The Media is enabling the Trump cultists with their war propaganda

Last Thursday evening, Trump ordered the assassination of the commander of Iran’s Quds Force Maj. Gen. Qassem Solemani. Following the attack, many Fox false news figures heaped absolute praise on Trump’s decision to commit an act of war.

The war fervor escalated further on Friday when Fox host and Trump adviser Sean Hannity fantasized about a further strike inside Iran which would (somehow) prompt Iranians to overthrow their government. (same crap he said about Iraq) Hannity also told Trump to disregard rules of engagement and to “bomb the living hell” out of Iran. A day later, Trump threatened to do exactly that.

Mainstream outlets run with Trump propaganda statements on Iran which are later seriously undermined.

Later Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the rounds, but the hosts of the five major Sunday news shows fell short in questioning and pushing Pompeo in two major ways.

As Pompeo seemingly pivoted away from the claim that Soleimani presented an imminent threat to the U.S. following reports that the administration greatly exaggerated intelligence, the hosts failed to press him on the exact nature of intelligence the administration claimed to have.

Pompeo was also not challenged when he consistently blamed the Obama administration and specifically the Iran nuclear deal (also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) for actions that Iran has taken since Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement.

Again major mainstream news outlets continued to unquestionably repeat the Trump administration’s purported justification for the attack in their headlines. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted on Twitter an overarching justification for the strike, saying it warded off “imminent threats to American lives.” (no proof has been offered)

CNN, USA Today, The New York Times, Axios, ABC News, and The Hill all put Pompeo’s claim into a headline. Multiple pundits on all cable news channels said that they had no reason to doubt the administration’s claims. (WTF!)

And yet, less than a day later, that bogus claim collapsed. New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi found that the justification was “razor-thin.” According to emerging reporting, the Iraqi Prime Minister has said that Soleimani was on a diplomatic mission to meet with him regarding a Saudi attempt to de-escalate tensions in the region.

The facts are still not settled, but that’s even more reason to not take seriously the word of the Trump administration and Pompeo, who are known liars.

Recent revelations that government officials lied about the Afghanistan War underscore that the media should be aggressively skeptical about war against Iran.

Don’t forget what Trump and Fox said about Obama and Iran: Trump repeatedly spoke with Fox personalities at the time about how Obama would start a war with Iran in order to get re-elected. He made similar claims in a video he posted to his website. In response to Trump, Sean Hannity said that would be “the single most chilling abuse of power in American history.”

Meet the Press doesn’t disclose guest talking about Iran is Lockheed Martin board member

Jeh Johnson, who was secretary of homeland security under President Barack Obama, appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press to discuss President Donald Trump ordering the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Neither Johnson nor host Chuck Todd disclosed that Johnson is a board member of defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which reportedly paid him over $300,000 in 2018 alone.

Right-wing media already accusing Democrats who question Trump of being aligned with Iran

On Friday, several Fox personalities accused Democrats critical of the decision the kill Solemani of being aligned with Iran. On Fox and Friends the morning after the attack, retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata expressed offense that Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) had called America’s targeted killing of Soleimani an “assassination,” accused Murphy of “jumping on the side of Iran,” and complained that “Democrats will support, you know, Hamas, or Hezbollah, or Iran” over American and Donald Trump. Trump himself retweeted a claim from far-right pundit Dinesh D’Souza comparing Sen. minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to Iranians.

 

edited from Media Matters

The social media rumor mill is out of control, time to check it before it wrecks us

 

Korean Central News Agency or FOX which is worst, or are they the same?

DPRK’s (North Korea) state-controlled media (KCNA) has praised the weekend meeting between dictator Kim Jong-un and US Tyrant Donald Trump as a “historic” event.

But North Korea’s propaganda outlets are not the only ones offering effusive praise for the meeting. Many of Trump’s conservative allies in the media have hailed the meeting as well.

Comedy Central’s The Daily Show on Monday tweeted out a video in which they mashed up clips from Fox News and Fox Business with clips from The DPRK.

