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The ‘fake news’ story is fake news

US Politics
on 74 Comments

Almost every day on public radio or public television, I hear reports about how fake news is undermining our democracy. These high-minded reporters and anchors seem truly to believe that a feverish menace is overwhelming the minds of once-sensible people.

This story is itself fake news for several obvious reasons. We’ve never had more good information than we have now; people are as well-informed as they want to be. There will always be outlets purveying lies; that is the nature of communication. And the insistence on the “fake news” issue is an effort to assign Trump’s victory not to those who brought it to us (the electorate, and the incompetence of the Clinton campaign) but on some nefarious agents.

The fact that we have more and better information today than ever almost goes without saying. When I started in the news business more than 40 years ago, few reporters carried tape recorders, largely because they worked for a guild and were never subject to correction. Today there are countless outlets, thanks to the internet, and important events are almost always recorded. The amount of data we have on public figures is vast compared to even ten years ago.

We can all argue about whether this is a good thing or a bad thing; but we are today awash in information. That information is more reliable than it has ever been before. My own work on Palestine and the Israel lobby has shown me that global consumers can get more accurate information about that conflict than they’ve ever had. Yes, as we assert here all the time, the mainstream US media is in the tank for Israel; but it’s not as if better information is not available at your fingertips, much of it from Europe and Palestine, often citizen video.

Before the internet, alternative sources were much harder to obtain. You had to subscribe to journals, or go to Hotaling’s newsstand in Times Square for out-of-town papers. The best example is  sports. I had to hope the newsstand had the late edition of the Times, or that the Times carried the box score for my hometown team. Today I can find out any score and see videos of my team’s performance in an instant. And the destruction of the guilds by the internet has brought us sharp commentators who would never had access to the media traditionally (like this tweeter I turn to every morning to get the score).

“Do you trust everything you read on social media?” an ad for WNYC radio asks. They used to say the same thing about newspapers when I was a kid! The idea that information used to be a clean pool before all the clever internet liars arrived is a delusion on the part of entitled reporters of the fake news storyline. Storytelling is a primordial human experience. It is rooted in the need for knowledge to enhance our survival. We tell stories in an effort to make our lives better, more fulfilling, more understandable. And from the beginning of the story, there were lies. Some say that human beings have tongues in their mouths to deceive others, while some fiction writers will tell you that artifice is the soul of story. We all learn to sort out sincere and truthful from exaggerated and bogus. No, we don’t always succeed as readers and listeners at that job, but we try. Just as reporters seek to convey accurate versions of events despite their limitations; and artificers seek to construct more perfect tales to relate social and psychological quandaries.

There are surely hundreds of thousands of news sites today (millions?) where there used to be thousands of news outlets. The great preponderance of these sites do as we do here, try and present the most genuine version of events they are able to. As Ezra Pound once said, there is only one standard for writing: accuracy of statement. It’s not rocket science, but it is a struggle.

Are there sites that try to hoodwink readers? Of course. There have always been sensational papers, yellow journalism, scandal sheets, rumors, disinformation, boys crying wolf, and unreliable sources. Readers have always had a duty to sort this out. How many of us feel that we can size up the accuracy of an unknown site in a few seconds, from one sign or another? Readers are way more sophisticated than the fake-news reporters believe them to be. More than that, we know that some of the biggest lies originate from authorities. Which gives rise to conspiracy stories, going back to Shakespeare…

The claim that liars and fake-news sites handed the election to Donald Trump is fiction. A democracy gives the franchise to a lot of stupid people, on all sides. People believe what they want to believe. No doubt the internet has served to socialize information, tailoring it to tribal audiences (I seek out that baseball tweeter because we are likeminded, still our team can’t win), but it’s not as if information was objective before. The belief that people were manipulated into voting for Trump may be comforting to those who love the neoliberal elitism and interventionism of the post-9/11 world, but it doesn’t answer the complex reality that is American society. The smartest reporting on the 2016 election was the study showing that Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin all had high casualty rates from America’s wars; and that these voters regarded Clinton as pro-war. And Clinton failed to campaign in Wisconsin and Michigan, even as her surrogates advocated for regime change in Syria on the cables. Those factors would seem to be as determinative as anything else that the big papers have told us about the debacle November 8. It would be a lot better if they would actually interview Trump voters, rather than lecturing us about fake news.

The claim that the Russians are behind fake news and they threw the election is just more fiction from a Democratic Party determined to have a new cold war in order to excuse itself from its failures to reach the white Obama voters who voted for Trump. Do people really think that the ads Russians placed on Facebook, or the data that Trump allies had access to through Cambridge Analytica, swayed people to vote for Trump? Is that how you made up your mind? Maybe a few fools changed their vote because of lies; but again that does not go to the real dynamics of the 2016 race. People disliked Clinton for good reasons. People sought a disrupter for good reasons.

If Russians were behind the Wikileaks hack of the Democratic National Committee emails, maybe we should be thanking them. The hack exposed real corruption: on my issue, the Clinton team’s active efforts to sell Clinton’s stance on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to big pro-Israel donors as a way to salve them for her support for the Iran deal. No one has disputed the accuracy of these emails, and they are a disturbing window on how politics works. It would be nice if the media would spend a little time on the substance of those emails. But no, the fake news story has a life of its own.

P.S. Judy Woodruff’s picture is atop this post because she and the PBS News Hour have taken the fake news story way too seriously. In fairness, I urge readers to watch her interview of two Boko Haram survivors, some of the best journalism you will ever see. 

philweiss
About Philip Weiss

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

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74 Responses

  1. JohnSmith
    JohnSmith
    May 6, 2018, 11:05 am

    Obviously, there are lot of different factors that in some sense were “equally” to blame for Trump eking out victory. But I think your article incredibly underestimates the way in which voters were manipulated to vote for Trump. Robert and Rebekah Mercer, of Cambridge Analytica, were able to inject just the right amount of poison in just the right amount of ears via Facebook. Without them, Trump would not have won and the voters of the U.K. would not have voted for Brexit.

