Fake news and the new fact-free reporting paradigm

Is it just me, or were the standards of evidence demanded of politicians better in the “old days?”

Yes, I am showing my age – but we have all heard of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, haven’t we? The world almost went to war. I was a student a the time and we did seriously discuss if there was any point in continuing our exam preparation. I do no recall anyone asking to be excused exams because of the real stress – how things have changed.

Whatever one thought of the USSR or the USA, or of the stationing of missiles in Cuba (a parallel to the stationing of US missiles near Soviet borders) we all knew that missile sites were being established. We knew that because the politicians produced the evidence – photographs from spy planes.

hith-cuban-missile-crisis

Cuban missile crisis – 1962. President Kennedy produced evidence from spy planes of the building of missile facilities in Cuba. He didn’t ask us to take out word for it – to rely simply on assurances. Yet that is what politicians do today.

We weren’t asked to take anyone’s word for that. We weren’t denied the evidence on security grounds and simply ordered to take political assurances.

Yes, how things have changed. We are no longer presented with evidence. We are simply asked to accept the words of politicians, to accept assurances from politicians. People are now even claiming that these assurances are in themselves evidence!Welcome to the worst of the “post-truth” world.

Welcome to the worst of the “post-truth” world.

MH17

Think about it. The US secretary of State assured us that US intelligence agencies had satellite evidence “proving” that the Malaysian Flight MH17 was shot down over east Ukraine by rebel militia (or was it by Russians?). But at no time was this evidence presented – all we got were assurances that it existed. This has got as far as the Joint Investigation Team handling possible criminal prosecutions resulting from this tragedy making similar assurances, based on behind the scenes assurances from the US. And still excusing themselves from presenting the actual evidence on “security grounds.”

This seems to political acceptable in the midst of today geopolitical information war – but I certainly hope no one thinks it would stand up in court (see But will it stand up in court?).

Syria

Recently we had the edifying spectacle of the Press spokesman for the US State Department claiming that Russia and Syria deliberately targets and bombs hospitals in east Aleppo – but refusing to provide the names or locations of the hospitals – on security grounds! The media was simply asked to accept political assurances, and to accept the assurances as somehow comprising “evidence.”

The main stream media did accept that – reporters who didn’t are considered a nuisance.

Now our media is telling us that there have been (or is that there will be) massacres of civilians in Aleppo because the “rebels”/”terrorists” have finally been defeated. Women and girls will be raped, men will “disappear,” civilians (women and children) are being shot by soldiers of the Syrian Arab Army. Yes, politicians at the UN may repeat these claims as “unverified reports” (to right they are unverified – they have come from the defeated jihadis themselves). So now our media headlines these reports as real claims being made by the UN.

For example, this headline “Syrian regime killed at least 82 Aleppo civilians in recent days: UN.” It’s from a Saudi news source but we get the same messages here. The only substance (or evidence) in this report is:

“The United Nations human rights office said it had received reports of “pro-regime forces killing at least 82 civilians including 11 women and 13 children in four different neighborhoods in eastern Aleppo.” The spokespeople usually described these reports as unverified

And yet these unverified “reports” get converted into facts for us so that we read

” Syrian pro-regime forces have carried out at least 82 execution-style killings of civilians in recent days, including women and children, the UN said Tuesday, citing credible reports from the ground.”

Or, even worse, ThinkProgress reports this in the words:

“Pro-Syrian government forces moved into east Aleppo and started wiping out the remains of the besieged city’s opposition Monday. The United Nations reported that the Syrian army and allied Iraqi militiamen entered homes and summarily executed 82 civilians, including women and children, in what it labelled a “complete meltdown of humanity.”

All this at a time Syrian and other news media in the region are presenting video evidence of the 100,000 civilians who have been evacuated. And these refugees are reporting how they were badly treated by the jihadis, shot if they attempted to escape, preventing access to food and medicines hoarded by the “rebels”/”terrorists and members of their families often beaten, imprisoned or killed.

