By Matt Agorist
All too often, the American citizens and the rest of the world at large put so much faith in mainstream media that they are led into dangerous and deadly situations — based entirely on lies. One glaring and extremely relevant instance is how the corporate media became a parroting organization for the lies leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised,” then-president George Bush asserted in a public address on March 17, 2003. “This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq’s neighbors and against Iraq’s people.”
Bush’s assertions were questioned by not only human rights experts, but by U.N. weapons inspectors and countless others — so shortly after the U.S. invaded the sovereign nation, the New York Times took up the slack to fill in the appropriate casus belli.
Now, more than a decade after hundreds of thousands of innocent people were slaughtered in the conflict created by the United States, the world knows — there were never any weapons of mass destruction.
While the US often invents fake stories to convince the population to support its wars for profit, its media also parrots other dangerous fake news stories that have potential for massive and catastrophic results.
Case in point: NORTH KOREA FIRES PROJECTILE, MEDIA SAYS: XINHUA –Bloomberg
As ZeroHedge reports:
As expected – and feared – during the annual “Day of the Sun” celebration parade (celebrating the birth of the nation’s founder), Bloomberg blasted a headline that Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that North Korea has fired a projectile.
- NORTH KOREA FIRES PROJECTILE, MEDIA SAYS: XINHUA
On its website, Bloomberg immediately picked up the story, and ran with “North Korea Fires Projectile Media, Says Xinhua” (at a url which still reads: “https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-15/north-korea-fires-projectile-media-says-xinhua“)
However, it appears that the headline scanning algos made a collosal [sic] error, and that Xinhua interpreted events quite incorrectly as it was, as CBC and Reuters reports, the appearance of a new submarine-launched missile at the parade for the first time:
- NORTH KOREA SUBMARINE-LAUNCHED BALLISTIC MISSILE SEEN AT MILITARY PARADE FOR FIRST TIME: RTRS
North Korea displayed its submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) for the first time on Saturday ahead of a massive military parade in the capital, Pyongyang.
Immediately after they almost kicked off World War 3, both Bloomberg and Xinhua rushed to correct the headlines.
- XINHUA CLARIFIES HEADLINE ON NORTH KOREAN MISSILE
- N.KOREA DISPLAYS BALLISTIC MISSILE AT MILITARY PARADE: XINHUA
Luckily, their retractions were timely enough to avoid actual military confrontation. However, not before the rest of the Western media ran similar headlines — all which have since been changed.
With great reach comes great responsibility. To erroneously parrot entirely fake information that could potentially set off a world war, to millions of your readers, without first checking the facts, is irresponsible, to say the least.
Below is a short list of other examples of fake news, from a previous report by the Free Thought Project. All of these instances below, just like the instance above could’ve done, resulted in the suffering and death of millions.
Gulf of Tonkin Incident
Often, the American mainstream media becomes a de facto government employee, taking the claims of U.S. officials and reporting them as proven fact — and nothing exemplifies this penchant better than reporting on the Gulf of Tonkin incident — perhaps one of most flagrant lies ever dreamed up as a justification for war.
On August 5, 1964, the New York Times reported “President Johnson has ordered retaliatory action against gunboats and ‘certain supporting facilities in North Vietnam’ after renewed attacks against American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.” Additional outlets, such as the Washington Post, echoed this claim.
But it wasn’t true. At all. In fact, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, as it became known, turned out to be a fictitious creation courtesy of the government to escalate war in Vietnam — leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of U.S. troops and millions of Vietnamese, fomenting the largest anti-war movement in American history, and tarnishing the reputation of a nation once considered at least somewhat noble in the eyes of the world.
In 2010, more than 1,100 transcripts from the Vietnam era were released, proving Congress and officials raised serious doubts about the information fed to them by the Pentagon and White House. But while this internal grumbling took place, mainstream media dutifully reported official statements as if the veracity of the information couldn’t be disputed.
Tom Wells, author of the exhaustive exposé “The War Within: America’s Battle Over Vietnam,” explained the media egregiously erred in “almost exclusive reliance on U.S. government officials as sources of information” and “reluctance to question official pronouncements on ‘national security issues.’”
If due diligence had been performed, and reporters had raised appropriate doubts about the Gulf of Tonkin false flag, it’s arguable whether support for the contentious war would have lasted as long as it did.
Suppression of brutality perpetrated in Bahrain during the Arab Spring
CNN sent reporter Amber Lyon and a crew to U.S. ally Bahrain for a documentary about technology’s role in the 2011 people’s uprising known as the Arab Spring, ultimately titled “iRevolution: Online Warriors of the Arab Spring” — but what they encountered instead bore the hallmarks of a repressive and violent regime, and its attempt to filter and censor the truth. Lyon and the other CNN reporters went to great lengths to speak with sources participating in the massive uprising — one the Bahraini government wished to quash at all costs.
“By the time the CNN crew arrived,” the Guardian reported, “many of the sources who had agreed to speak to them were either in hiding or had disappeared. Regime opponents whom they interviewed suffered recriminations, as did ordinary citizens who worked with them as fixers. Leading human rights activist Nabeel Rajab was charged with crimes shortly after speaking to the CNN team. A doctor who gave the crew a tour of his village and arranged meetings with government opponents, Saeed Ayyad, had his house burned to the ground shortly after. Their local fixer was fired ten days after working with them.”
