Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 16, 2018

The White House Spat With Jim Acosta Is Not A First Amendment Issue, Julian Assange's Indictment Is One

U.S. media support a questionable First Amendment case when one of the network reporters was rebuked by the White House. They are quiet on another case where the danger to the rights of a free press is much more serious.

On November 9, during a White House press conference with U.S. president Donald Trump, CNN reporter Jim Acosta staged a confrontation. His 'questions' to Trump during the press conference amounted to political statements and personal accusations. The situation escalated when Acosta insisted to make more statement while the president invited other reporters to ask their questions.

The first Acosta statement/question was about the so called caravan of immigrants that traveled through Mexico to the U.S. border. Trump had used it as a boogeyman during the midterm election campaign and had called it an "invasion". Trump answered the question by explaining that he wants immigrants to go through the legal immigration process and to not pass the border illegally. Acosta interrupted Trump's answer and asked a follow up, again in an accusing tone. Trump also answered that second question.

Acosta made another attempt to involve Trump into a political discussion about the issue. The president rejected that by telling Acosta to do his job as reporter while he, Trump, would do his as president. He moved on to the next reporter.

A White House aid got up to fetch the mobile microphone Acosta held in his hand. He more or less pushed her away and tried to ask another question, this time on the "Russian investigation". Trump told him "That's enough. That's enough." Acosta continued to ask. Trump relented and answered the question by saying that the whole "Russia investigation" is a hoax. Acosta tried another question, number five, asking if Trump was worried about indictments in the case. Trump turned away.

Acosta finally gave up the microphone. Trump then told Acosta that he is a "rude, terrible person" and that CNN "should be ashamed" to have him as a reporter.

Trump turned to another reporter to continued the press conference. While the next reporter asked his question Acosta got up again, interrupted the other reporter and again tried to get Trump into a discussion. He failed.

A video of the full exchange is here.

When I watched that segment on that day I found the behavior of Acosta obnoxious and primitive. He, and a few other reporters, did not ask questions to elicit answers, but tried to provoke Trump by making partisan political statements which were only superficially framed as questions. Acosta's behavior was impolite and disrespectful not only towards Trump but also to fellow reporters.

Later that day the White House revoked Acosta's White House 'hard pass' which gives the holder expanded access to the White House. CNN went to court claiming that the revocation violated Acosta's first and fifth amendment rights.

The First Amendment is about free speech. It has nothing to do with a 'right' to enter the White House. Neither does the right to free speech include a 'right' to get invited to press conferences. The Fifth Amendment is, among other things, about due process.

CNN asked the court for a preliminary restraining order against the White House revocation of Acosta's 'hard pass'. It was granted today based on case law related to the Fifth Amendment due process argument. Preliminary orders are not final judgments. They are granted to prevent potential additional damage while a legal case goes on. The court seemed to disagree with the underlying precedence the CNN lawyers had cited:

As [judge] Kelly began to offer his view on the components of CNN's request, he said that while he may not agree with the underlying case law that CNN's argument was based on, he had to follow it.

"I've read the case closely," he said. "Whether it's what I agree with, that's a different story. But I must apply precedent as I see it."

He left open the possibility that the White House could seek to revoke it again if it provided that due process, emphasizing the "very limited" nature of his ruling and saying he was not making a judgment on the First Amendment claims that CNN and Acosta have made.

The judge seems to thinks that the White House was justified but acted in a too chaotic manner when it revoked Ascota's 'hard pass' without citing rules or regulations. It is most likely that the White House will now create such rules pertaining White House access and press conferences. It will then use those to again limit Acosta's access.

I would be fine with that. The news value of White House press conferences has steadily been going down. That's to some part the fault of the White House press secretary. But it is also to a large part the fault of the press corps and the media who do not ask real questions but are unreasonably hostile and seem to be more interested in creating political strife than in facts. Some disciplinary measure may help to change that.

The Trump administration is doing some horrible stuff in dismantling environmental and legal regulations. Its foreign policy is devastating whole countries. Its fiscal policies are catastrophic. There are many good question that could be asked about these issues, but they no longer come up. Instead the press corp, especially the network reporters, play gotcha and use the press conferences for political stunts.

A number of other media organizations supported the CNN case by filing amicus briefs. That is probably a mistake. The legality of Acosta's case is quite dubious. The more the media engages on his site, the more will the White House push back by creating stricter regulations. These regulations, once they are laid out, will be used against all media. If not by this administration then by the next one.

It would also be nice if these first amendment defenders would take up a real first amendment case instead of the phony Acosta issue.

Julian Assange, the publisher of Wikileaks, has been indicted by the Justice Department for publishing truthful information about illegal and outrageous behavior of the U.S. government and U.S. politicians.

I don't see any of those who defend the obnoxious behavior of Acosta, taking a first amendment stand in the case against Wikileaks and Assange. None of those media, who all reported on and profited from the material Assange published, has filed an amicus brief to his case. The indictment of Assange is a grave threat to press freedom. Where are the editorials defending him?


Posted by b on November 16, 2018 at 19:43 UTC | Permalink

next page »

As shown in this article, the United States scores rather poorly when it comes to an independent evaluation of the freedom of its press:

When politicians in other nations see America's political leaders continuously criticizing their own nation's news media, leaders around the world may seek to emulate the American example by further suppressing press freedom in their own spheres of influence.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Nov 16 2018 19:46 utc | 1

Must agree with b about conduct of White House Press Corp and content of its Pressers. IMO, Wikileaks Twitter is the best place to get info about Julian's ongoing dilemma, and there's a lot more all over Twitter today such that it took two hours longer for me to do my usual perusal this morning.

IMO, now that the indictment's public, a comparison can be made between Assange and Khashoggi that if made loudly enough can shame the Outlaw US Empire into dropping the indictment and allowing Assange to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy for real Assylum.

Despite its font, I suggest this Consortium News Commentary on Assange that was written before the indictment's disclosure.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 16 2018 20:07 utc | 2

With all due respect, b, I think you should take another look at the video you've posted. Costa did not push the intern away--he avoided her and spoke politely. Trump was consistently aggressive, mocking, demeaning, and dismissive in his response to Acosta. He was then rude while calling Acosta rude. You're defending Trump's behavior and criticizing Acosta's? Acosta was struggling against being continually derided and interrupted to ask legitimate questions.

Posted by: Sid2 | Nov 16 2018 20:08 utc | 3

The man was rude. Since when does 'law' defend such behavior. If anyone else acted that way in the white house they'd be escorted out by AGW's.

["The Trump administration is doing some horrible stuff in dismantling environmental and legal regulations."]

Be interesting if B would expand on this...

Posted by: ken | Nov 16 2018 20:11 utc | 4

"Where are the editorials defending him?"

There willbe none. Publish US classified stuff is an offence against five-eyes. US UK Australia... UK want to get him out of the embassy and into a US prison, same goes for Australia.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 16 2018 20:13 utc | 5

"A threat to press freedom"
What press freedom?
And Assange, just like the media, was a Cia-asset from the beginning so anything that passed through wikileaks and hurt the Us elites ought to be part of an internal quarrel among the elites.
The Us elites are pretending to accidentally leak that Assange may be punished and that 'leak' was accentuated by Assange himself.
If the Cia can't protect their own asset it ought to make it difficult for them to recruit new assets. Was the leak a feeble effort to do right and is that all they can do for A who at a young age was fooled into becoming a faux freedom fighter by smarter people representing the usg.
I think all the wellmeaning altmedia people have done harm to A by allowing themself to buy the official narrative and to disregard the evidence of wikileaks being a psyop mainly intended to support the imperial designs. The least they could do for him is to give him an agents pension and a medal for having so patiently played along.
And about the wikileaks emails. They were partly intended to do damage to the allies (like France) of the US. That doesnt worry them, they love to hurt their allies. Deniable fashion by using WL.

Posted by: Peter Grafström | Nov 16 2018 20:15 utc | 6


Extraordinary accusations require the presentation of evidence, not just assertions; otherwise, you're no better than the run-of-the-mill troll.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 16 2018 20:24 utc | 7

Assange wasnt pro-clinton in the 2016 election, thats why the phoney liberals now do not show any empathy towards him and his dissidence.
Assange was obviously right all along, US planned the court him and they have already planned that, started that process, in secrecy.

Posted by: Zanon | Nov 16 2018 20:25 utc | 8

Long established now that Assange's leaks have only damaged the prestige of rogue government behavior, including a dramatic shortfall in "Russian collusion" evidence re Assange's role re Clinton and 2016. The problem is how brainwashing works via continually repeating unsubstantiated or debatable statements, such as "Russian interference"--with the subtext to this "Vladimir Putin's interference."

