Media reports that Russians are behind email leaks are official stenography — Carden

US Politics
on 6 Comments

Bob Garfield did a great interview this week for On the Media [November 4 episode] about misguided media attitudes toward Russia. His guest was James Carden, executive editor of the American Committee for East-West Accord and a contributing editor of the Nation.

Carden said Donald Trump has brought Russia-conspiratorial allegations on himself by exaggerating Vladimir Putin’s admiration for him. But his irresponsibility and clumsiness don’t free the press from publishing “fact free innuendo laden stories.”

With the rich rich material he has given us to question his motives, why rely so heavily on this borderline fictitious so-called bromance with Putin. To do as say the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to say that “Donald J. Trump has chosen to unmask himself as a de facto agent of Russian president Vladimir Putin,” [link] is a very very ugly echo of McCarthyism.

Garfield asked whether Carden is an agent of Russia. Many have smeared him in such a manner, Carden said, simply for questioning American policy, say in pushing NATO expansion. There’s no excuse for Putin’s annexation of Crimea, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and see the Russian perspective.

Garfield then responded that “all the evidence so far” is that the Wikileaks emails come from Russian hackers, vandals, criminals. Carden wasn’t buying.

It seems to me that the reporting has largely been… stenography. The major newspapers have simply been repeating the claims of the director of national intelligence; and they have been repeating Hillary Clinton’s fairly questionable claim that all 17 intelligence agencies have come to the conclusion that the Russians did it. I think it would be better to cover it with a touch of skepticism.

He wrote about this for the Nation. Journalists ought to be adversarial with corporations and government, “anyone with power,” Carden observed. That’s the point of the fourth estate. And government and the intelligence community deserve skepticism given their performance in the leadup to the Iraq War.

He also blasted the media-induced hysteria regarding one foreign figure or another. George H.W. Bush, who had an otherwise exemplary record in foreign policy, “embarked on a campaign of demonization of Saddam Hussein, comparing him to Hitler.” That didn’t work out so well.

And today we have very understandable objections to Russian foreign policy and domestic politics, “but we are allied with regimes that are far more sinister than the Russian regime.” Here he mentioned the Gulf States tyrannies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

He concluded by saying that the press is encouraging a “reckless posture” visavis Russia. “Whether we like it or not, in order too get things done, some very important things done, we need to cooperate with them.” Neither the Iranian nuclear deal nor getting rid of Assad’s chemical weapons could have been done without Russia. Unfortunately we’re treating Russia like an adversary.

It’s rare to see such a fresh, antiwar perspective in the mainstream. Let’s hope this is a trend. I would only add that Israel was unmentioned in this interview, but it has more friends in the U.S. press than Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and it has exercised tyranny over occupied territories for many years now. And Carden surely knows, what he dare not blurt, that Jeffrey Goldberg served in the Israeli military; and that questions about Israel’s influence over U.S. policymaking are legitimate when the leading White House negotiator in that conflict for the last 20 years tells a synagogue audience in NY that American Jews need to be on one side: “We don’t need to be advocates for Palestinians. We need to be advocates for Israel.” No innuendo there.

It’s also rare to see mainstream media take a shot at the powerful Goldberg. When the New York Times magazine did so recently, in an aside saying that Goldberg helped the White House push the Iran deal, there were pages of corrections, explanations, and apologies.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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6 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    November 5, 2016, 1:47 pm

    It’s also rare to see mainstream media take a shot at the powerful Goldberg. When the New York Times magazine did so recently, in an aside saying that Goldberg helped the White House push the Iran deal, there were pages of corrections, explanations, and apologies.

    how’d i miss that? link anyone?

    kudos to James Carden, and npr/Garfield for the interview.

  2. xanadou
    November 5, 2016, 4:05 pm

    “Carden said Donald Trump has brought Russia-conspiratorial allegations on himself by exaggerating Vladimir Putin’s admiration for him.”

    Admiration? Putin is way too smart a chess player to admire a Trump. Rather, he is likely playing on trump’s greed, vanity and sense of entitlement. If trump is in dire financial straights, Putin would know about it and likely may have made trump an offer the latter cannot refuse. The clintons’ greed has been fed with obscene payment$ for 1-hour “$peaking engagement$”, trump may have been offered a “business” stake in Russia’s massive natural resources. Just as Israel has co-opted Clinton as its useful idiot, Russia may be contemplating its own UI. Which would explain israel’s and US’s obsessive vilification of Putin and Russia. In sum: Russia is an infinitely superior player to israel and the US; the former will not react to the silly baiting and it keeps quiet.

