Friday, 29 March 2019

Beyond BuzzFeed: The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story

Glenn Greenwald

BUZZFEED WAS ONCE notorious for traffic-generating “listicles,” but has since become an impressive outlet for deep investigative journalism under editor-in-chief Ben Smith. That outlet was prominently in the news this week thanks to its “bombshell” story about President Trump and Michael Cohen: a story that, like so many others of its kind, blew up in its face, this time when the typically mute Robert Mueller’s office took the extremely rare step to label its key claims “inaccurate.”

But in homage to BuzzFeed’s past viral glory, following are the top ten worst media failures in two-plus-years of Trump/Russia reporting. They are listed in reverse order, as measured by the magnitude of the embarrassment, the hysteria they generated on social media and cable news, the level of journalistic recklessness that produced them, and the amount of damage and danger they caused. This list was extremely difficult to compile in part because news outlets (particularly CNN and MSNBC) often delete from the internet the video segments of their most embarrassing moments. Even more challenging was the fact that the number of worthy nominees is so large that highly meritorious entrees had to be excluded, but are acknowledged at the end with (dis)honorable mention status.

Note that all of these “errors” go only in one direction: namely, exaggerating the grave threat posed by Moscow and the Trump circle’s connection to it. It’s inevitable that media outlets will make mistakes on complex stories. If that’s being done in good faith, one would expect the errors would be roughly 50/50 in terms of the agenda served by the false stories. That is most definitely not the case here. Just as was true in 2002 and 2003, when the media clearly wanted to exaggerate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and thus all of its “errors” went in that direction, virtually all of its major “errors” in this story are devoted to the same agenda and script:

10. RT Hacked Into and Took Over C-SPAN (Fortune)

9. Russian Hackers Invaded the U.S. Electricity Grid to Deny Vermonters Heat During the Winter (WashPost)

8. A New, Deranged, Anonymous Group Declares Mainstream Political Sites on the Left and Right to be Russian Propaganda Outlets and WashPost Touts its Report to Claim Massive Kremlin Infiltration of the Internet (WashPost)

Too long, too detailed and with too much graphics and links to reproduce here, go swing by the source, pronto!

36 comments:

  1. No, the media's greatest failing in the Trump Russia story has been to completely ignore the totally corrupt and illegal POLITICAL origins of the investigation because "it would reflect poorly on the MANY former Obama Administration officials." Trump isn't p*ssed at Comey and Rosenstein for NO REASON.

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  2. It's truly amazing how many Americans are pissed off their president is NOT a Russian spy!

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  3. The only conspiracy here is MSM v. People.

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  4. I prefer to think of it as global capital v. People. We're ALL being bought and paid for... and the neoliberal economics Left all speak their "multicultural" identity politics based discourse...

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    1. That text is one of many that makes this leftist quite popular by the Right:

      ”Multiculturalism is a racism which empties its own position of all positive content (the multiculturalist is not a direct racist, he doesn’t oppose to the Other the particular values of his own culture), but nonetheless retains this position as; the privileged empty point of universality from which one is able to appreciate (and depreciate) properly other particular cultures—the multiculturalist respect for the Other’s specificity is the very form of asserting one’s; own superiority.”

      Sorry, but that’s gobbledygook and a transparent attempt at turning the table. “Edgy” stuff that simply isn’t true.

      It gets worse:

      ”And, of course, the ideal form of ideology of this global capitalism is multiculturalism, the attitude which, from a kind of empty global position, treats each local culture the way the colonizer treats colonized people—as ‘natives’ whose mores are to be carefully studied and ‘respected’.”

      Really Slavoj? The Colonizer respects the colonized?

      Each instance of colonization was accompanied by periods/episodes of extreme brutality towards the subjugated. You can’t keep a people under your jackboot without extreme oppression.

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    2. They don't respect the native cultures? Where'd the Manusmriti come from then?

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    3. Why translate it? Why not burn it and give the colonials a new slave law?

      A- to prevent assimilation and a demand for a free Englishman's rights.

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    4. I wonder what Homi Baba would say?