Now even The Intercept runs pieces without the qualifier "alleged" on "Russian interference." There has been no substantial indication to support the initial reason for the investigation--collusion between Trump and Putin. Russian interference otherwise has been minor or insignificant, with much of the FB stuff occurring AFTER the election.

Similarly, Assange has been continually demonized as "compromising national security" more brainwashing. I have no respect for CNN or anything mainstream but hope MoA will not add in here to propaganda that Acosta was the belligerent, over-aggressive one in that exchange with Trump and Trump's sickening response.

Posted by: Sid2 | Nov 16 2018 20:28 utc | 9

@4 What behavior? Show me his rude behavior. Very odd to see this forum on Trump's side in this exchange whereas Trump was the complete smug asshole. Watch the video.

Posted by: Sid2 | Nov 16 2018 20:38 utc | 10

The news value of White House press conferences is much worse than zero. It's one of those things, like the NYT or WaPo, which makes one stupider the more one uncritically digests them.

As for this legal squabble, once again we see what frauds the liberal constitution-worshippers are. If you really care about the constitution and think it means anything, then how would you see this as anything but the courts trying to tyrannize what's obviously the turf of the executive branch? These idiotic press conferences (i.e. spoon-feeding the president's line to court stenographers, except where they're afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome (how much of an objection did CNN or Acosta ever have to Obama's near-identical policies?)) are held at all at the pleasure of the executive branch. What business does any court have getting involved in that process?

I say that only to interrogate those who claim to care about the constitution. I myself recognize it as nothing but a piece of paper which the elites despise.

Posted by: Russ | Nov 16 2018 20:40 utc | 11

@6 nonsensical/absurd/stupid.

Posted by: Sid2 | Nov 16 2018 20:45 utc | 12

thanks b.. i tend to see it in a similar way and appreciate your bringing up julian assange as a comparison of the crocidile tears shed over acosta when there is nothing on assange from these same news outlets..

truth is, the usa media is mostly a courier for the powers that be.. that isn't news.. it is mostly propaganda masking itself as news.. acosta is a part of that same structure and wants to maintain his privileges to continue to act like a batting ram on trump, not that i respect trump either.. how many questions is one reporter allowed to ask, before they let someone else ask a question? revoking his access seems petty, but then acostas actions with follow up by the cnn and etc seem very petty too.. this is especially so given the circumstances surrounding julian assange.. i hope i have answered @3 sid2's concerns..

emptywheel has an article up on the topic of julian assange worth the read, with the usual crowd crowing about assange working with russia and etc... what a boring lot they are, but at least they are very predictable.. it is all russias fault clinton lost the election, lol... The Theory of Prosecution You Love for Julian Assange May Look Different When Applied to Jason Leopold ..

anya on the other thread was talking about assange quite a bit.. obviously his situation merits attention.. i am glad you have touched on it here b... acosta is small potatoes and a complete distraction to the main act as i see it..

as for white house press conferences and the occasional daily white house briefings, i really don't think they are worth much of anything.. the media whores have essentially abnegated their responsibilities and are servants of the establishment for the most part... rarely do any of them ask tough questions, as they know they will be shunned if they do it... that is the type of silent power that is behind what might have at one time been a valuable exercise in democracy... it is nothing like that anymore.. are any of them asking tough questions on ksa in relation to kashoggi.. obviously not! they wouldn't dare... media hypocrites, all of them..

Posted by: james | Nov 16 2018 20:52 utc | 13

@13 no, my concerns are not answered. Why in hell MoA would defend TRUMP against somebody trying to ask questions--and good questions at that--makes me wonder what in hell is happening to this site. I am by no means a defender of Trump, CNN, the usual mainstream bullshit. What I see here is defense of Trump because you loathe CNN. Well, good luck with that. I'm outta here frankly and sick of all these shallow forum discussions.

Posted by: Sid2 | Nov 16 2018 20:56 utc | 14

@14 Sid2, you seem to be having an Acosta moment yourself. Don't let the closing browser window hit you on the ass as you exit the bar!

Posted by: roza shanina | Nov 16 2018 21:05 utc | 15

@14 sid2.. well, i guess we don't see moa the same.. i don't believe anyone is defending trump, but just noticing how demanding acosta seems to be, not to mention how hypocritical they all are with regard to assange.. personally i neither loath cnn or trump.. i am fairly impartial as i see it, and i think for the most part b and others are too.. maybe i am wrong, but that is how i see it, as a non american too fwiw..

Posted by: james | Nov 16 2018 21:12 utc | 16

The New York Times shut down its comment section as thousands of pro-Assange comments poured in. This one was blocked by the filter, so I'm posting it where free speech appears to have gone for refuge- state media of "enemy countries" and independent left-wing and libertarian websites


Democracy is served by the exposure of corruption no matter the source. WikiLeaks, as the New York Times has outlined, exposes the TTIP and TiSA texts along with going after NATO. They exposed the unethical and undemocratic rigging of the primaries against Bernie Sanders. They have, via the diplomatic cables and StratFor leaks, revealed US meddling in Ecuador and attempts to force the EU to accept GMO crops. These is real information, these are real documents, and these are facts that benefit the general population of the United States. They may not please the corporate elite or some elements of Washington power, but those are not "democracy." Finally, the New York Times and other publications like the Wall Street Journal and the Guardian have revealed many truths via documents obtained through sources which many, including I, would consider reprehensible, such as Trump administration insider leaks. Only a nationalist or extreme patriot would care about the national origin of these truths. If the publication of secret documents is placed under scrutiny we're all worse off. 

Posted by: Alina Starkov | Nov 16 2018 21:15 utc | 17

I can't help but to think that this whole Acosta thing was a charade.

The intern's aggressiveness seems suspicious to me. She reaches for the microphone 3 times. On her third reach, she gets hold of the microphone and yanks it.

Please correct me if I'm wrong but microphone passers just don't do that, do they? Does the WH have only one mic? Can they not cut the mic if need be? If a reporter is being disruptive, couldn't they simply escort him out? Why would they make a intern into an enforcer?

She doesn't hesitate. She knows that she is an enforcer. When her third grab is unsuccessful she looks directly at him. As an equal. This intern.

The Acosta confrontation wasn't Trump's only confrontation with the Press. But it is the only one everyone is talking about. The other three were with African-American women. He called one "rude", claimed that one asked a "stupid question" and that the other asked a "rascist question."

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

There is a definite change in tone after the mid-terms. It started after fake pipe bombs were sent to prominent Democrats. At a rally on Oct. 24, in Wisconsin:

Trump opened the rally by calling for a new era of civility in politics following the attempted attacks on former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, CNN and others. And he said those in the political arena must "stop treating political opponents as being morally defective."

. . . the media "has a responsibly to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories."

It's hard to argue with Trump's call for a civil tone and his calling out "fake news" but now Trump seems to be taking that message to heart by using certain people in the press as punching bags. For now, it has been black women . . . and John Acosta (the token white guy?).

This is an attempt by Trump to force the Press to self-censor. It is improper, if not illegal, to conduct such a campaign. He should stick to speeches and not attack individual reporters.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 16 2018 21:19 utc | 18

Summary of Trump's speech in Wisconsin on Oct. 24

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 16 2018 21:21 utc | 19

The real action is in the state dept. Press briefings where the reporters, whether the pretty lady from rt or that Matt fella persist against that awful Heather nauert. You can feel the desperation from the constant running around the issues and dodging questions. The ladies hardly wear makeup because it ain't the show. Don't look to this circus with Acosta and trump.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | Nov 16 2018 21:29 utc | 20

thanks jr... i like how you articulated all that..

@19 nemesiscalling.. unfortunately matt lee has given over to lobbing softballs, as opposed to throwing hardballs.. even he seems to have given up with the pretense of getting any honest answers from those daily briefings nauert hosts.. it is quite pathetic really.. if one wants to get a first hand glimpse of usa propaganda being dispensed to the news outlets - that is it!

Posted by: james | Nov 16 2018 21:35 utc | 21

The OP is the AfD take. Taking First things first, the First Amendment include freedom of the press. If reporters can't enter the premises, they aren't free. Second, reporters aren't rude enough, nor was Acosta. Third, the claim Acosta assaulted the intern is pure Trumpery, fit only for stooges. Last and least wrong, the Assange case is a true assault on press freedom but it is also SOP. The right wingers only get upset about Assange (as opposed to all those whistleblowers Obama persecuted) because they think he helped Putin score points against Clinton. Which is to say, they foolishly assume the nutjobs whining about Russian interference aren't jingo nitwits, but right! Chemnitz has apparently been a tectonic shit in the fatherland's politics.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Nov 16 2018 21:40 utc | 22

@Sid2 #14

There are very few things I like less than Trump, and among them are the witch-hunt tactics and harassment used against him and those associated with him. Bye-bye!

