Eric Zuesse, commentary on ‘news’ reporting
As part of their campaign for Hillary Clinton to become President, Huffington Post bannered their home-page on the night of Tuesday August 16th, “TRUMP BRINGS KREMLIN APOLOGIST TO INTEL BRIEFING!”, and linked to their news story that’s headlined against Trump, “Donald Trump To Bring Adviser With Russia Ties To Classified Briefing: Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will join Trump at Wednesday’s top-secret session.” Those “Russia Ties” consist of Flynn’s having appeared as a commenter at Russia’s international television network, RT, which is Russia’s equivalent of Britain’s BBC. This was the day’s big news? Really? Is there an editorial agenda here — or only a low-news day, when the Olympics are on, records are being broken, and the Presidential contest is getting under way?
This is not only a HuffPo problem; and, so, on July 28th, I reported (with contemporary examples) that, generally, “America’s press cover the Trump campaign with barely concealed hostility toward it, and with an obsessive emphasis upon the candidate’s positions regarding Russia; they’re attacking Trump as being (wittingly or unwittingly) an agent of Russia — and portraying Russia as being America’s enemy.”
How much of this blatant intellectual abuse can America’s news-readers take? No one reasonably alleges that today’s Russia is a dictatorship, such as the Soviet Union unquestionably was. Today’s Russia is perhaps more of a democracy than the U.S. is. Russia’s President shows, even in Western-respected polls, as having an approval-rating of over 80% from the Russian public, whereas our own President has an approval-rating of only more than 40% from the U.S. public. Given the heavy ‘news’-slant of Huffington Post and other major American ‘news’ sources, a reasonable question can be raised as to which of these two nations actually has the freer press, and the more representative government. Is the reason why America’s leader is so low-approved, and Russia’s is so high-approved, that America’s top leader does what the American people want, while Russia’s top leader doesn’t do what the Russian people want? Hardly. The American Establishment want us to believe that our government — the one they control — represents us, more than Russia’s government represents the Russian people. The American Establishment still hate the Russians, and want the American masses (the people who read such media as Huffington Post and the Washington Post) to hate the Russians too. Regardless of whether Russia’s government is trying to destroy America, America’s government (and the aristocracy that control both it and the nation’s newsmedia) is still trying to destroy Russia. The ideologues for this American ideology are commonly called “neoconservatives,” and now neoconservatives represent the mainstream amongst America’s oligarchs. They’re not at all ashamed of pumping it.
The American Establishment has lost the excuse of there being an ideological reason for their hostility against Russia; so, scare-tactics are used, such as that “Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe.” That “red scare” used to be the particular demagoguery of Republicans — back when there was an ideological excuse for it. But now, it’s even the way of the U.S. press, as it presses forward with the Hillary Clinton campaign, to make her the next U.S. President. With her as the candidate, they’ve got to make it ‘respectable’.
Western media-watchdog organizations demand U.S.-government-approved standards of ‘press freedom’. However, slanting the ‘news’ as HuffPo and other major U.S. ‘news’ media do, is being treated by those organizations as if it were okay, and were a ‘free press’, when perhaps it isn’t, really. Thus, for example, wikipedia’s article on “Media Freedom in Russia” notes that ‘According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, ‘All three major television networks are now in the hands of Kremlin loyalists.’” Aren’t all television networks in the U.S. now in the hands of U.S. loyalists? There’s no more media-diversity here than there. America has its own issues regarding freedom of its press, and is in no valid position to use its standards to evaluate other nations’ standards. America’s main agencies to evaluate ‘press freedom’ in nations around the world are Freedom House, and National Endowment for Democracy. Robert Parry reported, on 8 January 2015: “Documents from the Reagan presidential library reveal that two major institutions promoting ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ — Freedom House and National Endowment for Democracy — worked hand-in-glove, behind-the-scenes, with a CIA propaganda expert in the 1980s.” And there’s lots from other U.S. Presidencies that still hasn’t been released; cover-ups are instead the norm, in our ‘democracy’ — if we have one.
25 years after the communist Soviet Union and its military alliance the Warsaw Pact ended, General Flynn’s serving RT as an expert commentator about American national-security concerns was the day’s big news on August 16th? Really? Would things have been lots better for HuffPo’s management if Flynn were instead serving as a commentator on the BBC? Really? The ‘Big News’ of the day?
In true 1950s Joseph R. McCarthy fear-mongering form — but now after the end of communism — HuffPo opened this, their top news story, of the day:
Donald Trump will bring Michael Flynn ― a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency who was paid by a Russian state-funded television network to speak at its 10th-anniversary gala ― to his first national security briefing on Wednesday.
Flynn, a retired lieutenant general and high-profile adviser to Trump, has attracted attention since he was pushed out of government in 2014 for criticisms of what he says is the Obama administration’s failure to confront “radical Islam,” his role as an analyst on the Russian network RT, and his embrace of Trump.
ABC News reported on Tuesday that Flynn, along with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, would accompany Trump to his first top-secret briefing, heightening critics’ fears that the Trump camp would gain access to secrets it could potentially leak to contacts in the Kremlin. But former intelligence officials familiar with the the briefings process said it’s unlikely that the presidential nominees or their advisers will be looped in on critical secrets until after the election in November.
