Michael Isikoff Cuts His Losses at ‘Russian Roulette’

Michael Isikoff, one of the biggest proponents of the Russia-gate story now says that Robert Mueller’s investigation is “not where a lot of people would like it to be,” says Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

Last Saturday, veteran Washington journalist Michael Isikoff began a John Ehrlichman/Watergate-style “modified limited hangout” regarding the embarrassing overreach in his Russia-gate “collusion” reporting. He picked an unctuous, longtime fan, radio host John Ziegler, to help him put some lipstick on the proverbial pig. Even so, the interview did not go so well.

Those who can muster some residual empathy for formerly serious reporters who have gotten Russia-gate so wrong, may feel genuine sadness at this point. Those fed up with pretense, unprofessionalism, and dodging, however, will find it hard to listen to the audible squirming without a touch, or more, of Schadenfreude — the word Germans use to denote taking joy at the misfortune of others.

In a word, it proved hard to square the circle inside which Isikoff and other Russia-gate aficionados have been living for more than two years after last week’s disclosures. Ziegler’s repeated expressions of admiration for Isikoff’s work, plus his softball questions, utterly failed to disguise Isikoff’s disappointment that Robert Mueller’s Russia-gate investigation is “not where a lot of people would like it to be.”

A lot of people” includes Isikoff.

Commenting on the trove of legal and other documents now available, Isikoff pretty much conceded that he and his co-writer, journalist David Corn were, in effect, impersonating serious investigative journalists when they published in April 2017 their gripping Russia-gate chef d’oeuvre: “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.”

Steele Dossier

Isikoff:   Steele not verified.  (Twitter)

Aware of the credulity given by Isikoff and Corn to the “Steele dossier,” Ziegler began with what he apparently thought was a soft-ball observation/question. “Would you agree that a lot of what is in the Steele Dossier has been at least somewhat vindicated?”

No,” said Isikoff flatly.

The conversation turned to so-called “logical” explanations for leaps of faith rather than analysis. Such as unsubstantiated accusations, like the so-called “pee-tape” that Isikoff now says is “likely false.”

A “modified limited hangout” is when someone’s cover story is blown and some truth needs to be divulged to deflect further inquiry. Isikoff’s begins at the 26:50 mark and goes on, churning one’s stomach for 30 minutes.

A better subtitle for Isikoff and Corn’s book might be “Based on What We Wanted to Believe Was a True Story.”

Isikoff told Ziegler that unless “Saint” Robert Mueller, as Democrats see him, can summon a Deus ex Machina to provide some actual evidence linking Trump or his campaign to collusion with Russia, former Isikoff acquaintances, like me, might legitimately ask, “What the hell happened to you, Mike?”

Isikoff and Corn have done some serious work together in the past. Their 2006 book, “Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War” — was an accurate chronicle of the Cheney/Bush March of Folly into Iraq. That was also against a Republican administration. But they had interviewed people from both sides of the issues.

Though neither were fans of George W. Bush, they backed up their work with facts. “Russian Roulette” is a different story. It reads now like desperation to confirm what the authors hoped Mueller would find. He has failed them.

Is This Journalism?

Who can adequately explain the abject loss of journalistic standards when it comes to Russia-gate?

For Isikoff and Corn, as for other erstwhile serious journalists, there should be more crow than ham or turkey to eat in the weeks ahead.

Others come to mind: Jane Mayer of The New Yorker; James Risen, formerly of The New York Times; and lesser lights like McClatchy’s Greg Gordon; Marcy Wheeler, Amy Goodman’s go-to Russia-gate pundit at emptywheel.net; and extreme-partisan Democrat Marc Ash, who runs Reader Supported News.

Many had pinned their hopes on Trump’s 24-day national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, to supply grist for the “collusion” mill. That increased when word came he’d met 19 times with Mueller’s investigators as a cooperative witness.

Yet, something didn’t gel. Prosecutors said they’d go light on Flynn.

In (and Out) Like Flynn

Flynn: In or out of jail? (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

Philip Ewing, the apparent odd-man-out at National Public Radio, observed Saturday: “Does that sound like the attitude they [the prosecutors] would take with someone who had been serving as a Russian factotum and who had been serving as a foreign agent from inside the White House as national security adviser, steps away from the Oval Office?”

Flynn was supposed to be sentenced for lying to the FBI on Tuesday. By afternoon, however, Federal District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan postponed the sentencing until at least March. The judge said he was “disgusted” by Flynn’s “very serious” crimes but later apologized from the bench for asking whether his actions might have been treasonous.

He gave Flynn the option of delaying sentencing until he had completed his cooperation with federal prosecutors, and Flynn agreed. But Sullivan remained adamant that Flynn could still end up in jail. If His Honor takes the time to read Professor Jonathan Turley, of the George Washington University Law School, about Comey-endorsed FBI tactics — and not confine his reading solely to the Washington Post — it seems a safe bet he will give Flynn a stay-out-of jail card.

In an early morning tweet Tuesday, Trump wished Flynn good luck and commented: “Will be interesting to see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him, about Russian Collusion.” How can one interpret this? Either Mueller and his score of investigators were unable to get Flynn to spill the beans on collusion or — could it be possible? — there are no beans to spill.

Hold That Line

As for Isikoff and Corn, their profession — such as it is these days — can be expected to circle the wagons and give them the immunity granted 15 years ago to the faux-journalists who pushed the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) deception so hard — even after no WMD were found in Iraq.

Indeed, in recent days The New York Times and Washington Post have launched what looks like a stepped-up pre-emptive attack, lest readers start to doubt their rendering of Russia-gate. The headlines and the drivel that follow have been caricatures of journalism.

Be not misled about Russia-gate, The Washington Post editorial board wrote Tuesday morning. “It is no longer disputable.”

The analogy with mainstream media regurgitating fraudulent “facts” on Weapons of Mass Destruction before the invasion of Iraq is complete. How many recall then-Secretary of State Colin Powell telling the world on February 5, 2003 that his evidence and conclusions were “irrefutable and undeniable.”

Hardly New

John Swinton, a prominent journalist in New York in 1880, at a banquet, reportedly responded to a toast to the “independent press,” by saying: “There is no such thing as an independent press. You know it and I know it. … What folly is this toasting an independent press?

We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks; they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”

Plus ca change ….

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. Part of his job as a CIA analyst for 27 years was to analyze Soviet propaganda. He now experiences considerable nostalgia examining the propaganda put out by U.S. mainstream media. When you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy, IF you know where to look.

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114 comments for “Michael Isikoff Cuts His Losses at ‘Russian Roulette’

  1. robert e williamson jr
    December 26, 2018 at 16:20

    Ray seems to be coaching folks with his recount of the WMD circa 2003. Once CIA creates the perception that drives the multitudes to be up in arms over a, b, or c through their manipulation of the media they have momentum on their side. The media love this because it’s money to them.

    Besides the government, CIA and 43, “The Village Idiot From Crawford Texas”, all lied and nothing happened as a result except a fifteen year long war with no end in sight.

    One would think that at this point that any one with half a brain would start to question the status quo. I think Ray sees much more than he may be willing to speak about. It’s his long history with CIA coupled with his affiliations after CIA.

