Wednesday 1st of February 2023

false information entering the main stream media.......

Two false news reports went viral this week due to sloppy sourcing and journalistic malpractice. As usual they both featured bogus claims about U.S.-targeted nations, in this case Russia and Iran.

An article in Responsible Statecraft titled “How a lightly-sourced AP story almost set off World War III” details how the propaganda multiplier news agency published a one-source, one-sentence report claiming that Russia had launched a deadly missile strike at NATO member Poland, despite evidence having already come to light by that point that the missile had probably come from Ukraine. This set off calls for the implementation of a NATO Article 5 response, meaning hot warfare between NATO and Russia in retaliation for a Russian attack on one of the alliance members.


By Caitlin Johnstone


Mainstream news reports circulated the narrative that Poland had been struck by a “Russian-made” missile, which is at best a highly misleading framing of the fact that the inadvertent strike came from a Soviet-era surface-to-air missile system still used by Ukraine, a former Soviet state.

Headlines from the largest and most influential U.S. news outlets including The New York TimesCNN and NBC all repeated the misleading “Russian-made” framing, as did AP’s own correction to its false report that Poland was struck by Russia.

All current evidence indicates that Poland was accidentally hit by one of those missiles while Ukraine was defending itself from Russian missile strikes.

President Joe Biden has said it’s “unlikely” that the missile which killed two Poles came from Russia, while Polish President Andrzej Duda and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg both said it looks like it was an accidental strike from Ukrainian air defenses. Russia says its own missile strikes have been no closer than 35 km from the Polish border.

The only party still adamantly insisting that the strike did come from Russia is Ukraine, leading an exasperated diplomat from a NATO country to anonymously tell Financial Times:  “This is getting ridiculous. The Ukrainians are destroying [our] confidence in them. Nobody is blaming Ukraine and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile.”

It is very sleazy for AP to continue to protect the anonymity of the U.S. official who fed them a lie of such immense significance and potential consequence. They should tell the world who it was who initiated that lie so we can demand explanations and accountability.

Another false story that went extremely viral was one that Newsweek has been forced to extensively revise and correct that was initially titled “Iran Votes to Execute Protesters, Says Rebels Need ‘Hard Lesson’,” but is now titled “Iran Parliament Chants ‘Death to Seditionists’ in Protest Punishment Call.” The latest correction notice now reads, 

“This article and headline were updated to remove the reference to the Iranian Parliament voting for death sentences. A majority of the parliament supported a letter to the judiciary calling for harsh punishments of protesters, which could include the death penalty.”

Moon of Alabama explains how the Newsweek piece was the springboard that launched the viral false claim that the Iranian government had just sentenced 15,000 protesters to death, which was circulated by countless politicians, pundits and celebrities throughout social media. This claim has been debunked by mainstream outlets such as NBC News, which explains that “There has been no evidence that 15,000 protesters have been sentenced to death. Two protesters had been sentenced to death as of Tuesday, although they can appeal, according to state news agencies.”

An article by The Cradle, Fact check – Iran has not sentenced ‘15,000’ protesters to death,” explains that the Iranian parliament actually just signed a letter urging the Iranian judiciary to issue harsher sentences upon protesters who’ve been demonstrating against Tehran. Those sentences can include the death penalty as noted above, but up to this point have more often entailed prison sentences of five-to-10 years.

The Cradle also notes that even the “15,000” figure is suspect, as its sole source is an American organization funded by the U.S. government’s National Endowment for Democracy:

“Further muddying the waters, the figure of 15,000 protesters detained by Iranian authorities originates from the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

US-based HRANA is the media arm of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI), a group that receives funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – a CIA soft power front that has for decades funded regime-change efforts across the globe.”

Indeed, it’s public knowledge that NED is funded directly by the U.S. government, and that according to its own cofounder was set up to do overtly what the C.I.A. used to do covertly. It’s possible that the 15,000 figure could be more or less accurate, and it’s possible that a great many more Iranian protesters will be sentenced to death for their actions, but reporting such possibilities as a currently established fact is plainly journalistic malpractice.

