"The mainstream U.S. news media insists that its bias against Donald Trump is an aberration justified by his extraordinary recklessness, but the truth is U.S. media bias has a long history, says longtime journalist Robert Parry."
"The new excuse for the U.S. mainstream media to violate its professional principles of objectivity and balance in covering this presidential race is that it’s all Donald Trump’s fault, or as The New York Times put it, “Trump Is Testing the Norms of Objectivity in Journalism.”
But that is just the latest dodge for American journalists who don’t really believe in the principle of evenhandedness. Many have been slanting their coverage for as long as I can remember in my nearly four decades covering news in Washington.
Indeed, bias and outright dishonesty have long been the norm for major American news outlets, especially in the fabrication of foreign monsters around the world for the U.S. military to seek out and destroy.
The truth is that at virtually every spin of America’s revolving wheel of “enemies,” The New York Times could write a similar headline blaming the foreign leaders, just as the newspaper did Trump: “Putin Tests the Norms of Objectivity in Journalism” or Bashar al-Assad or Saddam Hussein or any other designated villain du jour.
In the Times’ framing of the problem, it’s not the journalists who have a responsibility to maintain “the norms of objectivity”; it is Trump or some foreign villain who “tests” the norms. The journalists are the victims here, with their high standards being put under unfair pressure.
But I can’t remember a time when major U.S. news outlets approached a foreign policy issue with anything approaching objectivity or balance. With very few exceptions, the pattern is to fall in line behind the U.S. foreign policy establishment’s propaganda.
Indeed, when some of us have tried to apply objective or even-handed standards to foreign controversies, we faced resistance and punishment from our own news organizations. We learned that very few senior editors would challenge even the most blatant nonsense from the State Department or the White House. After all, that’s how they got to be senior editors.
Whether it was Nicaragua’s Sandinistas in the 1980s, or Iraq and Serbia in the 1990s, or Iraq (again) and Iran in the 2000s, or Syria, Russia, China and Iran (again) today, U.S. “star reporters” shucked aside even the pretense of fairness in favor of careerism. The more you pile on these “enemies” the better for you.
Along with these longer-term “enemies,” there are short-term “villains” who are transformed into cartoon characters almost overnight, such as Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych. Though elected by the voters, he was made into a “black hat” in 2013 and 2014 because he wouldn’t go along with an economic deal with Europe that involved harsh “reforms” from the International Monetary Fund.
Yanukovych also was considered an ally of neighboring Russia, so he got the full propaganda treatment from U.S. government agencies and their client “journalism” outfits, such as the U.S. AID-funded Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. Those anti-Yanukovych themes, in turn, were picked up and amplified by mainstream U.S. media outlets, including The New York Times and The Washington Post.
So, on Feb. 22, 2014, when Ukraine’s elected president was violently overthrown in a putsch spearheaded by neo-Nazis and other ultra-nationalist street fighters, the West’s media almost universally cheered the coup as a victory for “democracy.”
Of course, the abandonment of “objectivity” and honesty is not a new story in American journalism. In reality, there has long been a self-serving suspension of self-awareness on the part of U.S. media figures who still view themselves through the heroic but now foggy and yellowed prism of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate.
Yet, the pervasive bias in reporting on international crises is not just dishonest journalism in some academic sense; it also has helped the Military-Industrial Complex soak the U.S. taxpayers of trillions of dollars and enabled Official Washington to dispatch American soldiers to fight endless blood-soaked wars.
Arguably what’s different now is that this pattern of bias, which has been common in U.S. coverage of international affairs for years, has now spread to U.S. politics. But even that’s not especially new. The political pack has often had its favorites and has barely tried to conceal its desired outcome.
For instance, in Campaign 2000, which turned out to be one of the most significant elections in American history, the cool press corps kids covering the race between Al Gore and George W. Bush were smitten by Bush, the “regular guy” who gave them neat nicknames, while Gore was a boring wonk.
The anti-Gore journalistic sneering was palpable as reporters gleefully misreported key campaign moments such as the bogus quote attributed to Gore that “I invented the Internet” and other “boasts” that Gore never made.
The mocking of Gore and the fawning over Bush continued into the coverage of the Florida recount which gave the White House to Bush though Gore got more legal votes both in Florida and nationally. [For details, see Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush.]