    Saying the voters voted, the voters made up their minds, is simply wrong. Some small, manipulable minority of voters were convinced to hate and to act on their hate, to give victory to the rich and right-wing. Maybe voters in the past have been lied to and manipulated, but not like this, not in a democracy, not in a place that’s supposed to care about the truth. The new technology allows low-information, hate-filled voters to be played like violins.

    Regarding the Palestinians and citizen-journalism (“citizen”-journalism), I have long thought–yes, I know it’s a wild pipe-dream–that every Palestinian in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel, should be outfitted with a camera filming 24/7, to record and document their abuse and mistreatment.

    • CigarGod
      CigarGod
      May 6, 2018, 4:48 pm

      How many of those “low-information, hate-filled voters”
      do you think swallowed the fake news…and got up out of their over-stuffed swivel chair and went to the polls?

    • Donald
      Donald
      May 6, 2018, 5:23 pm

      It’s the butterfly effect—there were so many factors explaining why Clinton lost by a narrow margin in a few key states you have to assume almost science fiction like powers to the Russians if you think their influence was the critical one. I like the science fiction novels of Iain Banks, where machines with superhuman intelligence try to manipulate other societies for their own good and still screw up ( and no, I don’t advocate intervention in real life— it is a fantasy), causing civil wars that kill billions. But liberals think the Russians had a vastly more sophisticated view of American politics than most professional political operators in America.

      It was dumb luck. I seriously doubt the Russians believed they were changing the election results. The weather causing random changes in turnout might have had more impact. Maybe there were Russian butterflies conspiring to change the weather.

    • Donald
      Donald
      May 6, 2018, 5:41 pm

      “Some small, manipulable minority of voters were convinced to hate and to act on their hate, to give victory to the rich and right-wing. Maybe voters in the past have been lied to and manipulated, but not like this, not in a democracy, not in a place that’s supposed to care about the truth. ”

      I would have trouble understanding how anyone could type this with a straight face if I hadn’t seen liberals saying this for over a year. Good lord, what country are you living in? Caring about the truth? When was that ever the case? Even sticking to the trivia of election campaigns and leaving out minor peccadillos like the Iraq War, every presidential campaign is conducted with lies morning noon and night. Remember swift boating? Remember how Nixon conspired to wreck Vietnam peace negotiations? Remember Watergate? Heard anything about the October Surprise? And those are the big lies. How about Bush’s humble foreign policy and compassionate conservatism? How about during the Democratic primaries all we heard from the mainstream press was that Sanders was supported by white Berniebros.

      People spent massive amounts of money convincing the American people that our social safety programs were on the brink of collapse and that government could never do anything right on the domestic front while at the very same time we were told that America had a right and a duty to intervene and make war on other countries in order, we were told, to make them democracies. Because we could trust the government to do that in other countries. The contradiction is spectacular, even apart from the catastrophic bloodbaths our interventions actually caused.

      And you think what the Russians did in 2016 was some sort of new horrific level of destructive manipulation of our wonderful democracy? I have seen the claim you make countless times. It’s bizarre. Even granting the premise that the Russians were these manipulative geniuses, which I don’t, the emotional impact of your claim depends on this notion that previously we werent being manipulated constantly by corporations, government officials, mainstream media, and the experts from think tanks they love to cite.

      • eljay
        eljay
        May 6, 2018, 6:08 pm

        || JohnSmith: … Some small, manipulable minority of voters were convinced to hate and to act on their hate, to give victory to the rich and right-wing. Maybe voters in the past have been lied to and manipulated, but not like this, not in a democracy, not in a place that’s supposed to care about the truth. The new technology allows low-information, hate-filled voters to be played like violins. … ||

        I agree with Donald’s sentiment about the naïveté of this post:
        – There’s nothing noble about American politics – certainly nothing more noble than any other Western democracy’s politics.
        – And I don’t see how this new technology differs from the old technology that allowed low-information, hate-filled voters to be played like violins.

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        May 6, 2018, 6:31 pm

        DJ rocks it!

    • Donald
      Donald
      May 6, 2018, 6:25 pm

      Sorry John if my tone got a little heated in the comments above. I do find the obsession with Russian manipulation bizarre and bordering on paranoid McCarthyism, but I have friends in real life who think like this and it is, well, a bit frustrating given that we are immersed in lies and half truths all the time.

      I don’t completely agree with Phil, btw. In theory we do have access to more info than ever before, but in practice both our time and interest level is limited. We can’t be googling incessantly for all relevant sources of information on every important topic. We can all be manipulated to some degree, especially by a mainstream press that tells us it is objective and alternate sources are Russian sponsored psywar agents.

      • eljay
        eljay
        May 6, 2018, 6:48 pm

        || Donald Johnson: Sorry John if my tone got a little heated in the comments above. … ||

        Donald: Generally-speaking, I respect your view on things. The fact that you’re not above admitting to self-reflection -something most (almost all?) Zionists are unwilling or incapable of doing – makes me respect you that much more.

      • Donald
        Donald
        May 6, 2018, 9:59 pm

        Thanks eljay and cigar god. I obviously agree with your posts too. I could listen to the talk about Russian “ meddling” with some sort of open mind if it was presented with about a hundred times less melodrama and some sense of perspective, but the melodrama is a necessary ingredient.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        May 7, 2018, 11:52 am

        ” Russian sponsored psywar agents.”