    When investigative journalists write about a very small portion of a very large story the result is bound to be disappointing and likely inaccurate. Think bigger folks cause this story is a big one

  2. SteveK9
    December 25, 2018 at 10:07

    A suggestion, read the sentencing recommendation (essentially written by Mueller) for General Flynn. Or, listen to Alexander Mercouris dissection at the Duran, and you will realize why Flynn is a another disappointment for Russia-gaters. There is nothing there. There is not only no collusion, Flynn did nothing wrong. He was just caught up in the tragedy that is Russia-gate.

  3. Boris J Dirnbach
    December 23, 2018 at 01:03

    Dutch agencies provide crucial intel about Russia’s interference in US-elections
    Hackers from the Dutch intelligence service AIVD have provided the FBI with crucial information about Russian interference with the American elections. For years, AIVD had access to the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear. That’s what de Volkskrant and Nieuwsuur have uncovered in their investigation.
    Huib Modderkolk25 januari 2018, 21:00
    “It’s the summer of 2014. A hacker from the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD has penetrated the computer network of a university building next to the Red Square in Moscow, oblivious to the implications. One year later, from the AIVD headquarters in Zoetermeer, he and his colleagues witness Russian hackers launching an attack on the Democratic Party in the United States. The AIVD hackers had not infiltrated just any building; they were in the computer network of the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear. And unbeknownst to the Russians, they could see everything. […]
    https://www.volkskrant.nl/media/dutch-agencies-provide-crucial-intel-about-russia-s-interference-in-us-elections~a4561913/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=shared+content&utm_content=free

    • jeff montanye
      December 31, 2018 at 00:35

      so if the dnc really thought it had been hacked by the russians, why didn’t the dnc let the fbi examine the email servers?

      if the fbi really thought the dnc had been hacked by the russians, why didn’t the fbi get a warrant to examine the dnc’s email servers?

    • Skip Scott
      December 31, 2018 at 09:21

      Bill Binney says the NSA has everything. If RussiaGate was true, the NSA would have had the “smoking gun” in no time at all, and would have had their entire case built in a matter of weeks. Mueller’s investigation is pure theater to keep Trump on a leash, to keep Putin as the demon d’jour, and to keep the focus off the CONTENT of the leaked emails. Let us not forget that Mueller has the power to coerce false testimony, and the CIA has the ability to create evidence using the “marble framework”. One only has to look at the Dutch MH17 investigation to know that they are shills for the US.

  4. Abe
    December 22, 2018 at 22:55

    “Because Russiagate serves as a central pillar in cultivating hatred across the West against Russia – serving as a pretext for continued expansion of NATO along Russia’s borders, creating leverage against Moscow regarding US wars of aggression across North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, and the undermining of Russia’s position in global energy markets.

    “There hasn’t been a conflict of confrontation the US has elected to pursue that hasn’t included crude, baseless propaganda aimed at manipulating the American public. Iraq had ‘weapons of mass destruction.’ Now Russia has ‘Facebook ads of mass persuasion.'”

    Washington’s Russiagate Conspiracy Theory on Life Support
    By Tony Cartalucci
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2018/12/washingtons-russiagate-conspiracy.html

  5. Daniel Scheinhaus
    December 22, 2018 at 15:23

    It’s sad that so many of our noted journalists can be bought and pressured to lie so thoroughly and assiduously for those who control our society.

  6. firstpersoninfinite
    December 22, 2018 at 00:32

    David Corn was on MSNBC last week pushing the Russian collusion theory. Rachel Maddow pushes it every night. Why would they give it up when it makes them money and can’t actually be disproven? The election was stolen from Clinton- that is the Russian collusion theory. They can’t give it up, which means that they can’t be considered journalists.

    • James Charles
      December 23, 2018 at 06:42

      “The election was stolen from Clinton- . . . ”
      This is why H.R.C. ‘lost’?
      “And it’s deadly. Doubtless, Crosscheck delivered Michigan to Trump who supposedly “won” the state by 10,700 votes. The Secretary of State’s office proudly told me that they were “very aggressive” in removing listed voters before the 2016 election. Kobach, who created the lists for his fellow GOP officials, tagged a whopping 417,147 in Michigan as potential double voters.”
      http://www.gregpalast.com/trump-picks-al-capone-vote-rigging-investigate-federal-voter-fraud/

    • DAnna Sviridova
      December 25, 2018 at 11:44

      Her Highness HRC barely won the popular vote. tRump was placed in office by the Electoral College.
      So… the Russian’s hacked the Founding Fathers?

  7. Tom
    December 21, 2018 at 19:27

    Isikoff and Korn are two examples of what matters to “news stars” and politicians. If all of them were 100% honest, they’d all admit that all that matters is money and power. Everybody wants their cut. Politicians are “brands” to be marketed. They spend much of their time raising campaign money, writing books, doing the lecture circuit and doing the cable shows.

    50 years ago, actual journalists were on TV. Now, everybody’s a “news star” multi millionaire with their “team” (agent, manager, lawyer, publicist. etc.). They appear on direct competitors because that’s called synergy. You make us look good and we make you look good. The star gets away with this because they use their perceived power. Someone once asked Korn about this. His reply? Bleep you. I don’t give a bleep what anybody else thinks. Isikoff and Korn based their book on a lie. But did any corporate media outlet challenge them? Not once. Why? Because they’re hot. They’re happening, baby. All that matters is gossip and hype.

    • Daniel Scheinhaus
      December 22, 2018 at 15:31

      Interesting that you measure honesty in percentages. In your world, there are those who are 75% honest, 25% honest, etc. Nobody is simply honest or dishonest in your morality. The facts belie your world view. Although they are uncommon, we have found that there are, indeed, honest journalists. They just don’t work for the corporate media.

  8. December 21, 2018 at 17:53

    You don’t reckon all of this has been about drumming up support for the next war, do ya?

    Russophobia and the Specter of War

  9. December 21, 2018 at 17:13

    Please don’t tell me the devil is in the details, Ray! That means I should have to pore through these stories to find the truth for myself.

    As for your special second paragraph about empathy for the devil, I just can’t feel sorry for these sell-out journalists, who put their desired conclusions ahead of fact-finding in their pursuit of ratings and filthy lucre. Not when they propel the risk of the kind of war for empire and control we dread, because as we know, they are, in fact, leading the gullible astray. I can spot it, but those who can’t become a people led to distrust every word that comes out of our adversary’s mouth, which cements in the mind of the follower the crass demonization of the foreigner.

    Let Isikoff and his ilk make real confession and penance for their consequential libels against Putin and his ilk, and then count me among those who can forgive.

  10. Abe
    December 21, 2018 at 16:51

    Intellectual prostitute Isikoff finds pee “kinda striking” (see video minutes 7:00-10:15)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1127&v=e4WOeUHXNS4

  11. Brian James
    December 20, 2018 at 22:26

    25.12. 2015 NATO: Seeking Russia’s Destruction Since 1949

    Baker told Gorbachev: “Look, if you remove your [300,000] troops [from east Germany] and allow unification of Germany in NATO, NATO will not expand one inch to the east.”

    http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/12/25/nato-seeking-russia-destruction-since-1949.html

    Nov 29, 2016 The Map That Shows Why Russia Fears War With US

    https://youtu.be/L6hIlfHWaGU

    • Daniel Scheinhaus
      December 22, 2018 at 17:31

      It certainly was a surprising thing to me to learn that Gorbachev was such a naive person. He also agreed to a one-sided treaty that eliminated the Soviet Union’s medium range land-based missiles while it permitted the US its medium range sea-based ones. Was it naivete or simply a pay-off? This was disclosed when the Trump Administration — not the Russian one — cancelled that Treaty. It seems that Trump felt that the march of technology on the part of Russia and China had made that Treaty irrelevant.

