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America: The Republic of Lying

by Stephen Lendmanlies

 

Longtime investigative journalist Seymour Hersh addressed it. More on what he said below.

Others like him did years earlier. They included HL Mencken, Charles Edward Russell, Lincoln Steffens, Upton Sinclair, and IF Stone among others.

Stone (1907 – 1989) said he “tried to bring the instincts of a scholar to the service of journalism; to take nothing for granted; to turn journalism into literature; to provide radical analysis with a conscientious concern for accuracy, and in studying the current scene to do (his) very best to preserve human values and free institutions.”

He deplored the ascendancy of “right-wing kooks” taking over America. Ralph Nader called him a modern day Tom Paine.

He was “as independent and incorruptible as the come,” he said. He was “journalism’s Gibraltar.” He was a crusader.

He was an irritant. He spoke truth to power. He did it forthrightly. FBI agents monitored him for years.

They tapped his phone. They intercepted his mail. They amassed a file on his activities threefold their size for Al Capone.

He was a journalist’s journalist. He was a newspaperman at heart.

He said: “The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins….”

He lectured young students wanting to enter the profession.

He told them: “All governments lie and nothing they say should be believed.” Media liars reflect the same problem.

Hersh understands. He’s furious about what passes for today’s journalism. His anger is well justified. Managed news misinformation substitutes for truth and full disclosure.

On September 27, London’s Guardian headlined “Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the ‘pathetic’ American media.”

Hersh is a Washington-based Pulizer Prize-winning investigative journalist/author. He won numerous awards. In 2004, he was a George Orwell Award recipient.

It’s called the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language.

It honors writers who’ve made outstanding contributions to critical analysis and public discourse. Hersh has been the nemesis of politicians for decades.

Republicans once called him “the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist.”

He believes fixing the deplorable state of US journalism requires major surgery. He favors closing down TV news bureaus. Sack 90% of print editors. Get rid of all the liars.

Get “outsider(s)” involved willing to speak truth to power. “Don’t get him started on the New York Times,” said the Guardian.

It spends “so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would – or the death of Osama bin Laden,” said Hersh.

“Nothing’s been done about that story. It’s one big lie. Not one word of it is true.”

In May 2011, Obama lied saying:

“Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”

Media scoundrels regurgitated the Big Lie. Bin Laden died naturally. He did so in December 2001. He was very ill with kidney disease and other ailments.

In July 2002, The New York Times said he’d been dead for “almost six months.” He was “buried in the mountains of southeast Afghanistan.”

The story was buried, forgotten and ignored. On May 1, 2011, The Times headlined “Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama Says.”

“(T)he mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world, was killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan, President Obama announced on Sunday.”

Bin Laden had nothing to do with 9/11. Times writers, commentators and editors never explained.

Lies substituted for truth. They still do. Even its own July 2002 story was ignored. It’s buried down The Times’ memory hole.

Hersh has a bin Laden chapter in a new book he’s writing. It focuses on national security.

He commented on a so-called “independent” Pakistani commission report. It discusses life in the Abottabad compound where Obama said bin Laden was killed.

“The Pakistanis put out a report,” said Hersh. “Don’t get me going on it. Let’s put it this way. It was done with considerable American input. It’s a bullshit report.”

Obama and those around him lie. They do it repeatedly. They do it consistently. They do it disgracefully. Nothing they say holds water. One lie follows others.

Media “leviathans” don’t challenge them. “It’s pathetic,” said Hersh. “They are more than obsequious. They are afraid to pick on” Obama.

“It used to be when you were in a situation when something very dramatic happened, the president and the minions around the president had control of the narrative.”

“You would pretty much know they would do the best they could to tell the story straight.”

“Now that doesn’t happen any more. Now they take advantage of something like that and they work out how to re-elect the president.”

Finley Peter Dunne (1867 – 1936) believed journalism should “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

Today’s major media journalists follow polar opposite standards and guidelines. They don’t speak to power. They lie for it. They betray their readers, viewers and profession in the process.

Hersh retains hope. “I have this sort of heuristic view that journalism, we possibly offer hope because the world is clearly run by total nincompoops more than ever,” he said.

“Not that journalism is always wonderful. It’s not, but at least we offer some way out, some integrity.”

He won a Pulizer Prize for exposing the Vietnam era My Lai massacre. He did it the old-fashioned way. In 1969, he learned about platoon leader William Calley.

He was charged with the crime. Hersh sought him out. His efforts paid off. He got what he wanted. He wrote five stories explaining it. The first one headlined “Lieutenant Accused of Murdering 109 Civilians.”

He did so “deliberately in a search-and-destroy mission in March 1968 in a Viet Cong stronghold known as ‘Pinkville.’ ”

“Calley was formally charged on or about Sept. 6, 1969, in the multiple deaths, just a few days before he was due to be released from active service.”

He was tried. He was convicted of murder. He was sentenced to life in prison.