While the hot-shot campaign reporters saw Campaign 2000 as a something of a lark – since the catastrophic consequences of Bush’s presidency were still in the future – today the mainstream media justifies its lack of objectivity as something of a duty to the nation.
As Jim Rutenberg wrote for the Times, “If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?
“Because if you believe all of those things, you have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century, if not longer, and approach it in a way you’ve never approached anything in your career.
“If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, nonopinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable.”
Rutenberg acts as if he’s never given a thought to the prejudicial journalism that his own newspaper routinely shows in its coverage of foreign issues. [See, for instance, Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT’s Orwellian View of Ukraine.”]
A Trump-Putin Two-fer
In the Trump bashing, there’s also been a merger with the bashing of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump is sometimes accused of being a Russian “agent” because he believes that the United States can cooperate with Russia on fighting terrorism and other issues, rather than just rush to confront nuclear-armed Russia in a costly and dangerous New Cold War.
Amid the media frenzy over this so-called Trump-Putin “bromance,” Trump suggested that the Russians might be able to find [he didn't say 'hack'] Hillary Clinton’s missing 30,000 State Department emails. Though obviously meant as a joke referring to the suspicions that Russia was involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails, the comment was widely interpreted in the mainstream U.S. media as an act approaching “treason.”
Or as Rutenberg put it, Trump sought to “entice Russia to meddle in a United States presidential election by hacking his opponent (a joke, Mr. Trump later said, that the news media failed to get).”
Though it’s certainly true that some of Trump’s off-hand remarks – like suggesting that “Second Amendment people” could take action to stop Clinton’s gun-control plans – cross the line into the reckless, Trump’s email comment was surely not some serious appeal to the Russians to spy on Clinton. If he were serious, he surely would never have made the appeal publicly.
But the more important point is that the American people need to recognize that the major U.S. news media on foreign policy issues is deeply biased in line with what the U.S. foreign policy establishment wants. With Trump and Putin, the media gets a two-fer.
And, there is no conspiracy here. It’s just that if a foreign-policy or national-security reporter wants to get access to U.S. government information, much of it classified, he or she must show a readiness to take the U.S. “side.” If not, the next time there’s a major event – say, a U.S. military strike or the preparation of a government report on a foreign crisis – your competition will get the inside-story “tick-tock” or the document “leak,” not you.
Then, your editors will want to know how you got beat. They won’t want to hear excuses about how you’ve given the U.S. government authorities a hard time on some serious investigative project. Your editors will just want to have what the competition has – and if you can’t get it, they will happily give your job to someone who will play ball with the powers-that-be.
As for American journalists, they should come clean about their obvious biases – or they should commit themselves to an “oppositionist” position vis a vis all government officials, regardless of which government they represent and what the personal career consequences might be. One standard should fit all.
But that’s just wishful thinking. The best career path for media “stars” is to be dishonest, to pretend that you’re faithfully abiding by professional journalistic standards, except in some extreme cases like Trump’s presidential candidacy or in writing about some foreign “villain.” Then, you’re just doing what’s “good for the country.”"
"Ashley W August 20, 2016 at 12:55 pm...
EXHIBIT A: Does Jeff Bezos buy a newspaper (Washington Post) out of love of country? Carlos Slim (NY Times)?
"Joey August 19, 2016 at 11:50 pm
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, or CBC, is a government much financed media hornswoggle. At one time, being publicly owned, one might hope to see some occasional balance. No more.
Added: Re: Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos was recently appointed to a Pentagon advisory board. Bezos is also head of a company developing a new engine for military use:
7/26/16: Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos was named to a new Pentagon advisory board. and has financial interest in a new engine for military use.....
7/26/16, "Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jeff Bezos Join Defense Innovation Board," DefenseNews.com, Aaron Mehta
"Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Amazon head Jeff Bezos and former Obama administration official Cass Sunstein are among the newest names to join Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s new Defense Innovation Advisory Board.
Carter announced those names as part of a list of ten new members for the board, which he created in March to advise the Pentagon on technology innovation issues. The board is headed by Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, the Google parent company....
But the biggest names are Tyson...and Bezos, the Amazon founder who also owns The Washington Post. Bezos is also the head of Blue Origin, a space launch company working with the United Launch Alliance to develop a new engine for military launch."...
