Two Guard Dogs

I was going to title this post “It’s Official: The Real News Network (TRNN) Is ‘Gone’.” I do think it’s gone, in the sense of gone over to the dark side (not as in Star Wars, in whose universe the dark side is needed), but what prompts me to do this post is the most recent bit of censorship I’ve experienced when commenting on that site and the fact that I don’t know whether that, specifically, is a result of a decision made by someone at TRNN or by someone [or an algorithm] at Disqus. I have no way of knowing. (TRNN does not respond to my emails asking about disappeared posts.)

There’s two guard dogs, then, in this story. Disqus and TRNN (founded in 2007) are appointed gatekeepers. (At the end of this post, I will offer an excerpt or two from Michael Barker’s article, titled “Who Funds The Progressive Media?”, showing how TRNN can end up being a gatekeeper. The short answer is that basically, liberal, establishment philanthropy gets involved, via funding, with projects such as TRNN at the beginning. And then, at some point – and probably to varying degrees starting soon after the founding of the org – that ‘interest’ steers things in the preferred direction.) As such, these pipers are playing the war-making State’s tunes, despite how it may appear in the case of TRNN. I’ve long criticized TRNN for its over-reliance on deep State-connected experts like Larry Wilkerson (whose last appearance, as of this writing, on TRNN was July 3, 2019), at the expense, it seems to me, of other genuinely independent journos like Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley. TRNN, to its credit, did have Eva Bartlett on for one two-part show. But that’s all. And Vanessa Beeley gets a rather cold, tiny mention. She could have furnished viewers of TRNN with invaluable info on Syria and the White Helmets propaganda operation, providing, crucially, a ‘counter’ narrative to the State’s propaganda had she been welcomed onto the TRNN. Does TRNN want that? We can’t blame ‘that’ on Disqus, Can we? Overall, TRNN’s coverage of the work of Eva Bartlett and, especially, Vanessa Beeley and others, has been paltry. They’ve had Max Blumenthal many times, the last time being in March of 2019 if I’m not mistaken, but I get the feeling that his days as a guest on TRNN are numbered. And I’m still curious why Aaron Maté left for The Nation (which is definitely establishment), although he didn’t stay there long, moving on to join up at The Grayzone.

Here’s the sum total of TRNN’s coverage of Vanessa Beeley’s very important work. It’s not part of any show, but just a blurb mentioning her and in such a way that people could easily doubt that she’s worth checking into:

However, claims of on extrajudicial executions have yet to be independently verified. It is also not yet known how credible the social media posts are. Syria has become a battleground for propaganda. “Opposition forces”, foreign fighters, “media activists” and “media groups” that either operate from within Syria or report on the conflict have been proven to have been created, organized and funded by foreign governments. There have been repeated exposé’s and challenges of groups such as the White Helmets, The Syria Campaign, and The Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office (RFS) as largely being “proxies for regime change”. Journalist Max Blumenthal spoke to TRNN about his recent two part investigation into the Syria Campaign and the White Helmets. Vanessa Beeley is also among the few investigative journalists who has long reported on the propagandistic nature “opposition groups” groups within Syria as well as their foreign links. However she has often been dismissed for being “pro-Assad”.

As for Danny Glover, who, I note, is part of the Board of Governors of TRNN, his name is mentioned in Cory Morningstar’s in-depth investigation into the scammy Green New Deal (which riffs off of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deals of 1933 and 1935, hence Green New Deal rather than New Green Deal, although that doesn’t matter.) Has TRNN ever had Cory Morningstar on its show? Patrick Henningsen, of the stellar 21st Century Wire, has interviewed her. She exposes a LOT of self-identified leftists and progressives, including Danny Glover. (And I note that she was instrumental in introducing the ‘real’ White Helmets to the world, which work Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley and 21st Century Wire have carried on. 21st Century Wire is probably the go-to source for info on the huge White Helmets propaganda operation. How zealously did TRNN cover the angle that the White Helmets are a huge propaganda operation?)

Not much is said about Glover in Morningstar’s investigation, but it looks like he’s caught up in the corporate-inspired and -led New Green Deal. I’m sorry, but belonging to the establishment Sander’s Institute (established by Bernie Sanders’s wife), as Glover does, is ‘not’ a good thing. The Democratic Party is fascist and pro war and Bernie, who is attached to that Party, and the establishment which it is a part of, is as fake as they come.

