Russiagate: Lessons for the media. But will they listen?

How is this anything but a form of racism? Racism is never acceptable – and this coming from within the US intelligence community.

Frankly, I don’t think the corporate media will listen. Or draw conclusions from the main finding of the Mueller report. At the moment they seem too busy shifting goalposts and denying they ever promoted a collusion narrative.

This week we have the extraordinary spectacle of Paul Thomas, A NZ Listener journalist, cherry-picking his own articles to deny he ever promoted the collusion myth (See “The Cult of Trump,” NZ Listener, April 13-19, 2019). This “journalist” – and the Listener – pushed weekly articles promoting the myth to the extent of regularly including photographs of Russian President Putin in his articles about Trump. He let his naive partisan anti-Trump rhetoric get away so badly he even wrote an article linking the Christchurch Mosque shootings to Trump (seeFollow the leader, NZ Listener).  At a time when the rest of the nation was grieving.

It seems to me a whole raft of “journalists” abandoned the ethical basis of their profession and simply promoted an “official” narrative handed to them from above. I cannot respect such people.

In contrast, there were evidence-based independent and alternative journalists who got it right. These journalists were ignored, and worse – vilified, by corporate media. We should draw some lessons from their experience.

Fortunately an article in Fair – Tips for a Post-Mueller Media from Nine Russiagate Skeptics – gives a much-needed start to the needed examination. Generally described as “Russiagate skeptics” (not all independent journalist or alternative media followed the evidence) nine of these journalist offer advice to the media.

I will summarise their advice in a single sentence for each journalist but urge readers to read their full comments in the linked article. Their explanations are valuable

1. Encourage debate and dissent, not conspiracy theories and clicks.

—Aaron Maté, journalist, The Nation


2. Stop playing into Trump’s hands and stop smearing reporters.

Matt Taibbi, journalist, Rolling Stone


3. Stop spreading Russophobic paranoia.

Yasha Levine, journalist, S.H.A.M.E. Project


4. Talk to people with an actual understanding of history and Russia, not fake experts and uninformed  pundits.

Carl Beijer, writer


5. Don’t manipulate the truth to justify war.

Rania Khalek, journalist, host of In the Now


6. Be skeptical toward government officials and other authorities.

Branko Marcetic, journalist, Jacobin


7. Focus on the many actual crimes.


Esha Krishnaswamy, lawyer, host of historic.lypodcast


8. Pay attention to whom Trump is actually colluding with.

Kyle Kulinski, host of the Kyle Kulinski Show


9. Stop fear-mongering and engaging in “acceptable” bigotry.

Jimmy Dore, comedian, host of the Jimmy Dore Show


These people need to be listened to.

Similar articles

27 responses to “Russiagate: Lessons for the media. But will they listen?

  1. Bill Osmunson DDS, MPH

    Of course the media wants to jump to conclusions before the evidence is in. The faster the guess, the more people become involved. Yes, some jumped fast, but the evidence is not all in yet.

    Ken, you have drawn “main conclusions from the Mueller report.” Since when have you read the Mueller report? Aren’t you just as much at fault?

    NY Times:
    “American intelligence agencies and both parties on Capitol Hill are in consensus that, as Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, said, “Russia conducted an unprecedented influence campaign to interfere in the U.S. electoral and political process.”
    The federal and congressional intelligence and national security groups that have stated that Russia interfered in the election:
    1. Central Intelligence Agency
    2. Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    3. F.B.I.
    4. National Security Agency
    5. Justice Department
    6. Department of Homeland Security
    7. House Intelligence Committee
    8. Senate Intelligence Committee”

    The question of collusion by Trump is still out.

    Like

  2. David Fierstien

    My apologies. I seem to have placed the this comment under the wrong post. Here it is again in the proper spot:

    It is interesting when we juxtapose a direct quote from the Mueller Report, which Attorney General Barr included in his summary, against reports now surfacing from those on Mueller’s team.