Yet our media avoids such evidence, such videos, and gives us, instead, their own assurances that atrocities are occurring  or may be in the future based on “unverified reports” (from the defeated jihadis).

Or you get an incredible situation like this report showing an interview with a well-known jihadist supporter in east Aleppo while videos of citizens fleeing the jihadist-controlled areas, and being helped by Syrian Arab Army soldiers, runs in the background!

Moon of Alabama made these same points, in more detail, yesterday in the article MSM Create #Fakenews Storm as rebel Aleppo Vanishes. It is worth a read.

The US elections

Which brings me to the current fiasco which is the US presidential elections. Apparently, some people are unhappy about the result so they are promoting stories that the election was stolen. And what do you know – the country/person responsible is Russia/Putin.

We (or more correctly the US people) are being assured that there is “convincing” intelligence that the Russians are responsible for the leak of emails which put the democrats in a bad light. Apparently, some people actually believe this (especially if their electoral noses are still out of joint) and the Germans are now deciding to use the same excuse (see Russian hackers ‘threaten Germany 2017 election’, MPs warn).

But all this is just assurances. No physical evidence anywhere near comparable with president Kennedy’s photography of missile bases being prepared in Cuba. No. Just assurances – assurances that intelligence bodies have “convincing” information. (Although, some intelligence bodies find the information far from convincing.)

OK, that seems to be the new paradigm for our news media – accept assurances and don’t worry about the facts – don’t even bother asking for them. Worse, we seem to have a paradigm that treats such assurances as facts!

But it doesn’t stop there – it gets worse. At least as long as the long-suffering US voters are concerned. Those with their electoral noses out of joint are now pinning their hopes on the electoral college – which is the actual body which decides who is to be president. They are arguing that members of the electoral college should throw away their traditional reliance on the actual votes of the people and decide for themselves who should be president. Bugger the voters!

But, wait there is more. Those with the crooked electoral noses are now arguing that the electoral college should be given a special intelligence briefing before making up their minds. The Independent reports (see Electoral college members demand information on Russian relations before voting to make Donald Trump president):”

“Ten members of the electoral college have requested more information from intelligence officials on the relationship between President-elect Donald Trump and Russia. The electoral college addressed an open letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper prior to their 19 December vote that would finalise the election results.”

Apparently, that number has now swelled to more than 50 – see Over 50 Dem electors now demanding intelligence briefing.

I suppose the fact they are asking for a special secret briefing is a huge acknowledgment that the unverified reports from the media about Russian hacking are in themselves of no value. They really aren’t “convincing.”

But just think about it. The US people went to the polls and elected a president. (Yes, I know their electoral system stinks – but that is not the issue in the middle of an election. You use the existing rules). The voters had all the worthless assurances and political stories before they voted. The electoral college also had, has, the same stories, rumours and lies.

Just imagine the stink if the electoral outcome is overturned, that the electors choice is not chosen. All because of a “behind the scenes,” non-public “intelligence briefing.”

Just imagine if the electorate is going to be told that their vote actually counts for nothing – because “we have credible evidence” they were led astray. And the electorate is going to be asked to accept this story without any evidence – just assurances!

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33 responses to “Fake news and the new fact-free reporting paradigm

  1. We do seem to be getting images of China’s militarised islands though!
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/15/images-show-significant-chinese-weapons-systems-in-south-china-sea

    Although, it doesn’t seem like anyone is claiming that these are anything but defensive emplacements. So, hardly seems a problem (unless you are a nation planning on attacking China, of course).

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  2. Where’s today’s version of Robert Mcnamara, I wonder …

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  3. The attempts to overturn the Brexit vote in the UK also smacks of the same desperation that the US democrats are showing

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  4. David Fierstien

    The evidence you are asking for, such as photos of Cuban missile sights, is meaningless.

    Do you remember Colin Powell’s speech to the U.N. prior to the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003? If not, here’s a sample . .

    He presented Audio Tapes:
    ((BEGIN AUDIO TAPE) Speaking in Arabic.

    (END AUDIO TAPE) POWELL: Let me pause and review some of the key elements of this conversation that you just heard between these two officers.

