Tag Archives: journalism

Bob Woodward: The Story He Won’t Tell

Editor’s Note: Tis the preseason of the 2018 midterms. This past week saw the release of Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House to much fanfare from the corporate “news” media. Unsurprisingly, Trump administration officials argued that Woodward’s work included made up quotes wrongly attributed to them.

Long ago Woodward and his Washington Post cohort Carl Bernstein’s “breaking” of Watergate reached mythic status in US journalism and political history. Yet myth is usually divorced from fact, and for a reason. When one of the principal figures in this storied saga has long-established ties to the political establishment and intelligence community, as the article below by investigative writer Russ Baker demonstrates, the myth is intended to reinforce a specific agenda, in this case the taken-for-granted suggestion that Woodward is a disinterested writer and the paragon of integrity. 

Is America’s favorite investigative reporter a government operative? Political commentator Russ Baker offers intriguing evidence!

By Russ Baker
(HUSTLER MAGAZINE July 2011)

Woodward at the LBJ Library in 2016. Image Credit: Wikipedia

In June 2009,Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward traveled to Afghanistan with General Jim Jones, then President Obama’s National Security Advisor, to meet with General Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of forces there. Why did Jones allow this journalist to accompany him? Because he knew that Woodward could be counted on to deliver the company line—the military line. In fact, Jones was essentially Woodward’s patron.

The New Republic’s Gabriel Sherman pointed out that when Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee hosted a 50th-birthday party for Woodward’s wife, reporter Elsa Walsh,“Jones was a guest of Woodward. ”According to Sherman, one attendee told him, “Woodward and Elsa were glued to Jones at the cocktail party before the dinner started.”

In September 2009, McChrystal (or someone close to him) leaked a document to Woodward that essentially forced Obama’s hand. The President wanted time to consider all options on what to do about Afghanistan. But the leak, publicizing the military’s “confidential” assertion that a troop increase was essential, cast the die, and Obama had to go along. Nobody was happier than the Pentagon—and, it should be said, its allies in the vast military-contracting establishment.

Continue reading Bob Woodward: The Story He Won’t Tell

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National Public Radio Questions Mass Shooting Statistics

Calls Out US Department of Education

On a August 27th broadcast National Public Radio announced its finding that the US Department of Education’s most recent mass shooting figures at US public schools appear to be grossly inflated. This is especially significant since there are public misconceptions toward such events that stem in part from dubious statistics. These numbers are then often taken by gun control advocacy groups to mislead and frighten the public on the scope of the problem.

NPR reports:

How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school?

We should know. But we don’t.

This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.” The number is far higher than most other estimates.

But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the government’s Civil Rights Data Collection.

We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.

In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn’t meet the government’s parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn’t respond to our inquiries.

“When we’re talking about such an important and rare event, [this] amount of data error could be very meaningful,” says Deborah Temkin, a researcher and program director at Child Trends.

The remainder of the story is available here.

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Health Ranger Mike Adams Launches Video Platform

‘Real.Video’ To Host Censored Views and Analysis

NaturalNews founder Mike Adams has launched a new website, Real.Video, that he intends to open to various content creators, some of whose work has already faced censorship on corporate-controlled sites such as YouTube and Vimeo.

In this July 6 update Adams explains the need for such an outlet, noting how thus far the Beta version of the project has been deluged with thousands of requests for new accounts. As of this writing a full-fledged version of Real.Video that can accommodate this has yet to be launched.

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Annapolis Shooting: Mayor Discusses Active Shooter Simulation on National Television

Attended Drill, Spoke With Gazette Editor Minutes Before Shooting

This morning Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley pointed to the fact that there was an active shooter drill conducted by the city’s first responders less than one week before the Capital Gazette shooting, on June 22.

In a somewhat uncomfortable exchange on Fox&Friends, Annapolis’ mayor repeatedly glanced downward and stumbled through what appear to be a set of canned statements. He pointed to the fact that he conversed with the Capital Gazette‘s editor minutes before the event transpired, and further noted how he was present as the city’s police and fire departments rehearsed such a scenario one week ago.

“So many resources were thrown at this,” Buckley explained. “The fact that we had done … a drill … less than a week beforehand. And I had watched these guys come in and practice … Little did they know they would actually be doing that a week later.”

