Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 29, 2007

On 'Reported' Issues

In an otherwise good article about the Rice and Gates travel to the Middle East, McClatchy's Nancy A. Youssef and Warren P. Strobel write:

The Bush administration also is divided over Iran, with Vice President Dick Cheney’s office pushing for an aggressive military response to Iran's reported aid and training for Shiite militias attacking U.S. troops in Iraq, senior officials said.

For something to be 'reported' an actually reporter would have put some leather to the streets. Facts would have been researched and witnesses asked. That reporter would doublecheck and  analyse the collected facts and build a theory or reach some conclusions. Those would be tested against independent expert opinions. All of this written down and packed into a decent format is a journalistic report. Its content could be characterized as 'reported'.

I am not aware of any such journalistic report that says something conclusive about asserted current Iran aid and training for Shiite militias who might attack U.S. troops in Iraq. Are you?

All 'reports' I have seen on the issue were stenographed statements by U.S. officials, some anonymous and some on the record, some in suits and some in uniform, who alleged this or that about Iran's role in Iraq. 

Strobel and Youssef are usually very good journalists. They kept a cool head in the run up to the war on Iraq and didn't fall for the WMD spin. I can't really blame them to have had a slip here as their piece today is about a wide and complex situation. But it shows how the system works.

Glenn Greenwald writes about the sorry excuses the NYT and the Washington Post today produced to discuss away Alberto Gonzales' perjury. Both stories are based on 'anonymous officials' who leak 'facts' that at first glance seem true, but seriously analyzed are faulty. Glenn expands on the modus operandi in that case and it is the same than in the 'Iran's reported...' issue above:

Here is a snapshot of the United States from 2000-present. The Bush administration whispers something to "journalists." They repeat it uncritically on their front page. Other "journalists" read it. They believe it uncritically and then repeat it. With nothing else required, it becomes "fact".
[P]resto, just like that -- from the administration's anonymous lips to the American public, making a pit stop with leading journalists only to be amplified and bolstered but never examined or investigated -- Alberto Gonzales is vindicated.

... or Iran guilty for someones attack on the U.S. occupiers in Iraq.

Journalism done well is time consuming hard work and shrinking news-room budgets don't help. But the current times do make the job easier. After more than six years it is obvious that this administration is lying about anytime one of its officials opens the mouth.

Anything that gets disseminated by it, the attached thinktank circus or their well know stenographers in the media, can be assumed to be false if it lets the administration shine in a positive light or furthers its aims.

Anything that is 'reported' based on administration sources should equally be assumed as manipulated news, not as fact.

To follow that basic assumption is good journalism. To do otherwise results in sloppy work that should be left to typing chimps.

Posted by b on July 29, 2007 at 17:34 UTC | Permalink


I watched some of Blitzer on CNN today, mostly due to boredom and I noticed how easy it has become for me to pick up on the talking points and the preferred direction the PTB want the US to take.

Al Qaeda is now the source of all evil in Iraq, Iran is arming Shiite militias in Iraq, the race for president on the democratic party side consists only of edwards, obama, and clinton. I think clinton is the chosen one because she is the one rove has determined to be the easiest to beat.

probably the most disgusting thing I heard was charles rangel say he would vote against impeachment because it would merely put an even worse character in the white house in the form of cheney. it is so easy to avoid that it aint even funny yet that is the final word. what a bunch of spineless bottom feeders we have for people's deputies.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jul 29 2007 18:03 utc | 1

I am not aware of any such journalistic report that says something conclusive about asserted current Iran aid and training for Shiite militias who might attack U.S. troops in Iraq. Are you?

badr is armed to the teeth by iran, as are other southern militias. the principle supplier of arms to hiz is iran.

but, the claim shia militias harm US forces is usually exaggerated.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 29 2007 19:19 utc | 2

Reminds me of the stir created by Hunter Thompson's reports of "rumors" of Ed Muskie's drug use during the 1972 presidential campaign.