    First, they acknowledge that our colleague, Mohamed ElBaradei, is coming, and they know what he’s coming for, and they know he’s coming the next day. He’s coming to look for things that are prohibited. He is expecting these gentlemen to cooperate with him and not hide things.

    But they’re worried. “We have this modified vehicle. What do we say if one of them sees it? What is their concern? Their concern is that it’s something they should not have, something that should not be seen.

    The general is incredulous: “You didn’t get a modified. . . “)

    He presented satellite images. The sort of thing you reminisce about from Cuba, 1962:
    “We also have satellite photos that indicate that banned materials have recently been moved from a number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities.

    Let me say a word about satellite images before I show a couple. . . ”

    He presented over 2000 pages of documents, and more . .

    Here’s the full text of all the evidence General Powell presented to the world . . https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/feb/05/iraq.usa Have a look.

    Exactly what kind of evidence are you asking for, Ken? No matter what John Kerry presents to you, you could probably deny the reality of it, and rightly so. Evidence is meaningless. Exactly what would it take to convince you that the Russians were involved in internet hacking prior to the U.S. election? What sort of “evidence” are you looking for?

    One last thing. This comment from you: “Just imagine the stink if the electoral outcome is overturned, that the electors choice is not chosen. All because of a “behind the scenes,” non-public “intelligence briefing.””

    First of all, no one has said there is evidence that the “alleged” hacking influenced the U.S. election. You are flying off the handle here with wild conjecture.

    That aside . . just imagine if Donald Trump had lost. Trump had already begun to file lawsuits the night of the election in anticipation of his defeat. I seriously doubt he would have been as gracious as President Obama and the Democratic side who asked the country to give him a chance.

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  5. Regarding the Cuban missile crisis.

    I’ve always wondered how the US could justify indignation at the missiles when they had similar aimed at USSR from within NATO countries.

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  6. David Fierstien

    “I’ve always wondered how the US could justify indignation at the missiles when they had similar aimed at USSR from within NATO countries.”

    Thank you for another knee-jerk anti-U.S. comment.

    It might be more helpful for you to look at the result of that indignation. De-escalation occurred on both sides. Not only were Soviet nuclear missiles removed from Cuba, but American Jupiter missiles were removed from Italy & Turkey.

    In addition, the Soviet Union and the United States created the Moscow-Washington hotline. For the first time in history, direct and instant communication was created between the two superpowers in order to de-escalate any similar situations in the future.

    On top of that, for a few moments the world was forced to consider the real possibility of a nuclear exchange.

    Look for the positives, Richard. That silver lining can always be found if you try.

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  7. Oh, so there weren’t any US missiles aimed at USSR from NATO countries ?

    Is that what you are saying David?

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  8. It might be more helpful for you to look at the result of that indignation.

    Or were the “positives” a result of Khrushchev’s heroic attempt at missile placement, not US indignation?

    (let’s play that game).

    No, let’s not, your silly (non) argument fails to remotely address the point regarding self righteousness – i.e. one rule for us and another rule for everybody else – on the part of the US. And how, in that particular case, it went unchallenged by western media.

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  9. One other positive was the US undertaking not to invade Cuba again. Probably more a face saving concession as I am sure the US would have done so if they felt they could get away with it. Instead, they attempted to bring Cuba to its knees via the blockade.

    One appreciation the US citizens should have got, but apparently didn’t, was the real danger of having offensive missiles so close to one’s borders. Sure the US could feel that fear for themselves but have been completely oblivious to the very real equivalent fears held by the USSR in the 80s when the US and NATO introduced short-range missiles into central Europe – and currently where the US and NATO have broken their promises not to expand and now have moved offensive armaments and armies right up to the Russian border.

    One would think the American people could understand the necessity of the Russian Federation to take defensive measures – but they seem oblivious.

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  10. David Fierstien

    Richard Christie, regarding your knee-jerk comment:

    “Oh, so there weren’t any US missiles aimed at USSR from NATO countries?