Buckley goes on to plead for mental health and gun control measures, in addition to the purported role social media (i.e. independent and uncensored information) may have played in the shooting.

These specific passages of the interview are transcribed verbatim below.

Fox&Friends: Joining us now is a mayor that probably didn’t get very much sleep last night, Gavin Buckley. Mr. Mayor sorry you’re going through this. Uh, what did you find when you got on the scene, and what could you tell our listeners and everybody—our viewers and everyone around the world, uh, what’s the latest with the shooter?

Buckley: So, uhm, we uh … I was speaking to the editor of the the Capital probably 20 minutes beforehand. That editor was not in the building when the shooter came in or he would have been dead I’m sure.

Uhm, he doesn’t go away very often. He works really hard. The journalists that lost their lives—all those journalists are like his children. He, uh, it’s going to be along time for his—him to recover.

Uh, we got the news, uh, we came straight to the scene. There were, uh, what felt like a hundred, uh, uh, em-em—emergency vehicles here.Uh, the situation was being addressed.

Th—so many resources were thrown at this. I don’t think there’s anything more but … I’m so proud of first responders, because I know, uh, that what they did saved lives.

And the fact that they got in there as fast as they did. The fact that we had done, uhm, a drill, uhm, less than a week beforehand. And I had watched these guys come in and practice. They stepped over simulated, uhm, victims, ah, headshots and, uhm, chest-shots and, and, and flesh wounds. They had to walk through—past those simulated victims, and had to go to the shooter and take the shooter down. Little did they know they would actually be doing that a week later.

Buckley repeated the usual litany of topics covered by public officials in the wake of most every mass shooting event over the past several years, while asking the public to empathize with local news outlets like the Gazette.

Buckley: We have to do something about these guys. We have to do something about mental health. We have to do something about gun control. We have to do something that stops, uh, society being so t–tightly wound.

This paper is not a left wing paper. It’s not a right wing paper. It’s a local paper that reports on local things. It reports on our kids sports teams. [It] reports on all the things that matter to us locally. There’s nothing this paper does that would offend you that much that you’d want to kill people.

Shortly thereafter Fox steered Buckley toward the alleged impact that commentary on social media has in precipitating such events.

Fox&Friends: But the thing is with the social media postings. Are you going to be part of a process that maybe reevaluates the threats that are online locally? Is there a way to do that? Is that something you’re going to focus on?

Buckley: I think it has to be, uh, definitely something we look into, because, uh, Chief Altamari’s talking about increasing resources to, uh, public safety for such things. We have to, uh, reevaluate how we, uh, prepare for these things. We have to be vigilant. We-we have to, uh, look for tell-tale signs and, you know, I think that what people, uh, uh, [are] so isolated now. They-they live in their silos and they sit in front of their screens, and they don’t get out there so you can’t tell [sic].

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Annapolis Capital Gazette Mass Shooting

City of Annapolis First Responders Drilled For Event June 22

National news media today are proving wall-to-wall coverage of an apparent mass shooting event at the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis Maryland.

NBC’s Washington DC affiliate station reports:

Five people have died and several others are “gravely injured” after a shooting Thursday at the Capital Gazette newspaper building in Annapolis, Maryland, local and federal officials say.

The names of the dead were not released immediately.

The suspected shooter is 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos, three senior law enforcement officials briefed on the matter told NBC News. Anne Arundel County police declined to provide the suspect’s name.

The suspect threatened the community newspaper on social media, police department spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said in a briefing Thursay night.

“This individual had some type of vendetta against the Capital newspaper, and they were specifically targeted,” he said.

The suspect is in custody, and authorities are interrogating him, officials said.

The suspect obscured his fingerprints, making it difficult to identify him, two senior law enforcement officials told NBC News. But officials were able to identify him using facial recognition software, multiple officials said. County police declined to comment on any use of those methods.

