Archive for the ‘“Journalists”’ category

Story Laundering: Fusion GPS, Fake News, Russians and Reporters

November 3, 2017

Story Laundering: Fusion GPS, Fake News, Russians and Reporters, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, November 3, 2017

 

The media is no longer a journalistic institution. It’s a political institution. It’s a component of a political infrastructure of unelected officials, bureaucracies and institutions that controls our government.

Fake news, Fusion GPS, internet censorship and all the rest are symptoms of this overriding problem.

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“The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” Ben Rhodes gloated. “That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

Rhodes, the White House’s “Obama whisperer”, was explaining how he had pulled the wool over the media’s eyes on the Iran Deal to a journalist. The media responded to the story by attacking the journalist who reported it, not Rhodes for viewing them as easily manipulated useful idiots.

The media knew that it knew nothing. And it didn’t care. It just didn’t want outsiders to know it.

What ties together the debate about Russian collusion, fake news and Fusion GPS is the implosion of the media. What were the professional reporters doing while Rhodes was manipulating the 27-year-olds? They were working at places like Fusion GPS and ‘story laundering’ narratives to the kiddies.

The media markets its investigative journalism chops even as investigative journalism no longer fits into its business model. Companies like Fusion GPS and political manipulators like Ben Rhodes step into the vacuum by covertly providing them with the core product. Much of the media is really in the business of ‘story laundering’ by rewriting talking points, smears and hit pieces from organizations like Fusion GPS.

The readers get talking points served to them without ever knowing who actually produced them. The forensic examination of the Trump dossier answered some of these questions. Hillary Clinton hired Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS hired a British former intelligence officer. And he got his material from, among other sources, a Russian intelligence officer. And they passed the material to the media and the FBI.

It took a great deal of effort, including a congressional subpoena, a national scandal and the threat of impeachment, to peel back the workings of the media and expose how the dossier sausage got made. Most packaged media stories never receive this level of scrutiny. And the media is quick to indignantly defend its lack of transparency and reliance on anonymous sources in its Trump hit pieces.

But what the current controversy really reveals is the decline and fall of the media.

The media has outsourced story generation to the shadowy underworld that produced the Trump dossier. Much as NPR outsourced its coverage of the Iran Deal to Ploughshares and the Iran Lobby in exchange for $100K. This isn’t bias in the conventional sense. It’s native advertising all the way. The media ‘rents’ space to outside interests. It rewrites their stories in the house style and runs them.

Sometimes, like NPR, there’s a financial arrangement. Other times the media gets stories that it lacks the resources and the time to generate on its own. Or access. And sometimes it’s just a political alliance.

The media is trying to cash in on the institutional legacy of the corporations that bear the old names, but have no functional resemblance to what the news business used to be. Today’s media isn’t in the news business. Its outlets report the news only to the degree that they have to. And when they do, they rely on viral stories or rewriting an original report. The media’s real business is serving as a clearinghouse for narratives. These clearinghouses operate out of major urban power centers. They know next to nothing about much of the country. And they don’t care. It’s why they didn’t see Trump’s victory coming.

Trump doesn’t just outrage the media politically. He’s a threat to their business model. The media’s new business is political gatekeeping as the intermediary between political interests and the public. If you want to give Iran a blank check to develop its nukes, touch off a panic over the environment or make anthem protests into a trend, you go to the media. And then your business deal with Iran, your solar panel investments or your hijacked family foundation pushing black nationalist chic will thrive.

The existence of President Trump undermines the media’s gatekeeping powers. He is a living reminder that the media’s power is limited. That’s why he has become the media’s number one target.

The internet is the media’s other problem. Gatekeeping was easier when broadcasting was expensive and hard. The media used Trump’s victory to corral Facebook and Google, the big search and social media companies, into letting them serve as the gatekeepers of online news under the guise of fighting fake news. But the media’s fake news crusade is entirely a consequence of its own corruption.

The public turned to alternative news, both real and fake, because it doesn’t trust the media. And the Trump dossier case is more evidence that the media can’t be trusted. Everything from satire sites to Russian influence operations thrive in the alternative media space because there is no longer a consensus about truth or ethics. And it’s the media that destroyed truth and ethics in journalism.

As the media moved from biased reporting to political gatekeeping, it sharply narrowed the range of permissible opinions. Every story became an ‘ad’ for one cause or another. Fewer stories existed for their own sake. Instead each story promoted a political or cultural agenda. Even if a story was not overtly political, a political ‘advertisement’ of some kind had to be slipped in there somehow.

