By Andre Damon for WSWS – One day after Donald Trump’s extraordinary news conference, the battle within the American state only grew more intense. The conflict pits the ultra-right president of the United States against powerful sections of the military-intelligence apparatus, with the corporate media, the Democratic Party and a section of the Republicans serving as mouthpieces of the CIA. There is no progressive faction in this dispute, which centers on issues of foreign policy and war. Trump is a noxious representative of the financial oligarchy. He has packed his administration with CEOs and billionaires, alongside ex-generals, social reactionaries and outright fascists. His opponents in the political and media establishment are themselves reactionaries, motivated not by democratic principles, but by concerns that Trump is shifting away from the aggressive, militarist policy toward Russia that is backed by the intelligence establishment and was carried out by the previous administration.
By Jim Naureckas for FAIR – As Donald Trump issued an executive order intended to single out Muslims for immigration restrictions, many Americans searched their consciences for the right way to respond to this act of discrimination by their government. “First they came for the Communists/And I did not speak out/Because I was not a Communist,” begins the famous poem by Martin Niemoller. How can we avoid making the same mistake that the Germans made who failed to stand up against the first acts of repression by the Nazi regime? Fortunately, the New York Times Magazine publishes a column called “The Ethicist” that offers advice on complex moral questions.
By Eresh Omar Jamal for The Daily Star – The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society…is the true ruling power…we are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed…it is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” Thus wrote Edward Bernays in his book Propaganda, the nephew of Sigmund Freud and the father of modern propaganda, at whose suggestion, the United States’ War Department, at the time called the National Military Establishment, was renamed the Department of Defence in 1949.
By James North and Philip Weiss for Mondoweiss – Sgt. Elor Azaria was convicted today by a military court in Jaffa of manslaughter for the execution of Abdel Fatah al-Sharif as he lay incapacitated in the street in Hebron last March, and there were immediate calls from Israeli political leaders and the public for the 20-year-old soldier to be pardoned. The story was the lead on BBC, and the New York Times and Washington Post also promptly put up the news. B’Tselem, the human rights organization whose video unleashed the investigation, said the case was the rare exception in which an Israeli soldier was held accountable for a human rights atrocity.
By Rick Sterling for Consortium News – The new law mandates the U.S. Secretary of State to collaborate with the Secretary of Defense, Director of National Intelligence and other federal agencies to create a Global Engagement Center “to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.” The law directs the Center to be formed in 180 days and to share expertise among agencies and to “coordinate with allied nations.”
By Jack Balkwill for Intrepid Report – I believe that the murder of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was the result of the influence of fake news dominating the corporate media around the world. The shooter, identified as a 22-year-old Turkish riot police officer, shouted that he was upset about what is happening in Aleppo after committing the murder on video. The public around the world are getting lies about what is happening in Aleppo, and no doubt with Turkey’s participation in spreading terror in Syria, Turkish citizens are not getting facts. Turkish crowds are protesting what they believe is happening in Aleppo.
By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – The media landscape in America is dominated by “fake news.” It has been for decades. This fake news does not emanate from the Kremlin. It is a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry that is skillfully designed and managed by public relations agencies, publicists and communications departments on behalf of individuals, government and corporations to manipulate public opinion. This propaganda industry stages pseudo-events to shape our perception of reality. The public is so awash in these lies, delivered 24 hours a day through electronic devices and print, that viewers and readers can no longer distinguish between truth and fiction.
By Michael Corcoran for FAIR – Members of the GOP leadership were likely jubilant when they read the New York Times (12/15/16) and saw the following headline: “GOP Plans to Repeal Health Law with ‘Universal Access.’” The Times’ decision to include the words “universal,” “health” and “plan” in the headline was extremely misleading and irresponsible. It gave readers the distinct—and deceptive—impression that Republicans have something resembling a “universal” health plan, and will use it to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It appears that the same corporate media who misled us into the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Extra!, 4/10) are now misleading us out of it—and the Times’reporting on the GOP’s health care agenda is a particularly egregious example of this.
By Brandon Turbeville for Activist Post. After having left Syria, Bartlett took part in a press conference organized by the Syrian mission to the United Nations. After giving a brief statement about what she has observed in Syria and how she is aware firsthand of the Western media’s deception in terms of coverage of the crisis, she was questioned by a Norwegian journalist, Christopher Rothenberg, who challenged her claims that the Western media was lying…After having left Syria, Bartlett took part in a press conference organized by the Syrian mission to the United Nations. After giving a brief statement about what she has observed in Syria and how she is aware firsthand of the Western media’s deception in terms of coverage of the crisis, she was questioned by a Norwegian journalist, Christopher Rothenberg, who challenged her claims that the Western media was lying. “You talk the corporate media, the Western media, the lies, and all of this. Could you explain what might be the agenda from us in the Western media and why we should lie,” Rothenberg asked. “Why the international organizations on the ground should lie? Why we shouldn’t believe all these absolutely documentable facts that we see from the ground? These hospitals being bombed. These civilians that are talking about the atrocities that they have been experiencing. How can you justify calling all of us liars?” Bartlett’s epic response can be viewed here: She begins by admitting that there are “certainly honest journalists among the very compromised establishment media.” Bartlett then addresses Rothenberg’s second question first, by asking him to name one international organization on the ground in Eastern Aleppo. Rothenberg, of course, could not answer the question; so, after a long pause of silence, Bartlett proceeded to point out that there are none. She then dismantled the reliability of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (staffed by one man in Coventry, UK on the Internet) and the notorious terrorist support group known as the White Helmets.
By Mark Ames for Alternet. Last month, the Washington Post gave a glowing front-page boost to an anonymous online blacklist of hundreds of American websites, from marginal conspiracy sites to flagship libertarian and progressive publications. As Max Blumenthal reported for AlterNet, the anonymous website argued that all of them should be investigated by the federal government and potentially prosecuted under the Espionage Act as Russian spies, for wittingly or unwittingly spreading Russian propaganda. It’s now been a few days, and the shock and disgust is turning to questions about how to fight back—and who we should be fighting against. Who were the Washington Post’s sources for their journalism blacklist? WaPo’s key source was an anonymous online group calling itself PropOrNot (i.e., “Propaganda Or Not”). It was here that the blacklist of American journalists allegedly working with the Kremlin was posted. The Washington Post cited PropOrNot as a credible source, and granted them the right to anonymously accuse major American news outlets of treason, recommending that the government investigate and prosecute them under the Espionage Act for spreading Russian propaganda.
By Jay Dyer for Global Research – In fact, the earliest days of mass print media were erected on a famous fraud known as the “Great Moon Hoax” of 1835 – something researcher Chris Kendall has long called attention to – wherein the “educated,” “elite” widely accepted the mainstream publications’ claim bat people inhabited the lunar surface. In our day, a similar hoax still reigns, as mainstream media is literally as credible as Weekly World News’ Bat Boy story. Anyone who has seen Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane knows the director became a target of one of the most powerful media moguls of all time – William Randolph Hearst (who bought up all the major papers of his day).
By Jim Naureckas for FAIR – Sorry, New York Times–when more than 470 people have been arrested opposing the pipeline since August, that’s not the news. Nor did the print edition headline—“16 Arrested at North Dakota Pipeline Protest as Tensions Continue”—add anything. No, the news in the story came in the second paragraph, where reporter Jonah Engel Bromwich wrote that “officials also defended their use of fire hoses against protesters the night before, despite the below-freezing weather.”