How does this outfit survive on ad revenues? Why do sponsors pay for 181,000 people?
WHAT COULD WE DO WITH CNN’S VAST RESOURCES????
CNN has no audience. It is liberal, and it has no audience.
Why should anyone believe that CNN represents a mass movement?
It is nice to know that Turner can see the futility of his major effort. He deserves no less.
Monday’s 9pmET timeslot on CNN drew 181,000 total viewers, the lowest for the time period since at least Oct. 1, 1991, as far back as Nielsen electronic records go. Anderson Cooper anchored a second live hour of AC360 at 9pm. It was also the lowest rated hour of CNN’s entire day. Cooper finished fourth in the hour behind Megyn Kelly on Fox News, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and Dr. Drew Pinsky on HLN, in both total viewers and the demo.
In her new memoir, Sharyl Attkisson says a source who arranged to have her laptop checked for spyware in 2013 was “shocked” and “flabbergasted” at what the analysis revealed.
“This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America,” Attkisson quotes the source saying.
She speculates that the motive was to lay the groundwork for possible charges against her or her sources.
Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”
The breach was accomplished through an “otherwise innocuous e-mail” that Attkisson says she got in February 2012, then twice “redone” and “refreshed” through a satellite hookup and a Wi-Fi connection at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
The spyware included programs that Attkisson says monitored her every keystroke and gave the snoops access to all her e-mails and the passwords to her financial accounts.
“The intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool,” she wrote in “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”
THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS. WORSE THAN ANYTHING NIXON EVER DID.
Attkisson says her source — identified only as “Number One” — told her the spying was most likely not court-authorized because it went on far longer than most legal taps.
But the most shocking finding, she says, was the discovery of three classified documents that Number One told her were “buried deep in your operating system. In a place that, unless you’re a some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.”
“They probably planted them to be able to accuse you of having classified documents if they ever needed to do that at some point,” Number One added.
In her book, Attkisson says CBS lost interest in her coverage of the deadly attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and killed her stories of the federal “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal.
Members of the German media are paid by the CIA in return for spinning the news in a way that supports US interests, and some German outlets are nothing more than PR appendages of NATO,according to a new book by Udo Ulfkotte, a former editor ofFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers.
Ulfkotte is a serious mainstream journalist. Here he is on Germany’s leading political talk show a couple of years ago. The book is a sensation in Germany, #7 on the bestseller list. Its political dynamite, coming on the heels of German outrage of NSA tapping of their phones. Check out the RT.com story on it in the video below.
Here at Russia Insider, it has long been apparent to us that there is something distinctly odd about the German media regarding Russia. We follow it, and it is much more strident than even the anglo-saxon media regarding Russia, while German public opinion is much more positive towards Russia than in other countries.
Another interesting thing about it is that it is very disparate. Some major voices are very reasonable about Russia, but most are negative, and some are comically apocalyptic. This is what one would expect if there was some financial influence ginning the system.
We’ve been talking about this for a while now. German public opinion is becoming more and more fed up with the what they increasingly believe to be a rigged media, and its starting to come out everywhere.
The allegations, while shocking, are consistent with the CIA’s long and well-established history of media infiltration.
Operation Mockingbird, which began in the 1950s, was a secret CIA operation which recruited journalists to serve as mouthpieces for the American government. The program was officially terminated after it was exposed by the famous Church Committee investigations, but evidence of ongoing CIA influence over the media continues to accumulate.
Just last week Glenn Greenwald’s (of Edward Snowden fame) new groundbreaking investigative website, The Intercept, charged that the CIA leveraged its considerable influence – some might even say friendship – with media in order to discredit Gary Webb, the fearless American journalist who uncovered CIA cocaine trafficking as part of the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s.
On September 18, the agency released a trove of documents spanning three decades of secret government operations. Culled from the agency’s in-house journal, Studies in Intelligence, the materials include a previously unreleased six-page article titled “Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story.” Looking back on the weeks immediately following the publication of “Dark Alliance,” the document offers a unique window into the CIA’s internal reaction to what it called “a genuine public relations crisis” while revealing just how little the agency ultimately had to do to swiftly extinguish the public outcry.
