04/21/17

Questioning the Trump Doctrine on Iran

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

Recent comments by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warning that Iran could follow North Korea’s path of nuclear belligerence, and the Trump administration’s certification, in turn, that Iran is complying with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), seem to send mixed messages. However, any guarantee of Iran’s compliance must grapple with the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors can only inspect declared, and not military or undeclared, nuclear development sites.

“An unchecked Iran has the potential to follow the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it,” said Tillerson at the State Department. “The United States is keen to avoid a second piece of evidence that strategic patience is a failed approach.”

In other words—as we have often argued—the path of “patience,” or waiting, toward Iran means that this totalitarian regime is virtually guaranteed to eventually develop nuclear weapons. The unsigned Iran deal actually legitimizes Iran’s nuclear aspirations by condoning its enrichment of uranium.

The Iranian regime has also been emboldened by this unsigned deal because it supposedly binds the hands of both Congress and President Donald Trump. On April 20, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad-Zarif, tweeted that “Worn-out US accusations can’t mask its admission of Iran’s compliance w/ JCPOA, obligating US to change course & fulfill its own commitments.”

On the campaign trail Donald Trump described the Iran Deal as “the worst deal ever negotiated” and threatened to rip it up. Trump’s actions certifying Iran’s compliance appear to be a marked departure from his earlier campaign promises. But in reality it amounts to a 90-day extension of sanctions relief, part of a review process that was one of few concessions to Congress having a role. Trump said at his press conference with the Italian prime minister on April 20 that Iran has “not lived up to the spirit of the agreement. They have to do that. They have to do that.” Trump said that “they are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed. It was a terrible agreement. It shouldn’t have been signed.”

First of all, President Trump, no, it wasn’t signed. It was never signed. And here is the proof. It is a letter from then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s State Department to then-Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), who at the time was on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, and is now the CIA director.

Pompeo responded to the State Department letter by posting a press release on his congressional website stating that the “unsigned” deal was “nothing more than a press release and just about as enforceable.” He added that “For the State Department to try to defend the unsigned and non­binding Iran nuclear agreement by calling it a ‘political commitment’ is about as absurd as the terms of the deal itself.” So why is the Trump administration participating in this sham agreement?

As the Times of Israel reports, “he [Trump] is looking for another way to ratchet up pressure on Tehran.” It looks like Trump wants to take a closer look before deciding how to proceed, and this certification that Iran is in compliance was more of a strategic pause than a seal of approval that Iran is living up to its end of the deal. According to the Times of Israel, “Tillerson said the administration has undertaken a full review of the agreement to evaluate whether continued sanctions relief is in the national interest. Tillerson noted that Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terrorism and that President Donald Trump had ordered the review with that in mind.”

What Trump should do is rip up the deal and end sanctions relief toward Iran. New, harsher sanctions should be imposed on this totalitarian dictatorship. At the end of the day, the only real solution to the Iranian problem is regime change.

Yet The Washington Post claims, “If the administration were to decide to walk away or otherwise renege on its commitments, it would open the door for Iran to cast aside its own promises and resume the unfettered development of its nuclear program.” What commitments are these? Refusing to impose more sanctions on Iran despite its sponsorship of terror and human rights abuses?

In fact, the Post reports that the Republican-led Congress is working on extending a number of sanctions, but they have delayed the legislation in order to limit the effect on Iran’s presidential election, “which is scheduled for next month.” Iran shouldn’t just be punished for pursuing nuclear weapons, it should also be punished for its state sponsorship of terror.

While former President Barack Obama also acknowledged that Iran is indeed a state sponsor of terrorism, it is one of only three nations that still remain on the State Department list. Obama said “It helps prop up the Assad regime in Syria. It supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It aids the Houthi rebels in Yemen. So countries in the region are right to be deeply concerned about Iran’s activities, especially its support for violent proxies inside the borders of other nations.” When Obama said it, the media used it to show that he wasn’t trying to appease Iran. That he was tough on Iran. But coming from the Trump administration such a suggestion smacks of reckless belligerence, at least to the establishment media.

Last month, the U.S. and Iran engaged in a tit for tat with sanctions: “Iran hit Raytheon Co., United Technologies Corp. and 13 other U.S. companies with sanctions on Sunday for ‘propping up the Zionist regime’ of Israel, according to Iranian state media, retaliating against U.S.-imposed penalties on entities accused of aiding Iran’s missile program.”

Lost in the reporting is the media’s refusal to admit that Obama’s highly touted nuclear deal with Iran is nothing more than an unsigned collection of political commitments which can be broken by any party at any time. In fact, the media continue their fake news reporting by calling this deal “signed” in order to preserve the integrity of what is commonly viewed by his supporters as Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement. But it’s not clear why Trump calls it “signed.” Maybe he doesn’t know.

Warnings from newspapers such as the Post that a lack of good faith on the part of Trump will lead to a nuclearized Iran ignore the obvious conclusion that Iran will eventually become a nuclear power, and that in its current form the so-called agreement is virtually unenforceable.

Last week, CIA Director Pompeo told a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) audience that “We should all be mindful, given what took place in Syria, and go back and read that JCPOA when it talks about declared facilities and undeclared facilities and how much access the IAEA will have to each of those two very distinct groups.”

“So that might suggest to you what level of certainty we could ever hope to present to the commander in chief,” Pompeo continued. In other words, there is no certainty: if the intelligence community cannot guarantee knowledge of what is happening at undeclared facilities, then Trump, and America as a whole, will be left in the dark about Iran’s nuclear weapons progress. Iran could build the bomb without us finding out until it’s too late. In fact, intelligence experts that I have spoken with believe that Iran may already possess nuclear weapons. The unsigned deal is a document based on trust between the parties, yet Iran is clearly not worthy of such trust.

What we do know is that German intelligence found that Iran sought illegal nuclear technology in 2015. Similarly, Iran continues its ballistic missile tests. As Fred Fleitz—previously of the CIA, the DIA, the State Department and the House Intelligence Committee—has said, “The deal dumbed down the IAEA’s quarterly Iran reports…making it difficult for the world to know the true extent of Iran’s compliance.” The media urgently need to report that the inspections, and unsigned deal, are fatally flawed. But don’t look to a complicit, incestuous media to do anything that might undermine Obama’s legacy.


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.

04/19/17

Liberal Christians Join Anti-Trump Resistance

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

As my colleague Roger Aronoff reports, the media are livid that President Donald Trump is dismantling former President Barack Obama’s “climate change” legacy of deindustrialization and federal government control of energy resources. Meanwhile, factions of the U.S. Catholic Church and some Protestants are brainwashing church members into accepting the non-Christian idea that religious faith involves a belief in an Earth Spirit.

A so-called “Little White Book” was handed out in a number of American Catholic churches on April 16, supposedly to offer reflections based on the Resurrection narrative of the Gospel of Mark. Instead, the book included a number of Marxist sermonettes, such as that the “seven social sins” include “polluting the environment; contributing to widening the divide between rich and poor; excessive wealth; and creating poverty.”

Inside the booklet, Catholics were also told to celebrate “Earth Day” on April 22, practice the “Small is Beautiful” philosophy, and take their cues from Native Americans who “believe in the Great Spirit.”

The “Little White Book,” a publication of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan, is one in a series of booklets, with three million currently in circulation.

