NYT’s Assault on Press Freedom

Exclusive: The New York Times, which once postured as the champion of a free press, now is seeking crackdowns on news that the public gets from the Internet under the guise of combatting “Russian propaganda,” explains Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare

Once upon a time the danger to a free press came from the right. But since Russia-gate, liberals have been busy playing catch-up.

The New York Times building in Manhattan. (Photo credit: Robert Parry)

The latest example is a front-page article in Tuesday’s New York Times. Entitled “YouTube Gave Russian Outlet Portal Into U.S.,” it offers the usual blah-blah-blah about Kremlin agents engaging in the political black arts. But it goes a step farther by attempting to discredit a perfectly legitimate news organization.

Reporters Daisuke Wakabayashi and Nicholas Confessore begin by noting that RT, the Moscow-funded TV channel formerly known as “Russia Today,” is now an Internet powerhouse and then observes that when it became the first YouTube news channel to surpass one million views, YouTube Vice President Robert Kyncl “joined an RT anchor in a studio, where he praised RT for … providing ‘authentic’ content instead of ‘agendas or propaganda.’”

Cue the ominous background music. “But now,” the article continues, “as investigators in Washington examine the scope and reach of Russian interference in United States policy, the once-cozy relationship between RT and YouTube is drawing closer scrutiny.”

Why? Because RT took advantage of its “prominent presence on YouTube’s search results” to pepper viewers with negative videos about Hillary Clinton. According to Wakabayashi and Confessore:

“As the presidential election heated up in the spring of 2016, RT consistently featured negative stories about Mrs. Clinton, according to United States intelligence officials. That included claims of corruption at her family foundation and ties to Islamic extremism, frequent coverage of emails stolen by Russian operatives from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, and accusations that she was in poor physical and mental health.”

The story quotes “the American intelligence community” describing RT as the Kremlin’s “principal international propaganda outlet” and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia calling YouTube “a target-rich environment for any disinformation campaign.”

Then comes the kicker: “Much like the Russian-controlled pages on Facebook, RT’s YouTube videos comply with YouTube’s community guidelines, which cover things like nudity, copyright violations and promoting violence against a group based on race or religion. But not propaganda.”

Bottom line: disinformation and propaganda are what RT is all about. But there’s a problem: the Times article is less than clear about what RT actually got wrong.

Making Real News into ‘Fake News’

The web version, for example, links to an RT interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that ran shortly before the 2016 election. The topic is a September 2014 email obtained by Wikileaks in which Clinton acknowledges that “the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia … are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

“I think this is the most significant email in the whole collection,” Assange states as interviewer John Pilger murmurs in agreement. “As analysts know, and even the US government has mentioned … some Saudi figures have been supporting ISIS, funding ISIS. But the dodge has always been that it’s just some rogue princes using their cut of the oil to do what they like and – but actually – the government disapproves. But that email says no, it is the government of Saudi and the government of Qatar that have been funding the ISIS.”

The exchange resumes with Pilger saying: “And, of course, the consequence of that is that this notorious terrorist, jihadist group called ISIL or ISIS is created largely with money from the very people who are giving money to the Clinton Foundation.”

Assange: “Yes.”

Pilger: “That’s extraordinary.”

Is this dezinformatsiya, as the Russians call disinformation? The Times implies that is, yet in fact Assange’s statement is perfectly correct. The email’s authenticity is unchallenged while there is also no question that Arab Gulf interests have contributed massively to the Clinton Foundation.

As the foundation’s own records show, Saudi Arabia has given anywhere from $10 million to $25 million over the years, Qatar has contributed between $1 million and $5 million, while other Gulf governments, corporations, and individuals have kicked in anywhere from $13 million to $50 million more.

This is not fake news, but the plain truth. Moreover, it’s the scandalous truth because it shows Clinton taking money from people funding the same terror organizations she was professing to fight.

It’s as if Jesse Jackson had been found taking payoffs from South Africa’s white supremacist government during apartheid. If that had occurred, the Times would have been up in arms. Yet not only has it never said a word about the 2014 Clinton email, it is now going after RT for putting out news that it has sat on for months.

What’s going on here? Is the Times suggesting that truth is irrelevant and that the only thing that counts is where it originates? Is it arguing that what’s said matters less than who’s saying it – and that if it’s RT, WikiLeaks, or whomever, we must all stop up our ears so that the message will be blocked?

Barring Foreign Information

The article goes on to suggest that “RT’s embrace of YouTube shows how difficult it could be to limit foreign influence.” Calling for foreign influence to be rolled back for no other reason than the fact that it’s foreign is very dangerous. Indeed, it’s nothing more than a liberal echo of the isolationist, America-First politics practiced by Donald Trump except that where Trump wants to bar immigrants and imports, the Times wants to bar foreign information, no matter how pertinent or how truthful. Instead of reporting news, it is seeking to block it.

Hillary Clinton speaking at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona, March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

While the Times was chasing after RT, The Washington Post was going public with the truly sensational news that the Clinton campaign’s law firm had paid for the notorious Christopher Steele dossier, famous for charging that Trump had paid for a couple of prostitutes to urinate on a Moscow hotel bed once occupied by Barack and Michelle Obama.

After accusing the Trump campaign of collaborating with foreign agents to influence an American election, it turns out that the Democrats, or at least their lawyers, not only collaborated with, but hired a foreign agent – Steele formerly worked for MI6, Britain’s version of the CIA – to do the same (and Steele claimed to have gotten Russian officials to supply unsubstantiated allegations designed to hurt Trump’s campaign).

The result of all this has been nonsense piled on top of nonsense. More than a year after the Democratic National Committee’s massive email dump, there is still no evidence that the Kremlin was responsible or even that it was a hack at all. (Wikileaks, with its 100-percent record for veracity, continues to maintain that the emails were leaked by an insider.)

Indeed, the sole basis for the charge is a report by CrowdStrike, a California-based cyber-security firm whose chief technical officer, Dmitri Alperovitch, is known both for his anti-Kremlin bias and his close ties to the Clinton camp.  (See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Scandal Hidden Behind Russia-gate.”)