In April, Newsweek published an article titled “Russians Raped 11-Year-Old Boy, Forced Mom to Watch: Ukraine Official.” In May, Newsweek published an article titled “Ukraine Official Fired Over Handling of Russian Sexual Assault Claims.” It was the same officialNewsweek made no mention of the fact that its source for its sexual assault story had just been fired for disseminating unevidenced claims about sexual assault. To this day its April report contains no updates or corrections.


Contrast this complete dereliction of journalistic responsibility with Newsweek’s extreme cautionwhen one of its reporters tried to report on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, scandal which disrupted the U.S. government narrative about an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government. Reporter Tareq Haddad was forbidden by his superiors to write about the many leaks coming out exposing malfeasance in the Douma investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, on the basis that NED-funded Bellingcat had disputed the leaks and that other respectable outlets had not reported on them.

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting has published numerous articles documenting what Adam Johnson calls the North Korea Law of Journalism, which holds that “editorial standards are inversely proportional to a country’s enemy status.” In other words, the more unfavorably a foreign government is viewed by the U.S. empire, the lower the editorial standards for reporting claims about them. Because Russia and Iran are both viewed as enemies of Washington, Western news media often feel comfortable just publishing any old claim about them as fact regardless of sourcing or evidence.

We saw this highlighted during the insanity of Russiagate, where mainstream news outlet after mainstream news outlet was caught publishing unevidenced conspiratorial hogwash that it was often (though not even always) forced to retract. This was possible because when it comes to implicating Russia the evidentiary standards for reporting are much lower than they would be for implicating a government that is held in favor by the U.S.

And this is the case because the Western mainstream media are the propaganda services of the U.S.-centralized empire. They do not exist to tell people the truth, they exist to manipulate the public into hating the official enemies of the empire and into consenting to foreign-policy agendas that they would not otherwise consent to.

Imperial propagandists lower their editorial standards when reporting on official enemies not because they are bad at their job, but because they are very good at their job. It’s just that their job isn’t what we’ve been told.



Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.






media muck.....


by Lucy Hamilton

At a moment, when one side of politics has abandoned the bases of democracy as an impediment to their grasp on power, we need journalists holding them to account rather than gaslighting the public, normalising the rot.

In the lead-up to the US midterms, national security expert Juliet Kayyem tweeted about the dangers of bad reporting, concluding, “It is 2022. Get it right. Or a new job.”

Kayyem contrasted evasive reporting about “voter fraud” claims with the kind that justly illustrates that such accusations are bogus while reporting that the claim has been made.

We face different political problems in Australia, although the media crises overlap. We too have “savvy style” reporters in the press gallery who share politicians’ cynicism. We too have access journalism (or friendship) that causes a journalist to hesitate to “burn” a source or pal. We have horserace coverage that doesn’t focus on the overview, at a moment when that couldn’t be more important. We have refuge-seeking journalism, particularly at the ABC, that cringes from examining the sordid quality of some political behaviour over the last decade. We have normalcy bias journalism that can’t step back far enough to see how radicalised one side of politics is becoming, still covering “both sides” as though both sides had equal merit. There are many reasonsfor this crisis, but they remain a cause for self-evaluation by self-respecting journalists.

The particular crisis for Australia lies in the fact that our two primary print media organisations – affiliated with television or radio platforms – are owned by corporate interests headed by figures who clearly see their corporations as political tools. Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch’s News Corp barely needs detailing on this front. Peter Costello’s NineFax is more discreet in its political deployment, and it retains some journalists who continue to practise their craft with integrity.

Print media, while an embattled format, is crucial. It is where most of the investigations and in-depth reporting continue to be carried out, providing the meat for the electronic media to feed on.

The cooperation of the Rupert Murdoch’s Herald Sun and Peter Costello’s The Age with a floundering Victoria Liberal Party in the final weeks before the state election has been a truly shocking display of the state of Australian “conservative” politics and its allied media.