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw created the original “Little Black Book” on the Lenten season, followed by the “Little White Book.” The series is the brainchild of notorious liberal and “gay-friendly” Bishop Kenneth E. Untener.

Exact figures were not available on how many “Little White Books” were distributed in Catholic churches on April 16. But it appears that the church is moving toward the idea of an “Environmental Sabbath,” long popularized by the United Nations. A brochure about the project encouraged children to hold hands around a tree and meditate.

The “Little White Book” highlights the importance of the environmental encyclical “Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home,” released by the Vatican under the name of Pope Francis and demanding that “technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels—especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas—needs to be progressively replaced without delay.”

The “Little White Book” also promotes the work of Fr. Thomas Berry, a New Age figure described as “a major figure in the environmental movement.”

Berry called himself a “geologian,” rather than theologian, and was president of the American Teilhard Association, named after the mystical Jesuit philosopher Teilhard de Chardin. Berry’s books included Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as Sacred Community, and he is buried at Green Mountain Monastery in Greensboro, Vermont.

Another group, the Catholic Climate Covenant, has denounced President Trump’s “Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.” It claims 16 national Catholic partners:

  • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development
  • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Migration and Refugee Services
  • Catholic Charities USA
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Catholic Health Association of the United States
  • Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
  • Conference of Major Superiors of Men
  • Carmelite NGO
  • Catholic Rural Life
  • Franciscan Action Network
  • Global Catholic Climate Movement
  • Holy Name Province, OFM
  • National Council of Catholic Women
  • Leadership Conference of Women Religious
  • Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
  • Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

But Catholics are not alone in being targeted for action in favor of “climate justice.”

A group called Young Evangelicals for Climate Action has accused President Trump of issuing an executive order that reflects concern for the interests of “energy elites over vulnerable people.” The group even advocates a “climate prayer” for those “being impacted by climate disruption,” whatever that means.

At a background briefing on Trump’s executive order, a senior official explained that “This policy is in keeping with President Trump’s desire to make the United States energy independent.  He believes that we can serve the twin goals of protecting the environment and providing clean air and clean water, getting the EPA back to its core mission, while at the same time, again, moving forward on energy production in the United States. The United States is the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world. We have plenty deposits of coal. We want to look at nuclear, renewables, all of it.  And again, we can do both to serve the environment and increase energy at the same time.”

The Heartland Institute cautions that environmentalists and global warming alarmists will use the upcoming Earth Day to further their agenda by promoting “unsubstantiated claims about looming climate disasters—which the mainstream media promotes as absolute truth without researching and examining the mounds of data that prove otherwise.”

In honor of Earth Day, the group is offering some of its environment and energy publications in a special “Earth Day Bundle” at 22 percent off list price.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

04/18/17

How the Media Try to Lay Waste to the Trump Administration

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

The progressive media, and their left-wing allies, have been on an endless binge of Trump-bashing that began even before Donald Trump took office as president. This Trump derangement syndrome results from the fact that during the campaign, and later when he was elected, Trump took firm hold of the national debate and reshaped it in his image. But progressives have their own dueling national narrative, one which they are trying to reassert through the use of allegations of Russian collusion and through a war on “fake news.”

Nicholas Kristof, in an opinion piece for The New York Times, argues that progressives need to show a greater respect for the citizens who elected Trump. “The blunt truth is that if we care about a progressive agenda, we simply can’t write off 46 percent of the electorate,” he writes. “So by all means stand up to Trump, point out that he’s a charlatan and resist his initiatives. But remember that social progress means winning over voters in flyover country, and that it’s difficult to recruit voters whom you’re simultaneously castigating as despicable, bigoted imbeciles.”

The endless vitriol is not just aimed at Trump voters, but at the President himself. In “Public-School Students Take On Fake News,” The New Yorker magazine describes how an after-school program launched by non-profit Mighty Writers “teaches media literacy to kids.” Media literacy, in this case, means being taught to hate and disparage our President. Annette John-Hall, “a former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist who now reports for public radio,” asked these kids, “When you think about our new President, give me a one-word descriptor.” Some of their responses: “‘Evil.’ ‘Dumb.’ ‘Racist.’ ‘Sexist.’ ‘Disrespectful.’”

The endless news coverage disparaging Trump is clearly working.

According to The New Yorker, John-Hall responded, “There are facts to back up every single word you just used.”

This is nothing but pure indoctrination of future generations under the guise of public service. Our children are being taught not to differentiate between facts and lies, but to blindly repeat radical left-wing dogma.

The war on “fake news” could extend into the censorship of social media. Former Federal Election Commission chair Ann Ravel told a UC Berkeley audience that “We know that there’s a lot of campaigning that’s moved to the Internet, whether it’s through fake news or just outright advertising and there is almost no regulation of this, very little.” In the past, Ravel has called for the regulation of political websites such as The Drudge Report.

“Ravel claimed that the use of Facebook and other social media platforms by political campaigns is a problem,” reports Breitbart News. She also claimed that “by 2020 most of the advertising is going to move from television to the Internet”—i.e., to unregulated space.

But much as Trump, as a candidate, gained free advertising through his appearances on television news networks, the comedy show circuit has become a way to mobilize against his presidency. This is where much fake news exists today, where thinly-disguised vitriol masquerading as comedy or satire is aimed at Trump and his supporters in the name of humor. These comedy hosts can, in the name of levity, repeat any falsehood they fancy and feed it to an unsuspecting audience. On “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Maher’s guest, pro-Trump CNN contributor Jeffrey Lord, said that the Russians didn’t actually interfere with the vote tallies on Election Day. “Unless you can manipulate the votes in the machine, you haven’t done it,” said Lord.

Maher responded that “There are other ways you can affect an election, and one of them is to hack the emails of one side and release those as a slow drip, drip, drip, drip, drip.” When Lord said that the country needed to move forward, Maher replied, “Not if the country is being led by someone who was put there by a foreign power.”

According to Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, there is “no evidence” that the Russians colluded with President Trump to swing the election. And there is no evidence that the Russians interfered with election tallies. Yet allegations of Russian connections have become an article of faith for the mainstream media and liberal comedy hosts. But as we’ve pointed out on many occasions, Hillary Clinton’s financial and business relations with the Russians far exceeded anything that could be attributed to Trump.

CBS’s Stephen Colbert, of late show fame, included a sketch on his show which ended with a setup with “Trump/Putin 2016.” On NBC’s Saturday Night Live, besides Alec Baldwin’s ridiculous caricature of Trump that bears virtually no resemblance to reality, the show continues to parade a shirtless Putin acting as if he is the puppeteer of Trump. They all get in on the act: Samantha Bee, Chelsea Handler, the women of The View. Apparently it’s very good for ratings. And sadly, far too many viewers of these shows think they are getting actual, factual news. In fact, the venomous hatred packaged as clever commentary coming from the likes of Colbert, Maher, SNL and others creates a poisonous atmosphere for discussing serious issues. But, in reality, they aren’t that much different than the prime time line-up on MSNBC or CNN in terms of the hatred and negativity toward Trump.

Peter Weber, writing for The Week, asks, “Will Stephen Colbert lose his mojo when we inevitably get bored with Trump?” Josef Adalian of Vulture tells Weber that Colbert owes his rise in popularity to Trump. “But ‘Trump-related programming with a strong partisan edge is doing spectacularly well right now,’ and it seems clear Trump’s presidency has been ‘a significant factor in pushing Colbert over the top in recent weeks,’” observes Adalian, according to Weber.

