Rather than neutrally trying to get the facts, White House reporters have become unabashed activists for going to war with Russia.
By Jake Johnson
In the run-up to and during the Bush administration’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq, corporate media outlets were accused of acting as stenographers for the White House, amplifying official justifications for the attack—which were lies—while stifling dissenting voices.
Today, having apparently learned no lessons—or the wrong ones—from Iraq, reporters for corporate newspapers and cable TV programs are yet again facing criticism for their coverage of a war, this time one in which the White House has vowed not to involve U.S. troops.
“Much of cable news has become nonstop cheerleading for the U.S. to declare war on Russia.”
During briefings held at the White House over the past week as Russia ramped up its assault on Ukraine, correspondents have incessantly pushed Press Secretary Jen Psaki on President Joe Biden’s refusal to escalate U.S. involvement in the war even further, questioning the administration’s refusal to impose a no-fly zone and send MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.
By contrast, very few questions have centered on the diplomatic talks between Russia and Ukraine and what the U.S. is doing to facilitate the ongoing negotiations.
“Even with this additional aid that you’re providing today, it seems there are still other options on the table,” ABC News correspondent Mary Bruce said during a press briefing Wednesday after President Joe Biden authorized another $800 million worth of weaponry for Ukraine, including drones and anti-aircraft systems.
“So why hold back?” Bruce asked. “Why not use every tool at your disposal now to spare additional lives?”
When Psaki outlined the slew of measures the U.S. has taken in concert with Western allies to cripple Russia’s economy and bolster Ukraine’s defenses—and noted there are additional steps the administration could take in the future—Bruce was not assuaged.
“But what are you waiting for?” she asked.
ABC's @MaryKBruce to Psaki: "You have noted…Putin has shown no signs of changing course. You've also noted that there are significance consequences that Putin could still face…So why hold back? Why not use every tool at your disposal now to spare additional lives?" pic.twitter.com/rynnmAnjXw
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) March 16, 2022
That line of questioning—highlighted by The Intercept in one of two video compilations of recent press briefings—encapsulated the approach much of the White House press corps has taken during the first three weeks of Russia’s deadly assault on Ukraine.
In one exchange on Monday, a reporter suggested to Psaki that by refusing to send American troops into Ukraine and impose a no-fly zone—which experts agree would likely spark a full-blown war between the U.S. and Russia—the Biden administration is effectively “pushing these guys [Ukrainian soldiers] to commit suicide.”
“Can you imagine if the press covered climate change like this?” The Intercept‘s Ryan Grim asked during a HillTV segment on Thursday. “Or the expiration of the child tax credit? Or the Saudi and UAE war on Yemen that has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths? Or the seizure of Afghanistan’s central bank reserves?”
This is wild pic.twitter.com/CNZZ1wVzcz
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) March 16, 2022
Next day was even wilder pic.twitter.com/T0TrF0l8JI
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) March 17, 2022
In his HillTV segment, Grim pointed to a striking back-and-forth in which Gray Television‘s White House correspondent Jon Decker pressed Psaki on why the Biden administration is not providing “more offensive weapons” to the Ukrainian military.
“If a Ukrainian military officer or someone who is enlisted has one of these weapons,” said Decker, “they can take out a Russian military official of some sort with these weapons.”
The White House press corps is hardly alone in its hawkish coverage of Russia’s assault, which has killed at least 816 civilians and sparked a massive humanitarian crisis.
As Gideon Taaffe and Chloe Simon of Media Matters noted last week, “Both right-wing and mainstream cable news have featured commentary from hosts and guests pushing the idea of a NATO-imposed ‘no-fly zone’ over Ukraine, sometimes without providing important context about the possibility of escalation into a hot war with Russia.”