  12. Tekyo Pantzov
    December 20, 2018 at 20:34

    After reading this article I realize that the issue has become so immensely complicated that I am deeply thankful that I have never bothered to read anything at all about these alleged machinations, since it would obviously have been a complete waste of time. As a matter of fact in this article I didn’t even understand who was claiming what, let alone WHY they were claiming whatever it was they were claiming.
    Not that I care one way or another, mind you. To me it just looks like an American pastime, like baseball.

    • December 21, 2018 at 22:36

      Given the games being played could lead to WWIII nuclear war, you might want to pay attention. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have moved the hands of their “doomsday clock” ahead to two minutes before midnight. Nuclear war and extinction is a bit beyond baseball.

  13. December 20, 2018 at 18:50

    Well, Ray, this might seem exceptional if the entire American professional media class hadn’t ignored September 11th White House high Treason. None of them will simply state the obvious and call for investigations. We are in an alternate reality and have been for a very long time. The media cannot be trusted at all. At all.

    9/11 & 28 Pages of Treason
    http://politicalfilm.wordpress.com/2016/09/11/911-28-pages-of-treason/

    • jeff montanye
      December 31, 2018 at 00:59

      that is the litmus test. bust it and change the world.

  14. Eric32
    December 20, 2018 at 18:20

    There’s a point that needs to be made persistently: MONEY.
    People who buy these main stream media books, magazines, “news”papers, who subscribe to them, who have cable or sat tv, are supporting this degenerate propaganda with their MONEY. In the end, all these fake info people care about is MONEY.
    Stop supporting them, stop sending them your money.

  15. robjira
    December 20, 2018 at 18:10

    This may be somewhat OT, but my mind works in an odd, associative way sometimes. One way of keeping my thumb on the pulse of mainstream, “normal” take on current events is to check the Huffington Post (an increasingly painful experience over the course of its existence). On today’s front page is an article on the “blasting” given to the Mueller “investigation” by DT’s choice for Attorney General. The picture accompanying the article is of Alberto “a little torture’s legal” Gonzalez. My first thought was, “you mean you couldn’t even bother to post a pic of the actual nominee?” Then another, slightly more chilling thought occurred to me; “These are the people attempting to sell this ‘Not only is DT controlled by Ernst Stavro Blo Vladimir Putin, he and Republicans (plus conservatives in general) are devils incarnate and must be stopped BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.'” This is the same myopically hysterical approach taken with the demonisation of Shrub (admittedly though, he did deserve the demonisaton a bit), which all the while glossed over the fact that all the criminal actions enacted by that criminal administration were supported by the other major party, with only token pushback in some social/morality-related areas. The same exact thing is happening today; “they” say, “We hate (*), and must stop their agenda!” and yet, thousands who never threatened the US are still dying by US-made weapons, in US-initiated violence; that itself never misses a beat. It is the elitist complacency and condescension with which this (and other) narrative is peddled to the masses that I find truly shocking, especially in the twenty-first effing century.
    My great concern is that without a unified mass movement of nonviolent civil disobedience, these same morally and intellectually lazy savants manipulating US popular opinion will have their way and commit the US to a suicidal/genocidal war with Russia; all because the masses were more concerned with the increasing challenge of making ends meet, rather than “politics.”
    Use it or lose it, brothers and sisters.

  16. RICHARD A FEIBEL
    December 20, 2018 at 10:58

    JUDGE SULLIVAN SHOULD RECUSE HIMSELF AS HE HAS MADE A TURN FROM BEING NON BIAS TO COMPLETE 180.AND SHOWING HIS TEMPER. I SEE SOMETHING MUCH DEEPER AT WORK HERE THERE ARE RUMORS THAT MUELLER IS TURNING FROM RUSSIAGATE TO MIDEASTRGATE, LOOKING AT SAUID AND ISRAEL AND UAE INTERFERENCE IN THE ELECTION OF 16. ONE KNOWS THAT THE CONVERSATION THAT FLYNN HAD WITH KISLYAC WAS ABOUT THE U N RESOLUTION AGAINST ISRAEL. AND FLYNN SUPPOSEDLY ASKED KISLYAC TO HAVE RUSSIA VETO IT .I FEEL ISRAELI PRESSURE HERE TO GET FLYNN TO RETHINK WHAT IT WAS HE SPOKE TO KISLYAC ABOUT. ISRAEL DOES NOT WANT IT OUT THAT THEY ARE A MAJOR MAJOR PLAYER IN AMERICAN POLITICAL PROCESS ,WHEN IF FACT ANYONE WITH A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE KNOWS THEY ARE HUGELY INTO EVERY ELECTION NOT JUST THE POTUS . SO I BELIEVE SULLIVAN WHO WAS VERY PRO FLYNN HAS BEEN GIVEN SOME INFORMATION THAT CHANGED HIS MIND SO VERY VIOLENTLY CALLING FLYNN A TRAITOR . TYPICAL AIPAC MOTIVATION!! LOOK FOR FLYNN TO CHANGE HIS RHETORIC.

  17. Will
    December 20, 2018 at 10:56

    While I certainly take anything the mainstream press says with two grains of salt, I take a lot of the stuff on CN the same way. Once again the real issues are obscured by CN contributors who simply refuse to look at the base facts while going on and on about the obvious red herrings. Why do you suppose that Trump and the trumpkins including Flynn lie about everything for a time before admitting that they lied but that what they did was ok? This is a pretty consistent strategy on their part.

    Rudy Gulliani’s job is to first deny and then admit to Trumpkin’s scandals so that they can then be normalized (see Cohen and Stormy Daniels campaign funding scandal). Earlier this week, he had this to say: “Collusion is not a crime. It was over with before the election.”
    Is trumpkin the Manchurian Candidate? Probably not, however this article (ink below) from talking Points memo dating to summer of 2016 has the real issue still pinned-this is the stuff the contributors to CN simply ignore: Trump was willing to do anything to get cash from wealthy Russians up to and apparently including giving Putin a 50 million dollar condo. Trump admires how they do things in Russia and would like to turn this place into that place-in this much of the Republican party agrees. So,one has to assume, Does Russia, for better or worse. Whether better or worse really depends on who one is in life. There was a great write up in New York magazine from a Russian American depicting just what it’s like to live in a country where no one really believes anything is true…

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trump-putin-yes-it-s-really-a-thing

    • JoeSixPack
      December 20, 2018 at 16:04

      As opposed to Mitt Romney’s admiration of China? And who gave China favored nation status, Bill Clinton.

      So stop with the Russia-gate nonsense.

    • rosemerry
      December 21, 2018 at 15:17

      “Trump was willing to do anything to get cash from wealthy Russians up to and apparently including giving Putin a 50 million dollar condo. ” This is NOT the fault of those refusing the bribe, which of course they did.
      All your salt shaker needs to be used when you read your own comments.

    • jeff montanye
      December 31, 2018 at 00:58

      the base facts? the initial story was the russians hacked the dnc and gave the data to wikileaks. again, if that was true, why didn’t the dnc let the fbi look at the servers? and if the fbi thought it had happened, why didn’t the fbi get a warrant to look?

      we don’t have to go finding out about life in russia or why someone trying to get a real estate project going in moscow might give away a prime condo to generate good will and publicity.

      we got it all, right here in (potomac) river city.