    Is that what you are saying David?”

    Answer: No, that’s not what I’m saying, nor would I. I would also not say there weren’t any other missiles pointed at the U.S. I have no current knowledge of where Russia keeps its nuclear weapons.

    What I did say was a de-escalation of nuclear weapons on both sides. Direct communication was established between Moscow & Washington, and for a moment, the world had to consider the real possibility of a nuclear exchange.

    I did write this in English, didn’t I?

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  11. David Fierstien

    Ken, your arrogance never ceases to amaze me. You understand WHAT about the American people? Sure, many people – everywhere – lack the proper appreciation of what a nuclear weapon is and does. And I’m sure many Americans don’t. Do New Zealanders have a proper appreciation of these weapons?

    Watch this. I can say something meaningless too:

    One would think the New Zealand people could understand the necessity of the Russian Federation to take defensive measures – but they seem oblivious.

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  12. David, I think this claim of yours is correct:

    “One would think the New Zealand people could understand the necessity of the Russian Federation to take defensive measures – but they seem oblivious.”

    And I think this is because the constant demonisation of the Russian Federation and its leader has prevented people from understanding the viewpoint of the Russian people who have seen hostile powers expand right up to their border – in violation of the agreements and understanding they thought have been achieved with those powers at the end of the cold war.

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  13. David, I fail to see any merit in your point at all as a response to my raising the question as to how the US can justify indignation at another nation doing what the US was also doing. That some positives arose from the confrontation has no bearing on that observation.

    I may be wrong about US missiles aimed at the USSR but this aspect is absent from just about every analysis or media article I’ve read about the incident over the past 50 years. In itself cause for thought. Western (US-centric) consistently frames the incident simply as an unjustified provocation by the boogie man state of the USSR.

    Ken is also correct that the USA has never, and in fairness probably never can, appreciate the Russian psyche in regard to invasion and threats to its boarders.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties_of_the_Soviet_Union

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  14. “David, I fail to see any merit in your point at all as a response to my raising the question as to how the US can justify indignation at another nation doing what the US was also doing.”

    And Richard, I fail to see the merit in yours and Ken’s flurry of anti-U.S. / pro-Russian comments which have flown far afield of this post. My original comment asked the question, which of course in typical fashion has never been answered, ‘exactly what kind of evidence could be presented that you could not deny?’

    Your pathetic diversions are little more than bigotry under the guise of intellectual elitism. Given your blatant animosity, there is no doubt you would find fault with whatever evidence (satellite photos, sworn testimony) could ever be offered in a futile attempt to appease your preconceived demands.

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  15. And Ken, the sad part about your comments is I don’t believe you even realize your own hypocrisy.

    ” . . .the viewpoint of the Russian people who have seen hostile powers expand right up to their border – in violation of the agreements and understanding they thought have been achieved with those powers at the end of the cold war.”

    This coming from a man who once claimed that when the Russian Federation violated the Black Sea Fleet Treaty as it illegally annexed Crimea, the “minutia” of that treaty wasn’t really important, therefore Russia wan’t really in violation of anything.

    Do you really expect to be taken seriously on this issue?

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  16. David – you omitted the important beginning of my comment when you extracted my quote. This was:

    “And I think this is because the constant demonisation of the Russian Federation and its leader has prevented people from understanding . . .”

    This is what I think – and as I have an open mind I, of course, welcome any information or argument you can provide to change my current opinion on this.

    But until you do it is a theme I am forced to come back to again and again as this demonisation process seems to underline so much of what passes for international politics in the understanding of people in countries like the USA and New Zealand.

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  17. <i.yours and Ken’s flurry of anti-U.S. / pro-Russian comments which have flown far afield of this post…

    Your pathetic diversions are little more than bigotry under the guise of intellectual elitism…..

    The subject of the post is bias. Bias in the form of pseudo news. The post mentions the Cuban missile crisis. Part of the manifestation of the bias in that case was the absence of fair analysis of the missile incident; a possible cause being the inherent inability of USA to see or understand the perception of their own behaviour by others and absence of understanding of the cultures other nations.