Thanks in part to what author Nicholas Dujmovic, a CIA Directorate of Intelligence staffer at the time of publication, describes as “a ground base of already productive relations with journalists,” the CIA’s Public Affairs officers watched with relief as the largest newspapers in the country rescued the agency from disaster, and, in the process, destroyed the reputation of an aggressive, award-winning reporter.
Website cofounded by Glenn Greenwald accuses ex-Tribune reporter of sending stories to CIA before publication
Emails between former Tribune reporter Ken Dilanian and press office at CIA are made public
A website cofounded by journalist Glenn Greenwald has published emails suggesting that a former Tribune Washington bureau national security reporter submitted some of his work to CIA officials prior to publication, a practice banned by many media outlets, including Tribune.
In documents made public by the website, Dilanian appeared to promise positive news coverage and on occasion sent the CIA press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in a story eventually published by Tribune newspapers, according to the emails.
In another exchange, the website reported, Dilanian sent a full draft of an unpublished report about drone strikes along with the subject line, “does this look better?” In another, he directly asks the agency officer: “You wouldn’t put out disinformation on this, would you?”
“We have a very clear rule that has been in place for quite a few years that tells reporters not to share copies of stories outside the newsroom,” Lauter said. “I am disappointed that the emails indicate that Ken may have violated that rule.
“We don’t have reason to believe that any of the stories we published were in any way inaccurate,” Lauter added.
Paul Colford, director of media relations for the AP, said: “We were satisfied that any pre-publication exchanges that Ken had with the CIA before joining AP were in pursuit of accuracy in his reporting on intelligence matters.”
Dilanian declined to comment.
Greenwald is a former reporter for the Guardian who has reported extensively on national security issues. He cofounded the Intercept in part as a means of reporting on documents uncovered by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
MOCKINGBIRD: The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA
“You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month.” – CIA operative discussing with Philip Graham, editor Washington Post, on the availability and prices of journalists willing to peddle CIA propaganda and cover stories. “Katherine The Great,” by Deborah Davis (New York: Sheridan Square Press, 1991)
“The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” — William Colby, former CIA Director, cited by Dave Mcgowan, Derailing Democracy
“There is quite an incredible spread of relationships. You don’t need to manipulate Time magazine, for example, because there are [Central Intelligence] Agency people at the management level.” — William B. Bader, former CIA intelligence officer, briefing members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, The CIA and the Media, by Carl Bernstein
“The Agency’s relationship with [The New York] Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. [It was] general Times policy … to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.” — The CIA and the Media, by Carl Bernstein
“Senator William Proxmire has pegged the number of employees of the federal intelligence community at 148,000 … though Proxmire’s number is itself a conservative one. The “intelligence community” is officially defined as including only those organizations that are members of the U.S. Intelligence Board (USIB); a dozen other agencies, charged with both foreign and domestic intelligence chores, are not encompassed by the term…. The number of intelligence workers employed by the federal government is not 148,000, but some undetermined multiple of that number.” — Jim Hougan, Spooks
“For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government…. I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.” –former President Harry Truman, 22 December 1963, one month after the JFK assassination, op-ed section of the Washington Post, early edition
As terrible as it is to live in a nation where the press in known to be controlled by the government, at least one has the advantage of knowing the bias is present, and to adjust for it. In the United States of America, we are taught from birth that our press is free from such government meddling. This is an insideous lie about the very nature of the news institution in this country. One that allows the government to lie to us while denying the very fact of the lie itself.
The Alex Constantine Article
Tales from the Crypt
The Depraved Spies and Moguls of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD
by Alex Constantine
Who Controls the Media?
Soulless corporations do, of course. Corporations with grinning, double-breasted executives, interlocking directorates, labor squabbles and flying capital. Dow. General Electric. Coca-Cola. Disney. Newspapers should have mastheads that mirror the world: The Westinghouse Evening Scimitar, The Atlantic-Richfield Intelligentser . It is beginning to dawn on a growing number of armchair ombudsmen that the public print reports news from a parallel universe – one that has never heard of politically-motivated assassinations, CIA-Mafia banking thefts, mind control, death squads or even federal agencies with secret budgets fattened by cocaine sales – a place overrun by lone gunmen, where the CIA and Mafia are usually on their best behavior. In this idyllic land, the most serious infraction an official can commit __is a the employment of a domestic servant with (shudder) no residency status.