The FBI never inspected the DNC’s computer servers to see for itself if they were truly hacked while a major CrowdStrike foul-up – it subsequently accused pro-Russian separatists of using similar malware to target Ukrainian artillery units – has gone largely unreported even though the firm was forced to issue a retraction. Certainly, the Times has never breathed a word about the blunder.

The NYT’s Motives

What’s the goal here? One aim, of course, is to drive Trump out of office – not by opposing him from the left, however, but from the right on the basis of anti-Russian xenophobia. But another is what might be described as an exercise in induced mass conformity.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin wall, Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)

If, thanks to Russia-gate, the Times succeeds in scaring Americans into believing that the country is being hit with an epidemic of “fake news” even though no one knows what the term even means; if it can persuade readers that news is “disinformation” simply because it comes from a Russian outlet; if it can convince them that “Kremlin-aligned agents secretly built fake Facebook groups to foment political division” even though “Kremlin-aligned” can mean just about anything under the sun – if it can do all those things, then it can persuade them to turn their critical faculties off and believe whatever the U.S. intelligence agencies (and The New York Times) tell them to believe.

The integration of the corporate media and the so-called “intelligence community” will thus be complete. Instead of information, the result will be a steady stream of CIA propaganda aimed at dulling critical faculties and preparing the public for one imperial misadventure after another

The Times, to paraphrase Chico Marx, is essentially asking readers, “Who you gonna believe, the CIA or your own critical faculties?” The correct answer, it seems to think, is the former. Rather than a force for enlightenment, the “newspaper of record,” is turning into the opposite.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace). 

87 comments for “NYT’s Assault on Press Freedom

  1. William
    October 29, 2017 at 17:23

    It is clear and has been for years that the mainstream media in this country serves as a propaganda organ for entities that do not have the best interests of the U.S. at heart. Of foremost importance one should take notice of the fact that no major news organization in this country dares to print information that puts Israel in a bad light, regardless of the facts. The NYT has acted to banish outright from its
    pages information that portrays Israel as a brutal occupying power that behaves in barbaric fashion to a captive people And when the NYT does not actually news unfavorable to Israel, it twists facts to portray Israel in the best light possible.

  2. Mild-ly - Facetious
    October 28, 2017 at 12:00
  3. sam
    October 28, 2017 at 11:13

    ALL the news is not fit to print.

  4. Will Andermann
    October 28, 2017 at 08:03

    The Times doesn’t seem to realize that it can be judged independently on an ongoing basis and that its legitimacy is in tatters, gone. In shooting the moon on Russian influence it has only revealed itself to be as insidious as the object of its claims.

  5. DMH
    October 27, 2017 at 12:16

    Daniel Lazare presents a solid argument and backs it up with good evidence.

    What is the origin of the idea that ‘the press’ has some unassailable level of integrity in openness, honesty, accuracy, and fairness superior to other forms of business?

    How do some imagine RT, Sputnik, Al Jazeera or whatever to be dangerous propaganda vehicles but cannot similarly imagine themselves immersed in propaganda masquerading as a domestic free market media. Their own free market media cannot be corrupt? Is the term ‘reporting bias’ just a euphemism for corruption?

    This level of naivete and the double standard it produces is astonishing and the real danger to thoughtful discourse now.

  6. Patricia Victour
    October 27, 2017 at 10:43

    NYT and the other slobbering knuckle-draggers, aka US MSM, are running scared that their hegemony over what America reads (mostly US gov. propaganda), and therefore what America believes, is under siege – and, like HRC, they can’t accept that they have no one to blame but themselves. Cue Russiagate! I watch RT. I encourage everyone else to watch it too – compare it to CNN, MSNBC – and decide for yourselves. As RT’s motto says, “Question more.” Indeed.

  7. Andrew Nichols
    October 26, 2017 at 22:12

    My fear as a kiwi living in Australia is that there seems no endgame in sight for the Salem Witch trial like Russophobia. What do the proponents of it want? War?
    It;’s got to such a ridiculous stage that we now risk it being politically impossible for there not to be a finding against Russia. Then what?

    The best we can hope for is that it just runs out of steam when the US finds the latest shiny object to obsess about…and where the whol thing goes down the memory hole and the main characters escape with their reputations unsullied.

    WMD in Iraq a previous orchestraed hysteria campaign of very similar BS foundations gave us ISIS and the ME in perpetual war.

    Where will this end given the object of attention is a nuclear armed state?

  8. Young American
    October 26, 2017 at 18:00

    “Bottom line: disinformation and propaganda are what RT is all about. But there’s a problem: the Times article is less than clear about what RT actually got wrong.” and therein lies the truth about corporate media and it’s quickening downfall as the older generation passes. Great journalism Consortium…keep up the good work!

    • anon
      October 26, 2017 at 19:51

      Don’t suppose that change is brought about older generations passing: all generations include all kinds, and the battles for justice are present in all generations. When young we are more often fooled by mass media to do dirty work for manipulators, and later see that youth was not virtue, which required experience to discern.

      • anon
        October 26, 2017 at 20:00

        I should add that what is passing are the easily-monopolized mass media of print and broadcast journalism. Now we begin to see how the forces of tyranny invent excuses to suppress internet news. We must be certain that this freedom of public information and debate is protected from the tyrants. This will be a battle of all generations of good citizens, against all generations of tyrants.

  9. Mild-ly - Facetious
    October 26, 2017 at 17:42

    “NYT’s Assault on Press Freedom”



    • Mild-ly - Facetious
      October 26, 2017 at 17:45

      ( don’t be fooled by love songs & lonely hearts, you’re living in a twilight world )
      swing out sisters, c.late 80’s)

  10. Lois Gagnon
    October 26, 2017 at 17:33

    NYTs, WaPo and all the rest of corporate trash news outlets are what can only be described to as junk news. Just like junk food, they will make you sick. Avoid at all costs.

