Former Times Reporter Rips the Broadsheet
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
The self-styled newspaper of record deplorably operates as an unofficial propaganda ministry, suppressing vital truths, failing to report what’s most important to print – revealing itself as an unreliable source of news, information and analysis.
James Risen is a Pulitzer Prize winning former Times reporter, now a journalist for The Intercept. He writes about government and national security issues.
On January 3, he recounted his experiences as a NYT reporter “in the shadow of the war on terror,” saying:
His years of reporting left him “skeptical of the government.” Post-9/11, the Bush administration “began asking the press to kill stories more frequently,” he said, “invoking national security to quash” politically embarrassing material.
Bush/Cheney got the Times to kill a story he wrote on a secret CIA torture-prison in Thailand.
Risen: “I disagreed with the paper’s decision because I believed that the White House was just trying to cover up the fact that the CIA had begun to set up secret prisons. I finally reported the information a year later.”
He clashed with Times editors over coverage of Bush/Cheney’s phony WMD claims on Iraq – ahead of their 2003 aggression.
Information he wrote about fabricated links between Iraqi officials and al-Qaeda were “cut, buried, or held out of the” Times, he said.
Then-executive editor Howell Raines was pro-war. Risen heard about White House officials telling “CIA analysts to cook the books and deliver intelligence reports that followed the party line on Iraq.”
A story he wrote on the topic initially was unpublished, later appearing “badly cut and buried deep inside the paper.”
The same thing happened to another factual story he wrote. He “started to get the message…(T)he Times didn’t want these stories.”
At the same time, they featured daily front page fake news reports on (nonexistent) Iraqi WMDs.
Ahead of Bush/Cheney’s Iraq war, a virtual Noah’s Ark of scam artists promoted it, featured in the Times and other scoundrel media reports.
Discredited Times columnist Judith Miller was a weapon of mass deception, promoting war on Iraq, writing daily propaganda pieces, virtual Pentagon press releases, top-featured on the Times’ front page.
Risen: “What angered me most was that while they were burying my skeptical stories, the editors were not only giving banner headlines to stories asserting that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, they were also demanding that I help match stories from other publications about Iraq’s purported WMD programs.”
“I grew so sick of this that when the Washington Post reported that Iraq had turned over nerve gas to terrorists, I refused to try to match the story.”
“One mid-level editor in the Washington bureau yelled at me for my refusal. He came to my desk carrying a golf club while berating me after I told him that the story was bullshit and I wasn’t going to make any calls on it.”
His story on NSA mass surveillance again set him on a “collision course” course with Times editors “willing to cooperate with the government.”
His initially suppressed report later won him a Pulitzer Prize, published a year after writing it.
Bad as things were under Bush/Cheney, they got worse under Obama.
Risen: “My case was part of a broader crackdown on reporters and whistleblowers that had begun during the presidency of George W. Bush and continued far more aggressively under the Obama administration, which had already prosecuted more leak cases than all previous administrations combined.”
“Obama officials seemed determined to use criminal leak investigations to limit reporting on national security.”
“But the crackdown on leaks only applied to low-level dissenters; top officials caught up in leak investigations, like former CIA Director David Petraeus, were still treated with kid gloves.”
Based largely on government-sanctioned leaks, Risen explained phony and “exaggerated” reports on terrorism appeared on Times pages.
Fabricated “hyped threats” continue fear-mongering for the imperial state, endless wars waged against nations threatening no one.
The Times remains Washington’s leading imperial lawlessness supporter, vilifying nations it targets for regime change, cheerleading its wars of aggression – betraying its readers in the process.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”