protect the Establishment by dismissing real cases of institutional criminality and abuse of power. However, by shoring up these defenses – rather than challenging systemic wrongdoing – the mainstream media has watched its own credibility erode.”
What I observed in the aftermath of Webb’s dismissal, while I was in a senior position on the management side at the Mercury News, revealed in house instances of institutional criminality and abuse of power. It’s not hard to surmise that not only did this affect the newsgathering and editing side, because corporate pressure was brought to bear, but that it made the individuals on the corporate side themselves vulnerable to exposure and therefore blackmail. As an aside in a legal matter, I alleged insider financial wrongdoing that I had been given evidence of from insider whistleblowers. Apparently during a subsequent internal investigation of Knight Ridder, which was required since it was a publicly traded corporation, and the Mercury’s owner and management, the evidence discovered was so damning that the long time Chief Financial Officer suddenly disappeared. Within another six months, Knight Ridder, a Fortune 500 company and the third largest newspaper chain, had ceased to exist. Broken into pieces with new owners, the largest portion remaining is McClatchey.
Fran Macadam, your brief comment sounds like a book to read. I’m not a journalist, but I wish there were away to elevate people like you, alongside people like Mr Parry, and create a combined effort to get more readership somehow. I haven’t the foggiest idea of how to do this, but it sure would be great if you and your truthful peers were to be able to make this happen. Just me talking out loud, so forgive me….Joe
Thank you so very much for writing this insightful addition to Mr. Parry’s article. It was Gary Webb’s reporting that helped me make sense of the urban drug usage and supply. Further, he introduced me to Robert Parry’s remarkable honesty in reporting. The totality of Gary’s story, and of the Arkansas and government connection simply must never be forgotten and the truth must be widely understood. Many thanks for your contribution, please visit here often as we struggle forward
Fran, have you spoken lately with David Sylvester, then an investigative reporter at the Mercury News (and returned there some years ago)? If he and Webb knew each other, there might be much to be learned.
The reverse of Gresham’s law can be stated “good money drives out bad.” Once a person finds sources of real news on the web, they lose interest in the lies and propaganda of mainstream media. It’s just like when money is seen to be counterfeit, it will be no longer valued or accepted.
“the 45th president snapped the capital city into its new reality, as the buoyant business mogul celebrated his unlikely political ascent with signature bravado and spontaneity.” Washington Post
Don’cha love it?
I’ve known for many years my high school history textbooks were worse than useless, and for a shorter period than that how the suave and grave-looking TV anchors were capable of delivering the most brazen lies with a straight face. But only after the Appointment of Bush the Dumber did I finally figure out that the Mainstream Newspapers could also lie with the best of them.
This was a useful essay, but I must declare that it wasn’t the best thing to read in terms of keeping calm, cool, and collected.
i suggest the 99% need a database of the -really- .1 to .01% who have their chitinous claws on the levers of power…
hoover had his ‘security index’, i think ours should be an ‘insecurity index’…
something along the lines of wikispooks…
the oligarchs, the market-makers, financial masters of the universe, the transnational CEOs, mil-ind komplex, the mercs, the spooks, and the organizations they control…
used to be an open/free-as-in-beer database called ‘namebase’ that was pretty cool in making the interconnections among the power elite and their eee-vil minions of doom… TL;DG (too lazy, didn’t google): think it still exists, just pay-to-play…
Mr.Parry, In your second paragraph you call attention to the “establishment”…..That is a very ambiguous word….. That word could define anyone’s enemy or friend…..Be more forthcoming in this… your attempt to link the NYT as one who plays with history…. Who are “they” and what are the names of the people who make up the “establishment”……Journalism without calling out the real perpetrators by name is just another form of……..tabloid…….I’ll bet 100% you’ll not name anyone involved in the “establishment” as of 2017…..care to make that bet ?