What this supposed skullduggery is actually about is Huffington Post’s attacking Trump for his wanting to focus American military expenditures away from the old Cold War, and instead toward the current problem, of overcoming jihadism — a refocus so as to fit a world in which the present and future threats to U.S. security are coming from invasions (such as 9/11, and the other, even lone-jihadist, acts) by Islamic terrorists, and not from any invasion by communists, the Soviet Union, or any part of the former Soviet Union, including Russia.
Under U.S. President Obama, and especially inspired and led by his neoconservative former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, America’s refocus away from killing jihadists, to now battling Russia, as our “number one geopolitical foe”, is what Huffington Post’s management apparently want to focus America’s bloated military budget upon. We don’t have enough nuclear weapons? Today’s Joseph R. McCarthys want us to spend more to kill Russians (and heads-of-state who ally with them), and less to kill jihadists. When did Russia ever attack America? Not even when it was part of the communist Soviet Union, did it do any such thing. But jihadists are doing it all over the world.
Hillary Clinton favors the overthrow of Russia-friendly leaders, especially Gaddafi in Libya, Assad in Syria, and Yanukovych in Ukraine. (So far, we’ve finished two of those three jobs.) Thus, we’ve now had the burgeoning rise of ISIS in Syria and Libya, and a thoroughly unproductive and bloody civil war in the until-then-peaceful nation of Ukraine, following the bloody U.S. coup there that overthrew the nation’s democratically elected President Yanukovych, who had won the votes of 90% of the people in its far-eastern Donbass region, and 75% of the votes of the people in its far southern Crimean peninsula, both of which regions then rebelled against, and refused being ruled by, Obama’s imposed Ukrainian fascist regime, which was selected by Hillary’s friend and protégé Victoria Nuland, who had been Vice President Dick Cheney’s foreign-affairs advisor. Huffington Post is a mouthpiece today for Dick Cheney’s brand of neoconservatism? That’s right — it’s actually far right: it’s the ‘liberal’ Huffington Post, to steer liberal fools to vote for the hard-line neoconservative Hillary Clinton. (Of course, in order to do this, they have to placate the Democratic Party’s traditional liberal base by reporting the domestic U.S. injustices against Blacks and other minorities, but those aren’t the issues that could blow up the world — and Democrats have done virtually nothing for those groups, in reality, anyway.)
Hillary’s neoconservatism has been fought against by her successor at the State Department, John Kerry; but, when he tried to rein-in her protégé (and now Kerry’s subordinate) Nuland, who was exceedingly eager to press for war against Russia, President Obama sided with Nuland against Kerry, in perhaps the most embarassing incident in Kerry’s entire career. And now, HuffPo’s management want the hyper-neoconservative Hillary to become the U.S. President, and are campaigning against Trump as if he and not she is the traitor to the American people. It’s as if the U.S. ‘news’ media were agents of America’s manufacturers of bombs and bombers and submarines etc., to pump for increasing America’s bloated military budget, which drowns out spending for highways and other infrastructure that serves the public. Melvin Goodman in his terrific book about that, asks trenchant questions (p. 371):
Why did the United States have more than one and a half million men and women in uniform two decades after the end of the Cold War? Why was the end of the Cold War considered a triumph instead of a challenge and an opportunity? Why are so many troops stationed in Europe and Japan more than six decades after the end of the Second World War? Why are so many troops stationed in South Korea sixty years after the end of the Korean War? Why are there still hundreds of U.S. bases and operational facilities in Europe and Asia, particularly in view of the overwhelming U.S. ability to project power? Why did the United States spend more than a trillion dollars on military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan that cost so much blood and treasure but contributed nothing to American national security?
How corrupt has America become? Isn’t that the basic question here. Can the ‘news’ media really deal with it if they are themselves part of it?
Huffington Post’s point in emphasizing Trump’s being ‘soft on Russia’, is that Trump’s plan to refocus U.S. national-security priorities upon the threats coming from international terrorist organizations, must be blocked, at all costs, and that the current increasing U.S. military focus against Russia (and against the leaders of any nation who are friendly toward Russia) must increase and bring us closer-and-closer to the nuclear brink with Russia, instead of ending this counterproductive anti-Russian conflict by means of a negotiated mutual withdrawal, of NATO-U.S. forces, from Russia’s borders — and also ending U.S. anti-Russian invasions, such as of Iraq, Libya and Syria, and ending U.S. coups such as of Ukraine, on and near Russia’s borders.
Trump’s basic message is: Get over the Cold War; it ended 25 years ago; instead, let’s rebuild America’s infrastructure, and focus national defense on the challenge of defeating jihadists and their ideology. However, America’s Establishment is invested in the Cold War, and they won’t feel that they have won that war until both Russia and China have become conquered by them — are controlled by them.
That’s what the 2016 U.S. Presidential election will really be about.
How would Americans feel if, 25 years after ending its NATO alliance, the Warsaw Pact continued, and were now massing its forces on America’s borders? Would that be “provocative”? Would we tolerate it? Huffington Post’s management apparently think that it’s what the U.S. government ought to be doing to Russia. America’s moving forces right up to Russia’s borders is happening right now, and how much opposition to that is there in America’s ‘free press’?
This is Hillary Clinton’s campaign; it’s not journalism; it is propaganda. Maybe ‘Freedom House’ and the ‘National Endowment for Democracy’, would give it top marks — for herding ‘liberals’ into fascism.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.