Most people didn’t realize that they were reading, watching and hearing a bunch of non-stop political ads disguised in a thousand different styles from reporting (“Gun Violence Strikes Again in American City) to explainers (“10 Things You Need to Know About Gun Violence”), but they found the product stifling and artificial. When everything is an ad, then nothing feels real.

The Russians were perfectly adapted to enter this space because the media had become ‘Russian’. It was a collective propaganda organ with close links to the government blasting identical content from its interchangeable outlets. As in Russia, the public instinctively distrusted the media. Different became authentic. The more different, the more authentic.

And instead of trying to regain public trust, the media decided to censor the internet.

The media wasn’t prepared for there to be a debate about the meaning of ‘fake news’. It wants the power to define what ‘news’ and ‘fake news’ are. This is not the agenda of an institution dedicated to public service, but of a cartel whose entire identity is tied up with total control over a product.

The product isn’t news. It’s narrative.

The media is a narrative cartel. Forget the five Ws of journalism, who, what, where, when and why. It isn’t interested in what happened. It wants to make certain things happen. And when you want to make things happen, you’re no longer an observer. You’re not the fifth estate. You’re one of the first two.

And so the media is in a power struggle with the White House not, as it pretends, over access, transparency or truth, but over policy. And it’s acting as a proxy in this power struggle for assorted interests, some named and some nameless, as it did with Hillary’s anti-Trump dossier.

The media is no longer a journalistic institution. It’s a political institution. It’s a component of a political infrastructure of unelected officials, bureaucracies and institutions that controls our government.

Fake news, Fusion GPS, internet censorship and all the rest are symptoms of this overriding problem.

The Russian Collusion Story: The Acme of Fake News

July 16, 2017

The Russian Collusion Story: The Acme of Fake News, American ThinkerClarice Feldman, July 16, 2017

Richard Fernandez is one of the most brilliant authors on the Internet. This week he wrote:

Conventional wisdom posits the chief challenges facing the post-Cold War World are Global Warming and the decline of international institutions. But maybe that assurance is a species of Fake News. Suppose the most pressing problems in the next decade is finding new energy supplies to 1) keep the price of oil low enough to contain Russia (and Islamism); and 2) adapting to a disruptive information revolution no one can seem to control. Who will hand you that unconventional wisdom unless you come to it yourself.

He’s right, as I explain, but the significance of his observation is this: which of the two candidates — Hillary or Trump — was more likely to tap into America’s huge energy resources to contain both Russia and the Islamists? And when you answer that as you must — Trump — you can dismiss all the folderol about Donald J. Trump Jr’s, 15 minute meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer as evidence of “collusion” with Russia.  As I further explain, the non-stop media promotion of some nefarious scheme between Russia and Trump does not pass even the most cursory forensic examination, proving once again in the age of fake news, you cannot remain a passive consumer of news. You have to bring to each story the good sense and diligence with which you handle your most important personal affairs.

A. Russia and Environmental Groups

As Fernandez explained:

The oil crash collapsed the ruble and forced a 27% reduction in the Kremlin’s military budget in 2016.  With oil prices set to stay flat the Russians have to keep drilling and investing simply to stay level as the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies notes.  The Kremlin doesn’t make any real spending money until world oil price gets above levels before the great oil crash of 2014, which may not happen any time soon.[snip] You would think this a Eureka moment: to contain oil prices is to contain Russia (and Islamism). But cheap fossil fuels are not everyone’s cup of tea.  “Drill, baby, drill” is not popular on the left.  Even though liberals understand the power of cheap energy — one of Hillary’s supposedly hacked emails even alleged anti-fracking and environmental causes were a Russian plot to depress oil production — to advocate it is bad progressive politics. This probably led the Saudis to Hillary’s camp in 2016. “According to Bob McNally, president of consulting firm Rapidan Group, countries in the oil-producing Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, are hoping for Hillary Clinton to become president.”

If you’re looking for collusion with Russia, it is not to be found in the Trump Tower meeting.  Paul Mirengoff of Powerline details the Russian efforts through environmental groups — at best Stalin’s “useful idiots” — to tamp down US energy production.

 Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science Committee, tells James Freeman of the Wall Street Journal:

If you connect the dots, it is clear that Russia is funding U.S. environmental groups in an effort to suppress our domestic oil and gas industry, specifically hydraulic fracking. They have established an elaborate scheme that funnels money through shell companies in Bermuda. This scheme may violate federal law and certainly distorts the U.S. energy market. The American people deserve to know the truth and I am confident Secretary Mnuchin will investigate the allegations.

To help Sec. Mnuchin conduct such an investigation, Rep. Smith, along with Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber, sent him a letter. They noted:

According to the former Secretary General of NATO, “Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called nongovernmental organizations – environmental organizations working against shale gas – to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas.” Other officials have indicated the same scheme is unfolding in the U.S.

Reps. Smith and Weber add that, according to public sources including a 2014 report from Republican staff on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, “entities connected to the Russian government are using a shell company registered in Bermuda, Klein Ltd. (Klein), to funnel tens of millions of dollars to a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) private foundation,” which supports various environmental groups. Klein denies this allegation.

Regardless of the conduit for the money, the allegation of funneling appears to be substantial. Indeed, says Freeman, it appears to have been noted by none other than Hillary Clinton:

If a document posted last year on WikiLeaks is to be believed, Clinton campaign staff summarized in an email attachment Hillary Clinton’s remarks on the subject during a private speech:

Clinton Talked About “Phony Environmental Groups” Funded By The Russians To Stand Against Pipelines And Fracking. “We were up against Russia pushing oligarchs and others to buy media. We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort, oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you, and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia.” [Remarks at tinePublic, 6/18/14]

Freeman suggests that Mnuchin commence his investigation by speaking with Mrs. Clinton, who “obviously knows the terrain.” He also thinks John Podesta would be a useful source.

Podesta is invested in and acts for a “green energy company backed by the Russian government.”

B. The Media Has lost all Credibility, Serving as the semi-official newsroom for the Democratic Party

Just as Fernandez detailed the rise of Samizdat in Russia as the official press was uniformly distrusted, the growth on alternate media in the U.S. is disrupting the old news models .

Our trust hierarchies have collapsed. As with Soviet Russia, the “official” media sources are now distrusted as purveyors “fake news”.  To fill the gap a peer-to-peer grapevine, similar to the “friends and family”, a samizdat is emerging to pick up the slack. Sonya Mann at Inc uses a startup to illustrate the growing division of society into trust groups. “Pax Dickinson wants to fund the revolution. Not a blood-in-the-streets revolution, but one where hardcore right-wingers can economically secede from the parts of society they vehemently dislike. “We need parallel everything. I do not want to ever have to spend a single dollar at a non-movement business.

Nothing so illustrates why the media has  deservedly lost all credibility than it’s unending, overdone effort to fit any action on the part of the President or those around him into a narrative of Russia somehow colluding with him to defeat Hillary. This week’s take was the short meeting his son held with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower last summer.

The clearest summary of the facts surrounding the meeting with Trump’s son last summer is to be found in The American Spectator.  Scott McKay writes:

[Natalia] Veselnitskaya’s  [The Russian lawyer’s] presence in the United States alone ought to be the source of suspicion that not only is the Trump-Russian collusion narrative suspect in this case but that the real inquiry ought to be into whether the encounter was a small part of a larger attempt to trap the Trump campaign.

The Russian lawyer wasn’t even supposed to be here. She had been denied a visa for entry into the United States in late 2015, but given a rather extraordinary “parole” by the federal government to assist preparation for a client subject to asset forfeiture by the Justice Department. That was in January. The client was Prevezon Holdings, a Russian company suspected of having been paid some portion of $230 million stolen by Russian mobsters. When Sergey Magnitsky a Russian lawyer representing a company that had been the victim of the theft, reported it to authorities in Moscow he was promptly jailed and beaten to death. The American response to this atrocity was the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which sanctioned several individuals connected to human rights abuses. The Russian government retaliated by preventing American adoptions of Russian children.

But in June, she was permitted to fly back to the U.S., have the meeting with Trump Junior  —  at Trump Tower, no less  —  and then end up in the front row for a congressional hearing involving testimony from a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, then turning up at a D.C. showing of a documentary film on the negative effects of the Magnitsky Act, and later appearing at a dinner involving Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and former Rep. Ron Dellums (D-CA) who is now a lobbyist for the Russians. The repeal of that legislation is a priority item for the Russians and a personal project of Veselnitskaya’s; it, rather than any Clinton dirt, was reportedly the primary subject brought forth at the meeting with Donald Trump Jr.