  18. Litchfield
    December 20, 2018 at 09:21

    Talk about limited hangouts!!
    Check out today’s CJR email feed. Now, this is surely the precedent that relates to Julian Assange, but CJR does not connect any dots there:

    BuzzFeed vindicated over Steele dossier
    By Jon Allsop

    In January 2017, BuzzFeed split the journalism world in two when it published an unverified dossier alleging intimate ties between Donald Trump and the Kremlin (in one case, graphically so). The publication of the dossier in its entirety, commissioned by Trump’s political opponents, written by a former British spook, then circulated at the highest levels of government during the dying days of the Obama administration, immediately rose suspicions. Although BuzzFeed prominently caveated its release of the document, many media commentators condemned its decision as reckless, and other big outlets declined to follow suit.

    Yesterday, nearly two years after the fact, BuzzFeed scored an important victory. After Trump took office, the dossier faded in the rearview mirror, with some of its key claims still unresolved. It was overtaken by a breathless Washington news cycle, then by newer, more specific reporting on Trump and Russia, especially following the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel. For BuzzFeed, the dossier has cast a longer shadow. Several people named in it sued for defamation (Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was among them but dropped his suit in April this year as his own legal problems intensified). On Wednesday, however, a federal judge in Florida dismissed the claim of Aleksej Gubarev, a Cypriot businessman, on First Amendment grounds, finding that publication was privileged because the dossier was involved in government proceedings, and that BuzzFeed’s report was “fair and true” because it reproduced the dossier without expressing an opinion on it. (While this win bolsters BuzzFeed’s legal standing, it’s not quite out of the woods: Gubarev plans to appeal and there’s still one lawsuit pending in New York.)

    In a statement, Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s editor in chief, quickly claimed the judge’s ruling as vindication: “As we have said from the start, a document that had been circulating at the highest levels of government, under active investigation by the FBI, and briefed to two successive presidents [Obama and Trump], is clearly the subject of ‘official action.’ Moreover, its publication has contributed to the American people’s understanding of what is happening in their country and their government.” On Twitter, journalists, from BuzzFeed as well as from rival organizations, rowed in behind. “It was the right decision to publish and took courage,” wrote ProPublica’s Jesse Eisinger. “I’m sorry my colleagues attacked them.”

    Many opinions from the time have aged poorly (Chuck Todd telling Smith he’d published “fake news,” for example, was not his finest hour). Other arguments, however, were more reasonable. While it’s easy to caricature in hindsight, the media’s hypersensitivity around facts was an understandable initial response to Trump’s victory, which served as a jarring reminder of threadbare public trust. And not publishing unverified information?particularly when it’s been commmissioned by political operatives?remains a gold standard in manyy quarters. If BuzzFeed or any other outlet were to publish a similarly explosive document tomorrow, it’s naive to think yesterday’s ruling would staunch controversy.

    Winning a court case on First Amendment grounds is not the same thing as winning an ethical argument. Nonetheless, on this occasion, BuzzFeed’s legal victory does show why it was right and the naysayers were wrong. (At the time, I was one of those naysayers. I subsequently landed at BuzzFeed, on a three-month internship, before starting at CJR.) As Smith points out, the judge’s ruling affirms the principle that the public has a right to know what its government is getting up to. The existence of the dossier had already been reported. By putting the whole thing online, BuzzFeed moved the story forward.

    Below, more on BuzzFeed and the dossier:

    “BuzzFeed was right”: Just after BuzzFeed published, Vanessa Gezari, CJR’s then-managing editor, defended its decision and called out the hypocrisy of some of its critics. “The media’s full-throated condemnation of BuzzFeed is both self-righteous and self-serving,” she wrote. “Some critics seem to be saying that unless the information in an intelligence briefing or other leaked document can be independently verified by reporters, it shouldn’t be published. But did reporters independently verify all the allegations against Hillary Clinton and her allies contained in the emails released by WikiLeaks?”

    Graphic allegations: In CJR’s Fall 2017 print issue, Josh Neufeld drew the dossier’s full back story in cartoon form.

    British Steele: Earlier this year, The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer profiled Christopher Steele, the British ex-spy who wrote the dossier.

    “Likely false”: Over the weekend, Yahoo News’s Michael Isikoff, who was one of the first journalists to report the existence of the dossier, said some of its more sensational claims were likely false. Steele was right “that there was a major Kremlin effort to interfere in our elections, that they were trying to help Trump’s campaign, and that there were multiple contacts between various Russian figures close to the government and various people in the Trump campaign,” Isikoff told conservative podcast host John Ziegler. But when “you actually get into the details of the Steele dossier, the specific allegations, we have not seen the evidence to support them.”

    A legal victory: For BuzzFeed, Zoe Tillman rounds up yesterday’s court verdict. You can read the full ruling here.

    • DH Fabian
      December 20, 2018 at 10:26

      The notion of a Putin/Trump partnership was shown to be false early on, as Trump reinforced economic sanctions against Russia. His increase of US/NATO troops near the Russian border, widely seen as a US (Trump) provocation of war against Russia (Putin) further cast some doubt on the “collusion” notion, as did the increased US “meddling” in Ukraine. Of course, those trying to sell the “collusion” notion include some of the same people who sold the “Iraq’s stockpiles of WMD” tale.

    • rosemerry
      December 21, 2018 at 15:23

      How anyone can think that Russia has benefited from Trump’s accession to the POTUS position has not observed, or interprets Putin’s behavior as if he were a grasping American, which he does not resemble at all. Putin has given Trump every chance, because Putin is patient, and Hillary has made clear her hatred of Russia and Putin, so it probably seemed worth a try. I think even Putin’s patience has worn out now. Other world leaders are able to interact with Putin with trust in his honesty, which despite the US mockery, has not been shown lacking.

    • jeff montanye
      December 31, 2018 at 01:09

      the clinton campaign paid for steele’s report which came from russians (and nellie ohr, wife of fbi biggie bruce ohr) and was used, according to comey, to get a fisa double hop phone tap on papadopoulos hence the entire trump campaign.

      that single crime puts into the shade every bad thing trump and his family have done in their entire lives.

  19. John Hawk
    December 20, 2018 at 08:21

    …remember the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird? (It’s still alive, nudge, nudge, wink, wink)

  20. michael
    December 20, 2018 at 07:25

    I think Ray McGovern is missing the whole point of Russiagate. The Director of ALL National Security in America James Clapper made clear this was a genetic racial characteristic of Russians, and stated “Russia’s aim wasn’t to get anyone to actually believe the crazy stories they were publishing…The point of their influence operation was to overwhelm facts, to sow doubt that facts were even knowable.” Russiagate isn’t primarily a Russians in Russia “sowing of discord”, it is a Russians in America phenomenon. When Dmitri Alperovitch, a Russian born in Russia, who has wormed his way into political groups prime for sowing discord, grabbed the DNC servers and “protected” them from the FBI, he was just following his racial destiny (any guesses where the planted Cyrillic fonts came from?) When Max Boot, a Russian born in Russia, jumped into the fray over Russiagate, it was clear his purpose was to fan the flames in the media. The little weasel has suddenly shifted sides from GOP conservatives to Hillary Democrats, a more fertile ground for sowing discord. I don’t know Ishikoff’s background, but Ishikoff is an eastern European Ashkenazi name and is likely contaminated by the very Russian genetics which our brilliant Clapper warned true Americans about. These Russian American double agents have been super effective to “sow doubt that facts were even knowable” and make our politicians look bad.