        A troubled place, Russia.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        May 7, 2018, 7:14 pm

        “with some sort of open mind if it was presented with about a hundred times less melodrama and some sense of perspective”

        It’s the typical US media refusal to acknowledge that Russia has completed the transition from Bolshevism to an egalitarian social democracy. The US media is still fighting the Cold War.

      • Donald
        Donald
        May 8, 2018, 8:56 am

        That’s called trolling, mooser. Nobody said anything about Russia as a social democracy. The refighting Cold War part is right. The Soviets really were crappy and the Cold Warriors used hysteria about that to justify their own crappiness.

        Anyway, successful troll. I responded.

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      May 6, 2018, 7:21 pm

      “were able to inject just the right amount of poison in just the right amount of ears via Facebook” – JohnSmith

      That’s one theory. And such precision! On the othere hand, Lanny Davis, White House Special Counsel for the Clinton administration and Senior advisor to the Israel Project, argues that FBI Director James Comey was conclusively responsible for Hillary’s loss. He bases his analysis on poll results immediately before and after Comey’s announcement about the FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails.
      https://www.c-span.org/video/?441245-3/washington-journal-lanny-davis-discusses-role-fbi-director-comey-2016-elections

      Lanny Davis at least presents a case for his conclusion, while you do not. And you both ignore the MANY normally Democratic voters who refused to vote for Hillary because of her POLICIES that were too obviously bought and paid for by Wall Street and Zionists. To say nothing of her conspiring with Israeli citizen Debbie Wasserman Schultz to sabotage Sanders’ strong campaign. While she hid her financing from her most ardent supporters, she couldn’t hide it from everybody, due to the internet.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        May 9, 2018, 5:47 pm

        Eljay,
        So which part of full equality is supremacist?
        Why do you think all Zionists are expansionist?
        Why can’t a state be based upon a set of religious and ethical teachings from a particular religion but still be equal for all? Aren’t most western states based upon some significant Judeo-Christian precepts? Does that make these states supremacist?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        May 9, 2018, 6:03 pm

        “Aren’t most western states based upon some significant Judeo-Christian precepts?”

        You can’t even bring yourself to name the people who live in Palestine and how the “Jewish State” will deal with that.

        But please, tell us which “Judeo-Christian precepts” are at work in the establishment of “Israel”?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        May 10, 2018, 2:57 am

        “Aren’t most western states based upon some significant Judeo-Christian precepts?”

        No. European Enlightenment ideas overlaid on Stoic, Christian, and pagan Teutonic precepts. Not much Judeo at all.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        May 10, 2018, 1:20 pm

        Eljay,
        “The fact that Zionists may have different ideas on how large that “Jewish State” should be (“as much as possible of Palestine”) doesn’t change the fact that they all want one to exist.”

        As much as possible is not the same as wanting one to exist. If you order a small pizza, say 4 slices, you could eat all 4. That’s as much as possible. If you decide to give me 1, 2,or3 slices you still have pizza, but it’s not as much as possible.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      May 7, 2018, 1:59 am

      I see you are following the depressing modern fashion of attributing ‘hate” to those you disagree with.

      I suppose it is easier than researching real motives, and avoids the danger of finding out that your opponents might have a point.

      • annie
        annie
        May 7, 2018, 3:07 am

        ascribing hatred to ones ideological opponents is always a dead give away.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        May 7, 2018, 12:39 pm

        Annie,
        Have you met Eljay?
        “Why does jon s hate America so much?!”
        “I get why Zionists hate non-Jews, but I still can’t figure out why they hate Jews so much.”
        “I seriously cannot comprehend why Zionists like you hate Jews so much.”
        “It’s not surprising that you hate non-Zionist Jews but Naftush is a “Zionist, observant Jew, Israeli”. Show your co-collectivist some respect.”
        “Why do Zionists hate Jews so much?!”
        “He’s a Zionist and – for reasons I still cannot comprehend – Zionists seem to really hate Jews.”
        “I don’t understand why Zionists insist on hating Jews so much”
        Etc, Etc…

      • eljay
        eljay
        May 7, 2018, 1:41 pm

        || Jon66: Annie,
        Have you met Eljay? … ||

        Jon66, do you have the answers to my questions?

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        May 7, 2018, 10:09 pm

        Eljay,
        I think the answer to your question is,
        “I see you are following the depressing modern fashion of attributing ‘hate” to those you disagree with.

        I suppose it is easier than researching real motives, and avoids the danger of finding out that your opponents might have a point.”

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        May 8, 2018, 2:54 am

        So is your answer to Eljay “There is no hate. We have other motives for behaving badly towards Jews”?

      • eljay
        eljay
        May 8, 2018, 7:51 am

        || Jon66: Eljay,
        I think the answer to your question is,
        “I see you are following the depressing modern fashion of attributing ‘hate” to those you disagree with.

        I suppose it is easier than researching real motives, and avoids the danger of finding out that your opponents might have a point.” ||

        Zionists routinely conflate all Jews with Zionism and the oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” project. The point, it seems, is to ensure that all Jews are considered responsible for the past and on-going (war) crimes of Zionists and the “Jewish State”.

        Zionist JeffB drove home that point when he wrote: ” … Not holding the Jews responsible for Jewish policy on the excuse that ‘well some Jews didn’t agree’ is denying them agency. … “

        I can’t imagine that love is what “really motivates” Zionists to deliberately paint targets on the backs of all Jews, so if the “real motive” isn’t hate the only other ones I can think of are:
        – a desperate attempt to legitimize the illegitimate;
        – mental illness; or
        – sheer stupidity.

        So…which “real motive” is it?

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        May 8, 2018, 7:57 am

        Roha,
        Eljay’s questions assume “hate” as the motive for certain actions or positions. These are examples of exactly the sort of lazy thinking you were describing. An assumption of hate rather than an actual analysis. The arguments hop from A to B to this must be motivated by hate without any evidence.