To which HT later commented, "I was just reporting that there were rumors. I knew they were rumors. I had started them".

In any case, it is time for the press to start referring to Cheney as an "alleged human being".

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jul 29 2007 19:19 utc | 3

I think clinton is the chosen one because she is the one rove has determined to be the easiest to beat.

Whether they think they can actually beat her or not I don't know, and anyway I still have my doubts as to whether there will even be a general election. But, assuming there will be, this much I think is obvious: HRClinton is the right's dream candidate for one simple reason --- there's nobody else on the dem side, not even Obama (maybe, oddly, especially not Obama), who can keep the country divided like Clinton can. A third of the country would assume the Rapture had started even before she was sworn in; rove&co would pin Iraq on her and look to retaking congress in 2010 and the WH in 2012. That side of it alone is enough to make her the worst possible choice for the 08 dem nomination.

Posted by: mats | Jul 29 2007 19:32 utc | 4

Slothrop, do you honestly believe this shit:

"badr is armed to the teeth by iran, as are other southern militias. the principle supplier of arms to hiz is iran."

The most deadly weapons, armour piercing shells, come from China, but it doesn't mean the Chinese Government is supplying them or even knows how they get there. As for Iran, every time I hear or read a 'statement of fact' by the Pentagon that "huge caches/shipments of arms from Iran have been seized on the border with Iraq", I immediately laugh it off in the knowledge that if such an event had occured, even once, Fox News would have been there in a shot to film the whole thing.

If you had bothered to read the reports I posted during the past 48 hours you'll see that, according even to the pro-Bush New York Times, Saudi Arabians are the No. 1 killers of American soldiers, comprising 45 % of insurgents and over 50 % of suicide bombers. Lay off Iran until you get evidence instead of hearsay which you so irresponsibly repeat like a Neocon parrot.

And by the way, if America cannot control or intercept even a fraction of the trillion-Dollar drug trade, despite state of the art equipment and a well trained DEA, how can you expect America to prevent the black market in weapons in a far-off country it knows nothing about and has no control over??? And, by the way, 370,000 weapons supplied by the Pentagon to the Iraqi army last year are now "unaccounted for", = missing, gone, nada. I suppose you'll blame Iran for this too ...........

Posted by: Parviz | Jul 29 2007 19:41 utc | 5

well, it's just a fact the provenance of much training of and arms for shia militias is iran. it's not my fault these are the facts, purvis, but perhaps my closer reading of the talmud will reveal a secret truth enjoining my usual analysis. anyhow, the claim shia militias pose anywhere the threat to US forces commensurate w/ the sunni insurgency, is unsupported by the facts.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 29 2007 19:55 utc | 6

Most Americans agree with bin Laden:

A majority of Americans say that in the long run, the United States will be safer from terrorism if it stays out of the affairs of countries in the Middle East. But there is a sharp party divide on the issue — 73 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of independents and 28 percent of Republicans agree.

Support for Initial Invasion Has Risen, Poll Shows

Posted by: Sam | Jul 29 2007 19:55 utc | 7

@sloth @2 - can you read?

What you cited from my piece says:

1. Shiite militias who might attack U.S. troops in Iraq. You name "hiz" as a counter-example, i.e. Hizbullah, a local organization in Lebanon, folks who certainly do not "might attack U.S. troops in Iraq"

2. asserted current Iran aid and training. You say "badr is armed to the teeth by iran". Badr is indeed "armed to the teeth" but not by Iran but by the U.S. and the Iraqi government. Badr today is the center force of the Iraqi military. They did train in Iran and were armed by Iran when they fought Saddam. Now they are the Iraqi military, "friends" of the U.S. and get trained and armed by them.

Both of these of your claims are false. The third one, though "the claim shia militias harm US forces is usually exaggerated" seems to be correct.

Still 1:2 - not a good rate in truthiness ... read before you write ...

