The MSM's problem with the truth

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Dr Evan Jones analyses recent MSM "good guys versus bad guys" coverage of politics and world events.

BEING of advanced years, it is imperative that I try to achieve a rough mental and emotional equilibrium. Old age attracts many killers, but one doesn’t want to die prematurely of apoplexy.

The secret appears to be — do not expose oneself to any media, but especially the mainstream media. It’s a perennial struggle because of the thirst for information and the lust for understanding one’s world.

I have put myself on a strict diet, but even the over-breakfast glance at the Sydney Morning Herald has me jumping up with outrage. Outrage and fury. It’s enough to drive one early to drink.

One thinks that it can’t get any worse, but then it does get worse.

The crims are running the shop

Never has elected officialdom been so comprehensively full of cretins, spivs, criminals and flunkeys for power. If these contemptible slimes are so bereft of the concept of the public purpose, how have they germinated, flourished and coagulated into monopolising public office?

And then they all run off and get their paychecks from their paymasters.

The Abbott-Turnbull Federal Government and the O’Farrell-Baird-Berejiklian State Government have to be the worst in Australian political history. The hollow Billy McMahon at the Federal level (1971-72) and the corrupt Robert Askin in NSW (1965-75), for example, pale into significance compared to the current regimes under which us NSW people survive.

It’s the events of course. Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton, mastermind of refugee torture and manslaughter albeit the front for an entrenched system, is sub-human. One could go on — the list is endless.

But it’s also the media. One gets outraged at the parlous state of the world and the forces behind the degradation, but one also gets outraged that we are lied to about who these forces are. It’s all the fault of the bad guys — over there. We’re still being served up world politics as a spaghetti western.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) and the good guys versus bad guys scenario

Witness the Sydney Morning Herald editorial (Wednesday 1 October) titled ‘The Russia plot thickens as Trump advisers fall’.

Claims the editorial writer:

'But we already know the Russian meddling, which included the hacking of emails and the use of social media to disseminate phoney stories, was real. That is because a range of official U.S. security agencies – the same ones that now report to Mr Trump, and that he relies upon – have told us so.'

Rather, we know nothing of the sort. There is no evidence of official Russian influence to date. The claims of influence from the "Kremlin" and the evil Putin keep changing, with no-one in the MSM worrying about the changing stories.

There is a very real prospect of finding Trump’s links to Russian-born business spivs who operate outside the law, as has Trump in building his real estate empire, but the American authorities don’t seem to be interested in pursuing these links.

The reason that Trump is in the White House has nothing to do with the supposedly ever malignant Evil Empire but because the corrupt Democratic National Committee bet on the wrong horse. It’s that simple.

The SMH editorial is an embarrassment. And representative of Fairfax’s coverage of international affairs, not least the U.S. In a word — lamentable.

For a quick but forensic antidote as to why the American Russophobes are barking up the wrong tree, try John Helmer’s Dances with Bears, on the latest round of the imbroglio. Australian-born Helmer is Moscow-based and knows his way around the corridors of, what is to outsiders, the Russian labyrinth.

For intelligence on U.S. affairs, one doesn’t turn to the New York Times or the Washington Post — integral to the problem. For insight on the U.S. domestically and with respect to its endless global meddling and ongoing fiascos, try, for example, Consortiumnews, Counterpunch, Moon of Alabama (now there’s a doozy, written by a German ex-intel operative no less), Dissident Voice, Information Clearing House, Global Research, and so on. Common Dreams has long been a good site, but post-Trump inauguration it has wallowed in Trumpism-is-ruining-previously-virtuous-America superficiality. Hopefully, with its recent coverage of the rot at the heart of the Democrats, it might be returning to some robust non-partisan dissidence.

On Russiagate in particular, try Robert Parry at Consortiumnews (31 October) and Chris Floyd and Ricardo Vaz at Counterpunch (3 November).

