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Demonizing Russian Media

By Gilbert Doctorow | Consortium News | November 23, 2016

One of the West’s top points in condemning Vladimir Putin’s “regime” since 2007 has been his alleged suppression of democratic institutions, including an assault on media freedom and imposition of government-directed propaganda. This week, the accusation was repeated in a resolution of the European Parliament calling for stronger counter-measures in defense of European values against “information warfare” from Moscow.

The charges — that Russian media are only an instrument of state propaganda directed at the domestic population to keep Russian citizens in line and at foreign audiences to sow dissent among Russia’s neighbors and within the European Union — are taken as a matter of faith with almost no proofs adduced. Anyone who questions this “group think” is immediately labeled a “tool of Putin” or worse.

I experienced this firsthand in March 2015 when, as one of three debaters on “The Network,” a Euronews public affairs program, I objected to remarks by a fellow panelist, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee Elmar Brok, who maintained that Putin crushed all liberties and his country has no free press.

Based on my familiarity with the many different political lines of the Russian print media and of the patently unintimidated Kremlin-critics behind the national radio station Ekho Moskvy and television station Dozhd’, I countered that, for example, Russian coverage of events in the Donbass was more multi-sided and free than coverage in the U.S.

Brok lashed out with the slanderous question: “And how much did the Kremlin pay you to say that?” The broadcaster then allowed this video-taped exchange to air freely.

I have ruminated on this exchange ever since and sought incontrovertible proof of the relative freedom of expression on Russian broadcast media. My close examination of the wildly popular political talk shows on Russian television first as a spectator and then as a participant has provided just that.

I have written previously about my initial experience going back six months to when I first took part in a program on the Rossiya 1/Vesti 24 state channel, Yevgeni Popov’s “Special Correspondent.” I mentioned at the time the nearly permanent presence on these programs of domestic opposition figures as well as of foreigners from the U.S., Ukraine, Poland and Israel, in particular, who could be counted on to present views on the political topic of the day’s discussion at sharp variance with the Kremlin line.

Assessing the Talk Shows

In early autumn I appeared on the same presenter’s new show “Sixty Minutes,” as well on what is probably the most respected show of this genre, “Sunday Evening with Vladimir Soloviev,” another Rossiya 1 production. Soloviev has done feature-length television interviews with Vladimir Putin and may be considered to be as close to power as people in this medium get. His personal views are probably more nationalist than the ruling United Russia party, but on his shows he, too, gives time on air to very diverse Russian and foreign views.

In the past month, I broadened my experience with the Russian talk show format by participating in shows on the other major state channel, Pervy Kanal (“Time Will Tell”) and on the country’s largest commercial television channel, NTV (“The Meeting Place”). This accelerated learning was facilitated by the U.S. presidential elections, which made Russian-speaking talking heads from America like myself a rather hot commodity on Russian television at least briefly.

In speaking to fellow panelists during break time, in interviews with presenters, I gathered some inside information about the production side of the talk shows, including their target audiences, their technical aspects and their substantive positioning.

Anyone looking over Russian television programming in general quickly finds that talk shows as a format take up a very large part of broadcast time. Of course, the focus of talk shows may be highly diverse, and political talk shows were traditionally an evening phenomenon, as is the case with the Rossiya 1 shows cited above, while daytime programming more typically focuses on housewives’ concerns, daydreams of romance or tips for cooking, and the like.

In this sense, it was a bold move when two years ago Pervy Kanal decided to launch a daily two-hour political talk show (“Time Will Tell”) in mid-afternoon. As expected, the target audience proved to be stay-at-home women and viewers aged 50 and above, although it appears there are also a fair number of viewers watching the program in the work place.

Going Daytime

The ratings captured by this show typically are in the 20s, meaning that 20 or so percent of all television viewers in Russia at the given time are tuned to the given program, yielding an audience numbering in the millions. On Nov. 9, when I appeared on the show dedicated to analysis of the U.S. election results, the numbers spiked to 30 percent, as one might well understand given the very great interest among ordinary Russians in the outcome of the race for the U.S. presidency and the outlook for war or peace.

As “Time Will Tell” presenter Artyom Sheinin explained to me, the decision to appear on daytime television called for certain production decisions differentiating the programs from the evening talk shows. Firstly, the expectation of a less sophisticated audience meant that the language of panelists should be free of political science jargon and allusion to little known names or philosophies.

Said Artyom, panelists are asked to pitch their arguments as they would “talking to their kids, their mom or their lover.’’ On the other hand, overly calm discussion is not seen as a benefit. The presenter explains that his audience sitting at home at mid-day is in need of “an adrenaline shot,” and the normal penchant of Russian panelists to shout down one another in a free-for-all is not discouraged in the way it is on evening programming. The evening viewer is assumed to have come home from work and is seated in his armchair before the television, wants his nerves soothed more than excited.

