By Matt Bivens, MD, March 25, 2019
Ray strongly encourages all his acquaintances — including old intelligence analyst colleagues — who are susceptible to infection by “red virus particles” and “whataboutism” to read Dr. Bivens’s essay carefully. One of Ray’s former co-workers became so infected by the red virus that he felt he needed to “denounce” Ray publicly in November 2017 for “adulation of Putin.” Several weeks later he emailed to say that he was “relieved that I need no longer fear that I will be investigated for having associated with you.”
Another former colleague asked Ray yesterday why “you and The Donald are so tight.” This old friend dismissed the Deep State as “the political Unicorn,” and asked Ray, “When did you buy in to all this?”
Yes, it’s that bad; and these are highly intelligent people, if — like Ray — a little long in the tooth.
The Great Tragic Comedy of Modern Journalism is, of course, far more tragedy than comedy and has taken its toll. That’s why Ray would really like folks to read what Dr. Bivens has written out of his long experience practicing journalism before practicing medicine. His article is an excellent follow-on to the excellent one by Matt Taibbi that we posted yesterday (See: https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-rise-and-fall-of-superhero-robert.)
It proved too difficult for Robert Parry, founder of Consortium News, to bear what was happening to the profession he practiced with unusually high integrity. Bob had a stroke on Christmas Eve 2017, and had to struggle to put together his cri de coeur a week later. (Please See: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/31/an-apology-and-explanation/ .) He no doubt sensed it might be his last chance.
Robert Parry died on January 27, 2018. Here are some excerpts from what he wrote on that New Years Eve.
Yes, FAR MORE TRAGEDY than comedy.
An Apology and Explanation
By Robert Parry, December 31, 2017
From Editor Robert Parry: For readers who have come to see Consortiumnews as a daily news source, I would like to extend my personal apology for our spotty production in recent days. On Christmas Eve, I suffered a stroke that has affected my eyesight (especially my reading and thus my writing) although apparently not much else. The doctors have also been working to figure out exactly what happened since I have never had high blood pressure, I never smoked, and my recent physical found nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps my personal slogan that “every day’s a work day” had something to do with this.
Perhaps, too, the unrelenting ugliness that has become Official Washington and national journalism was a factor. It seems that since I arrived in Washington in 1977 as a correspondent for The Associated Press, the nastiness of American democracy and journalism has gone from bad to worse. …
The demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia is just the most dangerous feature of this propaganda process – and this is where the neocons and the liberal interventionists most significantly come together. The U.S. media’s approach to Russia is now virtually 100 percent propaganda. Does any sentient human being read the New York Times’ or the Washington Post’s coverage of Russia and think that he or she is getting a neutral or unbiased treatment of the facts? For instance, the full story of the infamous Magnitsky case cannot be told in the West, nor can the objective reality of the Ukrane coup in 2014. The American people and the West in general are carefully shielded from hearing the “other side of the story.” Indeed to even suggest that there is another side to the story makes you a “Putin apologist” or “Kremlin stooge.”
Western journalists now apparently see it as their patriotic duty to hide key facts that otherwise would undermine the demonizing of Putin and Russia. Ironically, many “liberals” who cut their teeth on skepticism about the Cold War and the bogus justifications for the Vietnam War now insist that we must all accept whatever the U.S. intelligence community feeds us, even if we’re told to accept the assertions on faith.
The Trump Crisis
Which brings us to the crisis that is Donald Trump. Trump’s victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton has solidified the new paradigm of “liberals” embracing every negative claim about Russia just because elements of the CIA, FBI and the National Security Agency produced a report last Jan 6 that blamed Russia for “hacking” Democratic emails and releasing them via WikiLeaks. It didn’t seem to matter that these “hand-picked” analysts (as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called them) evinced no evidence and even admitted that they weren’t asserting any of this as fact.
The hatred of Trump and Putin was so intense that old-fashioned rules of journalism and fairness were brushed aside. On a personal note, I faced harsh criticism even from friends of many years for refusing to enlist in the anti-Trump “Resistance.” The argument was that Trump was such a unique threat to America and the world that I should join in finding any justification for his ouster. Some people saw my insistence on the same journalistic standards that I had always employed somehow a betrayal.
Other people, including senior editors across the mainstream media, began to treat the unproven Russia-gate allegations as flat fact. No skepticism was tolerated and mentioning the obvious bias among the never-Trumpers inside the FBI, Justice Department and intelligence community was decried as an attack on the integrity of the U.S. government’s institutions. Anti-Trump “progressives” were posturing as the true patriots because of their now unquestioning acceptance of the evidence-free proclamations of the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
Hatred of Trump had become like some invasion of the body snatchers – or perhaps many of my journalistic colleagues had never believed in the principles of journalism that I had embraced throughout my adult life. To me, journalism wasn’t just a cover for political activism; it was a commitment to the American people and the world to tell important news stories as fully and fairly as I could; not to slant the “facts” to “get” some “bad” political leader or “guide” the public in some desired direction. …
Ironically, the ugly personal characteristics of Donald Trump – his own contempt for facts and his crass personal behavior – have stripped the mask off the broader face of Official America.
What is perhaps most alarming about the past year of Donald Trump is that the mask is now gone and, in many ways, all sides of Official Washington are revealed collectively as reflections of Donald Trump, disinterested in reality, exploiting “information” for tactical purposes, eager to manipulate or con the public. While I’m sure many anti-Trumpers will be deeply offended by my comparison of esteemed Establishment figures with the grotesque Trump, there is a deeply troubling commonality between Trump’s convenient use of “facts” and what has pervaded the Russia-gate investigation.
My Christmas Eve stroke now makes it a struggle for me to read and to write. Everything takes much longer than it once did – and I don’t think that I can continue with the hectic pace that I have pursued for many years. But – as the New Year dawns – if I could change one thing about America and Western journalism, it would be that we all repudiate “information warfare” in favor of an old-fashioned respect for facts and fairness — and do whatever we can to achieve a truly informed electorate.
Russiagate: The Great Tragic Comedy of Modern Journalism
By Matt Bivens, MD, March 25, 2019