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How Salon Gets Away with Deceiving Its Readers

by Eric Zuesse, originally posted at

Before I start this condemnation of lies from ‘liberal’ ‘news’ media, I should indicate that I am a former lifelong Democrat who left the Party over the corruption of the Obama Administration when the corruption became capped by their Democratic National Committee using many devices to steal the Presidential nomination away from Bernie Sanders, to hand it to Obama’s chosen successor Hillary Clinton, whom Obama expected would complete his pro-Wall-Street legacy by passing into law some version of his trade treaties and by Hillary’s conquering Russia, the latter of which goal was a U.S. government project that had actually started in secret on the night of 24 February 1990 when the then-President George Herbert Walker Bush initiated what has since become a ceaseless behind-the-scenes U.S. government program to expand NATO right up to Russia’s borders and ultimately to conquer Russia itself. Though the Cold War ended authentically on Russia’s side in 1991, it never really did end on the U.S. side (that was just a lie) — and Obama-Clinton were hoping soon to culminate the U.S. aristocracy’s conquest of Russia. I remain a committed progressive journalist but am no longer committed to any political party, because now both of the major political parties are vile and no third party in a Presidential system of government stands a realistic chance of controlling either the Executive branch or the Legislative branch of government — its only function is to serve as “spoiler” for one or the other of the two. So: I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, nor a supporter of some ‘third’ Party, but remain unchanged throughout, consistently a progressive, which means totally dedicated to truth and against lies (such as dominate all forms of conservatism). My criticisms of ‘news’media reflect that, no political-party orientation.

On November 9th, Salon’s reporter Brendan Gauthier headlined Salon’s top-of-homepage headline of the day, “In Donald Trump’s cabinet from hell, corporatism and cronyism run rampant — and Sarah Palin may be there, too” and reported what was at the time speculation that was sourced to an NBC news report, titled “Gingrich, Giuliani, Priebus Eyed for Top Jobs in Trump White House: Sources”, which stated that:

Among the names being considered, according to conversations with three campaign advisers who requested anonymity to speak freely: Rudy Giuliani for attorney general, Newt Gingrich for secretary of state, retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn for defense secretary or national security adviser, Trump finance chairman Steve Mnuchin for Treasury secretary, and Republican National Committee finance chair Lew Eisenberg for commerce secretary.

Trump himself has not taken an active part in transition efforts, in part out of superstition: He fears too much planning before a victory might jinx the campaign. In 2012, he was shocked to read detailed stories on Mitt Romney’s preparations for the White House long before election day…

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, a loyal supporter, has taken a major role managing the transition effort, especially as the official transition chief, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has drifted from the campaign…

Asked for comment on the above names floated for cabinet posts, Trump campaign spokesman Hope Hicks replied by e-mail that “none of this is accurate.”

Gauthier added nothing substantial to that NBC information (of which, maybe, “none of this is accurate”) except to say such uninformative things as that Gingrich “proved himself a rabid Trump surrogate” and as that Giuliani “has been a tireless, if controversial, surrogate for Trump on the trail and in the media.” But in one instance Gauthier linked to a New York Post op-ed by Michael Flynn as being his source by which to allege regarding: “Department of Defense Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn: Trump’s national security adviser was fired from his post as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, which he attributed to his hawkishness.”

That statement about Flynn is outright false. Here is all that Flynn’s op-ed — Gauthier’s cited source — actually said concerning his having been fired by Obama:

Two years ago, I was called into a meeting with the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and the director of national intelligence, and after some “niceties,” I was told by the USDI that I was being let go from DIA. It was definitely an uncomfortable moment (I suspect more for them than me).

I asked the DNI (Gen. James Clapper) if my leadership of the agency was in question and he said it was not; had it been, he said, they would have relieved me on the spot.

I knew then it had more to do with the stand I took on radical Islamism and the expansion of al Qaeda and its associated movements. I felt the intel system was way too politicized, especially in the Defense Department…

I was pissed but knew that I had maintained my integrity and was determined in the few months I had left to continue the changes I was instituting and to keep beating the drum about the vicious enemy we were facing (still are)…

We’re in a global war, facing an enemy alliance that … picks up radical Muslim countries and organizations such as Iran, al Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State.

That’s a formidable coalition, and nobody should be shocked to discover that we are losing the war.

There was no indication whatsoever in the article, that Flynn had been fired on account of any “hawkishness.” That allegation by Salon was simply fabricated.

The reality about Flynn’s firing was the exact opposite: he was too ‘dovish’ to suit the neoconservative Barack Obama, who was now demanding that all of his top military generals support his goal of going to war against Russia. Flynn objected to that by saying that only one war at a time makes any sense, and that this war must be the defeat of jihadists, nothing else — certainly not a war against the other nuclear superpower.

