01/19/17

Obama’s Iranian Nuke Deal is a Major Challenge for Trump

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

No matter how false and misleading it is to cite the Iran deal as “signed,” when it is little more than a set of unenforceable political commitments, the news media continue to publish fake news arguing that somehow Iran and the P5+1 have agreed on a single text of the deal. In reality, the Iranian parliament endorsed a different version of the deal than was supposedly accepted by the P5+1, and the JCPOA was agreed upon without signatures or signatories.

Now President Obama is using a news organ of the U.S. government, RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, to sell the narrative that this is a signed deal. “Rohani has been accused of overhyping the agreement and being duped by Washington and five other world powers at the negotiating table,” reports Frud Bezhan for RadioLiberty. “In many ways, it mirrors the situation in the United States, where supporters have fended off consistent opposition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), in which Tehran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, since it was signed in July 2015” (emphasis added). In other words, American critics should stop complaining because the Iranians don’t believe the deal benefited them either.

How can the author of that article not know that the Iran deal was not actually signed? It was the State Department’s Julia Frifield who sent a letter to Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) saying that the Iran deal is “not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document.” Rather, she wrote, this deal represents “political commitments” between Iran and other nations. How, exactly, can policymakers politically commit to something that the parties have not agreed on in writing, validated by signatures? There is no such document, and this news article is little more than government-funded propaganda.

Even The New York Times admits that the parties had to parse out different interpretations when it reported in January of last year that Iran and the United States had not yet agreed on “details of what kind of ‘advanced centrifuges’ Iran will be able to develop nearly a decade from now.” This, the Times stated, was “the kind of definitional difference that can undermine an accord”—yet these details were being worked out months later than when the agreement was supposedly signed.

“But as the first anniversary of implementation day approaches on January 16, Rohani has been saddled by the high expectations he set, as Iran’s economy continues to struggle and the great boost in foreign investment and other benefits he envisioned has so far failed to materialize,” reports RadioLiberty. There are a number of different landmarks in how the Iran Deal is supposed to be implemented, which allows the Obama administration to acknowledge multiple anniversaries of the deal.

For example, the White House celebrated July 14, 2016 as the first year anniversary of this unsigned deal. “Today marks one year since the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal…by representatives of the United States, Iran, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, and the European Union,” read President Obama’s statement. “Over the last year, the Iran Deal has succeeded in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, avoiding further conflict and making us safer.”

But there are multiple anniversaries that the administration, as well as the compliant press, can use to their political advantage, highlighting Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement. After all, there is the day of the agreement (July 14, 2015), Adoption Day (October 18, 2015), and Implementation Day (January 16, 2016). The Hill, in particular, published a news story on the anniversary this week which exclusively cites President Obama, and no other sources. In other words, this January anniversary is yet another chance for the mainstream media to produce more propaganda in favor of the unsigned and unenforceable deal.

“Today marks the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—a deal that has achieved significant, concrete results in making the United States and the world a safer place,” reads President Obama’s statement this week. The Washington Times reports that Obama used the one-year anniversary to warn “Americans—chief among them President-elect Donald Trump—that unraveling the agreement would bring ‘much worse’ consequences.” In other words, Obama is willing to lie to the public about the contents of the deal in order to salvage his foreign policy legacy from Trump’s future actions.

Obama is on the same page with Iranian President Hassan Rohani, who had harsh words for President-elect Trump. On Tuesday, Rohani said that talk of renegotiating the deal was “meaningless,” and that he “doesn’t think [Trump] can do much when he gets to the White House.”

Trump has nominated Rep. Pompeo to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Pompeo, in response to the letter he received from the State Department, said that the deal was “nothing more than a press release and just about as enforceable.” Yet Obama continues to claim, again and again, that the Iran Deal will make the world safer. The opposite is true: Iran, under this deal, has been given a pathway to develop nuclear weapons.

I recently asked Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a great friend of Israel, how this is a deal if it’s not signed. He said that “theoretically it wasn’t signed, but it was agreed to.” Theoretically? He said that it was a matter of semantics. “It was a bad deal,” he told me. “It doesn’t matter whether it was signed or not, it was a bad deal.”

Perhaps there is another anniversary that Obama should be celebrating—coordinating ransom money to the Iranians. According to The Wall Street Journal, “The U.S. Treasury Department wired the money [$1.7 billion] to Iran around the same time its theocratic government allowed three American prisoners to fly out of Tehran….The announcements coincided with the implementation of the nuclear agreement with Iran, lifting international economic sanctions in exchange for Iran curtailing its nuclear program.” President Obama claimed that this wasn’t a ransom payment—but the proximity to the release of U.S. prisoners demonstrates that this was, in fact, nothing short of buying off the Iranians.

If Obama wishes to celebrate, and the media continue to applaud, the anniversary of this terrible, unsigned agreement, then both parties must take ownership of how the ransom money sent to Iran—and sanctions relief—emboldens this totalitarian, theocratic regime.

Obama continues to appease the Iranians, opposing Congress’ recently renewed Iran Sanctions Act. The Wall Street Journal reported that Obama “decided to let the legislation imposing U.S. restrictions on Iran’s missile program become law without his signature” and that the law had overwhelming bipartisan support from Congress. In fact, the vote in the Senate was 99-0. In response, Rohani “ordered the development of a nuclear-powered system for ships, a move described as retaliation for the sanctions extension,” yet Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest, claimed that “Iran’s decision does not violate the nuclear deal.”

What, exactly, would violate this unsigned, unenforceable agreement? The fact that the parties have not signed this agreement, and that Iran has a different conception of the deal, means that Iran’s belligerence, and the deceit from both Iran and the Obama administration, amounts to a very challenging mess for the incoming Trump administration. Will the “art of the deal” prevail, or is a military confrontation inevitable?


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

01/18/17

AIM Editor on Cavuto about Trump and the Media

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media Editor Roger Aronoff was a guest on “Cavuto Coast to Coast” on January 13 on the Fox Business Network. The topic was how the mainstream media came to the defense of CNN after their confrontation with President-elect Donald Trump during his press conference last week, yet said little when President Barack Obama repeatedly attacked Fox News.

“When you saw the situation with [CNN’s] Jim Acosta the other day, it reminded me of when George Bush had a shoe thrown at him,” said Aronoff. “We haven’t seen it in these last eight years. And generally, there’s been very little support for Fox as this administration has attacked Fox. But there was immediately support for CNN.”

President Obama has blamed Fox News for poor polling numbers and Democrat losses during the election. “…[A]fter the election he referred to Fox in ‘every restaurant and bar and big chunks of the country,’” said Aronoff. “That’s why the Democrats lost, he thinks.”