    First from Barr’s summary, a direct quote from the Mueller Report: ” “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

    And then a footnote is included: “In assessing potential conspiracy charges, the Special Counsel also considered whether members of the Trump campaign “coordinated” with Russian election interference activities. The Special Counsel defined “coordination” as an “agreement—tacit or express—between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference.””

    And the only direct quote from the Mueller Report in that footnote is how he defines the word “coordination.”

    Now this from some members of Mueller’s team: ” some on Mueller’s team have said the report paints “a picture of a campaign whose members were was manipulated by a sophisticated Russian intelligence operation.””
    https://www.vox.com/2019/4/3/18294547/mueller-barr-leaks-new-york-times

    That is interesting, isn’t it. (Notice the last half of that sentence is a direct quote.)

    Barr says “coordination” – between the Trump campaign & Russia – was not established by Mueller.

    Mueller team members say, ‘No, there was no coordination between Trump’s campaign & Russia, Trump’s campaign was manipulated by Russia.’

    They don’t disagree, do they.

    Like

  3. David Fierstien

    Dr. Bill,

    While I have your attention, in this comment you said, “Instead of empirical evidence, you resort to calling me names, because you do not have prospective RCT evidence for dosage of fluoride, efficacy, or safety.”
    https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2019/03/25/getting-out-alive-why-we-should-always-demand-evidence/#comment-125570

    And I said, “Please, Dr. Bill, Explain to us all, so the whole world can see, How would you undertake an RCT for water fluoridation in the United States of America?” https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2019/03/25/getting-out-alive-why-we-should-always-demand-evidence/#comment-125575

    I never did get your professional, expert advise on that, did I. Care to answer the question now?

    Like

  4. Bill, you acknowledge the “media wants to jump to conclusions before the evidence is in.” Pity you cannot see it goes much further than that. In this case, there was obvious collusion between the corporate media, sections of the intelligence community and politicians.

    I never jumped to any conclusion – I asked for and looked for evidence. That is why I feel vindicated the Mueller came to the same conclusion about the collusion myth as I did. I arrived at my conclusion long before Mueller reported – and part of my reason for vindication is the complete lack of anything new like new indictments from the Mueller team. And, yes, I have read the relevant clause in the report which was quoted in the letter to the Senate.

    You are completely wrong to say I have drawn my conclusions from the Mueller report – and it is dishonest of you to present a quote is that way. Look at what you did – “Ken, you have drawn “main conclusions from the Mueller report.”” – that is a dishonest inference.

    Weird that you quote from a NYT article which says nothing about collusion. You are simply repeating a claim about the January 6 intelligence report – a claim initiated by Clinton and slavishly picked up by corporate media. But a claim the media itself backed away from later to admit that the January 6 report was from only 4 agencies – and then involved only selected people from those agencies.

    The fact that the NYT can repeat this claim even after it backtracked tells you something about the way they push narratives. Although I note that the second to last paragraph of the NYT report (which you don’t include in your quote) does acknowledge only 4 agencies were involved:

    “In a January 2017 assessment, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the F.B.I. and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded that Russia interfered in the election.”

    Have you read the Jan 6 intelligence report? I doubt it because it is completely evidence-free and only someone who has not read it could cite it as “evidence” for anything – except the stupidity of those who wrote it.

    Like

  5. David, the full report will be out in about a week. Yes, annotated. A problem for me as I would like to see more evidence indicative of the corruption in the US political, law enforcement and intelligence systems.

    Your reliance on rumor and anonymous sources is typical of the whole misbehavior of the corporate media during this affair. And this is hilarious – you are very impressed by a “direct quote” from an unacknowledged and anonymous source. That willingness to believe typical of those who have drunk the kool-aid just shows how desperate the corporate media and its blind followers have become.

    They have learned nothing. Corporate media will continue pushing political narratives and hiding facts. And the public will more and more turn to fact-based sources.

    Like

  6. David Fierstien

    Ken: “Your reliance on rumor and anonymous sources is typical of the whole misbehavior of the corporate media during this affair. And this is hilarious – you are very impressed by a “direct quote” from an unacknowledged and anonymous source.”