“On March 4, Fox News contributor and retired Gen. Keith Kellogg pushed for a no-fly zone during an appearance on Fox News‘ America Reports, claiming that ‘no plans are perfect, but there is a way to do and we should at least explore it,'” Taaffe and Simon observed. “On the March 6 edition of Meet the Press, NBC anchor Chuck Todd pressed Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on his hesitancy to execute a no-fly zone, saying, ‘Why rule out the no-fly zone? Why not make Putin think it’s possible?'”
“This eagerness to get into a war with Russia,” the pair wrote, “seems to ignore the potentially devastating consequences of the U.S. initiating that escalation, which could include nuclear fallout.”
In a Twitter post earlier this week, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo expressed a similar sentiment.
“Hopefully this will remain a matter of academic and media studies interest only,” he wrote. “But it is worth considering why much of cable news has become nonstop cheerleading for the U.S. to declare war on Russia, often via a ‘no-fly zone.'”
In a symposium ahead of the 19th anniversary of the Bush administration’s initial bombing of Baghdad, progressive foreign policy analyst Kate Kizer warned that in its coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine, “the mainstream media is repeating the same mistakes it made 20 years ago in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.”
“When ‘serious’ policy publications invite the likes of uber war hawks like John Bolton into their pages and tankie conspiracy theorists and those complicit in selling the invasion of Iraq onto our screens as legitimate, unbiased commentators, they actively warp the information that gets through to the average viewer,” Kizer wrote. “As usual when there’s the opportunity to inflate ratings, the media jumps on, quickly creating a narrative that war is inevitable, diplomacy is exhausted (before it even gets started), and being against militaristic U.S. or NATO solutions to the crisis is unpatriotic at best.”
“The lesson that national American media outlets have failed to learn is that their critical role in our democracy is more than just questioning ‘official’ narratives,” she added. “It is also remaining critical, or even just acknowledging the confirmation bias produced by the corporate war racketeering in Washington that drives policymakers and the American public to think that our only choices in the face of insecurity and conflict are more war or doing nothing.”
What the press secretary doesn’t realize is that a no-fly zone already exists! The Russians have destroyed the essential Ukrainian radar facilities necessary for fighter aircraft or cruise missiles to use radio-telemetry technology that identifies targets and guarantees pinpoint accuracy.
As I have previously commented elsewhere, Zelensky is a professional comedian. Hardly the politicking material to negotiate conflict resolution with any savvy or expertise. Not to point fingers! because America suffered from the same voter stupidity or was it simple election rigging? when our citizenry put into the highest office an affable but progressively senile man, without portfolio. This absurdity is oft referred to as, the Peter Principle where an individual is raised (promoted) to the level of his-her incompetence. President Reagan, despite the fact that he held a State Governor position, would spit out thoughtless gaffs like, we will fire a nuclear warning shot i.e., to ward off potential Russian aggression or his SDI-Dome idea, billions of dollars later-scrubbed.
Again, presidents without portfolio because the MICs and their congressional sock puppets compromised the powers and decision making, constitutionally assigned to the Oval Office. In our historical past, avoiding a War Declaration by substituting it with phrases like police action, kinetic military action and so on…
In the Ukraine-Zelensky’ case he is a figure of intrigue, an invention in all probability fashioned and instigated by Dick Cheney’s black-op’s-warmongering ilk. What do I mean here? An entirely new stratagem where the public is now subject to a flipping the reality pancake over. Instead of avoiding a congressionally Declared War that would surely result in heavy financial losses for businesses and associated strategic alliances on the nation about to be attacked, now a Declared War against, in this instance, Russia would translated into new strategic alliances involving carbon based energy contracts from the USA perhaps Canada, to a much lesser extent the East. Of course Washington would coax Germany to declare war or use some other EU proxies to do it.