“This is something that many analysts and pundits thought was totally impossible,” Fox News pundit Jeanine Pirro says in the video, followed by a North Korean broadcaster using eerily similar language.

From Raw Story

This is something that we thought was totally impossible and that we would never see in this country, but here we are.

George Orwell called it back in 1949

Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic, whose work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism

Extremely poignant quotes:

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

Welcome to the land of Tyrant Trump

Everyone able and willing to distinguish facts from lies has witnessed Trump’s brazen cover-up of Russia’s attack. He has never named or denounced the aggressor, while depicting the investigators as traitors who used a hoax to attempt a coup.

As November 3, 2020 approaches, Trump ignores calls to defend the elections and fails to confront Russia, inviting more cyber-sabotage on his behalf. What if he loses nonetheless? Consider a playscript whose author casts himself as defender of the nation against the “globalist elite” and their “deep state” henchmen. In Act I, he miraculously outwits their attempt to rig the 2016 election; in Act II he thwarts their attempted coup. Act III completes the plot, as the Democrats manage to fake a 2020 victory, only to face a resolute President who—having forewarned of a final deep state conspiracy to regain power—announces a state of emergency.

Better outcomes are possible, but inaction based on rosy predictions invites deepening danger. Time is passing, as it did in the weeks following President Obama’s discovery of Russia’s attack, and as it did while we waited for Mueller. Investigators continue to investigate what they already know. The Republican conscience does not stir. The Republican base is unmoved. The “investigation” of the investigators begins. The “coup plot” reverberates across cable news and Twitter. We watch—or don’t—an unfolding illustration of Orwell’s “plain, unmistakable facts being shirked by people who in another part of their minds are aware of those facts.”

Devoted to preserving human liberty, Orwell probed democracy’s vulnerabilities. In Animal Farm he depicted naïve disbelief in the face of step-by-step descents into despotism; in a 1940 review of Mein Kampf, he showed how ordinary people surrender freedom willingly; in 1984 he depicted how authoritarian control can be strengthened by technologies of mass communication and surveillance.

Orwell did not live to witness the liberal complacency that set in following defeat of the 20th century’s totalitarian movements. Nor could Orwell have imagined the new dangers posed by the cyberage. The treasonous implications of presidential indifference to Pearl Harbor or 9/11 would have been obvious to all.  Our “cyber-Pearl Harbor,” by contrast, inflicted grave damage invisibly and non-violently, enabling its perpetrator and chief beneficiary—Putin and Trump—to deny its occurrence. Demagogic big lies can now metastasize through the body politic with lightning speed.

We struggle to understand this latest rise of authoritarian nationalism, envisioning policies that will progressively drive such movements back to humanity’s dark margins. But first we must remove a particular enemy from his position as the most powerful man on earth.

When freedom’s heartland was last endangered, FDR did not await favorable opinion polls to affirm—against the original “America First” movement—that America must fight to defeat fascism. Nor did Winston Churchill, though long ignored, refrain from insisting that his country face the Nazi danger. Those leaders matched Hitler’s faith in the “triumph of the will” with an even fiercer will to defend the liberal democracies.

Today, with America’s “bully pulpit” in the hands of a demagogue, defenders of our 230-year-old Constitution have to win for themselves the constant struggle to face what is in front of their noses. Aware citizens must stand up to insist that aiding and abetting a foreign attack, and depicting as traitors those who rise to “the common defense,” are high crimes that must be stopped and punished. Democratic leaders will not find their voice, nor Republicans awaken to the truth, until they sense the rising tide of mobilized American patriotism.

The test we face is to stop “shirking” in the face of “obvious and inalterable” facts, to focus fearlessly on the danger rather than allow a parade of doubts and distractions to displace what is “in front of one’s nose.” From 1776 to the fall of the Berlin Wall, believers in human freedom and democratic self-governance have known when to shrug off setbacks and summon their will. That time is now.

edited from History News Network David Goldfischer via Raw Story

 

The Fox News all-out war on AOC means they’re really afraid of her, as they should be

Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York

Over the weekend, Fox News published a story (3/17/19) on a recent Gallup poll that asked the public about their opinions on Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The headline claimed that her unfavorable rating had “skyrocketed”—rising 15 points since last September—and that “most people” now viewed her negatively.