Please excuse "TINY TEXT"--this is google's way of silencing free speech:
Added: Neocon Washington Post notes Trump wasn't shy about admitting he's not a neocon ("unabashedly noninterventionist"):
In a meeting with the Washington Post editorial board, "Donald Trump...outlined an unabashedly noninterventionist approach to world affairs, says nation building doesn't work, whatever we build gets blown up, instead we need to focus on rebuilding the US, reduce US involvement in NATO-Washington Post
3/21/16, "Donald Trump reveals foreign policy team in meeting with The Washington Post," Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Bob Costa, 3:30pm
"Donald Trump revealed part of his foreign policy advisory team and outlined an unabashedly noninterventionist approach to world affairs during a wide-ranging meeting Monday with The Washington Post's editorial board."...
Added: Neocons used to be mocked, were just a few nutty Republicans who wanted endless foreign wars and were wrong about everything. Today, neocons (who view US taxpayers as slaves of endless global wars) are exalted by elite media, control the Beltway political apparatus, and are still wrong about everything:
"Being a Neocon Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry."
June 2014 article
6/20/2014, "Being a Neocon Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry," Foreign Policy, Stephen M. Walt
"These guys were wrong about every aspect of Iraq. Why do we still have to listen to them?"
"From 2001 until sometime around 2006, the United States followed the core neoconservative foreign policy program. The disastrous results of this vast social science experiment could not be clearer.
The neoconservative program cost the United States several trillion dollars and thousands dead and wounded American soldiers, and it sowed carnage and chaos in Iraq and elsewhere.
The neoconservative program cost the United States several trillion dollars and thousands dead and wounded American soldiers, and it sowed carnage and chaos in Iraq and elsewhere.
Neoconservatives would have much less influence if mainstream media didn’t continue to pay attention to them. They could publish their own journals and appear on Fox News, but the big force multiplier is their continued prominence in places like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other outlets. Neocons continue to have frequent access to op-ed pages, and are commonly quoted by reporters on a range of foreign-policy issues.
This tendency is partly because some important members of the mainstream media are themselves neoconservatives or strongly sympathetic to its basic worldview.
David Brooks of the New York Times,
Charles Krauthammer and
Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post, and
Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal
are all card-carrying neoconservatives and were, of course, prominent voices in the original (Iraq) pro-war camp....
The final source of neoconservative persistence is the continued support they get from their close cousins: the liberal interventionists.
Neoconservatives may have cooked up the whole idea of invading Iraq, but they got a lot of support from a diverse array of liberal hawks. As I’ve noted before, the only major issue on which these two groups disagree is the role of international institutions, which liberals view as a useful tool and neoconservatives see as a dangerous constraint on U.S. freedom of action. Neoconservatives, in short, are liberal imperialists on steroids, and liberal hawks are really just kinder, gentler neocons.
The liberal interventionists’ complicity in the neoconservative project makes them reluctant to criticize the neoconservatives very much, because to do so draws attention to their own culpability in the disastrous neoconservative program. It is no surprise, therefore, that recovering liberal hawks like Peter Beinart and Jonathan Chait — who both backed the Iraq war themselves — have recently defended neoconservative participation in the new debate over Iraq, while taking sharp issue with some of the neocons’ position.
The neoconservative-liberal alliance in effect re-legitimates the neoconservative world view, and makes their continued enthusiasm for U.S.-led wars look "normal." When the Obama administration is staffed by enthusiastic proponents of intervention like Samantha Power or Susan Rice, and when former Obama officials like Anne-Marie Slaughter are making neocon-like arguments about the need to send arms to Syria, it makes neoconservatives sound like a perfectly respectable faction within the broad U.S. policy community, instead of underscoring just how extreme and discredited their views really are....
What, if anything, might reduce the neoconservative influence to its proper dimension (that is to say, almost nil)? I wish I knew, for if the past ten years haven’t discredited them, it's not obvious what would. No doubt leaders in Moscow and Beijing derive great comfort from that fact: For what better way to ensure that the United States continues to lurch from crisis to crisis, and from quagmire to quagmire?
Until our society gets better at listening to those who are consistently right instead of those who are reliably wrong, we will repeat the same mistakes and achieve the same dismal results. Not that the neoconservatives will care." (end of article)
9/7/2015: Robert Parry: "It will not be easy to rid the world of the grave dangers created by neocon policies...if the likes of The Washington Post's (neocon editorial page editor) Fred Hiatt have anything to say about it....The refugee chaos that is now pushing deep into Europe...started with the cavalier ambitions of American neocons and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks who planned to remake the Middle East and other parts of the world through “regime change.”"..
