Caitlin Johnstone: Ukraine Gets CBS to Retract Critical Report

It’s not just critical commentators who see the Western press as propagandists. It’s how they see themselves. 

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article.

Following objections from the Ukrainian government, CBS News has removed a short documentary which had reported concerns from numerous sources that a large amount of the supplies being sent to Ukraine aren’t making it to the front lines.

The Ukrainian government has listed its objections to the report on a government website, naming Ukrainian officials who objected to it and explaining why each of the CBS news sources it dislikes should be discounted. After the report was taken down and the Twitter post about it removed, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said this was a good start but still not enough.

“Welcome first step, but it is not enough,” Kuleba tweeted. “You have misled a huge audience by sharing unsubstantiated claims and damaging trust in supplies of vital military aid to a nation resisting aggression and genocide. There should be an internal investigation into who enabled this and why.”


The CBS News article about the documentary was renamed, from “Why military aid to Ukraine doesn’t always get to the front lines: ‘Like 30% of it reaches its final destination’” to the far milder “Why military aid in Ukraine may not always get to the front lines.”

An editor’s note on the new version of the article explicitly admits to taking advisement on its changes from the Ukrainian government, reading as follows:

“This article has been updated to reflect changes since the CBS Reports documentary ‘Arming Ukraine’ was filmed, and the documentary is also being updated. Jonas Ohman says the delivery has significantly improved since filming with CBS in late April. The government of Ukraine notes that U.S. defense attaché Brigadier General Garrick M. Harmon arrived in Kyiv in August 2022 for arms control and monitoring.”

CBS News does not say why it has taken so long for this report to come out, why it didn’t check to see if anything had changed in the last few months during a rapidly unfolding war before releasing its report, or why it felt its claims were good enough to air before Kiev raised its objections but not after.

Someone uploaded the old version of the documentary on YouTube here, or you can watch it on Bitchute here if that one gets taken down. It was supportive of Ukraine and very oppositional to Russia, and simply featured a number of sources saying they had reason to believe a lot of the military supplies being sent to Ukraine aren’t getting where they’re supposed to go.

The original article quotes the aforementioned Jonas Ohman as follows:

“‘All of this stuff goes across the border, and then something happens, kind of like 30% of it reaches its final destination,’ said Jonas Ohman, founder and CEO of Blue-Yellow, a Lithuania-based organization that has been meeting with and supplying frontline units with military aid in Ukraine since the start of the conflict with Russia-backed separatists in 2014.

 “ ‘30-40%, that’s my estimation,’ he said in April of this year.”

“The U.S. has sent tens of thousands of anti-aircraft and anti-armor systems, artillery rounds, hundreds of artillery systems, Switchblade armored drones and tens of millions of rounds of small arms ammunition,” CBS’ Adam Yamaguchi tells us at 14:15 of the documentary.

“But in a conflict where frontlines are scattered and conditions change without warning, not all of those supplies reach their destination. Some also reported weapons are being hoarded, or worse fear that they are disappearing into the black market, an industry that has thrived under corruption in post-Soviet Ukraine.”

“I can tell you unarguably that on the frontline units these things are not getting there,” the Mozart Group‘s Andy Milburn tells Yamaguchi at 17:40. “Drones, Switchblades, IFAKs. They’re not, alright. Body armor, helmets, you name it.”

“Is it safe to characterize this as a little bit of a black hole?” Yamaguchi asked him, perhaps in reference to an April report from CNN whose source said the equipment that’s being sent “drops into a big black hole, and you have almost no sense of it at all after a short period of time.”

“I suppose if you don’t have visibility of where this stuff is going, and if you’re asking that question, then it would appear that it’s a black hole, yeah,” Milburn replied.

“We don’t know,” Amnesty International’s Donatella Rovera tells Yamaguchi at 18:45 when asked if it’s known where the weapons being sent to Ukraine are going.

“There is really no information as to where they’re going at all,” Rovera says. “What is more worrying is that at least some of the countries that are sending weapons do not seem to think that it is their responsibility to put in place a very robust oversight mechanism to ensure that they know how they’re being used today, but also how they might and will be used tomorrow.”

We’ve already seen that the Western media will uncritically report literally any claim made by the government of Ukraine in bizarre instances like the recent report that Russia was firing rockets at a nuclear power plant it had already captured, or its regurgitation of claims that Russians are raping babies to death from a Ukrainian official who ended up getting fired for promoting unevidenced claims about rape.

Now we see a Western media outlet retracting claims of their own when the Ukrainian government tells them to.

It’s not just commentators like me who see the Western press as propagandists: that’s how they see themselves. 

If you think it’s your job to always report information that helps one side of a war and always omit any information which might hinder it, then you have given yourself the role of propagandist. You might not call yourself that, but that’s what you are by any reasonable definition of that word.

