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Corporate Media Join in Editorializing for Press Freedom…for Themselves

August 16, 2018 — 1:08pm

Mainstream media hypocrisy on display
Some 300 newspapers, large and small, joined today in publishing, often on their front pages, editorials defending the First Amendment's freedom of the press, often making note of their own efforts to combat current threats to that freedom posed by President Trump's attacks on journalists and the entire Fourth Estate, which Trump routinely denounces in tweets and at rallies as "enemies of the people."

However, missing from most of these full-throated editorials is any real defense of those who are in the trenches doing the hardest job of a free press, which is exposing the worst offenses of government: the war crimes, the craven systemic corruption of the political system, and the purveying of propaganda and disinformation in the furtherance of anti-democratic policies. (A good example would be the employment by most major news organizations of retired generals and colonels as war commentators without noting their roles on corporate boards of arms merchants that profit form war — a scandal that not one major news organization will expose.)

Nowhere does one read, in these coordinated and seemingly impassioned editorial paeans to press freedom, a condemnation of the five-year torture and pursuit of journalist and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the London embassy of Ecuador, hiding from a secret sealed indictment that since the days of the virulently anti-free-press Obama administration has been sitting in the Attorney General's office waiting for his capture.

Assange is trapped in the cramped Ecuadoran embassy by a complicit British government that has threatened to arrest him if he exits the building, claiming he is wanted for jumping bail in a court case that was already long-ago mooted by the expiration of Swedish arrest warrant that itself was based upon trumped-up charges of "rape" made against Assange by women who say they had not wanted those charges made in the first place. His real crime, and the thing the US wants to extradite him from Britain for, is publishing leaked Pentagon documents and videotapes proving a policy in the Iraq war of massive and deliberate war crimes.

Although news organizations like the New York Times and Washington Post made the most of those Wikileaks documents, publishing their horrific evidence of war crimes, such as the helicopter gun-ship machine-gun slaughter of a group of innocent Iraqis, including two journalists, shown in graphic detail in a leaked gun-sight video, and profited handsomely from the circulation and attention they derived from those stories, both those papers have slammed Assange, shamelessly questioning his status as a "journalist," impugning his integrity.

They have ignored the reality that any prosecution of him for the work done by Wikileaks in exposing US war crimes opens the door to prosecutions in the future of other more "traditional" journalists.

These hundreds of supposedly outraged defenders of press freedom are also strangely silent about the federal prosecution of the very leakers who make it possible for them to publish stories about government crimes and abuse. Take for example the 26-year-old NSA contract worker Reality Winner, currently facing sentencing after being convicted of leaking a classified National Security Agency document, still unidentified publicly, with reports saying she may be handed a sentence longer than any prior government leaker. Even the news organization that she reportedly leaked the document to has not had the intestinal fortitude to go public with its own role in this event. It is not known whether that news organization even had the decency to pay for her defense, and there has been no hue and cry from the media against her prosecution, or even against her sentencing, for doing something — whistleblowing — that is fundamental to the working of a real free press.

It's the same thing that happened to Bradley Manning, the courageous young soldier, now known as Chelsea Manning following a sex change operation, who provided Assange and Wikileaks with the undeniable evidence of systemic war crimes by US forces in Iraq. Manning spent 7 years in Leavenworth for her/his heroic act. Little outrage was expended in print by America's supposed defenders of press freedom over Manning's uniquely brutal persecution, which included pretrial torture in a Navy brig — only over the crimes that Bradley's courage and determination brought to public attention.

And let's not forget that extraordinary whistleblower, Edward Snowden, who leaked an epic amount of NSA documents proving that agency was monitoring virtually all US citizens' electronic and phone communications (as well as in most other countries, and including their leaders -- even in the cas of American alllies) in an ultimate Orwellian nightmare come true. The media loved the ratings and circulation-boosting story Snowden revealed (for no money and at enormous personal risk as some in Congress called for his assassination), but not the whistleblower. The media basically left Snowden twisting in the wind as the Obama administration revoked his passport and made him a stateless person, blocking his transit to countries that offered him asylum and trapping him in a Russian airport transfer lounge. He was eventually granted asylum in Russia, sparing him from having to face treason charges in the US. At that point, though it was the US government that forced him to turn to Russia, the US media took to speculating that he "might" be providing information to Russian intelligence about US capabilities. Nice.

There is also something else missing from the high dudgeon expressed in this spate of page-one editorials lionizing the role of the nation's corporate news media, and that is any defense of the alternative media. The Washington Post is particularly hypocritical in this regard.

