In Which Seymour Hersh Comes Off as a Paranoid Nut

Really whacked out
Media • Views: 23,493

Wow. It’s almost impossible to describe this interview with Seymour Hersh by Slate’s Isaac Chotiner; it’s really really out there. Just go read it: Seymour Hersh Interview: On His Bin Laden Story, the New Yorker, Journalism, and His Own Bad Mood.

When I posted my criticisms of his piece on Osama bin Laden a couple of days ago, I didn’t expect to see validation of my points quite this soon.

White House on Seymour Hersh’s Bin Laden Article: “Patently False”

“Inaccuracies and baseless assertions”
Media • Views: 18,005

Lots of buzz today about the latest Seymour Hersh conspiracy piece, published by the London Review of Books, claiming that the official story about the death of Osama bin Laden was a Big Lie; but the White House is heatedly rejecting Hersh’s claims.

In a piece published in the London Review of Books on May 10, Hersh disputes the official account of the operation and intelligence that led to bin Laden’s death. Relying heavily on an individual identified as an “retired senior intelligence official ” Hersh reports that bin Laden had been held prisoner by Pakistani intelligence since 2006, and that Pakistani intelligence cooperated with the Central Intelligence Agency and US Navy SEALs in the raid to kill bin Laden.

In a statement tweeted by CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, White House national security spokesman Ned Price said that Hersh’s report contained “too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions” to fact check.

“The notion that the operation that killed Osama bin Laden was anything but a unilateral US mission is patently false,” Price said.

“As we said at the time, knowledge of this operation was confined to a very small circle of US officials. The president decided early on not to inform any other government, including the Pakistani government, which was not notified until after the raid had occurred,” Price said.

“This was a US operation through and through,” Price said.

Seymour Hersh is justly famous for his exposure of the My Lai massacre in 1969, but since then he’s done much to diminish his reputation, often veering into outright conspiracy theories. This piece is emblematic of that decline; riddled with inconsistencies and largely based on statements from a single anonymous source.

Also see

LIVE VIDEO: White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Media • Views: 24,720


Yes, it’s time for the annual Media Nerds’ Dinner, otherwise known as the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, at which journalists get all dressed up and try to laugh when comedians poke fun at them. Is it media, or entertainment? Who cares! What’s the difference any more, anyway?

Paranoid Right Wing “Journalist” Sharyl Attkisson to Host “Investigative Journalism” Show for Sinclair

The inmates are taking over the asylum
Media • Views: 18,774

The woman who invented a brain-dead paranoid fantasy about the NSA deleting her articles as she typed them gets rewarded by the Sinclair network with a show on “investigative journalism.” Focusing on “accountability,” which she herself has somehow completely avoided.

Our media just gets more pathetic every day.

The show, Sinclair announced, will mix both investigative and political journalism. It will also focus on “accountability.” In 2013, Attkisson alleged that both her personal and professional computers had been hacked by the U.S. government for more than two years during her time reporting on the Benghazi attack.

Note that Attkisson deleted her video from YouTube that purported to show the “hacking” as it happened.


New York Times Pays Right Wing Activist for Access to Anti-Clinton Research

Anyone remember when journalism had ethics?
Media • Views: 26,780

In today’s story of grossly unethical journalistic practices, the New York Times announced yesterday that they made a deal with a disreputable Republican activist with a long history of errors and distortions to grant them access to his anti-Clinton research.

Speaking to anonymous sources, Politico’s Dylan Byers reported on Monday that the Washington Post had not entered into its own agreement with the author.

Byers also reported that the Times’ move to cut a deal with Schweizer “raised a few eyebrows in that paper’s newsroom.”

I’ll bet it did.

Fox News made a similar deal with Peter Schweizer, but it’s expected of them. It’s appalling to see one of the world’s foremost media organizations grubbing in the dirt right along with Fox. This isn’t about publishing negative stories about Hillary Clinton; that’s expected. It’s about a serious ethical problem.

Media Matters put together an article on Clinton Cash Author Peter Schweizer’s Long History of Errors, Retractions, and Questionable Sourcing. Check it out to see how grotesque this deal by the New York Times really is.

Bloomberg News Falls for Fake Story About Nancy Reagan Endorsing Hillary Clinton

This isn’t “satire,” it’s deception
Media • Views: 22,787

So today, this happened: Bloomberg News fell for a fake news story originally posted at one of those awful sites that plays on confirmation bias to circulate seemingly genuine stories and generate clicks for them: RETRACTED: Nancy Reagan Gives Her Endorsement to … Hillary Clinton? - Bloomberg Politics.

There’s now a notice at the top of the article:

This story has been retracted. We fell for a hoax. Apologies.

Here’s a screenshot of the original, before the retraction:

Everyone needs to stop falling for the click-bait hoaxes posted at sites like NationalReport [dot] net. What they’re doing isn’t “satire,” it’s deception for profit. And note that Bloomberg writer Emily Greenhouse says she originally found the fake story at right wing sewer Drudge Report. Lovely.

Hopefully, this will be a learning experience for all involved.

(h/t: @Gus_802)

UPDATE at 4/10/15 3:15:43 pm by Charles Johnson

But wait — the fail gets even more absurd, because Greenhouse apparently found the story at a fake Drudge Report ( So it was a double fake. Fakes all the way down!