Incidentally, Try getting info about The Sanders Institute from the fakey Wikipedia and you’ll be redirected to the entry for Bernie Sanders where there’s not a peep about The Sanders Institute. (And just compare the part of the entry, on Wikipedia, for FDR where his second New Deal is discussed with what the late historian Howard Zinn says about it to get an idea what Caitlin Johnstone is talking about when she examines Wikileaks and the Philip Cross fiasco.)

“When the New Deal was over, capitalism remained intact. The rich still controlled the nation’s wealth, as well as its laws, courts, police, newspapers, churches, colleges. Enough help had been given to enough people to make Roosevelt a hero to millions, but the same system that had brought depression and crisis – the system of waste, of inequality, of concern for profit over human need – remained.” – Howard Zinn, pages 403 & 404, “A People’s History Of The United States, 1402-2001”

“Liberal historians argue that Roosevelt restored hope and self-respect to tens of millions of desperate people, built labor unions, upgraded the national infrastructure and saved capitalism in his first term when he could have destroyed it and easily nationalized the banks and the railroads.[135] Historians generally agree that apart from building up labor unions, the New Deal did not substantially alter the distribution of power within American capitalism. “The New Deal brought about limited change in the nation’s power structure”.[136] The New Deal preserved democracy in the United States in a historic period of uncertainty and crises when in many other countries democracy failed.” -Wikipedia

Acknowledging that the New Deal left Americans with the same elite-controlled country that existed before 1933, Wikipedia then says that “The New Deal preserved democracy in the United States…” Really? That redefines democracy as meaning its opposite. I don’t know how it works exactly, with ninja edits from competing editors vying for the final form of the entry, but, according to Caitlin Johnstone, Jimmy Wales somehow favors establishment viewpoints and the idea that the awful American system is democratic, coming from Wales’s Wikipedia “New Deal” entry, means that something’s wrong with Wikipedia even if the only thing wrong with it is that the strongest ninja editor wins. (The entry, however, is not bad for all that.)

If you go to the official website of The Sanders Institute, you’ll find, under the list of Fellows, an entry for Jane O’Meara Sanders (or Mary Jane O’Meara. Why she doesn’t use her first name outside of her family, I don’t know.) The image used for her entry must have been when she was about 30 years younger. But the most shocking thing about the list of Fellows, which includes Danny Glover, is the name Jeffrey Sachs. See my blog post “Mirror, Mirror,” to get an idea what that man is all about.)

Right click on the image below and select ‘view image’ in order to see it more clearly and then use the back button of your browser to return to this post. The TRNN show that I tried to attach this comment to is titled “2nd Democratic Debate, Pt. 1: The Moderate/Progressive Divide Came Through.” I was able to make some other shorter comments. The comment I couldn’t make, though, was going to be an answer to a question that another commenter asked. I thought that that was kind of stinky. And brazen.

So maybe this has irritated the principled people at TRNN to the point where my comments are sometimes disappeared. That’s a bit of a conspiracy theory, I realize. I mean, Are the people at the top in TRNN going to be watching the comments sections that closely or even at all? On some websites – less grand than TRNN but probably more real and democratic – that is indeed how it works. I just now watched a James Corbett report on Bitchute (evil YouTube seems okay with TRNN and I don’t see TRNN on the YouTube alternative called Bitchute), in which he invited readers to work with him on an open-source investigation into how Jeffrey Epstein died, in the course of which investigation James will be examining comments on his websites (and I assume that means both websites). On the other hand, I’m sure that the top officers in TRNN have policies about everything TRNN-connected, including moderation of the discussion section on their show’s website. I’m not sure what kind of control they’d have on YouTube, but there, commenting is discouraged by YouTube’s design. You can type what is the equivalent of verbal grunts, but why would you really want to have a discussion on YouTube? Mind you, I’ve tried. If you let me, I will. But YouTube is evil. I’ve never been able to generate much of a discussion on YouTube and I think that part of the problem there is that I’m partially ghost-banned. (Sometimes [seldom] I get short responses from one or two people to something I’ve posted, but that’s it.) Ghost banning is a technique employed by censors where you can leave comments and you can see your own comments, but others don’t see them.

I guess TRNN is too grand for them to tell us what’s going on when it suddenly replaces the two faces on the show that regular viewers are familiar with because they were almost always being shown (or at least I missed it if that’s been talked about). Paul Jay and Sharmini Peries, have been there from the start. Both Paul and Sharmini are listed as staff members of TRNN and Paul is shown on the website as TRNN’s CEO. Paul and Sharmini started Independent World Television in 2003, with Sharmini also taking important positions in the International Freedom of Expression eXchange and the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression organization, two groups that Michael Barker notes “have close connections to the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy.” Progressives who aren’t brand spanking new know that the Ford Foundation and NED are evil entities.