That’s what I thought……Life is very cushy for you lol…..Don’t upset the apple cart……
Another very valuable resource on the ’68 Vietnamese peace talks and Henry Kissinger’s inside channel & pivotal role of informing Nixon of their progress which enabled Nixon to sabotage them by persuading the South Vietnamese to withdraw from the talks (by promising them a better deal if he became President) & thus prolong the war is to be found in the 2015 book, “Kissinger’s Shadow: the long reach of America’s most controversial statesman” by Greg Grandin, NYU Professor of History: Chapter 2 Ends & Means pp.36-52. Also on p. 45 there’s a footnote re. “the X file”, which, shortly after Johnson’s death was deposited (5/14/73) in the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, TX, which began declassifying the file in 1994. However, “despite renewed attention to the Watergate break-in on its fortieth anniversary, scholars and reporters, aside from (the historian) Ken Hughes (2014 book, “Chasing Shadow: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate”) and journalist Robert Parry, have mostly ignored its contents.” So cheers to Bob for his decades of in-depth investigations and publishing them in Consortium News!
Mr. Parry the NY Times has become even more despicable under the Obama Administration but that must be redundant once despicable ….,Somewhat separate issue but the NYT was very dirty on Ukraine for instance Natalie Jeresko. I noticed today that Toria formerly Victoria Nuland turned down her same job in the Trump Administration, I liked the name switch., I saw this on Reuters , she got third billing. I thought about US Citizen/2nd rate Banker Nataly Jeresko who became Yulia Jerbesko when she became Finance Minister in Ukraine after having received Ukrainian Citizenship while not relinquishing US Citizenship ( A small technicality). Since then after losing out to become Prime Minister and not being retained as Finance Minister she has become Natalie again and returned to the good old USA now slumming at the Aspen Institute. It’s a good thing this all happened within the two year limit that would have required that she relinquish US Citizenship. Small wonder eh? There must be a story there , a non story in the NYT regardless. PS Thanks for some occasional good work.
Truth First and Brad Benson – yes, yes, and yes. Reading the excellent article by Robert Parry, and then reading the great comments, a song came to mind: “How Long Has This Been Going On?” One government after another lying, media lying, coups, interventions, cover-ups, slaughters, soldiers killed – and for what? All of these guys should be behind bars.
Half of the soldiers killed in Vietnam were killed after the failed Paris peace treaty? 25,000 boys. If I had lost my son in this war and I knew this fact, I can’t even begin to explain what I would do.
Absolutely sickening. And Robert Parry is right, if the American public ever knew (and they’re just beginning to know now, as more and more people are not listening to the media anymore), they would stop believing their governments altogether. The media help to hold the decaying rot together.
Lets face it, American leaders have put profit and power first, since they first starting lying to the aboriginal peoples. Bullshitting the majority of people is easy as hitler and so many american presidents have shown. Another big part of the problem is that there are always people who will go along with the lies because they think they can advance themselves. Look at all the people who shut up rather than expose what happened to assassinated american leaders.
Propaganda/patriotism are also rife in america. Politicians love to wrap themselves in the flag, literally, while millions of citizens think this is a positive thing. Proudly displaying the american flag at your home, place of business or public function really shows how ignorant you are regarding the millions of deaths, destroyed governments and wasted trillions your government has caused.
america, truly the bullshit empire.
Awesome editorial. NYT out with a “new” piece today focusing on “torture revelations” in the case of Zubaydah…and yet the article completely fails to mention that he has been tortured and held since 2002 with no evidence of any wrongdoing and no charges. He was not in al Qaeda or involved in any terrorist activity. He was loosely connected to training camps – and that was at the long ago time when the US was actively supporting Bin Laden and other jihadis. All sorts of CIA people could be held for torture by that logic. He continues to be held for the “crime” of embarrassing US govt. lies about their phony “War on Terror”. I’m putting together a list of good Indy News sources including RobertParry/ConsortiumNews. I have a Twitter version and a similar RSS version on Feedly. Here is a link to the current Twitter members: https://twitter.com/misc_CIA_victim/lists/IndyNews/members
Why does this come as no surprise?
Unfortunately, you are preaching to the choir. How do we get this information to the general public is the larger question. By reading and listening to investigative journalists I’ve been aware of the facts for a long time. I stopped giving any credence to the main stream media after the Kennedy assassination. It seems that all the Trump voters are a natural market for this info as they claim to have had it with the “Librul” media. PBS would be a natural vehicle but they have been bought and paid for by the very people that need exposed.