And this mindset isn’t confined to just so-called late night and comedy shows. The Hollywood Reporter recently cited many scripted shows—such as Quantico, Madam Secretary, Scandal, and Designated Survivor—that include story lines or characters that are meant to be disparaging to Trump. After eight years of silence while scandal after scandal plagued the Obama administration, though it was rarely reported that way, these Hollywood honchos are feeling all anti-establishment again, and morally superior to boot.

Colbert isn’t just acting like a partisan—he, and other hosts, just make stuff up, sometimes using real headlines. They’re free to do it. Former FEC officials like Ravel shouldn’t look to solve the problem of fake news by censorship and regulating the Internet. There is plenty of fake news still being broadcast and published by mainstream news entities such as CNN, NBC, The New York Times and all the usual suspects. But this fake news, as well as news reporting on the alleged lack of Obama scandals, sells a narrative to the nation that undercuts Trump’s presidency and indoctrinates American citizens.


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.

04/14/17

Trump Takes on the Obama “Climate Change” Agenda

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

The leftist mainstream media are outraged that President Donald Trump appears to be sticking to his campaign promise to “cancel” U.S. participation in the Paris climate accord. The headline in The Washington Post is “Trump’s energy review blocks Group of Seven from consensus.” Politico’s headline is “Trump’s climate demands roil U.S. allies.” This follows Trump’s recent actions to rescind the foundation of Barack Obama’s climate change obsession.

Once again President Trump is being called a radical, when he is, in fact, restoring common sense to government policy. As Forbes reports, Trump’s recent seven-page executive order “lays the groundwork for rescinding” Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which is currently “suspended by the Supreme Court while a Washington appeals court considers its fate.” While Obama was known for his executive overreach (he lost in the Supreme Court more than any other president, including a record number of unanimous defeats), Trump is scaling back government interference in the marketplace that had been justified in the name of battling climate change.

“And so what President Trump did was he instructed the EPA to begin the process, through the regulatory process, of undoing something that should have been done through the legislature but wasn’t,” argues Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Chris Horner in a recent radio appearance. “This is the meta issue for the left,” he added. “It gives them what they have been demanding in the name of so many things, in the name of saving the planet.”

As Horner remarked in a 2010 Accuracy in Media Take AIM interview discussing his book, Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America, climate change is “the latest vehicle to organize society.”

“The left’s objective never changes, that is to ‘organize society’ in that creepy Orwellian rhetoric they’ve mastered,” he said. The threat of climate change, thus, is used to rationalize central planning.

Far-left activist Michael Moore tweeted in response to Trump’s executive order that “Historians in the near future will mark today…as the day the extinction of human life on earth began, thanks 2 Donald Trump.” The reception from The New York Times carries similar vitriol; an editorial describes Trump as “anti-science” and “strip[ping] America of its hard-won role as a global leader on climate issues.” This position as global leader was, of course, earned by former President Obama. The editorial is titled, “President Trump Risks the Planet.”

The media are overwhelmingly convinced of climate change’s veracity—or at least they claim to be—often abandoning objectivity in their reporting in order to defend climate science. The Washington Post defended the Democrats’ choice to testify before the House Science Committee last month, climatologist Michael Mann, as “clear and articulate but outnumbered by foes.” In contrast, the Post reports that at the hearing “political theater upstaged almost all productive discussion of science.”

The media have been complicit with radical climatologists such as Mann, calling anyone who opposes the climate change agenda a “skeptic,” a “denier,”—or worse. And it has become popular to compare energy companies to big tobacco, or hype that each year was warmer than the last. This is shaky science, at best.

“The warming trend is over,” said Horner in 2010. “It could resume, but it’s turned to cooling and is predicted to be cooling for several decades now.”

Horner’s comments hold true today. As Marc Morano points out on his Climate Depot website, satellite data indicates that we are in a temperature pause. “The fact that there has been no warming for the last 18 years is a massive blow to the credibility of climate science,” he writes. Other scientists point out that there is little statistical difference between the allegedly warmest years and other years: Morano quotes Dr. David Whitehouse as calling 2016 temperatures “statistically indistinguishable from 2015.” Claims that we are experiencing the hottest years on record are blatantly bogus, and rely on statistically insignificant temperature changes.

Obama’s own appointed undersecretary for science in the Department of Energy for the first two years of his administration, Steven E. Koonin, said that “The Obama administration relentlessly politicized science and it aggressively pushed a campaign about that politicized science.”

ClimateDepot.com is an indispensable website that keeps track of all relevant global warming news, and provides both sides of the debate. One very useful service it provides is the names and quotes from environmentalists, including former “warmists”—global warming believers—such as physicist Freeman Dyson: “An Obama supporter who describes himself as ‘100 per cent Democrat,’ Dyson says he is disappointed that the President ‘chose the wrong side.’ Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere does more good than harm, he argues, and humanity doesn’t face an existential crisis. Climate change, he tells us, ‘is not a scientific mystery but a human mystery. How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?’”

Then there is Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Dr. Ivar Giaever: “Global warming is a non-problem,” he argues. “I say this to Obama: Excuse me, Mr. President, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong.” He says that “Global warming really has become a new religion,” and that “We have to stop wasting huge, I mean huge amounts of money on global warming.”

Even if the Trump administration kept Obama’s commitments to climate change policy, such measures would have been unlikely to affect global temperatures. Yet the media lauded Obama as keeping the world safe from climate change.

Addressing climate change has been a core goal for the president and netting the Paris climate deal is considered a critical part of his environmental policy legacy,” reported NBC News and Reuters in 2016, in a piece titled, “Obama: Paris Climate Accord Best Possible Shot to ‘Save’ Planet.” This is nonsense. It was just another phony Obama legacy item to check off his list that in reality is far more about the U.S. and other developed nations transferring $100 billion per year to developing countries that make no binding commitments. In addition, it would transfer significant regulatory powers to the UN and other international bodies, none of which would amount to anything measurable or provable in terms of tweaking the global temperature to reach some desired environmental utopian goal.

According to Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), “The Paris agreement also created a United Nations climate slush fund, largely underwritten by American taxpayers. In his final year in office, President Obama contributed $500 million from the State Department to this fund on two separate occasions. He did it without authorization from Congress.”

Also, adds Barrasso, “According to National Economic Research Associates Economic Consulting, if the United States met all of its commitments as part of the Paris climate accord, it would cost the American economy $3 trillion and 6.5 million industrial sector jobs by 2040.”

Obama designed his climate agenda in a way that touched each facet of the bureaucracy. “There is no single list of those programs or their cost, because President Barack Obama sought to integrate climate programs into everything the federal government did,” writes Christopher Flavelle for Bloomberg. “The goal was to get all agencies to take climate into account, and also make those programs hard to disentangle, according to former members of the administration.” Obama, Flavelle writes, tried to make “climate programs hard for Republicans in Congress to even find.” To that end, an estimated $77 billion was spent from 2008 through 2013, spread over 18 federal agencies.

With this recent executive order, Trump is dismantling another of Obama’s key legacy items, a policy that the media desire to protect from the new Republican president. As with Obamacare and the unsigned Iran deal, the test will be to see whether Trump continues Obama’s disastrous policies or undercuts them. But you can expect that the media will fight every effort to roll back Obama’s legacy.