The whole nonsense of electing candidates who have rather bizarre resumes’ such as governor Ronald Ray Guns, former RKO radio talk show host and Hollywood B-actor or a tycoon like Trump, bible thump-er Truman Et Al, adds up to a very dangerous equation in terms of preserving world peace. In Truman’s case dropping nukes thus causing endless streams of moral and military debates not to mention a jaded American legacy. Lest we forget Truman also created a second government-that unregulated democracy killer the CIA. Again, Trump, his very first address to the UN General assembly gave a blustering comment that (we) must “totally destroy” North Korea, ugh who’s we? My point is, gone are the days of real competence and leadership such as Presidents Taft, FDR, Dwight Eisenhower, JFK, Nixon and even to some extent Carter. This is deliberate, a forceful attempt by the Neo Cons to overshadow all government control with corporatism and their business models of this world.
For now, using atomic weapons are out of this picture, even if a biological and or chemical attack enters into the mix. Logistically speaking, the Russians have an excellent supply line, ditto advanced weaponry and have already, stomped the Ukrainian military forces flat (just as Pentagon officialdom predicted) Should the Russian armed forces decide to remain, it opens a door to great financial hardship for the conquered and conqueror.
If on the other hand, with a conspiracy to deliberately prolong and intensify the conflict, extremist elements, Dick Cheney’s war-profiteers take measures aka Western financiers arranging for a black-op…Perhaps destroying commercial nuclear power plants or detonating stolen nukes* (see blow) in Ukraine, then this conspiracy will uncontrollably hurdle humanity into another world war.
ASIDE: Such A- weapons* referenced here-readers may recall, were stolen en route from South Africa to the UK or was it Israel? For your perusal, visit David Cameron lost three atomic weapons in transit from South Africa @Https://leejohnbarnes.blogspot.com/2010/03/thatcher-cameron-and-nukes-part-4.html.
To the best of my knowledge, nobody has yet explained how on earth the US, NATO or ‘the West’ could impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Without Russia and Ukraine’s cooperation, such a thing would require Western aircraft in Ukrainian skies, negating the very idea of no-fly from the start. This term no-fly zone is a gross Orwellian euphemism, deliberately designed to obfuscate the reality of direct war with Russia. Readers of Consortium News may not be fooled, but those less familiar with NATO newspeak or the history of no-fly zones in Iraq and elsewhere may be lulled into thinking nothing could possibly be wrong with such an eminently sensible idea as no aircraft in Ukrainian airspace, which is emphatically not what the warmongers are proposing.
True, the US wing nuts like Elliot Abrams know a no fly zone over Ukraine skies means direct hot war confrontation with Russia. To some at the Pentagon a limited low yield nuclear confrontation is winnable. If I could fly to an alternate planet I’d leave right now, but we all know that there is no planet B. We the people of this planet must unite against those who’ve been profiteering from wars, oil price increases and wall street casino gambling. The majority in the 99% category cannot afford to play the stock market only the upper echelons, the oligarchs in the US and Europe are all too ditty chomping at the bit for a direct confrontation with Russia.
So Tulsi is a ‘tankie conspiracy theorist’ and the moral equivalent of John Bolton for pointing out that NATO is using Ukraine as a pawn to try to overextend Russia and bolster their own military power? Apparently Ms Kinzer hasn’t read the famous RAND Corp report ‘Extending Russia: Competing From Advantageous Ground’ that advocates exactly that. If you haven’t come across this particular slur, you are a ‘Tankie’ if for example you refuse to equate Russian Imperialism (a submerged aspect of Russian capitalism currently overdetermined by probably half a dozen more important factors) with US Imperialism (the backbone of world capitalism and the greatest threat the human species has ever faced).
Even if the media and think-tank pundits are simply completely unethical, that’s one thing, but trying to wash the political decision-makers clean with it is a bit daring.
In November, the US government received a list of demands from the Duma. These partisan clowns from Schwaetzer’s circle have nothing to do with these demands. It was the US government that did not respond to these clear and justified demands.