    What are you talking about. As you know, Ken, it is not just “Rumor” and “Anonymous sources.” It is a story that has been verified by three independent sources.

    Ken: “That willingness to believe typical of those who have drunk the kool-aid just shows how desperate the corporate media and its blind followers have become.”

    Your desperation to deny the same basic story which has been independently verified shows your desperation to cling to your pro-Russian biases.

    You are so desperate that you are even unwilling to entertain the possibility that this multi-verified story might have some truth to it.

    It must be very pleasant to live in a world of warmth & well-being, where the blankets of your own biases are so tightly pulled up over your head that not even the possibility of an uncomfortable thought has a chance of interrupting your slumber.

    Like

  7. David, you say:

    ” . . it is not just “Rumor” and “Anonymous sources.”It is a story that has been verified by three independent sources.”

    Could you please tell me the names and authorities of these “three independent sources?”

    Like

  8. David Fierstien

    Well you got me, Ken. It appears I misspoke. Savor the feeling because it won’t happen again anytime soon. I should have said, ‘Three independent news organizations . . working independently of each other.’

    And this is a clear difference between you and I. When I make a mistake, or say something incorrect, I’ll admit it.

    Likewise, the mainstream media makes mistakes all the time . . they’ll own up to it – and their reward is a slap in the face by people like you who harp on the theme “Fake News.” . . .

    On the other hand, I have never seen opinion writers whom you praise own up to their mistakes. Have you ever seen Alexander Mercouris admit any of his errors? And we know he makes them because after you presented one of his videos (after Mueller’s first Indictment) I pointed out that he lied when he said, “Everything these people have been indicted for, Christopher Steele is guilty of.” . . That was a lie. Christopher Steele has never committed, among other things, identity theft.

    Hell, I couldn’t even get you to admit that one of your people made a mistake/lied. . .

    You should feel great. This is something you have in common with Dr. Bill Osmunson. Neither of you can admit when you’re wrong. You must feel so proud of yourself.

    So . . to clarify, the three independent news organizations, who came to the same conclusions, and apparently used different sources because details were different, were:

    The Times report, by Nicholas Fandos, Michael Schmidt, and Mark Mazzetti, came first. The sourcing for their claim was “government officials and others familiar with their simmering frustrations”

    Then, the Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima, Carol Leonnig, and Rosalind Helderman added more details.

    And on Thursday morning, Ken Dilanian of NBC News added the detail that some on Mueller’s team have said the report paints “a picture of a campaign whose members were was manipulated by a sophisticated Russian intelligence operation.”

    By the way, The NBC Report is not in disagreement with Attorney General Barr’s little spin on the Mueller Report . . So he didn’t lie. No collusion, Manipulation.

    What is interesting is that the Mueller Team had prepared their own Summaries. We will find out the truth of this when Mueller is subpoenaed by Congress to testify.

    Like

  9. David Fierstien

    By the way, your post is incorrect. The cartoon reads:

    “How is this anything but a form of racism? Racism is never acceptable – and this coming from within the US intelligence community.”

    If that is a question, the answer is because the Russian people are not a race. You are trying to describe ethnocentrism, not racism. (But “racism” sounds a lot worse, doesn’t it.)

    Is it possible to get you to admit you made a mistake here?

    Like

  10. Yes, I know David. When people are caught out being illogically and inhumanely discriminatory they will resort to, and play with, definitions.

    I see it as racist and ask people to consider that.

    And rather than arguing about the number of angels on the head of a pin as a diversion you should seriously address that Clapper’s attitude is not too uncommon and should never be acceptable in government bodies. And it should not be acceptable here. For a comment to see as a crime that some had connections or contact with a Russian, a Ukranian, an Australian, etc., as evidence of a crime is disgusting.

    Like

  11. Yes, David. You had to either ignore or retreat. But even then you go onto an attack in an attempted diversion.

    It is a pity more readers and journalist do not challenge these obviously false statements.