  11. October 26, 2017 at 17:21


    Washington Post owner receives $600 million contract from the CIA
    December 16, 2016

    The CIA Is About To Sign A Game-Changing $600 Million Deal With Amazon
    MARCH 19, 2013


    Amazon wins case for $600 million CIA contract
    October 8, 2013


  12. October 26, 2017 at 17:19

    Top German Journalist: MSM News is Propaganda, We All Lie For The CIA!
    Posted on April 4, 2016 by RED GREEN ALLIANCE
    “The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”
    “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
    “Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the State.”
    William Colby, former CIA Director

  13. October 26, 2017 at 17:19

    Dr.Udo Ulfkotte: World Class Journalist Spills the Beans, Admits Mainstream Media is Completely Fake


    The CIA and the MSM: 50 Facts the World Needs to Know


    Propaganda 101: Operation Mockingbird Continues
    RORY HALL — JANUARY 13, 2015

    Operation Mockingbird – From The Inside Out
    RORY HALL — FEBRUARY 7, 2015

    Astroturf and manipulation of media messages | Sharyl Attkisson | TEDxUniversityofNevada


    In this eye-opening talk, veteran investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson shows how astroturf, or fake grassroots movements funded by political, corporate, or other special interests very effectively manipulate and distort media messages. Sharyl Attkisson is an investigative journalist based in Washington D.C. She is currently writing a book entitled Stonewalled (Harper Collins), which addresses the unseen influences of corporations and special interests on the information and images the public receives every day in the news and elsewhere. For twenty years (through March 2014), Attkisson was a correspondent for CBS News.

    In 2013, she received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for her reporting on “The Business of Congress,” which included an undercover investigation into fundraising by Republican freshmen. She also received Emmy nominations in 2013 for Benghazi: Dying for Security and Green Energy Going Red.

    Additionally, Attkisson received a 2013 Daytime Emmy Award as part of the CBS Sunday Morning team’s entry for Outstanding Morning Program for her report: “Washington Lobbying: K-Street Behind Closed Doors.” In September 2012, Attkisson also received an Emmy for Oustanding Investigative Journalism for the “Gunwalker: Fast and Furious” story. She received the RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Investigative Reporting for the same story. Attkisson received an Investigative Emmy Award in 2009 for her exclusive investigations into TARP and the bank bailout. She received an Investigative Emmy Award in 2002 for her series of exclusive reports about mismanagement at the Red Cross. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

  14. October 26, 2017 at 17:18

    “The CIA’s program, Operation Mockingbird, is the CIA’s program to take control of the U.S. media. Mockingbird was a program the CIA launched in the early 1950s to influence the mass media. CIA officers Cord Meyer and Frank Wisner are credited with creating Mockingbird. Meyer, THROUGH HIS FRIENDSHIP WITH THE OWNER OF RANDOM HOUSE, tried to suppress Al McCoy’s book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, in 1972. WISNER FAMOUSLY REFERRED TO THE CIA’S ARMY OF MORLEY SAFER-STYLE ASSETS IN THE PUBLISHING AND JOURNALISM WORLD AS THE MIGHTLY WURLITZER.
    The CIA doesn’t have to tell the New York Times what to say. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. and his staff know what to say. They’re on the CIA’s wavelength. They have the same interests and exist within the same stratosphere economic and political class. The CIA wants to know what everyone is thinking and planning, from Marine Le pen to Benjamin Netanyahu to Bashar al-Assad. It is trying to influence everyone to as great an extent as possible.
    For books about the CIA, I’d recommend Agee’s and Stockwell’s books, as well as Victor Marchetti’s The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. Another book from days gone by is Fletcher Prouty’s The Secret Team, which does the best job EXPLAINING HOW THE CIA HIDES ITSELF IN OTHER AGENCIES AND HOW ITS BRIEFING OFFICERS WRITE THE SCRIPT FOR THE REST OF THE GOVERNMENT. I’D STAY AWAY FROM BOOKS WRITTEN BY ANYONE WORKING FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES.
    In her book, Katherine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post, Deborah Davis said that “By the early 1905s, Wisner had implemented his plan and ‘owned’ respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS, and other communications vehicles, plus stringers, four to six hundred in all, according to a former CIA analyst. Carl Bernstein, citing CIA documents, said basically the same thing in his famous 1977 expose for Rolling Stone, “The CIA and the Media: How America’s Most Powerful New Media Worked Hand in Glove with the CIA and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up.” THE CIA ESTABLISHED A STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE NETWORK OF MAGAZINES AND PUBLISHING HOUSES, AS WELL AS STUDENT AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS, AND USED THEM AS FRONT ORGANIZATIONS FOR COVERT OPERATIONS, INCLUDING POLITICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE OPERATIONS DIRECTED AGAINST AMERICAN CITIZENS.
    Various technological advances, including the internet, have spread the network around the world, and many people don’t even realize they are part of it, that they’re promoting the CIA line. “Assad’s a butcher” or “Putin kills journalists” or “China is repressive.” They have no idea what they’re talking about, but they spout all this propaganda.
    Nowadays it goes beyond the CIA. Several government agencies are propagandizing not only the American people but the world. This includes the State Department and the military. The military is the nation’s biggest advertiser, I believe, and the media depends on its revenue. Television, especially, isn’t dependent on viewers, but on advertisers.
    The FBI has a huge propaganda machine too….The government is composed of huge bureaucracies like the FBI and DEA, all competing for federal taxpayer dollars. They each have their own propaganda machine, which exist primarily for bureaucratic reasons, so that they can get a bigger piece of the federal budget.
    The CIA has always specialized in assassinations; the military, too….In the early days, the CIA was allegedly prevented from operating within the U.S. I think that was always a myth. Now, the CIA is just openly and massively involved here….Does the CIA commit assassinations here? It’s impossible to prove. You’ll never find a document that says the president ordered the CIA to kill some critic like Senator Paul Wellstone when Wellstone died in a suspicious plane crash. You’re never going to find any proof that can be used in a court of law that would show the CIA conducted that kind of political assassination within the United States. The CIA doesn’t conduct that kind of an operation unless it’s deniable. My inclination, based on everything I know about the CIA, is that, yes, they do. But I can’t prove it because of the reasons I’ve just stated. They get the Mafia to pay some petty crook to kill Martin Luther King, Jr., and then work with what Fletcher Prouty called the “Secret Team” to cover it up.
    The purpose of the CIA propaganda is to create plausible deniability; to hide or disguise the fact that it is the source of a particular piece of misinformation designed to mislead the American public. It has briefing officers who tell PR people in other government agencies what to say, to hide the fact that it is engaged in a particular covert action that is designed to start a war or that supports a terrorist group, or subverts a friendly government, or promotes a fascist government in Ukraine or a military dictatorship in South America—the sorts of things that, if the public was to find out that the U.S. government is doing them, would cause the president and the government embarrassment, like the attempted Gulen coup in Turkey. Journalists, of course, report all these carefully scripted communiques as fact.
    The CIA is in charge of doing the things that are illegal and anti-democratic. Its propaganda is generally referred to as “gray” or “black” propaganda. Black propaganda is used to completely disguise CIA operations and blame them on someone else, be they friends or enemies. Gray propaganda uses questionable sources, the sort of anonymous sources Seymour Hersh is famous for using.
    I’ll give some examples. The CIA introduced the New York Times reporter Chris Hedges to two Iraqi defectors who claimed, in November 2001, that Saddam Hussein was training terrorists to attack America. That’s black propaganda. It was completely untrue but the lies could be blamed on the Iraq defectors….The CIA has an office that works in Hollywood. If a film is pro-CIA, it provides advisors. Journalists writing articles and authors of political books on current affairs tend to deliver CIA propaganda, some wittingly, others because they’re stupid….There’s an esoteric quality to propaganda that can drive some people crazy trying to figure it out. Some CIA officers spend their careers trying to unravel Russia propaganda. Some end up paranoid, seeing enemy agents everywhere. That’s why Colby fired James Angleton—Angleton thought Colby was a Russian agent.
    Journalists like Jeff Stein know they have to look to foreign magazines and sources to get the true story about what the CIA is doing. At the same time, they have to maintain their “credibility” here in the States, which means they have to report the CIA line. The New York Times, however, functions as the CIA’s protector and thus dutifully publishes a series of stories that did their best to bury under a mound of disinformation and overtly biased reporting any hint that Gulen is a CIA agent….The New York Times reporters did not explain that the CIA routinely creates and manipulates social and political movements.