Reporters are using unverified claims to tar Trump’s presidency before it begins, even if the charges may be baseless. “They’re throwing out through innuendo this scurrilous report which was nothing but opposition research,” said Aronoff. “A number of facts that we know to be wrong. And then this got leaked by the intelligence community.”

“I was struck by something Carl Bernstein said on the panel that night,” said Aronoff. “He said, ‘Look, do we know if this is true, do we know if any of it’s true? No we don’t. But here we are talking about it anyway.’”

Aronoff argued that Trump wasn’t in conflict with the intelligence community as a whole, just with the political appointees. “This is so political, coming from the top,” he said. “And I think we have to realize that, if Hillary [Clinton] had won this election, there would be no 35 Russians expelled, there would be no investigation into the FBI and [Director James] Comey, there would be no investigation into the Russian hacking.”

It is also suspicious that Obama has done little about this recent leak. “Why isn’t Obama saying we’re going to investigate who’s leaking this information?” asked Aronoff. As AIM has pointed out, Obama has a track record of going after journalists who print leaked information, as well as their sources. But this time the President has not signaled that he will go after the culprits.

You can watch the segment here:

01/11/17

The Top Ten Misreported and Underreported Stories of 2016

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

As we look back on 2016, we would like to highlight some of the American media’s worst abuses that occurred during the past year, including coverage of the very divisive election campaign. We have picked ten stories in which the media were either derelict in their duty to report the truth, or sold a false or biased narrative to the public that furthered the left’s agenda. In other cases, the media missed the story altogether or made excuses for their own biased reporting. We could easily have picked additional stories that meet those criteria, but arbitrarily chose to look at ten, in no particular order.

  1.    Presidential Election Coverage
  2.    Hillary Clinton Email / National Security Scandal
  3.    Clinton Foundation / Pay for Play
  4.    Rigged FBI Investigation
  5.    Obama’s Legacy Failures
  6.    Iran Nuclear Deal
  7.    Obamacare
  8.    The Economy
  9.    Terror Attacks in the United States (Islamic Terror)
  10.    Benghazi 
  1. Presidential Election Coverage

Erroneous Election Predictions

The mainstream media repeatedly predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election—and by a wide margin. The New York Times, in particular, gave Clinton an 85 percent chance of winning on election night. “Hillary Clinton today is more likely to win in a landslide that would not only have an impact on this race but realign the country politically to some extent, than Trump is to win at all,” argued Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin. Similarly, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said that “This could be tight, or it could be a landslide for Hillary.” The media pundits were all, very, very wrong.

Now that Clinton has lost, postmortems of the election abound: media pundits blame fake news, FBI Director James Comey’s FBI investigation, WikiLeaks, and the alleged Russian interference in the election. Hillary apparently had nothing to do with her own defeat. The fact that she won by more than 2.5 million votes means that the Russians failed, if their goal was to help Trump win the most votes. Surely they didn’t expect that Trump would be the winner if he lost the popular vote by such a margin. The mainstream media have become “election results deniers.” This fuels their anti-Trump bias and demonstrates why they called the election for Clinton, who was a very flawed candidate, even in the eyes of most Democrats.

“The inescapable fact is that most of the mainstream media got it wrong because they simply couldn’t believe that Americans would elect someone like Donald Trump,” wrote Mathew Ingram for Fortune. “Denial can be a powerful drug.” Yet even Ingram blames fake news for the outcome.

Many in the mainstream media have also been guilty of reporting their own fake or misleading stories. Their fascination with exposing fake news writers revolves around the desire to prove that their own reporting is above reproach, and should be trusted. That is especially true now when their credibility is in short supply after their flawed election predictions.

The so-called mainstream media have no corner on the truth, and it’s clear that when someone challenges their left-wing agenda, their first reaction is to try to destroy the challenger at any cost. The name-calling, caterwauling, crying and disgust will continue on the left, as they figure out how to pick up the pieces and move forward.

Continue reading

01/8/17

Obama’s Syrian Policy, Through the Looking Glass

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

President Obama’s assertion that the Islamic State was a “JV” team demonstrates how he arrogantly ignored the possibility that this jihadist terror group could eventually threaten the United States. But what the press will not report is that President Obama is at least partially responsible for the arming of ISIS.

A recent article by Jerome Corsi of WorldNetDaily sheds further light on how former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama worked to actively arm Syrian rebels, ultimately supporting groups that would coalesce into the Islamic State.

“…[I]t’s become increasingly clear that President Obama and his secretary of state at the time, Hillary Clinton in 2011, armed the Free Syrian Army rebels in an effort to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad, mirroring a strategy already under way in Libya to help al-Qaida-affiliated militia overthrow Moammar Gadhafi,” writes Corsi. “A consequence of the strategy was the emergence of ISIS out of the loosely coordinated Free Syrian Army coalition as well as the disastrous Benghazi attack in which a U.S. ambassador was murdered.”

In other words, Mrs. Clinton and Obama are at least partially responsible for the current Middle East chaos, the death of four brave Americans at the hands of terrorists in Benghazi, and Islamic State-inspired homegrown terrorism. In Syria, the civil war has cost 470,000 lives as of last February, according to The New York Times, a half million by most estimates today. But don’t look to the Times or other news organizations to blame President Obama or former presidential candidate Clinton for the death toll.

Corsi cites the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, which came to a similar conclusion in our 2016 Benghazi report, which is entitled “Betrayal in Benghazi: A Dereliction of Duty.” “It is notable, however, that [Syrian Free Army] statements from the 2012 time period complained that they were not receiving any missiles,” states our report, continuing, “it now appears that at least some of the recipients instead were jihadist units that would eventually coalesce into the Islamic State.”

Our 2014 interim report revealed that the Obama administration had switched sides in the War on Terror by arming al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Libya in a successful bid to overthrow our counterterrorism ally Muammar Qaddafi. The Obama administration, in its zeal to arm the rebels, even stymied truce talks that could have led to a peaceful transition.

And, as we wrote in our 2016 report, Ambassador Chris Stevens, then “U.S. envoy,” coordinated his efforts with Abdelhakim Belhadj, despite the latter’s connections to al-Qaeda.

“The [2014 CCB] report asserted the agenda of al-Qaida-affiliated jihadis in the region, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and other Islamic terror groups represented among the rebel forces, was well known to U.S. officials responsible for Libya policy,” reports Corsi in his recent article.