Posted by: b | Jul 29 2007 20:03 utc | 8

Slightly OT: I have in another comment cited old-timer journalist Richard Sale saying:

According to senior US intelligence officials, President Bush has definitely decided not to strike any of Iranian alleged nuclear weapons production facilities this year.

This has now been confimed by Jim Lobe, a journalist for IPS who I trust, saying an Iran attack this year is unlikely. Jim writes:
It has been known since Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s visit here last month that the U.S. and Israel would review the situation vis-à-vis Iran and its nuclear program early next year, presumably after a new round of Security Council sanctions and approval of pending sanctions legislation here.)
Will Bush and Olmert will be "disarmed" by then ?

Posted by: b | Jul 29 2007 20:16 utc | 9

There will be no attack on Iran before they finish the bunker, er I mean the embassy, in Baghdad. You don't Sale or Lobe to confirm that.

Posted by: Sam | Jul 29 2007 21:22 utc | 10

b, i point out your error here because it is another claim you must make in your continuous effort to reduce every event in iraq as the outcome of US occupation. your position is at best naive. of course iran materially and politically supports various shia factions. this should be beyond dispute. but not for someone like you who requires that every ambiguity and contradiction be ejected in order to fulfill an unsupportable fantasy that iran plays no menacing role in iraq.

vali nasr's book is a pretty good starting point to correct this error of yours. as is'ites-rise.html>this ditty.

for starters. the evidence of iran's material, political, finacial support for shia militias and leaders is voluminous. my position on this is so well-supported by the facts, i'm, embarrassed i'm asked by you to prove your point.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 29 2007 21:24 utc | 11

disregarding facts should never be permitted even in support of what we believe to be a "leftist" politics.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 29 2007 21:27 utc | 12

also, i have done the most at moa to show, w/ support of citation, that iranian influence is massively circumscribed by both historical and social social relations among arab and persian shia. this is a fact one would like to see repeated in the "msm."

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 29 2007 21:44 utc | 13


for starters. the evidence of iran's material, political, finacial support for shia militias and leaders is voluminous.

I don't know why you are arguing this especially as nobody is diputing this. It should also be pointed out that; that is exactly what the US government is doing in Iraq. The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq is the most powerful political party in the Iraqi government fully supported by both the US and Iran.

Posted by: Sam | Jul 29 2007 22:16 utc | 14

sloth, it's a given that there is Iranian influence in Iraq. It's also a given that the green zone is safe for the time being because the Main US allies in Iraq are Iranian sponsored "democratic" forces.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jul 29 2007 22:31 utc | 15

well. glad we cleared that up.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 29 2007 23:11 utc | 16

@ mats #4 - Agreed. They want her so bad.

Posted by: beq | Jul 30 2007 0:32 utc | 17

anyway I still have my doubts as to whether there will even be a general election

This has been bothering me a lot, too.


Posted by: Wolf DeVoon | Jul 30 2007 0:32 utc | 18

-- Election Rigging

The Privacy Office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is concerned that you bothered. After all, the Department of Homeland Security only stood up four years ago now, and already it's the fastest growing domestic espionage agency in US history. PODHS operates under the direction of the Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer, who are appointed by DHS Secretary, Michael Cherthoff! PODHS has been so effective, bothersome FOIA requests are unresponded to 75% more often since 2003, as CPOPODHS conspires with SoS, DoD and POTUS to reclassify frequently-requested government documents as Top Secret, such as those relating to AG Gonzale's Gang of Eight firing of federal attorneys who were engaged in undesireable freedoms of prosecution against Repug vote scamming.

-- Election Framing

Godfather Gingrich put the finger on Hillary and Obama for one reason only. He knows the single and sole lightning rod that will Rise Up the Republican Axis, is if a woman and a black are nominated to run for president. American media may talk Feminization of Power and I Have A Dream, but America itself would sooner that pigs fly. The beauty of it, the sheer genius of the Godfather is, Democrats are by philosophical bent utterly incapable of understanding or accepting a racist American misogyny, against which they'll throw themselves like faggots in a flame.