In doing so, the network committed two notable journalistic sins—one of commission and one of omission. First, the headline itself was a “sloppy falsehood”, as the Gallup poll from February only found a plurality of the public (41 percent vs. 31 percent)—and not a majority, or “most people”—rating Ocasio-Cortez unfavorable rather than favorable.

But second—and more importantly—the story conveniently left out the key role that Fox News itself has played in damaging the public reputation of the Congress member, thanks to a relentless propaganda campaign over the past six months. It’s a chilling case study in the self-fulfilling nature of the right-wing messaging machine.

Ever since her shocking primary upset of Democratic Party fixture Rep. Joe Crowley last fall in New York’s 14th District, Ocasio-Cortez has drawn the white-hot spotlight of the press. Young, outspoken, and, at times, unfiltered or imprecise, the representative has quickly built a national presence after only a few months in office, thanks in part to her push for unapologetically big and uncompromisingly progressive platforms, like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. In addition, she’s become a media phenomenon thanks to her massive social media following, which has in turn spawned numerous ham-handed attempts by conservatives to attack her online, which consistently backfire.

Conventional right-wing media outlets don’t bother with engaging her directly, however. As her profile has risen, so too have their concerted attempts to target her with unflattering, distorted coverage. And perhaps no place in the conservative media firmament is as obsessed with tracking Ocasio-Cortez as Fox News. Her name appears so frequently on the network, in fact, that she even has her own keyword tag to allow online readers to follow their coverage.

Fox News also has keyword tags for two other outspoken freshman female Democrats in Congress, Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib—both of who are practicing Muslims and are also strongly in favor of policies like the Green New Deal. So it’s a not-so-subtle signal about Fox News’ institutional assessment of threats to conservatism that it gives the same organizational treatment to three young, newly elected women of color as it does for the Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and the Democratic Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer.

This kind of audience guide is admittedly necessary when your news organization is executing a non-stop propaganda campaign. In the 134 days since Election Day, Ocasio-Cortez’s name appeared in 1,173 separate stories on Fox News alone. Even if many of those stories referenced her only tangentially, that still adds up hundreds upon hundreds of stories or segments focused squarely on her. (This sensationalistic stalking has not gone unnoticed by Ocasio-Cortez, who jokingly calls the network “AOC TMZ”—”no offense to TMZ.”)

To be clear, bird-dogging a politician’s policies or rhetoric is fair game if the motivation is to hold him or her accountable. But even a cursory perusal of Fox News’ output finds that an overwhelming majority are not good-faith efforts at accountability. Instead, they are intentionally framed to fearmonger or distort Ocasio-Cortez’s policies, if not heap contempt and insults on her personally. Since many Fox News viewers are already psychologically primed to disbelieve, if not outright disdain Democrats, the cumulative effect of a campaign of this magnitude is utterly predictable: Many Republicans who had never heard of Ocasio-Cortez before the midterm elections have now absorbed and accepted Fox News’ incessant denunciations of her.

To see a microcosm of how the right-wing messaging congealed around—and against—Ocasio-Cortez, consider Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson’s own personal journey. Just days after the midterm election (11/14/18), he was on-air sheepishly admitting Ocasio-Cortez “has a very good point” in her criticism of the unfair aspects of the New York/Amazon deal.

Three months later, however, there was little interest in making common cause with her left-wing populism. Instead, Carlson (2/13/19) could be found mocking her as a “screechy moron” and a “theocrat,” while fueling conspiracy theories that she would use the Green New Deal to give “control of the entire US economy to the Democratic Party.” And this kind of vicious, unhinged coverage is the rule, not the exception.

During just the past week, for example, Fox News has run more than three dozen separate stories or video segments focused on or referencing Ocasio-Cortez—an average of more than five a day. By comparison, the network had just 21 similar stories listed under its Nancy Pelosi tag during the same period.