Rather than Flynn’s support of Trump being a reflection of their shared ‘hawkishness’, it reflects their strong belief that the view that Barack Obama holds and that Hillary Clinton holds even more strongly — that the war against jihadists must be subordinated to the war against Russia — is a totally upside-down view of the priorities, and that instead of the U.S. supporting jihadists who are warring against Russia and its allies, the U.S. ought to be supporting Russia and its allies who are warring against jihadists.

If Salon wants to support the Obama-Clinton view and oppose the Trump view on the basis of truthful assertions, then that’s journalism and it is not mere political propaganda.

But if Salon wants to deceive its readers into holding the political viewpoint that they hold, then what else is there to call Salon but a propaganda-site?

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.


  1. Sopper says

    Are we truly shocked about Salon being biased. Have you discovered the sun is what keeps the earth warm and light, and are you shocked by that.

    Their material has been, is now, and probably always will be nothing but a bunch of blathering, puddin-headed slop, that blathering, puddin-headed slobs read with relish.

  2. John says

    The current mess that is the Middle East suits Israel fine.
    It is all working out as outlined in the Yinon Plan.
    The Eretz (Greater) Yisrael project is on-time.
    Trump is unlikely to change that.
    Look who his daughter married.

    • Kenneth Lindemere says

      And he started kissing Nutty-Yahoo’s butt a couple of weeks ago.

      • It’s always gonna be win-win for Israel in any U.S. election, regardless of whether winner dem or repub. Quickest way to losing the election? Just say that if elected you will put a stop to illegal Israeli settlements, slash the excessive military aid to Israel, and implement a two-state solution as originally planned by the UN in 1948. LOL!

  3. There is another factor in all this which will prove significant, if not decisive. The dollar-denominated price of oil, which has been tumbling over the past couple of years – and thus a cornerstone Russia-torturing instrument – may well have bottomed.

    Add to this the fact that the Russians have been busy signing deals e.g. with China to sell oil in yuan directly and you arguably have the seeds of the destruction of Washington’s grip on things.

  4. deschutes says

    A few years ago was a tolerable rag to read; but it has changed for the worst since then, no question. Okay, it has a broad selection of voices so you can pick and choose what you want to read. When I think of I think of Joan Walsh. Even though she recently left Salon for the Nation, is a status quo liberal news outlet, pro-Hillary, in a Bill Maher kind of vein. It’s hard to spend any time there without becoming nauseous.

  5. An illustration of the demented nature of US neo-cons is the preposterous notion that they plan to conquer Russia! No-one ever has, and it seems probable no-one ever will. Even more bizarre is their idea of creating a world empire. How pray, is the US going to hold the rest of the planet in permanent subjugation, when they can’t even pacify Afghanistan, were defeated in Indo-China, and are looking at a collapse of their middle-east policy – if policy is the right word. The US is going bankrupt with a public debt of $20trn, and land wars and occupations are a costly little item. The US is unable to fight any future land wars simply because of the costs involved. It has been stated

    ”Pax Americana presupposes that the US has the economic strength to support the imperial role it entails. Second, it assumes that the US has the will to sustain it. Third, it requires that the rest of the world be ready to accept it. It is questionable whether any of these conditions can be met.”

    The Anglo-Zionist empire is not going to collapse tomorrow or even the day after tomorrow. But the uni-polar moment of US triumphalism is passing and we are now – assuming the absence of a thermonuclear exchange – in a transition to a multipolar world. How long this transition will take and what it will be like is anyone’s guess.

    • deschutes says

      Are you sure about all that? Is Russia that stable, and impregnable? I’m not an expert on Russia by any means, but besides Putin who is there? If Putin died or was assassinated I kind of wonder how big the power vacuum would be. And regarding American Middle East policy: is it really going that bad? I would beg to differ, things seem to be going very well for team USA/Israel. I mean, Syria–which until 2011 was deemed impregnable–is now reduced to rubble and may be partially balkanized: Israel getting the Golan Heights in the south, Turkey taking a chunk of the north, and maybe a new Kurdish state. I think Washington and Israel actually want failed states throughout the Middle East. And, from the looks of things this is going swimmingly well.

      • I’m with Monty on this:

        The next war on land will be very different from the last one, in that we shall have to fight it in a different way. In reaching a decision on that matter, we must first be clear about certain rules of war. Rule 1, on page I of the book of war, is: “Do not march on Moscow”. Various people have tried it, Napoleon and Hitler, and it is no good. That is the first rule. I do not know whether your Lordships will know Rule 2 of war. It is: “Do not go fighting with your land armies in China”. It is a vast country, with no clearly defined objectives, and an army fighting there would be engulfed by what is known as the Ming Bing, the people’s insurgents.

