30-Years of Bad Journalism– the Un-credible Press

By Socrates George Kazolias–Paris, March 14, 2023:

The New York Times has used anonymous sources to discredit Seymour Hersh for using anonymous sources when he blamed the US for blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines. The question is who has a better track record: Hersh or the Gray Lady of WMD fame? (1) I have come under criticism for my previous article insisting that the press fulfill its role of filtering the spin, or even worse, I am accused of encouraging the censorship of those in power.

“If his lips are moving you know he is fibbing.”
photo Wikimedia Commons

Separating fact from fiction and sifting through the fluff to bring out the important, is the very definition of journalism. That journalists have lost their honor and professionalism may be true, but it is none-the-less their job. They are not paid to just hold an open microphone for spin-doctors.

30-Years of Lies Going Live

How did the western press do it before the First Gulf War, the moment when CNN ushered in the era of broadcasting live press briefings with no journalistic filters? They took notes, recorded speeches, and edited, so that people, who had real lives, could get, at dinner time or over the breakfast table, the essential, factual, information needed to be meaningful members of society.

The ‘open mic’ used by our press today used to be the mainstay of authoritarian regimes whose state controlled the media; Not any more.

There is one example I use in my Communications classes taken from the 1991 aggression of Iraq; A Saudi Army spokesman was giving a press briefing and said: “Today the (British) Royal Air Force sank seven Iraqi naval vessels of the Zodiac class.”

Not one reporter asked why the British had spent the day sinking rubber rafts? And what do you think 99% of those listening to the live presser heard? That the entire Iraqi Navy had been sunk!  Forget that Iraq never had a ‘Navy’ in the first place, because it doesn’t have a real port, which is one of the reasons Iraq attacked Iran in 1980.

These live broadcasts were what created public opinion to back the First Gulf War and they allowed war-mongering propagandists to sweep under the rug the carefully laid trap set for Saddam by Ambassador, April Glaspie, when she said:

We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America. »

Iraq had 500,000 troops amassed on the Kuwaiti border at the time. Oh, and this was the same Secretary Baker who promised Gorbachev that “NATO will not move one inch east.”

This from Wikipedia“The conflict marked the introduction of live news broadcasts from the front lines of the battle, principally by the American network CNN. It has also earned the nickname Video Game War, after the daily broadcast of images from cameras onboard American bombers during Operation Desert Storm. »

Breaking News Stories = Heading Off Stories

By giving an open mic to these people, NATO managed to bury embarrassing stories under hyped-up breaking news stories. The Command and Control Center was no longer a story when it turned out to be a Bagdad civilian air-raid shelter in which the US killed hundreds of people, the vast majority women and children:

« The Amiriyah shelter bombing was an aerial bombing attack that killed between 400-1,500 civilians on 13 February 1991 during the Persian Gulf War, when an air-raid shelter in the Amiriyah neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, was destroyed by the U.S. Air Force with two GBU-27 Paveway III laser-guided “smart bombs” »

The chemical weapons plant was no longer a story when Peter Arnett got to it and proved it was a powered milk manufacturing plant.  (1)

This from Veterans for Common Sense and worth quoting in length:

« The Iraqis claimed in ’91 that the site was a baby milk factory and nothing more, a charge reported by Peter Arnett on CNN and then denied by the U.S. government. “Numerous sources have indicated that [the factory] is associated with biological warfare production,” an Air Force spokesman said at the time, a few hours after the bombing. “It was a biological weapons facility, of that we are sure,” repeated Colin Powell later that same day. 

“That factory is, in fact, a production facility for biological weapons,” repeated White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater. “The Iraqis have hidden this facility behind a façade of baby-milk production as a form of disinformation.” (2)

Of course, Powell and Fitzwater are tarnished forever as the liars that they are.

“It was like shooting fish in a barrel” one U.S. Air Force pilot said when they massacred retreating Iraqi troops on Highway 80. The Highway of Death, Jan. 26,1991 (Flikr)

And so the fake-news and propaganda continued in ‘live pressers’ through the wars against Serbia (fabricated genocide), the attack against Libya ( click here and lying abut impending mass killing in Benghazi), lies about some non-existent democratic opposition to Assad to destabilize Syria and back Islamist extremists, the “We are Winning” speeches of Iraq and the 20-year war in Afghanistan—all allowed because reporters gave spin-doctors, lying politicians, and propagandists an open mic to promote wars which left hundreds of thousands (if not millions) dead and the super-rich even super-richer in the US and other western countries.

Trump and Selective Filtering

Then came Trump.  It was no longer acceptable to allow “The-Liar-in-Chief” to spew his “falsehoods” and “venom” to the public unchecked. 

All of a sudden, the press found half a backbone and decided (FOX, Breitbart & Co. excluded) not to broadcast the presidents conferences live in order to protect the public from disinformation.

It is interesting that liberals have little trouble with the press playing its filtering role on Trump & Co. but scream “censorship”  if I call for the same to be applied to Biden, Harris, Blinken and the other war-mongering-liars in the White House.

You can’t have it both ways. I maintain that the role of the press is to help people understand the real world around them and not be a vector of talking heads shaping public opinion.

By demanding reporters filter what those in power say, I am not calling for censorship; I am only insisting journalism does its job.


  1. Even the Germans can’t be forced to repeat the CIA-Biden fabrication (The Germans “cautious” (note the euphemism) click here reaction to Seymour Hersh on the allegations and Scholz as a “lapdog” click here and here).
  2. Peter Arnett was finally punished for exposing NATO lies in the First Gulf War when the government gave CNN a pretext to fire him after the ‘Tailwind’ story (he says he resigned due to fallout). Although that story was never proven false (of course the US investigated and denied), nor was the work done to prove its validity. However, as far as I am concerned, the real story was never addressed and swept under the rug: the allegation that the US had a special team whose job it was to hunt down and kill US deserters fighting for the Vietnamese.
  3. On TAILWIND (click here) “A second element of the reporting was an allegation that Operation Tailwind had been devised to eliminate a group of Americans who had defected to the enemy and were holed up in a Laotian village. According to the report, the nerve agent had been sprayed from aircraft twice: once to prep the village and once during extraction of troops. The report claimed that more than 100 Laotian men, women, and children had been killed during the attack on the village.
  4. Peter Arnett continued to be hounded but never gave up his journalistic integrity, much like John Pilger or Robert Fisk. On Arnett’s firing from NBC, click here.

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