It was, after all, only two years ago that Amazon gezillionaire Jeff Bezos' private newspaper playground published a page-one McCarthyite hit on over 200 alternative news sites, mostly online, which it said a completely anonymous and unresearched or vetted organization called PropOrNot was alleging were either agents of or "ignorant dupes" of Russia, publishing purportedly pro-Russian propaganda. The paper ultimately published a retraction and apology of sorts for this libelous and scurrilous piece of yellow journalism, but has not come to the defense of those organizations, which include Truthdig, CommonDreams, Counterpunch and numerous other journalistic organizations, including this one, that have long done the kind of real investigative journalism that the corporate media typically avoid: systemic corruption and criminality by the government. The NY Times also ran with this sordid Washington Post "scoop," as did the Philadelphia Inquirer and others but none of them has ever stood up for the free press rights of the alternative media, preferring to compare their supposedly "higher-standard" articles to those of the unwashed alternative press.

The reality is that a nation either has a free press or it does not. And if journalists from the alternative media can be arrested and jailed with no editorial defense from the mainstream press, as happened repeatedly, for example, during the long Standing Rock native people's resistance to the controversial XL Pipeline project running through Sioux traditional lands (a struggle that the corporate media studiously ignored until the number of non-indians involved in the protests grew so large, and the violence of police and military forces arrayed against them grew so violent that it could no longer be blacked out and left to the alternative media to cover), then there is no real press freedom of consequence in the US.

It was not the corporate media that broke the My Lai story, after all. It was the US alternative media. It was not the corporate media that exposed the US role in the Korean War, it was IF Stone in his little weekly by the same name. It was not the corporate media that exposed the fact that the FBI knew of a plot to assassinate the leaders of the Houston Occupy Movement, and did nothing to prevent it. It was... oh yeah, that was me in this publication [1] — a story that was picked up by much of the alternative media, but never covered by the corporate media.

A black-out situation that is all too typical of the mainstream media, which is fond of deciding what news is, as the NY Times puts it, "fit to print."

Just as it is critical to the guarantee of a fair trial that even the most heinous of criminals receive a vigorous qualified defense, it is also critical that all threats to press freedom, even against the smallest and seemingly most inconsequential of news organizations, be collectively challenged and defended against.

So yes, let's defend what's left of this country's supposedly Constitutionally protected Free Press right, but let's defend all of it, not just the tame corporate version of it.

Because press freedom is under serious attack these days, certainly by President Trump, but also by a corporate media itself that support a censored internet and a two-tiered access to high-speed internet — both of which measures threaten alternative news media — and that fail to firmly back and defend the whistleblowers who often are critically important in bringing urgent stories of government and corporate wrongdoing to light.

homepage: homepage: http://thiscantbehappening.net/node/3945
address: address: This Can't Be Happening!

two days prior (16 August 2018), attempted to post this to newswire 31.Aug.2018 00:32


U.S. Corporate Mass Media Editorial Denounciation Of Trump 'Attacks' Via 350 News Outlets

Spearheaded and organized by the Boston Globe, on Thursday 16 August 2018 corporate-owned newspapers across the United States are today publishing coordinated editorials which defend "freedom of the press" and push back against Donald Trump's "attacks" on the U.S. media which doesn't take kindly to being called 'fake news'.

The Boston Globe is owned & published by investment management CEO John W. Henry (who also owns the Boston Red Sox), and the newspaper is part of the New England Media Group which was founded by Andrew Clure, a marketing and advertising entrepreneur whose multimillion-dollar clients include Lego, Dr Pepper, Mattel, Sega, Pitney Bowes, Chase, Merck [pharmaceuticals] and Burger King; up until 2013 NEMG was wholly owned by The New York Times Company.

The Boston Globe has accused Trump of running a "dirty war against the free press."

Trump is no stranger to controversy and clashing with U.S. corporate mass media, having been openly assailed in U.S. media sources ever since first announcing his candidacy for president in 2015 (and previously having been long a controversial media figure in his own business and corporate-media television program 'The Apprentice').

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, the U.S. corporate mass media steadfastly promoted not on the existing Obama administration presidency but also completely endorsed, and predicted an overwhelming victory for, the favored Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton. Even the mid-2016 controversy over the Democratic National Committee having rigged the Democratic primary elections and delegates to sabotage the Bernie Sanders campaign, along with the attendant firing of DNC head Deb Wasserman Schultz entirely consisted of favorable coverage to Clinton and the DNC at the expense of Sanders due to the U.S. corporate mass media's being welded-at-the-hip to the Clinton candidacy and it's supposedly 'inevitable' victory over the GOP candidate.

