CROSSPOST WITH SCHEERPOST
Patrick Lawrence: Journalists-on-Journalists Crime
I’ve read a lot of smear since Fox News dismissed Tucker Carlson as its premier evening news presenter late last month. How could I not? It was everywhere, and more fecal matter is being flung Carlson’s way as we speak. My favorite in this line so far comes from The American Prospect. “Farewell to a Neo–Nazi Blowhard” was the head on its piece last week. Carlson, you see, is a “neofascist,” TAP wants us to know.
What hollow hyperbole. How few are the level heads in mainstream media these days. How cavalierly do our liberal media debase the English language. How difficult it is to take journalists seriously as they attack another journalist because his views do not match theirs.
What can we learn from all the unhinged denunciations we read daily? What do they tell us about the predicaments of independent minds in journalism—and no matter what you think of Carlson, he has one—and by extension independent journalism altogether?
In my read, independent media are in a state of siege that has escalated markedly of late. Although he worked for a corporate-owned cable network, I take Carlson’s fate as symptomatic of an intensifying attack on any media that deviate from the national security state’s ever more rigorously enforced orthodoxies.
The past week brings grim news of the determination of political elites and deeply insecure mainstream media to stifle dissent in wall-to-wall fashion. It is time to pay close attention. This is more now than the grousing of a few independent journalists such as your columnist. Everything up to how we live and think is at stake.
Setting aside all the dross casting Carlson as the Beelzebub of our profession, the remarks that stay in my mind are of another kind. Diana Johnstone, the distinguished Europeanist who has corresponded from Paris for decades, sent a brief note after Fox’s announcement, calling Carlson “the last free voice on mainstream television.” I paused and wondered if I agreed. And then decided I did.
“The TV host paid the price because he tried the impossible: straddling the divide between corporate media and critical journalism,” Jonathan Cook, who I hold in the same high regard I have for Johnstone, wrote last week on his blog. “He exposed ordinary Americans to critical perspectives, especially on U.S. foreign policy, that they had no hope of hearing anywhere else—and most certainly not from so-called ‘liberal’ corporate media outlets like CNN and MSNBC. And he did so while constantly ridiculing the media’s craven collusion with those in power.”
Johnstone and Cook share an essential point. It is not about agreeing with everything Tucker Carlson had to say on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” his evening cable broadcast. They don’t and I don’t. This is about the presence of independent voices in American journalism. And Carlson has raised such a voice since Fox gave him a prime-time slot in 2016.
I can’t but note that those celebrating Carlson’s dismissal the loudest are other journalists. They do this by marking him down as a neofascist or a crypto–Nazi or what have you. This has the effect of turning the Carlson case into a left-right question. I do not know Carlson but know people who do. The epithets just noted require no comment. The only way you can get away with calling him a racist—another common charge—is if you buy into the nonsense that all white people are racist because they are white people.
No, the hoards of flunkies working for corporate media have it in for Tucker Carlson because he takes positions that are forbidden to them. Among these many, Carlson opposes the war in Ukraine, the military-industrial complex, covert coup operations in Cuba and elsewhere, Washington’s subterfuge at the United Nations and America’s imperialist project altogether. Carlson took Seymour Hersh’s report on the Biden’s regime’s covert op to destroy the Nord Stream pipelines for what it is: a tour de force piece of work by the premier investigative reporter now writing. Corporate-paid journalists detest Carlson for these things. I imagine there is a lot of subliminal envy attaching to Tucker Carlson’s professional performance over the years.
This is not a left-right question. Not much is anymore when you come down to it, primarily because there is no left left in America to allow for right-left questions. I do not read Carlson as an ideologue of any sort. I read him as an independent mind feeling its way, correct on many things, wrong on just as many.
Jonathan Cook, Glenn Greenwald and others have said all that needs saying about Tucker Carlson’s fate at Fox News. I am interested in this primarily as a case of journalist-on-journalist crime. This is not a right-left question, either. It is a question of independent thinking and dissenting perspectives and those who are fully on now for suppressing both. Tucker Carlson’s is a high-profile case and is complicated by Fox News’s place among corporate-owned media. Let us consider other developments that give us a fuller picture of what amounts to an intensifying war for control of “the narrative” and, at the horizon, our minds.