      • Donald
        Donald
        May 8, 2018, 9:09 am

        I have generally assumed eljay was using “ hate” ironically, because the word is used against people who criticize Israel. I bet Jon 66 understands it the same way, but has decided to play the naïf who takes it literally. Eljay just gave alternative explanations.

        In actuality some Zionists clearly hate non Zionists, including non Zionist Jews, but one reason they conflate Judaism with Zionism is so criticism of one becomes criticism of the other and therefore anyone who criticizes Zionism is therefore an antisemite and guilty of— guess what?— hate. Eljay has been mocking that attitude by turning it against Zionism.

      • eljay
        eljay
        May 8, 2018, 10:56 am

        || Donald Johnson @ May 8, 2018, 9:09 am ||

        Thanks, Donald. It’s true that I don’t actually believe that every Zionist’s “real motive” is hatred of other Jews when he openly advocates or supports or engages in any of the countless acts of injustice and immorality committed by Zionist Jews against non-Jews purportedly on behalf of and for the benefit of all Jews (or “the Jews” as Zionists like to say, even though it seems to me it wasn’t that long ago that referring to Jews collectively as “the Jews” was considered anti-Semitic).

        I look forward to Jon66 providing me with a clear and concise list of the “real motives” that drive Zionists to intentionally put all Jews on the hot-seat for Zionist (war) crimes.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        May 8, 2018, 5:57 pm

        Donald,
        I don’t think Eljay means it ironically. That is saying “hate” when he means the opposite.

        Eljay,
        I don’t know what motivates others unless they state their reasons. So I would prefer not to speculate. You want to paint all Zionists as having the same ideas and motives which is both simplistic and incorrect.

      • eljay
        eljay
        May 8, 2018, 7:26 pm

        || Jon66: … Eljay,
        I don’t know what motivates others unless they state their reasons. So I would prefer not to speculate. … ||

        Fair enough: Don’t speculate on what motivates other Zionists to hold all Jews accountable for the actions of Zionists and the “Jewish State”.

        But you’re a Zionist, so please tell me what motivates you to hold all Jews accountable for the actions of Zionists and the “Jewish State”.

        || … You want to paint all Zionists as having the same ideas and motives which is both simplistic and incorrect. ||

        If by “the same ideas and motives” you mean “Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist ‘Jewish State’ in as much as possible of Palestine” then, yes, all Zionists have the same ideas and motives. It may be a simplistic statement but it is entirely accurate.

        Aside from that, I don’t want or try to paint all Zionists as being the same.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        May 8, 2018, 10:52 pm

        Eljay,
        I don’t hold all of anyone responsible for the actions of everyone, (Zionist, American, Boy Scouts, etc.)
        Not all Zionists share the beliefs that you outline.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        May 9, 2018, 1:26 am

        Jon, I took Eljay’s “hate” as a jokey way of saying that not all of Israel’s actions are “good for the Jews”.

        Since you took it seriously, I was inquiring (not, it seems, clearly) whether you were objecting to the attribution of hate rather than other motives, or simply condemning him as a dedicated follower of fashion.

      • eljay
        eljay
        May 9, 2018, 7:34 am

        || Jon66: Eljay,
        I don’t hold all of anyone responsible for the actions of everyone … ||

        I’m sincerely glad to know this.

        || … Not all Zionists share the beliefs that you outline. ||

        Every Zionist believes in Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine. A Zionist who does not believe in that fundamental tenet of Zionism isn’t a Zionist.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        May 9, 2018, 12:39 pm

        “Not all Zionists share the beliefs that you outline.”

        “Beliefs”? What on earth to their stated “beliefs” have to do with it? What about Zionism’s actions?

        Why “Jon66”, are you so convinced you can control how people react to the actions of Zionism and Israel, and the conclusions they come to, with argle-bargle about “beliefs”?

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        May 9, 2018, 1:26 pm

        Roha,
        Perhaps I missed the joke. I thought of it as more of a shortcut to avoid an actual analysis or engagement.

        Eljay,
        Can’t a Zionist believe in “THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open to the immigration of Jews from all countries of their
        dispersion; will promote the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; will be
        based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew Prophets; will uphold the full
        social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex; will guarantee
        full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture; will safeguard the sanctity and inviolability
        of the shrines and Holy Places of all religions; and will dedicate itself to the principles of the Charter
        of the United Nations.”
        Now it may be that like “all men are created equal” the country has not lived up to its ideals.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        May 9, 2018, 2:02 pm

        “Can’t a Zionist believe in “THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open…”

        I’m sorry “Jon66”, but you didn’t mention where the “State of Israel” is to be located. On which heretofore uninhibited plot of land will you site it?

      • eljay
        eljay
        May 9, 2018, 2:07 pm

        || Jon66: … Eljay,
        Can’t a Zionist believe in “THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open to the immigration of Jews from all countries of their dispersion … ” ||

        Of course. I wouldn’t expect any Zionist not to believe in Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.

        || … Now it may be that like “all men are created equal” the country has not lived up to its ideals. ||

        So far the “Jewish State” has done an excellent job of living up to its Jewish supremacist (Zionist) ideals.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        May 9, 2018, 4:18 pm

        “Can’t a Zionist believe in…” “Jon66”

        You can tell us you believe any goddam thing you want. Nobody can stop you. As to why you think revealing yourself as a hypocrite and insulting our intelligence is good for Zionism, let alone anybody else, I’m probably better off not knowing.

        BTW, “Jon66”, it’s a lot easier to “believe” when you don’t actually live in “Israel”, isn’t it?