    • DH Fabian
      December 20, 2018 at 10:28

      Genetics, huh? Are you German, by any chance?

    • irene
      December 20, 2018 at 21:46

      michael is correct, as per an RT report of what Clapper said on a Meet the Press
      interview with Chuck Todd last summer (which i heard when it first aired) :

      https://www.rt.com/op-ed/390715-james-clapper-russians-genetically-untrustworthy/

    • rosemerry
      December 21, 2018 at 15:28

      I don’t think anyone denies Clapper said it. He is well known for this, and his other informative claptrap. It is Michael making the comment which we worry about!!!

    • jeff montanye
      December 31, 2018 at 01:14

      he called clapper brilliant so i can’t tell if it’s satire or not.

    • Kevin Bradley
      December 20, 2018 at 14:31

      I hope this is satire.

    • rosemerry
      December 21, 2018 at 15:25

      I cannot be sure this is a joke.

    • anti_republocrat
      December 25, 2018 at 01:15

      Michael, I’m afraid most others here don’t get your use of principles of universality and irony to expose the hypocrisy and racism of the whole Russia! Russia! narrative.

  21. John A
    December 20, 2018 at 06:56

    It is quite remarkable about how ‘flat fact’ with no room for doubt the following are reporting in MSM and that every mention of Syria, Putin, Russia, etc., must be accompanied by the following:
    Bashar Assad/Syrian ‘regime’ (sic) uses barrel bombs and chemical weapons
    Russia/Putin interfered with the US elections
    Russia ‘illegally annexed’ Crimea
    The Skrypals were ‘poisoned’ by Russia/Putin
    Russia downed MH17 flight
    Russia invaded Ukraine and wants to invade rest of Europe
    Russian aggression (to be repeated ad infinitum)
    I am sure many other ‘claims’ whoops ‘facts’ can be added to this list.

  22. michael crockett
    December 20, 2018 at 06:32

    Good article Ray. In France in a recent yellow vest protest, demonstrators held up a large sign that said Macron Out. A French news channel censored the word Out when they released their video broadcast to the public. When the broadcaster was called out, French channel 3 stated that it was “human error.” Based on the observations/reflections made by John Swinton, I think we can all attest to the character of those involved in censoring the demonstrators sign.

  23. Zhu
    December 20, 2018 at 03:57

    Russiagate is obviously the Dems version of the Reps’ Birther nonsense.

    • jeff montanye
      December 31, 2018 at 01:19

      but the difference is the birther stuff was grass roots bar and internet talk. russiagate corrupted the highest reaches of the u.s. investigative, prosecutorial and clandestine services, not to mention our secret terrorist court signed into existence by jimmy “peace prize” carter (for whom i voted).

  24. Babyl-on
    December 20, 2018 at 02:06

    After Isikoff’s exhaustive book going back decades where he meticulously shows a long record of collusion between Trump and Putin/Russia has earned him a pile of royalists it is now time to go back to the well for another bucket of cash.

    Isikoff has the moral standing of manure.

    When has he ever made a valuable contribution to anything called journalism?

  25. Tom Kath
    December 19, 2018 at 23:46

    A sobering but undeniable fact – ALL reporting is biased and propaganda. When people are forced to respond or react, their reactions can be predicted, directed, manipulated, and managed.
    Some interesting POTUS quotes spring to mind – LBJ – “I want to make it so that you can’t wipe your arse on a piece of paper unless it has my picture on it!” ( Trump seems to have actually achieved this)
    Nixon? – “Nobody ever failed to get elected by underestimating the intelligence of the voters.”
    Bush? – “I don’t like the bastard, but I prefer to have him inside pissing out than to have him outside pissing in.” ( Could be Trump on Bolton, Pompeo)
    And then of course there is wannabe POTUS Hilary – “The voters have spoken, the bastards!”

  26. Typingperson
    December 19, 2018 at 22:21

    Comments are screwed up on this site. I’ve noticed how they’ve declined over last few months.

    CN used to be my goto site every morning to start my day. Now it’s not. Not enough good stories. This one from Ray McGovern is. And I’ve given it money too. What happened?

  27. mark dierking
    December 19, 2018 at 22:15

    Thanks for posting. I saw the best most informative youtube video ever of a presentation you, Mr McGovern, gave here in seattle focusing on russia-gate. You called it the military-industrial-congressional-intelligence-media complex. I have latched on to that and, after further research think that to add corporate and academia to that complicit list is reasonable. I will be and encourage others to contributing to the website.

  28. Heather Barenz
    December 19, 2018 at 22:15

    All I can say is this whole Russia-gate thing has destroyed relationships. A brilliant coup by the media which made anyone who question the story as an Russian-bot. I was in a facebook group about climate change and all I can say is that we agreed pretty much everything until the election then the Cold war babies came back again with a vengeance. It sad state of affairs when we have much bigger things to worry about than this at this time in history. Now those I did consider friends now refuse to talk to me.

    • DH Fabian
      December 20, 2018 at 10:20

      Well, considering that this anti-Russian Crusade could end in a catastrophic nuclear war, US vs. Russia and China, it does warrant some concern.

    • rosemerry
      December 21, 2018 at 15:38

      I must agree. I have several people I can no longer speak to freely, as they could not accept my skepticism. Theresa May and her BoJo and “Defence Sec. hated Russia in previous statements, and as soon as the Skripal /novichok story broke,allowed no possible alternative, and no denial by the Russians-just punishment.
      The Russiagate saga from the time Hillary lost was fanned by Obama expelling diplomats-again supported by UK and other NATO puppets. To me, all the stories built on lies and yet people accepted them. Marcie Wheeler (well-named emptywheel) is typical of lies on lies and no basis on facts, just hatred of Russia.

  29. December 19, 2018 at 21:57

    Glad to see Michael Isikoff admit his fake news. Here’s how he and collaborator David Corn promoted the Browder/Magnitsky hoax. Waiting for his walkback on that. https://www.thekomisarscoop.com/2018/03/russian-roulette-by-journalists-isikoff-and-corn-promotes-the-browder-magnitsky-hoax/

    • Litchfield
      December 20, 2018 at 13:20

      Can journalists be charged with collusion to purposefully spread lies when they know the truth?
      Isikoff looks like a serial perpetrator of lies that he knows are lies.
      He only fesses up when the limited hangout becomes unavoidable.
      So that he can survive to lie again.

    • GMC
      December 22, 2018 at 12:33

      No they can’t , because of the Propaganda Law Obama put into Law in 2013. The Government has the right to use propaganda on the citizens. The journalist just have to use the USG as the source – and they’re off the hook.

    • rosemerry
      December 21, 2018 at 15:47

      Thanks Lucy- I have now found your site and will keep looking!

      Also, I found (with some difficulty, owing to Browder’s power) the film of Andrei Nekrasov “The Magnitsky Act-behind the Scenes” online twice and watched the whole movie. Excellent, and it shows what can happen to one person who at first believed the lies, then actually followed through and honestly reported what really went on.

  30. Typingperson
    December 19, 2018 at 21:40

    Thanks for another great piece, Mr. McGovern.

    Semi-related: I was at an Atlanta Press Club event a decade ago where James Risen was the featured speaker. His topic was NYT coverage of 9/11 and beyond, including USA”s illegal Iraq invasion. Some interesting-ish stuff on how CIA and FBI were at cross purposes, before and after 9/11, based on the sources he talked to. Which caused them to miss the warning signs re the planes.