Posted by: Thirdeye | Nov 16 2018 21:45 utc | 23

Well before the age of electronics, The Press was habitually nasty to those it saw as its ideological opponents; just ask Jefferson about the Federalist Press as he went about his duty as the Constitutionally authorized countervailing power to President Adams--part of Madison's Checks & Balances I've discussed several times before. Unfortunately, Trump lacks the wit required to rhetorically put-down his critics and thus stoops to their level--a big mistake as only The Press can act in such a manner. History of Presidential Press Conferences shows how they've transformed as the ethos of the Outlaw US Empire's devolved into its current degenerate state, which is well reflected by ALL participants. I hope people take the time to read that item as it contains some knee-slappers.

Unfortunately, the changed nature of the what's now the Outlaw US Empire has altered the intent of the press conference as it's almost 100% propaganda compared to President Coolidge's:

""I regard it as rather necessary to the carrying on of our republican institution that the people should have a fairly accurate report of what the president is trying to do, and it is for that purpose, of course, that those intimate conferences are held." [September 14 1926]" [My Emphasis]

Yes, Coolidge's Dollar Diplomacy policy would today be considered an Outlaw Policy, but he hadn't continued the use of Death Squads to enforce/ make possible policy goals as every POTUS since Truman has. What was once seen as a necessary part of republican governance was long ago reduced to the Dog & Pony Show we're now subjected to--The Outlaw US Empire demanded as much.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 16 2018 21:57 utc | 24

I generally agree with B.'s analysis, but I also think that both Trump and Acosta deliberately created this contretemps, or kerfuffle, in order to grandstand for their respective sponsors and supporters.

First, a general observation: I don't know if I'm just noticing this, or if it's getting worse-- but when watching excerpts of press-conference videos in recent months, I've been struck by how unprepared and amateurish many journalists/questioners are. The reporters typically don't ask precise, concise questions; instead, far too many make rambling speeches, ostensibly intended (I guess) as "background" or "context" for the question. It often comes across as if they're actually thinking out loud, in hopes of spontaneously formulating an actual question at the end of their peroration.

Acosta's freewheeling, stream-of-consciousness questioning was obviously motivated by his desire to provoke Trump.

But, as someone who worked for the state unemployment benefits agency as a claims examiner, and later a referee and hearing officer, it's obvious enough to me that formal procedures for asking questions can be managed in a way that reduces, if not eliminates, fractious colloquies.

First of all, the venue must establish a clear and consistent standard or practice of permitting X number of questions per reporter (2 is the norm). Also, it is not unreasonable to require that the reporters be prepared to ask reasonably concise and direct questions, and avoid making speeches or extemporaneous commentaries that meander their way to a question.

If these reasonable rules are set forth in advance, the party being questioned can and should administer them dispassionately. A staff person away from the podium could control the microphone, and simply "kill" it when the reporter reaches the specified limit; this eliminates the problem of someone "hijacking" the microphone (the conch from "Lord of the Flies comes to mind), and the concomitant problem of some staffer having to "wrestle" the mike away from an uncooperative reporter.

At most, the person being questioned need only "remind" a persistent questioner that they'd asked their allotted questions, and have to yield to the next reporter. If the reporter objects, and persists in the face of this businesslike "point of order", the party being questioned should quietly wait for staff-- preferably security staff or a designated enforcer-- to dispatch the rudely overreaching reporter and clear the way for the next one.

Alternatively, the person at the podium could allow the unruly reporter to finish their "extra" question, then simply reply "No comment-- next reporter, please."

All of this isn't carved in stone, but responsible adults can be mutually flexible and cooperative while still adhering to the procedures.

Of course, Trump relishes the "unseemly" and unnecessary verbal tugs-of-war he has with contentious reporters. So he doesn't want to reduce or eliminate the fussin' and feudin'. Whether spontaneous or calculated, Trump's tendency is to act pissed off and start arguing with, or sniping at, the persistent questioner. This is like the hapless parent who angrily "negotiates" with a refractory child.

I assume that Trump deliberately engages in these needless exchanges because he thinks it gives him some advantage, e.g. showing his "base" that he don't take no lip from no pointy-headed Fake News purveyor. That's as may be, but this also allows the reporter to play the heroic victim-- a martyr who attempted to speak truth to power, or confront power with inconvenient questions.

This bit of guerrilla theater on both sides isn't the profound civil liberties crisis it's being made out to be. It's just an artifact of a sloppy and poorly-organized process that's exploited by all of the participants.

Posted by: Ort | Nov 16 2018 21:59 utc | 25

Ort @24--

Thanks for putting flesh on my assertion that ALL participants are to blame! Note how well this new topic has derailed discussion on the other threads? MoA mirrors reality!

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 16 2018 22:25 utc | 26

With all the mis-direction going on lately to cover and or hide Trump's horrific foreign policy disasters, is it possible that Acosta is at best making (by orders from...deep state... higher ups) to make everyone NOT see the real, truely dangerous news, about J. Assange? Yes, a bit simple of a question. But I see this Acosta vs Assange timing as NOT a coincidence. Enter Obi Wan and the "these arn't the droids" comment here.

Posted by: 46ZERing | Nov 16 2018 22:28 utc | 27

Posted by: 46ZERing | Nov 16, 2018 5:28:21 PM | 26

Yes, the Acosta "confrontation" allows CNN to grandstand for press freedom over the Acosta tempest-in-a-teapot as charges are prepared/delivered against Assange.

Another reason to be suspicious of the Acosta-Trump confrontation.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 16 2018 22:48 utc | 28


“The first Acosta statement/question was about the so called caravan of immigrants that traveled through Mexico to the U.S. border.”

You undermine your credibility on any subject with the “so called” crap. This isn’t the first time you’ve pretended Trump has some valid point about the caravan of desperate people from Honduras and Guatemala. He doesn’t.

Right, Acosta was being obnoxious and making statements, not asking questions.

And Julian Assange deserves a vigorous defense from the likes of the NY Times. But again today, the NY Times is lying and claiming Assange had been charged with rape in Sweden. He hadn’t. And it wasn’t even a threatened charge.

Posted by: Jay | Nov 16 2018 23:05 utc | 29

With Turkey dripping out info about the Khashoggi murder, our media conglomerates have even more opportunity to grandstand about Press Freedom - at the appropriate time.

One could easily imagine the Khashoggi tapes being released on the same day that Assange is taken into custody.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 16 2018 23:16 utc | 30

So easy to pick out the amerikans from the human beings in this thread, amerikans who have been subjected to continuous media assault designed to provoke emotive responses are stupidly angry as they push one point of view or another about a contretemps at the whitehouse kabuki.

I dunno why anyone would even bother to watch that farce let alone allow themselves to become emotionally invested in it. It makes more sense to cry during an afternoon soap opera when one of the 'much beloved' characters karks it, and that is saying something.

Assange on the other hand publishes real news ie hard, irrefutable information about matters of concern to all human beings. He does this without fear or favour - which is why just about everyone in power is coming down on him, they want him to be too scared to publish the next major embarassment that comes his way - regardless of 'which side' it favours.

I do not know if those who accuse Mr Assange of taking sides in the banal & puerile contest between the dem faction and the rethug sect of the amerikan empire party are paid trolls or idiots, what I do know is that they all remind me of 'me too' ers, incapable of the critical analysis which leads to original thought, their posts always strike as 'just more of the same' followers who will never contribute one iota to the improvement of the human condition because through indoctrination and fear they have become comfortable doing as others tell them to rather using their minds to understand the world better, then strike out in whatever direction that path takes them.

Those worthless types unfortunately cover the entire gamut of thought, the only way forward is for them to shake it off, something they must do for themselves.

I sorta understand why they are indifferent to Assange's fate. This brand of human being never takes a position on any wikileaks news until some other human - one they 'like and respect' has told them what has 'really' happened and what they should think about it. For them that interpreter is a much more valued resource than either the original messenger or the message - blinded by deceit is the kindest description one can put on such foolishness.

The entire purpose of education is to encourage us all to be agents of our own destiny, our own beliefs and not follow the tired, self-serving and frequently destructive views of megalomaniac charlatans, yet so many amerikans refuse to take this once in a lifetime opportunity, preferring to lap up superstition and act against their own best interests because they must at all costs, never stand out from the herd.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 16 2018 23:22 utc | 31

JR @29--

Speaking of Press Freedom, there exists an organization with that name whose president is.... Snowden, and it defends Assange. Additional context here.