“Tucker Carlson’s firing reveals how afraid the media is of independent journalists,” is the headline Jonathan Cook wrote for his blog last week. Entirely true, but media (a plural noun, incidentally) are not the only ones now fearful.
I have wondered ever since Elon Musk started releasing the Twitter Files last December how the national security state—and by extension the mainstream press and broadcasters, given the line between the two is now all but nonexistent—would manage to deflect the extraordinary revelations the Files contain. We’ve now got a top Silicon Valley social media platform caught dead-to-rights collaborating with the F.B.I., the Department of Homeland Security and the C.I.A. to suppress dissenting voices in the putrid swamp Twitter had become. The government’s covert intervention makes this a straight-out violation of the First Amendment, and I am sure that is not the only violation of the law.
Well, National Public Radio tried to turn the matter into Musk’s right-wing revenge on liberals—a left-right affair once again. The New York Times went to default position and ignored the news as best it could. Other media followed suit. While I have many, many liberal friends who have either no idea the Twitter Files exist or little idea of what is in them, the damn things keep coming.
In mid–April, it was Mehdi Hasan to the rescue. Hasan, who has a record of this kind of thing, went on the air at MSNBC to (1) misrepresent Matt Taibbi’s reports on the Twitter Files, of which there are many at this point, and (2) denounce Taibbi on the basis of his, Hasan’s, misrepresentations. The next thing you know, some obscure congresswoman from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Stacey Plaskett, is running miles with Hasan’s (mis)report and calling for Taibbi to be tried for perjury for testifying falsely about the Twitter Files when he appeared in Congress under oath on March 9.
There are some hard-to-believe details here. Plaskett alleges Taibbi perjured himself on the basis of a minor error contained in a Tweet he sent out after he testified. The error wasn’t in the testimony itself, but never mind: We want Taibbi on perjury charges and we will have him on perjury charges.
Lee Fang, the perspicacious reporter who recently left The Intercept (a wise move) to start his own Substack newsletter, has revealed that Plaskett’s letter to Taibbi, wherein she threatened with up to five years in prison, “was a group effort that involved senior figures in the House Democratic Caucus.”
Fang wrote that after he asked Plaskett for a copy of the letter “a response to my inquiry was finally sent not by her staff, but by Earnestine Dawson, an advisor to House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries.” The metadata on the letter, Fang added, indicated it was written by Jacqui Kappler, a lawyer with the House Judiciary Committee, who works closely with ranking committee member Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., a been-around-forever Democratic log-roller who previously chaired the House Judiciary Committee.
This is big, we have to assume.
Hardest to believe of all is the conduct of Mehdi Hasan as he set this charade in motion. What a punk. But what can we expect from a young man who made his way into the mainstream by advancing himself as the mascot Muslim of orthodox liberals, quite prepared to do the slimy work? The Hasan-to-Plaskett handoff tells me we just witnessed barely masked collusion. I have three things to say about this. No, four.
One, what Hasan and Plaskett are doing reflects a template that goes back at least to the leaks of Democratic Party mail in July 2016: Go after the messenger, dwell upon them relentlessly in news reports and ignore to the fullest extent what the messenger makes public. Government officials and reporters—senior officials such as Secretary of State Antony Blinken, senior reporters such as The Times’s David Sanger—now participate in role-playing exercises at the Aspen Institute, wherein the former train the latter to focus their coverage on the leaker, not what is leaked.
Tucker Carlson’s case reads straight out of this template. You won’t see anything about the views he expressed on the air—only that he is a racist. Have you read much about what is actually in the Twitter Files? Same thing. I wonder: Will we soon read that Matt Taibbi has racist inclinations?
Two, Hasan and Plaskett, and the Democratic cliques behind them, are after Matt Taibbi’s backside for alleging collusion between social media and various constituencies of government—and in their alleging give us an exquisite example, but precisely, of a media organization colluding with government. You want to know how the corruption revealed in the Twitter Files actually works? (Present tense, as this may well continue.) Hasan, Plaskett and the Democratic establishment have just shown you one way it is done.