  3. DaBakr
    November 5, 2016, 6:24 pm

    laugable that carden believes the regimes of ksa and qtr are more sinister then russia. ‘closed’? surely but secretive , evil and sinister? lol. and how about a wrist slap for crimea? sure, why not. another spank for the passenger airliner and ukraine. oh poor russia. its all because they were ‘shafted’ at malta. and stalin is the only person the west demonized more then…. saddam hussein. saddam, “demonized”? he was just a teddy bear compared to adolph joe and mao. it was so cute how he had his 2 monster baby sons running around raping any and every woman they saw on the street at a govt function or wherever because they could. and the estimated 100,000 a year his regime killed or disappeared? carden is no ordinary apologist for russia and the gangster putin. his level of contempt for the us and the so-called ‘west’ is beyond garden variety.

    there have been press jokers on the far-left around for decades and they have almost all been proven absolute fools when it comes to turning their eyes from gangster/tyrant far left atrocities-from russia to venezuela and glenn greenwld to john reed-and pw should absolutely get a mention. at least the us doesnt pretend that its client states are all heroes of the underclasses.

    if the US had a nickle for every time the far left used “understanding the russian pov” as an excuse for murderous totalitarian behavior it could pay off its deficit

    • Danaa
      November 5, 2016, 7:12 pm

      DeBakr – what on earth are you smoking? can I have some of that good stuff?

      KSA is just about the most repressive regime on earth – probably worse than North korea. may be you have some secret affection for the head-choppers but that is not likely shared by any here. And Qatar? com’on – what with all the slave labor or is that chomp change?

      Re MH17 – again, I have no idea where you get your hasbara points but anyone who knows anything realizes the plane was brought down by Ukraine – though we may not know who gave the order. IF you are not sure – why not ask for the cockpit recordings with the Kiev air traffic control tower? the answers are all there…..(yes, I know Ukraine refused to hand them over, but rest assured, heart throb Victoria Nuland has copies – just ask her and I am sure she’ll oblige and send you the transcripts. She does have them, you know….).

      But you’ll be glad to hear I disagree with one thing at least in Carden’s piece – the annexation of Crimea was something Russia had to do following the US instigated maidan coup, which was all about getting hold of Crimea for the US fleet. Plus the Crimeans are mostly Russians and they voted with their feet. one could only wish we would have such open voting in this country. One free of the fraud and rigging that has apparently corrupted our entire voting system beyond repair, and called the legitimacy of candidates such as hillary and any governance she may preside over into question. There are quite a few states that would love to part ways with the east coast elite corrupt governing corporate/wall street rule if only there was a way.

      Anyways, I see no reason whatsoever fto assume Russia was behind the Wikileaks latest dump. After all, Podesta used gmail, as in GMAIL. Anyone expects it to be secure? why, was he too cheap to pay for an email box with more secure features? not to mention Huma who used a yahoo e mail to which she forwarded her state department mail, as did hillary. Yahoo, the very platform that gets hacked periodically – as in who did not yet have their address book hacked? of course, some may wish to question why Hillary and huma would forward classified e mails to unsecure addresses but that’s the least of their crimes. I am actually assuming it was probably some basement dwelling kid who broke into Podesta’s treasure trove of corruption revealing e mails. Anyways, it’s fun to read how the sausage is really being made. now, i bet AIPAC servers are quite a bit more secure. darn – where are the russians when we need them?

      • CigarGod
        November 6, 2016, 10:24 am

        Sounds to me like his dopamine blocker is falling short.

    • Mooser
      November 5, 2016, 7:14 pm

      “if the US had a nickle for every time the far left used “understanding the russian pov” as an excuse for murderous totalitarian behavior it could pay off its deficit”

      Gee “Dabakr”, I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at. Why not give us half-a-dozen or so examples of the times “the far left used “understanding the russian pov” as an excuse for murderous totalitarian behavior”?
      Please don’t overwhelm us with examples, 6-10 will do.

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