All Russian political talk shows on the main channels are produced in the afternoon, Moscow time, and all feature on screen the caption “Live On Air.” However, where and when these shows are broadcast live versus rebroadcast from video tapes is another matter.

For example, the Rossiya 1/Vesti programs are broadcast live to the Russian Far East, where they appear at the end of prime-time evening broadcasts. Then they are re-broadcast at local evening prime time in each of the eight other time zones of the Russian Federation lying to the west, showing last in Moscow.

In this regard, two years ago when it launched “Time Will Tell,” Pervy Kanal took a second unparalleled risk by broadcasting live to Moscow in the afternoon. From a political standpoint, this was like a high-flying trapeze act without the benefit of a safety net.

In fact all of these programs are also video-taped, and all the major channels make the tapes available for internet viewing on their websites in full or shortened versions.

Similar Formats

Just as Russian television has often copied studio design and presentation formats from American television (I think in particular of the way the “Tonight Show” has been replicated on major Russian channels), so they copy from one another. In fact, if you turn on any of the political talk shows I cited above, you will find rather similar studios with live audiences.

Indeed, at Pervy Kanal, the producers remark jokingly that when NTV decided to launch its own afternoon talk show, “The Meeting Place,” that network picked up not only the production format and studio design but also some of the production staff. The format of having male-female pairs of talk show hosts also has spread widely in the industry.

But there appears to be a significant difference between these shows on the degree to which they are “scripted” by management upstairs, the degree to which they are free discussion. Perhaps the most scripted is this season’s new entry at Rossiya 1, “Sixty Minutes,” in which presenters Yevgeni Popov and Olga Skabeyeva are reading off teleprompters and the audience applause is aggressively prompted. On the other hand, the lead presenter on Pervy Kanal’s “Time Will Tell,” Artyom Sheinin proudly says that he has no script handed to him, that what he says on air is what he himself prepared or is thinking at the time.

One ubiquitous fact is that the panelists are not scripted and if anyone is cut off in mid-sentence it is by other panelists vying for the microphone, not by the presenter keeping the political line of discourse in check. Except in the case of senior politicians, who are given the respect their rank demands, no panelist is safe from interruptions and the audience encourages a culture of gladiators in the arena, with applause punctuating the debates.

On NTV there is the additional expression of audience disapproval, but that is rare. The benefits of these ground rules go to the quick-witted as well as to the loudest voices, whatever their political complexion.

The culture of these talk shows is permeated by a newsroom mentality. Some of the presenters, especially on Rossiya 1/Vesti 24, come from television journalism and have gotten their appointments as a reward for successful work in the field, especially in hazardous areas. Such was the background of talk show host Yevgeni Popov, who for years reported from Ukraine, initially during the Orange Revolution days and later during the Maidan protests.

The content of each program on all channels is subject to change at the last minute as are the list of invited panelists in case of breaking news. This favors inviting panelists who are living in the Moscow area. They can be invited and disinvited at short notice. In fact, all the major political shows on the three channels I observed from inside use many of the same Russian and foreign panelists chosen from among political scientists at universities or think tanks, journalists and Duma or Federation Council members.

Western Voices

To be sure, not all panelists come down to the studio. A very few lucky experts are given air time from remote locations, their close-up image projected onto a wall-sized screen.

One such “regular” on the Rossiya 1/Vesti 24 channel is Dimitri Simes, president of The Center for the National Interest in Washington, D.C. These vignette appearances get special treatment, without any interruption from other panelists and only respectful questioning from the host.

Panelists in greatest demand can be seen leaving one show early so as to be able to get over to another studio on a different channel when there is the rotation of panelists between advertising breaks. None is in greater demand than the American Michael Bohm, who in the dark days of worsening relations with the West provided all channels with highly fluent statements in Russian of the latest policy position of the Washington Consensus, often accompanied by Russian folk expressions.

This has been especially appreciated by television producers representing the more hardline supporters of the Kremlin for whom Bohm is the kind of American the audience loves to hate, his every remark justifying demands for greater military expenditures by the Kremlin. Nonetheless, it remains true that through Bohm and a few other Westerners on these shows, the full blast of Western critiques of Kremlin policy gets prime broadcasting time in Russia.

The senior politicians brought in as panelists come from all the Duma parties, not just the ruling United Russia. In the past half year, I noted in particular the frequent presence of the leader of the nationalist LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, while Gennady Zyuganov of the Communists or Sergey Mironov, leader of Just Russia, have been rare birds.

On the other hand, there have been frequent appearances by the Liberals of the Yabloko party, which never made it past 1 percent of votes cast in the latest parliamentary elections, not to mention the minimum 5 percent threshold for Duma representation.