    Like

  12. David Fierstien

    Ken: ” When people are caught out being illogically and inhumanely discriminatory they will resort to, and play with, definitions.

    I see it as racist and ask people to consider that.”

    Response: As expected, you are unable to admit when you are wrong. Congratulations! You are now a member of the Dr. Bill Club.

    You see it as racist. How exactly do you see it as racist? I’m guessing that your inability to admit a mistake plays into it. Another factor is that the word “Racism” takes on such a negative connotation in today’s world. This puts you on par with Paul Connett who calls optimally fluoridated water a “drug” that is nothing more than industrial waste from toxic smoke scrubbers.

    Contratulations! You are now a member of the Paul Connett Club.

    Ken, words have meanings. That is why we use them. The only person playing with definitions here is YOU.

    Like

  13. David Fierstien

    Ken: “It is a pity more readers and journalist do not challenge these obviously false statements.”

    Response: You have absolutely no evidence to say that three independent organizations which have reported members of the Mueller team have said the unedited Mueller Report paints a picture of Trump’s campaign as being manipulated by Russian actors . . . is “obviously false.”

    If you have such evidence, now’s the time to cough it up.

    Your worn out tactic of calling “diversion” is fast becoming a joke.

    Like

  14. David Fierstien

    Definition of racism
    1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
    2a : a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles
    b : a political or social system founded on racism
    3 : racial prejudice or discrimination

    The collective people living in the Russian Federation are not a race.

    Definition of ethnocentrism
    : the attitude that one’s own group, ethnicity, or nationality is superior to others

    The collective people living in the Russian Federation belong to a nationality.

    I’m still betting you won’t admit that you were wrong.

    Like

  15. Bill Osmunson

    Ken, I do not think you are getting the full picture in your news. Almost every day we hear how Russia influenced the 2016 US elections. Trump team is hiding plenty and with Julian in custody, he may provide additional evidence. Do not jump to conclusions.

    Like

  16. Bill, I suspect I am getting a more complete and better picture than you becuase I do not rely on ones sided corporate media but use multiple sources.

    You really have got to start thinking for yourself. Of course the narrative is pushed down your throat every day – but never do you get any evidence because there is none.

    The seizure of Assange has nothing to do with collusion. The US has been wanting to get him for years because it wants to suppress the information on US war crimes and US violations of human rights that Wikileaks has made available. His seizure is a disgusting attempt to suppress media freedom.

    Like

  17. David Fierstien

    Bill Osmunson,

    While I have your attention, in this comment you said, “Instead of empirical evidence, you resort to calling me names, because you do not have prospective RCT evidence for dosage of fluoride, efficacy, or safety.”
    https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2019/03/25/getting-out-alive-why-we-should-always-demand-evidence/#comment-125570

    And I said, “Please, Dr. Bill, Explain to us all, so the whole world can see, How would you undertake an RCT for water fluoridation in the United States of America?” https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2019/03/25/getting-out-alive-why-we-should-always-demand-evidence/#comment-125575

    I never did get your professional, expert advise on that, did I. Care to answer the question now

    Like

  18. David Fierstien

    Ken says, “Bill, I suspect I am getting a more complete and better picture than you becuase I do not rely on ones sided corporate media but use multiple sources.”

    Response: No. You rely on sources like Alexander Mercouris, whom I have proven lies to you . . but you won’t acknowledge that, will you. You accept him as a source, even though he has been proven to be a liar.

    And you quote Caitlan Johnstone, whom you’ve used as a source to exonerate the Trump team from conspiring with the Russian government with interfering with the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

    Well Wait A Minute. Caitlan Johnstone? Is that the same Caitlan Johnstone who wrote this article which states that Barr lied on his 4 page Summary that you felt so vindicated about, Ken? https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/leaked-mueller-report-proves-barr-lied-collusion-theorists-vindicated-2a9f52fda492

    So . . You feel vindicated about Barr’s 4 page summary of a 400 page report . . . . You used Caitlan Johnstone as a source to support your vindication . . . . and now Caitlan Johnstone says that Barr lied with his 4 page summary. How exactly does that work, Ken?