The Age has deployed the leak of IBAC documents to hint at wrongdoings by the government. It is the Australian right in Victoria and federally that has fought so hard to protect the reputation of politicians, but when a strong enemy can be inconvenienced, reputational harm is suddenly desirable? IBAC reports at this stage are still being finalised: those individuals facing adverse findings are being given the chance to challenge aspects, and the findings can still be altered as a result. The purpose of this secrecy is to ensure that reputational harm does not take place until the fairest outcome is achieved. The way to achieve greater transparency is to remove the crippling limitation on public hearings only taking place in “exceptional circumstances.” You can be sure that Liberal Victoria would be crying foul if the positions were reversed.

In the Herald Sun, two appalling gambits have been played. Front page “scandals” have been mocked up about the car accident that was settled over a decade ago involving the Andrews family, and about Premier Dan Andrews’s fall in 2021. The latter is particularly loathsome: making hay out of the Premier’s injuries is not newsworthy. This story functions only to allude to the conspiracies that abounded at the time. The constant emphasis on the small size of the steps is intended to provoke a renewed flurry of gossip around the conspiracy that stated the injury was not a fall but the result of sensational fantasies of lurid violence.

The fact that, as Media Watch recounted, the broader media opted to chase these Murdoch non-stories relentlessly is an appalling breach of integrity and professional standards. All 17 questions at the press conference that followed were about the resolved bike event, and the evening news framed the coverage as the Premier’s refusal to answer questions, despite the fact he had given endless dutiful answers about the story at the time.

The Murdoch propaganda battalion has clearly decided that selling Matthew Guy’s opposition is beyond them; the only way to gain traction for a messy Liberal Party is to aim to destroy Dan Andrew’s continuing popularity in the state. Peta Credlin’s tawdry “documentary” about Dan Andrews will have compounded the demonising for the few who watch Sky.

At the same time as the Murdoch media chose those gambits, the Victorian Liberal Party released an advertisement directed to those conspiracy spheres that had spilled violence onto Melbourne’s streets, amongst whom the lubricious gossip had flourished. The party here allied itself overtly with that violence and suspicion of vaccines.

Throughout the worst of the pre-vaccine pandemic, the Murdoch media aimed to make our Victorian lives hellish by compounding the misery. Victoria was constantly under attack, while similar experiences in NSW garnered praise. The difference? The colour of the government. They followed this by insulting Victorians for our continued majority satisfaction with Dan Andrews and what he had worked to achieve with our cooperation.

The same voter-smacking agenda is underway in the American right-wing media in the wake of the midterms where the women who poured out to vote against the stripping of their reproductive autonomy are chastised for being too stupid to vote for the right in their own alleged interests. (This reflects the US’s dominant media consensus that reproductive justice would not be a midterm issue; apparently women don’t set the news agenda.) This talking point was echoed in a pathetically trollish column for The Australian by the Menzies Research Centre’s Nick Cater. His tantrum might help drive more centre right voters to Teal candidates.

At a moment when the east coast of Australia is once again covered in water, our neighbour Fiji is asking for the money to move dozens of its villages to safety and COP27 is taking place in Egypt, our media fails us with context-free reporting. Corporate media is barely covering the appalling revelations of the Robodebt Royal Commission. And that corporate media is working hard to grant a shambolic Liberal opposition government in Victoria, no doubt intending to capitalise on their baron’s goals in the aftermath.

We desperately need the Murdoch Royal Commission. We desperately need news media laws that balance the range of news available to Australians. Above all, we desperately need the journalists who work in these organisations to look to themselves, as Juliet Kayyem demanded. If they’ve lost the will to remain public watchdogs, they need to find themselves a new job.







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muzzling the truth......




America’s two best journalists, Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi, both come from the left, and Greenwald is homosexual. Both have been evicted from their positions and Greenwald was even forced out of the Internet media company that he created. The reason is that they told the truth and would not lie for the Democrats and Woke anti-Constitutional left that is determined to impose on Americans the same speech and thought control that characterizes Big Brother’s regime in George Orwell’s 1984.