    Quote by Former President Harry Truman, who signed the National Security Act in 1947, in the Washington Post, 30 days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy
    “For some time, I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and, at times, a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas…We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.”

  15. Bart in VA
    October 26, 2017 at 16:58

    Confessore would make better use of his time by profiling the lies, misinformation and propaganda coming from http://www.toptalkradio.com and the Sinclair Broadcasting Co.

  16. David
    October 26, 2017 at 16:32

    They weren’t just critical of Clinton (as they were right to be)….RT also published many unflattering pieces about Donald Trump throughout the election year.

  17. October 26, 2017 at 16:03

    b.s. to Matt Clark’s post. What’s this about the morality of the left vs right? If the Clinton campaign and the DNC had not conspired to make sure Bernie Sanders did not get the Democrat nomination, we might not have gotten Trump as our Kaiser Wilhelm. Sanders might have beaten Trump; he would have smoked him out in debates. Sorry for everyone, he turned tail and wagged the Democrat doggie line. Both parties are corrupted, and no US politician has the will to fix it since they’re all beholden to Wall Street and special interests.

  18. Abe
    October 26, 2017 at 15:40

    “News US legislators have looped in the major internet players in the media war on Putin and Russia only comes as a surprise for those who are just consumers of Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft products and services. For these people, I’ve got breaking news. Your glorious internet freedoms are about to be terminated. […]

    “Google News headlines concerning Russian social media meddling read like the Red Scare all over again. BBC reports ‘Google uncovers Russian ad campaign linked to US elections’. Sky News has ‘Microsoft investigates Russian pro-Trump Ads’. And the New York Times congeals the whole Orwellian mess into a propaganda blast revealing Facebook, Twitter, and an oh so apparent overall social media takeover by Russia under the headline, ‘How Russia Harvested American Rage to Reshape US Politics’. The last one is catchy, no? This NYTs article goes the farthest so far at attempting to create a deep operative Russian influence machine, that frankly does not exist. […] Look at what the NYTs story tries to slip past the readership via a would-be expert from Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Jounralism, Jonathan Albright:

    “’This is cultural hacking. They are using systems that were already set up by these platforms to increase engagement. They’re feeding outrage — and it’s easy to do, because outrage and emotion is how people share.’

    “Professor Albright seems guilty of hyperbole to me, using the typical Facebook influence methodology to garnish a circumstance no one has seen proof of yet. […]

    “Finally, the writing is on the wall concerning next steps by the globalists to win the big information control showdown with Russia. Look for Microsoft to ‘uncover’ more damning ‘evidence’ that Russians did something or other using technology, which somehow threatened any US citizen. Once that report happens, the US Congress will have all the ammunition it needs to pass some censorship legislation against anybody even ‘perceived’ to be against the narrative. These people are using the public’s ignorance of how social technologies function to get their agendas passed.”

    The Big Brother Bombshell Set to Blow
    By Phil Butler

  19. Matt Clark
    October 26, 2017 at 15:38

    Daniel, you always write garbage tripe. You are a disgrace to the pages of The Nation, and you almost seem like a Breitbart plant, such is your strident hatred of everything left wing.

    I see Clinton’s campaign’s funding of the dossier and I say, good. They were trying to beat an evil piece of human garbage and I am glad they tried. We can see that the Trump administration is worse than just about anyone imagined in its extreme Nazi-like tendencies and oppressive racism.

    As for the Clinton foundation taking money from those who also funded terrorists, you make it very clear yourself, the governments funding terror are lying about it. That would include lying about it to the Clinton foundation! So to try to pin that on Clinton is very disingenuous. They were mistaken. That doesn’t mean there was any malice there.

    For all your attacking of the left, you might stop and recognize that the imperfect left is a million times more moral than the obnoxious, fascist right.

    Stop writing until you gain more perspective and can elucidate it. Until then you are a despicable waste of a byline.