Three, Mehdi Hasan works for MSNBC, but goddammit, I want to know who else he may work for. It is time to ask these kinds of questions of such people. Anyone with knowledge of American media’s extensive Cold War collaborations with political and administrative power will appreciate this.
Four, saving the worst for last. Congress threatening Matt Taibbi with jail time for his perfectly honorable work: Well, it does not get much graver when we consider the implications here for free speech, the practice of principled journalism and the future of our public discourse altogether. This is what has come of mainstream media’s refusal to defend Julian Assange against the similarly bogus charges leveled against him.
I was out of the country when ScheerPost’s publisher, Bob Scheer, wrote to advise of “The New York Times’s hysterical crusade against this airman whistleblower,” referring to Jack Teixeira, the Air National Guardsman who now faces trial on espionage charges for sharing classified Pentagon documents with some group of video game addicts to which he belongs. “This is the same shoot-the-messenger tactic—disparaging a whistleblower while ignoring his message—that was used by critics of [Daniel] Ellsberg, whom The Times published a half century ago. They have gone off the rails.”
Off the rails is one way of putting it. And the reference to Daniel Ellsberg gives us a good idea of just how far the once-but-no-longer newspaper of record has strayed from anything legitimately called journalism. The apparently hapless Teixeira is a whistleblower of a peculiar kind, O.K. But while once The Times (along with The Washington Post) worked in secret with the man who gave the world the Pentagon Papers, both of these dailies just assigned reporters not to write fulsome analyses of the documents Teixeira leaked but to run down the leaker and effectively collaborate with the FBI’s manhunt.
The Boston Globe gives us a good account of The Times’s role in chasing down the messenger in this case. Naturally, we now read that Teixeira turns out to be a racist with a givenness to violence. But of course. What would the Biden regime do without “far-right extremists” lurking under every American bed?
The documents Teixeira effectively put into the public sphere through his chatroom friends concerned the Pentagon’s pessimistic view of the Ukraine war and various other matters. Of these we have read but drips and drops, no more. The taker of the cake in this case is the press conference PBS broadcast from the Pentagon after Teixeira was arrested. Sheer spectacle. The reporters present, sounding all comradely with the Defense Department spokesman, didn’t want to know much about the contents of the Teixeira documents and what DoD had to say about them. No, they asked repeatedly what the military was going to do to prevent such leaks in the future.
Think about that. Leakers must be stopped, this roomful of robots says. What are you going to do to stop them? Glenn Greenwald makes a neat edit of the taped press conference available via his System Update program:
SUPERCUT: Rather than press the govt on the content within the Ukraine Docs leak, "journalists" used today's Pentagon briefing to demand that more be done to prevent future leaks.
This should be unthinkable—what kind of journalists push for *less* govt transparency?! pic.twitter.com/7FyTgmDajO
— System Update (@SystemUpdate_) April 14, 2023
Stacey Plaskett had the gall to refer to Matt Taibbi as “a so-called journalist.” That’s what these people are. They are the penny-ante scoundrels who populate the lower reaches of Cold War II as our discourse is narrowed to suit an information monoculture.
Journalists—my take-home here—have fundamentally changed the function of the profession. There is among the great majority of mainstream reporters no longer even the pretense of independence from the powers they are supposed to cover. They openly serve now as the clerks of the political and administrative cliques they “report” upon. They give the impression they think this is their proper role.
Know this, readers. Contemplate what this means to the world in which you live and move.
And you thought Russiagate had finally gone away.
So, I wrote last August, when the African People’s Socialist Party, the APSP, first found itself in trouble with the Justice Department for—the preposterous conceit—acting on behalf of Russia as a “foreign agent.” At the time, Justice indicted one Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov, a 33-year-old Russian, who seems to have met members of the APSP and its associated organization, the Uhuru Movement, which are based in Florida and Missouri and live very modestly to put the best face on it. No one in either group was formally charged last summer, but the DoJ alleged nonetheless that they were guilty of “sowing discord,” “heightening grievances,” and “creating strife and division.”
I hope I don’t have to remind readers that sowing discord, heightening grievances, and creating strife and division are entirely lawful under the Constitution. Myself, I think these are three excellent undertakings—patriotic, indeed—given the state of our dilapidated republic. In any case, sowing discord in America in 2023 is like hauling sand to the Sahara.
