It’s a long read. I recommend it. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself agreeing with most of the commentary. If you’re not, then maybe you won’t. But whether you agree with the commentary or not isn’t the point. Ignore whether you agreed or disagreed with its sentiments. Read it again and ask yourself: Is this really a fact check? Or is this person trying to shape how I think by presenting his or her opinions as a fact check? As it happens, I think you’ll find that there are actual fact checks in the article, mostly in the well-researched responses to the immigration and border wall questions, other responses to foreign policy and national security questions, and in many of Jim Zarroli’s checks on economic statements.
But with those exceptions, NPR’s Fact Check is an analysis, commentary and opinion piece. There’s nothing wrong with that on its own. That’s an important role of the press. But publishing a piece like this as a ‘fact check’ is not just fiat news. It is fraud, a fraud of the kind that will kill confidence in the media stone dead unless others of influence recognize it and disavow it.
Contrary to media speculation that Robert Mueller is closing in on President Trump, the special prosecutor’s plea deal with Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen offers further evidence that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russians during the 2016 election, according to congressional investigators and former prosecutors.
Cohen pleaded guilty last week to making false statements in 2017 to the Senate intelligence committee about the Trump Organization’s failed efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Discussions about the so-called Moscow Project continued five months longer in 2016 than Cohen had initially stated under oath.
The nine-page charging document filed with the plea deal suggests that the special counsel is using the Moscow tower talks to connect Trump to Russia. But congressional investigators with House and Senate committees leading inquiries on the Russia question told RealClearInvestigations that it looks like Mueller withheld from the court details that would exonerate the president. They made this assessment in light of the charging document, known as a statement of “criminal information” (filed in lieu of an indictment when a defendant agrees to plead guilty); a fuller accounting of Cohen’s emails and text messages that Capitol Hill sources have seen; and the still-secret transcripts of closed-door testimony provided by a business associate of Cohen.
December 13, 2017
The disclosure of fiercely anti-Trump text messages between two romantically involved senior FBI officials who played key roles in the early Russia-gate inquiry has turned the supposed Russian-election-meddling “scandal” into its own scandal, by providing evidence that some government investigators saw it as their duty to block or destroy Donald Trump’s presidency.
As much as the U.S. mainstream media has mocked the idea that an American “deep state” exists and that it has maneuvered to remove Trump from office, the text messages between senior FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveal how two high-ranking members of the government’s intelligence/legal bureaucracy saw their role as protecting the United States from an election that might elevate to the presidency someone as unfit as Trump.
In one Aug. 6, 2016 text exchange, Page told Strzok: “Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.” At the end of that text, she sent Strzok a link to a David Brooks column in The New York Times, which concludes with the clarion call: “There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame.”
Apparently after reading that stirring advice, Strzok replied, “And of course I’ll try and approach it that way. I just know it will be tough at times. I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps.”
At a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, criticized Strzok’s boast that “I can protect our country at many levels.” Jordan said: “this guy thought he was super-agent James Bond at the FBI [deciding] there’s no way we can let the American people make Donald Trump the next president.”
One year later, National Geographic has finally admitted to facilitating “fake news” regarding climate change. The magazine’s most viral video ever, which featured heart-wrenching images of a starving polar bear, perpetuated the narrative that the animal’s imminent death was caused by climate change. However, the climate change aspect of the story is void of any real evidence.
“We had lost control of the narrative,” admitted Cristina Mittermeier, the photographer of the polar bear. Mittermeier explained the climate change deception in a piece titled “Starving-Polar-Bear Photographer Recalls What Went Wrong” for the magazine’s August issue.
Mittermeier conceded that the images of the bony, emaciated polar bear were meant to sound an alarm about climate change, though she complains that people took the image “literally.”
“Photographer Paul Nicklen and I are on a mission to capture images that communicate the urgency of climate change. Documenting its effects on wildlife hasn’t been easy,” she wrote. “With this image, we thought we had found a way to help people imagine what the future of climate change might look like. We were, perhaps, naive. The picture went viral — and people took it literally.”
Perhaps people took the gloom-and-doom climate change narrative “literally” because Nat Geo’s first line of the video was, “This is what climate change looks like.” To boot, the words “climate change” were even emphasized, highlighted in the magazine’s signature yellow.