This unlikely land of enchantment is the creation of MOCKINGBIRD.
It was conceived in the late 1940s, the most frigid period of the cold war, when the CIA began a systematic infiltration of the corporate media, a process that often included direct takeover of major news outlets.
In this period, the American intelligence services competed with communist activists abroad to influence European labor unions. With or without the cooperation of local governments, Frank Wisner, an undercover State Department official assigned to the Foreign Service, rounded up students abroad to enter the cold war underground of covert operations on behalf of his Office of Policy Coordination. Philip Graham, __a graduate of the Army Intelligence School in Harrisburg, PA, then publisher of the Washington Post., was taken under Wisner’s wing to direct the program code-named Operation MOCKINGBIRD.
“By the early 1950s,” writes formerVillage Voice reporter Deborah Davis in Katharine the Great, “Wisner ‘owned’ respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles, plus stringers, four to six hundred in all, according to a former CIA analyst.” The network was overseen by Allen Dulles, a templar for German and American corporations who wanted their points of view represented in the public print. Early MOCKINGBIRD influenced 25 newspapers and wire agencies consenting to act as organs of CIA propaganda. Many of these were already run by men with reactionary views, among them William Paley (CBS), C.D. Jackson (Fortune), Henry Luce (Time) and Arthur Hays Sulzberger (N.Y. Times).
Activists curious about the workings of MOCKINGBIRD have since been appalled to f__ind in FOIA documents that agents boasting in CIA office memos of their pride in having placed “important assets” inside every major news publication in the country. It was not until 1982 that the Agency openly admitted that reporters on the CIA payroll have acted as case officers to agents in the field.
“World War III has begun,” Henry’s Luce’s Life declared in March, 1947. “It is in the opening skirmish stage already.” The issue featured an excerpt of a book by James Burnham, who called for the creation of an “American Empire,” “world-dominating in political power, set up at least in part through coercion (probably including war, but certainly the threat of war) and in which one group of people … would hold more than its equal share of power.”
George Seldes, the famed anti-fascist media critic, drew down on Luce in 1947, explaining tha__t “although avoiding typical Hitlerian phrases, the same doctrine of a superior people taking over the world and ruling it, began to appear in the press, whereas the organs of Wall Street were much more honest in favoring a doctrine inevitably leading to war if it brought greater commercial markets under the American flag.”
On the domestic front, an abiding relationship was struck between the CIA and William Paley, a wartime colonel and the founder of CBS. A firm believer in “all forms of propaganda” to foster loyalty to the Pentagon, Paley hired CIA agents to work undercover at the behest of his close friend, the busy grey eminence of the nation’s media, Allen Dulles. Paley’s designated go-between in his dealings with the CIA was Sig Mickelson, president of CBS News from 1954 to 1961.
The CIA’s assimilation of old guard fascists was overseen by the Operations Coordination Board, directed by C.D. Jackson, formerly an executive of Time magazine and Eisenhower’s Special Assistant for Cold War Strategy. In 1954 he was succeeded by Nelson Rockefeller, who quit a year later, disgusted at the administration’s political infighting. Vice President Nixon succeeded Rockefeller as the key cold war strategist.
“Nixon,” writes John Loftus, a former attorney for the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, took “a small boy’s delight in the arcane tools of the intelligence craft – the hidden microphones, the ‘black’ propaganda.” Nixon especially enjoyed his visit to a Virginia training camp to observe Nazis in the “special forces” drilling at covert operations.
One of the fugitives recruited by the American intelligence underground was heroin smuggler Hubert von Bl�cher, the son of A German ambassador. Hubert often bragged that that he was trained by the Abwehr, the German military intelligence division, while still a civilian in his twenties. He served in a recon unit of the German Army until forced out for medical reasons in 1944, according to his wartime records. He worked briefly as an assistant director for Berlin-Film on a movie entitled One Day …, and finished out the war flying with the Luftwaffe, but not to engage the enemy – his mission was the smuggling of Nazi loot out of the country. His exploits were, in part, the subject of Sayer and Botting’s Nazi Gold, an account of the knockover of the Reichsbank at the end of the war.
