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Two Mainstream U.S. ‘Journalists’ Provide Stenographic ‘News’ Report — U.S. Anti-Russia Propaganda

by Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

This is the story of an ordinary article by two well-known American ‘journalists’ who market the aristocracy’s lies as ‘news,’ so that the public believes dangerous myths, which might unfortunately get out of control and end in nuclear war.

Josh Rogin and Eli Lake, two “columnists” functioning in the role of reporters for BloombergView, issued on the night of December 17th, their piece of U.S. government propaganda parading as if it were a ‘news’ report; and, in the process, they mistakenly included some real and interesting news that contradicts the very same fake storyline they’re pumping on behalf of the U.S. government, and of their billionaire employer: Wall Street’s Michael Bloomberg.

They started it with the false assumption — routine in the American ‘press’ — that the U.S. government is right and the Russian government is wrong in their respective war-involvements inside Syria. This false assumption is presented in their opening paragraph.

Headlining “New Russian Air Defenses in Syria Keep U.S. Grounded,” they opened: “There is a new crisis for the international effort to destroy the Islamic State, created by the Kremlin. The U.S. has stopped flying manned air-support missions for rebels in a key part of northern Syria due to Russia’s expansion of air defense systems there, and the Barack Obama administration is scrambling to figure out what to do about it.”

Their phrase “the international effort” presumes that the U.S. is fighting on “the international” side, and that Russia’s forces (and those of the Syrian government that invited-in Russia’s forces) must therefore be the violators of international law. This falsehood is accentuated by the allegation that “the Kremlin” “created” this “crisis.”

Key factual background in order to understand and evaluate the truthfulness, and even the honesty, of this opening paragraph is this: The U.S. invaded Syria; it was not invited in by the country’s universally-recognized-as-legitimate  government.  It’s instead trying to overthrow that very government. In fact: it’s an invader. The U.S. government has supplied weapons and some air-support to the ‘rebels’ of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups (including even ISIS) that are pouring into Syria to overthrow that country’s leader, Bashar al-Assad, who has been shown even in Western-sponsored polls in Syria to be overwhelmingly preferred over anyone else to lead that country — and the U.S. has now also been bombing Syria’s basic infrastructure in order to weaken its legitimate government further. Syria had invited in Russian air power to bomb those ‘rebels,’ the vast majority of whom are foreign invaders, just like the U.S. itself is. So: the U.S. and its allies caused this “crisis,” whatever it is or might be. In fact, the U.S. started planning it from the moment Barack Obama first became U.S. President, if not before. And, even the sarin gas attack that Obama blamed on the Assad government and used as his reason for invading Syria was a put-up job from the Obama Administration with the cooperation of the Sauds, Qataris, and Turks.

As a response to Russia’s bombings of ISIS, al-Qaeda (called ‘al-Nusra’ in Syria) and other jihadist invaders of Syria, ISIS bombed a Russian airliner over Egypt, and the U.S.-allied NATO country of Turkey shot down a Russian bomber in Syria. Russia did not respond with nuclear war against ’the West,’ or NATO, but simply sent into Syria additional weapons in order to defend Syrian airspace and protect Syria’s and Russia’s forces against continued attacks by the U.S. and its allies such as Turkey. Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, was, in effect, saying thereby: If you try anything like that again, we’ll shoot it, and then we’ll be in a full-fledged war between you and us over Syria — and you will be very publicly exposed to the world as the invaders — if that’s what you choose to do.

Then, the co-columnists go on to report that, “earlier this month, Moscow deployed an SA-17 advanced air defense system near the area and began ‘painting’ U.S. planes, targeting them with radar in what U.S. officials said was a direct and dangerous provocation.” The assumption here is that for Russia to “defend” its bombers from attacks by the U.S. invading forces is somehow a “dangerous provocation.” The co-columnists don’t themselves say this; they instead simply report the lie from the Pentagon on it. And they do not challenge that lie.