-- Good News At the Front

Full Spectrum Domestic Espionage, Framing the Electoral Debate, all that's left is to surge out the war in Iraq until election day, to avoid the withdrawal debacle. Long winded negotiations and circular finger pointing a great way to stall, and $30B in arms deals thrown in the kitty, a great way to keep everyone in the game,
and keep good news coming from the front.


Minority Voters Disenfranchised, Hillary-Obama DOA, and Good News At The Front.
There will be a general election alright, you just won't like the rigged outcome!

Posted by: Ara Vapai | Jul 30 2007 5:29 utc | 19

I don't have time to look it up, but David Neiwert of Orcinus blog has written extensively about the fringe airing of attack memes that gain talk radio airplay and if successful are picked up in the mainstream media.

He has done a full deconstruction of one aspect of the mighty wurlitzer, the right-wing smear machine Goliath that rages on and on, with only our little David (I mean annie, Bernhard, Atrios et al) in opposition.

It is well-know that the tactic of publishing an idea then using that as a seed of "everybody knows" and "it's recently been disclosed that ..." is a successful propaganda method. Add to that Uncle Scam's note about Brian Eno's phrase "prop-agenda" and the whole thing begins to unravel.

I am posting about b's quote in the original post

The Bush administration whispers something to "journalists." They repeat it uncritically on their front page. Other "journalists" read it. They believe it uncritically and then repeat it. With nothing else required, it becomes "fact".

Anyway, Neiwert's essays on the radical Eastern Pacific Northwest yahoos are instructive.

From a Neiwert article on

Ideas and agendas began floating from one sector to the other in increasing volume around 1994. I noticed it first in the amazing amount of crossover between militia types and the anti-Clinton vitriol out of D.C. that eventually built into the impeachment fiasco. In fact, it was clear that what I was seeing was that the far right was being used as an echo chamber to test out various right-wing issues and find out which ones resonated (this was especially the case with Clinton conspiracies). Then if it got traction, the issue would find its way out into the mainstream.
It's a good story illuminating the links between U.S. Northwest neo-Nazis, Southern confederates, the Patriot movement, Pat Buchanan and George W. Bush.

Posted by: jonku | Jul 30 2007 7:12 utc | 20

Hillary Clinton: Right-Wing Darling?

I'm no rocket scientist but to me this is elementary.

Posted by: beq | Jul 30 2007 11:10 utc | 21

Posted by: Pyrrho | Jul 30 2007 11:31 utc | 22

I like the more subtle ones. I was watching CNN the other day when the news of US vets suing the government for medical care was reported. Imediately a commercial followed lauding all the help they were delivering to the Vets. Fair and balanced.

Posted by: Sam | Jul 30 2007 12:05 utc | 23

marjorie cohn & elizabeth de la vega were on the kpfa morning show today & these two are also worried that this regime will not abdicate in any form, come election time. perhaps even a large-enough protest in would provide the pretext to evoke martial law & cancel elections.

i'm not convinced that martial law could be pulled off in this society, but i cannot see cheney/shrub/gonzo willingly exposing themselves to criminal charges & investigations either. but then again, rumsfeld is still free...

hope for the best, plan for the worst

Posted by: b real | Jul 30 2007 14:51 utc | 24

clinton is the chosen one because she is the one rove has determined to be the easiest to beat

That, or possibly her ten-point lead in the polls in every national poll and every early primary state poll except Iowa. I'm not happy about it, but it's not Karl Rove's doing.