And a great many Western Zelenskyites honestly see this as the media’s role as well. They’ll angrily condemn anyone who inserts skepticism of the U.S. empire’s narratives about Ukraine into mainstream consciousness, but then they’ll also yell at you if you say we’re not being told the truth about Ukraine. They demand to be lied to, and call you a liar if you say that means we’re being lied to.

You can’t have it both ways. Either you want the mass media to serve as war propagandists or you want them to tell the truth. You cannot hold both of those positions simultaneously. They are mutually exclusive. And many actually want the former.

This can’t lead anywhere good.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

15 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: Ukraine Gets CBS to Retract Critical Report

  1. vinnieoh
    August 15, 2022 at 12:20

    What kind of hold do these Nazis in Ukraine have on everyone?

    The Ukrainians continue to shell around the Nuke plant and all of the press coverage NEVER names the perpetrators. Spokespersons for the UN and other so-called responsible parties call for an end to the attacks but THEY NEVE NAME THE UKRANIAN PERPETRATORS!

    This can not and will not be covered up – how can it be?

    Even worse, Zelensky and his minions are just cheap whores carrying out the very worst of US imperialistic instructions. If the nuke plant becomes compromised the US must and will bear the burden of guilt for that atrocity.

    Damn, this s#%t stinks!

  2. Shoeless Joe
    August 14, 2022 at 12:59

    C is for Censored.

  3. Greg Grant
    August 13, 2022 at 18:19

    Honestly obedience of the media was already just as bad when clinton waged his illegal and immoral war against Serbia in 1999. It was an absolute circus with even supposedly radical left publications getting on board with the whold genocide nonsense. I’m surprised they didn’t give him a nobel peace prize for it.

  4. Ricardo2000
    August 13, 2022 at 17:08

    H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956): “The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville : “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.”

    William Casey (CIA Director 1981-1987): “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” Casey uttered this definition of ultimate CIA success at Reagan’s first Cabinet meeting.

    US consumers ceased to be citizens long ago. They eagerly swallowed lies long before Biden’s Ukraine war. Their intellectual incapacity was publicly broadcast in the 19th century as the quotes above show. Ruling class lies have always been government policy since ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ was denied women, slaves, First Nations, Orientals, and propertyless men by CONstitutional fiat. Patrick Henry, James Madison, George Mason insisted on 2nd Amendment protections for slave militias as a condition of Virginia’s support for the US Constitution. These undeniable facts show the US is based on racist lies designed to protect ruling class greed and power.

    Jackie Robinson, 1972 biography: “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world…I know that I never had it made.”

    Isaac Asimov (1920 – 1992): “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that your ignorance is just as good as my knowledge.”

    It’s not surprising NAYOYO supplied weapons don’t make it to the front lines. The idea that the most corrupt country in Europe could honestly, successfully manage a war is laughable. The US now, and always, makes collaborators of the most corrupt, violent human rights abusers. Recently, US trained military yahoos committed 8 coups in West Africa. Of course, military coups are cheaper than honestly negotiating Oil & Gas rights with responsible, democratically elected, popularly supported leadership. ‘Los Zetas’, Mexico’s worst narco gang were trained and armed by US ‘special forces’. Honduras, where democracy was recently restored after a US-OAS coup installed a president and family now facing decades in US prisons for drug trafficking. El Salvador, where ex-President Cristiani is facing murder charges for the executions of 6 Catholic priests, housekeeper and her young daughter, that advocated for negotiations and peace. These most recent examples US war crimes and human rights abuses don’t cover Vietnam, Indonesia, South Korea, Chile and every other Latin American country, Haiti where they recently paid France the last compensation instalment for freeing themselves from slavery, Operation Gladio, the Middle East and every country seeking actual democracy.

    Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, “…nobody now gives the United States any respect, apart from a handful of fascist Brits and that simpering little whore Tony Blair.”

    Winston Churchill (1944): ”I have left the obvious, essential fact to this point, namely, that it is the Russian Armies who have done the main work in tearing the guts out of the [Nazi] army.” It won’t take four years this time.

    Bruce Cockburn – Call it Democracy – Russian

    Solomon Burke – None of us are free

  5. CNfan
    August 12, 2022 at 20:23

    The main job of any corporate reporter is to avoid getting fired for contradicting the narrative of the the war profiteers who have captured Congress and the corporate media. Their attribution of this censorship to a Ukrainian official is a ludicrous cover story.

    This reminds me of an incident in the 1970’s. Some reporters at CBS were planning a report on the new evidence that had emerged subsequent to the Warren Commission report. The CBS top brass got wind of the project, scuttled it, and put out a report which ignored the new evidence repeated the Warren Commission findings.

  6. anonymot
    August 12, 2022 at 20:10

    What we know is that there is an enormous, global traffic of smuggled, illegal arms sales. We also know that the Ukraine has a reputation for serious corruption and that the President was known, before the current war began, as an oligarch and owner of a
    20+million dollar palazzo in Miami. Corruption, unfortunately is rife pretty much everywhere, but some countries suffer more from that disease than others. We don’t do badly ourselves, but we are more discrete about it.