    • anon
      October 26, 2017 at 19:41

      The comment contradicts the facts. There is no trace of hatred of the left wing in the article. It is plain that Clinton knew the agendas of her zionist and KSA donors, and fully agreed and served them. The Dem’s fake “left” has nearly the same foreign policy as the Reps; it is far from merely imperfect. Since when has “the left” promoted genocides to permit religious fanatics to steal land in the Mideast?

    • Skip Scott
      October 27, 2017 at 09:58


      “For all your attacking of the left, you might stop and recognize that the imperfect left is a million times more moral than the obnoxious, fascist right.”

      Tell that to the refugees flooding Europe, and to the innocents killed in Obomber’s drone strikes. You are a phony leftist if you support corporate shills and war criminals, whether they have a “D” or an “R” next to their name.

  20. mike k
    October 26, 2017 at 13:22

    The people running the NYT are fake people. It takes real, authentic people to produce real, honest news. People like Robert Parry and John Pilger, among others.

  21. Mark Thomason
    October 26, 2017 at 12:52

    Liberals attacking press freedom is not new. It was part of the Cold War. News was a weapon. We had our propaganda outlets, and we did what we could to stop or discredit their outlets.

    Prominent liberals also backed the idea of “noble lies” from a knowledgeable elite to guide the mass of people. Opinion leaders were manipulators, in the views of the Cold War era. The NYT always privileged itself, but self-privilege and crushing the rights of others are not mutually exclusive, as we know well now in many fields.

    • anon
      October 26, 2017 at 19:23

      News was a weapon in the Cold War, but propagandists and attackers called themselves conservatives, and accused liberals and even non-conformists of communism. I recall a farmer accusing my mother of communism for suggesting at a PTA meeting that French and Spanish be taught in 5th and 6th grade. That became a weapon for all purposes.

  22. Loretta
    October 26, 2017 at 11:11

    The NYT is free to sue RT if it wants. But of course, it would have to prove that RT’s pieces are false. Can it or anyone else do that? Apparently not, otherwise the vasalls wouldn’t be so hysterical. Whereas the NYT probably COULD be sued for the spreading of false information.

  23. October 26, 2017 at 09:42

    And who are “The Russians”? I get so sick of hearing that term trotted out by talking heads both “right” and “left” (whatever those terms mean) with no qualifying information attached. And who made the NYT the arbiter of whatever news should be allowed into the US? This also shows the power of the Clinton machine and their years of dominating Democrat politics.

  24. David Fisher
    October 26, 2017 at 06:37

    “If, thanks to Russia-gate, the Times succeeds in scaring Americans into believing that the country is being hit with an epidemic of “fake news” even though no one knows what the term even means; if it can persuade readers that news is “disinformation” simply because it comes from a Russian outlet; if it can convince them that “Kremlin-aligned agents secretly built fake Facebook groups to foment political division” even though “Kremlin-aligned” can mean just about anything under the sun – if it can do all those things, then it can persuade them to turn their critical faculties off and believe whatever the U.S. intelligence agencies (and The New York Times) tell them to believe.

    The integration of the corporate media and the so-called “intelligence community” will thus be complete. Instead of information, the result will be a steady stream of CIA propaganda aimed at dulling critical faculties and preparing the public for one imperial misadventure after another.”

    If the items in the first paragraph happen, then they may lead to the results in the second paragraph? That is too funny!

    How bout we replace “if” with “when” and replace the future tense with the past tense in the first paragraph, and in the second paragraph lets replace “will be” with “is”. That would then be an accurate statement, because that IS what we have. (Operation Mockingbird anyone?)

    • Kn tlt
      October 26, 2017 at 08:35

      Problem . Reaction . Solution

    • y
      October 26, 2017 at 13:18

      I think it may be a little late for that (convincing millennials especially). But the government could lean on Google to shut these alternative news sites down and/or governments could allow ISPs to set up paywalls on the internet; I think the latter is more probable. Then some enterprising techs will develop (if they haven’t already) workarounds. Dinosaurs populate the U.S. government, that is its achilles heel.

  25. Realist
    October 26, 2017 at 06:35

    Well, it’s the absolute right of the New York Times to publish lies, deceits and government-sponsored propaganda under the first amendment of the constitution, and I wouldn’t change that fact for the world. If you’ve half a brain you know I am not being crazy or fomenting tyranny by making that statement. To protect our freedom of expression we must protect their’s no matter what a challenge that is to free speech itself, as they clearly hope to limit it, maybe eliminate it entirely. You can have free speech for all or not at all. It’s like being pregnant or not. There are no in betweens.

    The only way to honestly, fairly and logically counter lies, as the NYT seems to think that alternative media such as CN represents today, is to dispense your perception of the truth as counterpoint to their’s, not to shut them up or censor them. You may achieve or maintain power by dispensing deliberate deceptive propaganda in lieu of truth but power is not synonymous with truth. Power based on lies is evil. Power based on the suppression of truth (by limiting free speech) is an even greater degree of evil.

    There is already a woeful asymmetry in what representations of the truth get put before the public, based mostly on financial considerations. Because more money buys more air time, more printing presses and so forth, money has already been unfortunately equated to free speech by the Supreme Court.

    We don’t need the legislative branch now passing laws* that would even further restrict the information the public receives to some limited spectrum of narratives (or maybe even just a single one) favored by a powerful establishment. The NYT purports to uphold “liberal” values. It does the very opposite when it proposes to further assault the Bill of Rights by recommending legislation to constrain the rights of specific voices living under that constitution based on their thoughts and words. If successful, next they will be proposing laws against “Thoughtcrime” and promoting “Newspeak” in the schools, as they are already deep into “Doublethink” themselves.

    [*I am referring to the “Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017” signed by Obama in December 2016.

    From Investmentwatchblog: “This bill will “Criminalize ‘Fake News, Propaganda’ on the Web,” a key piece of legislation meant to crack down on free speech and independent media. In Layman’s terms, the act will allow the government to crack down with impunity against any media outlet it deems “propaganda.” The next piece of the legislation will provide substantial amounts of money to fund “counter propaganda,” to make sure the government’s approved stories drown out alternative media and journalists who question the status quo.”]