Corsi notes that there was considerable lobbying to convince Washington that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was a “moderate group.” This, he writes, was “despite clear evidence the al-Nusra Front—operating under the FSA umbrella—had been declared a terrorist organization by the State Department; had pledged allegiance to al-Qaida’s top leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri; and was the group of choice for foreign jihadi fighters pouring into Syria.” But there are still those who believe that the U.S. could have actually worked with the FSA and coalesced an effective fighting force around them, dramatically changing the course of history in that region. We’ll never know for sure.

The Obama administration engaged in regime change policies in both Syria and Libya despite the fact that such efforts would likely lead to more violence and chaos in the region. Corsi notes that the Obama administration even armed Ansar al Sharia, which was responsible for the September 11, 2012 Benghazi terror attacks.

The Obama administration has repeatedly sided with the enemies of America, from arming al-Qaeda-linked rebels abroad, to making political commitments with and providing sanctions relief for the totalitarian regime of Iran. This has been a great betrayal of American values and puts American citizens in harm’s way.

Several opinion journalists on the left have come around to acknowledging the disastrous role that the Obama administration has played in the region, particularly in Syria. As we previously reported, Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times called Syria Obama’s “worst mistake.”

Richard Cohen wrote in The Washington Post that Obama “has been all too happy to preside over the loss of American influence. Aleppo, Syria, now a pile of rubble, is where countless died—as did American influence.”

Leon Wieseltier of the Brookings Institution and formerly of The New Republic offered the harshest criticism: “As a direct or indirect consequence of our refusal to respond forcefully to the Syrian crisis, we have beheld secular tyranny, religious tyranny, genocide, chemical warfare, barrel bombs and cluster bombs, the torture and murder of children, the displacement of 11 million people, the destabilization of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, the ascendancy of Iran in the region, the emergence of Russia as a global power, the diminishment of the American position in the world, the refugee crisis in Europe, the resurgence of fascism in Europe and a significant new threat to the security of the United States. It is amazing how much doing nothing can do, especially when it is we who do nothing.”

Secretary of State John Kerry claimed at a press briefing on Thursday that Obama’s decision not to take action after the Syrians had crossed his stated “red line” by using chemical weapons, was the right move and succeeded because the result was that all of the chemical weapons were removed from Syria without dropping a bomb. Few are buying that argument, as chemical weapons were used again in Aleppo before it fell recently to the Syrian regime, or as Russia and Syria view it, was liberated from the various terrorist groups that held its civilians as human shields in a no-win situation.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

01/5/17

Gulftainer Scandal Connects Obama, the Clintons and the Media

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

In a recent column, I challenged the notion that the Obama administration has been scandal free. This has been the assertion, most recently, of Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, in a softball interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. The media have covered for the multiple scandals that have occurred right under their noses, and this is nothing less than willful blindness. It has applied to the Obama administration, the Clinton Foundation and recent presidential campaign, as well as going back to the Clinton administration. One largely overlooked scandal that ties together the Clintons, Barack Obama and the media’s willful blindness is the Gulftainer scandal.

This clear case of malfeasance comes at the expense of national security and American safety. As we reported in 2015, a United Arab Emirates subsidiary company, Gulftainer USA, was granted a lease “at the vital national security hub of Port Canaveral, Florida.” Now a recent Occasional Paper from the Center for Security Policy (CSP) shows that Gulftainer’s parent company, The Crescent Group, is connected to Iraq’s illicit nuclear program, and may have benefited from associations with the Obamas and Clintons. CSP has done an excellent job connecting these very disturbing dots.

Hamid Jafar is the founder and chairman of the Crescent group of companies, according to the Crescent Petroleum website. However, as Alan Jones and Mary Fanning write for the CSP, Hamid Jafar “is the brother and the business partner of Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar—the Baghdad-born nuclear physicist who masterminded Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program.”

In other words, the company has links to terror. Jones and Fanning write that David Kay, a “U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991–1992” who returned to Iraq after 2003, says that Dr. Jafar told him, “You can bomb our buildings. You can destroy our technology. But you cannot take it [nuclear technology] out of our heads. We now have the capability.”

Dr. Jafar is currently CEO of Crescent’s URUK Engineering & Contracting subsidiary, although his brother claimed for years that he had “no business relationship” with Dr. Jafar, according to Jones and Fanning.

These are the business ties of a company in charge of shipping containers out of a port with close proximity to an Air Force base, a submarine base, and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Yet despite the risks, the mainstream media continue to look the other way on the Gulftainer scandal.

The most recent news article on Gulftainer that I found is from October 2016, and as a local news article it largely discusses the business potential in the port, and notes that Gulftainer USA is “looking at growth opportunities in the northeastern United States and the Oakland, California, area.”

Will this terror-tied shipping company soon be coming to a port near you?

Jones and Fanning also reveal that Obama has ties to this port deal through his college friends.

Abraaj Capital, through The Abraaj Group, is one of Crescent Enterprises’ “private equity holdings,” report Jones and Fanning. “Wahid Hamid, who attended Occidental College in Los Angeles as a wealthy Pakistani foreign student, was one of Barack Obama’s college roommates, and became one of Obama’s lifelong friends, is a Partner at The Abraaj Group,” they write. “Abraaj’s Senior Partner Wahid Hamid of Pakistan, Mohammed Hasan Chandoo of Pakistan, and Vinai Thummalapally of India were all college roommates of Barack Obama, were all 2008 campaign bundlers for Barack Obama (each bringing in $100,000 to $200,000), and all attended Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson’s 1992 wedding.”

Thummalapally attended the 2015 grand opening of Gulftainer’s terminal at Port Canaveral, they write.

The Clintons have also benefited from their relationship with the UAE company and its leaders. Crescent Group executive Majid Jafar, Dr. Jafar’s nephew, co-chairs the “Business Backs Education” campaign with Bill Clinton. “The campaign is funded by the Varkey GEMS Foundation that paid Bill Clinton $5.6 million to serve as ‘Honorary Chairman’ and that helped raise $70 billion in commitments for the Clinton Global Initiative,” write Jones and Fanning. Abraaj Capital held a 25 percent stake in GEMS Education while Bill Clinton received money from that entity, they write.

We have already detailed the conflicts of interest that the Clintons faced while Bill Clinton was earning $16 million from Laureate Education as its Honorary Chancellor. We wrote that Secretary Clinton’s State Department made sure that over $55 million in “American taxpayer dollars flowed out of Hillary Clinton’s State Department to a non-profit run by Laureate CEO Douglas Becker.” Gulftainer is just another example of the potential for corrupt pay for play that has saturated the Clintons’ many dealings.