The 1st Amendment's rationale originated in the UK and was part of the colonists's ethos, which is why the Amendment exists. UK citizens retain a similar regard for free speech and press, but lack that specific guarantee. However, IMO, they would come out in droves to defend Assange if May's government tried to arrest him and send him to be tortured by the Outlaw US Empire--which is why no such attempt's been made.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 16 2018 23:33 utc | 32

Question everything. The Acosta spat looks staged to me. Hollywood writers must be working overtime generating scripts to follow. Whether its just another polarizing entertaining diversion or something else I cant say yet

As for Assange, like Snowden he is probably Deep State. Another charade to give the illusion of press freedom. Controlled filtered leaks showing blemishes of the Deep State but not the cancer, proving its not that bad. Also whistle blowers contacting him thinking Assange is genuine have met with bad outcomes (seth rich dead, chelsea manning jailed ) . Snowden of course is Putins guest (how nice of him) after leaking to a Deep State gatekeeper who then handed some but certainly not all to Assange

Posted by: Pft | Nov 17 2018 0:04 utc | 33

The White House press confedences became truly irrelevant following the public virtual scourging of Helen Thomas, whose offences were speaking speaking her mind and asking too many questions that many of you all here in the bar would probably ask, given the opportunity.
As for the exchange, it's a bit like trying to judge the Pythons' Twit Of The Year competition. Why anyone would be surprised at this point by D T's behavior is rather odd, but franly Acosta was being a disrespectful dick. He actually doesn't know lucky he was, if D T's body language is any indication; if he had been Ray McGovern, he would've been tossed to the floor in an arm bar.

Posted by: robjira | Nov 17 2018 0:06 utc | 34

I think that b's analysis hit the mark in many respects. For example, he caught that "Acosta's behavior was impolite and disrespectful not only towards Trump but also to fellow reporters."

Note that there is a great deal of 'bad blood' history regarding CNN in general and Acosta in particular in relation to Trump. CNN has been a bitter, biased and constant, even near rabid, critic of Trump for two years. Acosta and Trump are long since both capable of triggering each other. Considering that two years long bitter context, what struck me as a badgering form of politically loaded question with undertones of personal animosity attached was answered by Trump with a mild "we have a difference of opinion" and "they have to come legally". I thought that a rather restrained and polite response from Trump, in the circumstances.

And when Trump later lit into Acosta with "when you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are an enemy of the people", he was by that time indeed triggered, but stating publicly what many of us think about the entire assemblage of fake news purveyors: they are, in effect, expediters of death and destruction by cheer-leading and enabling and camouflaging wars of aggression, among their very many sins flowing from the near complete absence of mass media integrity and journalistic excellence, and their commitment to indeed fake news, and this is tragically the case throughout the so-called Western world.

Ort's comment at 24 is interesting, but the conclusion is suspect: The problem in my opinion is about much more than just a "sloppy and poorly-organized process", but yes, that is part of the problem.

One apparent current cultural problem infesting the United States - and not there alone by any means - is that sober dis-interested discussion of weighty issues seems more or less extinct. One's "likes" and "dislikes" rule the roost, and the realm of considering pros and cons, of sober open-ended calm questions, of evaluating the grey areas, and willingness to hear with equanimity contrarian perspectives, etc - in short, a good part of the essential repertoire of the life of reason - have been supplanted by a burgeoning pathetic amalgam of childishness and senility and aggression and pretentious posturing. Trump does some of that, and he is both a beneficiary and a victim and target of that, but he is not the essential problem. He has however served as a lightning rod to make more obvious the near absence of respectable fair-minded intelligence in the mass media and Establishment of the US.

And those who disparage Julian Assange and Wikileaks efforts over the years might try comparing the accomplishments of Wikileaks in terms of accurately revealing hidden crimes of government compared to say the entire assemblage of western so-called "news" and "investigative" and "journalistic" "enterprises".

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Nov 17 2018 0:19 utc | 35

Posted by: Pft | Nov 16, 2018 7:04:47 PM | 32

I agree with your "Question Everything" viewpoint, but the old adage, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" still applies. I haven't seen anyone provide any convincing analysis (let alone evidence) for Snowden or Assange being 'Deep State'. If you have any, please share it!!

Snowden worked for the 'Deep State', sure, but his revelations were adverse to 'Deep State' interests.

Snowden explained why fears that Putin might force him to reveal info to the Russians were unrealistic (do a few Google searches) so to insinuate some Putin-Snowden conspiracy by writing "how nice of him" is an unjustified smear.

Manning hasn't attacked Assange. Apparently Manning doesn't blame Assange for his having been caught. Why do you?

In fact, Assange spoke up for Manning multiple times while Manning was in jail. How many others did so?

Seth Rich's death is a mystery so it's difficult to say why he was killed. Being a whistle-blower is a dangerous business. Assange has honored his memory by all-but-confirming the analysis of others that DNC material provided to Wikileaks was leaked, not hacked. If Assange had stayed silent about the matter, you might not have cause to suspect that Seth Rich's death was caused by his providing info to Wikileaks.

Assange himself has been effectively in jail for years, with more severe conditions imposed in the last 5 months. That fact makes it very difficult to paint him as 'Deep State'.

Glen Greenwald
Greenwald is criticized for not releasing more info from the Snowden archive but we don't know what pressure he might've come under. He did get a substantial amount of info out there. Enough to make everyone aware of the NSA's activities and to spark a public debate. What more could he have done?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 17 2018 0:38 utc | 36

I wonder what sort of email response the author of this article about Assange receives. I won't opine other than to say this poorly written item is above par for what we'll see published on the matter.

MbS actually eliminated a journalist; Hillary Clinton only opined he ought to be; what's the difference when it comes to having one's secret illegalities exposed, which is the actual transgression of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 17 2018 0:45 utc | 37

IMO Assange is legit, although Wikileaks itself is vulnerable. They would love to replace him with someone who would do their bidding.

Posted by: Timothy Hagios | Nov 17 2018 0:53 utc | 38

But then again Trump himself is primitive and without any decorum. As Macron and the french said this week after mingling with the Orange Orangutan: lacking common decency. To paraphrase stable genius: When deplorables elect a president and send him forth, they're not sending their best. They send a criminal, a liar, grifter and morally bankrupt con artists. All that winning, ''real'' fly over america must be tired.

Posted by: Augustin L | Nov 17 2018 1:03 utc | 39

@32 pft... i like jr don't buy the assange/snowden deep state line of thinking.. i especially don't buy that with assange.. maybe i remain open to some of it with snowden, but even then it is a hard sell on me...

and of course this stupid side show involving acosta/trump is a complete sideshow/distraction that seems to feed americans... i agree with debs - americans seems especially thick when it comes to being jerked around between the 2 party system - which is really a 1 party system - the war party... the usa seems to deserve some self serving schmuck like trump at this point.. hopefully they get someone even worse to help them wake up sooner then later.. picking anyone from either of these war party parties, is a waste of time at this point...

Posted by: james | Nov 17 2018 1:28 utc | 40

I don't believe two wrongs makes a right, nor does one out of two wrongs necessarily make a wrong.

The press needs to fight back any way it can from which ever side it throws blows. This is a principle.

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 17 2018 1:53 utc | 41

Chris Hedges at "Truth Dig" has a good commentary this week on Assange's predicament and MSN hypocrisy:

Posted by: once and future | Nov 17 2018 2:35 utc | 42

Robert Snefjella | Nov 16, 2018 7:19:36 PM | 34
Of course I shoulda snuck in "and not there alone by any means" into my post but it was early in the am according to my individuaal time clock and just thinking about Mr Assange, about how a particularly potent mixture of hatred & neglect has left him stranded in the middle of his long running attempt to keep all of us safe coats my liver in sh1t.

Of course no one can ever be above reproach but Assange's demons - behaving as most 30 year old males do when met with female appreciation verging on idolisation, strikes me as nothing more than proof of his humanity. It may well be that the punishment visited upon Mr Assange will succeed in shifting his motivation from protection of humanity across to something more selfish, but AFAIK that hasn't happened yet, so I reckon we should treat all the ridiculous paranoid delusions voiced about Assange as being worthless and paranoid unless checkable, provable evidence accompanies them.