9/7/2015, "How Neocons Destabilized Europe" by Robert Parry, consortiumnews.com
"The refugee chaos that is now pushing deep into Europe...started with the cavalier ambitions of American neocons and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks who planned to remake the Middle East and other parts of the world through “regime change.”
Instead of the promised wonders of “democracy promotion” and “human rights,” what these “anti-realists” have accomplished is to spread death, destruction and destabilization across the Middle East and parts of Africa and now into Ukraine and the heart of Europe. Yet, since these neocon forces still control the Official Narrative, their explanations get top billing – such as that there hasn’t been enough “regime change.”
For instance, The Washington Post’s neocon editorial page editor Fred Hiatt on Monday (2015) blamed “realists” for the cascading catastrophes. Hiatt castigated them and President Barack Obama for not intervening more aggressively in Syria to depose President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime neocon target for “regime change.”
But the truth is that this accelerating spread of human suffering can be traced back directly to the unchecked influence of the neocons and their liberal fellow-travelers who have resisted political compromise and, in the case of Syria, blocked any realistic efforts to work out a power-sharing agreement between Assad and his political opponents, those who are not terrorists....
A Dozen Years of Chaos
So, we can now look at the consequences and costs of the past dozen years under the spell of neocon/liberal-hawk “regime change” strategies. According to many estimates, the death toll in Iraq, Syria and Libya has exceeded one million with several million more refugees flooding into – and stretching the resources – of fragile Mideast countries.
Hundreds of thousands of other refugees and migrants have fled to Europe, putting major strains on the Continent’s social structures already stressed by the severe recession that followed the 2008 Wall Street crash. Even without the refugee crisis, Greece and other southern European countries would be struggling to meet their citizens’ needs.
Stepping back for a moment and assessing the full impact of neoconservative policies, you might be amazed at how widely they have spread chaos across a large swath of the globe. Who would have thought that the neocons would have succeeded in destabilizing not only the Mideast but Europe as well.
And, as Europe struggles, the export markets of China are squeezed, spreading economic instability to that crucial economy and, with its market shocks, the reverberations rumbling back to the United States, too.
We now see the human tragedies of neocon/liberal-hawk ideologies captured in the suffering of the Syrians and other refugees flooding Europe and the death of children drowning as their desperate families flee the chaos created by “regime change.” But will the neocon/liberal-hawk grip on Official Washington finally be broken? Will a debate even be allowed about the dangers of “regime change” prescriptions in the future?
Not if the likes of The Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt have anything to say about it. The truth is that Hiatt and other neocons retain their dominance of the mainstream U.S. news media, so all that one can expect from the various MSM outlets is more neocon propaganda, blaming the chaos not on their policy of “regime change” but on the failure to undertake even more “regime change.”
The one hope is that many Americans will not be fooled this time and that a belated “realism” will finally return to U.S. geopolitical strategies that will look for obtainable compromises to restore some political order to places such as Syria, Libya and Ukraine. Rather than more and more tough-guy/gal confrontations, maybe there will finally be some serious efforts at reconciliation.
But the other reality is that the interventionist forces have rooted themselves deeply in Official Washington, inside NATO, within the mainstream news media and even in European institutions. It will not be easy to rid the world of the grave dangers created by neocon policies."
April 2016 article:
"(Hillary) Clinton may claim she has lots of foreign policy experience, but the hard truth is that much of her experience has involved making grievous mistakes and bloody miscalculations."
April 1, 2016, “Cleaning Up Hillary’s Libya Mess,” Consortium News, Robert Parry
"Exclusive: U.S. officials are pushing a dubious new scheme to “unify” a shattered Libya, but the political risk at home is that voters will finally realize Hillary Clinton's responsibility for the mess, writes Robert Parry."
"Hillary Clinton’s signature project as Secretary of State – the “regime change" in Libya – is now sliding from the tragic to the tragicomic as her successors in the Obama administration adopt increasingly desperate strategies for imposing some kind of order on the once-prosperous North African country torn by civil war since Clinton pushed for the overthrow and murder of longtime Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The problem that Clinton did much to create has grown more dangerous since Islamic State terrorists have gained a foothold in Sirte and begun their characteristic beheading of “infidels” as well as their plotting for terror attacks in nearby Europe."...