    (Which is hardly surprising given this particular form of child abuse : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance )

    So, my comments are (off topic) diversions? – not so much. (Nor was it knee-jerk, I clearly stated the topic had long concerned me.)

    What did happen though, is that a comment of mine regarding US foreign politics was answered with personal attack Thank you for another knee-jerk anti-U.S. comment.

    … there is no doubt you would find fault with whatever evidence (satellite photos, sworn testimony) could ever be offered in a futile attempt to appease your preconceived demands.

    What demands?
    Evidence? what are you talking about?

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  18. “Demoniastion of Putin.” I am naturally curious about this phrase you continually throw around, as though the problem isn’t with your pro-Russian bias. The problem is with the rest of entire world.

    KEN PERROTT: ” . . and as I have an open mind I, of course, welcome any information or argument you can provide . . ”

    Open mind? Nice thought, if only it were true. So . . Let’s take a look at how you “welcome” any new information. Let’s see how open your mind really is.

    Let’s go back and look at how you bent over backward to justify a Russian crime, the Russian violation of the Black Sea Fleet Treaty when it illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula. Was Putin really demonized? Or, more likely, are you completely blinded by your own pro-Russian bias?

    I pointed out that the Russian Federation, and specifically Putin (who you claim is somehow being demonised), had committed an international crime, with which almost the entire world agreed, when it violated the Black Sea Fleet Treaty.

    MY QUOTE: “. . according to paragraph 1, Article 6 of the Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the Status and Conditions of Presence of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation in the Territory of Ukraine “Military units shall conduct their operations in the areas of disposition in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation, respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, obey its legislation and refrain from interference with Ukraine’s domestic affairs”.

    According to paragraph 2, Article 8 of the same Agreement, “Military units shall conduct exercise and other combat and operative training within the limits of training centers, training areas, positioning and dispersal areas, firing ranges, and, except forbidden zones, within the designated airspace as agreed with Ukraine’s competent authorities”.

    Russian military assisting in that annexation was a clear violation of paragraph 1, Article 6 . . . (when armed Russian military went outside the wire at its base in Sevastopol).

    Russian military interfered with Ukraine’s domestic affairs. Putin violated the Treaty.”

    KEN PERROTT: ” You now seem to want to consider the minutia of the treaty to see if any of the text was violated.”

    And of course, I rightly pointed out that the “minutia” of an international treaty IS the treaty. (But of course, that common-sense fell on deaf ears.)

    Ken, you don’t have an open mind. You are not interested in welcoming new information. You are interested in defending the crimes of Vladimir Putin and trying to convince readers that the problem isn’t with Putin, the problem is with the rest of the world. And you do this all in the name of some contrived chauvinistic intellectual elitism that exists only in your own mind.

    Sorry, Ken. The problem is with you.

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  19. By the way, Ken, it’s going on 6 days now . . and you still haven’t answered my original question which was a direct response to your post.

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  20. Richard Christie, when you say, ” . . a comment of mine regarding US foreign politics was answered with personal attack Thank you for another knee-jerk anti-U.S. comment.”

    Playing the victim, Richard? What a crock. You drew first blood. This is what you said:

    “I’ve always wondered how the US could justify indignation . . ”

    Do you know what “indignation” is? Let me clue you in on what you said. Indignation is: “anger caused by something unjust or unworthy.”

    You said the U.S. responded to nuclear weapons – do you have any idea what a nuclear weapon is? – with an unjust or unworthy response.

    So, to recap, you attacked a U.S. policy, made by men who have been dead for decades, and when I pointed out that was another one of your typical knee-jerk anti U.S. comments, suddenly you’re the victim.

    If you’re going to play “let’s pretend” and try to re-write history,
    don’t waste my time any more.

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  21. Must apologise, David. looking back I realise you had made a comment I never saw.

    I blame that on the stress and business of the season and my particular situation at the moment.