I loathe it when contrarians, as most of us at MoA appear to be, devour their young by making baseless allegations about the best of us. It reminds me of the sort of pretend socialist meetings one attended at university, inspired more by envy of the target plus spite and resentment at the world than any desire to assist making anyone, even the slanderer's, life better.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 17 2018 3:52 utc | 43

@ 41: Thanks for the link detailing a REAL crime. The slow motion execution of JA..

Posted by: ben | Nov 17 2018 4:18 utc | 44

Debsisdead: Diane Johnstone latest re Assange is worth the read imo.

People are pretty strange when you get right down to it. One of the common complaints about Trump was that he was not presidential enough. I like that, but more, please, more of being less presidential. He's a bit of a street fighter with his tongue.

The conventional suitable-for-president person plays the part acceptably well; after all, selected presidential actors we are told have their finger on the nuclear trigger. Deciding if and when to destroy much of Earth being a big responsibility, the income receiving via chattering classes demand that the person playing the fate decider for us all be theatrically sound, appropriate gestures and words and all. Typically this heavily involves making distant war and telling lies well and self-censoring adroitly and thus being fawned over. But somehow with Trump his lies and wars are not enough to make the grade for many fervent opponents. Obama, with his never ending wars and lies and thoroughly unsavory background, inspired devotion and boredom, not outrage. Maybe Trump's show biz 'you're fired' background exposed him too much to too many people, and familiarity breeding contempt and all, well, he's certainly received a lot of contempt. Or it could just be the hair.

Assange on the other hand is fertile ground for nitpicking, because he is actually heroic and smart and amazing and real and just about as resolute as they come, and does really good important work, so the nitpickers are inspired to get out their magnifying glasses, and if that doesn't suffice, well, a microscope, and when that fails, well, there's always the infinite realm of fiction, and lurid rumors.

Now being in Canada, we have a major ongoing national crisis in that our leader, and via lurid rumor who is reputed to be the biological son of Fidel Castro, spends a lot of his time with his foot in his mouth, the fruit of inept posturing, painful pretensions, and off the cuff political stuff done badly. Real stinker. Clueless. But he does not inspire much outrage. On the other hand, most Canadians I meet are offended, outraged, derisive, appalled, and otherwise disturbed when Trump's name is mentioned. Such Canadians will see the Acosta-Trump fiasco as being about the rude President bullying the tenacious CNN truth seeker. How dare Trump interrupt the interrupting Acosta?!

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Nov 17 2018 4:43 utc | 45

I have no respect for CNN or anything mainstream but hope MoA will not add in here to propaganda that Acosta was the belligerent, over-aggressive one in that exchange with Trump and Trump's sickening response.
Posted by: Sid2 | Nov 16, 2018 3:28:36 PM | 9
What behavior? Show me his rude behavior. Very odd to see this forum on Trump's side in this exchange whereas Trump was the complete smug asshole. Watch the video.
Posted by: Sid2 | Nov 16, 2018 3:38:50 PM | 10

Can't you read?
If you could, you'd have read what b posted and realised that if Acosta had followed S.O.P. and handed the mic to another reporter when told...

"Your time is up I will no longer play for you!"
ref: Sparky's Magic Piano <78 rpm>

...there wouldn't BE a video of him refusing to hand the mic to an aide sent to fetch it.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 17 2018 4:51 utc | 46

I'm toying with the idea of visiting Canberra and spoiling one of pro-"Israel" Neocon/Neolib Scum Mo's Press Cons and asking the Dorky Dweeb to grow a spine and TELL Trump & Theresa (Would I Lie To You?) May to send Assange back to Oz immediately.

He won't listen of course. and as usual. He's probably already talking to The Swamp about Assange's fate.
I'd hope that Australians will stand up to Scum Mo so that Assange can go down in History as...

"The man the toxic Yanks couldn't Root, Shoot, or Electrocute."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 17 2018 5:29 utc | 47

Spot on mate. The United States leads the the world in one thing for sure: utter tone deaf self-serving hypocrisy. Unfortunately the world’s ‘liberal’ media eats up this shit by the heaping tablespoon full.

Posted by: Daniel | Nov 17 2018 6:06 utc | 48

>> I don't believe two wrongs makes a right,

It sometimes does. Let's say you and me are the only people in the world and you steal $10 from the bank. Me stealing $10 from the bank returns our purchasing parity back to even.

This isn't just academic but has practical application. The 1% have stolen so much via QE that the "wrong" of a "confiscatory tax" is well deserved.

>> nor does one out of two wrongs necessarily
>> make a wrong.

So you fill the public airwaves and printed journals with a stink about what's happening to one or two propagandists but not only stay mum about the persecution of a real journalist but also smear him. And that's not a wrong??

>> The press needs to fight back
>> any way it can from which ever
>> side it throws blows.

This isn't "fighting back". It's business as usual.


IMO, this is terribly obvious, donkeytale.

Posted by: dumbass | Nov 17 2018 6:09 utc | 49

is that @47 daniel from oz? yer back?

@44 robert snefjella... not a bad overview on the situation in canuckastan robert... i think the idea of trudeau light being the offspring of castro is pushing it.. clearly he has the brain of his mom margaret, as opposed to his dad pierre.. most canucks just swallow that pablum the msm says about trump.. sure, the guy is a whacko, but much more entertaining then trudeau light...

Posted by: james | Nov 17 2018 6:13 utc | 50

You were wrong about the Dems taking back the House and you're wrong about this. I was wrong too BTW, but only because I didn't have the guts to trust my instincts and relied on the polls which looked difficult to overcome at the time.

I'm not going to point out the inaccuracies, deliberate or otherwise I don't care, in your interpretation of the WH presser video but suffice it to say that your article is an exercise in pandering to Trump and you know it, despite the disclaimer summarizing what he's done badly. Acosta was rightly exposing Trump's mid-term campaign bullshet meme about a caravan invasion. Now it's jokingly referred to as cara-van-ished with good reason. Notice how the very day the Dems took back the House, Trump dropped that bull like a hot potato. There is no doubt in my mind that Trump wants to muzzle the press and your defense of this is perplexing given how you are usually so passionate about exposing deception. Now this is not to say that the press is doing their job at the level they should be; you're right on that, but Trump is such a pathological liar that ironically he's giving them a good workout. So while IMO they're still at 70% investigative truthful efficiency, they're much better than the 50% percent truthfulness we used to get. Regardless, I really hope the press wins this. Acosta doesn't deserve to lose his press pass and Trump deserves to be grilled.

Now, regarding Assange. I'm not sure what to make of him. Yes, what he does is very necessary, but sometimes his delivery doesn't rise to the level of the great expectations or buzz he manufactures. However, I agree that he shouldn't be indicted for delivering the truth on the DNC.

Posted by: Circe | Nov 17 2018 6:22 utc | 51

the americans on this page sure know how to show who they are...

Posted by: james | Nov 17 2018 6:27 utc | 52

@ Debsisdead 31

Thanks for that, it made my day. Was contemplating posting something along the same lines, but you did far more eloquently.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Nov 17 2018 7:14 utc | 53

Jim Acosta is an arrogant fool, badly behaved. CNN is garbage news since they bought it from Turner. It is mostly lies.They are a rabid critic of Pres. Trump and it shows in the Acosta incident.
Assange, Snowden situations indicate a lack of free speech , barbarism.
I like Trump-he is the right man for the job. He is smarter than most of you think ,judging from comments.

Posted by: Friar Ockham | Nov 17 2018 8:10 utc | 54

@31 -- "... - blinded by deceit is the kindest description one can put on such foolishness."

Interesting that some advanced systems of moral thinking include two additional 'sins' (missing the mark) in addition to the traditional Western deadly seven. These two additional (to make a nice rounded nine) are "deceit"and "fear" -- both huge blind spots and sinkholes in the contemporary North American psyche and culture.

Posted by: imo | Nov 17 2018 8:38 utc | 55

From my point of view, far away on more sane shores, this is not about anything else than a rabid war between two factions of the same autocratic elite. The DemoRATicic morons are trying to get the the better of the ReTHUGlican ones.
It 's like American football, boring, TV and commercial friendly, with obligate piss pauses elegantly timed in, while the match is a semi-static kabuki theatre of heavily padded menlings with no real talent other than being large.
I the middle of this you have a failed casino owner (Yes it is possible!) and and former Estate pusher and reality-TV star, widely known as a semi-illiterate, self obsessed moron suddenly elevated to Potus.
In the few coherent messages he has gotten across to the global public, he has alienated all allies and directly threatened all other, on a range from nuclear war to devastating economic sanctions. In his few direct actions he has further enriched the very wealthy and has set the US on a direct course for economic collapse.
That is an impressive track record.
While the American public is following the row on their official "propaganda" outlets the rest of the world is not holding its breath, many nations are preparing for war both an economic one and a direct hot one.
A war that could very likely include nuclear armed nations, and we have a notion how that might end. It is indeed fitting that all this takes place on the centenary of WWI, which naturally led to WWII, of which the US benefitted enormously.
I hope my fellow Europeans have grown wiser and are not goaded into another senseless mass slaughter.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Nov 17 2018 8:56 utc | 56

Obviously this Acosta operative acted like a total ass at this conference. I think he's just another CIA shill.