1984 is now the American and the Western world. We are living a 73-year old novel. Greenwald explains that in 2006 the American left and right agreed that it was unconscionable that distinguished World War II Historian David Irving or anyone could be imprisoned for expressing his views. In Irving’s case, he was invited to Austria to speak, and he was arrested and imprisoned for 3 years for views he had expressed 17 years previously on the evidence that existed at that time. Austria and most of Europe had criminalized the expression of views about the holocaust that did not conform with the official Jewish narrative.

As Greenwald points out, no one 16 years ago, except the ADL, thought legislation against free speech was permissible.

Today, less than two decades later, Greenwald reports that the American left and the Democrat Party associate free speech with fascism and far right extremists. Three-fourths of Democrats today believe in suppressing speech that is “offensive” to them, to blacks, and to Jews and that disagrees with official narratives. And so do approximately one-third of Republicans.

In other words, the First Amendment to the US Constitution is no longer respected by a majority of the American population. Americans approve of preventing the expression of views with which they disagree and regard such views as “offensive.” They learned this from Jews who regard any criticism of Israel or Jewish behavior as “offensive.”

Are you ready for the muzzle, the gag that is going to be inserted in your mouth and your disconnected keyboard? Ready or not, it is already happening.

Greenwald and Taibbi are creating news services that serve truth instead of official narratives. Support them. They and this website and a few others, such as, are your sources for information that is not Big Brother’s official narrative.

It only took a short time to destroy freedom. How do we restore it when it is accepted by the population that it is OK for Democrats to steal elections, and if you provide the evidence of a stolen election you are a “threat to democracy,” “an election denier,” “a white supremacist,” etc.


The American population does not comprehend what is being done to it, and the Democrats in charge are making certain that they don’t find out.

(Republished from










firing the news......




The Associated Press has fired the reporter behind an erroneous report that claimed that the missile that struck Poland last week had been fired by Russian forces. The original report relied on the word of a single anonymous U.S. intelligence official. An investigation into the erroneous report shows that a willingness to take official sources at their word seems to have been part of the larger problem:

Internal AP communications viewed by The Post show some confusion and misunderstanding during the preparations of the erroneous report.

LaPorta shared the U.S. official’s tip in an electronic message around 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. An editor immediately asked if AP should issue an alert on his tip, “or would we need confirmation from another source and/or Poland?”

After further discussion, a second editor said she “would vote” for publishing an alert, adding, “I can’t imagine a U.S. intelligence official would be wrong on this.” [bold mine-DL]

Skepticism about official claims should always be the watchword for journalists and analysts. These are claims that need more scrutiny than usual rather than less. If you can’t imagine that an intelligence official could get something important wrong, whether by accident or on purpose, you are taking far too many things for granted that need to be questioned and checked out first.

Intelligence officials of many governments feed information to journalists and have done so practically ever since there was a popular press to feed information to, and that information certainly should not be trusted just because an official source hands it over. It is also always possible for intelligence officials to just get things wrong, whether it is because they are relying on faulty information or because they were too hasty in reaching conclusions about what they think they know.

Whether the AP’s source was feeding them a line or was simply mistaken, a claim as provocative and serious as this one should have been checked out much more thoroughly before it got anywhere near publication. The AP report in this case seems to have been a combination of a story that was “too good to check” and a culture of deference to official sources in which the editors didn’t feel compelled to make the effort to check. The desire for a quick, eye-grabbing headline probably also contributed to the mistake. The incentives for news outlets to be first rather than right are strong and can have distorting effects on what gets published.

Fortunately, both the Polish and the U.S. governments reacted responsibly and carefully to the missile incident and the bad reporting about it, but we can see how easy it would be for them to have acted otherwise when there are too many journalists and analysts ready to believe whatever comes through official channels. There will be other situations where official sources will want to push a certain story out to manipulate public opinion, and there are not enough safeguards against media outlets reproducing and amplifying propaganda. I don’t know how that gets fixed or even if it can be fixed, but the first step is to treat official claims with much more skepticism until they can be confirmed by other sources.








FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW.....................