    • Kn tlt
      October 26, 2017 at 08:30

      It is also free speech to suggest that NYT is garbage and someone should shut them down. Crying fire in a theatre is not free speach. Crying Russia is about to kill us, when it is not, is not free speech. It is war mongering. People, die in a small theatre and with the NYT people die all over the world. We have half a brain, do you?

      • Sam F
        October 26, 2017 at 11:58

        I think that Realist meant to protect free speech rights, but you are right that this need not extend to one-sided propaganda on the part of mass media (versus individual expression). See my note below on regulation of mass media.

        • Realist
          October 26, 2017 at 16:41

          Sam, defining and identifying “propaganda” becomes a slippery slope. One man’s eloquent defense of liberty is another man’s piece of vile propaganda. Best let everyone have their say. What you are suggesting can be abused or taken to ridiculous extremes as we see in Europe where the immigration issue or other political issues cannot even be rationally discussed because they have been pre-emptively defined as “hate speech” by the government.

          If we were in a state of legally declared war with Russia, I could possibly see limitations on speech pertaining to their actions and motives, but we are not, nor are we formally at war with any other country, so what anyone can say about them should not be limited. Implementing laws on “propaganda” would effect most of what the clowns in DC spew forth. Giving only them the power to propagandize would be institutionalizing tyranny.

          Your suggestions for implementing laws that effect the media would not be censorship. You are not limiting WHAT may be said but only HOW MUCH over the PUBLIC airwaves as we previously enjoyed under the Fairness Doctrine. Maintaining an open internet (which some would argue is not a public media but owned by cable companies–I dispute that because much of the signals are propagated via microwave towers and satellites) is also essential to making sure that everyone has a right to respond to the free speech of others and not be limited by financial resources. The solution to providing a fair and rigorous debate of ALL issues, is not to selectively limit anyone’s input, but to enhance that of everyone. That’s what these internet forums are meant to accomplish, no? Which is why I object that most such speech now is constrained to flow through only monopolistic “social media” like Facebook, Twitter, et al.

          • Sam F
            October 26, 2017 at 19:06

            Yes, I quite agree: by “propaganda” I referred to one-sided presentations by mass media, which is not freedom of speech but dominance of a medium. Individuals must have complete freedom of speech, but mass media must balance presentations to ensure that same freedom.

      • Realist
        October 26, 2017 at 16:16

        Of course, I believe it is essential free speech to be allowed to berate the NYT to the nth degree. Obviously, you didn’t understand that I was saying there should be no restraints, no censorship of what may be said by anyone–the NYT or you! Just what do you think I am doing in my statement other than condemning the NYT for their attempt to stiffle your speech, my speech, anyone’s speech who does not agree with their totally disingenuous and contrived position? Their remarks are certainly warmongering, but you don’t counter that by stifling or censoring them. You counter it by making fact-based logical arguments against their rubbish. My point was, if you deprive them of free speech, you deprive it of yourself by merely allowing it as an allowed option. If you or the NYT feels someone has damaged you via free speech, that’s what the slander and libel laws are for. You should try using the half brain you feel you possess, it seems defective to me even when great pains are taken to clearly explain things to you.

    • Sam F
      October 26, 2017 at 11:52

      I’ll suggest that the First Amendment should be complemented by amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited individual contributions, accompanied with legislation defining mass media and requiring them to maintain balance of viewpoint at all administrative levels and presentations. Then we need not worry about competition of money to buy propaganda and politicians.

      Truly money is “equated to free speech by the Supreme Court” as oligarchy has corrupted all branches of federal government and mass media with the gangster ideology of money=power=virtue.

      • Realist
        October 26, 2017 at 16:51

        A major part of the solution would be to reverse the court decision that money = free speech. If any resource critical to the welfare of all of society or critical to the rights defined in our constitution (such as access to mass media) is functionally tantamount to a zero sum game, then it ought not be allowed to be monopolised and de facto totally controlled by big money. Just like air, water, food and medical care ought to be available to all, so should the ability to PARTICIPATE in political debate. No one faction should be allowed to control that based merely on their financial wealth. It may be impossible to prevent them from always having MORE than the rest of us, but they should not be allowed to have ALL. But I wouldn’t constrain anyone’s content on the use of their access to a free media.

    • Dave P.
      October 26, 2017 at 13:19

      Realist –

      Very insightful comments as always. Yes, they are onto promoting “Newspeak” already by proposing legislation in State Legislature for the curriculum in California Public Schools. They are going to teach about Russia-Gate, Fake News, and all that. I have not kept up with that as it is rather getting depressing to think of what is going on. May be, Adam Schiff was behind it. He is from Southern California here.

      According to them, California being the “Source” of all progressive thinking and ideas, it is the right place to start. Rob Reiner and the whole gang has lot of new ideas germinating in their minds to invent the best “Newspeak” language. It will happen very soon, way before 2050 as predicted in “1984”.

      • Realist
        October 26, 2017 at 16:55

        Yes, Schiff and Reiner are DANGEROUS idiots. But we should never attempt to suppress them the way they want to suppress others. WE protect the rights of ALL. It is the only way for the worth of ideas, rather than money and power, to prevail–or, at least have a CHANCE of prevailing.

        I purposely couched my initial statement in terms meant to provoke… to provoke rational thought. Apparently that was not perceived in all cases, but never by you Dave.

        • Realist
          October 26, 2017 at 17:08

          …but never MISSED by you, Dave. (Did not edit after posting!)

    • October 26, 2017 at 15:29

      “money has already been unfortunately equated to free speech by the Supreme Court.”…ahhh, therein lies the rub!…”money speaks but it can also impose silence”(Aldous Huxley)

      • Realist
        October 26, 2017 at 16:58

        Right. And that’s bad enough. The congress should not exacerbate what the courts have done by now enacting laws institutionalizing limitations on a right protected by the constitution.

  26. Marcus
    October 26, 2017 at 03:10

    Just FYI, the caption under the last photo is wrong. That’s not a picture of the tomb of the unknown soldier (an eternal flame), which is further up the Alexander Gardens (towards Red Square) where this photo is taken. This is a picture of a piece of the original Kremlin wall.