The fact is that if Russia doesn’t defend itself from the attacks by the U.S. and its allies, then Russia will itself be conquered by the U.S. and its allies, because that has been the central foreign-policy goal of the United States government ever since the late 1970s, if not even earlier — first as a “cold war” war to defeat the Soviet Union, and then (starting in 1990, just before the USSR and its Warsaw Pact military alliance broke up in 1991) explicitly and knowingly as a continuing war by the U.S. aristocracy to take control over Russia, the world’s most resource-rich nation. To the American aristocracy and its military, which is the Pentagon: self-defense by Russia, and even Russia’s joining an ally (Syria) in order to defend it against the invasion by the U.S. and its allies, constitutes “dangerous provocation.”

It’s one thing for the aristocracy’s stooges, such as Obama or his nameless “officials,” to emit that lie, but it’s something else altogether when the ‘press’ (which may be actually just a propaganda-operation to serve the aristocracy that controls the government) reports it to the public without challenging it (not even incompetently challenging it). Only a fool would respect ‘journalists’ such as that, but the George W. Bush Administration had no problems getting them to believe his lies about “Saddam’s WMD” etc., which similarly were stenographically reported and not challenged, by the American ‘press.’   Barack Obama is relying upon the same fake ‘press,’ and same widespread public stupidity trusting it. After a nation’s ‘press’ has so stenographically reported unchallenged its leader’s lies, as happened in 2002 and 2003, the only reasonable response by the public is to boycott those very same stenographic ‘news’ media. But that never happened in the United States, which demonstrably is no real democracy. And so, the current regime there is just as bad as its lying predecessor was — basically just a continuation of it. Republican and Democratic Presidents now represent the same aristocracy, merely different wings of it, and those two wings don’t differ very much from each other; and they are united in their shared  warfare against the public (but the rhetoric is much prettier and the lies are more subtle under Obama). As the liberal wing of it said, in the person of its Warren Buffett, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” (He told this to the conservative Ben Stein reporting in the New York Times, on 26 November 2006, but that newspaper won’t let readers access the article online for free, and instead prefer to charge anyone who seeks to see whether or not the quotation is authentic — it is. And the statement is true. But the vast majority of aristocrats (unlike Buffett there) want to fool the public to believe that either no class-war exists, or else its victims are instead its actual perpetrators the aristocrats themselves, just like they want their fools to believe that internationally the aggressor is Russia, not the U.S.-Saudi-led alliance of Western ‘democracies’ and jihadist groups that together hate the non-sectarian government of Russia and want to grab that land’s resources.)

Then, these two stenographers-to-power wrote: “‘The increasing number of Russian-supplied advanced air defense systems in Syria, including SA-17s, is another example that Russia and the regime seek to complicate the global counter-Daesh [meaning ISIS] coalition’s air campaign,’ said Major Tim Smith, using another term for the Islamic State. The increasing number of Russian air defense systems further complicate an already difficult situation over the skies in Syria, and do nothing to advance the fight against the Islamic State, which has no air force, Smith said.” In other words: they’re saying two things here: (1) Russia’s defending itself in Syria against another Turkish — or maybe even American — shoot-down of another Russian bomber, “further complicate an already difficult situation over the skies in Syria,” and (2) it also does “nothing to advance the fight against the Islamic State.” But both of those also are lies: The U.S. and its allies are the ones who “further complicate” the situation, by increasing the stakes after the barbarous Turkish shoot-down of Russia’s anti-jihadist  bomber. And Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria has achieved more in two months than the U.S. and its allies — including the Sunni Shariah-law nations that finance jihad — had achieved in two years there while the “allied” side were actually trying to bring down the government of Bashar al-Assad. The fakery of the Western ‘democracies’ and ‘press’ is bare-faced in that passage.

