The Marriage of the Media and the Security State - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Marriage of the Media and the Security State
Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell on CBS News Feb. 14, 2023 (CBS News/YouTube)

It is now all too obvious that the corporate media colluded with corrupt elements of the security state to alter the outcomes of two presidential elections. Their first foray into election interference failed because, in 2016, they underestimated the power of social media and allowed Donald Trump to speak directly to the voters. They fixed that problem in 2020 by convincing Facebook and Twitter to censor legitimate news stories while disseminating disinformation. And it is no coincidence that former Obama and current Biden administration officials were involved in both interference schemes.

One such official, former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, testified before Congress last week that he facilitated the cover-up of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal at the request of then-Biden campaign advisor Antony Blinken. Morell coordinated the fraudulent open letter in which he and 50 other national security “experts” claimed that the entirely accurate story published by the New York Post before the 2020 election had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian disinformation operation.” Morell also contributed to the 2016 Russia collusion hoax by writing in a New York Times op-ed that Donald Trump was pro-Putin:

Mr. Putin is a great leader, Mr. Trump says, ignoring that he has killed and jailed journalists and political opponents, has invaded two of his neighbors and is driving his economy to ruin. Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests — endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States.

This was all nonsense, but Morell seems to be a man of imperfect honesty when he can lend a hand to a Democratic presidential candidate. Indeed, he admitted during his testimony that he concocted the open letter “to help then-Vice President Biden in the debate and to assist him in winning the election.” Biden did use the spurious statement during a subsequent debate to “prove” that Trump’s assertions about Hunter Biden’s influence peddling were nothing but “garbage.” Meanwhile the corporate media uncritically parroted the disinformation canard, and the social media platforms censored the New York Post story.

All of this is of a piece with the refusal of the corporate media to cover the Twitter Files, a dereliction of duty that will accelerate the security state’s assault on free speech. Their silence on the weaponization of the FBI, CIA, and IRS stands in stark contrast to the irresponsibility with which they covered the Russia collusion hoax. From the moment BuzzFeed published the infamous Steele dossier, knowing full well that it was a work of fiction, it tainted every subsequent “news” story written about the Trump administration. Yet the former editor of BuzzFeed, Ben Smith, writes in the Atlantic that he would do it again:

If I had to do it again, I would publish the dossier — we couldn’t suppress it, not once CNN had discussed it and its implications on air. But I would hold more tightly to the document, so that no one could read it without reading what we knew about it — that we weren’t sure it was true, and in fact we had noticed errors in it. Releasing a document that could be shared without context — and this is as true of the WikiLeaks material as it is of the dossier —  created partisan symbols, not crowdsourced analysis.

Now BuzzFeed is, for all intents and purposes, dead. But this offers no more comfort than the news that a mass shooter committed suicide after killing a dozen people in a shopping mall. The damage is done. It not only smeared a President-elect without regard to the damage that would do to him or the country, it probably accelerated the public’s already waning trust in the news media. And what lesson did Ben Smith learn from all of this? He lost confidence that “people could be trusted with a complex, contradictory set of information, and that journalists should simply print what they had and revel, guilt-free, in the traffic.”

This is, of course, the tale corporate media editors now tell themselves when they bury stories about Biden family corruption or the federal government’s stealth collusion with social media platforms to censor disfavored publications, journalists and scientists. You, as a mere reader, can no longer be trusted to figure out what’s going on when an IRS agent makes a house call on veteran journalist Matt Taibbi the very day he is scheduled to testify before Congress about the weaponization of large and powerful federal agencies. Now a sitting member of Congress has  threatened him with prosecution. As Taibbi writes at Substack:

I learned yesterday Virgin Islands Delegate and Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of Government Stacey Plaskett is threatening me with prison, over her own error. Just after I ran a piece called “The Press is Now Also the Police” about the New York Times and Washington Post boasting of roles in delivering a leak suspect to the FBI, MSNBC’s new attack-caster, Mehdi Hasan, got his wish, inspiring first Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and then Plaskett to trumpet his incredibly vicious and mistaken claim that I lied to Congress.

The reference to MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan involves his claim that a typo in a tweet (Taibbi inadvertently added an A to the acronym CIS and subsequently fixed it) amounts to perjury. This is absurd, but Plaskett cited Hasan in her intimidation letter. Plaskett has used her position on the subcommittee to attack the credibility of any witness in any way possible. During Taibbi’s testimony she referred to him as a “so-called journalist.” Her bizarre threat is not likely to provide much solace to anyone worried about increasingly overt attempts by the Biden administration to censor Americans for voicing inconvenient truths.

Nor will talking heads like Mehdi Hasan, who sell their souls to hide the collusion between the corporate media and government censorship, escape the consequences of their perfidy. In the end, this is what quislings like Hasan never realize until it’s too late. The disinformation “experts” who signed Michael Morell’s open letter will drop them into the censorship Quisinart as soon as it suits their purposes. Every “journalist” who thinks he can avoid being chopped up and served to an authoritarian regime as hors d’oeuvres is delusional. President Biden and his handlers enjoy whetting their appetites on useful idiots.

David Catron
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David Catron is a recovering health care consultant and frequent contributor to The American Spectator. You can follow him on Twitter at @Catronicus.
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