How "News" Media Lie

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

I happened to be reading at Huffington Post on March 6th their truthful top-of-homepage news-report:

Trump Forced To Water Down Executive Order On Immigration: The new order leaves out many of the most forceful points from the original one.”

…and I saw there also a March 3rd headline regarding a news-event that I happened to have researched in depth (as will be summarized below), this headline being:

Syria Rebels Want Trump To Know They’re The Ones Fighting ISIS: The Free Syrian Army is hopeful for more support despite the president’s praise of Bashar Assad.”

That was from HuffPo’s reporter, Akbar Shahid Ahmed, who writes:

Speaking from Geneva after the latest round of internationally sponsored talks between the opposition and the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Maj. Issam Al Reis, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, cited its push against ISIS in northern Syria, in collaboration with Turkish forces, and the rebels’ resistance against ISIS advances in the south as evidence that it’s ready for the U.S. to step up…
“The regime is not fighting ISIS,” Al Reis, a former officer in Assad’s army, said. He noted that Assad’s forces, which rely heavily on Russian jets and pro-Iran fighters, had captured and then lost Palmyra to ISIS before.
Analysts say Assad’s coalition has focused most of its attacks on the Free Syrian Army, which is relatively moderate and which the West considers an acceptable alternative to the regime, rather than on ISIS and the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda, which the U.S. and a host of other nations are committed to defeating.

Here are the facts, which I had reported and documented at the end of 2016, headlining “How Obama Overrode Kerry’s Agreements with Russia”. I documented there that on September 17th, Obama’s forces had bombed the Syrian Army at Der Zor, which brought to an end the U.S. participation in the peace-negotiations on Syria, “the sabotaging-event, which naturally caused Putin to instruct [Russia’s Foreign Minister] Lavrov to terminate all discussions with [Secretary of State] Kerry, because it displayed Obama’s unwavering determination to defeat Russia.”
Back on December 11th, I had headlined what had led up to this sabotaging-event: “Obama & Erdogan Move ISIS from Iraq to Syria, to Weaken Assad”, and I documented — based on reliable reporting in many countries, including a Turkish government site which even acknowledged — that Obama was working with Erdogan to leave an escape-route for Iraq’s ISIS terrorists in Mosul to relocate safely into Syria — to the key city of Palmyra via Der Zor — and so retake Palmyra from Syrian government forces. This required first that Syrian government forces be ousted from Der Zor which would be en-route to Palmyra. And this — Obama’s cooperation with Erdogan in their joint effort to overthrow Assad — is what actually had “lost Palmyra to ISIS,” as the (U.S.-Saudi-Qatari-Turkey created) ‘Free Syrian Army’ source that Huffington Post was quoted on March 3rd accusing against Assad. It wasn’t any failure by Assad’s forces; it was instead the success of the U.S.-Turkish operation — the operation that included Obama’s bombing Syria’s army at Der Zor (which then was promptly retaken by ISIS).
It’s not because “Assad’s coalition has focused most of its attacks on the Free Syrian Army.” Assad’s forces were at Der Zor, and in Palmyra, after having retaken both cities from ISIS — and now, because of Obama and Erdogan, ISIS again controlled both Syrian cities. HuffPo’s reporters are required to use anti-Russian — and this also includes anti-Syrian — sources for their ‘reporting’ (or propaganda). The solidly documented truth is that Obama and Erdogan were aiming to oust Assad; they were assisting ISIS in both Der Zor and Palmyra (and actually all along the route from Mosul to Palmyra).
Furthermore, as I also had reported (and in this recent in-depth article documented extensively), “Russia now runs the peace process to end Syria’s War,” and that war has actually been between the U.S. aristocracy versus Russia, and not only (nor even mainly) between Bashar al-Assad versus ‘the rebels’, who are almost totally controlled by Al Qaeda, which in Syria (under the name “Al Nusra”) is financed heavily by the Sauds who own Saudi Arabia, and by the Thanis who own Qatar, and armed largely by the U.S. government, and have freely brought new jihadist recruits into Syria mainly through Turkey.
Using liars as sources is routine in the press, but it’s done because the people who control those ‘news’media want their public to believe those lies; it’s not to be blamed only on the reporters and ‘news’-editors whom they hire. The ‘reporters’ and editors are merely doing their job. (That’s how they keep their jobs.)
As a mere blogger, Erik Wemple, headlined on 30 November 2016,