Now our vainglorious SMH ("independent, always") has breathlessly, via Reuters, disclosed that U.S. authorities have unearthed six military and intelligence operatives at the heart of the Russian state. Given the record to date, how can one believe any of it? The crying wolf hazard. This is the mob that still can’t open the files on the Kennedy assassination and prefer to serve us slop on 9/11.

While we’re on Russiagate, here’s vintage slop from the SMH’s Chris Zappone (26 July 2016).

Russia's hacking and exploitation of emails from the Democratic National Committee have created an unprecedented situation for the U.S. election this year. The emails and other information can be used to shape broader views of the U.S. political system among American voters and in the wider world, as a form of an information war waged by Russia towards the West.

It's also a part of wider and longer-standing efforts to sow discord in Western publics [sic], as Russia takes a more aggressive geopolitical stance.


And a final word on Russophobia run rampant.

Sergei Magnitsky, a presumed lawyer, was incarcerated in a Russian prison and presumed murdered by his gaolers. Thus did the U.S. and boot-licking fellow travellers impose sanctions on a range of Russian institutions and personnel.

Along comes filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, who decides to do a documentary on the affair. In the process, confronting the evidence, Nekrasov changes his evaluation of the subject.

Disaster for the Russophobes. The outcome is that Nekrasov’s documentary is being prevented from exhibition – in the land of the free and the brave – because Americans are credulous souls, easily led astray from the true path. Robert Parry tells the story, on 2 August and 28 October. It turns out the chief protagonist in this story is one William Browder, hedge funder extraordinaire, whose grandfather Earl was a long time leader of the Communist Party USA. You couldn’t make it up.

The ABC falls into line

One also can’t look to the ABC for consistent sanity, given the long-term pressure on management to pander to the mad-dogs.

I have never forgiven the ABC for its hatchet job on the Gillard Government leading up to the 2013 Federal Election. And the ABC’s accommodation of the essentially treasonous (and Russophobe) John McCain in May-June 2017, was a low point.

Even the estimable Four Corners program fell for the Hillary Clinton mystique, 16 October. What an embarrassment. Rightfully, John Pilger and others exposed this disaster to global obloquy.

Then there’s Media Watch. I was an avid Media Watch watcher until the night that Paul Barry did "fake news" (6 February 2017). It’s a battle, said Barry, between good guys MSM and uncontrolled social media. What? So long, Paul — never again.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) plays well the pissant

Then there’s the AFR, read by all the suits out of compulsion and, peculiarly, all those who want to be somebody, "well-informed".

Courtesy of a Commonwealth Bank victim – who continues to be denied justice – I was alerted to the AFR editorial of 30 October 2017 – reproduced here in full.

Here is a contemptible defence of a contemptible government pursuing contemptible policies.

The push for a Royal Commission into the banking sector has "no intellectual depth". What? As someone "privileged" to be exposed to bank victim stories on an ongoing basis since 2000 – and with a concomitant discovery of the complicity and corruption amongst the regulators, the legal profession and the judiciary – I have an atypical understanding of the nature of the beast.

Says the editorial:

‘… flimsy evidence of wrongdoing in the sector …’

What? The editorialist has, of course, strategically avoided contacting anybody who could readily peel back this dodo’s comprehensive wilful ignorance.

No intellectual depth; flimsy evidence? Is that the best this anonymous editorialist can do? The AFR is a "dry" journal by construction. I read it – out of compulsion – and cut out its articles for over 40 years. I even used to get published in it myself. But in the late 2000s, poisoned by its increasing narrowness, I opted to pull the plug, What a relief.

As for the editorial’s support for the Coalition’s dismantling of penalty rates — this is pure class warfare. The notion that employment is going to blossom from the wage cuts is classic centuries-old, evidence-less, debunked theory and naked ideology.

The AFR editorial signs off by raising the "populism" canard — the last refuge of the proverbial scoundrel. The pits.

Outrage and fury

After having written this article, dwelling on the wretched misrepresentation of damnable people with damnable policies, I am as outraged and as furious as ever.

It’s time for a drink.

Dr Evan Jones is a retired political economist.

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