The talk show programs are prepared with great professionalism. Behind each there is extensive research to find appropriate archival and/or latest visuals. The administrative chores involved in arranging logistics for the panelists chosen are also considerable. The team members I have encountered were uniformly dedicated, working crazy hours to get their job done.

Encouraging Strong Opinions

I also noted a peculiar complicity between the staff “handlers” and us panelists. Clearly, production staff is rewarded for finding “fresh blood” panelists who play out well, and they make sure that their dogs in the race are well tended with coffee, tea, and, if needed, a shot of brandy during breaks to keep their spirits high.

On the Rossiya 1/Vesti 24 talk shows presenters and the panelists all are wired with headset microphones. However, on both Pervy Kanal and NTV, only the presenters are wired, while panelists are seated next to production assistants holding microphones, which they make available upon request. Indeed, the assistants act as coaches to newcomers like myself, whom they urge to speak louder, speak faster, etc. to get the greatest debate effect out of us.

In conclusion, my firsthand experience with the Russian political talk show phenomenon left me with no doubt that this is bona fide journalism serving the public interest, exposing the broad Russian television audience, from everyone’s parents and grandparents to business leaders and university dons, to a great many different competing and well-presented views on the major issues of the day, both domestic and international.

This reality is sharply at variance with what U.S. and Western European mainstream media would have us believe about Putin’s Russia.


Gilbert Doctorow is the European Coordinator of The American Committee for East West Accord Ltd. His most recent book, Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015.

November 23, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Trump taps school vouchers proponent Betsy DeVos to be secretary of education

RT | November 23, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Michigan philanthropist and chair of the education organization American Federation of Children Elisabeth ‘Betsy’ DeVos to be his secretary of education.

Trump called his pick “a brilliant and passionate education advocate.”

“Under her leadership we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families,” the president-elect said in a statement.

DeVos is a former chair of the Michigan Republican Party who has never worked in public education. Her children attended private Christian schools. As the chairwoman of American Federation of Children, she is a proponent of the school choice movement, which calls for vouchers that allow families to use federal funds to cover the cost of education at private schools. She is also in favor of charter schools, but not of state regulation of them. Michigan’s charter schools are among the least regulated in the country, thanks to the DeVos family influence, Chalkbeat reported.

“There are a lot of schools that are doing poorly and charter authorizers do not seem to be taking the necessary actions to either improve performance or close those underperforming charters,” current US Secretary of Education John King told Chalkbeat about Michigan in October.

If confirmed, DeVos would replace King, who was confirmed in March 2016.

Although Trump has vocally stated his opposition to the Common Core curriculum ‒ shared learning standards adopted by most states ‒ DeVos says she supports “high standards, strong accountability, and local control,” but is opposed to how the curriculum got turned into “a federalized boondoggle.” However, she is on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a group founded by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush that promotes both school choice and Common Core.

DeVos met with Trump on Saturday in New Jersey, and the president-elect’s team said that the conversation “focused on the Common Core mission, and setting higher national standards and promoting the growth of school choice across the nation,” according to Education Week.

Her brother is Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, a notorious mercenary company. Her father-in-law, Richard DeVos, co-founded Amway ‒ a multi-level marketing company that mainly sells health, beauty and home care products ‒ and also owns the Orlando Magic basketball team in Florida.

In 1980, the Department of Education was spun off from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, which was created in 1953. Its mission is “to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”

Agencies under its purview include Federal Student Aid, the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and several White House initiatives. Notable secretaries of education include William Bennett (1985-1988), now Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee; 1991-1993) and Arne Duncan (2009-2016). The secretary of education is 16th in the presidential line of succession.

The National Education Association decried the nomination, arguing that DeVos “has consistently pushed a corporate agenda.”

DeVos’ “efforts over the years have done more to undermine public education than support students,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia said in a statement. “She has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education. By nominating Betsy DeVos, the Trump administration has demonstrated just how out of touch it is with what works best for students, parents, educators and communities.”

Read more:

Creationism being taught in private schools thanks to $1 billion in taxpayer funds

November 23, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Trump vs. MSM: Donald’s twitter to become No1 source for White House news?

RT | November 23, 2016

Donald Trump seems to be going to war with the US mainstream media. The president-elect has accused outlets of being dishonest and biased against him. RT’s Ilya Petrenko has been looking at the uneasy relationship America’s incoming leader has with the media.

RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air

November 23, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Video | 1 Comment

British neocons take new McCarthyism across the Atlantic

RT | November 23, 2016

A neoconservative British lobby group literally wants to blacklist people for talking to what they consider to be undesirable media. McCarthyism has gone trans-Atlantic.

If the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) was on a solo run, their campaign to smear anybody remotely sympathetic to, or even open to engaging with, Russia as “Putin’s useful idiot” might have been easily dismissed as an absurd, paranoid throwback. After all, the organization is of questionable provenance and is named for a hawkish US senator who rarely saw a war he didn’t like. From Vietnam to Cambodia and Iraq, ‘Scoop’ Jackson’s pursuit of foreign misadventures was legendary.

