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Media madness: False accounts served up fast and furious by the MSM this week

Seraphim Hanisch

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The people that write and publish the news are among the most powerful people on earth.

Does this sound like an extreme claim? It might because of the expressed level of cynicism about events and stories that are printed or broadcast in various news media. When I ask my friends and colleagues, they often respond with the blanket statement that “all the news media are lying anyway.”

But then…

Given the chance, usually someone will talk about some story that made an impact on them and it is often quite wild. One example I got in the last week was a report that the Carter Administration knew about the impending explosion of the Yellowstone super-volcano, and that the American foreign policy has been since shaped so as, apparently, to clear out lands for people to relocate after this world-ending scenario takes place.

The person who told me fully believed it.

This is because a well written story and a well established personal bias often meet and mix, with spectacular results. And a skillful writer or speaker can easily manipulate public opinion, simply because they say or write something that is at least halfway believable and which meets a person’s own bias and opinion in a way that constructs or provides reinforcement of the “truth” of things as that person sees it.

In this way, those who write and publish news can create public opinion as well as alter and manipulate those biases which already exist. Also, if a false story is spread in a sensational manner, once the truth comes to light, it doesn’t really matter. The sensational story survives and becomes extremely difficult to defeat.

Present examples of fake news that worked really well

We had a few such stories arise in the last two weeks. Here we list three examples of headlines and the truths that were, well, not so widely accepted.

  • Gina HaspelAccording to this early piece and others like it, she was a ruthless agent of torture at a “black site” run by the CIA in Thailand. This story got circulated for a few days before a very quiet retraction showed up. It turns out that this story of Gina being torture master is just not true.
  • President Trump to fire Robert Mueller – Last week right before the weekend this was circulating widely, despite the President specifically stating he has no such intention. In fact, today, Friday 23 March, USA Today is still trying to push this idea with their headline “Russia probe: Democrats fear Trump will fire Mueller while Congress is on two-week break.
  • Andrew McCabe – “Fired three days before retirement, and will not receive his pension.” The actual news is not quite so extreme sounding, as one can see here, but it was good enough for the media to have quite a freakout over this “sudden” move made, characterized by the press as ostensibly ordered by the Trump Administration directly or by those who work for him.

    The reports that are flying across the news, Twitter, and Facebook are that McCabe was just two days short of retirement and that this move by Sessions will, as, for instance, Vox, reports, “cost him his federal pension.” On Twitter, Andrea Mitchell writes:

    One suggestion from a McCabe supporter: if a friendly member of Congress hired him for a week he could possibly qualify for pension benefits by extending his service the extra days and Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton tweeted in reply, “Would be happy to consider this. The Sixth District of MA would benefit from the wisdom and talent of such an experienced public servant.” 

    Which all gives the impression of a veteran, elderly federal official being cheated out of his pension accruals due to a vindictive Trump administration.

In reality, the investigation into McCabe started by an Obama Administration order and Trump appointee Attorney General Jeff Sessions merely gave news of the firing. He did not execute this himself, nor was it his initiative. Further, as this Forbes piece goes on to describe, pension benefits vest at five years of employment for Federal Employees, meaning that benefit accruals cannot be lost. Further, Andrew McCabe is far from destitute. His present net worth is about US $11 million. He is also only 49 years old, so he has a lot of life left. What he did lose is the ability to take benefits at age 50; as it is now, he will have to wait until age 57 before he begins to collect. He also lost eligibility to a special benefit. However, these losses, although less than comfortable, are far from painless.

So, here are just three examples of rather large pieces of news that have made the rounds this last week. Every single one of them hit the streets with a sensational headline and a lot of follow up and sensationalism as secondary and ternary outlets scrambled to echo the new screaming headlines… only to find out that these were largely untrue.

However, each one was directed to one end – to discredit all things Trump and all things conservative. On a wider, geopolitical scale, most such news is made to blast all things Russia, as well as Presidents Putin and Trump and all things conservative. There is a great deal of consistency with all of this, and yet, it happens so constantly and so swiftly that it is very easily accepted that what we hear from the media, even conservative outlets, is the truth.

 

The attack is cunning: even conservative outlets are manipulated to support liberal causes

This ability to control the narrative even through conservative outlets is made stunningly clear in our expository piece released on 22 March about convicted-in-absentia-by-Russia tax fraudster William Browder, who also has been subpoenaed by the American government, only to physically flee the serving. Browder regularly appears in Congressional committee sessions, even though he renounced his American citizenship to evade taxes, and yet he controls the narrative on President Vladimir Putin, and in fact drives it. When he speaks on Fox, the conservative audience that watches Fox takes it as a point of fact that they can trust what Fox puts out so they believe the propaganda and lies this man (a profoundly active CLINTON supporter) manages to get out.