7/26/16: The US is "most responsible for putting more weapons of a more powerful nature into the hands of those living in "volatile" regions."...
7/26/16, "There’s No Business Like the Weapons Business," Scott McConnell, The American Conservative, William D. Hartung (via TomDispatch.com)
"The U.S. monopoly on the arms trade deserves more media scrutiny."
(parag. 12) "Though seldom thought of this way, the U.S. political system is also a global arms distribution system of the first order. In this context, the Obama administration has proven itself a good friend to arms exporting firms. During President Obama’s first six years in office, Washington entered into agreements to sell more than $190 billion in weaponry worldwide — more, that is, than any U.S. administration since World War II. In addition, Team Obama has loosened restrictions on arms exports, making it possible to send abroad a whole new range of weapons and weapons components — including Black Hawk and Huey helicopters and engines for C-17 transport planes — with far less scrutiny than was previously required....It should be obvious that trends in the global arms trade are a major news story and should be dealt with as such in the country most responsible for putting more weapons of a more powerful nature into the hands of those living in “volatile” regions. It’s a monster business (in every sense of the word) and certainly has far more dangerous consequences than licensing a Hollywood blockbuster or selling another Boeing airliner....
One place where, with a helping hand from the Obama administration and the Pentagon, the arms industry has been doing a lot better of late is the Middle East. Washington has brokered deals for more than $50 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia alone for everything from F-15 fighter aircraft and Apache attack helicopters to combat ships and missile defense systems.
The most damaging deals, if not the most lucrative, have been the sales of bombs and missiles to the Saudis for their brutal war in Yemen, where thousands of civilians have been killed and millions of people are going hungry. Members of Congress like Michigan Representative John Conyers and Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy have pressed for legislation that would at least stem the flow of the most deadly of the weaponry being sent for use there, but they have yet to overcome the considerable clout of the Saudis in Washington (and, of course, that of the arms industry as well)....
There is, however, unlikely to be a genuine public debate about the value of the arms business and Washington’s place in it if it isn’t even considered a subject worthy of more than an occasional media story. In the meantime, the United States continues to hold onto the number one role in the global arms trade, the White House does its part, the Pentagon greases the wheels, and the dollars roll in to profit-hungry U.S. weapons contractors....
(1st parag): Are we ashamed of standing essentially alone as the world’s number one arms dealer, or is our Weapons “R” Us role such a commonplace that we take it for granted, like death or taxes?
The numbers should stagger anyone. According to the latest figures available from the Congressional Research Service, the United States was credited with more than half the value of all global arms transfer agreements in 2014, the most recent year for which full statistics are available. At 14 percent, the world’s second largest supplier, Russia, lagged far behind. Washington’s “leadership” in this field has never truly been challenged. The U.S. share has fluctuated between one-third and one-half of the global market for the past two decades, peaking at an almost monopolistic 70 percent of all weapons sold in 2011. And the gold rush continues. Vice Admiral Joe Rixey, who heads the Pentagon’s arms sales agency, euphemistically known as the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, estimates that arms deals facilitated by the Pentagon topped $46 billion in 2015, and are on track to hit $40 billion in 2016.
To be completely accurate, there is one group of people who pay remarkably close attention to these trends — executives of the defense contractors that are cashing in on this growth market. With the Pentagon and related agencies taking in “only” about $600 billion a year — high by historical standards but tens of billions of dollars less than hoped for by the defense industry — companies like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Dynamics have been looking to global markets as their major source of new revenue.
In a January 2015 investor call, for example, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson was asked whether the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration and five other powers might reduce tensions in the Middle East, undermining the company’s strategy of increasing its arms exports to the region. She responded that continuing “volatility” in both the Middle East and Asia would make them “growth areas” for the foreseeable future. In other words, no worries. As long as the world stays at war or on the verge of it, Lockheed Martin’s profits won’t suffer — and, of course, its products will help ensure that any such “volatility” will prove lethal indeed.
Under Hewson, Lockheed has set a goal of getting at least 25 percent of its revenues from weapons exports, and Boeing has done that company one better. It’s seeking to make overseas arms sales 30 percent of its business.
Good News From the Middle East (If You’re an Arms Maker)
Arms deals are a way of life in Washington. From the president on down, significant parts of the government are intent on ensuring that American arms will flood the global market and companies like Lockheed and Boeing will live the good life. From the president on his trips abroad to visit allied world leaders to the secretaries of state and defense to the staffs of U.S. embassies, American officials regularly act as salespeople for the arms firms.
