Wednesday, August 24, 2022

SLATE's little fibbing fool Justin Peters

Heard of a liar named Justin Peters?  He posts his garbage at SLATE and fancies himself a media critic.  He's really a critic of the public.  A scold.  A nag.  Most of all: an embarrassment.  Read his latest garbage.  He wants you to know that CNN was doing a public service with RELIABLE SOURCES (Brian Stelter's now cancelled show).

No, they weren't.  They pretend that these 'public affairs' shows are public service, but they're not.

They're cheap TV.  The equivalent of reality TV.  That's why they're on the air.  CNN made its name with reporting.  Reporting costs money.  So instead we get these bad talk shows posing as 'news' where you just put up a bunch of chatting potato heads.  Cheaply made. That's why they're on the air.

Justin Peters is beyond stupid.  He l -- Stopped to check before going further.  Have no idea how old he is but he's well over thirty (and he has a face for print coverage).  

As I was saying, he's beyond stupid.  He should be ashamed to be so ignorant of media criticism.  He lies, but he's also ignorant of media criticism.

He doesn't know what a public affairs program is apparently.  My comment about cheaply made talk shows passed off as news is not a criticism that I'm the first to make.  Many have made it before and it is at the core of media criticism about TV -- and has been for over fifty years.  Nora Ephron,  Danny Schechter, Robert McChesney and many others made the point in the 20th century.  

He doesn't know it and that goes to his stupidity.

It was a cheap program that will be replaced with another cheap program.  The idiot doesn't even know enough to compare and contrast the hideous Brian Stelter with Howard Kurtz.  Under Howie, the show was a ratings hit.  Howie had real experience.  Ava and C.I. have rightly noted that Brian made his name by passing off press releases and scribbed copy from other outlets as 'reporting' at THE NEW YORK TIMES.

One was a journalist (Kurtz) and one was an airhead (Stelter).

This is Peters:

The flaw here is that over the past several years more and more people have come to distrust CNN’s reporting and analysis—a phenomenon that is at least partially attributable to the continuous attacks that Donald Trump and his allies have launched at the network in order to blunt the impact of its reporting on and analysis of his incompetent, dishonest presidency. By loudly deeming the network’s output “fake news” and using every justifiably critical story about Trump as evidence that CNN has a grudge against the former president, Trump and his allies have served to undermine the network’s stature while attempting to neutralize its voluminous—and warranted—negative coverage of his presidency and post-presidency. “The president said he wanted to give an award based on which network is the most, quote, dishonest, corrupt, and/or distorted, but his problems with journalism seem to be rooted in the exact opposite,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said on air during a 2017 episode of The Lead. “He hates that which is honest and ethical and precise. Ask yourself why might that be.” Fair question!

I’ll be the first to say that CNN could use some fixing. Under Zucker, the network got flabby, increasingly foregrounding less-than-inspiring personalities such as Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon, while initially paving the way for the Trump presidency by treating Trump’s candidacy as a fun novelty. Then, as if in penance, CNN spent Trump’s presidency in full rebuttal mode, and at times the network felt even more addled by Resistance Brain than its competitor MSNBC. But if it seemed like some of its marquee news anchors were frequently stepping outside of their “objectivity” to call out the Trump administration’s mendacities, well, there’s a case to be made that it is actually the job of a free press to resist dishonest demagogues who stand in opposition to democratic principles. (Perhaps especially if you feel like your outlet played a role in elevating those demagogues to power!)

Peters, they're right.  Trump is treated unfairly.  The media is out of control and many people (Michael Wolf) like me who are not conservatives and who would never vote for Donald Trump have seen this lack of fairness.  It's why CNN had to let three reporters go -- or is Peters so stupid he doesn't remember that -- the scoop that wasn't.  (They 'resigned."  They were told they could resign or be fired.)  This was back in June of 2017 but that's apparently before Peters' time.  

More to the point, the distrust of the media predates Donald.  You have to be a real idiot -- an ugly person (oh, that profile, ugh!) like Justin Peters to not grasp the defining media moment of the 21st century: The Iraq War.

That's at the heart of the distrust.  The media joined the administration in lying the country into war.  They refused to ask questions, they refused to demand answers.

Howard Kurtz, a real media critic, was at THE WASHINGTON POST when the war started.  Unlike fluff maker Brian Stelter (or faux media critic Justin Peters), Kurtz did a critique of his paper's war coverage.  It made THE WASHINGTON POST unhappy, but that's what a media critic does.