He got off easy. Nixon ordered him transferred to house arrest at Fort Benning pending appeal. He remained there for three and half years.

He petitioned for release. A federal judge granted it. In late 1974, Nixon granted him a limited pardon.

His general court-martial, conviction and army dismissal were upheld. His sentence was commuted to time served. He remains a free man.

Decades after Hersh broke the My Lai story, he exposed Iraq’s Abu Ghraib torture and abuse scandal. His message to aspiring journalists is “put the miles and hours in.”

He knew about Abu Ghraib months before he exposed it. “I went five months looking for a document, because without (one), there’s nothing there,” he said.

He’s adamant in calling Obama worse than Bush.

“Do you think Obama’s been judged by any rational standards,” he asked?

“Has Guantanamo closed? Is a war over? Is anyone paying any attention to Iraq?”

“Is he seriously talking about going into Syria? We are not doing so well in the 80 wars we are in right now.”

“What the hell does he want to go into another one for? What’s going on?” Why aren’t journalists discussing this?

He believes US investigative journalism is succumbing to a crisis of confidence. Resources are lacking. Digging out hard truths takes time, patience, supportive editors, and willingness to fund the effort.

Too much today “is looking for prizes,” said Hersh. Journalists want a Pulizer. They’re not pursuing it the right way.

They practice “packaged journalism.” They write about unsafe “railway crossings and stuff like that.” They avoid hard issues mattering most.

“Like killing people. How does (Obama) get away with” drone wars? “How does he justify it? What’s the intelligence?”

“Why don’t we find out how good or bad this policy is? Why do newspapers constantly cite the two or three groups that monitor drone killings? Why don’t we do our own work?”

“Our job is to find out ourselves. Our job is not just to say – here’s a debate.”

“Our job is to go beyond the debate and find out who’s right and who’s wrong about issues. That doesn’t happen enough.”

“It costs money. It costs time. It jeopardises. It raises risks. There are some people – the New York Times still has investigative journalists but they do much more of carrying water for the president than I ever thought they would.”

“It’s like you don’t dare be an outsider any more. The Bush era (was) much easier to be critical” about. Obama gets away with murder.

Most editors are cowards, Hersh believes. Fire them, he says. Start promoting subordinates not beholden to power. Get ones you can’t control.

“Start promoting better people who look you in the eye and say ‘I don’t care what you say.’ ”

“The republic’s in trouble,” Hersh stresses. “We lie about everything. Lying has become the staple.”

It’s what passes for major media journalism today. It’s biased, irresponsible and duplicitous. Propaganda substitutes for real news, information and analysis.

George Seldes called irresponsible journalists of his day “prostitutes of the press.” Paul Craig Roberts calls them “presstitutes.”

The New York Times is the closest thing in America to an official ministry of information and propaganda. The self-styled “paper of record” has a sorrowful history.

It fronts for wealth, power and privilege. It backs corporate interests. It spurns populist ones. When America goes to war or plans one, it marches in lock step.

It lies for power. It does do disgracefully. It’s not alone. America’s entire major media establishment supports what demands condemnation.

Growing numbers of people object. They’re tuning out. They want reliable sources. They’re available online. What better way to stay informed. It’s more important now than ever.

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Posted by on Oct 5 2013, With 0 Reads, Filed under Americas, Editor, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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15 Comments for “America: The Republic of Lying”

  1. Thank you Steven. Telling the truth is what closed every media door in my face, in the massively corrupt country I live in. There’s a very long way to go to get out of this morass we find ourselves in today. May stories like yours and others increase in proportion to the madness that passes for enlightenment today.

  2. Charlotte NC Bill

    We lie about everything and what we don’t lie about in this country we’re not allowed to talk about…free speech my ass…Free speech=whatever is deemed acceptable by the Synagogue of satan…

  3. I still remember, and can still hear Eisenhower telling me about the military industrial complex. I didn’t know what it was, but he sounded serious I looked for it every now and then, but never saw it.
    Then came Kennedy. He spoke with serious tone, and intent. He spoke out for me, and made me feel connected. If he was lying, boy was he a good one.
    Since then, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Oblunder, lies have permeated the air, and now the truth is as much a stranger as that military industrial complex.
    I don’t know much, not very smart, but I do wonder what kind of people do this to their homeland solely for power, prestige among themselves and huge profits. How much is enough? Well I don’t know that either. I just know I wish there was someway I could separate out the true patriots from the traitors and someone could do something about it to save our homeland.
    Great article. Sad isn’t it that there are Americans trying to kill off all the good we have done, our traditions, our culture, our way of life Not much we can do without a program telling us who are the bad guys and who are the ones not lying.

  4. What goes through the minds of very dedicated young people who pursue journalism majors in college? Do they know what really goes on? Do these university professors of journalism have to be politically correct or face losing their jobs?
    Anti holocaust industry activist and professor Norman Finkelstein ( down to earth Jewish man from Brooklyn, New York) lost his job and tenure at Hunter College in NY City. Finkelstein for many years has also spoken out against Israeli settlement building and killing of Palestinians particularly Palestinian women and children.