And the Pentagon is their enabler. From brokering, facilitating, and literally banking the money from arms deals to transferring weapons to favored allies on the taxpayers’ dime, it is in essence the world’s largest arms dealer.
In a typical sale, the U.S. government is involved every step of the way. The Pentagon often does assessments of an allied nation’s armed forces in order to tell them what they “need”—–and of course what they always need is billions of dollars in new U.S.-supplied equipment. Then the Pentagon helps negotiate the terms of the deal, notifies Congress of its details, and collects the funds from the foreign buyer, which it then gives to the U.S. supplier in the form of a defense contract. In most deals, the Pentagon is also the point of contact for maintenance and spare parts for any U.S.-supplied system. The bureaucracy that helps make all of this happen, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, is funded from a 3.5 percent surcharge on the deals it negotiates. This gives it all the more incentive to sell, sell, sell.
And the pressure for yet more of the same is always intense, in part because the weapons makers are careful to spread their production facilities to as many states and localities as possible. In this way, they ensure that endless support for government promotion of major arms sales becomes part and parcel of domestic politics.
General Dynamics, for instance, has managed to keep its tank plants in Ohio and Michigan running through a combination of add-ons to the Army budget — funds inserted into that budget by Congress even though the Pentagon didn’t request them — and exports to Saudi Arabia. Boeing is banking on a proposed deal to sell 40 F-18s to Kuwait to keep its St. Louis production line open, and is currently jousting with the Obama administration to get it to move more quickly on the deal. Not surprisingly, members of Congress and local business leaders in such states become strong supporters of weapons exports."...
"William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and a senior advisor to the Security Assistance Monitor. He is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex. Copyright 2016 William D. Hartung"
Neocon Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt has experienced no negative consequences for his obviously mistaken advocacy:
8/6/2013, "Why Washington Post’s Hiatt Should Be Fired," Robert Parry, consortiumnews.com
"The purchase of the Washington Post by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos gives the newspaper a chance to shed its neocon ideology and get back to sound journalism. But that will require a housecleaning of top editors and columnists who turned the Post into the neocons’ flagship, like Fred Hiatt, Robert Parry wrote in March 2013."
By Robert Parry (Originally published on March 19, 2013)
"What is perhaps most remarkable about the tenth anniversary of President George W. Bush’s war of aggression in Iraq is that almost no one who aided and abetted that catastrophic and illegal decision has been held accountable in any meaningful way.
That applies to Bush and his senior advisers who haven’t spent a single day inside a jail cell; it applies to Official Washington’s well-funded think tanks where neoconservatives still dominate; and it applies to the national news media where journalists and pundits who lost jobs for disseminating pro-war propaganda can be counted on one finger (Judith Miller of the New York Times).
Yet, arguably the most egregious example of the news media failing to exact serious accountability for getting this major historical event wrong is the case of Fred Hiatt, who was the editorial-page editor of the Washington Post when it served as drum major for the invade-Iraq parade and who still holds the same prestigious position ten years later.
How is that possible? I’ve seen senior news executives dissect the work of honest journalists searching for minor flaws in articles to justify destroying their careers (i.e. what the San Jose Mercury News did to Gary Webb over his courageous reporting on Nicaraguan Contra-cocaine trafficking in the 1990s).
So how could Hiatt still have the same important job at the Washington Post after being catastrophically wrong about the justifications for going to war and after smearing war critics who tried to expose some of Bush’s lies to the American people? How could the U.S. news media be so upside-down in its principles that honest journalists get fly-specked and fired, while dishonest ones get life-time job security?
The short answer, I suppose, is that Hiatt was just doing what the Graham family, which still controls the newspaper, wanted done. From my days at Newsweek, which was then part of the Washington Post Company, I had seen this drift toward neoconservatism at the highest editorial ranks, the well-dressed and well-bred men preferred by publisher Katharine Graham and her son Donald.
But how arrogant can one ruling-class family be? And what does it say about future international crises that the Washington Post remains a highly influential newspaper in the nation’s capital?
Shouldn’t the Post, at minimum, have demonstrated some commitment to journalistic integrity by shaking up its editorial page after the truth about the Iraq War deceptions became painfully apparent?"...