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  5. The [British] colonial administration began the codification of Hindu and Muslim laws in 1772 and continued through the next century, with emphasis on certain texts as the authentic "sources" of the law and custom of Hindus and Muslims, which in fact devalued and retarded those dynamic social systems. The codification of complex and interdependent traditional systems froze certain aspects of the status of women, for instance, outside the context of constantly evolving social and economic relations, which in effect limited or restricted women's rights. The selectivity of the process, whereby colonial authorities sought the assistance of Hindu and Muslim religious elites in understanding the law, resulted in the Brahminization and Islamization of customary laws [in British India]. For example, the British orientalist scholar William Jones translated the key texts Al Sirjjiyah in 1792 as the Mohammedan Law of Inheritance, and Manusmriti in 1794 as the Institutes of Hindu Law or the Ordinances of Manu. In short, British colonial administrators reduced centuries of vigorous development of total ethical, religious and social systems to fit their own preconceived European notions of what Muslim and Hindu "law" should be."

    — Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Sharia[85]

    All colonizers co-opt talented natives, for local administration/language etc. That doesn't amount to 'respect' in my book.

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    1. And the British Raj was something particular: more semi-colonisation really.

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    2. If it was so culturally degrading, it makes you wonder why de-colonized Indians and Pakistanis today "vote" at all, don't it? Shouldn't they just crown some rag-head according to the "ancient and formerly respectful" traditions?

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    3. btw - As a colonized nation, would you prefer the teachers of your children and policers of your neighborhoods to be made up of the colonizer's nationals, or your own people? The answer is obvious.

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    4. As for the language, not too many Indian engineers in my area (and there are a LOT of them) complain about having learned to speak English.

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    5. Are you trying to burn a candle for an old conservative chestnut that 'Colonisation was ultimately good for the poor natives, you know?'

      Because that would be particularly idiotic, Farmer.

      The Indians you're referring belong to/are the decendants of those ended up co-opted into the coloniser's system of governance. Some, unkindly, would call them 'collaborators'...

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    6. We all change as a result of colonization. America started as the union of thirteen of them.

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    7. ...snd yes, we have much to thank the British for.

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    8. Your not one of those environmental whackos who believe man to be the denizen of a pristine Mother Nature, do you?

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    9. Colonization created a new space in which to consider and implement new possibilities and ideas....a new America or a democratic India. It's neither good or bad. It's merely different.

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    10. As soon as "Independence" arrives, the colonized people drop the historical cultural garb they had wrapped themselves in during the fight, and don top hats and ties. They're now "free" to "appropriate" all the symbols of power that the colonizers had formerly imposed upon them.

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  6. "btw - As a colonized nation, would you prefer the teachers of your children and policers of your neighborhoods to be made up of the colonizer's nationals, or your own people? The answer is obvious."

    Tell it to the victims of the conquest of Latin America. Or Congo. Or North America. Etc, etc, the list is endless.

    Please do NOT try and justify colonisation here: you will be testing my patience.

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  7. Every nation on the earth has colonized others. We don't just spring from the earth from dragons teeth like mermidons.

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  8. ”Your not one of those environmental whackos who believe man to be the denizen of a pristine Mother Nature, do you?”

    No, far from it.

    ”....a new America or a democratic India. It's neither good or bad. It's merely different.”

    Again, tell it to the descendants of the victims (Native Americans)… they’ll be so pleased you benefitted from their immiseration!!!

    ”Every nation on the earth has colonized others. We don't just spring from the earth from dragons teeth like mermidons.”

    A gratuitous, gross exaggeration, one you can’t prove. In prehistory many massive migrations were probably victimless.

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    1. Tell that to the Iroquois, when the Huron were kicking them out of the Great Lakes region with French arms....

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    2. O/T:

      I see you're now trying to engage with "Franco YOU JUST DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH I HATE DA JOOOOOOS(*) the perverted fisherman".

      Good luck with that!

      (*)I HATE THEM SOO MUUUCH WORDS FAIL!!!! SOO MUUUCH!!

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    3. And that video: the man-child Ben Shapiro and Nick Griffin, farmer? NICK GRIFFIN???

      Another US obsession: CM and PC!

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    1. ...because nomadic hunter-gatherers made so MUCH better use of the land than peoples who cultivated agriculture.... from a population density sustainability point of view.

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  10. "...because nomadic hunter-gatherers made so MUCH better use of the land than peoples who cultivated agriculture"

    What does that have to do with colonisation? That transition is poorly understood, except for those who have heady, self-serving fantasies about it, like you.

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  11. "As soon as "Independence" arrives, the colonized people drop the historical cultural garb they had wrapped themselves in during the fight, and don top hats and ties."

    Yeah, I can see these masses of Native Indians in top hats and ties.

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  12. We hardly know what the Roman colonisation of Britain really looked like but you? You know what happened to Homo Neanderthalensis!

    You should write a book.

    Or alternatively, read one.

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