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.

04/12/17

Fact Checking Obama’s Phony Legacy

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

The Washington Post’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, recently gave Susan Rice four Pinocchios for a false and misleading statement regarding Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. But what is notable about this story is not that Rice lied. She has done that many times. Rather, the remarkable part of this story is that the Post took so long to wake up to this Obama administration falsehood.

After all, Kessler’s evidence that Syria still had a chemical weapons capability reaches back two years, to a period during President Obama’s tenure. Why not, then, issue a fact check sooner? In 2016, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper assessed that “Syria has not declared all the elements of its chemical weapons program.” In addition, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) reported in 2015 and 2016 that it was “finding traces of sarin and VX nerve agent at Syrian facilities that had not been declared to inspectors or previously visited.”

“The reality is that there were continued chemical-weapons attacks by Syria—and that U.S. and international officials had good evidence that Syria had not been completely forthcoming in its declaration and possibly retained sarin and VX nerve agent,” writes Kessler.

AIM’s Cliff Kincaid recently exposed how the left-wing, mainstream media are currently covering for Obama administration officials’ lies about Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile by noting that these officials had referred to “declared” stockpiles. This was sold as nuance. However, as Kincaid notes, then Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We struck a deal where we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out.”

But The New York Times carried an article on April 9 by Peter Baker, which quoted Antony Blinken, former deputy secretary of state under then-President Barack Obama, as acknowledging that regarding chemical weapons, “We always knew we had not gotten everything, that the Syrians had not been fully forthcoming in their declaration.” In other words, this is further evidence that the Obama administration was lying about the success of their negotiations.

These are not complicated lies, and not based in nuance. The Obama administration misled the American people, and Bashar Assad’s apparent recent sarin gas attack has made this impossible to ignore. Arguably, the Post is not willingly covering Obama’s tarnished legacy. Rather, it has been backed into a corner by world events.

I say “apparent” because we have learned not to accept all reports from U.S. intelligence agencies as factually accurate. Whether we are talking about the fall of the Soviet Union, the existence of certain WMD in Iraq, the Islamic State as the Junior Varsity, or Russia “hacking” our presidential election with the goal of helping to elect Donald Trump as president, we know that intelligence can easily be politicized, or just plain wrong. In this case, there are analysts and talk-show personalities on the left and right who question why Bashar al-Assad would drop chemical weapons on civilians at this juncture in Syria’s civil war, and who want to see the evidence before accepting it as fact. Perhaps it was the jihadis, e.g., al Qaeda, ISIS or the Al-Nusra Front, who stood to gain if much of the world were to condemn Assad for this attack. Others argue that it was a “wag the dog” scenario, suggesting perhaps collusion between Trump and Putin. The Times rejects all of these theories.

Congressmen from both sides of the aisle praised the cruise missile attack on Syria, and other congressmen from both sides condemned the attacks as playing into the hands of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Peter Hitchens, writing for England’s Sunday Mail, argued that “Our ‘noble’ cause” was “Dropping bombs on behalf of Al Qaeda.” There are people on both sides of this argument who I respect, including some who argue that whoever was behind the use of chemical weapons, it was an important and useful message sent by the new American president.

For the purpose of this column, we’ll go with the conventional wisdom, i.e., that it was Assad who used chemical weapons against his own civilian population. We know that somewhere in the neighborhood of half a million people have died in this war since it began in 2011.

The agreement with Syria to ship out its chemical weapons was unenforceable and unverifiable. So, too, with the unsigned Iran deal, another Obama legacy item. “It will be very hard to verify the agreement since military sites—where Iran is likely to conduct covert nuclear-weapons work—are off limits to inspectors,” wrote Fred Fleitz for the Center for Security Policy in 2016. Fleitz previously worked for the CIA, the DIA, the State Department and the House Intelligence Committee. “The deal dumbed down the IAEA’s quarterly Iran reports,” wrote Fleitz, “making it difficult for the world to know the true extent of Iran’s compliance.”

In other words, the loopholes of the unsigned Iran deal are large enough to walk through. According to Newsweek, Germany’s “domestic security agency,” the BfV, reported in 2016 that Iran tried the year before to acquire illegal nuclear technologies, and boost its missile technology, “which could among other things potentially serve to deliver nuclear weapons.”

In December of 2015, we were told by The New York Times and other news organizations that Iran shipped “almost all of [its] stockpile of low-enriched uranium” to Russia, and that “For President Obama, the peaceful removal of the fuel from Iran is one of the biggest achievements in his foreign policy record.” Sound familiar?

And after Iran exported its heavy water to Oman, the U.S., and Russia, it received 130 tons of natural uranium from Russia this past January. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, told the Associated Press that this uranium could be enriched to create as many as 10 nuclear bombs.

This is the dangerous pattern that emerged from Obama’s flawed, and often disastrous, leadership. First, the Obama administration would guarantee or approve of a political agreement with a bad state actor who had little incentive to adhere to the stated terms, and then that country ultimately cheated on the deal. In the meantime, Obama and his staff attempted to sell the agreement in glowing terms to the American public and Congress, and Obama’s adoring media were always eager to advance his narrative, regardless of the national security implications.

So, too, with the Paris climate accord. “The Paris climate-change agreement was deliberately negotiated to make it binding on the United States without Senate ratification and difficult for a future U.S. president to cancel,” wrote Fleitz. According to Coral Davenport of The New York Times, “Under the Paris agreement, every nation has formally submitted plans detailing how it expects to lower its planet-warming pollution.” However, she writes, “under the Paris deal, those numerical targets are not legally binding, and there are no sanctions for failing to meet them.” In other words, the Paris climate accord is a meaningless document for countries that are not committed to reducing emissions—but it sets a dangerous precedent here in America.

In Obama’s world, or if Hillary Clinton would have become president, we would have stuck to the draconian limits it placed on the U.S., while unilaterally surrendering more of our sovereignty to a UN bureaucracy, all in the name of saving the world from climate change. Obama claimed to have ratified the Paris accords with his signature alone, calling it an executive agreement rather than a treaty, because he knew the Senate would never approve.

China, in particular, claims, as part of the accord, that it will reduce its emissions intensity by 60 to 65 percent by 2030—when, by 2030, its carbon emissions would already be declining. Yet here at home, Obama was intent on strangling businesses such as coal plants to achieve a more ambitious and immediate climate goal, which in reality was a political goal.

The media have had, and will continue to have, a vested interest in preserving Obama’s foreign policy legacy. Yet Obama’s foreign policy failures could become more and more apparent over time, exposing how Obama diminished United States power into that of a paper tiger. Another stunning example was the administration’s response to the 2012 Benghazi attacks, where the military did not send military assets to combat the attack, but left the insufficiently protected personnel on the ground to deal with the terrorists. The administration claimed that they didn’t have time, or enough intelligence, to send in the armed forces. This is a preposterous lie. When will the mainstream media investigate these other scandals and flawed agreements? The Post should issue a fact check on these other pressing issues. Ample evidence already exists.


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.

04/6/17

Latest Obama-Rice Scandal Comes into Focus

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

What started out last year as an investigation by the Obama administration into Russian interference in our presidential elections has turned into the latest scandal involving both former President Barack Obama and his national security adviser, Susan Rice. The media are in full panic mode, attempting to keep the focus of the investigation on President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, while trying to shield Obama and Rice from the consequences of their actions.