The downfall of diplomacy already occurred in the failure to conceal involvement in the attempted coup in Kazakhstan. This was confirmed by the Duma’s decision to recognize the province as independent because of an imminent attack on the LNDR provinces by oligarch-financed and NATO-trained strike forces. The lobbyists of the arms industry, disguised as media representatives, have nothing to do with this and could have been safely ignored.
The answer of the US government to these Russian demands was deliberately delayed and did not come.
timely. Of course Russia could not wait and started this invasion which has at least a doubtful legal background. The completely irrational shouting of the media hawks could have focused on this, but they are nothing more than lobbists with an unethical agenda.
The Russian reaction is a result of the ignorance of us policy. Europe is a completely dysfunctional bureaucratic entity whose “government” in Brussels is roughly equivalent to the legitimacy of the USSR’s Communist Party and acts only as a NATO enforcement body under pressure from the US arms industry. The brussels authorities appoint themselves and are not really elected by the people. that is why the duma’s demands are addressed directly to the u.s. government. And the US government could have prevented the war if it had responded to the justified demands.
Looking at the current media coverage of the invasion of the Ukraine reminds me of the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. It is about a media mogul that seeks to boost his ratings by risking WWIII.
Sadly, the film is not totally fictional.
So what must we do about it?
Contact the media and criticise their irresponsible and one-sided coverage.
Demonstrate outside their studios.
Our very survival may literally depend on it.
Tony if you would go to YouTube Beau of the Fifth Column and / or Indivisible Team. These site are all about the building of community action or national action groups for change. All NON-violent self help (educational) and community assistance organizations with the people you know or cultivate into the group.
I checked and he is reaching a bigger and bigger crowd (! subscribers, 12k new this month).
Don’t judge this guy until you hear him out.
You have this right 100% “our very survival may literally depend on it.!
“the mainstream media is repeating the same mistakes it made 20 years ago in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.”
A somewhat more sinister explanation is that they don’t do it by mistake but by intention.
Exactly. They know what they’re doing. War is great for ratings and profits.
If you look back to the news publications from William Randolph Hearst in the early 1900s, during the US’ early indulgences into imperialism, you will see the exact same extremely pro-war behavior. This is because the Corporate Owned News is fully controlled by the extremely wealthy, and is all about control and monetization. It has nothing to do with informing the public. It is about mis-informing the public to advance specific agendas.
Its no mistake. And whoever is behind it should be held accountable.
Howe does one hold the SCOTUS responsible?
The irony of Obama’s ultimate push for health care is that while intended to gain affordable medical care for the masses those efforts may have been a fatal error instead. The demcrats at the time had the momentum and should have used it.
I watched the Citizens United case carefully as the case was heard. The one vote that carried it over the top was one of, if not the most important vote in the history of the U.S. but few seemed to even notice.
The MSM seemed to ignore the implications. The point has been made here several times that it is difficult to encourage people to take actions that would end their careers. ” Joe ” wiki Citizens United and you will have your answer.
A great many Americans are ill prepared to take meaningful roles in understanding today’s modern politics. As usual they are generally the poorer among us. Both parents working full time just to get by and then caring for their children in some cases older parents leaves little time for them to educate themselves enough about politics in order to present a defense against the ultra wealthy who control today’s politics.
The court, if it did not know this should be held accountable. This decision was wrong because it was based on some belief that corporations and their money should have an equal voice with each citizen. More illogical thought from lawyers who live in an alternate universe.
The SCOTUS Citizens United decision will kill the country as most of us aged 50 and old today knew it. The “justices” (?) there knew this only too well. Now we witness it is happening.
Money over rules all most importantly human life.
I very briefly listened in as the nominee for the next SCOTUS seat was asked this question, or words to the affect, “Do you believe that marriage is as much a legal contract between [two people] or [a man and a women] as a religious one”. Like I said, ” or words to this affect.”
If this question is viewed as a valid request by the interviewer I would like to know when was the last time one corporation married another. Corporations don’t die as humans do, in fact they live on forever and ever, corporations don’t serve in the military and die there and corporation cannot conceive offspring.