      • eljay
        eljay
        May 9, 2018, 6:33 pm

        || Jon66: Eljay,
        So which part of full equality is supremacist? … ||

        The part where Israel:
        – is not the Israeli state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally; but,
        – is a “Jewish State” primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews.

        || … Why do you think all Zionists are expansionist? … ||

        I don’t think that and I’ve neither stated nor implied it. “As much as possible of Palestine” means different things to different Zionists but it’s what every Zionist wants.

        || … Why can’t a state be based upon a set of religious and ethical teachings from a particular religion but still be equal for all? … ||

        A state can be. A “Jewish State” of Israel is not equal for all Israelis – it is more equal for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews. Which is exactly how you Zionists want it to be.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        May 9, 2018, 11:19 pm

        Eljay,
        “I don’t think that and I’ve neither stated nor implied it. “As much as possible of Palestine” means different things to different Zionists but it’s what every Zionist wants.”
        If the phrase has no defined meaning than how could every Zionist want it. if you can’t define it than I don’t know that it is definitional to Zionism.

      • eljay
        eljay
        May 10, 2018, 11:15 am

        || Jon66: Eljay,
        “I don’t think that and I’ve neither stated nor implied it. “As much as possible of Palestine” means different things to different Zionists but it’s what every Zionist wants.”
        If the phrase has no defined meaning than how could every Zionist want it. … ||

        Sometimes I get the distinct impression that you’re not faking it…

        Every Zionist wants a “Jewish State” to exist. The fact that Zionists may have different ideas on how large that “Jewish State” should be (“as much as possible of Palestine”) doesn’t change the fact that they all want one to exist.

        || … if you can’t define it than I don’t know that it is definitional to Zionism. ||

        It’s “definitional to Zionism” because no-one other than Zionist want a “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.

      • eljay
        eljay
        May 10, 2018, 2:09 pm

        || Jon66: As much as possible is not the same as wanting one to exist. … ||

        No kidding.

        || … If you order a small pizza, say 4 slices, you could eat all 4. That’s as much as possible. If you decide to give me 1, 2,or3 slices you still have pizza, but it’s not as much as possible. ||

        You and I both want some of Joe’s 12-slice pizza and we’re going to try to get as much as possible for ourselves.

        I’m going to push for 4 slices because I’m pretty sure I can get 3.

        But you get to Joe first. You’re a jerk and a greedy slob so you threaten to kick his ass unless he gives you 8 slices, which he does.

        I bug Joe for half of the remaining 4 slices. He gives me 1 slice.

        We both wanted some of Joe’s pizza. You got as much as possible and I got as much as possible.

        And that’s that. I know you like to play games, but I’m done with this one.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        May 10, 2018, 6:42 pm

        Eljay,
        “|| Jon66: As much as possible is not the same as wanting one to exist. … ||

        No kidding.”

        So do we now both agree that the desire for as much as possible is NOT a part of Zionism?

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      May 7, 2018, 1:06 pm

      Excellent post!
      @ John Smith:
      “Regarding the Palestinians and citizen-journalism (“citizen”-journalism), I have long thought–yes, I know it’s a wild pipe-dream–that every Palestinian in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel, should be outfitted with a camera filming 24/7, to record and document their abuse and mistreatment.”
      They have more cameras and provide more shocking footage of their abuse and mistreatment that anybody could watch. As Phil writes, there is no shortage of evidence but the court has no time for it and the jury is rigged.

  2. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    May 6, 2018, 12:13 pm

    Yes, Clinton was uniquly qualified to lose the election and had used political power — and not innate electability — to power her way to the D-Nomination. But Trump’s Cambridge-Analytics which if not “fake news” is close enough — finely-tuned targetted propaganda helped a lot.

    Fox News is fake news. Mostly, or so some far-left people say.

    And when NYT ignores the facts about anything — say about Gaza these days — are they not purveying fake news?

  3. iResistDe4iAm
    iResistDe4iAm
    May 6, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Fake news isn’t a recent phenomenon:

    – Russia influenced the 2016 USA election while the USA spreads democracy around the world is fake news:
    https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-interfered-in-elections-of-at-least-85-countries-worldwide-since-1945/5601481

    – ‘Iran is on the brink of developing nuclear weapons’ was fake news in 1979-84, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011-12, 2015 and 2018:
    https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1108/Imminent-Iran-nuclear-threat-A-timeline-of-warnings-since-1979/Earliest-warnings-1979-84

    – “Iraq has WMDs” was fake news.

    – “Saddam is Hitler”, “Gaddafi is Hitler”, “Bashar al-Assad is Hitler”, “Trump is Hitler” was fake news.

    – The Gulf of Tonkin incident was fake news.

    – “Smoking doesn’t kill” was fake news.

    – “A land without a people for a people without a land” was fake news used to lure Jewish migrants to Palestine as human shields for the Zionist project.

    – Regarding fake news in earlier times, below is what John Swinton, chief editorial writer of The New York Times (1860s) and chief editorialist of the New York Sun, had to say about the ‘independent press’ (aka mainstream media):
    https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Swinton

    “There is no such a thing in America as an independent press, unless it is out in country towns. You are all slaves. You know it, and I know it.

    There is not one of you who dares to express an honest opinion. If you expressed it, you would know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid $150 for keeping honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for doing similar things. If I should allow honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, I would be like Othello before twenty-four hours: my occupation would be gone. The man who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the street hunting for another job.

    The business of a New York journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to villify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or for what is about the same — his salary. You know this, and I know it; and what foolery to be toasting an “Independent Press”! We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping-jacks. They pull the string and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our possibilities, are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”

    • Tuyzentfloot
      Tuyzentfloot
      May 6, 2018, 2:47 pm

      Fake news didn’t start as propaganda, it started out as news pulled out of thin air.
      Now fake news is anything which is disreputable. There is a consensus that fake news should be suppressed. And countered.