    I assume you are referring to this:

    “Exactly what kind of evidence are you asking for, Ken? No matter what John Kerry presents to you, you could probably deny the reality of it, and rightly so. Evidence is meaningless. Exactly what would it take to convince you that the Russians were involved in internet hacking prior to the U.S. election? What sort of “evidence” are you looking for?”

    I am concerned you think “evidence is meaningless.” Perhaps that is part of the problem.

    But 2 responses to your question.

    1: I would like to see any evidence. These claims are completely evidence-free. People are just being fed assurances. These have absolutely no more value than the assurances from Wikileaks that the source was a whistle-blower in the democratic office.

    2: I repeat my original point about this US election fiasco and Clinton’s diversionary tactics. It doesn’t matter who hacked the Democratic emails, or who the whistle-blower was. Any more than who hacked or released the video of Trump’s disgusting comments on women. The contents of the emails (and the video) were the problem – and the evidence of undemocratic activity.

    Clinton chose to use the neo-McCarthyist tactic of blaming Putin instead of confronting the reality of the undemocratic activity of her campaign. Apart from showing that she was guilty of such undemocratic activity (she was not prepared to deny it or discuss the evidence), she came across as morally bankrupt. On this particular issue (leaks and whistle-blowers) Trump occupied the moral high ground. Despite his stupidity, he was completely honest, did not deny the video or blame Putin for its leaking, and simply apologised. His apology may be worth nothing but it was miles ahead of Clinton’s obvious guilty response.

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  22. David, regarding you comment on “competent authorities” in Crimea. Who were the competent authorities?

    The Ukranian government had been violently overthrown, the president had fled for his life. Marauding bands of neo-fascists and nationalists were attacking regional authorities attempting to repeat what happened in Kiev.

    Tthe Crimean parliament and regional government acted in the interests of its people in requesting assistance from Russian forces based on its territory.

    You complain about the minutiae of a treaty while ignoring (and effectively supporting) the fact of an illegal coup and its consequences. As you also ignore the wishes of the people in the peninsula.

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  23. Yes, I questioned US response to the Soviet action in Cuba. I had the audacity to wonder if it was not a hypocritical response. I still do .

    I don’t know what planet you are on David, except that it is one that brooks no critical self examination.

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  24. Richard, you didn’t question the “U.S. response,” you accused the U.S. of “indignation.”

    Richard, you have every right to piss on my country. Unlike Russia, journalistic critics of the U.S. don’t wind up dead or missing. We celebrate freedom of speech, and I defend your right to criticize the United States. But don’t act like a victim when a proper response is returned.

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  25. Ken, before I answer your comment in its entirety, please explain this comment:

    ” The contents of the emails (and the video) were the problem – and the evidence of undemocratic activity.”

    Can you cite any specific examples in Clinton’s leaked emails that showed criminal activity on her part? What exactly is the worst example of wrongdoing that she committed?

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  26. I’m not claiming to be a victim here, David.

    I merely pointed out where in the thread the discussion turned from discussion on issues to that of you making it into one of commenter’s motivation. Seems quite clearly to be where the words “knee-jerk” etc appear, i.e. addition of personal motive.

    Later the comments develop into frothing at the mouth terminology – “bigotry” etc.

    Ergo I stand by my observation in regard to self-examination.

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  27. Richard, I’m going to take the time to explain why you are a bigoted hypocrite.

    This is part of your quote: ” . . is one that brooks no critical self examination.”

    No critical self examination? How about you? You accused the United States of indignation because its national security was threatened by nuclear weapons. That was a knee-jerk anti-U.S. comment. There was no indignation.

    What the United States did is what every country does. Every country looks out for its own self interests and national security. In the end, deals were made between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Both countries were looking out for their own national self interests. Both counties profited. All countries do that. There was no indignation. Your response was an anti-U.S. knee-jerk reaction. Get over yourself. You were neither clever nor insightful. You are a bigot.

    Why don’t you critically self-examine yourself

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  28. David, I don’t think anyone is alleging criminal activity by Clinton evidenced by the Democratic party emails. I certainly aren’t.