Roscoe the problem of the truth, of a story being told from another perspective, has haunted story tellers, and historians for a very long time. Reading your comment brought to my mine the 19th century photographer Edward Sheriff Curtis. Curtis after visiting the Little Big Horn battle field, and upon his listening to the Native American scouts who had once scouted for Custer, was stunned by the scouts account of what these scouts said really happened on that day of ‘Custers Last Stand’. Curtis who had thought that he had discovered the truth after hearing the accounts of the old scouts who had accompanied Custer to that fateful day, was totally different from the official version that had prevailed in the American press at that time. When Edward Curtis contacted Theodore Roosevelt he was told by his old friend Teddy to pretty much leave this version of Custer’s defeat to the historians.
Better than my telling you about Curtis, read this, it is interesting….
Joe – fascinating story. Teddy Roosevelt wanted to leave well enough alone. America loves its heroes, and so much of what you read has been embellished, parts have been omitted, all to create a story. Too bad for that photographer, Edward Curtis. Those are great photographs! And I also feel for Major Reno, left with such a tainted record, taking to the bottle, and then dying alone, and all for a battle that, from the sounds of it (with thousands and thousands of Indians) should never have taken place. Bad information or a bad decision, or both.
My uncle who fought at ‘the Battle of the Bulge’ told me how most of what was said to be historical fact wasn’t as much fact as it was fiction written around the truth. My mother’s brother was quite the character, and an intelligent one at that. He said that when fighting at the Bulge he was a sergeant when he dove in the foxhole, and when he finally climbed out he had been promoted to captain. You see all of his command above him in rank had been killed, and my uncle got a military promotion in the ugliest of ways you can imagine to get bumped up to a higher pay grade.
The point I was making when writing about Roosevelts fluffing off Curtis’s Native American version of Little Big Horn, was how historical narratives aren’t necessarily pinned on the actual facts of any event. You have heard the saying, ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’, well as we walk through this life we discover how true that little piece of mischievous advice is so true. Only since I am a one time enlisted man in the U.S. Navy, you could suspect that everything coming from me is an embellished sea story. Seriously though I am an honest man, but believe me when I tell you the whale’s tale isn’t always on the end of the whale…take care shipmate Joe
This phenomenon is much older than this country. Ever heard of Cassandra?
Understanding US Foreign Policy 101.
Whatever Washington says, and NYT and WP runs with, assume the opposite to be the case, until proven.
Treat the “proof” with scepticism.
Hail to Bob Parry for being way out front on Nixon’s 1968 “treason.” And congrats to John Farrell for finding the solid proof of Nixon’s treachery in Nixon’s “monkey-wrench” memo. Kudos too to the New York Times for belatedly documenting Farrell’s find and recognizing its historical importance.
You are wrong about the 1968 peace talks being on the verge of success. The eventual agreement reached in 1972 was a disguised surrender and neither US nor SVN ready to do that in 1968, What you are trying to say about the NYT and Post is essentially they are publishing conspiracy theories and pretending they are true, Irag WMD, Syrian “Civil War”, and Russian aggression. The leading purveyors of conspiracy theories today are the NYT and WaPo. They are just mad the public does not believe their theories.
The 1972 “surrender” would have been very very different if Nixon had stayed in office. South Vietnam would likely have remained a corrupt client state back by the USA.
As I’m sure you know, the NY Times also pushes fake news about fake news it has already published.
It claimed there was no coup in Ukraine, 11 months after the coup in Ukraine, and dozens of NY Times lies justifying the coup.
Then back in 2011-2013 (the Abrams years) again and again the NY Times told a lie, in passing, about the cause of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The lie, about the war that the Times had already lied the US into, was that the invasion was based on faulty intelligence. No, as you know, Cheney and his team went looking for yesmen/women in CIA to provide the justification that Cheney wanted, and then Cheney sold that line to the likes of the NY Times’ Judith Miller and Michael Gordon–which dutifully published this garbage.
The US invaded Iraq because Cheney wanted to, it had nothing to do with faulty intelligence. And vast amounts of intelligence contradicted the Cheney-NY Times fantasy.
