by Caitlin Johnstone, Caitlin Johnstone:
When even the Washington Post is saying your Russiagate article is bad journalism, your Russiagate article is really, really bad journalism.
In an article titled “The Guardian offered a bombshell story about Paul Manafort. It still hasn’t detonated.”, WaPo writer Pul Farhi draws attention to the fact that it has been a week since the Guardian published a claim that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met repeatedly with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, without any evidence backing up the claim, using solely anonymous sources, and despite the claims contradicting known records of Assange’s guests at the Ecuadorian embassy. Criticism and demands for answers have been growing louder and louder from both friends and enemies of WikiLeaks, with new plot holes opening up in the Guardian‘s narrative daily, and the scandal is now moving into mainstream awareness.
And the Guardian remains silent, with its editor-in-chief Katharine Viner refusing to utter so much as a peep of defense this entire time. The only comment the publication has issued has been repeated day after day verbatim to every news outlet which writes about this bizarre occurrence: “This story relied on a number of sources. We put these allegations to both Paul Manafort and Julian Assange’s representatives prior to publication. Neither responded to deny the visits taking place. We have since updated the story to reflect their denials.” Which is basically just implying that they can print any libelous nonsense they want about anyone if their denials aren’t sent to the proper email address on time.
This, clearly, is bananas.
Do these establishment smear merchants not realize how creepy, desperate and frantic they make themselves look when they crank out these hit pieces on anti-imperialist voices? This one HuffPo editor writes this empire smut all the time and doesn’t even notice how freaky it looks. https://t.co/RQZFKxgsm2
— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) 4 December 2018
The Huffington Post has just published yet another brazen hit piece on University of Sheffield professor Piers Robinson. And when I say brazen, I mean really goddamn brazen. The entire article consists of nothing but senior HuffPo editor Chris York meticulously documenting the fact that a university professor is “heavily critical of western governments and media” who expresses skepticism of establishment narratives around 9/11, Syria, and Russia, and suggesting that it is bad and wrong for a university to employ anyone with dissenting views.
Even for a hit piece the article feels incredibly forced, ham-fisted and desperate. Reading it gives you the feeling as if York is leaning way into your personal space, pressing his face against your ear, and saying “You are not to believe the things that horrible man says about what is happening in your world. I will tell you what you are to believe about those controversial events. Big Brother is your friend. You love Big Brother.”
Which would be weird enough even without the fact that York has been personally targeting Robinson and other anti-imperialist voices with identical hit pieces over and over and over again this year. A senior HuffPo editor has published hit piece after hit piece after hit piece against a small group of academics and reporters who have very little influence compared to a mass media outlet, but still far too much for a virulent empire sentry like York.
And this is just what’s happening today. For the last two years the mass media machine has been behaving very, very strangely, and it isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse. Not since the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq have we seen mainstream media outlets trying to shove narratives down our throats so desperately and aggressively, and even then they were doing it for one very specific purpose.
This time around things are less clear-cut. I do not subscribe to the belief that the shift in behavior of the media is due to an establishment hatred of Trump; despite the rhetoric and the narratives, Trump has been protecting establishment interests just as reliably as his predecessors, and everyone who knows anything about Russiagate knows that it will never lead to the removal of Trump from office. A much more logical explanation is the need to manufacture support for the geopolitical agenda of isolating Russia and shoving it off the world stage to stop it from protecting China’s rise to superpower status, and in cold war the use of propaganda becomes even more important than in hot war. But I also think there’s more to it than that. I think a large part of the frantic urgency that we are seeing from the establishment propaganda machine is nothing other than an attempt to regain control of the narrative.