By Lucy Komisar
Oct 12, 2019
For mainstream media, “disinformation” is something the Russians do, and maybe the Chinese. When I confronted three mainstream journalists – two who made seamless moves into the U.S. government –with fake news by the New York Times, they presented pitiful excuses. It was on the Trump phone call to the Ukraine president, now considered to be the key reason for a Trump impeachment, so truth matters.
It was a meeting October 11th at the Council on Foreign Relations on “Stemming the Tide of Global Disinformation.” The irony is that proof of the NYTimes fakery was proved by Joe Biden at the very Council hall where they were speaking.
The Council panel included Amanda Bennett, Wall Street Journal reporter for 20 years, now director of Voice of America; Richard Stengel, an analyst for NBC/MSNBC, former State Department undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, before that editor of Time; and Paul M. Barrett, at Bloomberg Businessweek and Wall Street Journal for decades, now at the NYU business school. If they were Russians, the State Department roles of Bennett and Stengel would tag them as government propagandists.
The panelists talked about the terrible things “trolls,” obviously (though without evidence) controlled by the Russians, had done and were doing to sow angst and dissension in the otherwise contented American populace. OK, I added the “contented” phrase.
Stengel said that when such stories were put on Facebook (which seemed to be the main venue for the bad stuff) that was demonstrably false content, they should be taken down.
Then came questions. Here’s a clip, and the text is below.
I’m Lucy Komisar. I’m a journalist. In the New York Times yesterday there was a story with the headline, Ukrainian president says no blackmail in phone call with Trump by Michael Schwartz. He said:
Mr. Zelensky also said he “didn‘t care what happens” in the case of Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company that once employed a son of former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr. In the phone call, President Trump had asked Mr. Zelensky to do him a “favor” and investigate the debunked theory that Mr. Biden had directed Ukraine to fire an anti-corruption prosecutor who had his sights on the company.
Debunked was the word of the Times journalist, not Trump.
Here’s the link (note that the Times has curiously changed the headline the link goes to): Ukrainian President Says ˜No Blackmail‘ in Phone Call With Trump
By Michael Schwirtz Oct. 10, 2019
I said: Well, I’ll go back to January 23 2018. In this room, Joe Biden speaking to the Council on the record:
“And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn‘t….”
I’m eliminating a couple of paragraphs just for time just to get to the nut graph. [Nut graf is journalism speak for the key point of the story.]
“I looked at them and said: I‘m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you‘re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired.
I asked: Now, what would you say about this disinformation in the New York Times yesterday? And do you think that they should take down this demonstrably false information?
The panel did not jump at the chance to fight disinformation, at least not if it came from mainstream American media. Stengel asked, What are you saying is false about it? Was he serious? Of course, MSNBC, where he works now, killed the Ken Dilanian exposé of Bill Browder, so true and false appears to be relative to one’s political agenda.
Amanda Bennett: I think the point that you’re that you’re actually making, the larger point I think people would be interested in is that a reputable organization that does this looks at looks at errors and puts, researches them, people should correct it. But that’s a generalized principle. And I don’t know anything about the truth or falsehood of what you just said. I’m just saying that’s one of the things you want, the best is transparency and corrections.
I explained: Well, the writer says that it was a debunked theory that Biden directed the Ukraine to fire an anti corruption prosecutor who had his sights on the company. In this in the council here, Biden says exactly that. He said we would not give the billion-dollar loan guarantee, unless you fire this prosecutor. It seems to me that Biden in one place is telling the truth. And in another place he’s not. Maybe we have to figure out that, but I don’t think he lied to the Council. It’s all online. Anybody can see it. So therefore, it seems to me the Times wrote fake news, and they should be asked to take it down.
Stengel: We’re not experts. If I can just go in the weeds for a second having gone to Ukraine several times at the same time that Vice President Biden was there. He was there 12 or 13 times. I went three times. That prosecutor was a corrupt prosecutor who was shaking down the people he was potentially prosecute, who already had exonerated Burisma the company that his son worked for. So he was saying the prosecutor the exonerated Burisma needed to be fired. And you know who else was saying it? The IMF, the World Bank, the EU, everybody else, it was a corrupt prosecutor.
Stengel does not address Biden saying he ordered the Ukraine officials to fire the prosecutor or lose a U.S. loan guarantee, which would challenge MSM disinformation.
My question is at 45:20 of the full disinformation video.
See this for evidence that Viktor Shokin, then Prosecutor General of the Ukraine, had been going after the “oligarch” who owned Burisma, which was paying Biden‘s son Hunter $50G a month to serve on a board for which he had no qualifications, except being the vice-president‘s son. Then Shokin was fired, and the successor hired by Poroshenko, installed by the U.S.-sponsored Maiden coup of 2014, dropped the case. So, who was corrupt?