This lie was repeated so often in the Times in 2012 and 2013 that it can’t have been a mistake. It seems to have been the policy of Abrams (or perhaps Shulzberger) to completely reinvent the history of the Iraq war so as to absolve the Times of its sins. (If Ms Abrams did it alone, without written approval from the publisher Shulzberger, she should of course have been fired–and she was fired, but the reason is a mystery. And right, the rumor is she was fired because she wanted to be paid as much as her predecessor, the even worse Bill Keller. )
I interviewed Dick Cheney one on one in 1978 in the back of the Pine Bluffs Post at the Wyo-Nebraska border, a summer journalism internship for me before I completed work at the University of Wyoming. A Nebraska native, Cheney moved to Wyoming and was running for Congress with Republicans Al Simpson and Rhodes Scholar Malcolm Wallop. I studied for weeks prior to the interview. I vividly remember after the interview, he looked at me with his scowl and asked my name as he left. Our graphics artist was laying out the paper next to an old linotype before computers and cold type. Cheney suffered his first heart attack the next day which had nothing to do with me but rest assured from the moment Dick Cheney of Halliburton, now headquarterd in Islamic Dubai to be closer to the second largest oil reserve on the planet, Iraq, got into the White House in Jan. of 2001 the principal mission of their cabal was to overthrow Iraq and privatize its oil just like Iran. America overthrew Iran in 1953 overthrowing Mohammad Mossadegh to reprivatize British-Anglo Iranian Oil, Operation Ajax. Mossadegh nationalized it because the Brits gained 51 percent of the stock after WWII, reduced Iranian profits to 16 percent and treated them with racist comtempt. Truman refused to invade but Ike agreed and the CIA led the coup at the behest of the Brits. It is worth noting Iran provided oil and gas for America and our allies during both world wars through British-Anglo Iranian Oil, today’s BP after British subject William De’Arcey (spell) was hired to find oil in the southern provinces about 1908. They play us like an ole piano.
Okay, but I was more interested in the lengths to which the NY Times would go to tell lies about lies it had already told.
Also of course in the early 1990s, clearly Cheney wasn’t pushing the invasion of Iraq when he was Secretary of Defense in the H. W Bush cabinet. He, like everyone one else, seems to have been against an invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Something changed. I’m not entirely clear that it’s only about oil, but that’s part of it.
Jay – Israel?
Iraq was making agreements with France to upgrade its oil industry, with the oil to be sold in Euros, rather than dollars.
Every time someone in the govt and the MSM attacks Iran as being a “bad actor” I want to take them by the shoulders and say “wake up!” we and the Brits couped the democratically elected president, installed a vicious dictator and therefore played a huuuuuge role in precipitating the eventual revolution in which the Mullahs took control.
Jay – Cheney knew one thing: if you build it, they will come. They engineer, manufacture, build a story; anything will do. Once you get the lies out there and the media get on side, they’re away and off to the races. Down goes another foreign country.
OK. Assuming that what you are NOW telling us is the truth – after the fact BTW). Where were you and other supposedly honest professional journalists during those times?
I want so to believe you….
Alice – if you knew right now an important piece of information, what would you do to try to get that information out? If you actually had an important document and started waving it around, you’d probably be killed. If you tried to go to the major newspapers or television, they’d call you a “conspiracy theorist” and kick you out the door; they certainly would not print what you had to say. Hell, they wouldn’t even listen to you. Back in those days, there wasn’t the Internet, but even that doesn’t get you very far, even now. With absolutely no evidence whatsoever, they are broadcasting that Trump is in the back pocket of Putin, or that Putin stole the election for Trump. Complete nonsense, but they’re still printing it, aren’t they?
What were these people supposed to do? Print it on the sky? 90% of all media is owned by six corporations! Six! They own it all. Trying to get the truth out is almost impossible, and they know it. They control the narrative.
The media is a part of the Establishment. They are protecting their own. Welcome to 1984!
Good question though, Alice.
I will assume this comment is either 1. trolling, 2. snark, or; 3. Born of abysmal ignorance. As Bob says in the article, he and Brian Barger broke the first contra-cocaine stories for Newsweek at the time the deals were happening. He got bounced out of Newsweek for being an actual reporter at a time when the bipartisan consensus in Washington would not permit critical reporting of Reagan’s beloved “freedom fighters” and the US’s glorious little wars around the world. Later at Frontline, Bob assembled the available evidence on the 1980 Reagan campaign operation around the hostages, reporting that Bob is too modest to admit helped trigger the half-assed congressional investigation in the first place. I suppose he didn’t report the 1980 October Surprise revelations in real time in 1980 because, well, they were secret, carried out clandestinely by, among others, the former and future heads of the CIA. He was venomously assaulted for his trouble, and eventually left Frontline as well.