“In retrospect, National Geographic went too far with the caption,” says Mittermeier. (You think?!)
… Because of America’s ‘news’media, it still isn’t “ceding Syria to the Syrians” — as Ban ki-Moon and international law would. That wouldn’t be profitable for Lockheed Martin etc. (whose biggest customers other than the US Government are the Sauds, and Trump alone sold $400 billion of US weapons to them); so, it’s not done.
Syria’s sovereignty is utterly denied by the US regime, but if the US regime were to succeed, the big winners would actually be the Saud family.
Do the American people have sovereignty, over ‘their’ (our) Government? US ‘news’media effectively ban that question. Perhaps what controls the US Government is the Saudi-Israeli alliance: the Sauds have the money, and the Israelis have the lobbyists. Of course, the US ‘news’media are obsessed whether Russia controls the US Government. That diversionary tactic is extremely profitable to companies such as General Dynamics, and America’s other weapons-manufacturers, which thrive on wars — especially by selling to the Sauds, and to their allies (and, obviously, not at all to Russia) …
While our readers are still smart enough to check multiple sources and keep us honest, the power of Snopes and the rest of the “fact checkers” has grown immensely and ominously. Now, Snopes, the AP, and Politifact have woven themselves into the fabric of social media and have become the be all end all of “truth.” As a result of this new cozy relationship, they have the power to silence anyone they deem to be false—facts and reality be damned.
What’s more, if these new arbiters of online truth do deem content to be “false,” whether it is or not, the victims have zero recourse to challenge them and will see social media reach—no matter if it took years to build up—throttled and subsequently turned off.
But they are doing a service to weed out fake news, right? While Snopes and the like certainly do debunk many fake stories, the idea of solely relying on them for the truth is chilling.
Case in point. Within the last month, Snopes and the Associated Press both claimed that articles we wrote were false when they clearly were not. As a result of their illegitimate claims, the Free Thought Project has watched our website traffic drop.
On June 8, Snopes attempted to claim that a story we wrote about Veterans on Patrol was false by claiming that we said this veterans group discovered a child trafficking camp in Tuscon, AZ. The only problem with this claim is that we never made it. The Free Thought Project merely reported on the activities of VOP and noted the possibility that this camp could also simply be a homeless camp. It’s why we used quotes in the title around “Child Trafficking Camp” because these were their words, not ours.
Nevertheless, thousands of Facebook users who shared our article received a notification that they had shared news that was determined to be false—when, in fact, it was not.
Although the New York Times says that President Donald Trump lies vastly more than did President Barack Obama, the definite liar in that comparison — based on the factual record, to be presented here — is the New York Times itself. It lies in alleging this, which isn’t to say that either President lies more frequently than the other, but instead, that the Times’s calculation fails to count, at all, but instead altogether ignores, some of President Obama’s very worst lies — ones that were real whoppers. These were lies that were essential to his maintaining support among Democrats (such as the owners of this corporation, the NYT, are), and that would keep Democrats’ support only if they failed to judge him by his actual decisions and actions (such as the NYT’s owners do — or else they secretly know the truth on this, but prevent this truth from being published by their employees). Even to the present day, Obama is evaluated by Democrats on the basis of his lies instead of on the basis of his actions. He’s admired for his stated intentions and promises, which were often the opposite of what his consistent actual decisions and actions turned out to be on those very same matters, on which he had, in retrospect, quite clearly lied (though that was covered-up at the time — and still is).
For example, among the list of lies that the NYT counts from Obama, is excluded Obama’s having asserted on 20 May 2009, at the signing into law of both the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act and the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act: “This bill nearly doubles the FBI’s mortgage and financial fraud program, allowing it to better target fraud in hard-hit areas. That’s why it provides the resources necessary for other law enforcement and federal agencies, from the Department of Justice to the SEC to the Secret Service, to pursue these criminals, bring them to justice, and protect hardworking Americans affected most by these crimes. It’s also why it expands DOJ’s authority to prosecute fraud that takes place in many of the private institutions not covered under current federal bank fraud criminal statutes — institutions where more than half of all subprime mortgages came from as recently as four years ago.”