    He sounded sophisticated and well-sourced.

    So after his talk I went up to him and asked why he/NYT bought the WMD b.s.

    He instantly got very defensive.

    “Well, Colin Powell said so on national television,” he replied / blustered.

    I was stunned. Really? Who the heck–much less an experienced journo–believes anything Colin Powell says on national television? That was all he had. I smiled, said thanks and backed away.

    Haven’t taken a word he’s written seriously since.

    • Ian Brown
      December 20, 2018 at 02:34

      That’s the surprising logic that comes across with both Risen and Isikoff, “Even though there is no evidence, all the important people says this is true, and come on, and when groups of important people agree on the same thing they can’t be wrong (or lying),” They seem so normalized to the system that they have total credulity towards whatever consensus is presented to the public.

    • Will
      December 20, 2018 at 10:30

      but you’re taking Ex CIA man Ray McGovern’s story about these 2 guy’s claims to be backing away from their own story seriously? Try to think about that for a moment.

    • Litchfield
      December 20, 2018 at 13:22

      Isikoff backs away on film.
      That is not a story made up by Ray McGovern.

    • Ian Brown
      December 20, 2018 at 13:42

      Is anything in this as article not in the public record? Ray has his interepetation, and he compiles the information, but it’s not like we rely on him to know what people like Isikoff are saying and doing in public.

    • JoeSixPack
      December 20, 2018 at 16:08

      As opposed to the tongue bath people are giving Robert Mueller….

    • jeff montanye
      December 31, 2018 at 01:27

      who ran the fbi’s investigation of 9-11. building 7 alone proves the lie of that enormous deceit.

    • December 20, 2018 at 10:54

      They’re all part of the same club–and we ain’t in it.

  31. jaycee
    December 19, 2018 at 19:41

    What does not fail to astonish me about this : the January 2017 Intelligence “finding” which apparently none of these pundits read, or felt they had to read. Does no one consult primary documents anymore. The paucity of evidence leading to the supposed conclusions was completely obvious, and that it constituted the hedged opinion of very few was written clearly and unambiguously. Yet the mantra of “all 17 Intelligence agencies concluded….” was repeated over and over like some recent cult convert would do. Oooops…. have any of these people noticed the INF treaty just got scrapped? Two wasted years…

    • Cirze
      December 20, 2018 at 04:23

      Absolutely!

      Saw that immediately and couldn’t figure out the blind-following-the-blind scenario (unless this was a directive from on high).

      Seems to make sense the farther we go down the rabbit hole.

  32. EJR
    December 19, 2018 at 19:39

    Finally, at long last. Interesting, that the media failed to mention that Flynn’s meeting with the Russian diplomat was a result of a request from the Israeli government. Concerned over Obama’s abstaining on the UN resolution they asked Flynn to intercede with the Russians concerning their vote. Russian collusion, indeed.

  33. Litchfield
    December 19, 2018 at 18:59

    What is with the “zero ” comments thing?
    I have to keep posting a comment just to return to the comments after clicking on a link.
    Aaaargh.

    • Skip Scott
      December 20, 2018 at 09:37

      This BS has been going on since mid October. I wish they’d fix it. We’ve lost a lot of good commenters. However, there is a work-around. You need to type a test message and post it. All recent comments will then appear, except those that went to moderation. To keep the comment stream cleaned up, you can re-load the page, select edit on your comment, and then select “delete”. I know it’s a big pain in the tuchus, but it works.

    • Psycholosopher
      December 23, 2018 at 23:55

      Ever hear of right click..open in another tab ?

  34. Litchfield
    December 19, 2018 at 18:47

    Show yourselves, Comments!!

  35. Litchfield
    December 19, 2018 at 18:36

    Touche, Mr. McGovern. Rapier handled lightly but sharply.
    But be blunter, I really want to see all of these people chowing down on crow.
    And others on the supposed left who have taken a very superior attitude toward those who questioned the “thereness” of the Russiagate conspiracy. I mean, certtain friends, colleagues, and well-placed college classmates. For shame! Caw caw! Haw haw.

  36. mike k
    December 19, 2018 at 18:28

    T

  37. December 19, 2018 at 18:24

    Plus ca change. I looked it up. True. One difference between 2003 and now, then it was a prostrate nation called Iraq, today it is Russia. The dissemblers have bigger fish to fry in 2018 and they have become far more dangerous to the rest of the world.

    It is a privilege to read what the folks like you Mr. McGovern, who write for Consortium News have to say. Read earlier piece on another site by a fellow named Boggs writing about Professor Cohen, another voice in the wilderness regarding Russia and Putin. It is extraordinary how lock step our major media is regarding Russia and Putin. You begin to wonder, is it we, the doubters who just don’t get it?

    I remember with fondness when you called Rumsfeld a liar about his precise description of not only did Iraq have them but just where the WMD’s were.

    • Maxwell Quest
      December 19, 2018 at 22:25

      Don’t feel bad, Herman, the establishment knows exactly what it is doing by piling-on the Russiagate narrative. There are very few among us who have the inner courage to stand apart from the herd, trusting our own instincts and voicing an opinion which is contrary to the many. This was made painfully clear in Asch’s conformity experiments. Two examples are below:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYIh4MkcfJA
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IJCXXTMrv8

      This also reminds me of the famous Mark Twain quote: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

    • Skip Scott
      December 20, 2018 at 09:45

      Fantastic!! Thanks for the links and the quote.

    • December 20, 2018 at 12:36

      Maxwell Quest, I looked at your you tube attachments. Thank you. So it’s not me. But it’s hard to be different. Even costly to be so. So easy to go along.

    • Maxwell Quest
      December 20, 2018 at 15:14

      I hear you, Herman. I don’t think anyone is totally immune from the anxiety (or stress) that major propaganda campaigns like Russiagate generate, except for the “true believers”, whose emotional attachment or repulsion for Trump has already settled the case in their own minds.

      Even now, however, after two years of media bombardment, while holding our ground on the hollowness of the whole anti-Russian hysteria, we must be willing to put vanity aside if “real” evidence emerges that the story was indeed true. According to Science Officer Spock, this would be “highly illogical” at this late date. :-)

    • Skip Scott
      December 20, 2018 at 16:03

      I think another aspect is that by continuously repeating propaganda, they eventually wear out and/or ostracize the truth tellers. And don’t forget the Mueller folks have to power to coerce false testimony, and the CIA has the ability to fabricate evidence using the “Marble Framework”. As Bill Binney stated, the NSA has everything. If RussiaGate was real they could have found the “smoking gun” in no time at all, and developed their entire case in a matter of weeks or months. That they’ve had this “Theater of the Absurd” for 2 years now means something else is going on. Binney’s solution involves 9,000 Samurai.

    • Maxwell Quest
      December 20, 2018 at 18:48

      I agree with all your points, Skip.

      After I witnessed the outright fraud and conspiracy perpetrated by all of the parties who tried to ram Hillary into the White House in 2016, and all that occurred immediately afterward in their frantic effort to overturn the election results, I instantly smelled a big fat rat when the Russian collusion story was rolled out for public consumption.