What has become clear during the past week is that the focus of the investigation should clearly be shifting from alleged collusion between President Trump’s associates and the Russian government, in order to influence the election—for which no evidence has emerged—to the role of the Obama administration in surveilling, incidental or otherwise, unmasking and leaking information about the Trump campaign and transition teams, for which all sorts of evidence has emerged.

The question for the Republicans, who control every congressional committee as well as the executive branch, is whether or not they have the fortitude and integrity to ignore the pressure from the corrupt, liberal media and to expand or re-direct the investigation wherever the new evidence compels them to go.

The latest development is the unmasking of former national security adviser Susan Rice. Rice was outed this week as someone who requested the unmasking of people associated with Trump’s campaign and transition team.

As Accuracy in Media reported in a recent special report, “Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice has now been implicated in illegally unmasking Trump campaign and post-election Trump transition officials in monitored conversations, according to Bloomberg News and Fox News. The story was originally broken by Mike Cernovich, who has more of the details including the cover-up of Rice’s role by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who was trying to protect Rice and Obama.”

In fact, Cernovich later revealed that his sources were people inside both Bloomberg and The New York Times “who revealed that both Eli Lake (Bloomberg) and Maggie Haberman (NYT) were sitting on the Susan Rice story in order to protect the Obama administration.”

The media went into full protection mode. A panel on CNN’s 360 With Anderson Cooper was confident that Rice had done nothing “improper.” Why? Jim Sciutto, CNN’s chief national security correspondent, who worked at the Obama State Department when Susan Rice was UN Ambassador, defended Rice, saying that this story was “largely ginned up, partly as a distraction.” CNN’s Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo also dismissed the story, with Lemon saying that the Susan Rice story is a “fake scandal ginned up by right-wing media and Trump,” and that he wasn’t going to be baited into covering it. What little coverage it received on the three broadcast networks’ evening news shows was focused on Rice’s claim that she had done nothing “improper.”

Comments made in February and March by former Obama administration official Evelyn Farkas, but only noticed and highlighted last week, did a lot to shift the narrative. But the establishment media refuse to acknowledge that shift, and are determined to keep Trump, House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Russia as the villains of what everyone agrees is an enormous scandal, if only they could agree on what that scandal is.

“It was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves the administration,” said Farkas on MSNBC on March 2. She also said that “The Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about the Trump’s staff’s dealings with Russians that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence” (emphasis added).

Farkas’ comments appear to serve as confirmation that the Obama administration was spying on Trump’s staff during the 2016 election. That was reinforced through the reporting of Fox News’ Adam Housley, who wrote that “Susan Rice, former national security adviser under then-President Barack Obama, requested to unmask the names of Trump transition officials caught up in surveillance.” He added that “The unmasked names, of people associated with Donald Trump, were then sent to all those at the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan—essentially, the officials at the top, including former Rice deputy Ben Rhodes.” According to Housley, “The names were part of incidental electronic surveillance of candidate and President-elect Trump and people close to him, including family members, for up to a year before he took office.”

Note that Farkas said “we” when referring to intelligence issues, and the Trump staff’s Russian contacts. As the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, she left the Obama administration in 2015, yet she was boldly talking about intelligence matters and informing the Hill while out of office.

As for leaks, she told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, “That’s why you have the leaking: people are worried.”

As that story was swirling, accusations that Rice had been requesting the names of intelligence officials listed in an intelligence report began to emerge, including a Wall Street Journal report that said Ms. Rice “examined dozens of other intelligence summaries that technically masked Trump official identities but were written in such a way as to make obvious who those officials were,” making the masking essentially meaningless. “Unmasking does occur, but it is typically done by intelligence or law-enforcement officials engaged in antiterror or espionage investigations. Ms. Rice would have had no obvious need to unmask Trump campaign officials other than political curiosity.”

Former prosecutor and National Review contributor Andy McCarthy wrote that “the reported involvement of former national-security adviser Susan Rice in the unmasking of Trump officials appears to be a major scandal—it suggests that the Obama White House, of which she was a high-ranking staffer, abused the power to collect intelligence on foreign targets, by using it to spy on the opposition party and its presidential candidate.”

He said that while it may not have broken the law, “The issue is not technical legality, it is monumental abuse of power.”

Before Rice was outed for her involvement in the unmasking and possible distribution of the information obtained from the intelligence community, she had denied having any knowledge of “the intelligence community’s alleged incidental surveillance of Trump’s transition team” when she appeared with Judy Woodruff on the PBS Newshour on March 22.

After the articles appeared this week citing Rice’s role, she went to the friendly confines of an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Rice acknowledged her role in requesting the unmasking of certain people picked up in the incidental surveillance, but claimed it was normal, and nothing improper or illegal was done. “Imagine if we saw something of grave significance that involved Russia or China or anybody else interfering in our political process and we needed to understand the significance of that, for us not to try to understand it would be dereliction of duty.”

But Rice has a history of making provably false statements to protect Obama. Her comment about a “dereliction of duty” reminded me of her role in the Obama administration’s cover-up following the terrorist attacks in Benghazi. Yes, she lied on five Sunday talk shows about what led to the attacks on September 11 and 12, 2012. But in addition, our Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi identified another dereliction of duty: the Obama administration’s failure to send in the military to attempt to rescue the Americans who were under attack at the CIA Annex near the Special Mission Compound. Four Americans died in the attacks, others were wounded.

Rice also lied for the Obama administration when she said that Bowe Bergdahl, a deserter in Afghanistan who the Obama administration traded for five high-ranking Taliban terrorists, had served in the military “with honor and distinction.” This latest controversy further highlights why I recently questioned Susan Rice as an appropriate person to criticize President Trump’s credibility, which she did in an op-ed in The Washington Post. Rice must be put under oath to explain what she did with the names that were unmasked, who she was communicating with about it, and what Obama knew and when he knew it.


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.

03/23/17

Vetting Trump’s Foreign Policy Team

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

President Donald Trump fared much better in the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday than the left-wing, establishment media would have you believe. The American Spectator’s George Neumayr captured the essence of the findings: “…the core claim underlying Trump’s tweets is true: people acting on the authority of Obama opened an investigation into Trump’s campaign, then criminally leaked mention of it to friendly news outlets in an attempt to derail his election. When is Obama going to apologize for that?”

But for weeks now, CNN and MSNBC have been calling Trump a liar, saying that there is no evidence to support his tweets, and demanding that he back down and apologize for his accusations against former President Barack Obama.

But Trump is also taking hits from people who have generally supported him, but who feel he is failing to live up to his promises. One such example is a recent column by Ann Coulter, who criticizes Trump for supporting the Ryan-Trump American Health Care Act as the replacement for Obamacare, and for his slow start on getting control of the illegal alien issue and border security. Coulter says that “This is starting to look like every other Republican administration.” Yes, his administration is just two months old, so maybe it’s too early to judge on those issues.

Another issue that is raising concern is how Trump is doing on foreign policy and national security matters. Does President Trump need additional assistance in vetting his nominees to administration posts? An examination of his national security appointees raises the question of whether his team knows what questions to ask, and if they are properly vetting his staff.