It turns out that, according to Jones and Fanning, even the man who oversaw the secret negotiations to bring Gulftainer to Port Canaveral is connected to the Clintons. “One of [Port Canaveral CEO John E.] Walsh’s Watersmark business partners is Miguel Lausell, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign who contributed $1 million to the Clinton Library and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative,” write Jones and Fanning. “Walsh’s other Watersmark business partners include representatives of the Saudi and UAE royal families and of the UAE government.”

The Gulftainer USA deal was signed in 2014, the same year that the UAE was a first-time donor to the Clinton Foundation.

Gulftainer USA’s presence at Port Canaveral, Florida, remains a threat to the military assets and other national security targets within and near to that port. Yet, “Secretary [Jack] Lew bypassed the mandated Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) ‘National Security Threat Analysis,’ which should have been overseen by Director James R. Clapper,” write Jones and Fanning. “The National Security Threat Analysis is supposed to be ordered by and delivered to the Treasury Secretary, who is also the designated chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).”

“Did the Clintons’ contacts help to seal the deal?” we asked about this contract in 2015. “Given the Clintons’ scandal-filled history the media might want to at least look into this one.”

Gulftainer was granted its lease without a national security review because it was not purchasing part of the port. Instead, it was leasing it—for 35 years. But it is clear that in this case the Obama administration looked the other way on a potential national security nightmare.

That the media refuse to cover this ongoing Obama and Clinton scandal is a profound dereliction of their journalistic duty to investigate issues of America’s national interest, and an additional blatant attempt to shield President Obama from criticism. The media have an obligation to cover ongoing threats to our national security, no matter who is responsible for them.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

01/5/17

The “No Scandals” Obama Administration Revisited

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

No matter how many times it is disproved, members of the Obama administration and the liberal media continue to claim that President Barack Obama has overseen a scandal-free executive branch during his two terms in office. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fast & Furious, the IRS targeting scandal, Benghazi, and the Veterans Administration scandal are but a taste of President Obama’s scandal-ridden leadership.

The latest in the voices declaring Obama scandal-free is senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, who said recently on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” that “The President prides himself on the fact that his administration hasn’t had a scandal and that he hasn’t done something to embarrass himself. But that’s not because he’s being someone other than who he is. That’s because that’s who he is, that’s who they are, and I think that’s what really resonates with the American people.” A fawning Zakaria also asked Jarrett about Obama’s “cool,” “discipline,” and “dignity” on his January 1 show, which was entitled “Voices From the Obama Years.” “Over the last few months, we have had extraordinary access to the White House, to officials current and former. It was all for a documentary about President Obama’s legacy,” said Zakaria.

With President Obama set to step down this month and give way to soon-to-be President Donald Trump, the media are even more eager to contrast the current President with his already demonized successor.

As we have reported, both token New York Times conservative David Brooks and former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod have also claimed that Obama’s tenure has been scandal-free. While this assertion is pure fiction, it continues nonetheless. It is a convenient way of dismissing, if not covering up, Obama’s dishonesty, incompetence and corruption. The perpetuation of this lie demonstrates that the media and the Obama administration are living in a reality constructed entirely by themselves, one that ignores any information that might damage Obama’s legacy.

A key counterpart to the elevation of Obama is the necessary criticism of his successor. Thus, the Times’ Paul Krugman writes in his recent column that Trump is bringing America down to “stan” status, a third-world country label which indicates a runaway personality cult and despotism by rich elites. “But cults of personality are actually the norm in the ‘stans,’ the Central Asian countries that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union, all of which are ruled by strongmen who surround themselves with tiny cliques of wealthy crony capitalists,” Krugman writes.

While Krugman is busy attacking what he perceives as Trump’s cult of personality, he may have forgotten that in 2008 he himself accused candidate Barack Obama of the same thing: “I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality. We’ve already had that from the Bush administration—remember Operation Flight Suit? We really don’t want to go there again.” At the time Krugman was clearly supporting Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, so his venom was aimed at Obama.

He wrote in that column that it was “particularly saddening” how “many Obama supporters seem happy with the application of ‘Clinton rules’—the term a number of observers use for the way pundits and some news organizations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent.” By that definition, it is clear that Krugman and the Times, as well as most of the liberal media, seem happy with the application of “Trump rules.” Of course they would argue that in Trump’s case, those rules are justified.

So Krugman has portrayed President George W. Bush, President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump as each fostering cults of personality. America, under that rubric, isn’t descending to Third World status—it is simply getting more of the same. After all, Obama is the one with a celebrated iconic portrait, who is worshiped by Hollywood and the inane arbiters of pop culture, nearly all of whom have refused to be associated in any way with anything related to Trump.

Speaking of cult of personality, incredibly, the Obama administration has inserted favorable mentions of their Dear Leader in 12 of the last 14 biographies of former presidents on the White House website, going back to Calvin Coolidge. That is something no other president has had the audacity to do. For example, President Jimmy Carter’s biography includes a paragraph at the bottom which states, “In 1977, President Jimmy Carter created the Department of Energy; today the DOE works with the Obama Administration to drive towards innovation in energy and reducing reliance on foreign oil with an ‘all of the above’ approach.”

If you attend the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., you will see, in the area focusing on First Ladies, a larger than life photo of President Obama with First Lady Michelle. No other president rates a photo of any size in that room.

But the real difference between the media treatment of these recent presidencies is that President Obama is the only President receiving fawning, constant press coverage that ignores his faults and celebrates his enduring legacy items, such as Obamacare and the Iran deal. As we have written, both of those initiatives are debacles—and the Iran Deal isn’t even signed—yet the press continues to publish articles praising those policies as signature achievements.

The difference is, Obama is a Democrat, and the corrupt Democrat-Media complex works hard to only celebrate the left’s victories.

“How could this happen in a nation that has long prided itself as a role model for democracies everywhere?” asks Krugman in his column, continuing, “In a direct sense, Mr. Trump’s elevation was made possible by the F.B.I.’s blatant intervention in the election, Russian subversion, and the supine news media that obligingly played up fake scandals while burying real ones on the back pages.”

Actually, as we have reported, the media have consistently downplayed the national security scandal that was Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. The press focused on the problems with Trump University, yet they ignored the scandal of the Clinton-linked Laureate Education. While the Clintons’ pay-for-play using the Clinton Foundation during Hillary’s time as secretary of state received some early press coverage, it was not pursued with the same passion as uncovering Trump’s faults.

Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid has outlined why allegations of Russian interference in the election may be baseless. Yet story after story express outrage and disbelief that Trump won’t acknowledge that the Russians, as they see it, handed him the election, so sure are these journalists of the supposed consensus among the intelligence agencies. We’ve seen time after time that the Obama administration has politicized intelligence to fit their narrative. Why not this time?

“Remember, the Clinton administration was besieged by constant accusations of corruption, dutifully hyped as major stories by the news media,” writes Krugman, asserting that “not one of these alleged scandals turned out to involve any actual wrongdoing.” (emphasis added). As Accuracy in Media has outlined in the special report, “The Hillary Clinton File,” and its documentary, “The Clinton Legacy,” investigations into the corruption of the Clintons reach back to President Bill Clinton’s term as president in the 1990s, and reveal serious, even criminal wrongdoing.

The Clintons have been demonstrably corrupt for decades, and President Obama has experienced one scandal after another. But don’t expect the mainstream media to report the truth—they are too invested in supporting politicians who further the left’s agenda.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

12/30/16

The Times Struggles with Lessons from 2016 Election Debacle

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

Back in August, during the heat of the election, New York Times columnist Jim Rutenberg suggested that reporters could abandon their objectivity and engage in “oppositional” journalism, because then-candidate Donald Trump was “an abnormal and potentially dangerous candidate.” Now, as Trump’s inauguration approaches, Rutenberg writes that “what” the mainstream media “did right” during the election “has been less appreciated than it deserves.” The column is titled, “Lessons From 2016 for the News Media, as the Ground Shifts.”

“Faced with a precedent-shattering candidate who made false assertions at a rate none had seen before—one considerably higher than that of his opponent—reporters became more assertive in directly calling out falsehoods,” he writes. While Rutenberg is attempting to explain to the media the lessons of 2016, his lessons are not well-founded and are as partisan as those found in his column last summer.

Trump’s “false assertions” have generally been fairly minor and petty—or exaggerated by the media. For example, the linked Washington Post article claims that “anyone could find that the majority of Mexican immigrants are not, in fact, criminals and rapists.” But as James Simpson exposed in a special report for Accuracy in Media, illegal immigrants are committing disproportionately large numbers of crimes, including homicide and rape.

In contrast to Trump, Hillary Clinton’s lies are an attempt to cover for malfeasance, scandal, and corrupt conflicts of interest. She is the only U.S. secretary of state to have used a private, unsecure email server to conduct classified business for the Department of State. Yet she lied, repeatedly, about sending or receiving classified information through that server. She even lied about FBI Director James Comey’s email investigation in an interview she had with Fox News’ Chris Wallace—despite the fact that Comey’s comments were public and critical of her actions. And she lied when she suggested that what she did was no different than what Colin Powell did when he was secretary of state for George W. Bush.

In addition, Hillary Clinton’s connections to the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of state reveal that she used her influence to benefit donors to the foundation time and again, raising the issue of pay-for-play, which her campaign vigorously denied. The Associated Press reported that “More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money—either personally or through companies or groups—to the Clinton Foundation.”

We have cited numerous examples of Hillary mixing her State Department business with donors and benefactors of both the Clinton Foundation, and the Clintons personally. Those include the Uranium One deal and the Skolkovo deal, both of which also benefitted Russia’s strategic interests. In arguing what the media did right, Rutenberg linked to a single New York Times article about the Uranium One deal, written a year and a half before the election, to show that the media had “dug into the interests of the Clinton Foundation’s foreign donors.” They didn’t dig very deep.

In addition, we have documented Hillary’s many lies about Benghazi, including who she blamed for the terrorist attack on the Special Mission Compound and CIA Annex that killed four Americans; what she told the family members when their loved ones’ bodies arrived back in the U.S.; what she knew about the flow of arms to al-Qaeda related groups in Libya, and whether or not she was aware of any of the hundreds of requests for additional security.

Trump must work to eliminate even the appearance of conflicts of interest. His supporters knew that they were voting for a businessman with vast holdings and interests worldwide, as Trump pointed out during his brief press availability with Don King on December 28, but it is nonetheless incumbent upon him to find a way to avoid profiting from decisions made by anyone in the U.S. government.

While The Washington Post’s analysis may have over-estimated the nature and quantity of Trump’s lies, the nefarious quality of Mrs. Clinton’s attempts at defensive cover-ups outweigh the caliber of any lies or inaccuracies from Trump.

In his lessons, Rutenberg continues to cite the “anger” of voters as a factor in Trump’s win. He writes that the mainstream media “generally failed to appreciate the power of the anger that ultimately decided the presidency.” In addition, he writes, the media were “overly hooked on polling that indicated a Hillary Clinton glide path, overly reliant on longtime sources…and too disconnected from too many workaday Americans.”

However, rather than ignore the alleged power of anger in this election, the media routinely sensationalized and emphasized the hate that Trump was supposedly fostering at every possible occasion. In fact, Politico reported the day before the election that “Trump stokes voter anger in final stretch,” describing Clinton in turn as giving “sunny platitudes.” A Daily Beast column stated that “Trump Will Go Away, but the Anger He’s Stirred Up Is Just Getting Started.” These are just a couple of the articles penned by a mainstream media obsessed with ensuring that Trump didn’t win.

“It’s our right and need to know about civic matters, fully, fairly and accurately, that is the public virtue in journalism and the sine qua non of democracy,” writes Patrick Maines, president of The Media Institute, for The Hill. “Although virtually all of the MSM violated this boundary in their frantic support of Clinton, some were worse than others.”

“But the very worst of the MSM in this regard were not the TV networks, broadcast or cable, but the two newspapers that dominate the news business, the New York Times and the Washington Post,” Maines asserts.

Rutenberg writes that the mainstream media “repeatedly underestimated Donald Trump, not to mention Bernie Sanders.” In reality, the mainstream media actively worked to stop both of these candidates. For example, a WikiLeaks email suggests that Donna Brazile, interim chair of the Democrat National Committee, leaked a CNN town hall question to Hillary Clinton and a question asked during the primary. “At the time of the debate and town hall, Brazile was a CNN contributor and vice chair of the Democratic National Committee,” reports Business Insider.

But the media complicity doesn’t end there. We have reported extensively on the corruption of the Democrat-Media Complex and how it assiduously worked to undermine Donald Trump and elevate presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“Of course, where one stands on press bias so often depends on where one sits politically,” writes Rutenberg. “Talk with a Clinton aide and you’ll inevitably hear that unfair news coverage was a big reason for her loss.”