Then, the stenographers report, regarding Russia, that: “the Obama administration has accused it of targeting the rebel groups the U.S. was supporting, not the Islamic State. The Russian strikes are also targeting commercial vehicles passing from Turkey into Syria, the administration official told us.” The lies there are (1) that Russian air-strikes have not included ISIS along with all of the other many jihadist groups, all of them fundamentalist Sunnis, fighting in Syria to overthrow the secular Shiite Assad; and (2) that bombing “commercial vehicles passing from Turkey into Syria” that are sent there to load up on ISIS-controlled oil stolen from Syria, and which “commercial vehicles” (oil trucks) Russia has bombed around a thousand of them (though the U.S. over the prior years had bombed none at all), shouldn’t be bombed. Oh? Really? On which side of this war are America and its allies? Duh — the stenographers show they don’t even care. They’re just stenographers — or, as America calls them, “reporters” and “columnists.” This is ‘news reporting’ in the U.S. ‘press.’

The remainder of the article (the entire closing half of it — and by their closing with this far-right garbage they are thereby placing their emphasis upon it) presents far-right criticisms of Obama, which Bloomberg’s stenographers then summarize at the very end of this scummy work by saying that “the U.S. is not only decreasing pressure, but acquiescing to Russian pressure. This benefits not only Assad and Russia, but also the Islamic State.” In other words, the message there is: the Republican wing of the aristocracy (and the stenographers don’t even inform their readers that this is what they’re now actually quoting from, and here paraphrasing) want Obama to force Russia to have to choose right now between either nuclear war, or else capitulation in Syria.

This is more of the type of ‘press’ that was on display in America during 2002-2003: Back then, it was lies from the Republican wing of the aristocracy, but this time it’s lies from the Democratic wing of the aristocracy — but attacked, in this instance, by Republicans, since that’s the wing from which Bloomberg comes. In either case, it’s still the same fake ‘press.’ George W. Bush wasn’t bad enough, so they gave us Barack Obama.

Regarding my having said at the opening, that, “in the process” of all this lying, “they mistakenly included some real news that contradicts the very same fake storyline they’re pumping on behalf of the U.S. government, and of their billionaire employer,” here’s that snippet of real news, which is the entirety of their article’s positive value (it’s the entirety of their article’s second sentence):

“The U.S. has stopped flying manned air-support missions for rebels in a key part of northern Syria due to Russia’s expansion of air defense systems there, and the Barack Obama administration is scrambling to figure out what to do about it.”

That was the smidgen of truth contained in their ‘news’ report about the war in Syria.  All the rest of their article was pure deception.

No wonder ‘we’ invaded Iraq, Libya, and perpetrated a coup in Ukraine. But Vladimir Putin isn’t like Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, or Viktor Yanukovych.  And, it seems that Barack Obama knows this, even if his Republican opposition don’t.  (Actually, they’re just lying: they know it, but they are constantly baiting him to go even farther to the right, because this is the way that Republican ‘news’ media successfully sucker their fools to think that Obama is a communist Muslim Kenyan alien, inside the White House.  Suckers never learn.)


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.

18 Comments

  1. If there’s ever stability in Iraq Syria Iran Ukraine a 9/11 will have been for nothing .The reason they are still clinging on like grim death to the unravelling of the plan for a NWO
    9/11 Was the difficult part,or so they assumed, get through that and the world was theirs for the taking Always have a plan B they have no plan B Plan A was total BS and why they are called elite i will never know they are shi# only a moron would act the way they have in setting up a NWO They think they are gods.. GOD FORBID SOULLESS MURDERING LlAMEBRAINED SCUM

    Like

  2. Jennifer,
    I am definitely of the opinion you should be free to voice your opinion, as much as I should be free to urge people to read as many sources of information as they possibly can.

    Forgive me for saying so, but I am not “insinuating” that you “dismiss people’s ability or intelligence to work out things for themselves” I’m saying it’s what you are doing, whether you realise it or not.

    And now you opine that Eric Zeusse was being sarcastic in asking peope to bycott the MSM. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t, but to judge by the general tone and justifiable anger in the piece I believe he wasn’t. But you keep on saying things without offering any evidence to support them whatsoever.