The political activities of former Defense Intelligence Agency director Michael Flynn, who also served a short time as national security advisor to Trump, demonstrate the administration’s inadequate scrutiny. Flynn resigned for “withholding the full story of his communications with Russia’s ambassador,” reported The New York Times. But that wasn’t the end of the conflicts of interest. After leaving office, Flynn retroactively registered as a foreign agent working on behalf of Turkish interests; he had earned $530,000 for that work. If Trump’s team wasn’t aware of this, they should have been, just by paying attention to the public record, including a column that came out on Election Day that read like a paid advertorial for the Turkish government.

Although Flynn’s contract ended in November, the Times reported that a transition lawyer and a White House lawyer told Flynn that it was “up to him” whether to disclose his activities.

Trump’s pick for Defense Secretary, retired Marine General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, initially selected as undersecretary of defense for policy Anne Patterson, who inspired Egyptian protests due to her support for the Muslim Brotherhood. “She [Patterson] came under fire for cultivating too close a relationship with the regime and for discouraging protests against it—and White House officials are voicing concerns about those decisions now,” reports Politico. Criticism of Patterson, and an uncertain confirmation process, led Mattis to withdraw this nomination.

Personnel is policy, and Trump ultimately holds the reins of power in the administration—if he does not abdicate that responsibility. Calling on 46 U.S. attorneys to tender their resignation was a good first step, and in keeping with past presidents.

But President Trump has signaled his unwillingness to fill many of his political appointee posts. “A lot of those jobs, I don’t want to appoint, because they’re unnecessary to have,” Trump told Fox News. He continued, “You know, we have so many people in government, even me. I look at some of the jobs and it’s people over people over people. I say, ‘What do all these people do?’ You don’t need all those jobs.”

That’s clearly true, but unfortunately, when key personnel spots go unfulfilled, the administration is ceding power to the bureaucracy, which may, in turn, empower those still loyal to Obama and intent on crippling the Trump presidency. “If you don’t have a philosophy, if you don’t have a view, the risk is extraordinarily high that the bureaucracies at the State Department, the CIA, the Defense Department will co-opt the new secretary, the new head of the agency,” argued former UN ambassador John Bolton, speaking as a guest on the Breitbart News Daily show. “The bureaucracy’s policies will become their policy, and then if the White House doesn’t resist, they’ll become the administration’s policy.”

Lee Smith of The Weekly Standard wrote a much talked about piece last week for The Tablet titled, “Will Obama’s Foreign Policy Wizards Save Trump?” “What’s really bizarre is that the Trump team keeps blaming damaging leaks to the press on Obama holdovers—when the Trump team is hiring Obama holdovers,” writes Smith. “They may have caught Anne Patterson before she got past the velvet rope, but Obama people staff key positions elsewhere, on Israel, Iran, ISIS, and Syria issues. Which makes sense, since the policies they are tasked with carrying out are so far exactly the same as they were under Obama.”

By leaving in place Obama political appointees President Trump risks that these people will work to undermine his stated agenda. For example, Michael Ratney, former U.S. consul to Jerusalem, who Conservative Review describes as “one of John Kerry’s closest confidantes,” now heads “the Israeli-Palestinian portfolio at the State Department.”

Smith describes another Obama holdover, “Yael Lempert, a National Security Council staffer from the Obama administration that the Trump team decided to keep on.” Smith quotes a former Clinton official who said that Lempert “is considered one of the harshest critics of Israel on the foreign policy far left. From her position on the Obama NSC, she helped manufacture crisis after crisis in a relentless effort to portray Israel negatively and diminish the breadth and depth of our alliance. Most Democrats in town know better than to let her manage Middle East affairs. It looks like the Trump administration has no idea who she is or how hostile she is to the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Are these rookie mistakes or does Trump not care if his campaign promises regarding Israel, combating the Islamic jihadis, and ripping up the Iran deal go unfulfilled? On the plus side, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is doing great things to re-define America’s role in that institution, after eight years of Susan Rice and Samantha Power occupying America’s seat at the UN.

Trump’s new national security advisor, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, has stated that he believes that radical Islamic terrorism is a perversion of Islam—not an outgrowth of the principles contained within that religion. The New York Times reports that McMaster “told his staff” that “‘radical Islamic terrorism’ was not helpful because terrorists are ‘un-Islamic.’” That newspaper heralded this as McMaster rejecting “a key ideological view of other senior Trump advisers and signaling a potentially more moderate approach to the Islamic world.” Trump himself doesn’t hesitate to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” Shouldn’t they be on the same page?

What this demonstrates, in fact, is McMaster’s blindness toward the roots of Islamic terror. As long as he remains the national security advisor to Trump, his rhetoric should be considered sanctioned by the administration.

Even more disturbing are rumblings that Trump may renege on his promise to “rip [the Iran deal] up.” In an opinion column for CNN, “Why Trump won’t tear up Iran nuclear deal,” David Andelman argues that “you don’t hear that ‘rip it up’ language any longer. And you won’t.” Reuters reports that the Trump administration is using the same messaging to the Board of Governors as used under Obama: “Iran must strictly and fully adhere to all commitments and technical measures for their duration.” Lee Smith pointed out that “former National Iranian American Council (NIAC) staffer Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, Obama’s NSC director for Iran, is now on the policy-planning staff in Trump’s State Department.” NIAC is effectively the Iran Lobby in the U.S.

If Iran is supposed to honor their commitments in the unsigned deal, will Trump also uphold the misguided U.S. political commitments as well? Trump’s pick to head the CIA, former Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS), has called this agreement “nothing more than a press release and just about as enforceable.”

It is the media’s responsibility to hold Trump accountable for keeping his promises to the American people, instead of working to undermine his policies. But Trump needs to do a better job of filling key positions and vetting the people who are making and carrying out his policies. Otherwise, his administration could turn out to be a disaster.


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.

03/17/17

Self-Appointed Arbiters of Fair and Balanced News

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

A recent Washington Post article by media reporter Paul Farhi raises the alarm that the White House Correspondents’ Association has not once, but twice, assigned a Daily Signal employee, Fred Lucas, to be the pool reporter, i.e., the reporter who serves as the “proxy for the rest of the press corps.” The Daily Signal is the “news and commentary site” founded by the conservative Heritage Foundation, he reports, labeling it an “advocacy organization.”

“In other words,” writes Farhi, “the news that reporters received about the vice president came from a journalist employed by an organization with a vested interest in the direction of White House and federal policy.”

The idea that the so-called mainstream press somehow stands above its own vested interests, or, put another way, against their own agenda, is laughable at best. The distinction between biased advocacy news organizations and the supposedly independent press has not only blurred—it has become obsolete. Organizations such as The Daily Signal and Breitbart are just as capable of speaking truth to power as media outlets such as The New York Times, the Post, ABC, CBS, NBC and MSNBC.

In fact, it is these supposedly impartial news organizations that have continued to lobby for the leftist agenda. When President Obama was in office, they not only worked to legitimize and enhance the Obama legacy, ignoring scandal after scandal, but they even tried to influence the Supreme Court to uphold Obama’s signature legislation, Obamacare.

The deceit of the media didn’t stop there. Under Obama, the media consistently portrayed the economy as recovering even though the labor participation rate remained at abominable levels. A vast number of the jobs supposedly created in the Obama years were part-time, many lasting for just weeks at a time. The unemployment rate dropped to under five percent only because millions of people gave up looking for work, not because the economy was booming. Moreover, Obamacare prevented millions of people from getting a full-time job based on the disincentives built into Obama’s signature program.