      This is the setting up of an infrastructure for censorship, with support of mainstream press and intellectuals. Censorship meaning: all possible manners of making something less visible and less reputable.
      In principle the censoring rules can be very soft at the start and that once the infrastructure is in place new rules can be implemented in the blink of an eye. but it’s clear nobody intends to wait that long.

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      May 6, 2018, 7:28 pm

      iResistDe4iAm, great post. With the advent of the internet, the real news has a chance against the official fake news for possibly the first time in history.

  4. Mooser
    Mooser
    May 6, 2018, 1:21 pm

    I don’t know precisely what is meant by commissariat, but I’m even more confused by your use of the word “guilds” in this article.

  5. May 6, 2018, 2:27 pm

    We’ve never had as much good information as we do now – true. We’ve never had as much false information as we do now – also true.

    What has changed is the comprehensiveness and depth of the information the elites have on us, the common person. In a society built on profits before people, this great mass of intimate information on our patterns of behavior, our likes and dislikes, will only be used to further exploit us all – whether that is through creating fear to drive us to war or accepting what would otherwise be unacceptable as just two examples.

    Cambridge Analytica gathered information that it used to exaggerate or aggravate or promote or suppress sentiments that were held by the masses. They didn’t just reveal what they had uncovered, they took an active role in manipulating it for the gain of their client. tRUMP made promises to the American people based on what was uncovered never intending to deliver unless it aligned with his self serving agenda.

    Imo, fake news is the product of this dynamic – the elites know much more about us than we know of them and they are using this knowledge to manipulate us through the many media outlets they own. It’s PR and marketing geared at manipulating social systems and beliefs for the betterment of the elites.

    • Tuyzentfloot
      Tuyzentfloot
      May 6, 2018, 2:49 pm

      AFAIK desinformation through the approved channels like our press is by definition not fake news.

      • May 6, 2018, 3:17 pm

        What’s your definition of fake news?

      • May 6, 2018, 3:28 pm

        Fake news for me means any information offered as news which has an underlying agenda other than to accurately and objectively report facts / observations / information obtained.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        Tuyzentfloot
        May 6, 2018, 5:11 pm

        I don’t have any use for ‘fake news’ except maybe as an alternative name for clickbait.
        It has been instantly appropriated to mean ‘anything undesirable’. It will become a reputation/weight to information and rest assured anything antizionist will get a low reputation which will be an impediment with whatever you can think of. It will be deranked at google search and demonetized at Google adsense, and Facebook and Twitter will also find deranking mechanisms for it.
        I mean to say I don’t like it.

  6. annie
    annie
    May 6, 2018, 2:31 pm

    The claim that the Russians are behind fake news and they threw the election is just more fiction from a Democratic Party determined to have a new cold war in order to excuse itself from its failures to reach the white Obama voters who voted for Trump. Do people really think that the ads Russians placed on Facebook, or the data that Trump allies had access to through Cambridge Analytica, swayed people to vote for Trump? Is that how you made up your mind? Maybe a few fools changed their vote because of lies; but again that does not go to the real dynamics of the 2016 race. People disliked Clinton for good reasons. People sought a disrupter for good reasons.

    i couldn’t agree more. thanks again phil.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      May 7, 2018, 5:39 am

      Agreed.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      May 9, 2018, 4:28 pm

      “People disliked Clinton for good reasons.”

      Very hard to get enthusiastic about a Sen. who voted for Bush’s War on Iraq.

  7. gamal
    gamal
    May 6, 2018, 2:38 pm

    “I urge readers to watch her interview of two Boko Haram survivors, some of the best journalism you will ever see”

    what did you learn from it?

    did ZaKZaky come up,

    “Nigerian Military: “The Real Boko Haram”

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

    “The Nigerian military has long been suspected of manipulating Boko Haram to its own ends.”

    Hammad Ibrahim, a soft-spoken, intelligent young man, accompanied his father, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, the leader of Nigeria’s Shia Muslims, to a conference on Solidarity with Palestine, in Beirut, last week. I was there, along with other reporters and activists. Young Hammad told our group that Boko Haram, the Nigerian jihadists, are terrorist thugs who get their weapons and money from both Nigerian and foreign donors, just like the Islamic State, with which Boko Haram is aligned. Hammad’s father, Sheikh Zakzaky, is recognized as a force for reconciliation among the various religious and ethnic groups in Nigeria. But Zakzaky’s Shia followers have been targeted by both Boko Haram and the Nigerian military, which has long been suspected of manipulating Boko Haram to its own ends. The Nigerian army killed three of the Sheikh’s sons in 2014 during a march against the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem.

    By this weekend, Hammad was also dead, killed by the Nigerian military shortly after he arrived back in the country ( from the Palestinian solidarity conference) in a massacre of unarmed Shia Muslims that left his father with bullet wounds in both hands. The military claims the Sheikh’s followers were plotting to kill the army chief of staff when his motorcade was blocked by demonstrators. But, it was pure murder on a massive scale, with as many as 1,000 dead and two hundred bodies piled up at a morgue on the outskirts of town. The military then bulldozed a Shia shrine and Sheikh Zakzaky’s home. One of the Sheikh’s followers, Bukhari Muhammed Bello Jega, wrote on his Facebook page that “the REAL BOKO HARAM is now on the loose” in form of the Nigerian army, “bombing buildings and killing innocent civilians.” Soon after posting that message, Mr. Bello Jega was also killed by soldiers, along with his wife and infant child.

    “It was pure murder on a massive scale, with as many as 1,000 dead.”