Consortiumnews exists in part because Bob was willing to report the truth and pay a serious personal price. Our country owes him a debt of thanks.
OK. Assuming that what you are telling us here (after the fact BTW), where were you and other
supposedly ‘honest, professional journalists doing at the time? Why are we just hearing the ‘truth’? now?
Wayne Madsen just published an article concerning the Iranian Hostage Release of 1980. Madsen wonders where the press was back in 1980 when Reagan used foreign governments towards his goal of taking office in the White House. Madsen also brings up the arms swapping role that the SS Poet played in the transfer of weapons, and to how the SS Poet went missing as a possible result of it’s involvement in the clever plot that went down. Read Madsen’s article, and see how a young Rudolph Giuliani had also helped to disguise the back channeled ordeal, and how he aided in the coverup.
Thank you Mr. Tedesky. You know Guiliani’s bunker was in, I believe, World Trade Center Five on Sept. 11, 2001. Mayor Guiliani and his staff were notified to flee just prior to its collapse according, officially, to adjacent heat. WTC 5 also housed the Security Exchange Commission and all its files.
I believe that would be WTC 7.
Rudy Jubecza you are right. I’m leaving this link which will back up your claim. Regardless our hero mayor exited the building in just the nick of time. You see there are such things as ‘close ones’ other than in horseshoes.
Now, now, Mr Bob everyone knows that Rudy 911 Guiliani was the greatest New York Mayor New York ever had, for his heroism to be found on that tragic fateful day. Seriously, after learning how my daughter and one year old granddaughter who lived across the street from the WTC were able to escape unharmed, I broke down in tears that evening. Rudy was the last thing on my mine. Although, at that time I thought well of him. Funny though, how time and after more was to be exposed, I loss my like of Mayor Guiliani. Yes, I’m a truther in many ways, and I’m not ashamed of it. America must someday learn the truth about many things, and the truth about 911 is top on my list. People like 911 Rudy only obscure the truth, and with that I will close by saying to you bob to keep on posting comments here. You are an asset. Joe
Thanks Joe and Russ Baker has a review of Iran Contra at Who.What.Why at the link below…
Many thanks to all…
Bob Van Noy I read most of that Russ Baker story regarding Iran-Contra, and I’m going to continue with it as it turns out to be a very interesting and detailed account of those events. Thanks Bob you always contribute well with your comments and references…hey that’s how we all learn something from each other Joe
Joe – that was a great link. Thanks. Poor Carter, getting eaten by the psychos.
I must confess back between 1972 and 1992 I didn’t vote. I was so let down after McGovern’s defeat, I quit politics. I do recall how unimpressed I was with Jimmy Carter. In some ways I felt sorry for the guy. I thought then that he always looked like a deer in the headlights. Now, I see him as probably the greatest ex-President we may have ever had. In all fairness to Carter, it goes without saying how terribly corrupt Washington is. Unless a president has his own personal Mafia to protect his self, it is useless to think that a president can have the total control, we all believe he has. So ‘selling out’ may just be a requirement to get reelected, and a reasonable way to stay alive. Oh well, there I go again with the cynicism, so I will end my cynical rant by encouraging you backwardsevolution to keep on keep’n on Joe
I did not vote between 1972 and 1992 either…
Of course, I was born in 72, so my reasons were a bit different than yours. In 92, however, I made the greatest mistake of my voting carreer, and shamefully voted for a Clinton (I should have written in “Vacancy” I sat out 1996, and have voted Green ever since.)
Although Carter has been an excellent ex-president, his increase of arms sales to Indonesia knowing they would be used in the ongoing genocide in East Timor, and his creation of the Muhajadeen more than qualify him to join the War Criminals in Chiefs we have had lead the US for the last hundred years at least.
It’s great to see a comments section where I am relatively young, yet where I also am not overwhelmed by Faux News fans.
John, it’s great to have youth amongst us older commenters. I’m worried about all of what goes on mostly, because I have kids your age, and grandchildren your children’s age, so I am very, very concerned to what happens.
