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Lies, Damn Lies, and the Media

davidswanson's picture

By David Swanson

ACORN is shutting down because of a fraudulent video pimped by the corporate media. U.S. forces in Afghanistan have heroically laid seige to and conquered a fictional city, helping build the case for further escalation. A cable news channel has created a right-wing mass movement by pretending it already existed. Congressman Dennis Kucinich voted for a health insurance bill he believed would deprive more people of healthcare (and wealth and homes), because fraudulent reports had convinced his constituents of the opposite. The peace movement was defunded in November 2008, because of a fraudulent presidential election campaign. 71% of Americans believe Iran has nuclear weapons. 41% of Americans think the quality of the environment is improving. Has the power of the corporate media to overwhelm all before it begun to sink in yet?

ACORN's funders didn't have to run and hide because of a bunch of laughably bad lies, but they were afraid. The most common excuse of progressive congress members for anything they do is fear of the media. The peace movement didn't have to shut down, but its funders had used war as a criticism of Republicans; opposing war for its own sake was secondary, and their televisions told them peace had arrived. Kucinich could have stuck to his No vote on healthcare, but he probably wouldn't have lasted long in Congress. We don't have to be suckered by comically manipulative war news, but all the big media outlets want war -- and the Democratic-party outlets especially favor war now. Fox News could not have created the Teabaggers on its own, but MSNBC and the Democratic blogosphere spend a majority of their time focused on Teabaggers and Republicans because it unites their viewers/readers against something uglier than elected Democrats, never mind that in Washington the Democrats technically have all the power.

We need independent media. Is that not yet crystal clear? The strongest grassroots community organization in the country, ACORN, has been swatted away like a fly through the endless airing of fraudulent, badly edited, and irrelevant, but salacious video clips. Elected officials or electoral candidates succeed or fail at the whim of the media cartel. And the biggest lies of all are buried so deeply beneath the hot news stories that they're almost impossible to see. Does or does not Iran possess nuclear weapons? That question hides the insidious assumption that if a nation possesses nuclear weapons, then our nation can and should launch an illegal war of aggression against it. Or at least our nation should have a debate over how best to take action against our "enemy," a debate that will represent us all because it will include two political parties.

This is the biggest lie of them all: the system works. Vote for this corporatist war party or that warmongering corporate party, and you will have played your role well. The system works. The president makes the laws. The Congress gets in the way. The two parties are significantly different from each other and represent our views. News stories that include the views of both parties are complete and admirable journalism. The journalism itself has no viewpoint at all. The role of a citizen is to support politicians and parties.

Imagine if Bush wanted to try alleged terrorists in court (as in fact he did). All the Republicanites would have cheered (as in fact they did). Imagine if Bush had pushed a health insurance bill written by the industry and had cut deals with the insurance and drug companies. Imagine if Republicans had called a private program for 3% of Americans a "public option". All the Democratites in the country would have denounced the whole thing as a scam. The problem with "balanced" reporting is that those who consume it pick one of the two partisan positions presented and follow it as if they'd thought of it themselves. This mindless obedience is going to destroy us all.

We need independent media, meaning sources of news that are independent of either political party. We could easily find the money to create it right now if we chose to make that a priority. We will do so or we, and this republic, and the world as we know it will perish . . . in horrible pain, with a grin on our face.

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Submitted by libbyliberal on

YES YES YES. I hate this. And now they have Rachel Maddow doing it!!!!

Fox News could not have created the Teabaggers on its own, but MSNBC and the Democratic blogosphere spend a majority of their time focused on Teabaggers and Republicans because it unites their viewers/readers against something uglier than elected Democrats, never mind that in Washington the Democrats technically have all the power.

lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

amid the HCR squabbling. Anyone have a link to this one?
"U.S. forces in Afghanistan have heroically laid seige to and conquered a fictional city, helping build the case for further escalation."

Submitted by jawbone on

the Marjah area is.I searched for it, couldn't find, but here are some aritcles I pulled up:

At, Justin Raimondo posts this, Obama's Potemkin Afghanistan:

Marjah, by all accounts appearing in the US media, is supposed to have been a city, or at least a major town. Described as containing some 80,000 inhabitants – and a bustling center of insurgent activity, a Taliban stronghold that had to be taken – Marjah was depicted as a rather large target, and our glorious "victory" was therefore portrayed as a major triumph. The only problem with this narrative is that it bears no relation to reality.

As Gareth Porter points out in a piece published on this site, Marjah, far from being a major city or even a town, is a minor hamlet consisting of one mosque and a few other buildings, mostly stores. There is no city of 80,000 souls, as Western "reporters" have been telling us, there are no "neighborhoods" as described in countless news dispatches from the "mainstream" media, and the imagery of house-to-house fighting imparted by these reports is a total fiction.


So much of what this war is about has nothing to with Afghanistan, or Pakistan, or the very real and deadly serious issue of terrorism – it’s all about politics, and economics, i.e. money and power. This war is being driven by the internal political dynamics of the West, and the "enemy" – in the Pentagon’s view – isn’t so much the fanaticism of the Taliban, or the devilish nihilism of al-Qaeda, but the natural skepticism and "isolationism" of their own countrymen.

The Gareth Porter report and Porter in Truthout

Veteran's Today piece on the propaganda by Robert Hanafin

In Foreign Affairs, Down the AfPak Rabbit Hole:

In reality, this battle -- the largest in Afghanistan since 2001 -- is essentially a giant public affairs exercise, designed to shore up dwindling domestic support for the war by creating an illusion of progress. In reporting it, the media has gulped down the whole bottle of "drink me" and shrunk to journalistic insignificance. In South Vietnam, an operational area smaller than RC South, the United States and its allies had over 2 million men under arms, including more than half a million Americans, the million-man Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), 75,000 coalition troops, the Vietnamese Regional Forces and Popular Forces (known as "Ruff-Puffs"), the South Vietnamese police, the Civilian Irregular Defense Groups (CIDG) and other militias -- and lost.