However, this new narrative is anything but a fluke. Because in the past month, both The Times of London and NATO’s Atlantic Council adjunct have pushed much the same message. And all three entities are interconnected when it comes to evaluating Moscow. Indeed, the “blame Russia” crowd seems to move around with great haste on this think-tank fellow/journalist/expert commentator merry-go-round.

A cold front

This autumn, The Times kicked off the current campaign with a series of articles smearing British personalities who have appeared on Russian stations. Interestingly, the apparent driving force behind the coverage, and lead writer at the paper, is Oliver Kamm, who was a founder member of the HJS and a signatory to the statement of principles.

And that proclamation is some piece of work. In it, we learn how the HJS does not regard a large number of states as “truly legitimate.” Amazingly, they include two of the world’s top three military powers, namely Russia and China. Their sin? Not being American style “liberal democracies,” which in itself is ironic at a time when the US appears to be questioning its own fealty to unbridled liberalism.

For its part, NATO’s Atlantic Council prefers the term ‘Trojan Horses’ rather than ‘useful idiots,’ and it used its November report to slam a particular subset of European public figures, those who do not give unconditional support to the military bloc and its aims. They seemingly include French presidential front-runner Francois Fillon, German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, and British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The simplicity of the defamation is astounding, as the authors refuse to countenance any domestic or moral reasons for why these politicians may not support the further militarization of Europe.

Instead, the only explanation entertained is that they are doing it to suit Moscow.

The introduction to the Atlantic Council’s diatribe is written by Radoslaw Sikorski, the controversial former Polish foreign minister. He happens to be married to Anne Applebaum, who works as a lobbyist for American defense contractors at a Washington and Warsaw-based advocacy named CEPA. She’s joined there by Peter Pomerantsev, who is slated to launch the HJS communique at Westminster on Wednesday.

Also, another person who links the Atlantic Council to HJS is their colleague Michael Weiss. While the activist is now employed to campaign for the former’s interests, he was previously the communication’s director at the latter.

Not to mention the fact that he also edits The Interpreter, a blog dedicated to denigrating Russia, which is a special project of the US government broadcaster RFE/RL Yes. It really is a small world.

New sensation

The HJS report is penned by Andrew Foxall, a former climate change ‘expert’ who has jumped onto the anti-Russia bandwagon in recent years. Foxall’s crude pitch is that somehow the Kremlin is manipulating both Britain’s right and left to control events in the country. Which begs the question of where, exactly, are you allowed to be on the UK political spectrum? Is no one allowed a critical thought that falls outside the bounds of the Foxall-approved centrist establishment?

The title ‘Putin’s Useful Idiots’ is also interesting. Because it’s well known how this phrase is used in the UK to describe people who work in the mainstream media and can be relied on to peddle a certain line when it comes to particular stories, for instance to spin a tale to the benefit of the government or the intelligence agencies. Given that Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6 from 1999 to 2005, was a founder signatory of the HJS, it’s probably fair to say they are fully aware of this association.

Foxall’s advice for how to counter his mythical Russian management of the UK processes certainly seeks to exude the spirit of McCarthyism. He proposes that “activists, journalists, and politicians should point out the pro-Russian connections of individuals and parties across the political spectrum” and “the personal and organizational connections of left- and right-wing politicians and parties and their Russian counterparts should be mapped across Europe.”

Plus, “Parliaments across Europe should amend current legislation or pass new legislation that forces politicians to declare all media appearances they make, whether they receive money for them or not.”

It homes in on people like Nigel Farage, currently the UK establishment’s bête noire, and insinuates how Arron Banks, UKIP’s primary donor, has “colorful links” to Russia. Corbyn and his chief adviser, Seumas Milne, are also harangued for having appeared on RT. As is Ken Livingstone, a two-term mayor of London.

Meanwhile, Milne is further attacked for having attended the Valdai Club in Sochi, an international discussion group designed to promote understanding across borders. The gathering has hosted many influential world figures, not to mention academics from places like Harvard, Stanford, LSE and the Sorbonne. Here it is misrepresented as “an annual propaganda and ego-boosting event.”

Winter campaign

The rather unexpected outcome of the US presidential election had distracted Russia’s ‘fan club’ for a short while, but the team is now back on the circuit, with gusto. And the same names just keep popping up all the time, repeating their usual dirge of “Kremlin bad; anything west of St Petersburg – good.”

No wonder many Western establishment politicians love these guys. Because with their imprimatur, they don’t have to accept responsibility for their own failings or inadequacies. Instead, they are presented with a ready-made boogeyman on which everything undesirable can pin.