Back in 1992 I reached in my empty pockets, and pulled the lever for Ross Perot. Ross had said, how he was going to lift open the hood and fix the darn thing…and that sounded good to me.
While everyone on the boob tube was celebrating Bill Clinton’s made up economic figures, I was watching go out of business what Reagan had not been able to shut down get shut down. I worked in the industrial sector, and machines were getting unbolted off the plant floors, and they were either scrapped, or send to places like Brazil…it was a false economy for sure.
Stay with us John, because between all of us we may all learn something….Joe
The mainstream media are fully part of the Establishment.
jaycee – your sentence speaks volumes, and you are absolutely correct. There is no naivety or ignorance on the part of the New York Times or Washington Post. They are doing their job of protecting the Establishment, which they are a part of.
You didn’t research Watergate exhaustively:
as a limo driver in san francisco in the 1990’s i had klaus kinkle, who from around 1978-1982 was the head of the german BND, tell me that bush flew to paris to meet the iranians and broker a deal to keep the hostages.
The fact that mainstream media “stars” lie in calling facts a lie – or they can’t distinguish between facts and lies – has contributed to a dangerous breakdown in the public’s ability to sort what is and what is not real.
The problem with the public’s inability to distinguish between facts and lies begins at an early age when they are fed propaganda in the form of lies and myths in school and through entertainment media. If the people don’t have some sort of epiphany or Damascene conversion as they become adults they continue to wallow in ignorance, indifference and apathy.
And the “Teach to the Test” paradigm will ensure that children will grow up learning by rote, and never questioning, the Party line.
Perfect. So true. You have named the ‘enemy.’ It is us and our mistaken trust in and loyalty to the media gods!
Thank you Robert Parry!
Their lies and distortions undermine and discredit the very economic/political system they rely on.
Our current economic version of Capitalism is so intertwined with politics that people at the center of power or close to it are well aware that questioning the current narrative would likely threaten their place within the power structure and thus their economic livelihood.
That people with so much responsibility – editing/writing for powerful news establishments – are aware, at some level of consciousness, which side their bread is buttered on and are too weak to stand up for an inconvenient truth, wind up discrediting the very economic/political system that “sustains” them.
En masse they are slowly destabilizing the whole house of cards.
I am reading all of Parry’s books, “The Assassinations” by DiEugenio, “Orders to Kill” by William F. Pepper, MLK’s last attorney, “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” by Perkins 2004 about the World Bank, got a copy of Stone’s DVD JFK and “Into the Buzzsaw” by Borjesson about the downing of TWA Flight 800 off the south Jersey shore many believe accidently rocketed by the USS sub The Wyoming. I am not very smart but I have been a real print journalist for more than 38 years and Viet-Nam war veteran. We’re in real trouble.
My profession has been infiltrated and bribed by the CIA since Operation Mockingbird following WWII. One of the most astounding texts I have read is the conspiracy theories of the Gemstone File of 1975, a synopsis available on the web. I don’t have answers but I know blind trust in secret agencies is blinding and it is not only our duty but our responsibility to question every aspect of our corporate war machine and the facades it creates. I was selected to be a close-in sentry of nuclear weapons. I am no hero. I am just asking you to be vigilant, resist fascism and question every aspect of the underlying fabric of our society rotting from our existence. Who gets paid? Together we can bring truth to the forefront and create a sustainable, peaceful existence for our children who desperatly deserve some semblance of an economic and environmental inheritance. We paid $90 billion for the NSA’s mammoth, Utah computer to annotate every word we write and every sound we utter. Truth shall set us free. Respectfully submitted, bob, print journalist
bob – well said, and good for you! Another great book is “Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein. I don’t even think I finished reading the “Russian” chapter; it upset me so much.
Follow the money.
“Firewall” by Lawrence Walsh is also worth a read.
Bob, print journalist. May I also suggest both “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government”, and “Brothers”, by David Talbot.
Here is an article that looks at how the U.S. government has used propaganda in the past to persuade Americans to “see things its way”:
If there is one thing that we can be sure of it’s that nothing changes in Washington and that those in power never learn from the lessons of the past. They will continue to do whatever it takes to control the minds (and hearts) of Americans.