Yet the media is breathlessly regurgitating Pentagon pronouncements that we have "turned the corner" and "reversed the momentum" in Afghanistan with fewer than 45,000 men under arms in all of RC South (including the Afghan army and police) by fighting for a month to secure a single hamlet. Last year this would have been déjà vu of the "five o'clock follies" of the Vietnam War. Now it feels more like the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. "How can we have more success," Alice might ask, "when we haven't had any yet?"

So here we are in the AfPak Wonderland, complete with a Mad Hatter (the clueless and complacent media), Tweedledee and Tweedledum (the military, endlessly repeating itself and history), the White Rabbit (the State Department, scurrying to meetings and utterly irrelevant), the stoned Caterpillar (the CIA, obtuse, arrogant, and asking the wrong questions), the Dormouse (U.S. Embassy Kabul, who wakes up once in a while only to have his head stuffed in a teapot), the Cheshire Cat (President Obama, fading in and out of the picture, eloquent but puzzling), the Pack of Cards army (the Afghan National Army, self-explanatory), and their commander, the inane Queen of Hearts (Afghan President Hamid Karzai). (In Alice in Wonderland, however, the Dormouse is "suppressed" by the Queen of Hearts, not the White Rabbit or the Cheshire Cat, so the analogy is not quite perfect.)

I'm still looking for the article I read that had a Google World photo of the area: Stunning -- a crossroads with some buildings and then fields, fields, fields, fields, fields....

I seem to recall NPR coverage of hard fought urban battles....

So, today's ACORN reporting was sickening, but made me realize, once again, we CANNOT TRUST NPR REPORTING any longer. Everything must be double checked.

Their reporting seems to be pushed rightward as the Overton Window is seems to be inexorably moving right.... Especially anything to do with our military foreign affairs.

Richard Charnin's picture
Submitted by Richard Charnin on

2010 Midterms: Footprints of Election Fraud

The 2010 midterms are history. The typical reaction of the pundits is to promote the conventional wisdom that it was a GOP blowout of epic proportions - even bigger than 1994. Yes, the party in power nearly always loses seats in the midterms. The unconventional wisdom is that the Democrats do significantly better than the recorded vote indicates in every election. There is no reason to suspect that 2010 was any different.

This analysis utilizes final likely and registered state and national pre-election polls along with preliminary and final exit polls. Likely voter (LV) polls are a sub-sample of registered voter (RV) polls. Since 2000, LV polls have closely matched the recorded vote while RV polls closely matched the unadjusted and preliminary exit polls.

It is standard operating procedure for the exit pollsters to force the Final National Exit Poll (and final state exit polls) to match the recorded vote. Obama's recorded vote margin was 52.9-45.6%. The 2010 Final National Exit Poll indicated that 45% of the electorate were returning Obama voters and 45% were McCain voters. Of course, the pundits will claim that the 7.3% discrepancy was due to millions of unenthusiastic Democrats who did not return to vote in 2010.

The pundits always assume that the Final NEP returning voter mix is legitimate even though it is always forced to match the recorded vote. As usual, their implicit assumption is that election fraud was not a factor. But it always is.

In 2008 the National Election Pool, a consortium of six mainstream media giants which sponsors the exit polls, decided not to release unadjusted (or preliminary) state and national exit poll data. And they won’t in 2010, either. They don’t want anyone to see the adjustments they had to make to the return voter mix and/or the vote shares in order to match the recorded vote.

As usual, the pundits quote the final exit polls as gospel and claim that they show that Obama must move to the center – as if he’s been part of the “professional left” all along. They never question the official results. That’s why they’re pundits: they know that they are paid to present the recorded vote as if it represented the will of the voters. So they avoid the subject of: systemic election fraud - otherwise they might find themselves suspended indefinitely at best.

Given that election fraud is systemic, what does the combination of pre-election registered and likely voter polls, preliminary and final exit polls and recorded vote data indicate? Well, we still have unverifiable elections and a strange reluctance of the Democratic leadership to do anything about it.

Obama won the 2008 recorded vote by 9.5 million. But his True Vote margin was at least twice that; his recorded share understated his True share by 4-5%. If the 2010 NEP returning vote mix is adjusted to match the 2008 recorded share, the Democratic share is within 1% of the GOP - matching the pre-election RV polls. The adjusted 53/45% mix includes the discount for unenthusiastic Democrats who did not return to vote in 2010.

As expected, the final 2010 National Exit Poll margin discrepancy from the average of 30 pre-election generic LV polls was a near-perfect -0.62%. Setting the returning voter mix to the 2008 recorded vote, the discrepancy from the 19 pre-election RV poll average was an even lower 0.07%.

The final state exit poll (i.e. recorded vote) discrepancy from the average LV poll was 1.52%. Setting the returning voter mix to the 2008 recorded vote, the discrepancy from the RV poll average was an even lower 0.83%.

The Democrats were going to lose seats in the Senate and House. They were surely going to lose in Arkansas. And they did. They were expected to hold on to CA, WA, WV, NY, DE and OR. And they did.

But IL, NV, PA, CO and WI were expected to be close. And they were. The Democrats won NV and CO. They lost WI, IL and PA. Or did they?

Submitted by lambert on

That's Obama's home state....