Late last month Attorney General Merrick Garland extended the charges from Ionov—a token target, after all—to four members of the APSP, including Omali Yeshitela, the group’s founder. They are accused of “weaponizing our First Amendment rights,” as Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew Olsen put it, “to divide Americans and interfere in elections in the United States.” Say whaa? The First Amendment was drafted to serve as a weapon, Mr. Olsen—against people such as your good self, I will add.
If you are not frightened yet, read on. You’re bound to get there.
Now there is one thing that must be stated clearly before going any further. I understand that the APSP and the Uhuru Movement accepted small sums from Ionov from time to time and invested the dough—hundreds of dollars on some occasions, low thousands on others—in their various programs on behalf of African–Americans. If this proves so, these groups made a big mistake. However desperate you may be, however clean the contributions are of interference, you don’t accept them if they come from a foreign power—and certainly not from Russia given the frenzy of Russophobia that now grips us. It would be not only poor judgment; it would also weaken these groups as they fight the government’s case.
This case reeks of unlawful repression, but since when does that mean the DoJ will not prevail? “The department will not hesitate to expose and prosecute those who sow discord and corrupt U.S. elections in service of hostile foreign interests,” Olsen said in the department’s press release, “regardless of whether the culprits are U.S. citizens or foreign individuals abroad.”
The new charges against American citizens carry a maximum sentence of 10 years; three of the APAP members charged could get another five if found guilty of acting as “foreign agents” and not declaring themselves as such.
There are a couple of ways to look at this case. One is to consider the cynical use Justice is making of a small group of activists who are more or less helpless to defend themselves against a force as powerful as the federal government. To put you in the picture as to who these people are, here is a little of what I wrote in last summer’s commentary:
The African People’s Socialist Party and the Uhuru Movement are a half-century old this year  and reflect thought that was current at the time of their founding: Pan–Africanism, an internationalist perspective on race and geopolitics, nonalignment, a Marxian political line. Uhuru is Swahili for freedom. … Among the prominent exponents of African socialism was Julius Nyerere, the gentlest soul among those towering leaders of the “independence era”—Nyerere, N’Krumah, Nasser, and Nehru, along with Sukarno, Lumumba, and various others. …
People of these persuasions are suddenly acting on behalf of the Russians? Get off my cloud. This case is outright cruelty by any other name.
The other way to consider the latest from Atty. Gen. Garland is by way of the broader implications. I do not think Garland and his assistants give a hoot about the APSP or the Uhuru Movement. They chose to go after these groups precisely because they are so insignificant. It is the implications the Justice Department is after—the legal precedent. Garland and Olsen are using these two groups to establish that sowing discord and all the rest can be prosecuted, when this case concludes, as unlawful.
This is not on the face of it a case concerning journalists and their publishers. But what this means for independent journalists and independent journalism should be evident after a brief moment’s thought.
I am reading about this matter in various independent media—on Caitlin Johnstone’s website, on Monthly Review’s website (good old MR) and hearing about it on Glenn Greenwald’s System Update. The last of these, having trained as a constitutional lawyer, is reliably good on these kinds of topics.
I am not reading about this in the mainstream media, apart from a piece in The Washington Post that stays well clear of what the case means for free speech and journalism. This silence is indefensible. It makes corporate-owned media complicit, no less, as the authorities charged with upholding the First Amendment desecrate it on the ridiculous ground that sowing discord in our discordant nation is somehow a crime.
Am I sowing discord in these paragraphs? It seems an absurd question, but now there are grounds to ask it—which is also absurd.
Greenwald refers to the Justice Department’s case against the APSP as “criminalizing dissent.” We had better understand this as so. I am always one for naming things properly, getting the nomenclature right, as the first step to sound understanding. Dissent for the sake of it cannot be the point. Dissent for the necessity of it is the point.