  38. Rob
    December 19, 2018 at 17:46

    Two or three months ago, I watched Aaron Mate interview Michael Isikoff on “The Real News Network.” Mate is a brilliant Russiagate skeptic, but what struck me most about the interview was the smugness and condescending attitude that oozed from Isikoff after every pointed question put to him by Mate. His answers amounted to: “Tut, tut, little boy. Why don’t you go play with your toys?” Yet now we have reached a point where we can see with great clarity which of them was the little boy and which was the serious journalist.

    In Isikoff’s defense, at least he seems to be coming to grips with his journalistic failures. The majority of Russiagaters will go to their graves convinced that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, regardless of evidence (or lack thereof). After all, didn’t the official assessment of the intelligence services in 2017 say that was so. Case closed–forever.

    • Montse
      December 19, 2018 at 21:32

      I did watch that interview, and I wholeheartedly agree with you; Maté is a brilliant journalist. He has left TRN where he worked and undoubtedly is sorely missed by many.

    • Diana
      December 20, 2018 at 08:01

      No reason to miss him, Montse. Aaron moved on to The Nation magazine. You can read his work there.

    • Cirze
      December 20, 2018 at 04:32

      And now Mate’s being gotten rid of.

    • rosemerry
      December 21, 2018 at 15:56

      Maté is great, and his interview of Luke Harding, “Guardian journalist” and just as conceited as Isikoff, is priceless.

    • jeff montanye
      December 31, 2018 at 01:35

      like the nist report on building 7 which a priori ruled out investigating the possibility of internal explosions/planned demolition.

  39. Ort
    December 19, 2018 at 17:42

    Thanks for this informative and insightful report, Ray.

    FWIW, when I saw Isikoff’s name popping up in Internet headlines, with accompanying blurbs insinuating that Isikoff had become skeptical about Mueller’s marathon fishing expedition, I immediately thought “modified limited hangout”.

    I also appreciate your referencing that group of formerly respectable left-leaning journalists who’ve jumped on the Russophobia bandwagon. I can’t decide whether these apparent victims of acute Trump Derangement Syndrome are more to be pitied or censured, but I’m inclined towards the latter. ;)

    BTW, you’re probably aware that mainstream/corporate mass-media consent-manufacturers uniformly reported Flynn’s court appearance by emphasizing Judge Sullivan’s towering outrage, implicitly characterized as righteous. These report entirely omitted the details about Sullivan apologizing– both for inappropriately ranting about “treason”, and for evidently misreading key documents in evidence.

    Thanks again, and Merry Christmas, if it ain’t out o’ keepin’ with the situation!

  40. John V. Walsh
    December 19, 2018 at 17:38

    Great column by Ray McGovern.
    I suspect today’s news that Trump has now begun withdrawing US troops from Syria indicates he feels free of constraints imposed by the defender of torture Robert Mueller who also was high in the Boston FBI office when Whitey Bulger was operating agents there.

    And more, the announcement of withdrawal from Syria comes a day after Russia announced it is ending 99% of its military flights to Russia. I smell a deal – and it would appear that Trump feels free to make such a deal as the Mueller circus crumbles.

    If Isakof can admit his error, is it not time for Mueller to fall on his sword.

    And most ugly in all of this is the performance of that great progressive David Corn once of the progressive Nation, not to mention the deep degeneracy of the progressive Mother Jones. Does this not give us a hint that there is something very wrong with some parts of “progressivism”? Could these progressives be little more that Cold War liberals, Henry Jackson Democrats and Hubert Humphrey McCarthyites reborn and rebranded with the big “P”? Their attempt to plunge us ever deeper into Russophobia threatens our very existence. They should be locked up for a good long time.

  41. michael crockett
    December 19, 2018 at 17:21

    Excellent article Ray. I certainly appreciate the quote you included made by the journalist John Swinton in 1880. “We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks; they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.” Priceless! No truer words could be spoken. What Swinton said in 1880 is applicable to the MSM today. I sense a certain desperation in the MSM that goes beyond our borders. In France a news channel reporting on the yellow vest protest censored a large placard held up by demonstrators that read “MACRON OUT”. The word OUT was removed from the video broadcast. French channel 3 was called out on this and stated that it was “human error” Thanks to observations made by Mr. Swinton we know full well the character of said human.

  42. EconoMan
    December 19, 2018 at 17:15

    Flynn was rewarded for making the treason case against Trump, no? That’s why the judge asked about it. And that’s why Flynn’s sentencing is being delayed.

  43. michael mourning
    December 19, 2018 at 16:57

    This hoax was put forth by the” Establishment” to discredit a President elected by those of us who “did not know what we were doing” when we chose him over the money grubbing queen and her sexual predator husband. Politics is politics and I am embarrassed by this country, especially when I speak with people from other countries who ask me to try and explain what the hell is going on here, and why we are not out in force trying to take our country back from the greedy misfits we allow to stay in office. Like Twain said, “If voting mattered, they wouldn’t let us do it.” We are all soon disenfranchised, compromised, marginalized, euthanized, while the lawyers and the bankers that have ruined this country enjoy the spoils. Anyone on this forum understands this-it’s a shame we cannot reach out to the millions who cannot identify the problems written about here, and get them together to create change.

    • jeff montanye
      December 31, 2018 at 01:46

      more likely emma goldman: if voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.

  44. mike k
    December 19, 2018 at 16:40

    Isikoff is just a lying little jerk. How such people gain wealth and prominence is a key factor in the tragedy of our failed society.

    • Montse
      December 19, 2018 at 21:41

      My sentiments exactly. But those sentiments are also extended to the other deceitful little jerk: David Corn. He has totally ruined Mother Jones.

    • December 21, 2018 at 23:00

      YES!

  45. Ian Brown
    December 19, 2018 at 16:23

    In July Isikoff did an interview with Aaron Maté on the Real News, and Aaron was pushing him on all this. Isikoff was fairly respectful compared to James Risen and Luke Harding who did not make it out of their respective interviews unscathed, but he kept insisting that Aaron wasn’t getting it, or that he was missing something, lacking conventional wisdom (Risen said the same thing). Now that he is starting to walk back his views of the Russiagate story, I hope that he or others are willing to credit Aaron for being right all along.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoFe05u787s

    • rosemerry
      December 21, 2018 at 16:04

      I watched 3 minutes-Isikoff is a complete bore.
      Aaron Maté has the patience of a saint- I could not watch all the interview because of the slimy bore Isikoff. No wonder I find Yahoo “news” unconvincing too, if he is an expert.

  46. December 19, 2018 at 15:37

    Thank you, Ray! I for one welcome the mea culpa of Isikoff and others. The public’s trust in journalism is lower than at any other moment in my lifetime. Without a reckoning, it surely won’t get better.

    Not long ago, many of my family and friends were waiting for Bob Woodward’s book on Russiagate to come out. After all, he’s the establishment’s mainstream media documentation of Watergate and Dubya Bush. As the narrator for these events, Woodward is their choice for a voice of reason.

    Much to my suprise, Woodward’s book clearly states he did not see or hear of any evidence of Trump Putin collusion during his investigation, yet these same people now simply act as if this revelation they were waiting for doesn’t matter.

    It isn’t just journalists who are responsible for this mess. American readers refuse to entertain the smallest morsel of skepticism about the reality TV Truman show we currently find ourselves trapped in.