Mainstream news media employees are blaming President Trump’s criticism of “fake news media” for the event, according to the Washington Examiner,

Along these lines there are attempts to link the event to recent remarks made by political provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

You’re about to see a raft of news stories claiming that I am responsible for inspiring the deaths of journalists. The…

Posted by Milo Yiannopoulos on Thursday, June 28, 2018

Of course, these same corporate media outlets and personnel will keep from their readers the fact that, perhaps coincidentally, an active shooter drill took place in at St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis less than one week ago, as the Capital Gazette itself reported on its website June 22.

As MHB has repeatedly observed, in the fake news era the everyday spectator watching such a drill unfold on national television would be hard pressed to be able to distinguish between such a readiness exercise and a “real” event.

(Click to enlarge image)

In a video posted with the above report, for example, Annapolis fireman Ken White narrates the active shooter drill that took place just last week on St. Mary’s campus.

“With the increase of active shooter incidents we’re seeing we–the city has determined that it is important for us to hold this training,” White explains, “so that in the event that something may happen we’ll be well-prepared.”

Annapolis firefighters Ken White briefs Capital Gazette readers on the active shooter drill held June 22, 2018.
The City of Annapolis Police and Fire Departments held an active shooter drill June 22, 2018 at St. Mary’s High School.

A drill being held by local law enforcement and emergency response agencies has been a repeated occurrence at Annapolis and numerous mass shooting events over the past several years, indeed ever since the number of such incidents exploded under the Obama administration.

H/t Tony Mead

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California Considers Monitoring Online Speech

Editor’s Note: California may set the tone for a national conversation and perhaps even set of laws addressing what the state’s lawmakers deem “false information … spread online.” Since political motivation and ideology often underly what one deems “fake news” this proposed move should be especially concerning for those who truly cherish free thought and expression. As the article below suggests, Facebook’s recent nod to corporate media outlets as an antithesis to “fake news” has demonstrated how such an effort is likely to be instituted in California and elsewhere. The Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the law is dangerous because it places the governing body in a position to determine what is true and false.

The proposed speech legislation was introduced by California State Senator Richard Pan, a practicing pediatrician and the principal lawmaker behind SB277, the state’s mandatory vaccination law. A voter-driven campaign in 2015 to have Pan ousted from office was not successful.

California State Senator Richard Pan. Image Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

CBS13 Sacramento reports:

California is considering creating a “fake news” advisory group in order to monitor information posted and spread on social media.

Senate Bill 1424 would require the California Attorney General to create the advisory committee by April 1, 2019. It would need to consist of at least one person from the Department of Justice, representatives from social media providers, civil liberties advocates, and First Amendment scholars.

The advisory group would be required to study how false information is spread online and come up with a plan for social media platforms to fix the problem. The Attorney General would then need to present that plan to the Legislature by December 31, 2019. The group would also need to come up with criteria establishing what is “fake news” versus what is inflammatory or one-sided.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation opposes the bill, calling it “flawed” and “misguided.” The group argues the measure would make the government and advisory group responsible for deciding what is true or false. It also points out the First Amendment prevents content-based restrictions, even if the statements of “admittedly false.”

A recent study by Massachusetts-based MindEdge Learning was conducted with 1,000 young adults, ages 18 to 31-years-old. According to MindEdge’s nine-question survey, 52 percent of the respondents incorrectly answered at least four questions and received a failing grade. The number of young adults who could detect false information on the internet went down by all of the group’s measures. Only 19 percent of the college students and grads scored an “A” by getting eight or nine questions correct. That number is down from 24 percent in last year’s survey.

Facebook recently did away with its “Trending News” section – calling it outdated and unpopular. That section was criticized in the past after reports came out claiming the human editors were biased against conservatives. After Facebook fired those editors, the algorithms it replaced them with couldn’t always distinguish real news from fake.

After the 2016 election, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg denied that fake news spread on the social site he oversees influenced the outcome- calling the idea “crazy.”

A previous bill, AB 155, would have required schools to teach students the difference between “fake news” and “real news.” It died in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.

The current bill SB 1424 was authored by Senator Dr. Richard Pan. It passed the Senate on May 30, 2018 by a vote of 25-11. It will be heard by the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, tourism, and Internet Media Committee on Tuesday.

