I had to laugh when the “mainstream” media began making a fuss about the alleged epidemic of “fake news.” My immediate and uncontrollable reaction was: “Are we to be spared nothing?!”
After all, as Antiwar.com’s longtime readers know, these are the very same people who were spreading the Bush administration’s “talking points” as if they were facts in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. They know this because we spent years debunking them. Here are just a few samples:
Iraq’s “mobile biological weapons” – debunked here.
The biggest lie – that Saddam Hussein had ‘links” to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attack – is debunked here and especially here, where we exposed evidence that the media was covering for the Bush administration.
The very media outlets that are today loudly complaining about “fake news” – the New York Times and the Washington Post, the twin voices of the Acela corridor – served as a veritable echo chamber of the Bush administration’s lies as we were led into the worst military disaster in our nation’s history.
Even then, “fake news” was hardly a new phenomenon. War propaganda is as old as the history of warfare itself, and in more recent times it has been taken to a new and more audaciously dishonest level.
Antiwar.com was founded, in 1995, in reaction to media coverage of the Kosovo war – a conflict that was energized by media reports that depicted the “Kosovo Liberation Army” as a legion of saints out to free their country from human monsters, rather than the criminal cabal they turned out to be. According to the Clinton News Network, otherwise known as CNN, US intervention was justified because the Serbs were committing “genocide.” The War Party and its journalistic camarilla told us that hundreds of thousands of Albanian Muslims were being massacred by the Serbs. This nonsense is still the conventional wisdom today – except that, as we pointed out at the time, it never happened.
Fast forward to 2016-17: the same people are pushing the same made-up news, except the “enemy” is now Russia.
The Washington Post has been in the vanguard in this respect, publishing a story recounting how the Russians supposedly attacked Vermont’s electrical grid – without even contacting the power company. They had to walk that one back with a “correction” that basically said “Never mind.”
Then there was the story by Washington Post “reporter” Craig Timberg that took the wild assertions of a bunch of anonymous Internet trolls known as “PropOrNot” as good coin, smearing web sites like the Drudge Report, Counterpunch, and Antiwar.com as “Russian propaganda.” They had to append a lengthy correction to that one, too.
And who can forget the Slate story that mistook marketing emails for a direct link by the Trump campaign to a Russian bank – alleged “evidence” that the real estate mogul was taking orders and money directly from the Kremlin. That one was broadcast all over Twitter by the usual suspects before it was debunked, but the purveyors of the lie didn’t care – because the whole point was just to get it out there. Neither author Franklin Foer nor Slate has ever issued a correction, let alone a retraction.
That is really the modus operandi of the fake news industry: just get it out there. Even if it’s debunked, and the originators admit their “error,” it’s too late to reel it back in – and hardly anyone sees the correction. Do you go back to stories that appear in the “mainstream” media to see if they’ve corrected them? Of course you don’t.
That’s why Antiwar.com is a more valuable resource than ever before: we don’t publish fake news in the first place. And, what’s more, we are fact-checking the “mainstream” media 24/7, so that the “news” is corrected before you see it – that is, if you come to us first.
To say that we live in uncertain times is definitely an understatement – and that’s why the world needs Antiwar.com more than ever. Fake news is all over the place, spread by the very people who pose as arbiters of truth: the agenda-laden “mainstream” media. Hardly a day goes by without some anonymous “intelligence official” telling us via the Washington Post, the New York Times, or one of the wire services that Vladimir Putin has infiltrated the highest reaches of the US government, that the poor little Syrian head-choppers (called “rebels”) are really angels of mercy, and that Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are really “agents” of a foreign power.
The fake news comes thick and fast – and we here at Antiwar.com are devoted to debunking it.
This is more than a full-time job: it’s akin to the labors of Sisyphus, who was condemned by the gods to roll a heavy stone up a hill, only to see it roll back down the other side – forever.
This is our fate – but we aren’t complaining. We’re just doing our job, and we’ll continue to do it as long as our readers give us the support and the resources we need to do it well.
But we can’t continue to do this vital job without your financial support. We depend on you, our readers, to help us fight the fake news epidemic and bring the truth about our foreign policy to the American people.
If you’ve been to our front page, you’ll know that our fundraising drive has started – and if you haven’t, well then I’m telling you right now. And this is an especially important one: the country is divided as never before, and the news media is more biased than ever before. To say that the traditional sources of information are less than reliable is an understatement, these days: the sad reality is that we flat out can’t trust them to tell us what the heck is going on. And this is especially true when it comes to overseas news: there are so many pressures on the “mainstream” media to drag us into this or that conflict that the truth is more often than not lost in the rush the establish a “narrative.”
When you come to this web site, you can forget The Narrative. Here is where you get the unvarnished truth, proffered without fear, favor, or partisan bias.
This is our credo, and our vocation: but we need your support – your financial support – to make it happen. The War Party has the fulsome support of the military-industrial complex – those who profit from our foreign policy of endless conflict. On the other hand, Antiwar.com doesn’t get any big donations from major foundations, or eccentric millionaires. All the support we get comes from … you.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.