In 1948 he flew the coop to Argentina. Posing as a photographer named Huberto von Bleucher Corell, he immediately paid court to Eva Peron, presenting her with an invaluable Gobelin tapestry (a selection from the wealth of artifacts confiscated by the SS from Europe’s Jews?). Hubert then met with Martin Bormann at the Hotel Plaza to deliver German marks worth $80 million. The loot financed the birth of the National Socialist Party in Argentina, among other forms of Nazi revival.
In 1951, Hubert migrated northward and took a job at the Color Corporation of America in Hollywood. He eked out a living writing scripts for the booming movie industry. His voice can be heard on a film set in the Amazon, produced by Walt Disney. Nine years later he returned to Buenos Aires, then D�sseldorf, West Germany, and established a firm that developed not movie scripts, but anti-chemical warfare agents for the government. At the Industrie Club in D�sseldorf in 1982, von Bl�cher boasted to journalists, “I am chief shareholder of Pan American Airways. I am the best friend of Howard Hughes. The Beach Hotel in Las Vegas is 45 percent financed by me. I am thus the biggest financier ever to appear in the Arabian Nights tales dreamed up by these people over their second bottle of brandy.”
Not really. Two the biggest financiers to stumble from the drunken dreams of world-moving affluence were, in their time, Moses Annenberg, publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, and his son Walter , the CIA/mob-anchored publisher of the TV Guide. Like most American high-rollers, Annenberg lived a double life. Moses, his father, was a scion of the Capone mob. Both Moses and Walter were indicted in 1939 for tax evasions totalling many millions of dollars – the biggest case in the history of the Justice Department. Moses pled guilty and agreed to pay the government $8 million and settle $9 million in assorted tax claims, penalties and interest debts. Moses received a three-year sentence. He died in Lewisburg Penitentiary.
Walter Annenbeg, the TV Guide magnate, was a lofty Republican. On the campaign trail in April, 1988, George Bush flew into Los Angeles to woo Reagan’s kitchen cabinet. “This is the topping on the cake,” Bush’s regional campaign director told the Los Angeles Times. The Bush team met at Annenberg’s plush Rancho Mirage estate at Sunnylands, California. It was at the Annenberg mansion that Nixon’s cabinet was chosen, and the state’s social and contributor registers built over a quarter-century of state political dominance by Ronald Reagan, whose acting career was launched by Operation MOCKINGBIRD.
The commercialization of television, coinciding with Reagan’s recruitment by the Crusade for Freedom, a CIA front, presented the intelligence world with unprecedented potential for sowing propaganda and even prying in the age of Big Brother. George Orwell glimpsed the possibilities when he installed omniscient video surveillance technology in 1948, a novel rechristened 1984 for the first edition published in the U.S. by Harcourt, Brace. Operation Octopus, according to federal files, was in full swing by 1948, a surveillance program that turned any television set with tubes into a broadcast transmitter. Agents of Octopus could pick up audio and visual images with the equipment as far as 25 miles away.
Hale Boggs was investigating Operation Octopus at the time of his disappearance in the midst of the Watergate probe.
In 1952, at MCA, Actors’ Guild president Ronald Reagan – a screen idol recruited by MOCKINGBIRD’s Crusade for Freedom to raise funds for the resettlement of Nazis in the U.S., according to Loftus – signed a secret waiver of the conflict-of-interest rule with the mob-controlled studio, in effect granting it a labor monopoly on early television programming. In exchange, MCA made Reagan a part owner. Furthermore, historian C. Vann Woodward, writing in the New York Times, in 1987, reported that Reagan had “fed the names of suspect people in his organization to the FBI secretly and regularly enough to be assigned ‘an informer’s code number, T-10.’ His FBI file indicates intense collaboration with producers to ‘purge’ the industry of subversives.”