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Four Years Later: An Open Letter to Anderson Cooper

Editor’s Note: On June 15 2015 James Tracy sent the correspondence below to Anderson Cooper inviting the longtime CNN anchor to Newtown Connecticut in order to conduct a true journalistic investigation of the Sandy Hook massacre event. Four years later Mr. Cooper has yet to take Tracy up in his quest. 

Since the US corporate news media’s presentation of Sandy Hook solely involved parroting the official government narrative, still leaving so many questions unanswered and information overlooked, we’re hoping that Cooper will finally do the right thing. 

By James F. Tracy

June 15, 2014

Anderson Cooper
C/O CNN
10 Columbus Circle
New York, New York 10019

Dear Mr. Cooper,

Seventeen months have passed since you featured me on your AC 360° program on consecutive evenings to call attention to my commentary and analysis of the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. As you may recall, in the prelude to those January 11th and 14th 2013 broadcasts you sent a production crew to my place of employment that proceeded to pursue staff and administrators on my whereabouts.

[The record of Anderson Cooper’s January 2013 on-air attack of former FAU Professor James Tracy has been expunged from YouTube. The clip below is provided as a replacement of that video.]

Your staff then repeatedly telephoned my residence, later filming in front of my home and disclosing my address to a national audience without my knowledge or consent. This behavior jeopardized my family’s safety and peace of mind, and included a flurry of threatening and abusive communications directed at me. Further, some observers presumed that CNN and other national news media sought to create sufficient controversy that would lead to the termination of my employment. On the other hand, I understand how you may have perceived this as an act of due journalistic diligence rather than coercion.

Further, if at the time ample proof existed that the Sandy Hook massacre was genuine I think you may have been at least partially justified in such activity. Yet in the time since little evidence has emerged to uphold the notion that the event took place as it had been reported by CNN and other news outlets. In fact, the opinion of many independent experts and a wealth of data point to highly questionable elements of the Sandy Hook narrative that require rigorous interrogation through the intrepid investigative reportage of journalists such as you.

Anderson (if I may), that’s why I challenge you to join me on a reportorial quest to Newtown and Sandy Hook in order to revisit and rigorously question the painful affair that still rests so uneasily on the public conscience—one that is called up in memory with each report of another school shooting. Together let us ferret out and present the relevant information, interview the necessary parties, and get to the bottom of what transpired so that we can put the conspiracy theories to rest!

Anderson (again, if I may), this could very well be a landmark event in investigative journalism. If after a thorough investigation we prove that the event in fact took place as CNN and other major media reported, I will concede that you were in fact correct and seriously consider resigning my post in academe.

On the other hand, if we find holes in the official narrative this may in fact be a scandal requiring journalistic performance on par with the paragon set by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein over 40 years ago. It will call for—indeed require—the public service of news professionals like you to find out what really happened and bring the culprits to justice! Anderson, at the end of the day it’s just like you say each evening: we truly need to “keep them honest.”

Yet there are some who say that CNN and, I’m sorry to say, even you may have been in on what they call a “hoax.” These suspicious minds say that some of your reportage from Newtown in the wake of the shooting was “greenscreened.” Others point to the time you spent in the Central Intelligence Agency and subsequent involvement in student and activist groups of several foreign countries. Still others bring up CNN’s sometime questionable coverage of major historical events, such as the Persian Gulf and Iraq Wars.

I say “Hooey!” There are many fine young men from extraordinary wealth and privilege yet limited experience or career prospects who serve in our national intelligence services. These include the nation’s 41st president, George H. W. Bush, in addition to littérateurs such as Cord Meyer. In fact, for over fifty years some of our nation’s finest journalists and political leaders have either served overtly with or maintained ties to the intelligence community. Anderson, both you and I know that serving your country is nothing to be ashamed of.

I think you’ll agree that it’s time to put these Sandy Hook “truthers” to rest for good, thereby allowing the Sandy Hook victims’ families to find comfort in the millions of dollars in donations they have received from sincere and goodhearted Americans.

Anderson, let’s reexamine Sandy Hook together to confirm our own professional integrity, while at the same time striking a potential blow at corruption and deceit. Our conscience requires it. Our nation demands it. Won’t you join me?

Yours,

(signed)

James F. Tracy

SENT USPS CERTIFIED MAIL 7013 2250 0002 2334 3915

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