A case in point is the coverage of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) report scoring the proposed Republican legislation intended to replace Obamacare. The headlines and stories focused on the “24 million” people who would “lose health insurance coverage by 2026.” But as The Weekly Standard pointed out, the CBO report doesn’t actually say that. What it does say is that “the total number of individuals insured under the Republican plan would eventually be 24 million fewer than the total insured under Obamacare” by that time.

Ironically, it was just a year ago that The Weekly Standard reported that the CBO had been off on another one of its projections on Obamacare by, you guessed it, 24 million people. That error was the average number of people who would have private insurance during any month in 2016, and it took just three years from the 2013 projection to show that the CBO overestimated it by 24 million. In addition, more than six years after the passage of Obamacare, there were still 29 million people who had no health insurance at all, even though the law required it. The price for not buying insurance is a fine, later re-defined as a tax, in order to have it ruled constitutional.

The point is that the so-called mainstream media will grab onto whatever they can to put Republicans and conservatives on the defensive, so they are forced to explain how they can be so cruel as to cause 24 million people to “lose their insurance.” They rarely offer anything close to the proper context to help people understand what the Republicans are trying to do. How many tens of millions of people have seen their premiums and deductibles skyrocket, or lost their ability to keep their doctors or their policies, or have been unable to find a full-time job because of the employer mandates imposed by Obamacare? Do those numbers matter? Apparently not.

The conservative media also have an agenda, but at least they are generally transparent about it. The leftist, mainstream media pretend to be neutral, biased only for a good story. But they rarely acknowledge that they deceitfully work to cover for the policies and scandals of the Democrats, while working to destroy conservatives and their policies, treating them as cruel and venal.

And in the heat of the 2016 campaign season, WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 revealed the Democrat Media Complex, where reporters would have cocktails with the Hillary Clinton campaign. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos previously worked for the Clintons and later gave donations to their foundation without properly disclosing his actions. This is par for the course with the complicit media. The idea that “independent” news organizations somehow lack conflicts of interest is absurd.

Farhi expresses concern that “The Daily Signal’s inclusion in the pool could set a precedent for other advocacy organizations…” He even goes so far as to suggest that the “slope could become even more slippery if extremist or racist organizations sought similar status.”

It seems preposterous to assume that allowing a foundation’s publication to communicate with other reporters will somehow result in rampant racism and extremism. This is the same type of inflammatory rhetoric used against President Donald Trump and his senior advisor Steve Bannon.

Yet, even Farhi tacitly admits that there is no real need for concern when he writes that “there were no objections to Lucas’s pool reports on [Vice President Mike] Pence” and that Lucas’ reporting merely crossed a “symbolic” line.

The Post isn’t the only paper spewing vitriol about conservative’s newfound influence over the White House press corps. The New Yorker’s Andrew Marantz claims that the press sees the rising influence of conservative reporters, or “far-right sites,” as an “existential threat.”

Marantz writes, “Outlets that have become newly visible under the Trump Administration include One America News Network, which was founded in 2013 as a right-wing alternative to Fox News; LifeZette, a Web tabloid founded in 2015 by Laura Ingraham, the radio commentator and Trump ally; Townhall, a conservative blog started by the Heritage Foundation; the Daily Caller, co-founded in 2010 by Tucker Carlson, now a Fox News host; and the enormously popular and openly pro-Trump Breitbart News Network.” He goes on to quote an anonymous “radio correspondent” as saying, “At best, they don’t know what they’re doing…At worst, you wonder whether someone is actually feeding them softball questions…You can’t just have a parade of people asking, ‘When and how do you plan to make America great again?’”

Under Obama, the press consistently used administration statistics and reports in its friendly, fawning reporting designed to further the Obama legacy. Now that President Trump has taken office, the press has reinvested in oppositional journalism, fact-checking minutiae and claiming that Trump has colluded with Russia. This is a blatant double standard.


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.

03/10/17

Obama’s Role in Undermining Trump’s Presidency

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

The media continue to publish and broadcast stories about how Donald Trump won the election with the help of the Russians, calling this “collusion,” though no such evidence has surfaced. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has stated that he had “no knowledge of evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.” Assertions of Russian influence have been latched onto by Democrats and a liberal media with the sole intention of delegitimizing the Trump administration.

After all, the media, and Democrats, clearly would prefer to return to the age of Obama. While hearings are planned for March 20 by the House Intelligence Committee to look into the issue of Russian influence in the presidential election, as well as President Trump’s claim that Obama ordered wiretaps and surveillance on parts of his campaign—charges that have repeatedly been called “baseless”—there are other tracks that I have suggested that investigators and journalists should probe.

If Congress is looking for something to investigate, it should perhaps start first with the shadow apparatus that Obama has erected for himself after leaving office. Our former president has set up shop just a couple of miles from the White House, and brought along his top adviser, Valerie Jarrett, who has reportedly moved into the Obama’s new home. Obama is continuing to influence Washington, D.C. and nationwide politics through the mobilization of tens of thousands of volunteers under the umbrella of Organizing for Action (OFA). Oddly, on Twitter, Obama continues to identify himself as president, rather than as a former president.

“Unbeknownst to most Americans, Barack Obama is the first ex-president in 228 years of U.S. history to structure and lead a political organization, a shadow government, for the explicit purpose of sabotaging his successor—duly elected President Donald Trump,” writes Scott S. Powell for American Thinker. Obama’s group, OFA, has been organizing with the Soros-linked Indivisible.

Powell writes that “The modus operandi of OFA comes right out of Obama’s support and sympathy for Marxism and his background as a left-wing community organizer. It’s a combination of agitation and propaganda—much like old-style Soviet agitprop, and Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.”

Indivisible’s tactics are designed to thwart the democratic process. One Louisiana chapter, Indivisible Acadiana, run by James Proctor, attempted to override the input of district residents at a local town hall organized by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). According to Breitbart, local radio station KPEL captured audio of Proctor saying, “Game plan number one is to fill as many seats as we can, right? If it’s all of us in there and the poor people of Breaux Bridge are sitting behind us, well then tough luck for them.”

“If we can arrange it so he doesn’t hear one sympathetic question—great. That only magnifies our impact,” he said. In other words, the protestors want to drown out local residents’ voices in favor of pushing a radical agenda.

“The [Indivisible] manual…advises protesters to go into halls quietly so as not to raise alarms, and ‘grab seats at the front of the room but do not all sit together,’” writes Paul Sperry for the New York Post. “Rather, spread out in pairs to make it seem like the whole room opposes the Republican host’s positions. ‘This will help reinforce the impression of broad consensus.’ It also urges them to ask ‘hostile’ questions—while keeping ‘a firm hold on the mic’—and loudly boo the GOP politician if he isn’t ‘giving you real answers.’”

OFA endorses similar tactics. According to Powell, “A week before the town halls started, OFA released its ‘Congressional Recess Toolkit;’ a training manual for activists and demonstrators, invoking them to go in groups and get to meeting halls early and ‘spread out…throughout the front half of the room, [which] will make the perception of broad consensus a reality for your member of congress.’”