Below is just a sampling of the “straight news” coverage of Ocasio-Cortez on Fox News this week:

AOC Draws Ire Ripping ‘Your Thoughts and Prayers’ After Christchurch Mosque Shootings (3/15/19)

Former Adviser: Reagan Would Be ‘Angry’ Over Ocasio-Cortez’s Insuration [sic] He Was Racist (3/13/19)

Company Founded by Ocasio-Cortez in 2012 Still Owes $1,870 in Taxes (3/10/19)

The opinion programming on Fox (and Fox Business News) during the past week is if anything even more relentless and less subtle:

Ocasio-Cortez’s Ignorance Proves Admissions Fraud Is the Symptom, Not Cause, of America’s Education Crisis (3/16/19)

Ocasio-Cortez Again Proves She’s Clueless on Economics (3/15/19)

Stuart Varney: Ocasio-Cortez Is So Far Out of Line That She Must Surely Be a ‘Bubble’ (3/14/19)

John Stossel: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Pushes Tax Myths That Will Bring Economic Disaster (3/13/19)

Puzder: AOC Doesn’t Know What Socialism, Capitalism Are (3/13/19)

Former Greenpeace Official: Green New Deal Is Completely Crazy (3/12/19)

Fox News is, of course, far from alone here. Ocasio-Cortez has now supplanted Nancy Pelosi as the go-to bogeyman and punching bag for the conservative press, no matter how absurd the depths they must sink to to make it so. (One standout example: a long, rambling March 2 New York Post hit piece that bashed Ocasio-Cortez for hypocrisy because she a) rides in cars and planes, and b) failed to compost a sweet potato peel and threw away two plastic garbage bags in an Instagram cooking video.)

But there is a payoff—and the Gallup poll is the manifestation of Fox News’ successful propaganda campaign. For, in this latest poll, only 22 percent of Republicans now had no opinion or hadn’t heard of Ocasio-Cortez, a mark notably lower than the 32 percent of independents and 29 percent of those from her own party who said the same. Last fall, Gallup (10/5/18) found 43 percent of Republicans had no opinion.

Tellingly, the number of Republicans who rated her unfavorably increased by 21 percentage points—from 52 percent to 73 percent—which happens to be the exact same percentage of Republicans who formed an opinion of her between the fall and winter. That is some powerful convergence.

Fox News wasn’t alone in effectively erasing those who like Ocasio-Cortez. The CNN write-up (3/16/19)  of the Gallup poll used a clickbaity headline—“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Polls Like Donald Trump: Poorly”—that failed to acknowledge that members of Congress generally fare poorly in nationwide polling. Another pundit’s summation of the poll, which the congressmember herself called out on Twitter (and which has since been deleted), offered a telling bit of demographic gerrymandering around who counts as the default to the press: “AOC is underwater with every group except women, nonwhites and 18–34-year-olds.” This works out to “everyone”—meaning white men 35 and older—being roughly one-fifth of the adult population.

And because Ocasio-Cortez’s net fav/unfav ratings fell slightly among independents and rose by a net 8 percentage points among Democrats, the Gallup poll’s result stands as a proxy for the effectiveness of right-wing partisan branding. Or, as the Gallup survey notes, “The fact that Republicans are more likely to have an opinion of her than Democrats helps explain her overall net-negative rating.”

That inconvenient truth, not surprisingly, never made it into this weekend’s Fox News write-up. But the urgency behind the network’s round-the-clock anti–Ocasio-Cortez campaign shows no sign of relenting. Perhaps most especially because of one of the few, not-so-negative headlines to pierce the veil of Fox News’ propaganda back in January. And it’s worth pointing out that this story’s headline about “most voters” actually got it right this time:

From Raw Story

 

Just what we need, more online right-wing propaganda fo-news sites

Republican propagandists have been bust launching bogus local news outlets in 2020 swing states

An investigation by the fact-checking outlet Snopes found that several new local news websites are actually being launched by Republican consultants whose company is funded in part by the candidates the sites cover.

Politico first reported last year that Tea Party-linked conservative activists Michael Patrick Leahy, Steve Gill, and Christina Botteri were behind the “Tennessee Star,” a website that purported to be a local news website but mostly posted content licensed from groups linked to big Republican donors.