Lifelong Beltway media guy Jim VandeHei calls media a ‘scam’”

…and he linked to the euphemistic admission of this, by Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen themselves, that “Media is broken — and too often a scam.” They were promising to provide an alternative, as they promised their readers (soft-peddling the harsh reality): “content they can trust — delivered way, way more efficiently. No bias. No nonsense.”
They think they can deliver it and make a profit doing so. That would be a novelty. It would certainly be a terrific thing to achieve, just as a perpetual-motion machine would be, but perhaps just as likely — which is to say: not. (And, of course, ‘non-profit’ and government ‘news’media are just as much controlled by the aristocracy, which controls the government. Anyone who trusts the ‘news’media has to be a person of faith, because only on that basis can it be trusted.)

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.

can you spare $1.00 a month to support independent media

OffGuardian does not accept advertising or sponsored content. We have no large financial backers. We are not funded by any government or NGO. Donations from our readers is our only means of income. Even the smallest amount of support is hugely appreciated.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Reblogged this on Susanna Panevin.


The Truth Will Set You Free…………..


Eric always does a good job, so thanks for this worthy entry. Don’t know if Eric sees his work shared here or reads these comments, but I’ll throw this question out to anybody who might be knowledgeable: What’s the deal with Turkey? The place is one big hall of mirrors and subterfuge.
More specifically, if you follow a few of Eric’s own links to his prior work and some of the Moon of Alabama stuff, you see Turkey mentioned as working with the US and the Saudis to, inter alia, ensure safe passage of ISIS from Mosul in Iraq to Palmyra in Syria. So far so good. But you also see Turkey mentioned as working with Russia and Iran to wipe out ISIS on their own, after, for example, the US bombed the Syrian army out of Der Zor and the Kerry-led peace negotiations broke down. These are both things that happened according to Eric. Inasmuch as they put Turkey in contradictory roles, they beg more questions than they answer.
It’s easy enough to say Turkey is playing both sides of this game, and the US and Russia both tolerate it because it lets them each achieve limited objectives during a given time period. But I’d love to know more about the how’s and why’s and hear any insights about the larger strategies involved here. I suppose it’s just the usual Great Gamesmanship but, well, it’s fascinating. I’ll admit to not having the firmest handle on what’s going on with Turkey. Insights appreciated.
While I’m at it, although Eric makes a pretty good prima facie case that Obama repeatedly “humiliates” Kerry by sending him out there to negotiate peace agreements that he then undermines by bombing the shit out of inconvenient Syrians — the only reason I can think of for a President to send a Secretary of State to engage in useless bad-faith peace negotiations is as a PR exercise, which the Secretary of State would presumably not be surprised by. So I’m not convinced it’s accurate to describe this as Kerry and Obama working at cross purposes. Wouldn’t it make more sense to consider it as teamwork, towards a common duplicity?


Erdogan is a flip flop merchant.
While his son and son-in-law were making millions by selling-on oil and archeaological artefacts stolen from Syria by ISIS, he was perfectly happy to support ISIS, especially against one element of the Kurdish forces.
However, the Kurds are divided into a number of factions, some of which Erdogan is at war with, e.g. the PKK.
Erdogan’s long-term goal is to tear up Sykes-Picot and restore the former Ottoman Empire.
Interestingly, ISIS too want to tear up Sykes-Picot and demonstrated this by destroying a Syria/Iraq border post.
Erdogan’s ambition is to become the next Sultan of a restored Ottoman Empire.
That is why he swings from cause to cause – in pursuit of his own goals.

Empire Of Stupid

In some dimly imagined future, Kerry will be recognized as one of the best Secretaries of State the US ever had. He consistently came up with workable solutions and compromises to ugly situations. Now while Obama was careful never to get caught with dirty hands, somehow–somehow!–Kerry constantly found himself undermined, by his own department, by the CIA, by the Pentagon. I think a careful review of his record will bear me out. Compare what he tried to achieve with Obama’s buddy ‘lovable Joe’ Biden, so affable and charismatic on screen, and a duplicitous shit when out of the spotlight.