The responsibility spreads in multiple directions. First, the news media is a business. The business fails if it doesn’t make money, and part of how we make money is getting people to watch us and read us, and in so doing grant visibility to the companies that buy advertising with us. Second, there is great competition in the Internet Age, because instead of a few major outlets there are myriad sources for news. This creates a lot of competition to be first to release, and getting the most response is also a great race, through the use of attention grabbing headlines and so forth.

But this incredible competition is not justification for the controlling of the media narrative. THAT is a deeper issue, and further analysis pieces may shine some light on the why and how of this. But for now, we will suffice to say that the most popular type of narrative – at least in the minds of the MSM – is a narrative that supports the notion of secularism, progressivism, equality and several other themes that are all part of what is known as Cultural Marxism. For some reason, Christian conservatism does NOT dominate the intertubes. Maybe it is because there is little that is sexy, scandalous and sensational about most news stories as they really are.

How to correct this problem from the journalist’s side

It is also not presently attractive to present facts for critical analysis. Many of us have become less interested in factual detail and more interested in emotional fire and outrage. And in this climate it becomes really easy to mess around with facts. Facts become important only so far as they help to promote the sensationalism. And that is dangerously misleading.

In observing the way that the media narrative was thrown around this week alone, it becomes apparent that any good journalist needs to check sources, verify and investigate the alleged story to make sure it is true and not the product of someone’s wishful thinking. It is then needed to offer that information even if it is a little boring, on the premise that the boring nature of the non-sensationalized article is nonetheless of much GREATER value than any emotionally sensational piece. With good writing, this is possible. True journalism is an absolute art form.

Not so long ago, some of the greatest news writers did exactly this. One of the greatest achievements in the history of modern journalism was the Watergate exposé, reported and researched intensively by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post. The actual material was about as exciting as watching dead worms soak up the rain. But these two journalists did research, research, research, interviews and checking upon checking, and on top of that, good writing, to make sure the sources and all the information was airtight. The result was history.

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‘Hell on Earth’: MSF doctor tells RT of rape, violence, inhumane conditions in Lesbos refugee camp

One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

Alex Christoforou

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Via RT


One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

The overcrowded camp on the island of Lesbos, built to accommodate 3,100, houses around 9,000 people. “It’s a kind of hell on Earth in Europe,” Dr. Alessandro Barberio, an MSF clinical psychiatrist, said, adding that people in the camp suffer from lack of water and medical care. “It is impossible to stay there,” he said.

According to Barberio, asylum seekers are subjected to violence “during night and day.””There is also sexual violence”which leads to “mental health issues,” he said, adding that all categories of people at the camp may be subjected to it. “There is rape against men, women and children,” and the victims of sexual violence in the camp often have nightmares and hallucinations, Barberio told RT.

Asylum seekers in Moria “are in constant fear of violence,” and these fears are not groundless, the psychiatrist said. “Such cases [of violence] take place every week.”

There is “one toilet for 72 people, one shower for 84 people. The sanitation is bad. People are suffering from bad conditions,” Michael Raeber, an aid worker at the camp, told RT. They suffer from mental health problems because they are kept for a long time in the camp, according to Raeber.

“There is no perspective, they don’t know how their case will go on, when they will ever be able to leave the island.” The camp is a “place where there is no rule of law,” with rampant violence and drug addiction among the inhabitants, Raeber said.

In its latest report, MSF, which has been working near Moria since late 2017, criticized the unprecedented health crisis in the camp – one of the biggest in Greece. About a third of the camp population consists of children, and many of them have harmed themselves, and have thought about or attempted suicide, according to the group.

Barberio was behind an MSF open letter on the state of emergency in Moria, released on Monday, in which he writes that he has never “witnessed such overwhelming numbers of people suffering from serious mental health conditions.”

Calling the camp an “island prison,” he insisted that many of his patients in the camp are unable to perform basic everyday functions, “such as sleeping, eating well, maintaining personal hygiene, and communicating.”

A number of human rights groups have strongly criticized the conditions at the camp and Greece’s “containment policy”regarding asylum seekers.

Christina Kalogirou, the regional governor of the North Aegean, which includes Lesbos, has repeatedly threatened to shut down the facility unless the government improves the conditions. On Tuesday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that Greece will move 2,000 asylum seekers out of the severely overcrowded camp and send them to the mainland by the end of September.

Greece, like other EU states, is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since WWII. According to International Organization for Migration estimates, 22,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Greece since the start of this year alone.

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Erdogan accepts Syria DMZ off-ramp, in deal with Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 111.

Alex Christoforou

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The deal struck in Sochi averts a large scale Syria’s offensive on Idlib, as Turkey gives it guarantee to monitor what will effectively become a demilitarized zone.