    It is not strange at all that the Nigerian military, which for years did little to halt the rise of Boko Haram terror, has unleashed a hell on earth for peaceful Shia Muslims. Saudi Arabia, the fountainhead of funding for jihadists all over the world, has just formed its own…..”

    https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:89V2ZN-8lvsJ:https://blackagendareport.com/nigerian_military_real_boko_haram+&cd=19&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ie

    ” ‘Nigerian soldiers are Boko Haram,’ Islamic scholar says”

    “Islamic scholar and activist, Shabbir Hassanally has accused the Nigerian government and the country’s army of being behind Boko Haram.

    Hassanally told Iran’s Press TV in an interview published today, December 15, 2015, that the Nigerian Army ‘can’t fight Boko Haram, because they are Boko Haram’ themselves.

    The scholar made the comments following the recent battle between the army and Shiite Muslims in Zaria, Kaduna State.

    “You want to be strong in fighting terrorism, go and fight the people who have given allegiance to Daesh (ISIS), but of course they can’t fight Boko Haram, because they are Boko Haram”themselves,” Hassanally said.

    “The government of Nigeria is controlled by Tel Aviv and Washington,” he added saying that the authorities in Abuja do not take any measures without the approval of their “masters” in Washington.

    http://www.pulse.ng/news/local/army-vs-shiites-nigerian-soldiers-are-boko-haram-islamic-scholar-says-id4464761.html

    and Vanessa Beeley does some amateur journalism

    “It is logical, rational and reasonable to speculate that Boko Haram is effectively another terrorist trade name, brought into existence, to destabilize a region that is daring to jailbreak from US colonialism and to explore alternative bi-lateral trade pathways that deviate from the US regional “road maps”.

    Boko Haram’s presence, has a threefold purpose:

    It successfully elevates the Nigerian army to defender of the “meek” against the “terror” threat and provides cover for any violent opposition suppression.
    It gives the US justification for “boots on the ground”, military support for anti Boko Haram aka pro US factions, and the ubiquitous drone strikes against the alleged “terror” strongholds, a devastating strategy already observed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen to name a few.
    It ensures the fragmentation, sectarian division, and fracturing of unity and a state of perpetual chaos which will seismically derail China’s investment in Nigeria’s physical and economic infrastructure essential to their US exclusive growth.
    Sheikh Zakzaky had alluded to this very terror “patent” in his reaction to the suicide bomb attack on the Shia Arba’een procession in Kano on the 27th November 2015. Over 24 died and many were injured in further violent targeting of the minority Shia community in Nigeria”

    http://english.khamenei.ir/news/2897/Boko-Haram-Just-another-US-terrorist-brand-to-suppress-Islamic

    How does blackness intersect with Muslim these days do you think?

    my halcyon childhood days were spent in Kano, Zaria, Jos, Maiduguri, Katsina rock, wonderful people beautiful place,

    any one remember the Ogoni, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Biafran war. boko are not the start of any story more like a denouement . the activities of Royal Dutch Shell…if you have any interest in Nigeria and definitely look in to Usman Dan Fodio if you want to worry about Islam, but he was Fulani rather than Hausa like Boko ….

    i didn’t watch your link what did you learn about Nigeria from it?

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      May 6, 2018, 7:37 pm

      It does appear the war profiteers are gearing up to reap their next round of obscene profits from the slaughter of Africans.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      May 10, 2018, 7:23 pm

      “any one remember the Ogoni, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Biafran war.”

      I do, of course, but not with the detailed knowledge you have. And the name Ahmadu Bello is definitely a blast from the past for me.

  8. Tuyzentfloot
    Tuyzentfloot
    May 6, 2018, 2:52 pm

    Clearly people who voted against Clinton had to draw conclusions based on invalid arguments. By definition Fake News caused people to vote for Trump.

  9. CigarGod
    CigarGod
    May 6, 2018, 4:54 pm

    Great job, Phil.
    I’d like to add…no amount of information is worth a damn…if one doesn’t have the BS Detecting skills required to analyze it.
    Unfortunately, most of us…no matter how well-intended we are…know what those skills are.

  10. gamal
    gamal
    May 6, 2018, 6:42 pm

    in relation to Nigeria my initiation in to the real world was when i was six and they killed the Sardauna and then war…

    just out of interest here is letter about Ahmadu Bello Sardauna of Sokoto Hausa-Fulani descsndant of Usman dan Fodio, nothings ever been the same since..allah ka jikan Gamji dan kwarai