    I have enjoyed our exchanges, so thank you very much for your replies. However, I have other things to get on with now.

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    • Bryan: yes, thanks very much for an interesting discussion, we’ll agree to disagree and leave it at that.

      Like

    • Robert says

      There is a world of difference between boycotting MSM and just ignoring it. I mean really why bother with MSM, it is going to be corporate propaganda so often, that attempting to pick the truth from the lies becomes boring and pointless. So many choice on the internet, it is simpler to just leave it behind.

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      • There are two reasons not to ignore them: [1] as Chomsky points out, they have the resources which make it possible for them to cover events in a way no citizen-journalist group can, and since the public they are addressing also needs to maintain some contact with reality, a lot of what they publish does contain important information; [2] keeping an eye on the mainstream media also lets us know what exactly they and their paymasters want us to think and believe, something that gives us a good idea of what their intentions are at any specific point of time and regarding any specific issue, country, etc. All of which is valuable, indeed essential, to know.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. “After a nation’s ‘press’ has so stenographically reported unchallenged its leader’s lies, as happened in 2002 and 2003, the only reasonable response by the public is to boycott those very same stenographic ‘news’ media.”

    Whereas I agree with most of this article (not all) I cannot agree with the sentence I quote above. We cannot know or understand our enemies without knowing their thoughts. Ignoring them will not make them go away.

    BloombergView is read mostly by rightwingers, the vast majority of whom wouldn’t dream of reading alternative media outlets like Off-Guardian. On the other hand, the alternative media is read mostly by people who wouldn’t dream of reading BloombergView. To really understand the horrific problems posed by the right-wingers and their insane solutions, we must read them, otherwise we stand no chance of opposing them effectively.

    I urge people to read outlets like BloombergView precisely because it is mainly aimed at the 1%, and therefore reflects many of their views and opinions. A boycott would be self-defeating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Hor says

      Dear Bryan,

      One issue with your suggestion is that many if not most people do not have the time to try to read the alternative media AND then read outlets like BloombergView or The Guardian. For many people, trying to even find credible alternative media outlets and then to read them can be an effort. Not all alternative news media adhere to the same standards of recording and reporting accurately and even the same outlet can be good and objective in reporting news about particular topics and biased and inaccurate about other topics.

      Also if most of us do not know or understand the tools and methods used to spread lies or to turn facts into lies, then we would not be able to discern whether a piece of reporting is credible and we would be wasting our time reading the mainstream media. Some of us are fortunate enough to have studied subjects at high school or college level that taught literary or media analysis and criticism, what propaganda is and how it functions, or to have taught ourselves how to dissect news articles. Being able to analyse media reports, to know if they carry biases or are plainly propaganda pieces does not come easily to most people.

      You assume also that by reading what BloombergView et al write, you can understand how the elites think and function. But what if there is no logic, no direction, no clear narrative to what they think and do? Isn’t it possible that the reason Washington (or any other Western power like the UK government) behaves the way it does in so many places around the world is that it has no clear idea of what it really wants and how to go about it, and that everything it does is impulsive and is done to gain an advantage, however temporary it is, and to exploit it while it lasts?

      Under the current neoliberal economic order, there is very little stability and the economic, social and political systems we live under are apt to swing from one extreme to another in ways that appear completely random and which have no discernable rationale. We have grown accustomed to a taking a short-term view of events and are discouraged from having a memory of what has gone before. Our elites may well take the view that in such a “reality”, the only principle to live by is to take whatever you want in whatever way you can.

      Finally our elites are as much deluded by the propaganda and lies they produce as the rest of us are supposed to be.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jennifer,
        Nowhere do I suggest anybody should be made to read anything they don’t want to. The essence of my comment is that boycotting a mainstream media outlet can result in cutting off your nose to spite your face. And which other organs should we boycott? Are we so ignorant and easily led we have to be told? And pray whom will do the telling? The “some of us” who you say “are fortunate enough” to have been “taught literary or media analysis and criticism”? I presume you class yourself amongst that elite.