But in the larger scheme of things, why are these CIA agents who pretend to work for gigantic "news organizations" given any so-called "press credentials?" Why can't I get "press credentials?"

These fake "press conferences" should be done away with. Vladimir Putin lets the citizens submit the questions. Why put up with all the fake Acostas of this world? New lapel buttons: "I Didn't Vote" "Didn't Watch Press Conf.."

Posted by: blues | Nov 17 2018 11:36 utc | 57

When I was a young political reporter in Boston back in the '70s I must have attended hundreds of state house news conferences. We had a press association that policed the reporters. The association was in charge of press credentials. If somebody acted like an asshole like Acosta did, he or she was disciplined. The first thing would be to pull their state house parking permits. Apparently the White House press pool isn't governed by it's own association, or if so, it has no authority. Trump should have had his press secretary ask the press association to discipline Acosta.

Posted by: Chas | Nov 17 2018 13:24 utc | 58

A much more interesting and vital angle is already up on NYT.

Mr. Pompeo and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions unleashed an aggressive campaign against Mr. Assange, reversing an Obama-era view of WikiLeaks as a journalistic entity. For more than a year, the nation’s spies and investigators sought to learn about Mr. Assange and his ties to Russia as senior administration officials came to believe he was in league with Moscow."already out in the MSM which administration's justice department filed charges against Assange, Obama's or Trump's?

As a candidiate, Trump was on record a fan of Wikileaks...naturally, Lol.

Acosta has bad manners, is that the "serious" charge leveled against him by MoA? LMAO. I guess the revolution will be led by Miss Manners, then?

True, Acosta is a troll, is that essentially what the regulars are all worked up about? Well, blow me down, as Popeye would say. I support Assange as a journalist and yes I support Acosta as a journalist too, on principle if not for his body of work of which I know nothing (I don't watch TV news). I would say same if he worked for Fox News and had also trolled Obama at his pressers. In fact, FNC also supports Acosta and CNN here on principle.

And if Assange was indeed indicted by the current administration's Justice Department then there is now even less reason to view anything positively about Trump's Administration. This is the actual story, b, not your candy striping to the crowd.

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 17 2018 13:55 utc | 59

Bauer and Goodman write in Justsecurity (Why the First Amendment Does Not Protect Trump Campaign Collusion with Wikileaks and Russia via @just_security): 

“.…….It is clear from disclosures by an internal WikiLeaks critic and other materials that Julian Assange targeted Hillary Clinton and sought to work with the Trump campaign and the Russians to secure her defeat. This is not a “legitimate press function.” And the conflation of Wikileaks’ plan of campaign attack with standard journalistic activity undermines important distinctions critical to the protection of the free press………”

If Julian Assange conspired with a hostile government (Russia) to release the emails and help elect Trump, then Assange should be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. Assange would not have needed to actually steal the emails. Assange could have entered into an agreement with Russia to release any information acquired by the GRU to help elect Trump (through the government-funded RT). We could possibly find out if the indictment is made public.

If Assange conspired with Russia, Assange (WikiLeaks) is a bigger threat to the first amendment than his indictment. At the very least, WikiLeaks has clearly abused its power with their interference in the US election specifically to elect Trump. WikiLeaks is in a very powerful position to influence western elections - and in the case of releasing the DNC and Podesta emails, was it just fortuitous that it happened to coincide with the interests of Russia?

Assange is openly antagonistic toward the US/western foreign policies. He made this clear in a article from the Independent in 2012 addressing Assange’s talk show on the Russian government propaganda site, RT (“Julian Assange launches talk show on Kremlin-backed broadcaster Russia”): 

“…….Asked why he had chosen Russia Today Mr Assange said: “In the case we are in at the moment, where our major confrontation is with the West, although we have published material from many countries, RT is the natural partner.” He added that the relationship might not be so comfortable if WikiLeaks had published large amounts of compromising data on Russia…..”

According to the New York Times (“How Russia Often Benefits When Julian Assange Reveals the West’s Secrets” 
“…….But a New York Times examination of WikiLeaks’ activities during Mr. Assange’s years in exile found a different pattern: Whether by conviction, convenience or coincidence, WikiLeaks’ document releases, along with many of Mr. Assange’s statements, have often benefited Russia, at the expense of the West…….Mr. Assange said, why focus on Russia, which he described as a “bit player on the world stage,” compared with countries like China and the United States? In any event, he said, Kremlin corruption is an old story. “Every man and his dog is criticizing Russia,” he said. “It’s a bit boring, isn’t it?”……”

Is Assange just a Putin stooge? As another benefit to Russia, Assange called Ukraine in the sphere of influence of Russia in an obvious attempt to blame the west for the Maidan Revolution. Assange is politically-motivated to undermine the US, and his lying could just be a cover-up for a conspiracy with Russia to elect Trump. For example, he slandered Seth Rich by implying he (not Russia) was the source of the emails.  Mueller indicted 12 GRU agents for hacking the DNC and turning the emails over to WikiLeaks. Guccifer 2.0 was outed as a GRU spy - and corresponded with Assange on twitter to release the DNC emails - so Assange lied about Seth Rich.   This action might have been an attempt to cover for Russia.  He also lied when he said he favored neither HRC or Trump (among other things). 

Finally, it should be noted that WikiLeaks and the GRU apparently used the same game plan in the French election (to help Le Pen).

Posted by: craigsummers | Nov 17 2018 13:57 utc | 60

From the linked article:

Barry J. Pollack, one of Assange’s attorneys, said, “... Obviously, I have no idea if he has actually been charged or for what, but the notion that the federal criminal charges could be brought based on the publication of truthful information is an incredibly dangerous precedent to set.”

In a completely different league to the Acosta crap.

Posted by: BM | Nov 17 2018 13:59 utc | 61


Posted by: blues | Nov 17 2018 14:04 utc | 62

The worst part of Wikileaks is that it changed almost nothing. We know the truth, they know we know the truth, but we both go on living the lie.

Posted by: steve | Nov 17 2018 14:10 utc | 63

Jimmy Dore and company deftly expose the hyposcrisy by reminding us of when JA was a favored intelllectual darling, back in a TED talk JA gave to standing ovation.

(commentary is slightly profanity laden at the end, as is JD’s want).

To me the latest episode exposes how much the Clinton-Cheney clique still run Washington, and hence Trump’s real powerlessness. He is just another tail-wags-dog president in the Obama Bush line, just more rambunctious for better drama potency.

Posted by: slit | Nov 17 2018 14:17 utc | 64

And our local troll, craigsummers, is back, spouting new lies and disinfo.

Finally, it should be noted that WikiLeaks and the GRU apparently used the same game plan in the French election (to help Le Pen).

Our resident troll is unaware that the French security services completely dismantled the "Russian meddling" fake news story. Unlike in the US where this crap is kept alive for political purposes.
I miss a block button on this site, but craigsummers style is easily recognized, so I usually scroll by, but today I am unusually grumpy, Systembolaget had also sold out on my favorite vintage port, bloody Saturday....

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Nov 17 2018 14:19 utc | 65

Steve, this is a very good point.

Same can be said of Snowden. We know he is CIA. Was this controlled opposition release of proof of what anyone with half a brain already knew?

Greenwald his benefactor became obviously bought off and silenced by his own Silicon Valley bazillionaire benefactor.

Greenwald, who also supported Iraq War and Citizens United coincidentally. IMHO he is the worst of the worst when it comes to yellow journalism and shepherding useful idiots but still I support his journalistic freedom as well. Plus, he is also a troll and at least used to mix it up with the plebes below the line.

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 17 2018 14:30 utc | 66

I think the whole whistle-blowing/leaking paradigm is misdirection, an exotic form of the same old liberal (non-)reformism. What sentient being would need that to know that this system is evil, stupid, and is murdering the Earth?

Posted by: Russ | Nov 17 2018 14:37 utc | 67

Den Lille Abe @65

"......Our resident troll is unaware that the French security services completely dismantled the "Russian meddling" fake news story........."