Footnote: What nerve Joey Biden has these days. At the White House Correspondents’ dinner last Saturday evening the president called upon the Russians to release Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter arrested on spying allegations in an arms-manufacturing industrial city in the Urals early last month. Biden’s punchline: “Our message is journalism is not a crime.” As someone dear to me asked, “Did even one correspondent stand up and say, ‘Mr. President, you steal the slogan of Julian Assange’s worldwide defense alliance. What about Assange?’” Not a single one: That’s not what correspondents do anymore.
Additional research and insight by Cara Marianna.
Excellent essay—carlsen the least fascist of all amerikan MSM personalities could not be tolerated by ruling class apologists. his anti-imperialist perspectives assured that he would be terminated…”what emerged from the american melting pot is a race that hates truth and beauty”. HL Menkhen….”I am for the truth no matter who tells it”. Malcolm X
The United States’ bully Vs. Gonzalo Lira:
Dual American-Chilean national Gonzalo Lira was recently arrested by Ukraine’s secret police on charges pertaining to “wartime propaganda”, for which he faces the possibility of 5-8 years in jail. The US Government’s (USG) silence on this incident completely contrasts with its hysteria over Wall Street Journal (WSJ) employee Evan Gershkovich’s arrest in Russia last month on charges of espionage after he was caught red-handed soliciting classified military-industrial information from a regional lawmaker.
This is a betrayal of American principles since the freedom of speech is regarded as a sacred right of all its citizens no matter where they might be at any given time. Regardless of whatever one might think about Lira’s views and the particular piece of Ukrainian legislation that was cited as the basis for arresting him, the USG is supposed to support the rights of its nationals abroad. This is especially so whenever they’re arrested for expressing an opinion and/or practicing journalism like he was.
“How difficult it is to take journalists seriously as they attack another journalist because his views do not match theirs.”
Premise is wrong. Carlson, and some attacking him are not journalists. They are performers, celebrities, and narcissists who trade in ratings, likes, and shares. But I’m really disappointed that you would hold him up as a truth-teller as an effort to fight the deep state. Are you about to follow the pivots of Greenwald, Taibbi, Dore, et al, who claim the are fighting the deep state by going on Fox to expose “the truth?” They are all there to increase their brand and stir up outrage in all directions. More like, hates, posts. Seriously, Carlson’s performance play was exposed by Stewart a decade ago, and you call him a journalist?
Reply to DebsWasRight
Independent News is full of journalists who have been fired from the corporate US newsmedia and Tucker Carlson was asking important questions and actually criticizing the GOP as well as the DNC. He admitted he was wrong to support the Iraq War in the past. He was absolutely the only one of TV corporate news speaking truth over the past years. Who will be next? Both political parties in the USA are the same when it comes to power–corporations rule and war to be the only power in the world that rules. The new world order as if the USA is always acting for the good.
Under greedy system of capitalism journalists are biased by .. cash and/or privileges granted by power elites. They are government/corporate puppets if not they are popular support herders whole sell them for ideological and commercial fodder.
Only real journalists work for nothing but their solemn duty to empirical truth of reality they know and understand .
If they even exist today, real, morally and professionally autonomous journalists who are not afraid to tell the truth to the elites as much as to brainwashed by fake journalism masses are starving or dying.
Telling the truth as one independently sees and understands in time when truth is being criminalized is inevitably an act of courage and self sacrifice.
Trounced egos of former employees of corporate fake news factories that unhappily were dropped to corporate trash bin called independent “journalism” disqualify them as genuine defenders of suffering population from systemic exploitation and manipulation.
Real journalists of the people must come from and stay amongst their people avoiding always sodomizing relation with corporate media.
Sadly vast majority of former corporate journalists who supposedly found “Jesus” while lamenting about systemic atrocities of war and economic disasters ignore their systemic origins. In fact many are trying to fix it in their Sisyphus effort of fixing of unfixable again and again waiting for applause as they think they accomplished something.
The hypocrisy and injustice is blatant and in your face, if you are alive and thinking. RFK Jr. would be a great deal more popular if MSM weren’t censoring him. If he dies mysteriously, I hope it sparks a revolution the lights of which will never be put out. “Play the man, Master Ridley!” In the meantime, I accept peaceful revolution.