    “In Memory Of Late Sir Ahmad Bello
    Late Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto also Gamji dan kwarai (May Allah grant him eternal peace) ‘’was a politician of distinction, unaffected by selfish interest, dedicated to service and committed to unity and the brotherhood of the human person’’ Late Wada Nas.
    On 15thJanuary 1966 he was killed by misguided military officers mostly Igbos, as a result of failed coup d’état. The Ahmadu Gamji Dan Kwarai was a fundamentalist for unity, an embodiment of democracy and civilization. He dedicated his life for service to humanity and he died in such. He worked assiduously for unity of Nigeria and North in particular.
    During his reign the North was a united entity with no reference to tribe or religion, people in the region came to be associated with NORTHERNERS as a tribal name, rather than reference to a particular region, religion or race as the current situation.
    In his time the north was a magnet; attracting all sphere of human being. The over two hundred tribal groups considered themselves as Northerners without any rancor, different from the current situation, in which people make reference to race or region. Today the North has becomes a disjointed family. People no longer fight for unity and progress of the region but self aggrandizement.
    Sir Ahmad was a liberal person who believed in freedom of worship for every Tom, Dick and Henry. He did not allow his selfish interest to override public wishes. Before I proceed I would like my reader to deduce from one of the Sir Ahmadu Bello’s speech to be mention below
    ‘’Here in the Northern Nigeria we have People of Many different races, tribes and religious who are knit together to common history, common interest and common ideas, the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us. I always remind people of our firmly rooted policy of religious tolerance. We have no intention of favouring one religion at the expense of another. Subject to the overriding need to preserve law and order, it is our determination that everyone should have absolute liberty to practice his belief according to the dictates of his conscience…” – Sir Ahmadu Bello
    People criticize Gamji with some mockery names like dictator, jihadist, anarchist, regionalist, religionist etc. I cannot say you should not criticize Sir, Ahamadu Sardauna but the fact remains that he is a non controversial figure and a liberal person who look at individual rather region.
    It was same Sardauna who you ascribed with all sort of names that recognized an achievement made by a Christian Plateau boy and finally sent him outside country to studies mining engineering. Also, same Gamji bought the first Bible for late Chief Sunday Awoniyi former Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum. I had that Baba Ahmadu Ahmadu Bello did become angry with Christians who didn’t go to the Church, he even drove some to the Churches.
    Same Sardauna had at his midst the like of Micheal Audu Buba, from Plateau, Edward Maminso from Adamawa, Jolly Tanko Yusuf from Taraba, Mr. Achimugu from Kogi and several other notable Christian ministers who had very close political relationship with him. His deputy the Makaman Bida was not a Hausa/Fulani but Nupe.
    I am calling on the critics to continue with their criticism. As words cannot destroy greatness nor can they bring down a steady fence. I heard that “one only criticize when he/she has nothing to say about him/herself. So please, criticize Ahmadu but know that your criticism is worthless if you have not done better than Gamji.
    It was same Ahmaddu Bello who was reported to have told Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo “Don’t envy the unity of the North but worry about the division in the South so that we can have a united South and a united North in a united Nigeria”. It was upon this that he once advised Dr. Nmamdi Azikwe that for us to achieve unity in Nigeria we need to appreciate our differences so that we can live of them.
    Same Ahmad Bello you call a corrupt and greedy person left only a traditional house neither a car nor saving despite his influence. Same corrupt Sardauna issued a query to a minister, who was a party officer, for failure to account for 50 kobo!
    One thing that is certain, you cannot stop people from criticism; Prophet Muhammadu (SWA) and Isah Alaihin Salam (Jesus) was criticized rather than Gamji. I only bring this to the fore, as a remembrance to who I considered my hero and role model.
    Long Live, Northern Nigeria
    Long live Nigeria.

    MUKTAR YAKUBU GIDAN HAMMA,
    ILLELA LOCAL GOVERNMENT,
    SOKOTO STATE.

    Don’t let America kill Nigeria, aren’t you satisfied with blood yet.

  11. Qualtrough
    Qualtrough
    May 7, 2018, 3:32 am

    If we accept for a moment the claims that the Russians were able to successfully sway the US election with a handful of trolls and a ridiculously small financial outlay then we once again have evidence of a monumental failure by our intelligence agencies. Not only that, we should also stand in awe of the fact that the Russians were able to do that on what amounts to less than a shoestring budget while literally hundreds of millions of dollars were spent by the Democrats and yet they still couldn’t swing the election in their favor. And we also have to accept that just as was the case with 9/11, nobody will be held to account, nobody will lose their job for what amounts to a massive intelligence failure by agencies with budgets in the billions of dollars. Instead their budgets will be increased. Further evidence that we are in the midst of a new Cold War.

  12. John O
    John O
    May 7, 2018, 3:52 am

    We don’t know if fake news and manipulation won the Brexit referendum and the presidential election in 2016. But we do know is that the scoundrels who won made wide use of fake news and manipulation.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      May 7, 2018, 9:13 am

      “the scoundrels who won made wide use of fake news and manipulation.”

      And the scoundrels who didn’t win didn’t?

  13. Citizen
    Citizen
    May 7, 2018, 5:54 am

    What facts did, do both Bernie voters and Trump voters want to change, if any? Where did they find those facts?

  14. JimMichie
    JimMichie
    May 7, 2018, 9:16 am

    ” Yes, as we assert here all the time, the mainstream US media is in the tank for Israel . .” Why, Phil, do you give such short shrift to this issue so important to creating stability to the ever worsening state of Palestine/Israel and the entire Middle East? Surely this could be described as a crucial issue for the entire world. Moreover, in addition to the human rights catastrophe “nurtured” by Israel, there is yet another huge “elephant in the room”: Israel’s nuclear arms stockpile of upwards of 200 hydrogen, neutron and atomic warheads amassed over the past 30 years and deliverable by Israel’s air, missile and sea forces. Yet, Israel has refused to publicly admit the existence of these nuclear weapons and has refused to sign on to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty observed by the world’s responsible nuclear powers. Israel, therefore, provides the “news media” with a quintessential example of abject hypocrisy. Can this be relegated to “fake news”? Or are “news media”, as well as the U.S. government and its “allies” complicit in maintaining a veritable news blackout on this potentially enormous threat to world stability and peace, especially since Israel is so determined in its efforts to kill the Iran no-nuke agreement? Perhaps “news blackouts” could be the subject of a second piece by Mondoweiss; and this, of course, could include the “news blackout” observed by major “news media” regarding Israel’s daily, countless human rights violations in what little remains of Palestine for the past 50 years. Something to ponder, Phil?

  15. dsowd
    dsowd
    May 7, 2018, 11:33 am

    Best thing you’ve ever written, Phil!

    BRAVO!!!

  16. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    May 7, 2018, 2:09 pm

    Naturally PW cites Ezra Pound.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      May 9, 2018, 8:31 pm

      “Naturally PW cites Ezra Pound.”

      Citing Ezra Pound? How many demerits does he get for that?

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        May 10, 2018, 2:45 am

        @mw
        Plenty. And more if he claims he was innocent of any intention other then the quote

  17. lonely rico
    lonely rico
    May 7, 2018, 10:49 pm

    … there is only one standard for writing: accuracy of statement.

    You have trouble with this DaBakr ?

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