Snopes discovered that the trio has since launched similar sites in other battleground states ahead of the 2020 elections: the Ohio Star and the Minnesota Sun. All three claim to be the “most reliable” local newspapers in their states and provide “unbiased updates on Investigative Reports, Thoughtful Opinion, Sports, Lifestyle.”
But the coverage is hardly by “unbiased journalists.”
Gill, who is listed as the Tennessee Star’s political editor, owns a media consulting firm that at least one candidate and one political action committee paid before they received positive coverage on the website.

Snopes reported that several of the site’s writers work or have worked for PACs or political campaigns that they cover without disclosing that information. The Tennessee Star’s “investigative journalist,” Chris Butler previously worked for a PAC affiliated with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican. Two of the site’s other writers have their own PAC devoted to maintaining a Republican majority in the Tennessee state legislature. Roughly 40 percent of the other content on the sites comes from prominent conservative news sites like the Daily Caller and the Daily Signal.

In some cases, the sites are carbon copies of the Tennessee Star despite being in different states. Snopes noted that the Ohio Star recently republished a glowing “letter to the editor” titled “If You Want to Change State Politics Then Support Bill Lee for Governor.” Lee is the governor of Tennessee.

Kathleen Bartzen Culver, who heads the Center of Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told Snopes that political operatives are free to launch their own news platforms, but it’s a problem if they are trying to deceive readers into believing the sites are nonpartisan local news.

“I have no problem with advocacy organizations creating content that reinforces the positions they take on public policy issues on the left, right or center. The issue comes in when they’re not transparent about that advocacy,” Culver said. “In this case, if you have a conservative take on a policy issue and you want to promote that take, go ahead. But just claim it for what it is.”

Leahy claimed in an email to Snopes that the sites “are in business to make a profit” and make their money from ads.

But Snopes found that the websites are supported by conservative mega-donors, and many of the ads on the Tennessee Star are from groups like the Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity. Even the actual local business ads they have are for companies owned by prominent Tennessee conservative donors.

“Transparency is a critically important element in journalism,” Culver said. “When you are opaque about funding sources and their influence when you don’t disclose to readers where the money is coming from and where the conflicts of interest may be, you are robbing those people of important information that they need to judge credibility.”

The group behind the sites does not appear content with just three outlets. According to Politico, Leahy has purchased domain names associated with Missouri, New England, the Dakotas, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, most of which are electoral battleground states that will be vital in 2020.

Leahy, Gill, and Botteri are only a few of the players in the growing space. Politico reported last year that a campaign committee for Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., was funding a local news site called the California Republican, which claimed to feature “the best of US, California, and Central Valley news, sports, and analysis.”

“The information sphere is so polluted right now that the average citizen has trouble telling what is real and what is not,” Culver told Snopes. “I find that very troubling within a democracy.”

From Salon via Raw Story

 

 

 

Russian type propaganda on local US TV stations

Local television is still one of the most popular ways Americans get their news, which makes what Sinclair Broadcasting is doing seem all the more heinous. Local anchors at Sinclair stations across the country are forced to read propaganda from their corporate masters. In this case, propaganda that sounds like it was written in the White House press office. Deadspin has compiled a series of these right-wing rants that frighteningly show just how powerful this hype can be. As Dan Rather often says, the key to a strong democracy is a free and independent press. It’s sickening to watch local journalists who are forced to read something that trashes their own profession. Please note this is happening at nearly 200 television stations across the country.

Oppose Trump TV: Stop the Sinclair-Tribune Merger. Sign here:
https://act.freepress.net/sign/journ_trump_sinclair/?source=front_slider

FYI:
https://www.fcc.gov/transaction/sinclair-tribune

https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/news/john-oliver-on-sinclair-broadcast-groups-biased-local-news-w518594?utm_source=email

Courtesy of Richard’s list

RIGHT-WING PROPAGANDA MEDIA ARM REACHES INTO HUMBOLDT COUNTY

https://tuluwatexaminer.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/right-wing-propaganda-media-arm-reaches-into-humboldt-county/