I guess I have some trouble seeing Tucker Carlson as a victim. While it could be true that the pseudo-journalists are ganging up on him, Carlson actively deceives his audience; who we hear from quotes from the Dominion trial, he had little respect for. Misinforming people has been a large part of FOX News’ MO, so I really have trouble defending these people as having independent minds or points of view.
Reply to Mike|
Glenn Greenwald’s defense of Tucker Carlson had many examples of Carlson’s interviews where he offered criticism of Fox News, the USA, and the DNC and continued to ask very important questions about what was going on in the world. And he was the only one doing so in corporate TV.
Reply to Barbara Mullin
My enemy’s enemy is not necessarily my friend. Tucker Carlson was a loose cannon who earned the enmity of his employer, so he was fired. We have no dog in that fight and wind up spending too much energy on parsing who was more wrong in it. The same logic applies to the fights between the republicrats and the demopublicans. Who says we have to choose a lesser evil? That logic is a trap set by the ruling class for us. The question is not which party is in power; it’s which class is in power. And all corporate TV broadcasts bullshit.
The right-wing full Monty includes racism, xenophobia, militarism, and antisocialism, as well as some additional unempathetic doctrines this comment will not address.
Using the term right-wing to discuss collectively a group of individuals each of whom is a salesman for one or more of these and not necessarily representative of the others makes for simpler sentence structure.
I can see how sentences of this type are not without their problems.
The term defined for the purposes of this comment, right-wing hosts giving voice to antiwar voices banned from liberal media because they would otherwise interfere with the tsunami of imperial war propaganda presents a complication: antiwar activists delivering eyes and ears to online right-wing hosts increases those host’s visibility to content-curating algorithms.
Right-wing hosts know like everybody else that algorithms privilege channels that are watched, so of course they understand that hosting antiwar activists increases their visibility to and viewership among people who would otherwise ignore them.
Judge Napolitano, a libertarian, hosts Ray McGovern, Scott Ritter, Douglas Mcgregor, and Larry Johnson on YouTube, avails himself of every opportunity to refer to Chelsea Manning as Bradley, and adheres to the Reagan doctrine that “the government” — not financialization of the U.S. economy and capture of U.S. institutions by a military-intelligence-Wall Street-corporations-media deep state regime — is inimical to “freedom”.
The Judge excitedly announced the other day that hosting antiwar activists, who are indeed informed, important voices, increased his audience recently from a handful to hundreds of thousands of viewers. Whether a libertarian journalist is a journalist or propagandist depends on whether what s/he says is journalism or propaganda.
I find the Judge’s drumbeat of “the government . . . the government . . . the government . . . the government . . . ” impossible not to notice.
Tucker Carlson is a straight-up racist unapologetically voicing fascist replacement theory. He also pounded the message into his listeners ears until he was recently fired that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump, even though leaked emails reveal that he does not even believe this is true.
The claim that “you can [only] get away with calling [Carlson] a racist . . . if you buy into the nonsense that all white people are racist because they are white people,” unfortunately, is wishful thinking.
Here is Tim Black on the question of Tucket Carlson’s racism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whAZOVKUzLM .
Alex Jones, if I am not mistaken, recently hosted Max Blumenthal and has been promoting psychotic conspiracy theories for years. I happen to agree with Max that journalists otherwise silenced by the imperial war machine should use any venue to get the truth out, but boosting right-wing hosts in the algorithms is problematic, too.
I lost two people, a close friend and my sister, years ago to right-wing radio propagandists like Rush Limbaugh because they preferred listening to people talk, instead of music, on their car radios driving back and forth to work. It doesn’t take long for antisocialist, right-wing “common sense” to capture the mentality of someone who consumes a diet of right-wing media, and they quickly became angry, bigoted, and impossible to talk to. My friend, who was driving back and forth to his first job as a social worker, became prejudiced against the people he went into social work to help.
We are between a rock and hard place. Liberals will not let the truth in the door. Right-wing hosts are happy to have on anyone saying anything people are hungry to hear because it boosts their views.
Reply to Bill Appledorf
I want to add that “wokeism” and “globalism” epitomize for right-wing hosts the fundamental flaw in American culture (wokeism) and U.S. foreign policy (globalism).