    Since this is another of our wars, as is common after the coup d’etat or initial destruction of the enemy (a Kaddafi or Saddam or numerous others) the CIA names someone to be PM or President who, surprise, surprise, then turns out to be corrupt beyond acceptability, so they make a second or third choice.

    And, of course, the friends and admirers of the guilty parties howl, often because that’s “just the way it is in our country”.

  7. Jeff Harrison
    August 12, 2022 at 19:54

    This US proxy war will ultimately show the limits or lack thereof of the power of propaganda.

  8. Ksiusha
    August 12, 2022 at 19:18

    Heartfelt sympathy to the 12 million Ukrainian civilians who have been forced to evacuate from their homes or lost their homes and possessions in the thousands of apartment buildings bombed since February 24. And prayers for those civilians who have been killed and injured. So much misery and suffering, and for what?

  9. Marie-France Germain
    August 12, 2022 at 17:52

    The minute the US/NATO countries banned the streaming of Russian content, I knew that what was going to be in the papers and on the MSM was propaganda. It didn’t take long, especially for those of us who never stopped following what was happening both in 2014 in Ukraine and for the next 8 years in the Donbass. Given I live in a bourgeois ‘ally’ city and country, it was hard not to scream when those who hadn’t even known about the coup in 2014 were mouthing on as regards the “brutish” Russians.

    I have been saying for years now that the USA has become the Barbarian at the world’s gates and too many of our so called “leaders” just open the door wider!

    • TEP
      August 14, 2022 at 06:00

      Amnesty International also now backtracking under pressure following their critical report on Ukraine.

  10. mgr
    August 12, 2022 at 17:45

    Six months ago, Ukraine was considered one of the most corrupt countries in Europe, run by oligarchs and with a rising ultra-nationalist neo-Nazi element in military and government. This is in fact the same group that the US State Department and CIA, etc., reached out to and have been training and funding since around 2014 and the Maidan coup under the Obama administration. Joe Biden was deeply involved with Ukraine at that time as VP.

    In any case, they are reacting the way all entitled neo-Nazi junk-yard dogs act. And US integrity and standing, certainly in the person of corporate media, is kissing their ass.

  11. Vincent Berg
    August 12, 2022 at 15:51

    Clearly there is an arms laudering scheme going on here. The 70% not immediately getting to the front is being transferred to a black market system (before and after arriving in UKR) and/or wharehoused (somewhere in Poland?) for resale to UKR (at mostly U$ taxpayer expense). Repeat. Too many people cashing in for this to come to an end anytime soon. In a way the perfect model for how a totally unencumbered free market system should work.

    • CNfan
      August 12, 2022 at 21:11

      Today’s flooding the black market with weapons is reminiscent of the Middle East being flooded with weapons after the invasion of Iraq. It makes me wonder if a similar conflagration is being set up for Europe.

      • Vincent Berg
        August 13, 2022 at 14:58

        I don’t see how EU can avoid blowback from all the idiocy. The political ninnies for their part are doing a bang up job making things worse for their citizenry, so they should be left alone to continue their work. Cultural and infrastructural treasures, for example, provide a “target rich environment” however. The cost of trying to protect all that would be horrendous. If not a physical conflagration on the scale of WW2, an economic collapse ushering in a ‘Europe: Year Zero’ is one possible scenario. Europe is going down one way or another anyway. It only remains to be seen how bad and how fast.

      • Robert Rowe
        August 14, 2022 at 14:46

        It has been an axiom of first the British empire and now USA geo political strategy that Russia and Germany MUST NEVER be allowed to become very friendly or too closely allied in their business/security interests. 

        If such a cooperative situation were to develop, it could become a constellation of natural resources, manpower, manufacturing capacity and technology base the British Empire (and now the USA) knew it could not ignore, dictate to from an unassailable position of strength or otherwise ignore the interests of.

        So the State Dept./intelligence agencies watched the Germans & Russians expend all the resources & capital for the new North Sea gas pipeline, then arranged to break up their cooperation at the last possible moment, before it yielded either country any profits or allowed Russia to deprive our Ukranian client the ability to steal all the gas in transit to the EU it felt like without Germany or Russia having any alternative but grit their teeth and take it.

        If these two countries foolishly continue to act in their own people’s best interests and against the unipolar doctrine, one (or both) of them need to be neutralized.

        All attempts to wreck Russia’s economy and isolate them from the non NATO world have failed outright and/or provoked blowback to the USA/NATO economies so severe that the commoners in these countries are headed for 3rd world status.

        Wrecking RUSSIA has failed. Wrecking GERMANY is now on the table, all those “disappeared” weapons and displaced Galician neonazi groups should do a thorough job.

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