        As a writer, who has contributed a few articles to this site, the alternative media is my main source of valuable information, and it is very doubtful I’d be able to find much of that information elsewhere. Nevertheless, I also refer to many other sources, including the corporate media. In fact, I harvest some very interesting information from the corporate media, which I would miss completely if I had to rely on alternative sources.

        Thank you for your comment, but without wanting to hurt your feelings, I find it both patronising and confusing. This particular sentence provides a good example of what I mean:

        “Isn’t it possible that the reason Washington (or any other Western power like the UK government) behaves the way it does in so many places around the world is that it has no clear idea of what it really wants and how to go about it, and that everything it does is impulsive and is done to gain an advantage, however temporary it is, and to exploit it while it lasts?”

        What are you trying to say by that exactly? Of course, having “no clear idea of what it really wants to do …” could be a possible reason, and I’d be a fool not to consider it. But then again, maybe it isn’t the actual reason. Are you saying one thing or the other? If you don’t know what the West really wants to do you can’t expect anyone else to. I certainly wouldn’t be able work out what Washington might really want without reading at least some of the stuff its organs spout. Offical US reports are a mine of priceless information. To my mind, whether you intended it to or not, your comment sounds like a very poor excuse for the West to carry on bombing and killing till it figures out why it should carry on bombing and killing.

        As a journalist I have to read many media outlets from all politcal persuasions in order to inform others of what is being said. Eric Zuesse had to read BloombergView in order to write about it. And, in order to put it into context, he linked to the article he discusses. You see what I mean? He links to an magazine that he tells us to boycott. Being an admirer of Zeusse’s work, doesn’t mean I can’t point out any seeming contradictions.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dear Bryan,

          I do not class myself as a member of an elite skilled in analysing and interpreting media reports. My background is in library and records work. I am probably about as skilled as anyone else without a background in journalism or writing at working out what is accurate reporting and what passes for propaganda.

          My suggestion that the US government has no clear direction and that its actions follow no clear logic or narrative, and that most if not everything it does is based on expediency and gaining an advantage, does not in any way justify bombing and killing other people in other countries. I only made this suggestion as an alternative to your earlier statement that we should know what Western elites are thinking through the Western MSM, with the implication that what they are thinking is clearly communicated to (or understood by) the media. But what the elites think and what the media interprets about their thinking through the actions the elites take could be two completely different things. What the actual intentions are behind an action or a course of action could be the complete opposite of what the media rushes to assume are the elites’ motivations.

          Western governments these days are led by people who come from backgrounds where having a short-term view of reality, and not caring about long-term consequences of decisions taken today, because in three, four or more years’ time, they will not be in power anymore, and the result is messes left all over the world that Western politicians think they can walk away because in a few years’ time these problems won’t be theirs anymore and someone else can clean up after them.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think you seriously underestimate the continuity of the deep state and the ideologues that work for it in institutions such as the State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy, etc., and all the lobby-groups and think-tanks which are funded by those who also finance those running for office. There’s a very good historical argument to be made that the US foreign policy has been remarkably consistent for the past 200 years, in fact.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Dear Vaska and jag 37777,

              To be honest, I do think that yes, US policies have been consistent over the past 100 years at least. But as you say, this consistency is due to the continuity of the “deep state” (or the government behind the government as I think Osama bin Laden once said in a conversation to his mother or some other relation immediately after the 9/11 attacks when he said he had nothing to do with those attacks) behind what passes for the “official” US government, that is, the one Americans vote for and which they think is the real government, and the one which I was referring to in the discussion with Bryan Hemmings.

              Much the same can be said for the British government where it’s arguable that a secret government has been operating behind the current Cameron government, and before that, the Brown government, the Blair government and so on. How else can we explain the consistency of British foreign and domestic policy from before 2010 in spite of the incompetence, stupidity and the insular vision that seem to be the outstanding qualities of the Cameron government?

