How CNN Shapes Political Debate

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer

Exclusive: CNN was happy to add a right-wing questioner for the Republican debate but won’t add a progressive for the Democratic debate, another sign of how the “mainstream media” shapes what’s acceptable in political discussion, a lesson that ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern has learned from personal experience.

Obama’s Two-Faced Foreign Policy

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, attends a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: President Obama’s Syrian strategy is getting roundly denounced as incoherent, which – while true – is really a reflection of his failure to fully break with neocon-style interventionism even when he realizes the futility of the strategy, writes Robert Parry.

How Do-Gooders Can Do Bad

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

“Human rights” organizations have become purveyors of bloody chaos as they advocate Western big-power military attacks on weak countries in the name of “responsibility to protect” – one of several purportedly well-intentioned strategies gone awry – as Coleen Rowley and Diana Johnstone describe.

The Afghan Lesson in Syria

In Afghanistan, U.S. Army Pfc. Sean Serritelli provides security outside Combat Outpost Charkh on Aug. 23, 2012. (Photo credit: Spc. Alexandra Campo)

Russian President Putin’s decision to escalate military support for the Syrian government brings to mind earlier interventions in Afghanistan that went badly – but that cautionary history and the changed Syrian dynamic also raise the prospects for negotiations, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

CNN’s Double-Standards on Debates


For decades, mainstream U.S. news outlets have bent over backwards to appease conservatives and avoid the stigma “liberal media,” but there has been no similar accommodation for progressives, as Jeff Cohen notes about CNN’s handling of the upcoming Democratic debate.

Collateral Damage/Stuff Happens

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

President George W. Bush (and his successor Barack Obama) have lamented “collateral damage” in Afghanistan and Iraq – and Jeb Bush shrugs off a domestic mass shooting as “stuff happens” – but the tragedies have a common denominator: glorification of war and cultural acceptance of violence, writes David Marks.

What Are the Syrian Options?

A scene of destruction after an aerial bombing in Azaz, Syria, Aug. 16, 2012. (U.S. government photo)

Official Washington is in a blind rage over Russia’s military intervention in Syria in support of the Assad regime, but the changed dynamic may offer useful options if U.S. policymakers can just look clearly at the crisis, as ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller explains.

Secrecy of Obama’s TPP Trade Deal

President Barack Obama talks with Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice in the Oval Office on March 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The “free trade” advocates managed to jolt the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement back to life and declared success, but now must walk the giant TPP trade deal past the Congress and other legislatures. Michael Winship explains why he thinks the “monster” should die.

The Second Amendment’s Fake History

A painting of President George Washington leading a force of federalized state militias against the Whiskey rebels in western Pennsylvania in 1794.

Exclusive: A numbness followed the latest mass shooting – this time at a community college in Oregon. Many Americans were frozen in futility as powerful political forces asserted that the Second Amendment prohibits any gun laws. But that claim is historically false, writes Robert Parry.

Obama Boots Syrian Peace Chance

Saudi King Salman meets with President Barack Obama at Erga Palace during a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: President Obama thinks he can appease the neocons and liberal hawks by talking tough about Syria and Russia but – in doing so – he is throwing away a promising opportunity to resolve the Syrian conflict, plus he still gets bashed by Official Washington’s pundits, writes Robert Parry.

Reflections on ‘Deep Poverty’

A classic photo of a poor mother and children in Elm Grove, California, during the Great Depression. (Photo credit: Library of Congress)

The Constitution’s Framers set as one of the new government’s priorities providing for the “general Welfare,” but that progressive mandate was soon swept away by slaveholders and industrialists who shaped America into a “me-first” society amazingly tolerant of “deep poverty,” as Lawrence Davidson reflects.

Obama Closes Opening to Iran

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013. (UN Photo)

Despite prevailing on the Iran nuclear deal, President Obama isn’t following up that victory with a more realistic policy to incorporate Iran into resolving Mideast conflicts. Instead, Obama feels he must placate U.S. hardliners with more tough talk, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

Rupert Murdoch: Propaganda Recruit

President Reagan meets with publisher Rupert Murdoch, U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Wick, lawyers Roy Cohn and Thomas Bolan in the Oval Office on Jan. 18, 1983. (Photo credit: Reagan presidential library)

Special Report: Journalistic objectivity was never high on Rupert Murdoch’s ethics list, but “secret” records from the 1980s show how far the media magnate went to ingratiate himself with President Reagan by collaborating with U.S. propaganda operations, reports Robert Parry.

Falling Short on Fall Fund Drive

From Editor Robert Parry: We are wrapping up our fall fund drive this week and have barely gotten 40 percent of the way toward our modest goal of $25,000. For this independent news site to survive, we must at least come close to our targets. If you can, please help. Donations of any size are appreciated.

Afghan Doctor Slaughter Pulls Back Curtain

Seen through a night-vision device, U.S. Marines conduct a combat logistics patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 21, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Anthony L. Ortiz)

The apparent U.S. slaughter of at least 22 people at an Afghan hospital, including Doctors Without Borders medical staff, is part of the grim reality of indiscriminate death when U.S. Special Forces undertake their secret raids and often toss aside the rules of warfare, reports Nicolas J S Davies.

The Hope Behind Putin’s Syria Help

Amid the crisis over Syria, President Vladimir Putin of Russia welcomed President Barack Obama to the G20 Summit at Konstantinovsky Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: President Obama insists on looking the gift horse of Russian military help for Syria’s embattled government in the mouth. Rather than welcome assistance in blocking a Sunni extremist victory, Obama bends to the neocons and liberal hawks, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains.