The media’s double standard against Trump in this election became obvious to anyone who was paying attention. No amount of equivocation could have disguised how these powerful media manipulators worked hand-in-glove with Democrats in an attempt to swing this election.

Here are some lessons the media should learn. Report the news objectively, become less reliant on polls, confine your opinions and support for your candidates to the editorial and op-ed pages. Then the voters will decide on their own who to vote for, and the news media might gain some badly needed respect.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

12/21/16

The Modern Day Bitter Clingers

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

With the results of the Electoral College votes in, supporters of Hillary Clinton must realize that their favored candidate has lost, again—this time irrevocably. The left’s resistance to a President Donald Trump hung on the twin thin reeds of a recount under Green Party candidate Jill Stein and the fight to convince individual electors to be faithless.

Ironically, the efforts led to more popular votes for Trump, and more electors choosing not to vote for Hillary. Five electors from Washington state went against Hillary, and three more tried, but were forbidden by state law, while only two Republican electors chose someone other than Trump. PJ Media reports that in Detroit, officials could not recount in 392 districts due to “discrepancies.” Those discrepancies include having more votes tallied than voters, and 95 percent of the vote in Detroit went to Hillary. So the recount also exposed apparent Democratic chicanery.

The excuses Democrats have made for why Hillary lost are endless, as the left circles the wagons and decides whether to blame themselves—or others, like the Russians. To date, some of the many possible culprits for the failure include: FBI Director James Comey’s last-minute investigation into the Anthony Weiner laptop emails, the Clinton Foundation scandal, Hillary’s classified emails on an unsecured server, her failure to campaign in Michigan, her lies about Benghazi, the Project Veritas videos, the Clintons’ treatment of women, the hacked John Podesta emails, her collusion with the Democratic National Committee to take the nomination away from Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Obama’s failure to control our borders, Obamacare, and Hillary’s and Obama’s failed foreign policy. And, of course, one cannot discount the impact that Trump’s more energetic campaign had on the upset win. Or, as Bill Clinton called it, Trump’s ability to connect with “angry, white men.”

Joe Klein writes for Time Magazine that “[Trump] is, without question, the most expert news manipulator in American history.” This is absurd. The news media have never been so openly hostile to a candidate, and Trump won in spite of that, not because he “manipulated” the media to his advantage.

The exact cause of Trump’s win is unknowable. It is likely made up of many of the above mentioned factors. Yet in the recriminations game, some Clinton loyalists are forming a circular firing squad, blaming long-time advisor Huma Abedin, who one anonymous Clinton insider said got too used to the limelight and being a “celebrity.” A Clinton insider said that “The real anger is toward Hillary’s inner circle…They reinforced all the bad habits.”

Liberals also continue to incessantly blame Russia for the Trump win. President Obama claimed in what may well be his final press conference on December 16 that he told Russian President Vladimir Putin to “cut it out” and stop hacking, and that Russia did, reports The Hill. “No, they did not stop. They came after us absolutely every day until the end of the election. They tried to hack into our system repeatedly,” argued DNC interim chair Donna Brazile on ABC’s This Week. Maybe Obama didn’t scare Putin quite as much as he thought he did.

Actually, by December 20, the White House story had changed. Now, according to NBC News, President Obama called the Russians on October 31 from his Red Phone, which is a direct line between Moscow and Washington to be used only in a time of crisis, “to reinforce Obama’s September warning that the U.S. would consider any interference on Election Day a grave matter. This time Obama used the phrase ‘armed conflict.’” If Putin had “cut it out” back in September, why was that call necessary?

The conspiracy theory that Russia aimed its resources at defeating presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is “hyperbole” at best, and at worst, a false narrative, argues Jonathan S. Tobin for Commentary Magazine. “Other than a couple of quotes from speeches that had gone unreported, there was nothing that was directly linked to Clinton,” he notes of the hacked Podesta emails.

What the hacks did reveal was extensive collusion between the Democrats and the mainstream media, as well as how the DNC had played favorites in the primary, putting its thumb on the scale for Hillary’s benefit, and to the detriment of Sanders.

“Assume the Russians were behind the hacking and even that Vladimir Putin personally directed these efforts,” Tobin writes, “there is no reason to believe it altered the outcome, let alone that it was a result of collusion with the Trump camp.”

The Election Results Deniers continue to press onward with this particular conspiracy theory because it provides a convenient bogeyman whose influence cannot be confirmed or discounted—and is based upon the word of anonymous Intelligence Community (IC) sources. The fact that the IC refused to present their evidence to Congress, even in closed session, plus the Obama administration’s record of dishonesty and a lack of transparency, contribute to the skepticism. Yet Trump is apparently expected to state unequivocally that he accepts this phony consensus that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have supposedly determined that the Russians hacked the election for the purpose of electing him president.

But when Hillary’s team questions the FBI’s motives, that’s perfectly okay. “Comparing the FBI’s massive response to the overblown email scandal with the seemingly lackadaisical response to the very real Russian plot to subvert a national election shows that something is deeply broken at the FBI,” argued Clinton campaign manager John Podesta in a Washington Post op-ed.

The public isn’t buying the sore losers’ blame game. A recent Morning Consult/Politico survey found that “46 percent of respondents chose” the option that “said the U.S. can’t be sure who is primarily responsible for the hacking because tracing cyberattacks is complicated and because intelligence groups were wrong about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”

Back during the general campaign, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews argued that Trump’s refusal to say unequivocally that he would accept the election results was “sacrilege.” Hillary Clinton called it “horrifying.” “I’ve loved American democracy all my life,” said Matthews, “and not just because it’s our ennobling way to rule ourselves, and we are the first and the best at it, but because it honors in the end the character and patriotism of those who walk out there and accept the country’s judgment, who risk their pride in the arena of public opinion and when it’s decided, accept the people’s verdict.” Apparently that principle is only meant to apply to Republicans.

Even with the Electoral College having affirmed Trump’s victory, some on the left still hope to derail his path to the White House. Some are dreaming of getting this before the Supreme Court to challenge the results of the election based on Trump’s foreign ties. And if that fails?

Though Trump’s victory was once again confirmed this week, MSNBC, the network committed to discrediting Trump on every show, every day, won’t give up. A recent guest, Anna Galland, executive director of the George Soros-funded MoveOn.org Civic Action, told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes about the left’s next likely tactic: “A mass, moral accessible opposition movement, some are calling it a resistance movement, that’s going to stand up and fight back and not let Donald Trump tear apart this country, or enact his extraordinarily extreme policy agenda that he has no mandate to enact.” She added, “We’re not going to stand by while Donald Trump tears apart America…We’re going to keep fighting and going to win.” She said that MoveOn.org’s protest against the Iraq War was a “trial run” with “a million people in the streets…but that’s nothing compared to what we’re going to see.”