No one ever turned a suspicious eye on Walter Cronkite, a former intelligence officer and in the immediate postwar period UPI’s Moscow correspondent. Cronkite was lured to CBS by Operation MOCKINGBIRD’s Phil Graham, according to Deborah Davis.
Another television conglomerate, Cap Cities, rose like a horror-film simian from CIA and Mafia heroin operations. Among other organized-crime Republicans, Thomas Dewey and his neighbor Lowell Thomas threw in to launch the infamous Resorts International, the corporate front for Lansky’s branch of the federally-sponsored mob family and the corporate precursor to Cap Cities. Another of the investors was James Crosby, a Cap Cities executive who donated $100,000 to Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign. This was the year that Resorts bought into Atlantic City casino interests. Police in New jersey attempted, with no success, to spike the issuance of a gambling license to the company, citing Mafia ties.
In 1954, this same circle of investors, all Catholics, founded the broadcasting company notorious for overt propagandizing and general spookiness. The company’s chief counsel was OSS veteran William Casey, who clung to his shares by concealing them in a blind trust even after he was appointed CIA director by Ronald Reagan in 1981.
“Black radio” was the phrase CIA critic David Wise coined in The Invisible Government to describe the agency’s intertwining interests in the emergence of the transistor radio with the entrepreneurs who took to the airwaves. “Daily, East and West beam hundreds of propaganda broadcasts at each other in an unrelenting babble of competition for the minds of their listeners. The low-price transistor has given the hidden war a new importance,” enthused one foreign correspondent.
A Hydra of private foundations sprang up to finance the propaganda push. One of them, Operations and Policy Research, Inc. (OPR), received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the CIA through private foundations and trusts. OPR research was the basis of a television series that aired in New York and Washington, D.C. in 1964, Of People and Politics, a “study” of the American political system in 21 weekly installments.
In Hollywood, the visual cortex of The Beast, the same CIA/Mafia combination that formed Cap Cities sank its claws into the film studios and labor unions. Johnny Rosselli was pulled out of the Army during the war by a criminal investigation of Chicago mobsters in the film industry. Rosselli, a CIA asset probably assassinated by the CIA, played sidekick to Harry Cohn, the Columbia Pictures mogul who visited Italy’s Benito Mussolini in 1933, and upon his return to Hollywood remodeled his office after the dictator’s. The only honest job Rosselli ever had was assistant purchasing agent (and a secret investor) at Eagle Lion productions, run by Bryan Foy, a former producer for 20th Century Fox. Rosselli, Capone’s representative on the West Coast, passed a small fortune in mafia investments to Cohn. Bugsy Seigel pooled gambling investments with Billy Wilkerson, publisher of the Hollywood Reporter.
In the 1950s, outlays for global propaganda climbed to a full third of the CIA’s covert operations budget. Some 3, 000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts. The cost of disinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year by 1978, a budget larger than the combined expenditures of Reuters, UPI and the AP news syndicates.
In 1977, the Copely News Service admitted that it worked closely with the intelligence services – in fact, 23 employees were full-time employees of the Agency.
Most consumers of the corporate media were – and are – unaware of the effect that the salting of public opinion has on their own beliefs. A network anchorman in time of national crisis is an instrument of psychological warfare in the MOCKINGBIRD media. He is a creature from the national security sector’s chamber of horrors. For this reason consumers of the corporate press have reason to examine their basic beliefs about government and life in the parallel universe of these United States.
Richard Gage talked about his group, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which claimed that the World Trade Center was brought down by explosive demolition on September 11, 2001. The group was founded in 2006 and said its mission was to “expose the official lies and cover-up surrounding the events of September 11, 2001 in a way that inspires the people to overcome denial and understand the truth.” Mr. Gage spoke via video link from San Francisco, California.
RT has managed to re-establish contact with Graham Phillips, a news contributor who was captured at Donetsk airport on Tuesday night while covering the Ukrainian conflict. Philips shared firsthand details of his three days in captivity with RT.
“I am in Poland. I am not exactly sure where I am. I just got to the border by the SBU (Ukrainian Security Service) quite recently, so I am getting my bearings,” Phillips told RT, which contacted the journalist via Skype after his release.