UPDATE at 4/10/15 3:41:23 pm by Charles Johnson

I don’t mean to be overly harsh on Ms Greenhouse, by the way; these fake news sites cleverly disguise their hoaxes by making them seem just credible enough to be genuine. Greenhouse isn’t the first to be tricked by this money-making ploy and she probably won’t be the last.

Columbia Journalism School Review Finds “Major Failures” in Rolling Stone’s UVA Rape Story

All she had to do was call
Media • Views: 24,607

As we noted last December, Rolling Stone asked the Columbia Journalism School to do a complete independent review of their disastrous story about rape at the University of Virginia; tonight that report has been released, and it’s pretty damning: Major ‘Failures’ Found in Rolling Stone’s ‘A Rape on Campus.’

An institutional failure at Rolling Stone resulted in a deeply flawed article about a purported gang rape at the University of Virginia, according to an outside review by Columbia Journalism School professors.

The review, published Sunday night, says the failures were sweeping — they “encompassed reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking — and “may have spread the idea that many women invent rape allegations.”

And it all could have been avoided if the writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, had contacted more sources.

In short: all she had to do was call.

“The editors invested Rolling Stone’s reputation in a single source,” Columbia’s 12,866-word report concludes.

The author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, has released an abject apology for the piece; obviously, she’s painfully aware that she may have given ammunition to the right wingers and men’s rights activists who reflexively claim all rape stories are made up:

Rolling Stone has published the full report here: Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia School of Journalism Report.

Does MSNBC Know It’s Giving a Platform to an Anti-Gay Hate Group?

CARLOS MAZA — Media Matters for America
Media • Views: 21,408

Media Matters

MSNBC hosted a spokeswoman from a notorious anti-gay hate group twice in one day to discuss controversial “religious freedom” legislation, failing to identify her as an extremist who has opposed the decriminalization of gay sex.

On April 1, American Family Association (AFA) spokeswoman Sandy Rios appeared twice on MSNBC during segments discussing a number of controversial “religious freedom” laws being debated in state legislatures. The AFA has been labeled an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its history of anti-gay extremism, including blaming gay men for the Holocaust and supporting the criminalization of homosexuality.

Rios herself is an anti-gay extremist who has denies that homophobia motivated Matthew Shepard’s murder, opposed a Supreme Court decision decriminalizing gay sex, believes people can choose to “stop being gay,” and has stated that being gay is “broken hearts, it’s disease.”

More: Does MSNBC Know It’s Giving a Platform to an Anti-Gay Hate Group?


Right Wingers Are Shrieking About New Daily Show Host Trevor Noah Because of Course

It’s all part of the grand leftist agenda to control all media everywhere, see?
Media • Views: 23,187

It’s getting harder and harder to check in on right-wing “news” sites, just to see what the topics of conversation are. I’ve long felt that one of the biggest threats to our democracy is that educated people insulate themselves in an echo chamber where they only hear thoughts and opinions that they already agree with. So I try to walk the talk, and at least listen to what conservatives have to say about current events.

I refer to it as my “ritualistic mortification of the flesh,” as it often involves bonking my head against the desk at the sheer stupid projection, martyr complex, narrow-minded bigotry, unquestioning acceptance of anger as a guiding theology, etc.

So when I saw that there was a reaction to the choice of Trevor Noah as host of the Daily Show, I wondered if there was something that was perhaps snarky, funny, maybe a bit transgressive in mocking the foibles of a show that mocks foibles.

“Sacred control of the culture.” Awww. Did those big meanies at the TV networks turn down your obviously brilliant script ideas once upon a time, Ricky?

I ain’t gonna give Rick any more linklove than necessary. It was bad enough to link to Twitch, above. But if you must, check it out. He purports to construct a takedown of the Daily Show and all us liberal zombies marching in lockstep. Which, if it was actually intellectually honest, might be interesting. But does this accomplish anything?

Nope. Same old standard tropes of “liberals hate America and conspire to control all because they are evil and stupid and at the same time brilliant and conniving.”

Also: who or what is the opportunistic leech-god? Does this exist anywhere other than in the peyote nightmares of someone who reads bad religious sci-fi like the “Left Behind” series?

New York Times Dumps “Race Realist” Writer With History of Writing for White Nationalist Sites

“Race realism”
Media • Views: 26,473

On Wednesday, Gawker’s J.K. Trotter exposed the history of Razib Khan, newly hired by the New York Times as a science writer: New Times Op-Ed Writer Has a Colorful Past With Racist Publications.

It seems Mr. Khan has a habit of writing “race realism” articles for white nationalist websites such as Takimag and VDARE.

(“Race realism” is the phrase dirtbag racists use to describe themselves these days, in a feeble, transparent attempt to give a scientific veneer to their bigotry. It relies on discredited pseudo-science to argue that African Americans are less intelligent than Caucasians for genetic reasons.)

Well, it’s good to know that people who write for Takimag and VDARE are still persona non grata at the New York Times, although we might ask why the Times didn’t vet Mr. Khan in the first place: New York Times Signs Contract Writer Razib Khan, Then Dumps Him.

In a statement released by spokeswoman Eileen Murphy this morning, the New York Times has signaled that it is severing its recently inked relationship with Razib Khan:

After reviewing the full body of Razib Khan’s work, we are no longer comfortable using him as a regular, periodic contributor. We remain open to consideration of submissions from him to our op-Ed pages, both in print and online.

And of course, look who’s sticking up for Razib Khan and his white nationalist connections:


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