    They want to be fooled. Magical thinking.

    https://opensociet.org/2018/09/20/bob-woodward-no-evidence-of-trump-russia-collusion/

  47. F. G. Sanford
    December 19, 2018 at 15:14

    As the story goes, a woman in rural Germany was regarded as a psychic ‘maga’. Having had a vision of The Madonna, the experience left her with the gift of precognition. This was attested to by a large following of faithful adherents. The story spread, and journalist Fritz Gerlach set out to investigate…though he was apparently inclined to skepticism. (I am too, but let’s not have that spoil the story.) Upon meeting the woman, who gave Gerlach a remarkably prescient and horrifying account of what the new Hitler regime would eventually accomplish, he apparently had an epiphany. Gerlach began journalizing based on his Damascus Road conversion, was arrested, and eventually murdered in Dachau. He had few adherents or fellow travelers willing to follow in his footsteps. Dietrich Eckart, the spiritual father of Nazi journalism, died shortly after his release from imprisonment with the Beer Hall Putschists – at Christmastime, as I recall. Julius Streicher and Alfred Rosenberg, both putative journalists, soon picked up the baton and followed in his footsteps. They both hanged at Nuremberg for their journalistic exploits – which amounted to fomenting ‘war of aggression’, the “supreme international crime”.

    When the confrontation with Russia finally comes – I’m not psychic, but it seems almost inevitable – there should be a Compendium of Journalistic Crimes prepared well and thoroughly in advance. It should note in concise, vitriolic and even sarcastic terms the lies and hypocrisy which led to war using an encyclopedic collection of succinct, concise abstracts formulated to precisely identify the culprits who contributed to the conflagration. They should all know that they face prosecution for crimes against humanity. This Compendium should be widely circulated with the intent to insure that they know what they face. The purpose of the Compendium should be clearly intended as a threat. Persons of goodwill should endorse it with an oath promising to testify against the perpetrators.

    This Compendium would include topics such as, “Putin hacked”, “Crimea invaded”, “Assad gassed”, “Syria was a ‘civil war'”, “Black Sea aggression”, “Aggression in the Baltics”, “moderate rebels”, “F*** the EU”, “Russian aggression”, and my all-time favorite, “Entitlements are consuming our national wealth”. The journalists – all the Max Boots, Thomas Friedmans, Michael Isikoffs, Rachel Maddows, – even Amy Goodman – should receive appropriate attribution. They’ve all told lies. Sure, we now hear that the troops are being pulled out of Syria. Sounds promising, but like my Irish grandmother used to say, “Not so fast, McGillicuddy”. I’ll believe it when I see it. We ain’t anywhere near “out of the woods” yet. It looks to me like a “tactical retreat”.

    • Skip Scott
      December 20, 2018 at 09:57

      Great comment F.G. It would be great to have a “Compendium of Journalistic Crimes”, with all the proper attributes, go viral on the Internet to the point that the MSM couldn’t ignore it. It would be a tremendous counter to the “Prop-or-Not” BS they tried to pull.

    • Bob Van Noy
      December 20, 2018 at 10:06

      Totally agree F.G., A Compendium, an excellent idea. Too, this is why I continuously admire Stephen J., he is building a Compendium.

    • Bob Van Noy
      December 20, 2018 at 10:46

      Another thought only slightly off topic: I’m finding that as I assemble important articles that the “tags” are the key to retrieval and that is, a “Compendium” of thought. Likewise, if one wants a practical background to a subject assembled by Consortiumnews; one has only to go to the “Tags”…

    • Maura
      December 27, 2018 at 12:46

      My Irish grandmother “The Lord Save Us.” was a frequent response .Its still appropiate today with all the dishonest news ahem gossip.Guardian article/ reading the news can make you sick ..Dobelli,R recommended.

    • jeff montanye
      December 31, 2018 at 01:56

      need we wait? two million dead already in whatever fraction and however many more years of seven countries in five years aka the yinon plan, the u.s. and israel have already accomplished.

  48. Skip Scott
    December 19, 2018 at 15:03

    Thanks Ray. I imagine it must have been hard for Flynn to hold his tongue yesterday while he was being berated by that judge. I can only hope that enough comes out about the FBI’s shenanigans in setting him up that the judge realizes what was really going on. I am no fan of Flynn’s, but that judge owes him a big apology.

  49. worldblee
    December 19, 2018 at 14:58

    If only the truth could set us free… Getting accurate facts to Americans has always been difficult, especially when it comes to any nation designated as an official or semi-official “enemy”, even in times of peace (let alone during war). No matter how many times Russiagate allegations (masquerading as “facts” in corporate press coverage and in media like DemocracyNow that pretend to be independent) are shown to be inaccurate they will still be trumpeted in headlines and remembered as being true by many citizens. Nonetheless, thank you to Ray McGovern and many others who stand strong in the pursuit of factual coverage.

  50. December 19, 2018 at 14:38

    Excellent post Ray – thank you. Since watching the news media satirize itself is one of the few simple pleasures left to us I suggest people watch this brief video collage of mainstream media responses to the so called Russiagate “bombshells” from the last two years. Just be forewarned that you may “feel the walls closing in.” The video is a priceless commentary on our media and your quote from 1880 by John Swinton is a gem.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjUvfZj-Fm0

    • Skip Scott
      December 19, 2018 at 15:11

      Great link Gary. Thanks. It really shows that all these talking heads are reading from the same script.

    • December 20, 2018 at 01:00

      Skip – yeah, I’m not sure if it’s “the beginning of the end,” a “turning point” a “bombshell,” or if its just “the walls closing in” – but I do think I now have a better understanding of why many of my friends and family who watch MSM are out in lala land when it comes to “Russiagate.”

  51. cmp
    December 19, 2018 at 14:22

    1917, or ww1, is the earliest mention that I know of for the riddle:
    “What is black and white and red all over?”

    And during ww2 in occupied France (.. assisted by a questionable Vichy gov) a common expression was:
    “Give me your Watch, and I will tell you what time it is.”

    • Bob Van Noy
      December 20, 2018 at 10:03

      Good recollection cmp. The deep intrigue surrounding WWI, it’s cause, purpose, and who directed those efforts, remain a mystery and that mystery, needs to be clarified and understood. Our current problems and deep “issues” are largely an outgrowth of that misunderstood dynamic.

    • cmp
      December 20, 2018 at 21:23

      Hi Bob,
      I hope all is well for you and the family!

      You are exactly right about the imperialistic forces that brought about WWI. I believe that this was also the time period when we were given at home (sold) the FBI, the Sedition Act, etc..

      But, the movements of the Progressive era leading into WWI, these I also believe to be very intriguing; as well. The ideas and formation of the Hague, Independent Parties, calling for the end of child labor, woman’s right to vote, public education and services, etc..

      btw: Have you ever seen the film ‘Joyeux Noel’? It was released in France in November of 2005. .. But it mysteriously(?), wasn’t released in the States until June of 2006. .. And, despite the fact that a Xmas movie that was based on a true event, was released during the hottest peak temperatures of the year, (and therefore only seen by movie critics) it still went on to be nominated for all kinds of awards. .. But, the deed was done. Sadly for most Americans, they still don’t know of the event, or the movie.

      … Meanwhile, I am still believing that Peace Is Truly Patriotic, and that it should be aired every December.
      (..smile..)

      I just got back into town about a month ago, after being with family in the East for most of the year. So, I will be in touch soon!

      Keep Up The Great Work!!
      Best Regards,
      Mike

  52. Jeff Harrison
    December 19, 2018 at 14:00

    So, despite the Steele Dossier being shown to be a load of tripe, we’ll continue our full throated hectoring of Russia. Great, just great.

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