According to the agreement, troops from Russia and Turkey will enforce a new demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Idlib, from which ISIS/Al Qaeda rebels will be required to withdraw by the middle of next month.

Speaking alongside Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the 15 to 20 km-wide zone would be established by October 15th. The DMZ would require a complete “withdrawal of all radical fighters” from Idlib, including the rebranded Al-Qaeda affiliated Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

Putin also noted that heavy weapons would be withdrawn from the DMZ by all opposition forces by October 10th, which is a move supported by the Syrian government.

The Russian President described the agreement as a “serious result” further saying that “Russia and Turkey have confirmed their determination to counter terrorism in Syria in all its forms”.

Erdogan said both his country and Russia would carry out coordinated patrols in the demilitarized zone:

“We decided on the establishment of a region that is cleaned of weapons between the areas which are under the control of the opposition and the regime.”

“In return, we will ensure that radical groups, which we will designate together with Russia, won’t be active in the relevant area.”

According to Al Jazeera Iran’s foreign minister has hailed an agreement between Turkey and Russia to avert an assault on the Syrian rebel-held Idlib province, as an example of “responsible diplomacy”.

An agreement to halt plans for an offensive on the last major rebel-held stronghold was announced in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday after a meeting between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On his Twitter account, Zarif wrote: “Intensive responsible diplomacy over the last few weeks-pursued in my visits to Ankara & Damascus, followed by the Iran-Russia-Turkey Summit in Tehran and the meeting (in) Sochi-is succeeding to avert war in #Idlib with a firm commitment to fight extremist terror. Diplomacy works.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the agreement reached in Sochi, which for now avoids full scale conflict in Idlib, Syria. Who won, who lost, and which interests were met with the DMZ agreement?

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Via Xinhuanet

An anticipated Syrian military offensive on the northwestern province of Idlib is on hold after Turkey and Russia reached a deal following Ankara’s guarantee on behalf of the rebel groups, experts said.

The deal was reached Monday by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, as the two sides agreed to create a demilitarized buffer zone in Idlib, the last rebel stronghold.

This agreement brings Turkey to a position of giving a guarantee on behalf of the rebel groups, the experts said.

“Moscow is convinced that it would not be able to handle the burden of a humanitarian tragedy in case of a military offensive in Idlib,” said Metin Gurcan, a Turkish security analyst with the Istanbul Policy Center of Sabanci University.

Russia has also secured its airbases in northern Syria, including its airbase in Hmeymim as a guarantee by Turkey under the Sochi agreement, he said.

Gurcan recalled a trilateral summit of Turkey, Iran and Russia held in Iranian capital Tehran early September, which ended without agreement as Erdogan’s call for a ceasefire in Idlib was rejected by Moscow and Tehran.

Erdogan’s proposal for a ceasefire by all parties in Idlib was rejected by Putin on the grounds that those groups were not represented at the table there, he said.

“Now Turkey has given a guarantee on behalf of radical groups which Putin earlier said that ceasefire cannot be discussed because they were not represented at Tehran meeting,” Gurcan said.

Now everyone is curious how Turkey has given guarantee to Moscow and how will those radical groups accept a proposal for demilitarization by surrendering heavy weapons and withdrawing from the demilitarized zone, Gurcan noted.

“Ankara has given this promise relying on its military power on the ground and on its capacity to convince armed opposition groups,” he said.

Turkish army has reinforced its presence in Idlib in the past few months, and Turkey has 12 military outposts with 1,200-1,300 troops on the border line of the province separating the rebel stronghold from the pro-Iran militia-controlled South of Aleppo and the government-controlled southeast, Gurcan said.

Rebel groups, including the Free Syrian Army, in the region are gathered with Turkish backing under the banner of the “National Front for Liberation.”

Putin and Erdogan agreed on Monday in Sochi to create a 15-20 km buffer zone along the line of contact between rebels and regime troops by Oct. 15.

The agreement entails the “withdrawal of all radical fighters” from Idlib as well as “heavy weaponry from this zone,” Putin said at the joint press conference after signing the deal with Erdogan.

By the end of the year, transportation routes between the key port of Latakia and Aleppo as well as the city of Hama must be restored, Putin added.

The Russian leader also said all heavy weapons had to be withdrawn from the zone by Oct. 10, according to Erdogan’s proposal.

Ankara has been warning against any military offensive by Russia-backed Syrian regime forces in Idlib, warning that it would lead to a humanitarian crisis and refugee influx to the Turkish border.

Turkey and Russia, along with Iran, are guarantors of the Astana deal which declared ceasefire in four de-escalation zones in Syria, including Idlib.