Writes Barker: “In 2005, Independent World Television received a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to conduct a “feasibility and planning study on an innovative idea to create a news and current affairs TV network funded primarily by viewers”. Two other liberal foundations, the MacArthur Foundation and the Haas Foundation also contributed to this planning study. IWT set out to create what would become The Real News using the services of EchoDitto – a consulting group that has done much work on projects connected to the United States’ Democratic Party.”

From “Who Funds The Progressive Media?” by Michael Barker:

Critiques of liberal philanthropy are nothing new: indeed such criticisms have regularly surfaced ever since liberal foundations were created in the early twentieth century. In the past few years, however, the number of critical scholars and activists writing about practices of liberal foundations has grown rapidly, and there is now a blossoming literature showing the funding strategies of these highly influential philanthropists are antidemocratic and manipulative. The antidemocratic nature of liberal foundations is epitomized by the long history of collaboration (that formerly existed) between the largest major liberal foundations (like the Ford Foundation) and the US Central Intelligence Agency. Moreover, recent research has demonstrated the key leadership role that liberal foundations played in developing the means by which powerful elites could manufacture public (and elite) consent.

By focusing on a variety of progressive media-related groups in North America (including most notably the Benton Foundation and the newly launched The Real News Network), this article will discuss the limits of current funding strategies, and reflect upon alternative, arguably more sustainable (and democratic) methods by which civil society media groups may be created and sustained. It will be argued that the integral hegemonic function of liberal philanthropy has already deradicalised all manner of progressive social movements, and that civil society media groups need to cut their institutional ties with such financing sources. Admittedly solutions cannot be implemented immediately, but considering the increasing ascendancy of neoliberal media regimes worldwide it is vital that progressive concerned citizens call attention to this significant issue.

Liberal philanthropy plays a critical role in promoting and sustaining progressive media outlets within civil society, which are also referred to as ‘alternative’ or ‘autonomous’ media. Historically, the ‘big three’ US-based liberal foundations – the Carnegie Corporation, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation – have nurtured progressive causes on both the national and international scale, dealing with issues ranging from health care and civil rights to environmentalism. [1] In recent years increasing attention has been paid to the influence of conservative philanthropy, [2] however, the same has not been true for liberal philanthropy: two notable exceptions to this trend are Professor Joan Roelofs seminal book, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism, and INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence’s recent addition, The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex. This omission is problematic on a number of levels. Despite being ostensibly progressive, the major liberal foundations have at one time or another vigorously promoted all manner of not so progressive issues like eugenics, elite planning, and free trade; while they also worked hand-in-hand with the US Government’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In this context, the big three liberal foundations have also funded the research of many of the ‘founding fathers’ of mass communications research, arguably helping them to develop the capabilities for ‘manufacturing consent’ for elite interests. [3]

Although the importance of money to progressive social movements and their associated media outlets is obvious to most people, surprisingly few academics have addressed this subject.

I have one quibble with Michael’s essay and that concerns his unqualified, negative remarks about conspiracy theorists. It seems that he’s been influenced by some of the dark forces that he exposes here. The war-making State, today, would call Michael’s above article a conspiracy theory, a serious accusation since today the war-making State and its tools are on a censorship rampage against the people, going as far as jailing and torturing a hero publisher, Julian Assange, in order to make an example of him.

I also did a quick check of Andrea Smith, who Barker mentions favorably. I have issues with dishonesty, but I honestly don’t know enough about the controversy surrounding Andrea to be able to say for sure whether she should be censured for claiming to be Cherokee when she can’t in any way support that claim. We all know how the State and its tools operate. Those who they want to shut down, they first find, or manufacture, dirt on. Then the smear campaign starts and it goes downhill from there. But in this case, I don’t know that the charges that Andrea Smith is faking it aren’t true. Then again, Why would someone intelligent and caring claim to be Cherokee if it weren’t true, potentially undermining their own work that way? “No, Andrea Smith is not the “Native American Rachel Dolezal”,” by Erica Violet Lee seems to provide a good introductory look at this subject. I just found her tone to be positive. She says sensible things and doesn’t defend dishonesty.

related: “The Progressive Movement Is A PR Front For Rich Democrats” by John Stauber (CounterPunch)

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