    But I think it clear the central offic maneuvered to prevent Bernie’s selction. The revelations led to at least one resignation. And, of course, this undemocratic activity probably cost the Democrats the election.

    I think you reference to criminal activity is a diversion – just like Clinton’s neo-McCarthyist claims.

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  29. David

    There was no indignation.

    Well, none that the wilfully blind can see.

    But of course, there was indignation, as how dare those goddamn dirty commie bastards point nukes at the land of the brave and free! Put the whole goddamn world at risk! (NB when discussing Cuba maintain silence on the (greater) number of NATO nukes trained on the USSR)

    That’s the line fed to us by the compliant western media for 50 years. Fake News has been around since time immemorial, in that sense I don’t think Ken’s post raises any new phenomenon. .

    That was a knee-jerk anti-U.S. comment.

    It was an observation and question arising from the content of the post.

    Don’t be such a sensitive little possum.

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  30. David Fierstien

    Ken, I asked you, ” What exactly is the worst example of wrongdoing that she (Clinton, as revealed in her leaked emails) committed?”

    Your answer: “But I think it clear the central offic maneuvered to prevent Bernie’s selction. ”

    That was the worst example exposed of Mrs. Clinton’s wrongdoing? I don’t know what you call it in New Zealand, but in the United States, we call that politics.

    So let’s take a look at your entire comment:

    “I repeat my original point about this US election fiasco and Clinton’s diversionary tactics. It doesn’t matter who hacked the Democratic emails, or who the whistle-blower was. Any more than who hacked or released the video of Trump’s disgusting comments on women. The contents of the emails (and the video) were the problem – and the evidence of undemocratic activity.”

    Well, first of all, the only thing that was exposed WAS democratic activity, as evidenced by your worst case example of Mrs. Clinton’s wrongdoing. “Maneuvering” to gain advantage over your opponent is exactly how we practice politics here. No laws were broken. What exactly is your problem?

    It doesn’t matter who the “whistle-blower” was? WHAT?? Who the whistle-blower is supposed to be the point of your “Fake News” post. (diversion here, Ken)

    You don’t practice Chain-of-Custody documentation in New Zealand to verify authenticity? So, therefore it doesn’t matter who leaked these emails? Is that what I’m hearing you say now?

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  31. David Fierstien

    And Richard, as for your comment: ” . . how dare those goddamn dirty commie bastards point nukes at the land of the brave and free! Put the whole goddamn world at risk!”

    Thank you for proving the point that, yeah, you are a bigot.

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  32. David Fierstien

    In addition to my response to the “undemocratic activity” you allege by Mrs. Clinton . . . . (see above)

    One final thought, Ken, about this comment: “” . . and as I have an open mind I, of course, welcome any information or argument you can provide . . ”

    The fact that you continue to try to justify the illegal annexation of Crimea in the face of global condemnation by, you know, those entities who actually implement and abide by international law, only proves my point. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_68/262#Voting

    My point being, you do not have an open mind, neither are you willing to welcome information that counters your pro-Russian preconceptions.

    As a citizen of New Zealand, you neither establish, have to abide by, nor enforce international law. The international community does that. Your biased attempts at justification of Russian illegal activity are meaningless.

    However, perhaps you could go to Moscow and work for the Kremlin. Putin appears to be in need of a good international apologist 😉 .

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  33. Fake News? Show me anything from RT, Russia Today, that even compares to the grilling of its own government with Jake Trapper’s interview of Kellyanne Conway of the U.S. President. Do you understand the difference, or are you too dense?

    Ironically, Trump accused CNN of being “Fake News.” Kellyanne Conway, on the other hand, when directly asked in this interview, said CNN is NOT Fake News. This is what happens when the TRUTH is put up against the blatant lies that people like you spew.

    “Fake News” was an invention of typical anti-U.S. propaganda that you parrot. It has been exposed for what it is. When light is exposed to the darkness, darkness disappears. Take a good look at this video of a government spokesperson grilled by the FREE Press. You will never see anything like this on RT. Correct me if I am wrong and show me.

    Like

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