I am fully aware of the French Intelligence response to the hacking, but you are apparently unaware of The Insider report on the hacking of Macron's computers. According to the Insider; 10-28-2017 (Roshka the Bear. How French president's mailbox was hacked by Russian intelligence – The Insider

"...........Guillaume Poupard, director general of the French government cyber-defense agency (ANSSI), declared that the ANSSI found no “Russian trace” in the cyber-attack against French President Emmanuel Macron. Russian President Vladimir Putin made a vague comment earlier the same day saying that even though the hackers could have been Russian nationals, they were by no means linked to the Russian government. However, as The Insider found out, the people involved in hacking Macron’s e-mail were directly related to the Russian government: they were officers of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces (GRU), the Russian military spy agency..........."

Putin supported the election of Le Pen in the same way that he supported the election of Trump. Macron has first hand experience with Russian propaganda (May 29, 2017 after the French election):

".........French President Emmanuel Macron accused Russian state-sponsored media of employing "lying propaganda" to try and smear his electoral campaign in an angry outburst as he stood alongside Vladimir Putin at Versailles........."

Obviously a coordinated effort by state owned media and the GRU. Interestingly enough, Neo-Nazis matter little to Putin as long as they support his geopolitical agenda.

Posted by: craigsummers | Nov 17 2018 14:56 utc | 68

@10. I am not on any politicians or political group side. The man was rude to the President,,, to other journalists wanting to ask questions and to the lady that was assigned to retrieve the mic.

The White House is the Presidents house while elected. One does not act in a surly manner in someone's home. Tough questions can be framed without innuendo. Acosta was rude in the WH,,, he is rude on the air. He is not for America,,, he represents globalists.

I do not vote in any elections. Over my 70 years I have watched the steady erosion of my liberty regardless who 'won' the election. Same with this past presidential election. Immigration and wars non stop. Economy limping. Markets rigged. Elections rigged. Total corruption everywhere. The US is supposed to be a Constitutional Republic,,, not a Majority Rule Democracy.

Posted by: ken | Nov 17 2018 15:08 utc | 69

"What sentient being would need that to know that this system is evil, stupid, and is murdering the Earth?.."
Not you, obviously, but millions of others, young people in particular who are struggling to discredit the authority that they have been 'educated' to respect and need accurate, credible empirical evidence to argue themselves into independent thinking. Which can be dangerous, as Julian Assange's case demonstrates.
I was well aware that the US government was venal and corrupt and that its communications were untrustworthy but Wikileaks' revelations were enormously useful. And cheering too-it is always beneficial to have confirmation, or contradiction, of one's conclusions. Wikileaks proved that the anti-imperialists were right, on all sorts of issues, and millions of people wavering between the 'official view' and criticism from independent sources, inclined to opposition.
Which, incidentally is why most people follow this excellent blog, not because it tells us what we knew but because it adds to out understanding of the world.
Those who know everything know nothing.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 17 2018 15:09 utc | 70

bevin, eloquently stated by you as always...this is a most excellent blog both for b's well reasoned articles and contributors in the comment threads.

I have noticed though that the efforts to illustrate and comment upon Amerikkkan politics generally and Trump specifically tend to lack both realism and the right context. This is understandable when so many of the participants are not Amerikkkan.

MoA at times resembles the music of a "British blues band."

It's not that the music is bad necessarily, it's often innovative and very good, but it ain't the blues.

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 17 2018 15:37 utc | 71

The French Presidential election of 2017 was a fix!

Macron (even with all the press and establishment behind him) didn't really stand a chance. The candidate that was a dead cert to win was Fillon; that was why he was smeared. You can tell if was a smear because (now the election is over) nothing has come of it.

The Socialist Party also did not really campaign and put up Hamon, a relatively unknown candidate, just for show. When Hamon actually (and surprisingly) started to gain traction, instead of getting behind their candidate and start doing some real campaigning, the Socialist Party went even quieter. It is well known that Hollande was really supporting Macron (not the candidate of his own party).

I really have to emphasise how extraordinary silent the Socialist Party became as soon as Hamon started to look interesting (it was an extra-ordinary act of self-sabotage).

It was essential that Macron did not face Hamon in the run-off as he would have lost. It is clear that this meant that it was intended that the candidate that Macron should face in the run-off was Le Pen (because he would have lost to either Fillon or Hamon).

And then Melenchon started to gain traction with voters because he and his party (the Communists) where actually campaigning. As a result Melenchon swept up most of the Socialist votes. If you put together Melenchon's 2nd round vote (20%) with Hamon's (6%) then you can see how close Melenchon came to being in the Presidential run-off (Macron got 24%, but Le Penn only got 21%). And it is very likely that if Macron had faced Melenchon in the run-off, then Melenchon would have won. The buzz and momentum was all about Melenchon in the 2nd round (another week of campaigning and he would have got into the run-off).

In the debate (and campaign) it was clear to me that Le Pen was not campaigning for the 2017 election but for the one in 2022. And this is the real gift from Macron and his neo-liberal backers; to ensure that Macron got elected they needed to damage the establishment right and establishment left candidates (and parties) and this meant promoting the radical (fascist-tendency) right candidate.

In short, Macron would have lost to Fillon (definitely), Benoit (highly likely), and Melenchon (probably) and the only candidate that Macron would have won against was Le Pen (and Le Pen didn't even try to win because she was looking to 2022).

The lack of enthusiasm from the French public for the choice presented to them in the Presidential run-off is evident in the voter turn-out (26%, a historic low).

In the 2022 Presidential Campaign I can practically guarantee you that Le Pen will be referring to her predictions and opinions about Macron (and the establishment) and constantly reminding voters how much of a failure (and, by inference, traitor) Macron is and how right she was! The question is will Macron (by standing again) gift the 2022 election to Le Pen?

There is no evidence of Russian interference in the French 2017 election and I really don't see how Russia could have interfered even if they wanted too (they probably just looked on gob-smacked).

Posted by: ADKC | Nov 17 2018 15:38 utc | 72

dumbass @ 49

Thanks. I would say the two "wrongs" in your first example are in fact "rights". But I get your point.

As for the second example, I also agree with you up to a point...the relative qualities of Assange on the one hand and an MSM hack such as Acosta on the other hand are obvious. But both still deserve equal protection under the law.

That was the intended point of my cmment which I admit was too cutesy and obscure.

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 17 2018 15:51 utc | 73

@ donkey

Not sure what your point is. @ 66 you yourself seem to indicate you're on to the Greenwald/Snowden gate-keeping scam. And that's what I said - system-controlled "leaking" of things everyone already either knows or chooses not to know, coupled with system-friendly "reform" prescriptions, is itself a form of sheep-herding.

Posted by: Russ | Nov 17 2018 16:05 utc | 74

Russ my point is simple. A free press is sacrosanct regardless of the relative quality of the content, its ideology or who controls the ultimate message.

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 17 2018 16:18 utc | 75

donkeytale: two wrongs don't make a right

There's no equivalency.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 17 2018 16:24 utc | 76

That's comical. A direct self-contradiction. "A free press"...even if it's controlled and therefore not free. Sounds like you're confused and don't disagree with the corporate hack Greenwald at all.

In general, I regard no part of this parasite and destructive civilization as "sacrosanct", and only psychopaths would do so.

Posted by: Russ | Nov 17 2018 16:25 utc | 77

El Sid2: I am quite sure that I have watched many more presidential press conferences than you. I have never seen a reporter on a soapbox like this Jimmy Acosta was and has been on lately. Go watch and see how he has progressively been getting bolder, the recent press conference with Sarah Sanders for one- practicing on the small fry for his chance with the big tuna.

This ain't asking questions, its preaching from a soapbox- the son of a bitch should have been booted out, as a lesson to the others.

CNN's ratings have been plunging down the shit tubes for a long time, who knows this may be a forlorn attempt at saving things- my guess is the slide will continue.

A lesson to little Jimmy Acosta and his ilk- try modeling yourself along Helen Thomas' example, if you really want to ask questions instead of just grandstanding for your fellow "reporters."

Posted by: morongobill | Nov 17 2018 16:25 utc | 78

About Acosta idk. Julian Assange: I see no reason, no clues, etc. to suppose that he is some kind of stooge. (Personally I’d be more suspicious of Snowden..)

J. A. survived so far lately care of Ecuador. Now that arrangement breaks down as it was bound to do, who will save him? …?

J. A. is a Libertarian (or strongly has that bent, etc.) so he is anathema to every ‘political’ stance, option, group, from the left-right-center. A corporate oligarchy like the US cannot countenance that!

