‘Western’ Conflict Reporting Has Come Down To “Officials On Our Side Said …”

Sunday, 7 August 2022 — Moon of Alabama

Larry Johnson is rightfully appalled by a New York Times piece that quotes a lot from ‘officials’ but fails to check any of their obviously false claims:

I never cease to be amazed by the utter failure of journalists to assemble facts. I think it boils down to laziness. Why should you do any independent research or thinking that requires you to go to the front lines when you can gobble up and regurgitate pre-packaged talking points? You get paid the same and hell, you might even get a Pulitzer if you are the most enthusiastic purveyor of regime bullshit.

A recent piece in the New York Times, Russia’s Shortfalls Create an Opportunity for Ukraine, Western Officials Say, illustrates this phenomena. Here are the salient points from the article by Julian Barnes and Eric Schmitt: …

The NYT piece is also available here.

I am not going to join Larry in dispelling the myths those ‘journalists’ try to spread. These people do not go out into the field to look at the facts. They do not consult frontline maps, casualty statistics, structure of forces or economic data. They have no experience in the art of war. They are mere stenographers, highly paid ones, who hang on the lips of ‘officials’ and write down whatever the ‘sources’ who invite them want them to tell.

Hard to believe that? Well, here is the sourcing mentioned in the NYT piece Larry Johnson is raging about:

…, U.S. and European officials said.
U.S. and European officials say …
Russia has announced, and the West has predicted, …
Russian commanders said …
NATO and other officials say …
These officials concede …
… said senior U.S. military officials and American lawmakers
… these officials said.
… said Representative Elissa Slotkin
… a senior Defense Department official said recently.
European officials said, …
… according to U.S. and allied intelligence officials
… Western intelligence officials said
American intelligence reports have said …
… according to officials briefed on the assessments.
American officials said …
Western intelligence officials say …
… one Western intelligence official compared to …
… the Western officials said.
By some intelligence estimates …
… American officials said.
… according to Western intelligence officials.
… Ukrainian officials said, …
Senior U.S. military officers said …
Brig. Christopher King, the top British officer at a military cell in Stuttgart, Germany, … said …
And a senior Ukrainian military official said …
… the official added …
American and Western intelligence assessments …
American and British officials said …
Representative Michael Waltz, Republican of Florida, … said …
President Volodymyr Zelensky told the members of Congress …
… Mr. Waltz said.

This is not even ‘he said she said’ journalism. This is pure stenography of claims one side of a conflict makes without any attempt to check the dubious veracity of those claims.

The New York Times is not alone in producing such bullshit. A recent Washington Post piece, Russia’s vow to annex occupied Ukraine sparks divisions, pleas for aid, is following the very same scheme:

Russia’s vow to annex pockets of occupied Ukraine has presented the United States and its partners with a predicament, as trepidation grows in Washington and Kyiv over whether the West is positioned to avert a pivotal shift in the war as soon as next month.

What ‘pivotal shift’ are they talking about? Russia has been winning this war from day one on. That is not going to change.

Four authors, Karoun Demirjian, Karen DeYoung, Loveday Morris and Michael Birnbaum, were needed to assemble the nonsense. Here are the sources they mention:

… critics of the Biden administration’s response say …
Russia’s vow to …
Russian leaders have signaled …
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and senior White House officials have warned …
… critics of the Biden administration’s response thus far … contend …
… the West say …
… said Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), …
The congressman noted that …
… Waltz said, …
The Russian embassy in Washington did not respond …
The country’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has said …
The government in Kyiv has …
Zelensky warning that …
Biden administration officials insist …
Western assessments of the conflict routinely cite … while amplifying …
In more than a dozen interviews and briefings, officials from the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community defended …
These officials downplayed …
… said Pentagon spokesman Todd Breasseale.
… some senior U.S. officials have said …
Zelensky’s advisers have been adamant that …
… Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukrainian defense minister Oleksii Reznikov, said in an interview.
… the U.S. intelligence community changed … officials say.
… according to officials familiar with the information sharing. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity …
… while Western allies say …
… said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), …
The European Commission on Monday said …
Some have pointed to …
… according to Rafael Loss, a Berlin-based analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Critics note …
… the European Union last week agreed …
… said Sam Charap, a Russia specialist and political scientist at the RAND Corporation.
… he said.
Latvia’s foreign minister, Edgars Rinkevics, acknowledged …
But he dismissed …
… Rinkevics said in an interview.
Putin caused a stir by announcing that …
Western officials say …
Sak, the aide to Ukraine’s defense minister, praised …
… he said, …
… Sak said.

At the bottom of the piece the Post lets its readers know where its ‘reporters’ of that piece, about Ukraine(!), are stenographing from:

Birnbaum reported from Athens. Morris reported from Berlin. Shane Harris in Washington and Florian Neuhof in Berlin contributed to this report.

What is terrifying about such pieces is that ‘officials’ in Washington and Europe are actually reading such stuff and come to believe in it. They are consuming the myths they themselves produced and then act on them. They thereby ignore history, basic facts and the very real life of the people who become casualties of their wars.

Listen to Roger Waters as he confronts another dimwit ‘journalist’ (vid) with reality.

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