Wokeism, in an objective sense, actually sums up one of the actual problems with liberal media, namely its assumption that “leftism” reduces to elevating identity politics above every other issue, whether it be corporate rule, forever war, or deindustrialization, financialization, and economic-rent extraction having permanently impoverished generations of Americans.
But “wokeism” for the right amounts to coddling deviants and making excuses for the weak. Bill Maher, for example, loves to rag on fat people and seldom, maybe never, has a word to say about the poisonous nature of the food-like substances the American corporate food chain feeds unsuspecting consumers.
Trans individuals, whom indigenous people viewed benignly as “two-spirited” and special because they embody both male and female characteristics, are the bete noire of right-wing hosts, and “wokeism” goes downhill from there. “Real” Americans, for the right, conform to 1950’s TV-show stereotypes. Actual real people are not real people to people who rail against wokeism.
“Globalism” is a clever cooptation of 1980s-left criticism of globalization, which at that time meant corporations offshoring U.S. manufacturing to avail themselves of dirt-cheap labor abroad, screwing laid-off American workers, ruthlessly exploiting non-white workers far away, and reaping outsized profits as a result.
For right-wing hosts, “globalism” means multilateralism, which is anathema to ultranationalist Americans because it subjects the American state to international law and diminishes U.S. “sovereignty”, which to the right means license to do anything the U.S. wants in the world with complete impunity.
The right coopts left vocabulary all the time. “Not one inch” to the east for NATO becomes surrendering “not one inch” in Ukraine. There are plenty of other examples. I can’t think of any right now, but anyone who reads this will think of some.
I hate listening to right-wing hosts, even when they have people on whom I like listening to. But wokeism and globalism are not words I want to hear, and I worry about people into whose heads these words are pounded endlessly.
So much in this article.
First there is much bemoaning from Lawrence (as from Taibbi and others) about the death of journalism. State Media has replaced mainstream media. State Media is an arm of the Establishment (and federal government) now with the abolition of our law against domestic propaganda (the “modernization” of Smith Mundt in 2013) and the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act of 2016. The State Department/ CIA now legally control Official Narratives via what’s left of the old five or six MSM organizations. The people in State Media are no more journalists than was Joseph Goebbels. Accept it.
State Media is also coming for all the independent debating and dissenting “old school” journalists like Robert Scheer, Patrick Lawrence, Matt Taibbi, Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate, Joe Luria, Margaret Kimberley, and a host of other investigative reporters (many now on Substack). My advice to them: Sell out while you can and join the (well paid) dark side: the alternative is not pretty.
Lawrence touches on the Aspen Institute Meeting of federal government officials, social and State Media, DNC operatives, and some Establishment-supporting academicians in September 2020, all colluding to protect Biden from the Orange Monster Man in the 2020 Election. Somehow they had obtained information from Hunter Biden’s laptop seized by the FBI in 2019, and they chortled over their brilliant “war game” exercises predicting what the NY Post published about Biden Corruption in mid October, 2020. They lied and censored the NY Post story (just as the Intercept censored Glenn Greenwald’s more in-depth article) until AFTER the Election. Where did the Aspen Institute get Hunter Biden’s hard-drive data? Given how the FBI refused to answer Congress’ questions about what they did with the “evidence”, they very likely were involved in deciding the 2020 Election by obstructing the scandal. Or possibly Saudi Arabia and the UAE preferred Biden? They are major funders of the Aspen institute.
Lawrence’s segue into the federal “persecution” of APAP for taking less than $10,000 from a Russian to minimally help the Black Community, and continue voicing their brand of Black separatism and concerns (which is obviously their constitutional right) just shows what the federal government can and will do. Remember that Hillary, as Secretary of State, and Bill took $500,000 (not for the Clinton Foundation) with personal thanks from Vladimir Putin for a speech at Putin’s bank in Moscow in 2010. They of course claimed there was no pay-to-play. (Guess APAP suffers from not being above the Law, unlike our “public servants”). Peter Schweizer claimed in “Clinton Cash” that Bill had made over a dozen $300,000 to $700,000 speeches to foreign governments while Hillary was Secretary of State. The speech money magically dried up after Hillary lost to idiot Trump.
Noam Chomsky: ”Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. Media.”