    It doesn’t matter does it. You use — How do you say it? — You are, “getting a more complete and better picture than you becuase I do not rely on ones sided corporate media but use multiple sources.”

    That which you disagree with you ignore, and that which you do agree with, even though it is proven false, you agree with. OK. I Get It. You’re getting a more complete and better picture than Dr. Bill because . . . . . . Why exactly?

    Like

  19. Oh dear, David. Has it come to this. Can you not recognise an April Fool’s joke? I thought it was very obvious myself.

    Like

  20. David Fierstien

    😉

    Like

  21. David Fierstien

    I know it’s been less than a day since the release of the Mueller Report, but, maybe after you’ve had a day or two to get through it . . I would be very interested in your current state of vindication.

    Like

  22. David, what little I have read shows to me how desperate those promoting the collusion narrative are to somehow maintain their myths -to the extent of outright lies. Even claiming the report finds that collusion occurred (which it specifically doesn’t).

    One lesson – beware of corporate media and its stenographers in their description of the report – they have been caught out lying and rather than be honest and admit this they continue to lie.

    But, No, my feeling of vindication remains after checking the collusion aspect of the report.

    As for the rest, my impression so far is that there is an unquestioning acceptance of the “conclusions” of the evidence-free January 6 Intelligence report znc the media/political assertions about the activity of the NRA. I think that is circular and disgusting – but it is the way the media and political system of the US works.

    Like

  23. Notably, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), also question the unsupported claims of the Mueller report re interference and have written to the president about it.

    See VIPS Fault Mueller Probe, Criticize Refusal to Interview Assange

    Like

  24. https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    Like

  25. David Fierstien

    Ken, I said, “I would be very interested in your current state of vindication.’

    And you responded, “No, my feeling of vindication remains after checking the collusion aspect of the report.”

    Thank you. You did respond directly to my question. Aside from the fact that there was no “collusion aspect of the report,” I understand the meaning of your answer. The word “collusion” was never used in the report, but I take your comment to mean “Volume I” which was an investigation into the Russian interference into the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.

    But you feel vindicated, after checking Volume I, that no criminal conspiracy occurred between the Trump campaign and Russian actors, or the Russian government itself.

    That is odd for a few reasons. First, the only party who gets off the hook in a “no collusion” narrative is Trump. The report is clear that Russia interfered in the election. We already knew that when Mueller released his first Indictment several months ago.

    It takes two parties to conspire, or “collude.” In this case we are talking about the Trump campaign and Russia. In your interpretation of the Report only one party is guilty . . that would be Russia. They interfered. That’s clearly written in the Report.

    In your reading of the Report, from which you feel vindication, Trump is innocent. He didn’t conspire. Russia still did it. You feel vindication. That is odd. It seems you have an untapped love for Trump.

    The second strange thing about your answer is that the Report talks about a cornucopia of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia in that election.

    For example, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort instructed his deputy, Rick Gates to, “provide Kilimnik with updates on the Trump campaign—including internal polling data.” The Report goes on to say, “Manafort expected Kilimnik to share that information with others in Ukraine and with Deripaska. Gates periodically sent such polling data to Kilimnik during the campaign.”

    So, when you say that you checked the collusion aspect of the report and you felt vindication because no collusion occurred, I can only assume we are talking about two different reports.

    Which report are you talking about?

    Like

  26. David Fierstien

    I stand corrected. The word “collusion” does appear in the Report. It is used to identify the lens they are not looking through.

    “In evaluating whether evidence about collective action of multiple individuals constituted a crime, we applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of “collusion.”

    So, “collusion” does appear. He needed to use that word to say what he wasn’t looking for.

    My bad.

    Like

Leave a Reply: please be polite to other commenters & no ad hominems.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s