Why should the establishment analyze its own failings when considering why Brexit passed, or Donald Trump is US President-elect, despite their best efforts to ensure the opposite outcome? Why take a sober, internally focused look at the rise of Marine Le Pen in France or increasingly popular alternative political movements in Austria, Italy or the Netherlands? Instead, the anti-Russia lobby groups offer an easier option: “Blame the Kremlin, for everything.”

While musing on ‘useful idiots’ or ‘Trojan Horses,’ another expression comes to mind: ‘burying one’s head in the sand.’ While ostriches get the bum rap for the practice, really it is the humans of the media-political establishment variety who have perfected it in recent times. And reports like these are only perpetuating this self-destructive practice.

Read more:

‘UK’s censorship & harassment are no solution’: European journalists’ union speaks up for RT

EU Parliament promotes democratic values by lumping journalists in with terrorists

November 23, 2016 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

Media falsely spins Trump’s NYT climate comments – Trump cited Climategate, restated skepticism of ‘global warming’

By Marc Morano – Climate Depot – November 23, 2016

The media spin on President Elect Donald J. Trump’s sit down with the New York Times on November 22, can only be described as dishonest. Trump appears to soften stance on climate change & Donald Trump backflips on climate change

The ‘fake news’ that Trump had somehow moderated or changed his “global warming” views was not supported by the full transcript of the meeting. […]

Trump also told resident NYT warmist Tom Friedman: ‘A lot of smart people disagree with you’ on climate change. (Note: Friedman has some wacky views: Flashback 2009: NYT’s Tom Friedman lauds China’s eco-policies: ‘One party can just impose politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward’)

Trump’s climate science view that there is “some connectivity” between humans and climate is squarely a skeptical climate view. Trump explained, “There is some, something. It depends on how much.”

Trump’s views are shared by prominent skeptical scientists. University of London professor emeritus Philip Stott has said: “The fundamental point has always been this. Climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, and the very idea that we can manage climate change predictably by understanding and manipulating at the margins one politically selected factor (CO2) is as misguided as it gets.” “It’s scientific nonsense,” Stott added. Stott is featured in new skeptical climate change documentary Climate Hustle.

Once again, Trump was 100% accurate as very prominent scientists are bailing out of the so-called climate “consensus.”

Renowned Princeton Physicist Freeman Dyson: ‘I’m 100% Democrat and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on climate issue, and the Republicans took the right side’

Nobel Prize-Winning Scientist Dr. Ivar Giaever, Who Endorsed Obama Now Says Prez. is ‘Ridiculous’ & ‘Dead Wrong’ on ‘Global Warming’

Green Guru James Lovelock reverses belief in ‘global warming’: Now says ‘I’m not sure the whole thing isn’t crazy’ – Condemns green movement: ‘It’s a religion really, It’s totally unscientific’

Politically Left Scientist Dissents – Calls President Obama ‘delusional’ on global warming

Trump cites correctly Climategate scandal: ‘They say they have science on one side but then they also have those horrible emails that were sent between scientists… Terrible. Where they got caught, you know, so you see that and you say, what’s this all about.’ See: Watch & Read: 7th anniversary of Climategate – The UN Top Scientists Exposed

Trump cited his uncle, a skeptical MIT scientist: ‘My uncle was for 35 years a professor at M.I.T. He was a great engineer, scientist. He was a great guy. And he was … a long time ago, he had feelings — this was a long time ago — he had feelings on this subject.’ (Yes, other MIT scientists are very skeptical as well. See: MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen Mocks 97% Consensus: ‘It is propaganda’

It is also worth noting that Trump’s often cited 2012 tweet about climate change stating “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” was clearly a joke and he has said it was a joke. It is further worth noting that climate skeptics do not believe the concept of “climate change” was “created” by China.

And in what has been described as “fake news”, the publisher of NYT  tried to sell CO2-induced storms to Trump; but Trump refused to accept the claim.<

NYT’s Arthur Sulzberger: ‘We saw what these storms are now doing, right? We’ve seen it personally. Straight up.’

Trump countered: ‘We’ve had storms always, Arthur.’

Trump is accurately citing the latest climate science by noting that extreme weather is not getting worse. See: 2016 ‘State of the Climate Report’

  • The U.S. has had no Category 3 or larger hurricane make landfall since 2005 – the longest spell since the Civil War.
  • Strong F3 or larger tornadoes have been in decline since the 1970s.
  • Sea level rise rates have been steady for over a century, with recent deceleration.
  • Droughts and floods are neither historically unusual nor caused by mankind, and there is no evidence we are currently having any unusual weather.