So much for accepting the results of our Constitutional election process.

In 2008, President Barack Obama contemptuously described voters from small-town America as “bitter” and “cling[ing] to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” With the election of Trump, those on the left who refuse to accept reality have become the modern bitter clingers, the progressives who continue to oppose Trump by any means.

They envision the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution as another way to challenge Trump as president. “Mr. Trump’s companies do business with entities controlled by foreign governments and people with ties to them,” reported The New York Times on November 21. “Experts in legal ethics say those kinds of arrangements could easily run afoul of the Emoluments Clause if they continue after Mr. Trump takes office.” The clause forbids presidents to “‘accept of any present, emolument, office or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince or foreign state’ unless Congress consents,” reports the Times. In other words, one possible response to Trump breaking this clause is to impeach him.

No matter how illegitimate, ridiculous, or short-sighted the reasons, the left will continue to oppose a Donald Trump presidency and work to undermine it. The same media that spent eight years building up and protecting President Obama’s phony legacy are now determined to destroy Trump’s presidency right from the start. This honeymoon is definitely over.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

12/8/16

Where “Fake News” Meets Real News

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

With the media in disarray, even in meltdown, over their failure to prevent Donald Trump from winning the presidency last month, the issue of “fake news” has become an urgent concern. What is really of greater concern? Fake websites that are established to make money and discredit their political opponents? Or is it the establishment media that are pushing a political agenda, while claiming to adhere to high standards of journalism?

An armed man recently traveled from North Carolina to search for sexually exploited minors at a pizza shop in Washington, DC—he had been taken in by a phony Internet conspiracy theory known as PizzaGate. This incident has fed the so-called mainstream media with additional reasons to publish stories highlighting the dangers of fake news and online conspiracies.

However, as the creators of fake news are exposed, it becomes clear that these sites are often motivated by making money—while mainstream media organizations use fake news as a means of furthering the Obama administration and the “progressive” agenda.

Georgian citizen Beqa Latsabidze “was savvy enough to change course when he realized what did drive traffic: laudatory stories about Donald J. Trump that mixed real—and completely fake—news in a stew of anti-Clinton fervor,” reported The New York Times on November 25. “Mr. Latsabidze said his only incentive was to make money from Google ads by luring people off Facebook pages and onto his websites,” it reported. Ironically, Latsabidze found that he wasn’t able to make any money publishing “gushing” stories about Hillary Clinton.

Another fake news writer, Jestin Coler, met with MSNBC News to detail his exploits.

“And lately there’s been a lot of coverage in the real news about the growing and booming business of creating fake news,” said Brian Williams on his December 5 show, “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams.” Coler helped organize the dissemination of a fake news story on the “Denver Guardian” about an FBI agent murder-suicide: “FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide.”

“This is one that I would probably take back,” Coler told MSNBC. “And even, to kind of add to that, Google closed all the accounts that were running on the site, so even that money is gone.” Coler, the fake news propagator, admitted to MSNBC that he’s a Hillary Clinton supporter, and in fact voted for her.

In an interview with NPR, Coler wouldn’t cite exact numbers, but said that his fake news grossed similarly to others making $10,000 to $30,000 a month.

Yet, despite the lucrative business, Coler claims that he created these stories to undermine the so-called alt-right and Trump supporters. “The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly false or fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction,” he told NPR. As for Trump, “His whole campaign was this thing of discrediting mainstream media sources, which is one of those dog whistles to his supporters…He knew who his base was. He knew how to feed them a constant diet of this red meat.” It should be noted that Coler started working on this back in 2013.

The mainstream media’s fascination with exposing fake news writers such as Coler revolves around the desire to prove that their own reporting is above reproach, and should be trusted. A Gallup poll shows that current trust in the media is hovering at 32 percent, and bottoming out at 14 percent among Republicans.

It’s not as if readers don’t have reasons to distrust the media. Brian Williams’ broadcast regarding the fake news industry was an exercise in irony, and just shows what’s wrong with mainstream reporting today. He is, in effect, the recent “godfather” of fake news, having spread false tales for years about his alleged adventure in Iraq in a Chinook helicopter under fire. Actually, Breitbart has documented more than 30 examples of Williams telling lies or disputed stories. So when he is introducing a story about fake news, do he and his producers think we’ve all forgotten what got him suspended last year?

As we recently reported, the media continue to provide false and misleading reports about Obama’s Iran deal, which is not an actual deal but merely a set of political commitments. Yet most major newspapers and TV networks continue to report that the Iran deal is “signed,” which it isn’t.

We’ve also documented how fake news has allowed President Obama to claim success in everything from fixing the economy, to improving healthcare, to making the world a more peaceful place, to having a scandal-free eight years as president. His actual record, in each case, is quite different.

The reason that the media continue to obsess over fake news stories is that when viewed in contrast, they appear more credible at a time when their public credibility is in short supply. Generally, the fake news stories they are now reporting about are easy to detect. But if the news media continue to publish stories that mislead the public, then they are no better than the online peddlers of fake news, and more of a threat to the marketplace of ideas.

David Harsanyi of The Federalist explained why the left is pushing this issue of fake news so hard. He wrote, “Now that Democrats have sort of moved on from blaming the Electoral College and James Comey and the Russians, they’re absolutely convinced that ‘fake news’ turned the election against Hillary Clinton (although it’s still a mystery why they lost more than 1,000 other seats since Obamacare was passed).”

Pamela Geller, the president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), writing for Breitbart, has an even harsher assessment of what the left is up to: “I always understood that the objective was to taint the conservative news-sphere. Sites were created to spread disinformation and shame the right-wingers who jumped on it. This is classic disinformation. It’s always games, games, games…from the people who brought you Soros’ rent-a-mob—rioting, looting and destruction in cities, etc. even going so far as to risk a few deaths all for the cause. But what I didn’t see coming is their ultimate goal: the shut-down of free speech. The left wants to crush free speech, which has been in their cross-hairs for some time now.”

Geller asks, “If a blogger or news writer gets a story wrong, does that designate him or her, or his or her site, as ‘fake news’? If that’s the case, they’ll have to shut down the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, CNN, etc. They get things wrong all the time.”