Other substantial bias on the part of U.S. corporate mass media against the Trump campaign, many months prior to even his actual nomination by the GOP as its presidential candidate, include the coverage and editorials by prominent Republicans against Trump himself and their multimillion dollar GOP/RNC efforts to completely destroy Trump's candidacy and campaign prior to the summer 2016 GOP convention.

By the time of September and October 2016 the intensity and total conformity of the U.S. corporate mass media bias against the Trump campaign was supremely obvious. Coverage of Clinton's campaign-trail events, which had been drawing dismal quantities of supporters in numbers of a few dozen or less yet were reported as "filling high school gymnasiums and county fairs" when video evidence showed the exact opposite / barely any attendance, while at the same time Trump events were drawing thousands of supporters and reported by U.S. corporate mass media as 'lackluster', are clear evidence of the delusion and later cognitive dissonance which would follow for millions of observers when the voting results of November 9th emerged.

Pundit pollsters such as FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver were consistently predicting 80% or greater victory margins for the Clinton candidacy, and such numbers were widely circulated, discussed and reported by U.S. mass media and election observers-analysts for months after the July 2016 official party nominations. These 'slamdunk' predictions were given continuous and repeated reportage by U.S. corporate mass media and their army of pundits up until the very last hour of vote counting on November 8th.

The last several weeks of the presidential campaign and the U.S. corporate mass media's utterly astounding volume of pro-Hillary propaganda had a visible and measurable effect on candidate Trump which was clearly reflected in his stump speech remarks, tweets and other public statements.

On October 13th, 2016 at a rally in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump called out the U.S. corporate mass media by name :

"... the most powerful weapon deployed by the Clintons is the corporate media — 'the press'. Let's be clear on one thing: the corporate media in our country is no longer involved in journalism. They're a political special interest, no different than any lobbyist or other financial entity, with a total political agenda; and the agenda is not for you [points to audience], it's for themselves.

After Trump's election, in January 2017 CNN's President Jeff Zucker lost no time in firing off an explicit warning to the incoming administration, that it would be a "mistake" to have an "adversarial relationship" with their network :

The frenzy of U.S. corporate mass media and their perceived 'war' with the administration whose chief executive relishes in tossing the 'fake news' barbs in their direction has reached a peak in mid-2018 after a year and a half of Trump in office. In particular, the U.S. corporate mass media has begun playing a "victim" card, and further claim that they are the 'One And True Advocates Of First Amendment Free Speech' in America, portraying themselves as 'tireless soldiers' for free and open expression.

CNN's 'Editor-at-Large' Chris Cillizza posted an article after Trump's July 5, 2018 speech titled 'The 11 most dangerous things Donald Trump said in his Montana speech'.  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2018/07/436377.shtml
and claims that his multibillion-dollar CNN and other corporate-owned U.S. media bretheren are "a free and independent media" which Trump is trying to "undermine".

On July 20, 2018 the U.S. corporate mass media 'We Are Free Speech' self-promotion continued, when CNN journalist Ryan Nobles tweeted (while at a hotel location covering the President) that he was purportedly congratulated by an unidentified individual, who said to Mr. Nobles:
"Thank you for your service, the First Amendment is so important right now."

Not only has U.S. corporate-owned mass media now begun playing a "victim" card (of being "bullied" by Trump's incessant 'fake news' barbs), but is additionally hoisting a banner that clearly promotes themselves as the sole bastion of (what they call) "free speech" in America.

The U.S. corporate mass media further asserts, as exemplified by The Boston Globe's anti-Trump editorial campaign, that they are a "free press".

[ Guardian UK article on the nationwide editorials campaign ]

Almost 350 news outlets to publish editorials denouncing Trump's 'dirty war' on press

Erin Durkin in New York
Wed 15 Aug 2018
 link to www.theguardian.com

more on U.S. corporate mass media, post-2016 hysterics + fabrications 31.Aug.2018 10:13


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Yes folks, as of July 2018 reality has become fantasy (or are otherwise intertwined).
CNN journalist Ryan Nobles just tweeted that he was congratulated by an unidentified individual at a hotel location covering the President; the individual purportedly said to Mr. Nobles:
"Thank you for your service, the First Amendment is so important right now."

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