Free speech: anyone can pontificate about whatever they like, make speeches at xx or write pamphlets, books, and today create rousing flashy you-tubies, blog posts, rants in various channels on radio etc. Free-speech is generally understood to apply to ‘individuals’ who may have idiosyncratic or wild opinions about this that the other.

…. The contra / odd opinions are only accepted as ‘symbols’ of ‘freedom’ as long as they are bunkered and contained within the ‘allowed’ pol. landscape.

J. A. did not express opinions, he and his team exposed and published long series of ‘docs’ showing .. what they did…

This is not a free speech issue.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 17 2018 16:26 utc | 79

donkeytale: free press is sacrosanct regardless of ...

Do you think we have a free press?!?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 17 2018 16:27 utc | 80

This was posted by wikileaks in 2012, so the indictment is not new.
"In early 2011, Burton revealed in internal Stratfor correspondence that a secret Grand Jury had already issued a sealed indictment for Assange: "Not for Pub -- We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect." (375123) According to Burton: "Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He'll be eating cat food forever." (1056988) A few weeks earlier, following Julian Assange's release from a London jail, where he had been remanded as a result of a Swedish prosecutor's arrest warrant, Fred Burton told SkyNews: "extradition to the US is] more and more likely". [(373862)."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 17 2018 16:36 utc | 81

free to cater to their corporate sponsors, lol...

Posted by: james | Nov 17 2018 16:36 utc | 82

And to clarify, my comment to bevin was not meant to imply I disagreed with your comment in any way. In fact, I agree with much of what you say in most all of your comments.

My only issue with you is your extreme ultraleftist tendency is not helpful, mainly to yourself and others like you who possess the right understanding of how things are but are clueless as to how to convince many others to join your "true" reformist or revolutionary cause.

Again, I would ask you to go back and read the Lenin critique of left wing communism. Yes, the analogue between Germany in 1919 and the US/EU in 2019 is not perfectly symmetrical but nonetheless the same organising principles are timeless and still apply, IMHO.

And Lenin is still, sadly in some respects because it was so long ago, the [caucasian] world leader at successfully organising leftism.

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 17 2018 16:41 utc | 83

JR - there is an equivalency....both practice journalism, albeit much differently with different intentions and methods to be sure.

Do I believe we have a free press? Your question is about the relative quality of the corporate press we do have rather than the statement I made which was about the principle. If you had quoted my entire sentence rather than just the fragment I believe this would be clear to you.

Look at it this way. This blog is allowed in the US because of the principle of free speech.

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 17 2018 16:51 utc | 84


So far as I've seen, every liberal invocation of Lenin's book indicates the person doing the invoking never read the thing. Lenin was referring to a very specific strategic context, the need to fight for the nascent Soviet Union against what at the time seemed like an existential threat of Western invasion.

I would ask you and all other invokers of that book, what praytell is the fortress which exists today and which we therefore need to focus on defending? So far as I can see, there is no such thing. In which case Lenin's book is irrelevant.

Posted by: Russ | Nov 17 2018 16:53 utc | 85

Posted by: paid jerk-off | Nov 17, 2018 8:57:54 AM | 60

You can't cast aspersions on others when your own ethics have proven to be shabby. You lied by omission when you allowed others to think you were someone else.

Take your hand out of your pants and go get a real job.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 17 2018 16:58 utc | 86

Assange believes the indictment brought against him in 2011 was due to the release of the video Collateral Murder which showed a US helicopter killing two Rueters journalists plus the group of armed Iraqi's they were talking to.
Compare that to Rueters outrage at two of their reporters arested in Myanmar, Washington post and Khashoggi, and now CNN and Acosta.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 17 2018 17:05 utc | 87

Perry wrote a number of articles on genuine investigative reporters careers being destroyed
for coming too close to the truth. I guess the MSM only stick up for their scribes if they are involved in deep state work.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 17 2018 17:11 utc | 88

Assange believes the indictment brought against him in 2011 was due to the release of the video Collateral Murder which showed a US helicopter killing two Rueters journalists plus the group of armed Iraqi's they were talking to.
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 17, 2018 12:05:48 PM | 87

That's at odds with my recollection of the Collateral Murder video.
The outrage it inspired was due entirely to the fact that ALL of the victims were unarmed and innocent civilians. One bunch of victims was a bloke preparing to take a bunch of kids to school in a 1 ton van. The calm detachment of the helicopter crew whilst transforming unidentified people into offal is the most sickening incident most people have ever seen...
There's just no excuse for it.
PS: I just googled it and it's still on YouTube.
It'll never go away, imo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 17 2018 17:50 utc | 89

donkeytale: there is an equivalency....both practice journalism

"Journalism" is rather broad.

How many days has Acosta spent confined for his "journalism"?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 17 2018 17:56 utc | 90

Hoarsewhisperer 89

The yank first identifies the camera as a weapon, but at 3.41 as the reporters disappear behind a building, two or more men can be seen carrying what look like assault rifles.

It was my thought that in Iraq at that time, many men were armed, even those not fighting the US occupation. Local militias to defend against local enemies and so forth.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 17 2018 18:06 utc | 91

Russ @ 85

Are you sure we're talking about the same book? Lol.

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 17 2018 18:15 utc | 92

The US likes a bit of 'friendly fire'. The warped minds of the yank joystick jockeys see everything on the ground that moves as a target. Then when they need to take out friendlies such as journalist or Iraqi militias fighting ISIS or Afghanistan hospitals, they use the friendly fire excuse.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 17 2018 18:27 utc | 93

M.Adelson got a liberty medal,while Assange gets a jail cell.zion rules!

Posted by: dahoit | Nov 17 2018 18:58 utc | 94

Why does anyone need to chose who the “real” journalist is? The First Amendment prohibits Trump from banning a reporter from White House press briefings based upon Trumps dislike of his questions same as it prohibits Trump from prosecuting Assange for publishing true information.

Sure, CNN is awful and useless, but there is an important principle at stake here.

Posted by: TimmyB | Nov 17 2018 20:14 utc | 95

@ Robert Snefjella | Nov 16, 2018 11:43:28 PM | 45

Re: Diane Johnstone latest re Assange is worth the read imo.

I'm intrigued. Could you please provide a link, or point me to the worthy read?

Ever since the decaying "Counterpunch" declared Diana Johnstone persona non grata, I don't know where to find her "latest". I know that the perilous "Unz Review" publishes her columns, but the most recent one in her Unz archive is from September. I would be grateful if you could solve this mystery, thanks.

PS: I could've expressed it more precisely, but I didn't intend my assertion that the Acosta incident arose from a "sloppy and poorly-organized process" to be a comprehensive be-all and end-all.

I agree with the wider and deeper ramifications you raise. I was only trying to point out that the flawed process is more readily seized upon for political guerrilla-theater stunts. A better-organized operation is less conducive to melodrama and hot-dogging on all sides, but that's why I also mentioned that the status quo is probably preferred by all participants.

Given the present cultural problem, circumspection, dignity, and civility are too much like right.

Posted by: Ort | Nov 17 2018 20:26 utc | 96

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 17, 2018 1:15:06 PM | 92

"Are you sure we're talking about the same book?"

Just as I thought. You never read it, and you have no answer to my question.

Posted by: Russ | Nov 17 2018 20:26 utc | 97


Well, what you say is true. But your skepticism doesn't go far enough.

“News is what someone wants suppressed. Everything else is advertising.

— Katharine Graham

Some of us see the Acosta-Trump confrontation as advertising that USA has a free press when, in fact, it has a corporate media tainted by 'access journalism'. Furthermore, the Acosta-Trump confrontation occurred just as USA dedication to press freedom is about to come under fire due to US indictment of Assange. You would prefer that we not notice that, or care enough to mention it?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 17 2018 20:39 utc | 98

I don't remember much fuss when Gayane Chichakyan, a real journalist, was asking real, challenging questions at the State Department Press Briefings and was constantly belittled and bullied and rarely got a proper answer to her very professional questions. Yet she continued to ask her questions without getting angry, deterred or acting unprofessional, and steadfastly refused to make herself the story.

As I recall the other journalists at the briefings weren't much fussed about how she was treated (apart from one occasion).

People seem to forget just how lazy and compliant the press generally were during the last administration (and how hard they worked to avoid asking any real questions on sensitive issues).

Posted by: ADKC | Nov 17 2018 21:48 utc | 99

@99 adkc... but gayane worked for rt and as anyone at the usa state dept knows - rt is russian propaganda.. can't have that... see how successful usa propaganda has been? lol...

Posted by: james | Nov 17 2018 22:22 utc | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.