Ample reasons exist beyond Donald Trump’s July 18 comments to criticize GOP Senator John McCain’s war and related professional records, which have made the Arizona senator the favorite mouthpiece for the nation’s hawks who dominate both political parties and the nation’s prestige media.
The Justice Integrity Project posed a question to former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell this spring, for example, about whether McCain had met future ISIS leaders on his controversial trip to drum up more U.S. support for overthrowing the incumbent Assad government.
Morell, shown at right in a photo we shot at his press conference, is now a CBS News analyst promoting his memoir The Great War of Our Time that touts his expertise at the CIA on Middle East wars. He responded that he did not know whom McCain, the ranking member (and now chairman) of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had met on McCain’s highly promoted trip in 2013.
Critics claim the photos like the one at left show McCain meeting the future leader of ISIS, Abu-Bakr Al Bagdadi, at center. McCain has responded that the photos are phony. They include shots featuring his Senate aide who made the arrangements. But McCain has provided scant detail, in part because few besides Trump dare question him in any depth about such sensitive matters.
On July 20, Ron Unz, former publisher of the American Conservative magazine and now a software entrepreneur, reminded his followers about two hard-hitting investigations he has published examining McCain’s war record and policy shortcomings.
One in his web-based Unz Review in March was John McCain: When “Tokyo Rose” Ran for President. In 2010, the American Conservative (formerly run by conservative commentator Pat Buchanan) published an 8,100-word piece by former New York Times columnist Sydney Schanberg McCain and the POW Cover-Up: The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
In a cover note July 20, Unz praised “Schanberg’s massively documented expose about McCain’s role in the POW/MIA cover up.” The publisher summarized the “cover up” here and its scanty follow up by major media:
In 1993 the front page of the New York Times broke the story that a Politburo transcript found in the Kremlin archives fully confirmed the existence of the additional POWs, and when interviewed on the PBS Newshour former National Security Advisors Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski admitted that the document was very likely correct and that hundreds of America’s Vietnam POWs had indeed been left behind.
In my opinion, the reality of Schanberg’s POW story is now about as solidly established as anything can be that has not yet received an official blessing from the American mainstream media.
And the total dishonesty of that media regarding both the POW story and McCain’s leading role in the later cover up soon made me very suspicious of all those other claims regarding John McCain’s supposedly heroic war record. Our American Pravda is simply not to be trusted on any “touchy” topics.
His last remark serves as an apt warning that the establishment media are prone to sabotaging on dubious grounds presidential campaigns, not just Trump’s. Orchestrated attacks are disguised as ordinary news and commentary. Precisely how the system works is a topic for another day here in a process often described by others. But the upshot is the vast majority of reporters and editors are just trying to do their jobs and are largely unaware of deep back stories and intrigues.