Also not counted, but excluded, by the NYT, as having been an Obama lie, was his 24 January 2012 State of the Union Address assertion: “Tonight, I’m asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. (Applause.) This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans. Now, a return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help protect our people and our economy.”
Lifting of US Propaganda Ban Gives New Meaning to Old Song
In the age of legal, weaponized propaganda directed against the American people, false narratives have become so commonplace in the mainstream media that they have essentially become normalized, leading to the era of “fake news” and “alternative facts.”
Though its ostensible purpose is to fund the U.S. military over a one year period, the National Defense Authorization Act, better known as the NDAA, has had numerous provisions tucked into it over the years that have targeted American civil liberties. The most well-known of these include allowing the government to wiretap American citizens without a warrant and, even more disturbingly, indefinitely imprison an American citizen without charge in the name of “national security.”
One of the lesser-known provisions that have snuck their way into the NDAA over the years was a small piece of legislation tacked onto the NDAA for fiscal year 2013, signed into law in that same year by then-President Barack Obama. Named “The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012,” it completely lifted the long-existing ban on the domestic dissemination of U.S. government-produced propaganda.
For decades, the U.S. government had been allowed to produce and disseminate propaganda abroad in order to drum up support for its foreign wars but had been banned from distributing it domestically after the passage of the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948. However, the Modernization Act’s co-authors, Reps. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Adam Smith (D-WA, no relation to the Smith of the 1948 act), asserted that removing the domestic ban was necessary in order to combat “al-Qaeda’s and other violent extremists’ influence among populations.”
How You Can Distinguish Fake News from Real News, According to the Expert | The Daily Bell
How You Can Distinguish Fake News from Real News, According to the Expert | The Daily Bell
By The Daily Bell Staff
February 15, 2018
What kind of fake news is most damaging? Is it the kind that puts out a conspiracy theory with no evidence? Or is it a headline story that can easily be debunked, designed to ride a wave of viral clicks which only lasts hours or days?
Those aren’t the most dangerous types of fake news. The real problem is when trusted mainstream media sources roll out a propaganda campaign. And that happens basically every day.
In fact, the whole “fake news” agenda is part of a campaign of disinformation.
He insisted in a speech that he too thought somebody needed to step in and curate information of this wild, wild West media environment. Nobody in the public had been clamoring for any such thing, yet suddenly the topic of fake news dominates headlines on a daily basis.
It’s as if the media had been given its marching orders. Fake news they insisted was an imminent threat to American democracy.
But as somebody who studied the industry that seeks to manipulate all of us on behalf of paid interests, I know that few themes arise in our environment organically.
A noted propagandist told me, “It’s like a movie,” he said, and it gave me chills at the time.
“Nearly every scene or image that crosses our path in daily life,” he said, “was put there for a reason. Often by someone who paid a lot of money to place it there.”
What if the whole anti-fake news campaign was an effort on somebody’s part to keep us from seeing or believing certain websites or stories by controversializing them or labeling them as fake news?
Attkisson explains that when she followed the money, it led back to Google parent company Alphabet’s CEO Eric Schmidt. He volunteered to advise Hillary Clinton’s campaign and donated millions of dollars to her election bid.
“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people — these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.” — President Trump on Wednesday in reference to MS-13 gang members.
“Trump lashed out at undocumented immigrants during a White House meeting, calling those trying to breach the country’s borders ‘animals,’” — The New York Times, that same day, in a tweet linking to a corresponding article. The tweet was later deleted.
Trust in the American so-called “mainstream” media has been declining ever since Gallup began polling on the question in the 1970s, but it now sits at unprecedented levels, according to a September 2016 Gallup poll.
Then I found out today, since Trump’s tweet about how CNN is much worse than the Sinclair Broadcast Group, this is now being called pro-Trump fake news by people like Jimmy Kimmel and John Oliver.
First of all, love him or hate him, Trump is right about the corporate media being fake news. It’s not just Trump that has been outspoken about fake news, there are many more people who’ve been calling out media consolidation for years.
Conan O’Brien made some famous mashups like this in 2012, …years before the Trump phenomenon, and NOW Jimmy Kimmel and company think it’s dangerous to democracy?