    • David G
      October 26, 2017 at 07:34

      Many ConsortiumNews illustrations feature bad maps, inaccurate captions, and otherwise inappropriate images.

      I’ve been trying to convince myself that it is part of the charm of the place.

      • Lex
        October 26, 2017 at 21:39

        Better increase your donations then, eh? After all, this is a self-funded effort by dedicated journalists – not million-dollar corporate media.

  27. Kn tlt
    October 26, 2017 at 02:58

    Did anyone notice how ISIS fear porn has been replaced by Russia fear porn overnight? Do these morons realize the Russians know who is behind the war mongering and the fear porn originators? Do they know that when the birds start to fly, the New York Tines will be one of the first to vaporize?

    • Lex
      October 26, 2017 at 21:38

      Remember Orwell’s 1984? We are at war with Eastasia (Russia), we have always been at war with Eastasia. This phrase replaces the previous declared enemy, and everyone accepts it because all news to the contrary is deleted or altered. The problem for the elites is that there is too much alternative news out there – in 1984, they had total control over information. Still disturbingly effective, though. This could only work with Russia, as so many Americans grew up brainwashed by anti-communist propaganda, and movies which invariably portrayed Arabs and Russians as inhuman villains who need to be mowed down by a Rambo figure. A good speech about such techniques (movie-wise) is the Michael Parenti speech – “Rambo and the swarthy hordes”. Look it up and have a listen – I still find it hilarious as well as true.

  28. October 26, 2017 at 02:06

    One of the really great advances that humanity has made in my long life has been the creation of digital news sites by individual journalists who deplore the failure of the MSM and have determined to do something about it.

    I am not surprised the NYTimes is opposed to digital news. Its model – if this Daisuke Wakabayashi and Nicholas Confessore article is indicative- has become a venal mix of Ministry of Truth and Goebbels keeping the tame populace in ineffable ignorance from cradle to grave.

    It has no place in a democracy and the extent of NYT’s circulation measures the failure of the American public to take their rights seriously.

  29. Zachary Smith
    October 26, 2017 at 01:22

    Nice piece. I’d add another reason the NYT is so keen on suppressing press freedom – it doesn’t want the BS it publishes to be exposed. Case in point: on the Kurdish thread I was trying to do some reading on events in Iraq and Syria in 2014, and the NYT and WP results were simply peppered with smooth and silky lies. If I hadn’t been somewhat informed about the events they were lying about, I’d have believed them myself.

    These neocon rags seem to have adopted a version of Winston Churchill’s remark which I’m going to rephrase this way:

    In generating wars for Israel, the truth is so precious dangerous that she should always be attended smothered by an unchallenged bodyguard of lies.

  30. Larry Gates
    October 25, 2017 at 23:38

    At this very moment CNN talking heads are all up in arms about the shocking news that people doing opposition research for Donald Trump asked Wikileaks for a copy of all the leaked Clinton emails. Assange today confirmed that he was asked, but says he gave them nothing. The CNN talking heads keep saying we know for a fact that the Russians gave Wikileaks this material (Actually, zero evidence has come out to support this claim.) And now they are connecting unrelated dots. If it weren’t dangerous, it would be comical.

    Russia-gate is the biggest fake news story since the 24-hours-a-day stories we once heard about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction or the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Trump is a miserable human being, a huckster, and a liar – but he is also a victim of vicious undeserved propaganda.

  31. David G
    October 25, 2017 at 23:15

    Just as Daniel Lazare indicates at the end of his piece, the larger implications of this anti-Russia campaign by U.S. elites are incredibly dire, even aside from the concrete stupidity and danger of trashing bilateral relations.

    What we are seeing is the utter abandonment in practice and principle of the “American” ideals that these same elites like to use to bludgeon the public into allegiance to the religion of the exceptionalistic, indispensable U.S.: the First Amendment; the Fourth Estate; and the marketplace of ideas necessary for a healthy, modern society.

  32. Bill Cash
    October 25, 2017 at 23:04

    Couple of points. Wikileaks has 100% veracity? Prove it. I’ve never seen anyone make that claim before.
    Isn’t RT funded by Russia. That’s the last info I had. I don’t trust any outlet funded by a government. The best news source is al Jazeera. Too bad the American version was killed and yes I know its link with Qatar and it seems to bother everyone which I like. Haaretz often does a decent job.

    • October 25, 2017 at 23:45

      @ Bill Cash .Who do you think funds Al Jazeera? The Qatari government The Tani family are the Sultans of Qatar .

      • Kelli
        October 26, 2017 at 14:36

        Al Jazeera calls out the Zionists. I wonder why?

        • anon
          October 27, 2017 at 07:28

          You do not state your argument because it is racist. Those who oppose zionism are in general not racists: zionism is a political ideology that relies upon and profits by tyranny. Those of another race are not necessarily racist. To accuse the innocent of racism for criticizing a tyrannical minority within a race (or ethnic/religious group) to gain unfair benefits for that group is racism.

    • Larry Gates
      October 25, 2017 at 23:55

      If you claim that Wikileaks does not have 100% veracity, the burden of proof is on you. Personally, I have never found anything they have published to be untrue. Not even the Clinton campaign is arguing that a single one of her leaked emails is phony or doctored in any way.

      As to RT being funded by Russia, so what. The BBC is funded by the UK. The Canadian broadcasting system is funded by Canada. Are you suggesting that Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Chris Hedges, Mike Papantonio, and Larry King are anti-American propagandists? I’m more worried about CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News being funded by the American corporatocracy. I’ve seen more bald-faced lies in all of these than on RT.

      • October 26, 2017 at 00:48

        Ditto,…I think we must presume that Bill Cash prefers the fake news funded by corporate media.

      • Dave P.
        October 26, 2017 at 02:49

        Larry Gates –

        You mentioned Chris hedges in your comments. I watched on Youtube this week Abby Martin interviewing Chris hedges on Telsur under title ” Propaganda Buries facts and Manipulates”. This is one of the best interview I have seen in a long while. Chris Hedges talks about inner workings of the Empire and lot more. It is worth watching.

        The link is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drQeF30PBgs

    • john wilson
      October 26, 2017 at 04:35

      The BBC is funded by the UK government.

