Sharyl Attkisson Pulls Back the Curtain
Sharyl Attkisson’s The Smear gives insight to how news is made today. It goes a long way in convincing readers that they should believe only a small portion of what is released by the government and reported by the press. This leads to a very cynical view of the news and confirms Otto von Bismarck’s claim that "Nothing is proven until it is officially denied." Attkinsson gives an account of how massive the smear industry is. My only criticism of the book is her contention that, “the organized political smear entered the contemporary marketplace circe 1987.” Some of these smear techniques can probably be found in a study of politics in the ancient Sumerian city of Ur. The “scientific" smear might be traced back to George Creel’s World War I Committee on Public Information or Edward Bernays 1920s book Propaganda. She also appears to attribute the advice “Admit nothing” to the CIA. This is a classic Communist technique. Dozens of Communist spies had denied their connection to the Communist party and have been believed by the gullible for decades. She mentions the “infamous senator Joseph McCarthy.” who was the victim of an extremely effective smear campaign. She might benefit from reading M. Stanton Evans’ Blacklisted by History. Few people could survive the scrutiny and smear campaign Senator McCarthy was subjected to.
Her account of Larry Flynt’s reward for information on Congressional extramarital affairs was revealing. Just how many congressmen have nothing to hide and cannot be blackmailed? The government undoubtedly has an incredible amount of information on every American. We know the FBI spied on Martin Luther King. With the power of modern computers virtually everything can be recorded and stored in a database that is on a 1.5 million square foot facility in Utah. Data collection is only one area that government officials have lied to Congress and the public about. James Clapper, James Comey, and John Brennan have all perjured themselves in Congressional testimony.
It is truly amazing that Donald Trump was elected president in the face of opposition from the media, academia, government bureaucracy, the Democratic Party and a large portion of the Republican Party. Attkinsson reveals the role of “non-profit” organizations in the smear industry. She specifically mentions David Brock’s compensation, which numbers in the millions.
Donald Trump’s victory has increased the need of the left to limit the amount of information available to the public. The effort to eliminate “fake news” is a project led by people like Barack Obama, David Brock, Mark Zuckerberg, Angela Merkel and countless other members if the establishment. Attkisson points out the problem with restricting news: “it relies on some of the very organizations that have gotten caught in compromising situations.” Some of the people responsible for determining what is “fake news” might have a problem. Anita Kahane, a former Stasi agent and social activist, may have a problem with being objective. As Attkisson says, “those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it.”
The internet has made it extremely difficult to spread fake news. Dan Rather learned this when he attempted to pass off a memo that he claimed was created in the 1970s. It was immediately recognized as a fake because it was created with a computer font that did not exist at the time. The “dossier” claiming to show Trump connection with the Russians is similarly an obvious fake. It is amazing that people in the intelligence community can get away with claiming that it might be accurate. The first page of the dossier is classified “Sensitive Source -- Confidential.” You do not have to be an intelligence expert to know that sensitive sources are never classified confidential. A school teacher might try an experiment with a class of 6th graders. After a brief lesson on classification have them produce a document containing a “sensitive source.” It is unlikely that any of these children would label the document “Confidential.”
John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy (Algora Publishing). He has a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from St. Mary’s University. He is retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.