This inequitable question has no place in this setting, unless of course we are not living in an alternate universe.
I’m not sure where this all puts us real humans but we best be finding out.
The united states has been chomping on the bit to have a genuine dust-up with Russia ever since the end of WW11, Many generals back then wanted to attack and destroy the devistated war exhausted soviet union and have never stopped goading, provoking and demonizing Russia since. The press then and now were always the tools of profiteers and politicians , nothing new just more hate filled and xenophobic.
“In a symposium ahead of the 19th anniversary of the Bush administration’s initial bombing of Baghdad, progressive foreign policy analyst Kate Kizer warned that in its coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine, “the mainstream media is repeating the same **mistakes** it made 20 years ago in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.”” [Emphasis added.]
When the media keep making the same “mistakes”, maybe at some point we should consider that they’re not mistakes and we should confront the implications of that?
Today’s journalism ain’t what it once was…It no longer is about reporting news unbiased, it is reporting personal opinions spiced with falsehoods and passing them along as ‘facts’.
The mealy-mouthed euphemisms which the corporate media use to describe the act of killing such as ‘take out’ betray their lack of experience of what the reality of warfare is. Media, war museums and politicians are deeply unwilling to portray the smashed bodies, the missing limbs, the devastated minds and the deep grief in families of dead soldiers. Instead they rely on cheap, misleading clichés. We should be constantly correcting this abuse of our language by those who want to look tough on the declared enemies of their governments. Does this happen in Russian media too? I’d be interested to learn.
Exactly. They get all their tough-guy talk from bad movies. A bunch of ignorant dolts.
Tnx CN, Jake
Recent history well documents alliance between war goods conglomerates & MSM outlets… As4 Ukraine Direct (similar) motive: 1word: Barisma
I’ll add two more words to that: Operation Mockingbird.
The United States has not been attacked on it’s soil by a hostile power since the war of 1812. At the rate of speed we’re going, we may get to find out.
And hopefully soon…
Have all these reporters devolved into hypocritical chicken-hawks like the neocons they emulate? Why are so many women?
Of course if they really wanted to help, they could catch the next flight to Ukraine where they can play out their fantasies for real, even collect some selfies as they’re being blown to bits. Think of the facebook hits! Chicken-hawks: ready to urge others into the fight while keeping themselves safely out of harm’s way. Hard to find a single neocon or one of their supporters who isn’t. Perhaps these corporate news outlets are trying to “stay relevant,” that is, to serve up heaping piles of bullshit to their non-thinking audiences in order to compete with facebook which has become a force of nature for turning people into lemmings.
Supporting these entertainmentnews and social media organizations gives them the power to abuse us. The continuing banality of evil…
Why do these media critics think the mainstream press has different roles than the ones they ALWAYS seem to play, that being augmentation and facilitation of war and conflict? They do not. Their corporations and mil-ind-security connections absolutely thrive and require conflict to maximize profits.
Think of the WH press corps as little carrion birds who thrive off the rotting meat of empire and your expectations would then not be disappointed in the future.
“Why do these media critics think the mainstream press has different roles than the ones they ALWAYS seem to play..”
Although not a comprehensive answer, in significant part it is the reliance on the interactions of hopes and constant tensions rendering change to be the roles of others.
An interaction of “representative democracy”, capitalism (competition posing as co-operation) and their derived illusions.
Mr. Debord was misguided, it is not the society of the spectacle but the society of spectators fueled by hopes – a prime factor in the implosion of “Empires”.
Well, you about covered what I was going to say. US media is now the fully owned subsidiary of the Uniparty, that is to say our lords and masters, the wealthy, the powerful, the corporate. And SCOTUS has legalized this corruption: Citizens United and etc.
All you need to know is that what gets said here, and on too damned few other places is not just verboten – it doesn’t even “exist.”
Nothing like censorship!!!