Phillips said he was deported from Ukraine and banned for three years on the grounds that he works for RT. “The reason they gave [me] that was simply that I work for RT, that was all it said in the form. They wouldn’t let me take it or copy it. Just said that ‘you work for RT, it’s the enemy.’ I wasn’t given the chance to defend myself. I was just taken to the border.”
The journalist said it all started three days ago when he was on his way to film fire exchanges between government forces and militants just a few hundred meters away from the airport in Donetsk. He was with Vadim Aksyonov, a stringer for ANNA News agency.
“RT told me not to go in strong terms, but I went anyway with the local journalist Vadim. And we were taken by Ukrainian soldiers and Vadim was pretty badly beaten right in front of me by Ukrainian soldiers. He was on the ground, his head in the ground, just a young guy punching him and kicking him,” Phillips said.
“Vladimir Putin doesn’t control a crime scene in a foreign country. I think it’s quite ludicrous for you to ask that question,” Lavelle responded, adding that Putin has called for a complete investigation.
The Russia Today host instead pointed a finger at the State Department, which he said was relying on Twitter and YouTube for evidence.
“Maybe you haven’t been following it, but the U.S. has actually [come] out with its own intelligence” connecting Russia to possibly assisting the separatists, Cuomo said.
“What forensic evidence are you referring to? Twitter?” Lavelle replied.
“I do not think, Peter, that this is something to be flip about—298 people lost their lives, let’s not play politics here,” Cuomo shot back.
The hosts continued talking over each other about the investigation and Russia’s involvement.
“Peter, why are you afraid to hear what I’m saying? I’m not here to fight with you. I just left the crime scene; the last thing I want to see is more violence of any kind, verbal or otherwise,” Cuomo said.
Lavelle said the U.S. should be releasing and comparing satellite data and when Cuomo said it has done so, Lavelle told the anchor, “You’re living in a parallel universe!”
“Peter, calm down, take a breath. We’ve already had something bad happen, there’s no reason to compound it,” Cuomo said.
Lavelle snapped back, “Ask me an intelligent question.”
“I think I’ve asked you several. Your answers, I don’t know about the intelligence of, but the questions are pretty spot on. Let me ask you again because I’m not a representative of the U.S.; you seem to be acting like a representative of Russia,” Cuomo said.
Lavelle interjected, “Great, character assassination. So you went to character assassination in what? Five minutes?”
“You sound like Jen Psaki at the U.S. State Department,” Lavelle continued.
“No, what I sound like is a reporter who feels deeply for the 298 lives who were lost, who were not part of this conflict and don’t need to be part of your discussion about whether Russia is being unfairly blamed,” Cuomo replied.
The pair continued in a lengthy back and forth and speaking over one another, before Cuomo expressed exasperation.
“This is a joke. We gotta get out of this,” Cuomo said.
After ending the segment, Cuomo told viewers, “The last thing I want to do is to stoke some type of useless conversation, the emotion sometimes gets the better of you, especially when you’ve been on the scene … I apologize for getting involved for what became more about emotion than reason there for a moment.”
In unprecedented criticism of the White House, 38 journalism groups have assailed the president’s team for censoring media coverage, limiting access to top officials and overall “politically-driven suppression of the news.”
In a letter to President Obama, the 38, led by the Society of Professional Journalists, said efforts by government officials to stifle or block coverage has grown for years and reached a high-point under his administration despite Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to provide transparency.
Worse, they said: As access for reporters has been cut off, the administration has opened the door to lobbyists, special interests and “people with money.”
And as a result, they wrote, Obama only has himself to blame for the current cynicism of his administration. “You need look no further than your own administration for a major source of that frustration – politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies. We call on you to take a stand to stop the spin and let the sunshine in,” wrote David Cuillier, president of SPJ.
The administration has dismissed similar charges from other journalism groups, notably the White House Correspondents’ Association, but the new letter sent Tuesday provided several examples of censorship and efforts to block reporter access. Among them:
• Officials blocking reporters’ requests to talk to specific staff people.
• Excessive delays in answering interview requests that stretch past reporters’ deadlines.
• Officials conveying information “on background” — refusing to give reporters what should be public information unless they agree not to say who is speaking.