Posted by: Nell | Jul 30 2007 17:38 utc | 25

I don't have a lot of faith in polls Nell and I also don't think that one excludes the other. the vast majority of people will go along with what they perceive to be the majority opinion as they are either unwilling or unable to make the judgment by themselves. Sen Clinton has paid her dues to AIPAC and big business and has been admitted to the club. but so have edwards and obama. The press has made it a foregone conclusion that she will be the candidate and have worked to eliminate edwards as he might turn out to be too populist. that leaves obama who is already being touted as the vp to clinton.

perhaps I give rove too much credit for being a superbrain, he may not be infallible but he is cunning and well versed in what he does. we saw all too clearly how easily the major papers print whatever the cheney admin wants them to print during the Irving (Scooter) Libby trial. why would it be any different when it comes to covering a candidate of the "opposition"?

we have two candidates that could actually be representative of the people in Kucinich and Gravel but they have already become invisible and mute.

I am finding it more fascinating to see who the republicans select to replace w, that should give us a glimpse of whether they want to win or not.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jul 30 2007 18:39 utc | 26


As long as the Republicans have "Anyone but Hillary and Obama" as a rallying point, they need not worry too much about who they are running as a candidate.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jul 30 2007 18:58 utc | 27

agreed ralphie, but if they do field someone without charisma or giuliani I take that to mean they don't want the presidency and who could blame them? there will be a huge mess to clean up in the coming years, better to let the dems get saddled with that.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jul 30 2007 19:03 utc | 28

next president of the US: Giuliani.

said so long ago.

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 30 2007 19:07 utc | 29

don't you think he will be a hard sell to the fundies? that picture of him in drag will be mighty useful in keeping the uptight away from the polls. unless of course the repubs can find a huge wedge issue for 08.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jul 30 2007 19:16 utc | 30

giuliani? he has about as much chance winning the election as bush did the last one. it's not whether you win or loose, its how the gop steals it for you.

Posted by: annie | Jul 30 2007 20:57 utc | 31

Care to place a friendly wager on that, Noirette? ;>

Posted by: Nell | Jul 30 2007 22:27 utc | 32

Sad to see that MoA-ites are once agin falling for the myth that tweedledee is substantively enough different from tweedledum, that the neo-con 'forces of darkness' would sabotage tweedledee's election.

Both Hillary Obama and Barack Clinton will make fine prez's for the segment in control. I say segment because there is no doubt that far more amerikans benefit from the current arrangements than just R Cheney and the voluminous Bush family who spread across the body politic like a rabbit fur coat. (cheap but real with a manufacture as cruel and nasty as any mink or sable ).

Many of the beneficiaries baulk at some of the Cheney /Bush acts when confronted by them but hell, that's why they put them there, so that Dick Cheney would get his hands dirty, not yours truly.

Too much of the machine behind the smoke and mirrors has been revealed.

Now 'the people' are sizzling with an outrage conspicious by its amnesia (who did vote for those assholes anyhow? oh that's right they were deceived by lies any decently read 12 y.o. could see were bullshit), it is a great time to bring in a cosmetically different alternative.

This will help the people believe they've been part of some meaningful change, a quiet revolution if you like, but which in reality does just the same stuff to those lesser beings 'offshore' and the parasitic sub-cultures at home, without making a citizen feel they ought to feel guilty.

The best part is it didn't take any conspiracy, complicated planning or even necessitate anyone building up a sweat.

"The system" with all it's checks and balances best described as traps and pitfulls; has ensured that.

Thea corporatised media and civil service/judiciary where every position above head janitor is politicised, has done the work automatically.

It is an impossibility for anyone remotely ethical, and who acts on their ethos, to get a position of power. The great winnowing machine sorts the wheat from the chaff and ensures that only the chaff are appointed.

If the coup happens after the next election, it won't be against Hilary Obama it will be in support of that regime after sufficient normal people become angry at the new boss being just the same as the old boss, that they finally express that dissatisfaction in ways that inconvenience the ruling elite.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 30 2007 23:09 utc | 33

There has never been an Italian president.

Posted by: Mark G | Jul 31 2007 0:54 utc | 34

Manufacturing Consent.
Filter #3: (Unattributed) official sources.
Same as it ever was.

Posted by: Malooga | Jul 31 2007 4:31 utc | 35

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