“So perception drives fake news which is intended to drive reality,” writes Powell. This type of astroturf feeds the liberal media narrative that Trump has no mandate and is opposed by the public.

Although not as serious, these tactics are reminiscent of the “bird-dogging” tactics which Project Veritas connected to Democratic operative Robert Creamer. “Creamer was exposed by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas as the key figure in a complex scheme involving a tactic called ‘bird-dogging,’ which involved planting trained activists at Donald Trump’s campaign rallies and other Republican events,” reports Breitbart. “The activists were trained to provoke members of the audience into reacting violently, and to provide footage to the media.”

Creamer is a convicted felon, and husband of Democratic congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL). He visited the Obama White House 340 times, including 45 visits with Obama himself. By comparison, and an indication of priorities, Obama’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) director of two years, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret.), never met once with Obama.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has argued that some of the protesters are being paid to disrupt town halls. “Unfortunately, at this time there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety,” he said. Politifact ranked this assertion as “false,” but that misses the big picture. Similarly, Politico printed the story, “No evidence town hall protestors are being paid.”

The big picture is that these groups are organizing together, both paid and unpaid.

Politico’s and Politifact’s assertions may not be the whole story. According to a 20-minute documentary by Trevor Loudon, “America Under Siege: Civil War 2017,” Scott Foval, National Field Director for Americans United for Change, said, “I’m saying we have mentally ill people, that we pay to do s–t, make no mistake.”

Similarly, Foval said, “The campaign pays DNC, DNC pays Democracy Partners, Democracy Partners pays the Foval Group, the Foval Group goes and executes the s–t on the ground.”

It is unrealistic, then, to assume that all of the organized protestors are unpaid.

Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the Capital Research Center, has noted that “At least three of the group’s [Indivisible’s] five principals…have ties to organizations funded by George Soros.”

“He’s [Obama is] working behind the scenes to set up what will effectively be a shadow government to not only protect his threatened legacy, but to sabotage the incoming administration and its popular ‘America First’ agenda,” asserts Sperry of the New York Post.

As the media continue to obsess about the Russians, and what influence they may have exerted during the presidential campaign, few reporters are taking a hard look at Obama’s continued political influence over organized protests meant to undermine Trump. As Loudon explores in his documentary, the protests are being organized by members of the Workers World Party and Freedom Road Socialist Organization. If the press wants to investigate subversion, it should refocus its sights on these organizations, as well as Organizing for Action, not bogus claims about Russian influence.


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.

03/8/17

Investigate This: Russia, Obama, Trump and Hillary

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

Once again the dominant media narrative has shifted overnight. Last week the media exploded with stories about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ admitted contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., the latest attempt to somehow derail and delegitimize the Donald Trump presidency. It is part of the narrative concocted by the Democrats and their allies in the media to claim that Trump won the election thanks in part to help from Russia. Collusion has been the word of choice, though no evidence has surfaced to support it.

The narrative changed over the weekend when President Trump sent out a series of tweets asserting that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped him “during the very sacred election process,” and that it was “Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

It turns out that the Obama administration, according to reports, did go to the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court to gain permission to spy, or electronically eavesdrop, or wiretap some members or elements of Trump’s campaign. They apparently were turned down back in June, and approved in October, after taking Trump’s name out of the request.

Former federal prosecutor and journalist for National Review Andy McCarthy examined how disingenuous the denial coming from an Obama spokesman was. In essence, it comes down to, “It depends on what the definition of ‘surveillance’ is,” and who is a “White House official.”

The media called foul after Trump’s tweets, and the word of the day became “baseless,” as in baseless accusations by Trump. They said he had “no evidence” to support these very serious charges against his predecessor, Barack Obama.

But the allegations of Russian influence were largely orchestrated by the Obama administration, and were ramped up when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in November. That is when he decided to impose new sanctions and expel Russian diplomats, which never would have happened if Hillary had won.

Now, using his group Organizing for Action (OFA), Obama intends to continue influencing the political scene with a shadow government apparatus. OFA has been coordinating with groups such as the Soros-linked Indivisible. “Obama is intimately involved in OFA operations and even tweets from the group’s account,” writes Paul Sperry for the New York Post. “Run by old Obama aides and campaign workers, federal tax records show ‘nonpartisan’ OFA marshals 32,525 volunteers nationwide.” It has also raised over $40 million, according to Sperry.

The New York Times recently reported that Obama’s intelligence agencies kept documents related to the alleged Russian influence operation “at a relatively low classification level to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government—and, in some cases, among European allies.’”

In other words, President Obama wanted information potentially damaging to his successor kept at the forefront of the national discussion whenever possible. It could be even better for Obama if there were Congressional investigations; that might distract Trump from rolling back Obamacare or the unsigned Iran deal. The Times also reports that the administration “sent a cache of documents marked ‘secret’ to Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland days before the Jan. 20 inauguration.” These documents were shared with Congressional Republicans, as well.

It should come as no surprise that the Obama administration would be aggressive, since the Obama administration waged a war on leakers, prosecuting more cases than all previous administrations combined, while harassing numerous media figures.

But while Trump appears to have stumbled by not producing evidence to support his claim, in fact his move may result in changing the narrative once again. Now the investigation could include Obama’s and Hillary’s ties to the Russians. After all, the same Russian ambassador who met twice with then-Senator Sessions visited the Obama White House at least 22 times during Obama’s presidency, including four times in 2016. Were any of those meetings about presidential politics? Hillary’s ties to the Russians have been well documented, including the Uranium One deal and Skolkovo, the Silicon Valley of Russia that provided them with dual-use technology and handed millions of dollars to Hillary’s campaign manager, John Podesta.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) argued on Fox News Sunday this past weekend that based on statements from Trump’s Cabinet appointments, they will be much tougher on the Russians than the Obama administration, including Hillary. Cotton said:

“If you want to know what a pro-Russia policy would look like, Chris, here’s some elements of it. You’d slash defense spending. You’d slow down our nuclear modernization. You’d roll back missile defense systems. You would enter a one-sided nuclear arms control agreement. And you’d try to do everything you could to stop oil and gas production. That was Barack Obama’s policy for eight years. That’s not Donald Trump’s policy.”

He might have added that you empower Russia’s ally Iran with more than $100 billion dollars, and a pathway to becoming a nation with nuclear weapons, to go along with its current status as the number one state sponsor of terrorism.

We at Accuracy in Media find the allegations of Russian interference in the election to be flimsy at best.

And as Andy McCarthy points out in another piece, the new Obama/media narrative that his administration was never surveilling the Trump campaign for ties to Russia, cuts against what they have been arguing for months now:

“Now that we’re supposed to believe there was no real investigation of Trump and his campaign, what else can we conclude but that there was no real evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia…which makes sense, since Russia did not actually hack the election, so the purported objective of the collusion never existed.”

Monday night’s Nightline on ABC picked up on this theme, with reporter David Wright stating that “It’s important to note that there’s an equally outlandish narrative on the other side [besides Trump’s claim about Obama]. The other narrative, also in the mix, is that the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election. Again, allegedly. No proof of that either. No smoking gun of collusion.”

Brian Ross then added that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he had seen no evidence of collusion when he left the government in January. With the Republicans controlling every committee in Congress, as well as the executive branch, they should be able to shape the scope of the investigations. We hope they are just and honest, as well as tough and fearless.


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.