By Scott Lazarowitz
Image credit: Pixabay
Facebook has announced its campaign against “fake news.” But, according to some workers’ own admission, conservatives are being censored.
And Google also wants to censor “fake news.” But Google also was shown to treat conservative websites, but not liberal ones, as “fake news.”
The same thing seems to be going on with Twitter. And again, conservatives are complaining.
But who is to decide what is “fake news”? Who will be Facebook and Google’s sources for real news?
In 2013 the U.S. Senate considered a new shield law to protect journalists. In the lawmakers’ attempts
to narrow the definition of a journalist, some Senators including Sen.
Dianne Feinstein only wanted to include reporters with “professional
“Professional” publications such as the New York Times, the “Paper of Record,” would apparently be protected.
So one can conclude that the New York Times can be a source of “real” news for Facebook or Google, despite all the Times‘ errors, screw-ups, and corrections, right? According to one NYT former reporter, the Times has been a “propaganda megaphone” for war. Also a partner with the CIA to promote Obama’s reelection bid.
Or CNN, “The Most Trusted Name in News” which wins its own “fake news” awards with its errors, screw-ups and corrections. During the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign, there were collusion s
between then-CNN contributor and DNC operative Donna Brazile, who was outed by WikiLeaks in her giving candidate Hillary Clinton questions in advance for a CNN Town Hall.
that were leaked to WikiLeaks informed us that reporters obediently
followed instructions from the Hillary Clinton campaign on how to cover
the campaign. These include reporters from the New York Times
such as Maggie Haberman who said the campaign would “tee up stories for
us,” and Mark Leibovich, who would email Clinton flunky Jennifer
Palmieri for editing recommendations.
And Politico reporter Glenn Thrush asked Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta for approval of stories on Clinton. Thrush was then hired by the New York Times. After Thrush was then suspended from NYT over allegations of sexual misconduct, the Times ended the suspension, stating that while Thrush had “acted offensively,” he would be trained to behave himself. Hmm.
But all this from the 2016 campaign reminded me of the “JournoLists
the group of news journalists who participated in a private forum
online from 2007-2010. The forum was to enable news reporters to discuss
news reporting and political issues in private and with candor, but
also, it was revealed, to discuss ways to suppress negative news on
then-2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama.
For instance, according to the Daily Caller,
some members of the group discussed their criticism of a 2008 debate in
which Obama was questioned on his association with the controversial
Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The Nation‘s Richard Kim wrote that George Stephanopoulos was “being a disgusting little rat snake.” The Guardian‘s Michael Tomasky wrote that “we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy.”
Spencer Ackerman, then with the Washington Independent and now of the Daily Beast, wrote,
“If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down,
no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead,
take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them
‘s Chris Hayes wrote, “Our country disappears
people. It tortures people. It has the blood of as many as one million
Iraqi civilians — men, women, children, the infirmed — on its hands.
You’ll forgive me if I just can’t quite dredge up the requisite amount
of outrage over Barack Obama’s pastor.”(But has Hayes criticized Obama’s assassination program
, or Obama’s bombings
or the blood on Obama’s hands
? Just askin’)
In an open letter, according to the Daily Caller, several of the
JournoList members called the ABC debate a “revolting descent into
tabloid journalism,” because of the moderators’ legitimate questions on
Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
So, in today’s Bizarro World, objectively questioning a
candidate on a controversial issue is now “tabloid journalism,” but
making things up like “Trump-Russia collusion” and repeating the
propaganda over and over – that’s not “tabloid journalism.”
The JournoLists also included reporters from Time, the Baltimore Sun, the New Republic, Politico, and Huffington Post.
Now, are those the sources of “real news” that Facebook, Google and Twitter want to rely upon to combat “fake news”?
And who exactly were the “JournoLists” promoting? Obama?
Regarding Obama’s own crackdown
on actual journalism, Fox News reporter James Rosen was accused by the
feds of being a “co-conspirator” with State Department leaker Stephen
Jin-Woo Kim in violating the Espionage Act. Rosen’s correspondences
with Kim were seized by Obama’s FBI,
along with Rosen’s personal email and phone records. The FBI also used
records to track Rosen’s visits to the State Department.
Apparently, then-attorney general Eric Holder went “judge-shopping”
to find a judge who would approve subpoenaing Rosen’s private records,
after two judges rejected the request.
Commenting on James Rosen and the FBI’s abuse of powers, Judge Andrew Napolitano observed
that “this is the first time that the federal government has moved to
this level of taking ordinary, reasonable, traditional, lawful reporter
skills and claiming they constitute criminal behavior.”
And there was the Obama administration’s going after then-CBS News
investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, possibly for her reporting on Benghazi and Fast and Furious. Attkisson finally resigned
from CBS news out of frustration with the company’s alleged pro-Obama
bias and with CBS’s apparently not airing her subsequent reports.
In 2013 CBS News confirmed
that Attkisson’s computers had been “accessed by an unauthorized,
external, unknown party on multiple occasions.” In 2015 Attkisson sued
the Obama administration, claiming to have evidence which proves the computer intrusions were connected to the Obama DOJ.
In Attkisson’s latest lawsuit update,
after her computer was returned to her following the DOJ Inspector
General’s investigation, her forensics team now believes her computer’s
hard drive was replaced by a different one.
Now back to “fake news.”
After Donald Trump locked up the Republican Presidential nomination
in May, 2016, there were significant events in the next two months.
Fusion GPS and former British spy Christopher Steele colluded to get
opposition research on behalf of Hillary Clinton, the FBI applied for
FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign associates, and Donald Trump, Jr.,
Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner had a possibly set-up meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.
Also within that same period, the DNC claimed that its computers were hacked but the DNC wouldn’t let FBI investigate. The Washington Post published an article claiming, with no evidence presented, that “Russian government hackers” took DNC opposition research on Trump.
It was very shortly after the November, 2016 Presidential election that the Washington Post published an article on a “Russian propaganda effort to spread ‘fake news’ during the election.” To escalate the media’s censorship campaign perhaps?
The campaign against “fake news” coincided with Obama minions at FBI,
DOJ and CIA apparently panicking over a possible Trump presidency and allegedly abusing their powers to attempt to take down Trump.
So the news media seem to be on a crusade to fabricate “Trump-Russia
collusion” and repeat it over and over, and to vilify, ignore and
squash actual investigative research and reporting on what exactly the
FBI and DOJ bureaucrats have been doing. Call such real investigative
reporting “fake news,” “conspiracy theory,” and so forth.
In the end, Facebook, Twitter and Google might want to reconsider relying on the mainstream news media led by the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN, and instead include citizen journalists and non-government-sycophant media to provide news and information.
UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh
has noted that the Founders generally viewed the freedom of the Press
to apply to every citizen to print, publish or express accounts of
events. We really need to highlight that kind of old-fashioned, honest
Scott Lazarowitz is a libertarian writer and commentator. Please visit his blog.
Scott Lazarowitz is a libertarian writer and commentator. Please visit his blog. The article is republished under a 2018 Creative Commons License.