Trump’s claim to have an “open mind” on U.S. climate policy and his comment that “I’m going to take a look at” withdrawing from the UN Paris agreement are more nuanced than his previous blunt statements that the U.S. will cancel the UN agreement. But those comments in the context of the interview are hardly a flip-flop or major signal of changing views on the issue. … Full transcript

November 23, 2016 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

Major Media Crash: They Need A Scapegoat

By Jon Rappoport | Activist Post | November 20, 2016

They kept telling the American people Hillary Clinton was going to win the election; and in every way they could think of, they told the American people this was a good idea.

media-holywood-1024x587Then, on election night, they, the media, crashed.

The results came in.

The media went into deep shock.

As protests and riots then spread across America, the media neglected to mention a) they’d been bashing Trump because he said he might not accept the outcome of the vote, and b) here were large numbers of people on the Democrat side who weren’t accepting the outcome of the vote.

A new campaign had to be launched.

Suddenly, on cue, it was: Hillary Clinton lost because “fake news” about her had been spread around during the campaign.

Fake news sites. That was the reason.

These “fake sites” had to be punished. Somehow. They had to be defamed. Blocked. Censored.

Here is an excerpt from a list of “fake news” sites suggested by one professor. The list is circulating widely on the Web: Project Veritas; Infowars; Breitbart; Coast To Coast AM; Natural News; Zero Hedge; The Daily Sheeple; Activist Post; 21st Century Wire.

Free speech? Bill of Rights? Never heard of it.

Obama put in his two cents: “Because in an age where there’s so much active misinformation and it’s packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television… If everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect.”

Excuse me. “We won’t know what to protect?” Meaning what to favor, what to promote, what to lie about? Meaning only some speech is free?

Obama is way, way behind the curve. Thousands of websites and blogs have been exposing major media as fake for years. I started nomorefakenews.com in 2001.

If Google, Facebook, and Twitter keep expanding their censorship of “disfavored messages,” they’re going to pay a price. More and more users will go elsewhere.

The facade of the major media is getting thinner. You can see a glow of rage and resentment behind it. They’re desperately looking for revenge on the millions and millions of people who are deserting them and laughing at them.

They presumed too much. They presumed they had us in the palm of their hand. We were their property. We were transfixed by their authority.

All that is going away. Bye, bye.

The big shift is accelerating. Independent media are in the ascendance. Understand that. Recognize it.

The impossible is happening.

Fake news sites? Please. The major media are the biggest fakes the world has ever seen. Their anchors and star reporters are bloviating cranks. They’re dinner-theater actors.

Over the years, I’ve talked to some of them. I’ve warned them of their coming troubles. They were miles away from believing me. Now, they’re starting to sweat blood.

Major media news for America is still basically manufactured in New York and Washington—plus occasional outbursts from Hollywood creatures who bemoan the decline of inclusive liberalism, as they expand their gun-toting security staffs and dig deeper bunkers. The New York-Washington axis exists in a self-serving bubble, which has now taken serious punctures. The delusional attacks against “fake sites” underlines how out of touch these elites are with the rest of the country.

Independent media outlets are winning. They won’t be stopped.

When the people who now head the tech giants were growing up, they were heralding the Internet as a new era of free information-exchange. But now that they find themselves working with the government in the Surveillance State, they’re fronting for censorship. In fact, they’re showing they were never for freedom. That was a pose all along. They were, from the beginning, agents of repression. They can try to stop independent media now, but they will fail.

Fake web sites? What about fake companies? What about Google, Facebook, Twitter? Behind their happy-happy messages, they were built to propagandize, profile, and control.

Understand this: major media have a rock-bottom article of faith. It is: “We own the news.”

They can’t give it up. They’ll never give it up. It fuels everything they do. It’s the substance and core of their attitude.

As their ship goes down below the waves, they’ll be chanting it. “We own the news.”

But they don’t. In truth, they never did. For a time, they managed to sell that delusion to the people.

That time is drawing to a close.

The elite political class and their media minions fear more than independent news countering their own news. For obvious reasons, every civilization down through history has had its own monopolistic media, its central “broadcasting system.” Its controlled outlet. But now, The One has become Many.

That is the threat.

The rapid proliferation of The Many is an unpredictable X-factor.

The population is waking up to decentralized media. Instead of the hypnotic attachment to one basic information source — the habit of a lifetime — the public is learning to handle multiple sources. Therefore, the hypnotic spell is being broken and dissolved.

This is the basic problem for the elites.

How can they reinstate the trance?

By trying to censor the Internet? By creating a sudden war or other disaster, briefly “unifying” the country? These are not permanent solutions, particularly since more and more people understand such maneuvers and their true aims.

Awake is awake. Putting the genie back in the bottle—particularly when major media denizens aren’t very bright, as evidenced by their latest “fake news” scam—is on the order of trying to perform a piece of stage magic after the audience has already learned how it’s done.

Of course, the media clowns will try. And in the process, they’ll further expose themselves and actually assist in the awakening.

Boom.