Turkey will deploy more troops in Idlib province after the Sochi deal, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

“We will need extra troop reinforcements. Turkey and Russia will patrol on the border areas. Civilians and moderate (opposition) will stay here,” Cavusoglu said.

Another outcome of the Sochi deal is that Turkey and Russia prevented a possible attack by the United States in Idlib, Naim Baburoglu from Aydin University said.

He recalled that the U.S. was giving signals that it wanted to intervene in the situation in Idlib, if Syrian government troops launch an assault on the rebel stronghold.

Washington recently threatened to take swift and decisive actions against any use of chemical weapons in Idlib.

“This agreement showed that the U.S. has room for maneuver only in the east of Euphrates and Manbij region,” Baburoglu said.

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Pat Buchanan: “The Late Hit” On Judge Kavanaugh

Wha exactly is professor Ford’s case against Judge Kavanaugh?

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org:


Upon the memory and truthfulness of Christine Blasey Ford hangs the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, his reputation and possibly his career on the nation’s second-highest court.

And much more. If Kavanaugh is voted down or forced to withdraw, the Republican Party and conservative movement could lose their last best hope for recapturing the high court for constitutionalism.

No new nominee could be vetted and approved in six weeks. And the November election could bring in a Democratic Senate, an insuperable obstacle to the elevation of a new strict constructionist like Kavanaugh.

The stakes are thus historic and huge.

And what is professor Ford’s case against Judge Kavanaugh?

When she was 15 in the summer of ’82, she went to a beer party with four boys in Montgomery County, Maryland, in a home where the parents were away.

She says she was dragged into a bedroom by Brett Kavanaugh, a 17-year-old at Georgetown Prep, who jumped her, groped her, tried to tear off her clothes and cupped her mouth with his hand to stop her screams.

Only when Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge, laughing “maniacally,” piled on and they all tumbled off the bed, did she escape and lock herself in a bathroom as the “stumbling drunks” went downstairs. She fled the house and told no one of the alleged rape attempt.

Not until 30 years later in 2012 did Ford, now a clinical psychologist in California, relate, in a couples therapy session with her husband, what happened. She says she named Kavanaugh as her assailant, but the therapist’s notes of the session make no mention of Kavanaugh.

During the assault, says Ford, she was traumatized. “I thought he might inadvertently kill me.”

Here the story grows vague. She does not remember who drove her to the party. She does not say how much she drank. She does not remember whose house it was. She does not recall who, if anyone, drove her home. She does not recall what day it was.

She did not tell her parents, Ford says, as she did not want them to know she had been drinking. She did not tell any friend or family member of this traumatic event that has so adversely affected her life.

Said Kavanaugh in response, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”

Mark Judge says it never happened.

Given the seriousness of the charges, Ford must be heard out. But she also needs to be cross-examined and have her story and character probed as Kavanaugh’s has been by FBI investigators as an attorney for the Ken Starr impeachment investigation of Bill Clinton, a White House aide to George Bush, a U.S. appellate judge and a Supreme Court nominee.

During the many investigations of Kavanaugh’s background, nothing was unearthed to suggest something like this was in character.

Some 65 women who grew up in the Chevy Chase and Bethesda area and knew Kavanaugh in his high school days have come out and spoken highly of his treatment of girls and women.

Moreover, the way in which all of this arose, at five minutes to midnight in the long confirmation process, suggests that this is political hardball, if not dirt ball.

When Ford, a Democrat, sent a letter detailing her accusations against Kavanaugh to her California congresswoman, Anna Eshoo, Ford insisted that her name not be revealed as the accuser.

She seemingly sought to damage or destroy the judge’s career behind a cloak of anonymity. Eshoo sent the letter on to Sen. Diane Feinstein, who held it for two months.

Excising Ford’s name, Feinstein then sent it to the FBI, who sent it to the White House, who sent it on to the Senate to be included in the background material on the judge.

Thus, Ford’s explosive charge, along with her name, did not surface until this weekend.

What is being done here stinks. It is a transparently late hit, a kill shot to assassinate a nominee who, before the weekend, was all but certain to be confirmed and whose elevation to the Supreme Court is a result of victories in free elections by President Trump and the Republican Party.

Palpable here is the desperation of the left to derail Kavanaugh, lest his elevation to the high court imperil their agenda and the social revolution that the Warren Court and its progeny have been able to impose upon the nation.

If Kavanaugh is elevated, the judicial dictatorship of decades past, going back to the salad days of Earl Warren, William Brennan, Hugo Black and “Wild Bill” Douglas, will have reached its end. A new era will have begun.

That is what is at stake.

The Republican Senate should continue with its calendar to confirm Kavanaugh before Oct. 1, while giving Ford some way to be heard, and then Kavanaugh the right to refute. Then let the senators decide.

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