H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956): “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”
Oh Please, Mr Lawrence, journalism was never, and has never, been the champion of the oppressed except for a few despised, poor and unemployed, Cassandras like IF Stone. They are mostly business sluts and corporate whores. After the 1960s, corporate criminals understood they needed to control what was said in public so they went out of their way to consolidate media control. Murdoch and his filthy ilk hired buttheads like Carlson to promote their message: ‘greed is good, greed is necessary’. As intended, the public no longer believes anything published by so-called journalists but the most outrageous and self-serving lies.
William Casey (CIA Director 1981-1987): “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
William Gibson: “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.”
I substantially agree with the logic of this article, particularly the pattern of focusing negative attention on the messenger, rather than addressing the issues brought in the messages. Mr Lawrence also makes an excellent point focusing on the state/media collaboration that ignores exposed crimes of the most serious nature- betrayal of 1st and 4th amendment or murderous war crimes, but gins up criminal cases of extremely dubious overreach backed by a barrage of media hate and often outright lies.
I do have a question about who should be allowed to be paid or receive donations from foreign countries. What is the actual law here? I get that people running for office can’t take money from foreign nationals or governments, but as long as ex-government employees are allowed to lobby the us government for foreign governments, and as long as us citizens do not forfeit their right to political advocacy when they work for non U.S.employers why should a group with political goals not be free to receive donations from anyone. The US AID gives many millions to foreign organizations and media. If it is illegal to sow discord in foreign countries no nation is more guilty than the US.
This makes it sound like journalism is dead. In the MSM it is. But that doesn’t mean all the journalists are gone or that journalism is dead.
Give up on this MSM thing. It is a done deal. Just as we no longer have representative government, just as we no longer have ethical doctors, we no longer have journalists in MSM.
But that’s okay.
Scum we will always have. it is a pity it has agglomerated in the MSM, in politics, in education, in the military etc. But it has. Okay. At least we know where it is.
Now is the time for us to begin to assemble our alternative ‘doctors’, ‘governments’, ‘politicians’, ‘educators’ ‘msm’ and so on.
Don’t waste time lamenting that garbage… let’s just get on with the new…
Patrick – you could also have mentioned the prosecutions and repression of the Cop City protesters. One protester murdered and many facing felony charges for peaceful protest, including posting flyers of the cops names who murdered an innocent non-violent protester in cold blood.
I strongly agree with your critique of journalisms and the National Security State, but really wish you did not bring Tucker Carlson into this analysis. And do so with no mention or criticism of his role in the media and political/cultural ecosystem.
Just as you criticize false racial and left-right framing, you do the same thing by trying to shoehorn Carlson into a journalism and media frame. In doing so, you ignore the many false, racist, xenophobic, and thuggish things he actually said, and how these broadcasts stoked a rising cultural Christian White Nationalist Fascism (caps intended).
Of course, and let me make these things absolutely clear: 1) these are not grounds for being fired by Fox and 2) yes, his firing does raise media suppression issues, and 3) the rise of a cultural Christian White Nationalist Fascism (caps intended) does not justify the expansion of the National Security Surveillance State, but truth and real journalism REQUIRE that they be included in any discussion of Mr. Carlson.
I have to disagree with you on the Tucker Carlson issue. Is there a war on independent journalism? Yes, especially from corporate media, and now, as highlighted in a recent Sheerpost podcast, from the internet giants as well.
But Carlson, as revealed in internal Fox news emails, knew the case for calling the results of the 2020 election were bogus yet continued to push the narrative on his prime time show anyway to appease the executives at the “news” channel. So he is therefore no independent journalist. But he is definitely a racist and it doesn’t take long to find glaring examples of that in his coverage of BLM. In fact, if he wasn’t racist he would have never earned the prime time slot on Fox!
I do agree with your assessments in the second part of your article on the Uhuru movement. I am familiar with the group, and the government’s attack on them is there to send a campaign year message that Biden is ready to fight the Cold War again. But I am definitely not ready to vote for him again.
Scheerpost has lost it’s way spreading “thought crime”. I’m sad and angry that they have left the fold!
p.s. What flavor was you kool-ade?
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