Even the CNN crew experienced the wrath of the regime, upon showing up to interview one source, the Guardian continued, “‘20 heavily-armed men’, whose faces were ‘covered with black ski masks’, ‘jumped from military vehicles’, and then ‘pointed machine guns at’ the journalists, forcing them to the ground. The regime’s security forces seized their cameras and deleted their photos and video footage, and then detained and interrogated them for the next six hours.”
After returning to the U.S., Lyon felt it her duty to expose the abuse being perpetrated by the government of an ally nation — but CNN International didn’t agree. CNN U.S. eventually aired the one-hour documentary. Once. CNN International never did — worse, the organization gave Lyon the cold shoulder, ignoring her repeated requests to return to Bahrain, which would have put CNN ahead of the game in reporting government brutality. Its failure to air the documentary and refusal to provide justification for doing so angered seasoned CNN and other mainstream established journalists across the board.
Lyon met with CNN International president Tony Maddox twice — he first promised to investigate why the documentary wasn’t aired, and then turned against her, warning the journalist not to discuss the matter publicly. Bahraini officials contacted CNN International repeatedly complaining about Lyon’s continued reporting on what she’d witnessed. Intimidation continued until she was eventually laid off, putatively for an unrelated matter.
Attempting to save face, CNN International rebuffed the Guardian’s account and interview with Lyon — but the effort was an impotent justification for the obvious failure of integrity.
But threats for Lyon to remain silent followed her off the job, and when she persisted in exposing the Bahraini regime, as well as the suppression by CNN, the outlet sent a stern warning to halt. Lyon, however, said she had never signed a non-disclosure agreement and would not be pressured into their lies — ultimately walking away reputation in hand — something that could not be said for CNN.
That time Fox News hired a CIA operative who wasn’t a CIA operative
Wayne Shelby Simmons made guest appearances on Fox News as a security expert with insider expertise from his work as a CIA operative — for over a decade. However, Simmons had never been employed by the agency — in fact, the imposter’s lies eventually caught up with him and he was arrested and sentenced to 33 months in prison.
“Instead of verifying whether Simmons had actually worked for the CIA, Fox News and the Agency allowed him to make fools out of Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Andrew Napolitano, Neil Cavuto, and everyone at Fox & Friends for over the last twelve years. After building a false reputation as a CIA agent on Fox News, Simmons obtained an interim security clearance when an unnamed government contractor hired him in 2008. Simmons also falsely claimed on national security forms that his prior arrests and criminal convictions were directly related to his supposed intelligence work for the CIA, and that he had previously held a top secret security clearance from 1973 to 2000,” The Free Thought Project’s Andrew Emett explained.
In other words, mainstream Fox News didn’t bother with journalism at all — proffering fake expertise as the real deal — because the outlet failed the most basic of tasks any hourly wage employer would perform.
Simmons’ commentaries weren’t harmless stabs in the dark, either — relentlessly parroting baseless Islamophobic rhetoric to drum up support for the government’s insidious war on terror likely poisoned the minds of thousands of viewers, furthering the already divisive atmosphere in the U.S.
Vapid anti-marijuana propaganda and the furtherance of the war on drugs
According to the Drug Policy Alliance, over $51 billion is spent fighting the war on drugs in the United States — each year. In 2015, a striking 38.6 percent of all arrests for drug possession were for cannabis — 643,121 people were arrested for marijuana-related offenses.
What those figures don’t show are the millions of lives ruined by criminal conviction for the government’s unjustifiable quest to eradicate, demonize, and vilify this beneficial plant. It would be an impossible task to tally the number of families whose homes have been destroyed by SWAT teams searching for marijuana — whether or not police bothered to verify an address. An untold number of others have been slain by police for the same reason.
But worst of all, the mainstream media propagates nonsensical, false propaganda about cannabis to convince the gullible and ignorant among us to equate it with heroin, cocaine, and other ‘illicit’ substances. And while a majority of the populace has seen through such lies, some outlets have obstinately continued the drug war — seemingly of their own volition.
One stunning example occurred in March last year, when Dr. David Samadi made a guest appearance on Fox News to fearmonger the horrors of marijuana and scare the bejeezus out of the viewing audience.
“It actually causes heart attacks. It increases your heart rate. And on and on,” Samadi claimed, fecklessly distorting statistics. “We’re seeing in Colorado that we had 13 kids that came to the emergency [room] and ended up in the ICU as a result of overdose from marijuana. Now we have crack babies coming in because pregnant women are smoking this whole marijuana business.”
Fortunately, the Internet has provided the public with alternatives to these corporate media lies — and as of two years ago, despite these and other claims about pot being a dangerous substance, Pew Research Center found fully 69 percent of the population felt alcohol was more harmful than cannabis.
* * *
While this list presents only a few of the bigger lies of the corporate press, there are innumerable examples of its proud history of actual fake news. Keep these in mind when the mainstream presstitutes rush to reprint a hit list targeting journalists and outlets whose narratives counter the establishment. Indeed, it would be the corporate media — with its vast captive audience — who most deserves to be listed as propagators of lies.
Matt Agorist is the co-founder of TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared. He is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. . and now on Steemit