Let me tell some THE COMMON ILLS history as well.  Daniel Okrent (who mentions C.I. in his book) was the public editor.  The press failing on Iraq was a huge topic.  He stated he was not going to cover it because he was not going to cover what happened at the paper before he was public editor.  So why did he end up covering Iraq?

As was pointed out to him (by you know who) he broke his own rule.  Dan is a sports fan.  He hates Broadway.  He did a column the day before the Tony nominations were announced noting that the paper was about to splay the nominations across the front page as they always did and they would do this and they would do that and -- Problem?  He was addressing the paper's past coverage of an event.  Now he had no excuse, having broken his own rule, not to address Iraq.  To his credit, Dan agreed and he did address the Iraq coverage that NYT offered.  

C.I.'s done more than twenty Justin Peters.  On her own or writing with Ava, she's taken on PBS, especially AMERICAN MASTERS which lies so freely (no, PBS, if you are saying your female lover is a liar, you have not come out as a lesbian -- your lover might be exposing you as such but you yourself are still lying), they've taken on THE NATION, NPR and much more on their inability to feature women (as guests, as writers) in equal numbers as men.  She's taken on the Iraq War -- early on, she took on an 'award winning' 'report.'  That was 2004.  That report is now discredited.  It was C.I. who stood alone, in real time, questioning it.  Again, it is now in tatters.  She and Ava briefly got the hideous AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS pulled from ABC when they covered (a) the show broadcasting the f-word (it honestly did, which is so hilarious) and (b) the reality that "America's funniest home videos" then being broadcast were not American videos.  They were overseas (again, the cheapest possible is what these tacky shows provide). When NPR's ombudsperson refused to do his job, she did the infamous "When NPR Fails You, Who You Gonna' Call? Not the Ombudsman"  -- infamous because it really foreshadowed a great deal (I'm referring to Nuland).  She noted that the NPR ombudsperson pretended to cover the issue of conflict of interest but never noted that the guest critiquing John Kerry's presidential run was married to Nuland who was working for Dick Cheney.  That's a conflict of interest.

Time and again, she did the heavy lifting.  Time and again, the Justin Peters of the world pretend they're doing something when, in the words of Stevie Wonder, "You haven't done nothin."

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Wednesday, August 24 2022.  US President Joe Biden sends more billions of US tax dollars to Ukraine as he continues to make time to persecute Julian Assange, Cult leader Moqtada al-Sadr continues his tantrums, and much more.

Last night, Mike noted:

Joe's done nothing to help us -- by "us," I mean citizens of the United States.  If I meant the nazi regime in Ukraine, well, he's done a great deal for them.

Joe destroyed our country and that's reality.  As C.I. noted repeatedly, the price of milk may or may not go down.  But when Campbell's soup increases its price, it doesn't knock it back down.  So thanks for destroying people's lives, Joe Biden.  People are already dealing with job insecurity and food insecurity and fears over COVID and monkeypox.  Joe's inflation -- while he gives billions to Ukraine -- helped no one in the US.

Americans suffer and Joe sends the taxpayer money to Ukraine.  

The dead but still disgusting Zbigniew Brzezinski, noted coward and hate monger ("Castro's sent exploding cigars that will kill us all! Get that box out of the White House!"), used to brag about how he destroyed the USSR's economy by dragging them into Afghanistan where all their money went for that endless war.  


Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs that the American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahiddin in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet intervention. Is this period, you were the national securty advisor to President Carter. You therefore played a key role in this affair. Is this correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahiddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention [emphasis added throughout].

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into the war and looked for a way to provoke it?

B: It wasn’t quite like that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q : When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against secret US involvement in Afghanistan , nobody believed them . However, there was an element of truth in this. You don’t regret any of this today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war." Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime , a conflict that bought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Now it's the US getting trapped.  Thanks, Joe Biden, you blustering fool.

Doing his best to deprive generations of any future, Joe's now sending more money to Ukraine.  Clara Weiss (WSWS) explains:

One day before the six-month anniversary of the imperialist-provoked Russian invasion of Ukraine, US officials told the Associated Press that the White House is about to announce another $3 billion in spending to aid and train Ukraine’s military. This comes on top of $10.6 billion in direct military funding provided by the Pentagon since the beginning of the war, as well as over $17 billion for US weapons manufacturing for Ukraine. 

