Very few people in the United States trust the mainstream corporate media. This is confirmed by a July survey from the major polling firm Gallup, which found that just 11% of North Americans trust television news, and a mere 16% have confidence in newspapers. It’s quite easy to understand why. The US media apparatus has repeatedly shown itself over decades to be completely unreliable and highly politicized. The corporate media’s treachery has been especially clear in the demonstrably false stories it disseminated to try to justify the US wars on Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. This disgraceful legacy continues today, in the proxy war that Washington is waging on Russia via Ukraine. Fake news echoed by the press has served as a powerful form of US information warfare.
Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of investigative news outlet The Intercept, very publicly resigned from his position yesterday. The immediate trigger for his decision was a refusal to publish his article exploring corruption in the Biden campaign by his editors, but, as the cult journalist explained on his Substack page, there were also long term and deeper underlying factors that forced him to move on. Greenwald created the Substack page for this purpose, posting his resignation letter, then the censored article followed by the email exchange with his editors that preceded his resignation.
Since the brutal police murder of George Floyd, protesters for racial justice have mobilized across the country, attracting a frenzy of media commentary. To gauge who got to take part in this discussion, FAIR looked at whose voices were featured in some of the most prominent and influential outlets. We counted the columnists in the Washington Post and New York Times editorial sections, as well as the people interviewed on network Sunday morning political talk shows, including ABC’s This Week, CBS’s Face the Nation, CNN’s State of the Union, Fox News Sunday and NBC’s Meet the Press.
The US is still trying to overthrow the democratically elected president of Nicaragua who won with 72% of the vote – this time it is a Covid-19 related coup attempt. The US-led opposition is utilizing doctors instead of students to kill off Sandinistas by falsely claiming Sandinista doctors have died and by claiming that all deaths are from Covid-19 because they allege “the health system has collapsed.” They learned well in the 2018 coup attempt that deaths are a necessity if you want a lot of favorable media coverage in the corporate press, as well as interest from readers. Macabre? Yes, but true. They are spreading false information about deaths in Nicaragua. In the government’s weekly report on Covid-19 cases, recuperated patients and deaths on June 9, there were fewer cases in the previous week and many fewer deaths than in the June 2 report of the previous week and many more people who had recuperated. This means Nicaragua is past the peak and Covid-19 will soon be an illness of the past.
The latest video produced by VA and Tatuy TV explores the "myths" that sustain the mainstream media's favorable coverage of the Venezuelan opposition. The corporate media is almost unanimous in its support for US regime change plans in Venezuela. This support naturally extends to the US-backed Venezuelan anti-Chavista opposition, which in the past 20 years has constantly tried to overthrow the government. In order to maintain uncritical support for the opposition, the mainstream media has created a series of "myths" about it.
Seldom mentioned among the motives behind the persistent drumming on alleged Russian interference was an over-arching need to help the Security State hide their tracks. The need for a scapegoat to blame for Hillary Clinton’s snatching defeat out of the jaws victory also played a role; as did the need for the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex (MICIMATT) to keep front and center in the minds of Americans the alleged multifaceted threat coming from an “aggressive” Russia. (Recall that John McCain called the, now disproven, “Russian hacking” of the DNC emails an “act of war.”) But that was then. This is now.
From debates that encouraged sparring over substance, to evidence-free declarations about electability or momentum, to the insistence—bordering on gaslighting—of the fringiness of ideas that in fact enjoy broad support, corporate media’s election coverage would be disappointing at any time. With all that’s at stake in 2020, it’s a letdown we can ill afford—and a reason, of course, to support independent journalism.
It’s not hard to figure out that corporate media represent the perspectives and interests of a small elite investor class of the US population, rather than its vast working class majority. Simply compare the size of the “Business” section in major newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times—ostensibly on opposite sides of the political spectrum—with the nonexistence of their “Labor” sections. But it is hard to think of a more palpable example of corporate journalists seeing themselves aligned with the interests of the investor class, against literally everyone else on the planet...
After years in the shadows overseeing espionage, kill programs, warrantless wiretapping, entrapment, psyops and other covert operations, national security establishment retirees are are turning to a new line of work where they can carry out their imperial duties. That is, propagandizing the public on cable news. Reborn as cable news pundits, these people are cashing in. So many years working in the dark, only to emerge in the studio lights of the same networks that rail all day everyday against state TV from countries that America hates.
There was a time, not so long ago, when most Black Americans of all classes were highly skeptical of every word that emanated from the mouths of white folks in power in the United States. A substantial body of Black opinion believed nothing at all that appeared in the corporate media – which, back then, we simply called the “white press.” It was a wise and healthy skepticism, learned over generations of enduring a constant stream of lies and slander against Black people from politicians and mass media of the two governing parties.
Corporate media always let us know who is in with the in-crowd and who is on the outs with the United States government. They don’t do so with any transparency, but by promoting some stories and disappearing others. They give great attention to events that they believe are advancing U.S. interests. The invisibility treatment goes to those who tell inconvenient truths and defy American dictates. Protests in Hong Kong against the Chinese government and in Moscow against the Russian government are covered extensively.
When previously unknown Venezuelan opposition politician Juan Guaidó stood up in an East Caracas plaza and declared himself “interim president” of the South American country, Western corporate media were ebullient. In those heady early days, corporate journalists could scarcely conceal their love affair with the 35-year-old politician, whom they likened to Barack Obama (CNN, 2/7/19) and described as a “freedom fighter” (Fox Business, 1/29/19) and Venezuela’s “only democratically elected figure” (MSNBC, 1/24/19), who had “captured the heart of the nation” (New York Times,3/4/19).
The New York Times has publicly acknowledged that it sends some of its stories to the US government for approval from “national security officials” before publication. This confirms what veteran New York Times correspondents like James Risen have said: The American newspaper of record regularly collaborates with the US government, suppressing reporting that top officials don’t want made public. On June 15, the Times reported that the US government is escalating its cyber attacks on Russia’s power grid.
Given the Trust Project’s rich-get-richer impact on the online news landscape, it is not surprising to find that it is funded by a confluence of tech oligarchs and powerful forces with a clear stake in controlling the flow of news. After the failure of Newsguard — the news rating system backed by a cadre of prominent neoconservative personalities — to gain traction among American tech and social media companies, another organization has quietly stepped in to direct the news algorithms of tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.
My hat is off to Keane Bhatt, NACLA blogger and occasional Extra!contributor, for his tireless efforts to prod one of the United States’ most prestigious media outlets to live up to its professed standards of accuracy. The outlet is the New Yorker, a magazine whose name is practically synonymous with factchecking. It’s a tradition there; they brag about how seriously they take checking the facts. Which makes you wonder how Keane was able to find the glaring, major errors in the New Yorker‘s recent coverage of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, all perpetrated by longtime contributor Jon Lee Anderson.