• Federal agencies blackballing reporters who write critically of them.
“In many cases, this is clearly being done to control what information journalists — and the audience they serve — have access to. A survey found 40 percent of public affairs officers admitted they blocked certain reporters because they did not like what they wrote,” added the letter.
In addition to asking for openness, the groups demanded Obama create an ombudsman position to help clear away barriers to news coverage.
“It has not always been this way,” concluded the letter. “In prior years, reporters walked the halls of agencies and called staff people at will. Only in the past two administrations have media access controls been tightened at most agencies. Under this administration, even non-defense agencies have asserted in writing their power to prohibit contact with journalists without surveillance. Meanwhile, agency personnel are free speak to others — lobbyists, special-interest representatives, people with money — without these controls and without public oversight.”
SPJ’s Cuillier told Secrets, “I feel this excessive message management and information control are caused by the professionalization of PR in the bureaucracy — in all levels of government.”
And, he added, “It is up to journalists — and citizens — to push back against this force. Hard!”
PresidentObama made headlines in Minneapolis on Thursday, rolling out his “phony scandal” rhetoric to address the cascade of questionable acts now receiving public outrage, and not just from Republicans. In a stunning rebuke, the dominant newspaper in the state of Minnesota, the very left-wing and politically correct Star-Tribuneof Minneapolis has editorialized a demand for a special prosecutor:
The old caution against ascribing to malice what can be explained by incompetence is worth keeping in mind when evaluating a high-profile blunder in either the private or public sector, such as the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny.
But the latest twist in the long-running controversy — the eye-rollingly convenient loss of IRS e-mails — moves the needle from ineptitude and toward the other, more troubling end of the spectrum. While the lost e-mails aren’t definitive proof of an orchestrated effort by the IRS or the Obama administration, the recent news that thousands of e-mails were obliterated in a computer hard-drive crash in 2011 is tough to swallow, not only for technology professionals, but also for an increasingly tech-savvy public.
Here is what IAITAM’s president, Dr. Barbara Rembiesa, says about the disappearance of Lerner emails:
The notion that these emails just magically vanished makes no sense whatsoever. That is not how IT asset management at major businesses and government institutions works in this country.
When the hard drive in question was destroyed, the IRS should have called in an accredited IT Asset Destruction (ITAD) professional or firm to complete that process, which requires extensive documentation, official signoffs, approvals, and signatures of completion. If this was done, there would be records. If this was not done, this is the smoking gun that proves the drive or drives were destroyed improperly – or not at all.
WASHINGTON– Last year, United States Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) criticized Obama for acting “like a king or monarch” as the administration threatened to unconstitutionally bypass Congress on gun control. It seems as though the administration felt the title should stick.
The picture depicts “King Obama” sitting upon the “Iron Throne” at Kings Landing in the ancient kingdom of Westeros from the HBO hit series Game of Thrones. The photo looks as if it was lifted straight from The Onion. However, it is not. The image is a result of Obama’s speech at last week’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner where he joked about enacting more executive orders. The administration took it upon themselves to create the photo of King Obama, and the official White House Twitter account sent out the tweet before last week’s episode aired.
Obama sits with the King’s crown in his hands and former King Joeffrey’s crossbow sitting on the coffee table. The tweet reads “The Westeros Wing.”
Is it a joke? If you call making fun of your truth as a diversionary tactic a joke, then sure- we’re all laughing. Regardless, Obama’s countless dead, innocent drone victims are not laughing. Furthermore, those who take their oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States are not laughing either.
The image is disturbing for multiple reasons.
First, those familiar with the series know all too well the nature of kings found within Game of Thrones. As Tywin Lannister, a central antagonist, says, the kings have all been ignorant, insane and ruthless murderers. Then again, what more would you expect from a president that boasts about “being really good at killing people.”
Second, why the president of a constitutional republic would find such an image appropriate is beyond understanding. Could you imagine if George Bush’s administration posted such a picture?
Finally, a crossbow sitting on the coffee table of the West Wing? Why didn’t the “most transparent administration in history” just photoshop a drone in? In the name of transparency, of course. Perhaps they will find this image more suitable for next week’s episode.