Indeed they do.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

12/1/16

Fake News Sites Continue False Claim about the Iran Nuke Deal

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

iran

The mainstream media and President Obama have made a considerable issue out of the dissemination of fake news leading up to the election, even going so far as to hint that Donald Trump’s victory might have been owed in part to the work of the fakers. On cue, The Washington Post recently published a story citing anonymous sources that claimed the fake news was the product of Russian propaganda. Yet Fortune magazine concluded that the Post’s “analysis was fairly weak,” and “Much of [the evidence] seems flimsy at best.” That didn’t stop the Post from blaming Russian propaganda, based on biased evidence and anonymous sources.

As AIM’s Cliff Kincaid recently explained, Facebook and Google are looking to create an algorithm that eliminates fake news on their websites. To do so is to risk disproportionate discrimination against information from outside the mainstream, including conservative and left-wing blogs, points out The Hill. “Critics also charge that the ‘fake news’ trope obscures the fact that the mainstream media have their own problem with false or misleading stories,” writes Cathy Young in The Hill. Kincaid also cites something called the First Draft Coalition, a sort of Ministry of Truth comprised of media organizations that we are supposed to trust to produce content free of fake news.

In fact, many of these so-called reputable news organizations are responsible for what is perhaps the fake news story of the decade. The story involves one of President Obama’s major foreign policy legacies, the Iran nuclear “deal.”

For about a year now, we have been pointing out that the Iranian nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran, is in fact, not a deal at all. There is an English language version, which the American public has seen (except for the side deals that were kept hidden from Congress and the American public). Also, there is an Iranian version passed in their Majlis, or parliament, which is considerably different.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) told The Washington Post Fact-Checker back in January that the Majlis passed “not the original JCPOA text, rather Iranian demands that were added to it. No one can call that Majlis resolution an approval of the JCPOA.” Still, the Post’s Fact-Checker, Glenn Kessler, ultimately downplayed the difference between the two agreements. What remains in both cases, American and Iranian, is that similar texts of the deal weren’t signed by the parties—meaning they aren’t agreements at all. Yet countless media outlets refer to this political arrangement as “signed.”

Like many in the media, the Post continues to misrepresent the Iran deal. Besides the Fact-Checker piece, a November 29 Post editorial refers to when the deal was “struck,” while urging Trump not to scrap it. An article in The Hill newspaper cites CIA director John Brennan urging the same, and saying that tearing up the deal would be “disastrous,” and “the height of folly.”

The media are obviously aware that this is not a signed deal, yet they keep calling it one as if that is an insignificant detail. Why? I believe it’s because they see their role as trying to help President Obama secure his legacy as the Nobel Peace Prize winner who was able to finally tame the Iranian theocracy, and save the world from nuclear destruction. But propping up a sham deal is more likely to have the opposite effect, long after Obama is gone from the White House.

Iran remains belligerently focused on ridiculing Americans and citing Iran’s victories in killing our citizens. Recently, according to Front Page Magazine, “deputy commander in chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC), Hossein Salami, claimed that ‘In 1983, the flames of Islamic revolution flared among Lebanese youth for the first time, and in a courageous act, a young Muslim buried 260 United States Marines under the rebels east of Mediterranean Sea.’”

The Iranian regime has threatened to “react” to any breach of the agreement by a President Donald Trump, but did not specify what type of reaction. However, according to Breitbart, Ayatollah Khamenei published the book Palestine shortly after the JCPOA agreement was announced, “in which he argues that Iran has a role to play in the destruction of Israel, and so must work to create and possess the strongest weapons possible.” Clearly, Iran desires the bomb, if it doesn’t have it already, and no one should assume that they wouldn’t use it against the U.S. or its allies.

But at least under Trump, we apparently will soon have a CIA director who fully understands the situation. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) was picked by Trump to head the CIA in his new administration. Pompeo led the push last year for the Obama administration to show Congress the signed deal with Iran. After resisting, the State Department finally acknowledged the truth: “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document,” wrote the State Department’s Julia Frifield. Rather, it is a set of political commitments.

In response, Pompeo posted the State Department letter and a strongly-worded statement on his congressional website: “‘For the State Department to try to defend the unsigned and non-binding Iran nuclear agreement by calling it a ‘political commitment’ is about as absurd as the terms of the deal itself,’ said Pompeo, who serves on the House Select Committee on Intelligence.

‘Instead of forging an agreement with Iran that will protect Americans and prevent the world’s largest state sponsor of terror from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the Obama administration caved to Iranian bullies and serial nuclear cheaters. Unsigned, this agreement is nothing more than a press release and just about as enforceable.’”

Reuters is one of the latest to have called this a “signed” deal. Other media outlets, including Politico, McClatchy, The New York Times, and even the New York Post, have called it a signed deal.

“If there is no signed agreement, even the feeble conditions placed on Iran by Team Kerry’s negotiators are unenforceable,” wrote Lori Lowenthal Marcus in September 2015. She was one of the first reporters to point out that this “agreement” is not signed.

The Wall Street Journal actually issued a correction in October of last year for calling the deal a signed one. Yet many other media outlets continue to falsely state that it is.

This is why Iran continues to humiliate President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry with impunity, such as when the Iranians held American sailors at gunpoint. It is because they can. For the U.S. to attempt to say that Iran is violating the agreement, we would have to show that they actually agreed to something. Where is the proof? Kerry ended up thanking the Iranians for releasing the sailors.

“Instead, from ballistic-missile tests to increased support to Hezbollah, Bashar al-Assad, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen,” writes Fred Fleitz for the Center for Security Policy, “Tehran’s behavior in the Middle East has significantly worsened. Just in the last year, Iran has captured and held at gunpoint ten U.S. sailors and fired anti-ship missiles at American and UAE ships. Is this what a new era of cooperation with Iran was supposed to look like?”

Fleitz points out that The New York Times is promoting fake news in an effort to save the deal. He writes that the Times recently presented the National Iranian American Council, “the head of the Iran lobby in the United States,” as a bipartisan group of experts pleading with Trump to keep the Iran deal.

In October, President Obama called for “truthiness tests” on the Internet. Now, with the election over, Obama is obsessed with untruthful reporting. “If we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems,” said Obama.

Obama, in this case, is right. But the true propaganda is not coming just from fake news sites—it is also coming from his administration, as well as from the mainstream media itself.

The media, whether blaming Trump for decisions not yet made, or obscuring the facts behind the Iran deal, continue to publish fake news stories that don’t pass the smell test. Will Google and Facebook design an algorithm that eliminates the influence of these mainstream media stories? That’s doubtful. As much as the mainstream media wish to blame Russian propaganda for spreading lies on the Internet, it is the supposedly impartial journalists who are doing so as well.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.