      • I am inclined to think that America does not have a coherent policy in the ME. Smashing up countries is the easy, bit, but occupation/pacification, either by the US itself or its proxies, was always going to be extremely problematic; and so it turned out. The notion that US policy was merely to create chaos seems a not very convincing get-out clause. They did not win decisive victories, nor did they pacify the conquered areas in questions. But oh, we didn’t really want to do that in the first place. Sorry, I don’t buy it. The American plan, which in retrospect, sounds stunningly naive, was regime change and the setting up of pro-American, pro-Israeli regimes, who would do America’s bidding. Obviously, it didn’t happen, and now they have scant idea how to extricate themselves from this imbroglio. Part of the reason for this is America’s apparently incorrigible self-righteousness. Reading Patrick Cockburn’s book provides an invaluable insight into US strategic thinking and where it has lead.

        ”A problem with (US) propganda is that nobody beleives it as much as those who propound it; the demonisation of Saddam, Gaddafi and Assad and the lauding of their opponents as selfless ‘freedom fighters’ created a distorted and misleading picture of the problems of Iraq, Libya and Syria. Governments are prone to indulge in wishful thinking and see those opposing them as belonging to a small unrepresentative group … In Afghanistan diplomatics from Kabul visiting Afghan Army positions and listen to accounts of its latest triumphs whilst averting their eyes from the black Taliban flag flying from a high point in a village a few hundred yards down the road … ” (The Age of Jihad – Patrick Cockburn).

        It should be common knowledge that the cardinal sin in politics is to believe your own propaganda. This became and still is a sort of self-indulgent neo-con vice; a group of immovable and incorrigible fantasists totally impervious to sober and objective analysis and facts on the ground. And this is what has resulted to a situation where the US is fighting the jihadis and arming them at the same time. There might of course be some cunning plan behind this debacle, but it looks like a mess to me.

        The stability of Russia was really out of the scope of my analysis, but who can tell; is it any more or any less unstable than the US/EU bloc? Time will tell.

        • The wars that Washington instigated by one means or another were twofold in reason. A country divided and under conditions of war is an easy “cake walk” if the powers that be truly believe that the US “exceptionalism” will win the day(what could go wrong?) of course, as you stated the strategy was thrown together with no clue of the real outcome.
          The second reason has always been in opposition to Russia. The Ukrainians because Yanukovitch was going to cut a deal with Russia. Follow the Russian pipelines north and south and at each and every point where countries were prepared to deal in favour of Russia and trouble will follow. Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Armenia, Turkey, Libya, Iraq and Syria – all have one thing in common, they were in agreement with Russia on a deal for the pipelines.
          Disintegrating a country in order to acquire resources and deny Russia the means of enriching itself and those same countries the US either threatened, deployed extremists or destroyed, establishing military bases further around the globe and especially within the ME and denying Russia any “spheres of influence” was always the aim. It’s just that Washington and the Pentagon are not very good shots and usually end up shooting themselves in both feet ultimately ending in a catastrophe paid in blood by those in their way.

        • Very interesting observations Frank, appreciate your analysis. The one point I would beg to differ with you on is that I actually think the American strategy in both the Middle East and surrounding Russia is to create failed states and instability. Can it be a coincidence that since 9-11 the USA has reduced to failed states the following: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Ukraine? That’s 15 years of doing the same thing over and over and over again. The strategy being employed is to foment civil war by ‘color revolutions’, force out the independent leadership and do regime change. America doesn’t want strong, independent countries that don’t follow America’s lead: they want balkanized, failed states, preferably with a civil war going on within their borders. I’m totally convinced this is a deliberate strategy.

          • John says

            Israel shares the same strategy for its own area.
            Being surrounded by failed or failing states – instead of successful, powerful and independent states – suits it.
            It also conforms to the Yinon Plan for an Eretz (Greater) Yisrael.
            From the Israel and US perspective, two wrongs do make a right!

        • Farm Clarity says

          Cmon now , if usa had gold reserves , maybe your perspective would have a foundation .
          The fact that russia and china as well as india have been buying and hoarding gold en masse for years points to a large gap in the equation your building .
          Its fiat currency thats the issue for the west , and itll sink us as gold backed currencies provide resiliency and buoyancy for all nations that understand the petrodollar and the scam of debt based currency

      • Kenneth Lindemere says

        There’s no doubt that Washington and Israel want failed states – that’s the purpose of all the aggesssion and support for the various terrorist organizations.

      • Basically you are right, in my view. The US is great at destruction, which, like the false prophet it is, it calls construction and doing God’s work. It has chose to push aside God and replace him, but won’t talk about that. It will continue to have successs, hopefully not fully, until the day that, as the Christian Bible says, “without hand” it will be destroyed, along with all other beastly corporatocracy states.

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