Based on anonymous US officials, the AP reported Tuesday that the new package is intended to provide weapons and ammunitions that may not arrive in Ukraine for a year or two. In other words, it is designed to fund the new “forever war” by US imperialism in Ukraine, which has already killed tens of thousands of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers and thousands of civilians, while displacing over a fourth of the country’s population. 

Speaking in a similar vain, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated on Tuesday, “Winter is coming, and it will be hard, and what we see now is a grinding war of attrition. This is a battle of wills, and a battle of logistics. Therefore we must sustain our support for Ukraine for the long term.” 

Another three billion in US tax dollars.  When not destroying the US income, President Joe Biden works on destroying the US Constitution as he continues to persecute Julian Assange.  Stella Assange Tweets:

Julian #Assange won the Sydney Peace Foundation's prestigious Gold Medal for his work exposing crimes against humanity committed by our governments in wars we were lied into. The US government wants him in prison for the rest of his life because he exposed US crimes. #FreeAssange

Yesterday, Tariq Ali appeared on DEMOCRACY NOW!.

AMY GOODMAN: Tariq Ali, before we go, we have 30 seconds, and I wanted to ask you about the situation of Julian Assange. We just did a segment on the Julian Assange lawyers and journalists suing the CIA and Mike Pompeo personally, the former CIA director, for working with a Spanish company in bugging the embassy, videoing, audioing, taking visitors’ computers and phones, downloading them, interfering with client-attorney privilege. Could this stop the extradition of Julian Assange, who faces espionage charges in the United States?

TARIQ ALI: Well, it should, Amy — that’s the first answer — because this has been a political case from the beginning. The fact that senior officials discussed whether to kill Assange or not, and that’s the country to which the British government and judiciary, acting in collusion, are sending him back, claiming this isn’t a political trial, this isn’t a political victimization, it’s deeply shocking.

Well, I hope that this trial brings some more facts forward and some action is taken, because this extradition really should be stopped. We are all trying, but the politicians, by and large, and mainly of both parties — and the Australian new prime minister in the election campaign pledged he’d do something. The minute he becomes prime minister, he just completely caves in to the United States — barely a surprise. But in the meantime, Julian’s health is bad. We are extremely worried about how he’s being treated in prison. He shouldn’t be in prison, even if he is going to be extradited. So, I hope for the best but fear the worst, because one shouldn’t have any illusions about this judiciary.

AMY GOODMAN: Tariq Ali, historian, activist, filmmaker, author of Uprising in Pakistan: How to Bring Down a Dictatorship. His latest book, Winston Churchill: His Times, His Crimes.

Around the world people are watching as Julian Assange remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden.   Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:

A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death. 

Yesterday, VICE TV posted this video about the Iraq War.

Meanwhile, the political stalemate continues in Iraq.  Cult leader Moqtada al-Sadr continues to fail in public.  He failed for months at forming a government.  Then he threatened to pull his MPs out of the Parliament thinking that would get him his way.  He pulled them, no one cared.  He sent his cult followers into the Parliament to occupy it and demand that the judiciary dissolve the Parliament.  The judiciary responded that they had no power to do such a thing.  So he sent his cult to the judiciary to protest.  How's that working out?

Iraq's security forces will not be dragged into the political conflict the country is facing, Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi said as the Supreme Judiciary Council resumed work on Wednesday.

Supporters of Moqtada Al Sadr continued to hold their sit-in outside the judiciary's headquarters in Baghdad on Tuesday, forcing the institution to close and stoking tension between the populist cleric and his rivals, the Co-ordination Framework.

Mr Al Sadr's supporters demanded the dissolution of Parliament and an to end corruption.

Late on Tuesday, the cleric called on his followers to withdraw from the gate of the Supreme Judicial Council. However, they continued with their sit-in, which began on July 30.

On August 10, Mr Al Sadr gave the country's top court a week to dissolve Parliament to end the political standoff. However, the court said it lacked the authority to do so.

The sit-in in front of the judiciary coincided with a move by supporters of the Co-ordination Framework to hold a protest against Mr Al Sadr's followers and call for the formation a new government after the October legislative elections.

They want a transitional government before new elections are held.

The US Embassy in Baghdad expressed concern over the "unrest in Baghdad today at the Supreme Judicial Council" and urged "all parties to remain calm, abstain from violence and resolve any political differences through a peaceful process guided by the Iraqi Constitution.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq also criticized the move against the Judiciary and told protesters that the “state institutions must operate unimpeded in service of the Iraqi people, including the SJC.”

