Friday, January 6, 2017

Corporate Media Admits to Publishing Viral Fake News After Independent Media Busted Them

Published: December 30, 2016

By: Claire Bernish 

Mangling facts for the benefit of U.S. government’s anti-Russia, anti-Trump propaganda campaign, yet again corporate media published an article — which subsequently went viral — claiming that, in an interview, Julian Assange ‘praised’ Donald Trump but ‘blasted’ Hillary Clinton because, essentially, he’s working for The Russians.

It simply isn’t true.

In fact, as journalist Glenn Greenwald countered in The Intercept, the Guardian’s Ben Jacobs cherry-picked specific details to create a fictionalized account of the actual la Repubblica interview with Assange in order to fit a preordained narrative favorable to the American political establishment.

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In short, corporate media is guilty of publishing fraudulent clickbait — Fake News — the exact thing it claims to be waging a war against.

“Despite how much online attention it received, Jacobs’ Guardian article contained no original reporting,” Greenwald writes. “Indeed, it did nothing but purport to summarize the work of an actually diligent journalist: Stefania Maurizi of the Italian daily la Repubblica, who traveled to London and conducted the interview with Assange. Maurizi’s interview was conducted in English, and La Repubblica published the transcript online. Jacobs’ ‘work’ consisted of nothing other than purporting to re-write the parts of that interview he wanted to highlight, so that he and the Guardian could receive the traffic for her work.”

Characterizing the piece as “shoddy” and “misleading,” Greenwald points out Jacobs’ efforts to align Assange with Russian President Vladimir Putin amount to wishful thinking — yet the insertion of that narrative purposefully implants in the reader’s mind a damaging and wholly false alliance.

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Claims by unnamed officials from the CIA alleging Russian agents hacked the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails have been presented by the corporate press as if proven true — yet no evidence has surfaced to back the allegations.

Wikileaks and Assange have been repeatedly relegated to the status of Russian actors by the mainstream media since the outlet published documents brutally damaging to the Democratic establishment and Clinton.

Rather than examining the contents of documents leaked to the publishing outlet, the political left has undertaken considerable effort to pin blame for the election of Donald Trump on Russia. Plastering the scarlet letter of Russian propaganda against nearly every outlet daring to report the contents of the leaked documents serves to scapegoat corruption and collusion, while libeling legitimate organizations for the benefit of the moot political establishment.

Damning though Jacobs’ article for the Guardian might appear, it’s pure nonsense.

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Indeed, as the Guardian reported, “The releases were highly damaging to Clinton, and US intelligence officials now believe they were hacked by Russia and passed to WikiLeaks to boost Trump’s bid for the White House. Assange has repeatedly declined to be drawn on the source of the hacked emails he published.”

Qualifying the published emails as “hacked” forgets that Assange and former and present members of the U.S. Intelligence Community have emphatically stated the documents were leaked from an inside source.

Additionally, the Guardian had to perform gymnastics to falsely claim Assange offered “guarded praise” for Trump — when, in fact, Maurizi merely asked for his assessment of the implications of the billionaire’s election. In actuality, the Wikileaks founder remained on the fence about Trump, stating,

“Hillary Clinton’s election would have been a consolidation of power in the existing ruling class of the United States. Donald Trump is not a DC insider, he is part of the wealthy ruling elite of the United States, and he is gathering around him a spectrum of other rich people and several idiosyncratic personalities. They do not by themselves form an existing structure, so it is a weak structure which is displacing and destabilising the pre-existing central power network within DC. It is a new patronage structure which will evolve rapidly, but at the moment its looseness means there are opportunities for change in the United States: change for the worse and change for the better.”

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Greenwald rightly notes the only feasible reason to perceive that evaluation of the future Trump administration as even guarded praise of the president-elect is because it came from Assange — the Democratic Party’s Enemy Number One.

“The fact that Assange sees possibility for exploiting the resulting instability for positive outcomes, along with being fearful about ‘change for the worse,’ makes him exactly like pretty much every political and media organization that is opportunistically searching for ways to convert the Trumpian dark cloud into some silver lining,” the Intercept co-founder writes.

Worse than portraying Assange as politically motivated, is the Guardian’s insistence he somehow described Russia as a ‘free and open’ state beyond the need for whistleblowers — in part, Jacobs boldly asserts, because the publisher has “long had a close relationship with the Putin regime.”

As Greenwald writes, however, the single evidence of an Assange link to Putin is that he conducted a series of eight interviews broadcast by RT — in 2012.

In fact, that claim so misrepresented the truth, the Guardian subsequently retracted that sentence entirely and edited Jacobs’ assertion about whistleblowers being unnecessary.

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Russia, Assange noted to la Repubblica, like other non-Western nations has its own cultural specificities — and governmental strictures — regarding the exposure of corruption and criticism of political figures.

He explains the obvious language barrier makes the outlet at least somewhat useless as a vehicle to publish Russian documents and thus not as viable for Russian whistleblowers — who already have better options located in that country.

Assange explains his “interpretation is that in Russia there are competitors to WikiLeaks, and no WikiLeaks staff speak Russian, so for a strong culture which has its own language, you have to be seen as a local player. WikiLeaks is a predominantly English-speaking organisation with a website predominantly in English. We have published more than 800,000 documents about or referencing Russia and president Putin, so we do have quite a bit of coverage, but the majority of our publications come from Western sources, though not always.”

He isn’t saying Russia is a free and open wonderland bereft of the need for people to blow the whistle at all — and the Guardian’s ‘interpretation,’ Greenwald notes, “depicting Assange as a propagandist for Putin – is not merely a reckless error. It is journalistic fraud.”

Indeed, these wholly fraudulent assertions were duly heralded by the obsequious corporate press, whose servile devotion to all narratives government-approved — particularly those Russophobic — long ago forgot all journalistic duty to report the truth.

In plain terms, this is Fake News — at its naked worst.

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