Image Credit: TruthandArtTV

November 23, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | 2 Comments

Without reset India-Israel ties face uncertain future

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | November 23, 2016

The 8-day visit by the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, which concluded on Monday, turned out to be a low-key affair. Gone are the days when high-level exchanges with Israel used to be sexy events. The novelty has worn off. There was no media hype about Rivlin’s visit. And the ‘demonetisation’ crisis alone cannot account for it.

The point is, an air of stagnation is appearing in the India-Israel relationship. Fundamentally, India has been rapidly transforming in the recent decade and its priorities have changed. Again, the regional and international environment has changed phenomenally.

The Bharatiya Janata Party used to be regarded as excessively ‘Israel-friendly’. Yet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is still to pay a visit to Israel. Modi visited a few West Asian countries already but all of them belong to the so-called Muslim world – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey and Iran. India’s priorities have been worked out.

Modi’s Iran visit was an eloquent statement in itself. India is undeterred by Israel’s animosities toward Iran. Curiously, while Rivlin was in India, media reports appeared that the ONGC Videsh’s protracted negotiations to strike a multi-billion dollar deal with Iran for the development of the Farzad-B gas field (with estimated reserves of 21.6 trillion cubic feet) have reached the home stretch.

Reuters reported separately that in the month of October, Iran surpassed Saudi Arabia as India’s number one supplier of crude oil – a whopping 789,000 barrels per day as against Saudi Arabia’s 697,000 bpd. India views the Chabahar project as a major geo-strategic initiative. Suffice it to say, Iran is becoming an indispensable partner and that is a geopolitical reality.

On the other hand, remittances from GCC countries to India’s budget work out to a handsome figure of $25 billion or so annually. Interestingly, Saudi Arabia’s Aramco recently had a rival offer to acquire Essar (which ultimately forced the Russian consortium to improve their bid and pay up $13 billion.) The Gulf region is also India’s number one export market.

In short, there is such a lot going for India in the West Asian region. The point is, what is it that Israel can offer? Drip irrigation, water management, recycling, conservation and desalination, dairy farming, polyhouse techniques, bee-keeping – these niches are surely interesting, each in its own way. But, what India desperately needs is massive investments to develop its manufacturing industry and infrastructure, which are crucial for job creation. It needs energy security. It needs to boost export earnings. What can Israel do for India? Ironically, Israel’s focus is exclusively on securing lucrative business for its companies.

Israel’s importance for India lies in defence cooperation. But here again, Israel may be incrementally losing its advantage as an interesting source of advanced military technology that was previously unavailable for India directly from the US. India is increasingly a big market for weaponry, with cut-throat competition setting in among the foreign vendors.

In political terms, too, Israel is of no relevance for India in handling the most consequential relationship in its foreign policy – namely, relations with China. As for the US-Indian relationship, it has matured to a point that India has no more need to leverage Jewish lobbyists. Arguably, Israel’s capacity to influence US policies also should not be exaggerated. Israel pulled all stops to scuttle the P5+1 and Iran negotiations but spectacularly failed to intimidate President Barack Obama.

Israel is palpably nervous about Donald Trump’s likely Middle East policies. Trump’s idea of working with Russia to resolve the Syrian conflict works against Israel’s regional agenda of fragmenting and weakening its neighbors. Continued Israeli support for the al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front in Syria will only invite Russian and Iranian retribution. Indeed, India and Israel are not on the same page in regard of the war against terrorist groups in Syria.

All in all, India-Israel relations are at a crossroads. Simply chanting old hackneyed mantras on terrorism, secularism, democracy, et al, won’t suffice. There is danger of stagnation setting in. An India-Israel reset is overdue. A relationship based on negative passions — paranoia, fear complex, insecurities, vanities and false identity — is inherently flawed and cannot have an enduring future in a rapidly changing regional and international environment, howsoever keen the two sides could be to remain relevant to each other.

An editorial in the Jerusalem Post newspaper on Rivlin’s visit calls attention to the stark realities confronting the future of India-Israel ties. No, Sir: we in India don’t have such fears over Kashmir, as you’d have over your occupied territories and illegal settlements.

True, we also have our share of ‘Rabbis’ but Indians are not addicted to Islamophobia; nor do we associate Islam with terrorism as a matter of state policy. No, India does not fancy itself as a ‘regional counterweight’ to Russia or China; we simply don’t suffer from such inferiority complex.

And, it is downright absurd to associate India’s ‘authentic national identity’ with Hindu religion. Worse still, it is an act of self-serving sophistry on the Israeli side to do so. We are an ancient civilization and not an artificial creation by western powers in this part of the world, and we do not need the crutch of religion to define our national identity. We’d prefer to be known by our IT industry and satellites and our eclectic culture.