All of this without a visa! Not to mention Veselnitskaya didn’t file a FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) document before acting as a lobbyist for a foreign entity, as required by law. Neither, apparently, did Dellums. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote a fascinating letterTuesday to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking them to please find out what in the hell Veselnitskaya was doing in this country last June.

And further, it turns out Veselnitskaya was connected to Fusion GPS, the Democrat opposition research firm which employed a former British spy who used Russian contacts to produce the infamous and debunked Pee Pee Dossier smearing Trump. Veselnitskaya hired Fusion GPS head Glenn Simpson to work on behalf of Prevezon, the company she was allowed into the country to represent, in its efforts to repeal the Magnitsky Act. Fusion then hired Christopher Steele, the British spy who drew on Russian sources to produce that dossier, and made him available for private briefings on the dossier with left-leaning media sources such as Mother Jones, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo! News, the New Yorkerand CNN in September.

Naturally, John McCain is involved  —  if that fact should produce his resignation, all of this will have been worth it.

By the way, there is Veselnitskaya’s social media account, which is decidedly more aligned with the Fusion GPS side of this equation than the Trump side.

And the meeting came about largely due to hyped-up promises made by a publicist for a Russian pop star who was connected to the Trump family from the Miss Universe pageant having been held in Moscow in 2013  —  promises which don’t appear to have been fulfilled. If this whole thing doesn’t look like an old-fashioned dangle to you, then you haven’t watched enough spy movies.

If timelines are interesting to you, there is this  —  reportedly, the Obama administration sought permission to electronically monitor Trump Tower in early June, and the FISA court would not grant it. But in October, that warrant was given. [snip]

And once that meeting  —  which on its surface was a waste of everyone’s time  —  was had, the Obama administration now had something to sell to the FISA court to get that warrant  —  from which they snagged Mike Flynn and gave the Democrat party and the media a mechanism to shroud the Trump administration in what can best be described as a rather dubious scandal. Remember how Hillary Clinton was accusing Trump of being a Putin’s puppet at the October 19 debate?

C. Donald J Trump’s son had every reason to believe that there was evidence of Hillary’s collusion with Russia

If this seems farfetched, consider this Veselnitskaya  was barred from entry to the US until Loretta Lynch granted her an excedptional “immigration parole” to appear in a judicial proceeding; a federal judge considered — but we can find no ruling — her motion  on January 6, 2016,to extend her stay by a week, and then  with no explanation of how this occurred, she was back in the US on June of that year  where she met with Donald J Trump Jr and attended as a front row guest a Congressional hearing on the Magnitsky act which imposed sanctions on Russia.

To add a dash of extra color to the story the media reported that with the lawyer was a “former Russian counter intelligence officer”, Rinat Akhmetshin.  He denies this.

“I am an American citizen since 2009 who pays taxes, earned his citizenship after living here since 1994, and swore an oath of loyalty to the United States of America,”

Kayleigh McEnany in The Hill characterized this as a “conspiracy theory desperately in earch of evidence”.

Bill Clinton had given a $500,000 speech in Russia.  Clinton had given her approval in handing one-fifth of U.S. uranium to Russia, after which her foundation received $2.35 million from the Russian-controlled company.  Suspiciously, Clinton did not disclose the transaction.

Likewise, Clinton campaign chief John Podesta sat on the board of a company that received $35 million from the Russian government alongside fellow board members Anatoly Chubais, a senior Russian official, and Ruben Vardanyan, an oligarch.

Given this context, why wouldn’t Trump Jr. be open to taking a meeting that offered evidence of incriminating Clinton dealings with Russia, particularly when most of the media refused to look into Clinton’s question-raising actions?[snip] We likewise know that several foreign countries known for their human rights violations  —  like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Brunei, and Algeria  —  donated millions to the Clinton foundation, and yet few publications construed their “support” in a negative way.

Taken together, the micro story of Donald Trump Jr. seeking opposition research  —  much like Clinton allies did in their dealings with the Ukrainian government  —  does nothing in the way of proving the macro allegation that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia in hacking the DNC and releasing Clinton’s illegally obtained emails.

The American people see through this leftist-purveyed Russia conspiracy theory.  That’s why a full 56 percent want Congress and the media to focus on real issues, not Russia.  If the left continues to concoct Russian collusion evidence, they can fully expect for the 2018 congressional elections to look a lot like the special elections in Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, and Georgia  —  Republican victory.  Voters dismiss the salacious in favor of solutions, and as of now, the left have nothing besides an evidence-free smear campaign.

In any event, isn’t it curious that those who claim to consider a meeting to listen to opposition research, bought hook line and sinker the ridiculous-on-its-face Dossier concted by GPS against Trump, a far more likely piece of Russian intel disinformation? Or why they ignore DNC officials meeting with Ukrainian government officials for dirt on then Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Politico detailed the many ways the Ukrainians worked to help Hillary beat Trump.  As you might guess, they indicated these efforts were “far less concerted or centrally directed than Russia’s alleged hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails.” Covering with the word “alleged” a smear without any evidence but for the mutterings of Crowdstrike, a private outfit which was the only investigation the DNC allowed , a misstep by the Comey FBI which let this pass.

In any event, Legal commentators on both sides of the aisle have confirmed there was nothing illegal about the meeting.   I suppose we can’t expect much more of a press corps so stupid it mistakes the Star Spangled Banner for France’s La Marseillaise, and Bastille Day for the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. entry in WW I.

You’ll just have to work harder in the face of such ignorance and bias to find out what you need to know.

The Media is the Greatest Enemy of a Free Press

July 3, 2017

The Media is the Greatest Enemy of a Free Press, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, July 3, 2017

Americans, from the government to the streets, must make it clear that there is no fourth branch of government. Only when the media cartel has been broken, can a free press rise once again.

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The media finally found its hero.

The hero was Brian Karem, the sweaty, surly and unshaven correspondent for Playboy, who whined that Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, the Deputy White House Press Secretary, was “bullying” the abused media.

Vox dubbed Karem “heroic” for defending “CNN’s honor.” The media’s “honor” has fallen so low that it needs defending by the red light district. If the media’s honor gets any lower, its honor will need an assist from the Mafia, Mexican drug cartels, NAMBLA and the Toxic Waste Association of America.

Karem claimed to be inspired by the tantrums of CNN’s Jim Acosta. CNN was particularly upset by the White House denying the network the precious video that it needs to show off its latest Trump attacks.

Off-camera briefings are a good start. Off-media briefings would be even better.

Under the illiterate headline, “We Stood Up to the Administration Today Because Free Press is Crucial,” Karem wrote at Playboy, “The administration supports the First Amendment – just not the people who practice it.”

And the only people entitled to practice the First Amendment, according to the media, own the media. They don’t need to know basic grammar. They don’t need to have their facts right. They just need to be part of huge media conglomerates with left-wing politics whose mission is attacking conservatives.

What got Karem’s goat (and the goats of the rest of the media herd) was that Sanders had given the first question to Breitbart. And conservative sites are not entitled to the protections of the First Amendment.

A free press is crucial. And when the White House fights for a free press by diversifying the press corps, it’s upholding the spirit of a free press that the media cartel is fighting to kill.

The entire “Fake News” outcry that Karem and the rest of his “honorable” colleagues in the media are whining about began with a media plot to censor conservative sites on social media for “Fake News.”

Why does the media believe that Playboy, but not Breitbart or the Daily Caller, have a right to be heard?

“I don’t like the entire institution of the press and free speech being castigated,” Brian Karem wheedled. “The foundation of a free republic is a free press.”

The media has reached rock bottom when a porn magazine’s correspondent starts claiming to be foundation of a free republic.

And when the media enthusiastically agrees.

The foundation of a free republic is free people. Free people have the right to say what they please. They can do it on social media, at a political protest or in the pages of a newspaper. Freedom doesn’t begin and end with the media cartel. Even though the media cartel would like nothing better.

“We can’t take the bullying anymore. It’s undermining the fourth estate, it’s undermining the first amendment,” the Playboy correspondent whined elsewhere.

America isn’t supposed to have a Fourth Estate. That’s France. But that’s what the media is. It’s not a free press. It’s a cartel that leverages control over what was once the free press. Few conservatives are allowed into its ranks. Its partisan mission is to support the left and oppose the right.

The First Amendment gives the media the freedom to do it. Not the institutional authority.

It’s the media that has zero respect for the First Amendment. Its contempt for the religious freedoms of the First Amendment is notorious. But its hostility for the free press is a more recent innovation.

The media has viciously fought the White House’s effort to diversify the press corps by bringing in conservative media. Karem’s tantrum was an outgrowth of that larger battle. Its push for “fact checks” is a cynical effort to embed censorship of conservative media outlets into Facebook and Google News. The media is the greatest enemy of a free press. And it should be treated that way.

It’s an unelected and illegitimate fourth branch of government backed by a handful of powerful interests that insists on setting the national agenda, determining who gets elected and impeaching them if the voters disagree. That is the coup that the fourth branch is busy trying to pull on President Trump.

And the media insists on determining who gets to belong to it. Playboy, yes. Breitbart, DailyCaller and Front Page Magazine, no. Playboy is a heroic defender of the media’s “honor.” Conservative sites must be censored so all that the media deems “Fake News” doesn’t undermine its political agenda.

But the media doesn’t get to decide who can belong to a free press. And what news is fake.

President Trump, Sarah Sanders Huckabee and others have called out the media as “Fake News.” And that outrages the media cartel because it challenges its institutional authority.

The media’s institutional authority shouldn’t just be challenged, it must be broken.

A free press is open to everyone. The media is a closed cartel. A free press has a diversity of opinions. The media has only one. A free press is a dialogue. The media silences dissent, from individuals to conservative outlets. A free press does not attempt to usurp democracy. That is the entire purpose of the media cartel. It manufactures an artificial consensus through mass communications propaganda.

The internet has made the media irrelevant. It also killed the very last of its ethics and journalistic integrity. All that remains are a network of partisan left-wing sites trailed by dead tree paper and dead cable outlets integrated into one heaving mess that connects CNN to ESPN to Playboy to Teen Vogue.

The media cartel is a network of money and power. This illegitimate network intersects with other institutional left-wing networks in the non-profit sector, the political sector, the academic sector and many others. Each network is a thread in a spider web that is choking the life out of this nation. And at the center sit the radical spiders that pull all the strings.

The obscene efforts of the media cartel to wrap itself in the tattered shrouds of the First Amendment are as disgusting as a man who murdered his parents begging the court to have mercy on an orphan.

The media is waging a ruthless campaign to censor its opponents under the guise of “Fake News”. Yet it plays the victim when it is criticized (rather than censored) for the dishonest lies of its partisan agenda.

It has made war on the Constitution. It rejects some parts of the Bill of Rights entirely. It is now engaged in a gargantuan effort to reverse the results of a national election. And when it is called out for its abuses of power, it contends that to criticize it is to undermine the foundation of a free republic.

How can you possibly have a free republic without CNN, MSNBC and the Washington Post? But a better question might be, how can you have a free republic when a leftist media cartel is running it?

The government should not privilege a media cartel or confuse its arrogance with authority.

Off-camera briefings should become off-media briefings. Media outlets that want to act like campus crybullies should be booted. Dot coms that clamor for Net Neutrality but then use media “fact checks” to censor conservative competitors should be called out for their partisan hypocrisy.

The White House’s battle against the media cartel is the best defense of the First Amendment.

Americans, from the government to the streets, must make it clear that there is no fourth branch of government. Only when the media cartel has been broken, can a free press rise once again.

Why James O’Keefe Is a More Honest Journalist than the MSM

June 29, 2017

Why James O’Keefe Is a More Honest Journalist than the MSM, PJ MediaRoger L. Simon, June 28, 2017

The rap on James O’Keefe — whose latest bombshell caught CNN’s quasi-Marxist star pundit Van Jones with his well-tailored pants down — is that his Project Veritas videos are “unfairly edited.”

I have news for O’Keefe’s critics. All videos (and films) are basically unfairly edited, as Sergei Eisenstein and the early Soviet directors demonstrated a hundred years ago. It’s the nature of the medium. Some things get left out and others put in.

Nevertheless, the video or movie camera is a recording device. On close examination, looked at specifically, the actual photographs and recordings finally don’t lie, juxtapose them how you will. Van Jones did say “Russia is a nothingburger!” The network’s John Bonifield did call CNN’s Russia narrative “bullsh$t” concocted for the money. The repellent lady from Planned Parenthood did offer to sell fetal parts. The equally repellent Democratic Party operatives did instigate violent demonstrations at Trump rallies to make the candidate’s supporters look like thugs. O’Keefe himself did walk back and forth undeterred across the Rio Grande from Mexico to the USA dressed as Osama bin Laden to show the pathetic level of our border security.