              That layer of society we call “the elites” who fund the deep state may be as clueless as the rest of us about who exactly they are funding and what. The elites know what they want but how to go about getting what they want is something different and for that, they rely on “experts”, “advisors” and others who may have their own agendas. For all we know, ideologues like Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland may be playing and manipulating their benefactors against one another.

              Likewise, the individuals and corporations who own and control the media also have their own agendas and their own interpretations of what the deep state wants. You have people like Rupert Murdoch who pride themselves on making and breaking politicians, and who wield such power over their staff that they don’t have to tell their employees what to report and what not to report: the staff self-censor themselves.

              That’s why when Bryan says that to understand our enemies, we must know what they are thinking (and to do that we must read the MSM), I had to put in my two cents’ worth as a caution. Because even if we do read the MSM and find out what the MSM thinks and believes, we still can’t assume that what the MSM believes is an accurate reflection of what the deep state is really after.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Jennifer,
                Though I respect your sincerity, and think I understand what you’re trying to say, you rely on your own opinions, assumptions and hypotheses rather too much.

                As for writing sentences that contain phrases like “…as I think Osama bin Laden once said in a conversation to his mother or some other relation …” you do yourself no favours. You can’t expect anyone to take that seriously, as you are doing exactly what we all accuse the corporate media of doing.

                In one reply to me you write: “… to your earlier statement that we should know what Western elites are thinking through the Western MSM, with the implication that what they are thinking is clearly communicated to (or understood by) the media.” That is just your interpretation.

                To cherrypick what suits your argument from such a short comment is being slightly dishonest. Admittedly, I wrote: “We cannot know or understand our enemies without knowing their thoughts. Ignoring them will not make them go away” But, taken in context – and not literally – ‘knowing their thoughts’ in the sense I employ, does not mean reading their minds. And if that isn’t clear enough it is qualified by this: “To really understand the horrific problems posed by the right-wingers and their insane solutions, we must read them, otherwise we stand no chance of opposing them effectively.” That does not automatically imply we can know ‘clearly’ what they’re thinking just from reading what’s being said. Neither do I suggest anywhere that we should take the corporate media literally. Having said that, by consulting a variety of, sources, including the coprorate media, we can begin to build a picture of the real story behind the headlines and propaganda.

                In the end, that’s what this site is about. It’s purpose it to expose the lies of media outlets by analysing them. To do that effectively Off-Guardian has to depend on many other alternative sites as sources. For example, the recently closed Medialens Message Board provided an excellent gateway to alternative new stories, blogs and sites. But, by defintion, the alternative media is not chock full of nothing but the truth, it is only an alternative full of alternatives. In the end, it all depends upon the intelligence and commonsense of each individual reader, which I think you underestimate and dismiss far too readily.

                For those who have yet to find out the Medialens Message Board has now been replaced by The Lifeboat News (http://members5.boardhost.com/xxxxx/).

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                • Bryan: I admit that yes, much of what I’ve said is my opinion and assumption but I did feel it was necessary to point out some issues with your statement urging people to read news sites like BloombergView to understand what elites think and how they come to think the way they do. Not everyone necessarily has the time or resources to do this. I should be able to say this without the insinuation that I dismiss people’s ability or intelligence to work out things for themselves.

                  To assume that we can understand what elites believe or think through the MSM is without substance if the functions of the MSM as a propaganda arm of the elites include lying, denial, demonising their enemies, projecting the elites’ misdeeds onto their enemies and repeating without question or analysis whatever the elites want to fool the public with. Additionally the MSM may have its own agenda that it overlays on what the elites might or might not believe; I can’t prove that it does (and that there might be an extra layer of BS to fight through as a result) but can anyone prove that it doesn’t?

                  Also, returning to and re-reading Eric Zuesse’s original statement that set off this discussion, I think he was being sarcastic and was not really advocating that people should boycott the MSM altogether.

                  Liked by 1 person

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