Erdogan owes his life to Putin, because hours before the 15 July 2016 coup-attempt, Russian intelligence warned Erdogan that it had started, and this warning wouldn’t have happened if Putin himself had not told them to inform Erdogan. See this Iranian news-report, on 20 July 2016:
By contrast, nothing of the sort is even alluded to in the CIA-edited wikipedia article, “2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt”
and so that’s a wikipedia whitewash, not an authentic historical account.
Because the 20 July 2016 Iranian news-report was vague on its sources, I didn’t rely upon it until it was linked-to by Russia’s Sputnik News (which have their own Russian sources to verify or disconfirm such a report) and until subsequent events indicated to me that Erdogan had indeed made clear policy-changes which indicated that Turkey was no longer firmly in the American orbit after the coup-attempt. I then issued a news-story placing the events into a broader context:
As regards your other questions: Each of the players — U.S., the Sauds, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Russia — has its own individual priorities; and, while Erdogan is now far less of a U.S. ally than he was before the U.S. tried to kill him, Erdogan isn’t necessarily a Russian ally, at least not yet. However, if Trump continues Obama’s polices such as refusing to hand over Gulen, then Erdogan probably will ally with Russia and might even ultimately lead Turkey out of NATO.


Thanks — good stuff!


Ditto what @John says: Erdogan is a flip flop merchant using Turkeys geo-strategic location as a future transit hub for ME hydrocarbons as leverage for getting what he wants.
To his list of plays you can add bribing the EU over the migrant crisis; the £100m arms deal brokered with Treason May; rapprochement with Isreal/Netanyahu over the piracy of the MV Mavi Mamara; normalizing relations with Russia after the Su-24 was shot down (which precipitated the CIA coup according to F William Engdahl); aligning with Russia over the Turkish Stream gas pipeline; aligning with Washington proxy Saudi Arabia and the FSA to fight the Washington backed Kurds; occupying part of Northern Syria under the guise of Operation Euphrates Shield; and shutting of the water supply to Syria because John McCain said so.
He’s not just playing both sides, he’s playing the field. If anyone can see the rational strategy, can you please let me know.


F. William Engdahl’s credulous citation there of a supposed Zbigniew Brzezinski tweet, when there is no indication that any such tweet was sent, makes me reluctant to cite (link to) Engdahl. I see no such tweet on 14 July 2016 at:


Thanks for pointing that out, I’ll take more care when I cite Engdahl in the future.


You are right, there’s no Tweet and no article in American Interest (though Brzezinski has published many other articles there.)
Engdahl links to a screen cap of the Tweet which is inconclusive – but with a bit of searching I can find several sites that show a wider screen cap purporting to show the Tweet in situ.
Without making it my career, I can also see quite a few references to the Tweet in forums, enough to lead me to believe it was there for at least 72hrs. Could it be as simple as Brzezinski deleted the Tweet and wrote a different article? If the Russians hacked his Twitter account and planted fake Tweets it would’ve gone “nuclear.”
So whilst there is clear evidence of fakery, the idea that Engdahl perpetrated the hoax (as at least one article at Hurriyet Daily News alleged) is not credible to me. Occam’s Razor would seem to implicate Brzezinski.

Aaron Lowe

The problem I think is that everyone lies – all the time. It might be possible to argue that nothing that anyone ever said was ever true. When we call out someone for lying we put them into a lose lose situation where the only way out is… more lying. So the more we criticise each other for lying, the more we need to lie to pretend we’re not lying.
Given this negative cycle, it was always inevitable that we’d reach the post truth age.

TIm Groves
TIm Groves

Ain’t that the truth!?


You don’t have to accuse others of lying – which, as you point out – is counterproductive.
What you can do is keep telling the truth and providing authoritative sources.
You can only hope that – eventually – people will start to understand the truth.
Just don’t hold your breath waiting for the penny to drop!

marley engvall

it is important for everyone to advance the truth, openly.
to abide by any shibboleth is to enforce it.


The Truth Will Set You Free…..


Simply saying that everyone lies may have the effect of dissuading people from investigating how the lies began originally and why they began, and to put a stop to the lies. At some point though the lies have to stop and people have to make a conscious effort to make them stop, and to trace back how the lies began if only to find out who was responsible and how to prevent the lying from resuming and continuing. This may involve reforming the context in which the lies occurred in the first place.
Also if we do not try to stop the lying, we become complicit in their spread and the effects the deceit has on others. It becomes a contagious disease and the more people it infects, the more and the faster it spreads and contaminates others.