I could go on. There are many more, including examples unmasking the shibboleths of voter registration, but the point is obvious. Despite some selective editing (but not any that materially alters the facts) and sometimes overly portentous music (why bother when you have the goods?), what James O’Keefe reports is true. It happened.

Because they so often rely on leaks — no photographs, videos or anything like them, often nothing concrete at all — what the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and so many others (even the front pages of the Wall Street Journal, alas) report is very often, one is tempted to say most often, either a distortion or an outright lie. This is particularly true when what they are reporting has political relevance — and so much does.

If not the root cause — that’s uncontrolled and unacknowledged bias — this excessive reliance on leaks has seriously exacerbated the precipitous decline of the mainstream media. For much of our media, leaks are an opium-like drug that clouds their thinking and to which they are literally addicted. They are waiting for the phone to ring like the junkie is waiting for his next fix. That the leakers all have motivations of their own, known and/or unknown, yet are able to remain anonymous to the public, makes what they leak almost de facto dubious and unreliable, in fact dangerous (as well as illegal, obviously).

Yet the MSM reporters gobble them up, eager to scoop their competitors and at the same time — much like overweight, self-satisfied picadors — weaken Trump and his administration for the final kill, doing, in their own eyes anyway, good works while advancing their careers.

O’Keefe has revealed them to be fools, remarkably unsophisticated in their response to his revelations. (Jeff Zucker, et al., looked like dimwits walking into the most obvious trap by dismissing Bonifield as a mere “medical” producer with the famous Van Jones already queued up for humiliation.)  At this point, only the most naive believe what the MSM says. CNN is already a joke, but the NYT, WaPo, etc. are not far behind. We are all reading Pravda now.

Ironically, Woodward and Bernstein are responsible for a lot of this. They made a giant success off leaks, turning journalists into culture heroes (really false gods) to be portrayed by Redford and Hoffman in the movies. Generations of aspiring journalists sought to follow in their footsteps — to be these false gods. Only there was no there there. No Nixon to upend. So they turned Trump into the New Nixon and manufactured a crime to go along with it.

W & B also inadvertently encouraged a new kind of leaker that is endemic today. Call him or her the “score settler,” a loathsome character lurking in the bowels of the Deep State or intelligence agencies, a remnant of the previous administration, who thinks his or her reasons for telling a partial, misleading truth are justified, are for the public good, when they are almost invariably only for their own good or some supposed ideological good they wish to impose regardless of the wishes of the voters in a democracy. (These are both often enmeshed.)

This created an extreme, almost pathological, will-to-believe the leakers on the part of the MSM as illustrated by the recent firings (sorry, “resignations”) of three CNN employees in the face of a $100M lawsuit. One of these credulous employees, Eric Lichtblau, was once a Pulitzer Prize winner at the New York Times.

Woodward, to his credit, seems to have recognized how extreme the situation has become. He chided the NYT today, saying, “Fair-mindedness is essential.” His own paper, under Bezos, has become even worse. But never mind. Give him credit for a half-truth. (By the way, CNN’s Jeff Zucker is a working stiff compared to Jeff Bezos. What’s Bezos’ excuse?)

But more importantly — it’s over. Well, if not over, a new, positive rung has been reached. The MSM, as we knew it, is, if not destroyed, seriously wounded.  They are — channeling a phrase from the Vietnam Era — a “pitiful, helpless giant.”  The work begun in 2004 when many of us spoke out against Dan Rather’s deceitful promulgation of the forged Bush National Guard papers on “Sixty Minutes” has, thanks to O’Keefe and others, not to mention the irrationality of the MSM itself, finally reached a critical mass. If only Andrew Breitbart were here to see it.

Celebrate for ten seconds. But as another of the original group, Glenn Reynolds, keeps reminding us — don’t get cocky.

Leakers and Journalists Are Destroying Our Republic

May 26, 2017

Leakers and Journalists Are Destroying Our Republic, PJ MediaRoger L. Simon, May 25, 2017

(Please see also, Alan Dershowitz: Civil Liberties Threatened With Kushner Probe. Is there a “probe,” if so, what is it about and is Kushner a target? –DM)

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Points of focus that pertain to Kushner include: the Trump campaign’s 2016 data analytics operation; his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn; and Kushner’s own contacts with Russians, according to US officials [ i. e. leakers] briefed on the probe.
There is no indication Kushner is currently a target of the probe and there are no allegations he committed any wrongdoing. [bolds mine]

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Leakers and journalists are tied together like drug dealers and junkies.