US Tax Dollars and Ukraine’s Finance Minister

Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko.

Special Report: Though touted as the face of reform inside Ukraine’s post-coup regime, Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko enriched herself at the expense of a U.S.-taxpayer-financed investment fund – and USAID now says it’s missing some of the audit records detailing Jaresko’s dealings, reports Robert Parry.

Obama Tolerates the Warmongers

President Barack Obama at the White House with National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Samantha Power (right), his U.N. ambassador. (Photo credit: Pete Souza)

Exclusive: President Obama is caught between the harsh realities of the Mideast and the fantasy world of Washington’s warmongers, but he prefers to risk a global catastrophe than to stand up to the neocons, the liberal hawks, the Israelis and the Saudis, a dilemma that Daniel Lazare explains.

Giving Saudis a Pass on Yemen War

King Salman greets the President and First Lady during a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

By supporting Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, the U.S. is again finding itself on the same side with Al Qaeda in a Mideast conflict, a troubling pattern driven by a compulsion to excuse actions by U.S. “allies” no matter how outrageous, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Should US Ally with Al Qaeda in Syria?

The World Trade Center's Twin Towers burning on 9/11. (Photo credit: National Park Service)

Exclusive: The new U.S. “group think” is that Russian President Putin broke his promise to attack only the Islamic State when his warplanes hit other rebel targets in Syria. But Putin never limited which terrorists he’d hit and the targeted rebel coalition includes Al Qaeda’s affiliate, as Robert Parry reports.

Selling Access to Pope Francis

Pope Francis

As much as Pope Francis criticized hyper-capitalism’s cruelty to the poor and the middle class, it was business as usual for the Catholic Church bureaucracy, selling access to the Pope’s events with front-row seats going to well-heeled benefactors, notes Michael Winship.

More Anti-Russian Bias at the NYT

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

Exclusive: The anti-Russian bias of the New York Times is hard to miss as it consistently puts Moscow’s actions and intentions in the worst possible light, in stark contrast to the warm glow that usually surrounds military actions by the U.S. and its “allies,” as Jonathan Marshall observes.

Why Iran Is Aiding Syria

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sitting next to President Hassan Rouhani and addressing the cabinet.

In spinning another propaganda theme, Official Washington is putting out the storyline that Iran is supporting Syria only to appease hardliners in Tehran, but the reality is that top Iranian leaders agree that a victory by the Islamic State or Al Qaeda must be prevented, writes Gareth Porter at Middle East Eye.

Help Consortiumnews Fight ‘Group Thinks’

Barack Obama, then President-elect, and President George W. Bush at the White House during the 2008 transition.

From Editor Robert Parry: In our almost 20 years, Consortiumnews has had one preeminent goal: to challenge and correct false narratives because we know how misguided “group thinks” – especially in a nation as powerful as the United States – can get many innocent people killed and cause lots of other damage.

Obama’s Ludicrous ‘Barrel Bomb’ Theme

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as "shock and awe."

Exclusive: In addressing the United Nations, President Obama singled out for condemnation Syria’s President Assad and his alleged use of “barrel bombs,” but Obama was silent on his own use of far more powerful ordnance or the civilian tolls from Saudi/Israeli attacks with highly lethal U.S. bombs, writes Robert Parry.

Putin’s Judo Move in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

Exclusive: Official Washington loves to hate Russian President Putin, especially when he obstructs a neocon “regime change” scheme, with that animus now focused on Putin’s concern that overthrowing Syria’s government would risk a disastrous victory by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, says Daniel Lazare.

Value in Reading Others’ Propaganda

United States President Barack Obama (third from left) and Vladimir V. Putin (second from right), President of the Russian Federation, share a toast at a luncheon hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in honor of world leaders attending the general debate of the General Assembly. Also pictured: Andrzej Duda (left), President of the Republic of Poland.

U.S. policymakers view their country as the “exceptional” and “indispensable” global policeman but shut their eyes to how other nations see the world, thus blinding America to emerging problems and possible solutions, as ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller explains.

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Wicked’ Syrian Choice

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton bought into the neocon/liberal-hawk agenda which spread the chaos of Iraq across Libya, Syria and now into Europe. How Clinton approached those challenges suggests that she would head down the same “regime change” path as President, Rick Sterling explains.

Obama’s Self-Deceit

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (Photo credit: United Nations.)

President Obama, who has boasted of ordering military strikes on seven countries, chastised Russia and China for not abiding by the rules of international behavior, a breathtaking example of hypocrisy or self-deceit, writes Joe Lauria.

The Power of False Narrative

President Barack Obama.

Exclusive: “Strategic communications” or Stratcom, a propaganda/psy-op technique that treats information as a “soft power” weapon to wield against adversaries, is a new catch phrase in an Official Washington obsessed with the clout that comes from spinning false narratives, reports Robert Parry.

Obama’s True Foreign-Policy ‘Weakness’

Prominent neocon intellectual Robert Kagan. (Photo credit: Mariusz Kubik,

From the Archive:  Official Washington considers President Obama “weak” because he doesn’t bomb every country that the neocons want bombed, so Obama talks “tough” in his major speeches to conceal his real “weakness” – his timidity in rebuffing neocon criticism – as Robert Parry described in 2014.