Three columns in the Washington Post’s July 20 Sunday print edition raise red flags as potential examples of government propaganda disguised as news.
The Post presented them as the most prominent articles on its front page, its weekly Outlook opinion section, and its Sunday magazine.
The placement strongly implied endorsement by the newspaper, which remains Washington’s most influential news organization.
But closer examination raises serious questions. You be the judge regarding these Post articles and their presentation:
- The front-page lead story with a five-column headline was Russia supplied missile launchers to separatists, U.S. official says. Problem: Traditional journalistic practice has been to identify by name the top officials who make major announcements. The Post did not name the official here, thereby granting a pass if the opinion proves wrong.
- The lead right-hand column in the Sunday Outlook section was Meet Executive Order 12333: The Reagan rule that lets the NSA spy on Americans. Potential Problem: The column by a former State Department employee, John Napier Tye, appears to make a whistle-blower style disclosure in the public interest against President Reagan and his administration’s National Security Agency (NSA), a super-secret unit within the Department of Defense. However, the column’s circumstances raise the possibility that the article is part of an intelligence operation to channel dissent into controlled organizations such as Tye’s new employer, Avaaz, a global website for citizen activists.
- The magazine cover story was Robert Kennedy Jr.’s Lonely Crusade. Problem: The article flatly stated without attribution or qualification that Lee Harvey Oswald murdered President John F. Kennedy in 1963. That finding by the Warren Commission in 1964 remains highly controversial among experts and the public. This week’s Post coverage continued the paper’s practice of avoiding or trivializing evidence disputing the commission or implicating other players.
The problems go beyond what are (at least arguably) lapses in basic journalistic rules typically used for news, features and analysis stories (although not necessarily for editorials or blogs).
Each matter involves a major controversy in which the nation’s intelligence agencies and the Washington Post have shared agendas and other secret ties that extend back decades to the earliest years of CIA and its Wall Street allies, according to the findings of my research and that of many others. As we have previously reported here, the CIA strengthened those ties last fall by awarding a $600 million contract to Amazon.com, the wealth source for the Post’s new owner, Jeffrey Bezos.
We have recently published here several columns about scandals and other shortcomings in the mainstream media failings. Those columns are cited in an appendix below. So, I was reluctant to focus here once again on the Post. Many other national and global issues require attention.
But the stakes are high and the Post’s performance is vital not simply for its readers, but for its influence on politics, books, television and other thought-leadership, especially in the mid-Atlantic region. And so we proceed with the questions here, well knowing that the analysis is necessarily a snapshot in time because new information is constantly arising — in newspaper news sections and elsewhere.