Unfair analogy?  Maybe a bit, but people who live “respectable middle-class lives” can be just as dangerous, more dangerous, ultimately, than the murderous El Chapos of the world and that’s pretty bad. Only the other day some U.S. intel people or person leaked to the New York Times about the Manchester terrorist, causing news to be reported that could have instigated more Islamist child murders.

We have an epidemic of leaking in our society unlike anything I have seen in my lifetime. It’s approaching Plague level — but with no vaccine in sight.

The latest, at this typing, is that Jared Kushner is under investigation by the FBI.  Here’s the headline at CNN of an article signed by no less than four authors (it takes a village) –Evan Perez, Pamela Brown, Shimon Prokupecz and Gloria Borger: “FBI Russia investigation looking at Kushner role.”

Uh-oh.

Who leaked that and what did they tell them about the president’s son-in-law? Has Jared been selling us out to Putin?  It certainly sounds that way.

Well, not really. Look no further than the second and third paragraph and you discover:

Points of focus that pertain to Kushner include: the Trump campaign’s 2016 data analytics operation; his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn; and Kushner’s own contacts with Russians, according to US officials [ i. e. leakers] briefed on the probe.

There is no indication Kushner is currently a target of the probe and there are no allegations he committed any wrongdoing. [bolds mine]

In other words, there’s no there there other than leaks that continue to pour out, even after the installation of the supposedly confidential investigation by Special Counsel Mueller. How repellent and, frankly, illegal is that? Has Mueller launched a leak probe of his own? He should.

For its part, CNN (as a kind of low-rent, ineffectual  Pravda)  is just cooperating in a smear job that was apparently instigated by their colleagues at frequent leak conduit NBC.  They are joined by The Hill, which, almost simultaneously, tweeted: “Jared under FBI scrutiny in Trump-Russia investigation: report.”  Note the weasel word —  report.

How would you describe these denizens of the Fourth Estate capable of this sort of sleazy behavior? ” Schmucks with Underwoods,” as was said of screenwriters in the old days of Warner Brothers? In this case, of course, the schmucks have laptops. (In those old Warner days, writers like Faulkner and Fitzgerald populated the studios.  Haven’t seen anywhere near that level of talent at  The Hill and CNN or anywhere in our media of late. But perhaps I missed something.)

So these great literary geniuses — the scions of Woodward and Bernstein (aka people who can pick up the phone) — and the leakers have a co-dependent relationship, both convincing themselves that what they are doing is for the betterment of humanity. (That’s what Hans Vaihinger called the Philosophy of As If.)  Of course, the leakers, assuming they are from our intelligence agencies, have all signed contracts swearing up and down  not to do the very thing they have done, in some cases, in all probability, multiple times. Moreover — in their putative attempt to “save the republic” (or their own jobs or get vengeance) — we have no idea whether they are telling the truth, a half-truth or no truth at all about what they are leaking. Or whether the journalists are reporting those leaks with even a modicum of accuracy.  That’s how thoroughly these symbiotic morally narcissistic partners believe in their own “goodness” and how little they really care about what the American people think or do.

So what do we do about this state of affairs in a democratic republic, assuming we are serious about having one?

Quite simply, the leakers need to go to jail with the proverbial key thrown away.  That is the only way this leaking will stop and it must stop. Prosecutions should have started months ago.  It’s hard to understand why it’s taken so long. Let’s hope we have indictments soon.  Like tomorrow.

Regarding journalists, they need an entirely new code of ethics. Unfortunately, any reader of Evelyn Waugh (not to mention anybody with a pulse) knows just how unlikely that is. It’s high time for the consumers of news to fight back tooth and nail. Anytime we see or hear the term “anonymous source” or someone “authorized to speak” only confidentially, something so common now there’s almost no reporting without it, often six or seven instances within one article or broadcast, we should simply turn off the television or throw the newspaper into the garbage, never to buy another copy.  If you’re reading it on the Internet, just click off.  You could say that’s propaganda, not journalism.  But it’s not even good propaganda.  It’s junk, information pollution, worse than 1970s smog. It also lowers your IQ five points every time you’re exposed.  You don’t need it.

And if you ever see or hear the word “Russia” again,  feel free to run screaming from the room like the subject in an Edvard Munch painting.<