Upon his arrival, Kadhimi met head of the Badr Organization and prominent leader of the Coordination Framework Hadi al-Amiri.

They discussed the prime minister's initiative for national dialogue and how to revive it under the recent escalation.

Following the abovementioned statements and positions by national and international figures and parties, Sadr ordered his followers to withdraw from the Judiciary building; some tents were left behind as a sign of protest against the politicization of the Judiciary.

Soon after, the Judiciary Council said it was returning to its normal work schedule.

The Coordination Framework, which is the rival Shiite group against Sadr, also issued a strong statement calling for the protection of state institutions and rejecting any kind of assault against them.

What raised more concerns, however, was a statement issued by the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) — which has some some political parties affiliated with the Coordination Framework — accusing the government of not taking responsibility in protecting state institutions and expressing readiness to protect the state.

“As the Popular Mobilization Authority declares its readiness to defend state institutions that guarantee the interests of the people, foremost of which is the judicial and legislative authority, the political system and the constitution, it calls on the caretaker government to take responsibility, and seriously, in protecting the constitutional state institutions,” the statement read.

 Since Moqtada's string of tantrums began a few weeks back, it's been noted repeatedly that The October Revolution protesters were targeted, were beaten, were stalked and were killed.  However, 'caretaker' prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is clearing waving these protests through.  The security forces do nothing over and over.

And this is part of the reason that Iraqi Shi'ites are growing so tired of Moqtada and his antics.  

As has all elements of Iraq.  Gina Lennox Tweets:

Lastly, on Kurdistan and Turkey, Amberin Zaman (AL-MONITOR) reports:

As Turkey escalates its campaign against Kurdish militants in the north of Syria and Iraq and Kurdish politicians within its borders, Masoud Barzani, the preeminent leader of Iraq’s Kurds, recalls a time when Ankara’s policy toward his people was distinctly different.

In the fifth volume of his memoirs published on Aug. 16 and titled “Barzani and the Kurdish Freedom Movement,” Barzani describes how Turgut Ozal, the iconoclastic liberal who governed Turkey first as prime minister and then president from 1983 until his sudden death in 1993, floated the idea of “annexing” Iraqi Kurdistan and the oil-rich province of Kirkuk as well as Mosul, which had been “unjustly” taken from Turkey and made part of Iraq by the League of Nations in 1924. It’s the first time Barzani has publicly shared this information.

Barzani says he was “puzzled” by Ozal’s frankness and decided to raise the matter with the Americans. The Americans said they would get back to him on “this great subject that is worthy of further research” but then never did.

The conversation between Barzani and Ozal took place after the first Persian Gulf War. The United States had kicked the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain out of Kuwait and declared no-fly zones over the Shiite-majority south and the Kurdish-majority north of Iraq while crippling Baghdad with sanctions. US jets shielding the Kurds and the Shiites from further attack would fly out of the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey. The first seeds of the American- and Turkish-midwifed Kurdish statelet in Iraq were thus sown.

Today, with thousands of Turkish forces deployed across northern Iraq and Turkish spies sprouting from every corner, a growing number of Iraqis, including their leaders, believe that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan harbors similar ambitions. That’s unlikely.

 We'll wind down with this from The Feminist Majority:

Common Ills, Friday is Women’s Equality Day.

Women’s Equality Day in years past has been a celebration of winning women’s right to vote. But this year does not feel like a celebration. 2022 will be the first time in United States history in which women have had a basic right taken away, that was previously awarded.

Give now to Vote Equality ’22

Let’s face it, the US Supreme Court Dobbs decision reversed Roe v. Wade and took away a basic right to privacy for women and pregnant people to make decisions about whether or not to have an abortion Rather, it gives to states the right to ban legal abortions or severely restrict access to abortions. This decision also threatens future access to contraceptives and same-sex marriages which are currently permitted in all 50 states by US Supreme Court decisions using the right to privacy.

That is why the Feminist Majority is not celebrating but working very hard to help get out the vote to elect a majority in both the House and Senate, that will stand up for women’s rights and gender equality.

With your generous contribution, we can do this. Keep scrolling to read more about our campaign Vote Equality '

-Ellie, Kathy, and all of us fighting for the ERA

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