    • gailstorm
      October 29, 2017 at 12:32

      BBC, NPR? I don’t think it is that simple. Obviously you should be aware of potential bias but these are large organizations that aren’t controlled from the top. You might just as relevantly be concerned that intelligence agencies, including the CIA, target journalists to join up.

  33. David G
    October 25, 2017 at 22:55

    Really excellent piece by Daniel Lazare. Thank you!!

    I’d been boiling since reading that piece in the Times yesterday, and it’s great to see it so capably disassembled.

  34. Myles Hagar
    October 25, 2017 at 22:49

    Anybody watching English RT can see many, many presenters such as Jesse Ventura and Larry King who are Americans, well known and respected in American society. The old charge “links to Al Queda” has been replaced by “links to Russia’. All nonsense.

    • David G
      October 25, 2017 at 23:19

      I had a good laugh late in the campaign when I heard solemn warnings that Trump had appeared “on Russian TV”.

      It was frikkin’ Larry King!

      • Lex
        October 26, 2017 at 21:32

        Did you see that Atlantic Council of Russophobes/Czech list of “subversives”, ie guests on RT (1000+ of them)? They described the show as “The Larry David Show”!!! I find it hard to “curb my enthusiasm” over such a show – if only it did exist, and on RT!

        • Anna
          October 27, 2017 at 01:37

          The incompetence, below average intelligence, opportunism and sycophancy – these are the birth marks of Atlantic Council’ “experts” such as the imbecilic Eliot Higgins (an ignoramus and former seller of ladies’ underwear) and Dmitri Alperovitch (the hapless fraudster whose supposed “expertise” has been debunked thoroughly by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Both Higgins and Alperovitch are aggressively Russophobic and thus make useful idiots for the war profiteers.

  35. October 25, 2017 at 22:33

    I LOVE “The Frozen Republic.” Have read it multiple times. As a third-party voter, I frequently cite it as evidence about what’s wrong with the American constitutional structure. Please, more from Lazare.

  36. Joe Lauria
    October 25, 2017 at 21:22

    An excellent piece. Basically the two sources that claim, without convincing evidence, that Russia meddled in the election were both *paid for* by the Democratic National Committee, and in one instance also by the Clinton campaign: The Steele dossier and the Crowd Strike analysis of the DNC servers. Think about that for a while.

    • Erik G
      October 25, 2017 at 22:26

      Yes, an essential counterpoint to the mass media propaganda, allowing comparison of that irony to the fact that the only major verified foreign influences in the 2016 campaign were those of the zionists (top Clinton donors) and the Saudis (Clinton foundation and campaign donors). Because zionists also own the NYT and WaPo fake news operations, it is plain that Russiagate = Israelgate, a coverup of massive election interference and bribery of Congress by Israel and US zionists.

      Those who would like to petition the NYT to make Robert Parry their senior editor may do so here:
      While Mr. Parry may prefer independence, and we all know the NYT ownership makes it unlikely, and the NYT may try to ignore it, it is instructive to them that intelligent readers know better journalism when they see it. A petition demonstrates the concerns of a far larger number of potential or lost subscribers.

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 26, 2017 at 00:12

      The mirrored like similarity of how both 2016 U.S. Presidential Candidates had sought out Russia’s help to degrade one another during the presidential race, has been talked about a lot on this sites comment board, since both of these issues entered into our news. I in an odd way am only glad that this investigation seems to be finally taking notice of this possible twin like collusion, while keeping my hope meter on low knowing all too well how serving justice in America these days is a double standard policy for the betterment of the elite, and for the not so betterment for the other 99%.

      If we here who frequent this site are to at least enjoy a one time moment of closure for having discussed this very likely hood that both 2016 presidential candidates were pretty much doing the same dirt collecting maneuvers to degrade each other, then I need to thank you Joe Lauria for your many contributions for which you have made, to attempting to help us see through this fog of political reporting. I of course wish to thank Daniel Lazare for all his fine work, and including for his writing this great article. Oh and dare I forget to mention the constant work Robert Parry has put into this effort to expose Russia-Gate for all of it’s phoniness then I will have loss my sense of gratefulness for all that is trustworthy in journalism.

      Question, will reaching back into Hillary’s past, such as her dealings with providing Russia with uranium, have any effect on Robert Mueller, since Hillary’s deals were made under Mueller’s watch from a time when apparently Hillary and Bill funneled Russian money through the Clinton Global Foundation? If Mueller’s name and reputation do come into question, then what are the odds that he will be replaced as chief counsel of the Russia-Gate investigation? In the end will Americans witness political expediency being served, or will we U.S. citizens experience true justice being fulfilled? Joe

      • Kn tlt
        October 26, 2017 at 03:10

        Joe… You never indicated who exactly did what from Russia. The Russian government did nothing, so who’s left that is well organized?

        • Joe Tedesky
          October 26, 2017 at 11:00

          I purposely don’t like including the Russians into this American made problem. If there were but a couple to a few Russians interacting with either the Hillary or the Donald campaigns then I say, ‘so what’. Plus, to say the Russians did it, is silly considering that in Russia there are 145 million citizens to blame it on, so which one did what?

          I think when this Russia blame game nonsense is finally over, that we Americans will owe the Russian people our deepest apologies for the slanderous accusations we in America have made upon the Russian people’s good character, which had never any evidence to backs it’s ugliness of allegations so blatantly flaunted for the American public’s consumption. This ignorance displayed mostly by America’s political class, and it’s paid and bought for corporate media, is in itself a crime and should be used as evidence to bring down the American (not so) exceptional political order to who so casually without conscience ruin other people’s lives.

        • Leslie F
          October 26, 2017 at 18:38

          It didn’t have to be well organized. It was the invisible hand of capitalism. Some Russian “entrepreneurs”, as well as some from many other countries including the US, discovered that fake anti-Clinton, pro-Trump click-bait paid fairly well as compared to other types of click-bait. That Russia was not the only source has been documented, but the MSM ignores this fact as well as the fact that the anti-Clinton stuff was miniscule in comparison to the total social media traffic. They exaggerate by stripping out context.

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