  5. Understand this, it is not coincidence or accident that this message is right before our eyes:

    Obama Osama
    Biden Bin Laden
    Hussein Hussein

    If you tried those odds in Vegas you’d lose your shirt…

    What’s it mean? It means that there is a vast tier of knowledge, of organization and purpose, that we know nothing about. It means we’re slaves and minions and the joke’s on us.

    • often times I’ve thought about this, but never thought much into it. I voted against Obunder simply ,because of it. I thought I was making a bigger deal out of it and it was merely a coincidence. Odd you would bring this up. Makes ya wonder doesn’t it?

    • @truth2.0:

      Now I know of at least three (you, Chandler and I) in the whole world intrigued by this name connection. I noticed it when Obama announced he would run for president in ’08 (the newspapers at the time wrote that said announcement, “electrified the world.”) I thought, “Boy, this guy’s middle and last name are mighty close to Osama bin Laden and Saddam’s Hussein.” How could he possibly win the presidency?

      Obviously, the referenced names are tied in with divination, or at least a belief in divination on the part of the Shadow Word Rulers (SWR’s). The SWRs may actually have so much power by now
      (would it make one’s spine tingle to learn that it be but one SWR at the top finally) that such a blatant thing is simply a slap in the whole world’s face, not for the particular purpose of divination in particular, but just to test said singular SWR’s power? I have believed, for quite a while now, that said Shadow World Ruler has been in place far longer than I have suspected it (1968,) and that the first two World Wars were but harbingers. How could a whole world go to war without something(s) or somebody(ies) at the very top? One would have to imagine that, by now, whatever “committee(s)” pulled WW’s I and II together, however large and even haphazard it may have been at the time, has by now been reduced to perhaps one individual, and much of what is happening today (such as 9-11) are but a flexing of said individual’s powers.

  6. “Today’s major media journalists … don’t speak to power. They lie for it.”
    “One of the main purposes of laws in a democratic society is to put burdens upon intelligence and reduce it to impotence. Ostensibly, their aim is to penalize anti-social acts; actually their aim is to penalize heretical opinions. At least ninety-five Americans out of every 100 believe that this process is honest and even laudable; it is practically impossible to convince them that there is anything evil in it. In other words, they cannot grasp the concept of liberty” – H.L. Mencken, ”Liberty and Democracy” in the Baltimore Evening Sun (13 April 1925).

  7. Thanks, Mr. Lendman! Really enjoyed reading.

  8. These days, besides job security, I suspect the reason so many journalists lie is because they don’t want to end up like Michael Hasting, Aaron Swartz, Kevin Krim (CNBC Exec’s Children Murdered, 1 Day After CNBC Reports $43 Trillion Bankster Lawsuit) and many others that never made it to the alternate media. We reside in a murderous mafioso police state.

    • Good point, besides that when you want to print the truth you most likely will get fired or it won’t get printed and never get a job by a newspaper again.
      May be you get a job by Fox news with b.s. stories or get questioned by O’Reilly who yells and screams and you don’t one sentence finished and he lashed out at you.
      Go to Press TV or RT.news for some sensible news.

      • Not totally off topic, but archeologists tend to get canned if they discover and dare report anomalies such as proof that man was in America 25,000 years ago.

        We know who controls academia, hence they instruct the instructors to teach our kids what to think, not how to think.

        As any other conspiracy, its main purpose is to prevent us, we the Sheeple from knowing just how long we have occupied this planet.

        To what extent?

        Perhaps inducing us to hold the myth that some tooth fairy god is gonna save us.

        Those leaving behind the myths of false religion often end up in the clutches of sappy spiritualists who tell us of ’26 mile long Galactic Federation of Light ships” waiting at a distance to save our collective asses.

        Anything that will convince us, that someone is going to do this for us! It ain’t gonna happen, folks.

        We have an ancient dormant power, not the myth of Christ or the Jesus story but the “Science of Christ” encoded in the genetics of immortal man, us.

        We are better than gods in that we are both mortal and immortal with the power of forethought, that our enemy does not possess.

        There can be no death in an illusion, no life without liberty!

        • Charlotte NC Bill

          Yup…the Indians know that all the mines in the upper mid-west were started by ancient Europeans thousands of yrs ago…They mostly just followed the pre-existing mines in the modern era..the indians know who built these mines, the tools..they know it was ‘the whites” and they know why they left..
          The Barnes Review is one of my favorite periodicals…it’s well worth the $4/mo.

          • I will check out the Barnes Review, thanks.

            I have not read this myself, but apparently the Egyptian civilization dates back some 75,000 years according the Alvin Kuhn, an archeologist who passed in 1963. Could not get his work published. I wonder why.

            If we ever understood the power of our minds, “they” would be extinct in no time or at least rendered harmless, the Archons of Nag Hammadi.

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