November 23, 2016 Posted by | Islamophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Canada’s Political Parties Enable Israel’s Oppression of Palestinians

“Canada is back” to isolating itself from world opinion on Palestinian rights

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | November 22, 2016

How can you identify a Canadian Liberal? They talk to the left, but walk to the right.

Under Justin Trudeau “Canada is back” to isolating itself from world opinion on Palestinian rights.

On Monday Canada joined the US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau in opposing a UN Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee resolution in support of Palestinian self determination.

Two weeks ago Ottawa joined Israel, the US, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau in opposing motions titled “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan” and “persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities.” One hundred and fifty-six countries voted in favour of the motions while seven abstained on the first and six on the second.

Two among numerous resolutions upholding Palestinian rights Canada opposed.  These votes follow on the heels of foreign minister Stéphane Dion attacking UNESCO for defending Palestinian rights. Last month the UN cultural body criticised Israel for restricting Muslim access to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and recognised Israel as the occupying power. “Canada strongly rejects UNESCO World Heritage singling out Israel & denying Judaism’s link to the Old City + Western Wall,” Dion tweeted.

A few months earlier Trudeau’s minister criticized another arm of the UN. In March Dion denounced the UN Human Rights Council’s appointment of University of Western Ontario law professor Michael Lynk as “Special Rapporteur on Palestine”. Claiming the Canadian lawyer was hostile to Israel, Dion asked the UNHRC to review Lynk’s appointment.

In addition to isolating Canada internationally, the Trudeau government has pursued various pro-Israel moves. At the start of the month Governor General David Johnston visited a Jewish National Fund Forest. An owner of 13 per cent of Israel’s land, the JNF discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel (Arab Israelis) who make up a fifth of the population. According to a UN report, JNF lands are “chartered to benefit Jews exclusively,” which has led to an “institutionalized form of discrimination.”

While the GG recently visited a racist Israeli institution, the PM attended the “Butcher of Qana’s” funeral at the end of September. In 1996 Shimon Peres ordered the shelling of a UN compound in the village of Qana, Lebanon, which killed 106 civilians — half of whom were children. Through his long political career, reports Patrick Martin, Peres “was deeply implicated in many of the foulest historical crimes associated with the establishment, expansion and militarization of the state of Israel.”

Peres’ role in dispossessing Palestinians didn’t stop the Trudeau government from gushing with praise after he passed away. “The whole country of Canada is supporting the whole country of Israel and the prime minister wanted that to be very clear,” Dion told the press.

At the start of the year the Liberals condemned Canadians seeking to hold Israel accountable to international law. The Prime Minister and most Liberal MPs supported a Conservative Party call for the House of Commons to “reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel.” The February resolution also “condemned any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.”

The Trudeau government’s efforts to undermine Palestinians’ liberation strengthens Canada’s multifaceted contribution to Israeli expansionism. Each year registered Canadian charities channel tens of millions of dollars to projects supporting Israel’s powerful military, racist institutions and illegal settlements. Over the past decade Ottawa has delivered over one hundred million dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority in an explicit bid to advance Israel’s interests by building a security apparatus to protect the corrupt Palestinian Authority from popular disgust over its compliance in the face of ongoing Israeli settlement building. Further legitimating its illegal occupation, Canada’s two-decade old free trade agreement with Israel allows settlement products to enter Canada duty-free.

The truth is, it’s hard to tell Canada’s political parties apart when it comes to enabling Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

Without a growing popular movement campaigning for Palestinian rights this country’s political elites will continue to isolate Canada from world opinion.


Yves Engler is the author of Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.

November 23, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli Bid to Silence Mosque Prayer Calls Revived

Al-Manar | November 23, 2016

A controversial Israeli bill to silence the Muslim call to prayer is to go forward after it was amended so as not to affect the Jewish Shabbat siren, the speaker’s office said Wednesday.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, had blocked the draft law in its original form for fear it would also force the toning down of the sirens that announce the start of the Jewish day of rest at sundown each Friday.

But he lifted his objections after it was amended to apply only between 11 pm and 7 am.

The bill will “probably” now be put to a preliminary vote in parliament “next week,” a spokesman for speaker Yuli Edelstein told AFP.

It will then require three further parliamentary votes before it becomes law but it has already sparked outrage around the Arab and wider Muslim world.

Even Israeli government watchdogs have slammed the proposed legislation, describing it as a threat to religious freedom and an unnecessary provocation.

Arab Israeli lawmaker Ahmed Tibi has vowed to appeal to the High Court of Justice if the Shabbat siren is excluded from the scope of the bill on the grounds that it discriminates between Jews and Muslims.

The law would apply to mosques in annexed Arab east al-Quds (Jerusalem) as well as the occupied territories. But supersensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound — Islam’s third holiest site — will be exempted.

“No changes will be made on” al-Aqsa Mosque an Israeli official told AFP.

November 23, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment