HomeArticleMainstream Journalists Who Refuse To Defend Dissident Journalists Are Worshippers Of Power

Mainstream Journalists Who Refuse To Defend Dissident Journalists Are Worshippers Of Power

Alternative media circles have been buzzing for the last two days ever since news broke about the arrest of Grayzone journalist Max Blumenthal, who was reportedly jailed for two days after a SWAT-style police team showed up threatening to break his door down last Friday.

Blumenthal is charged with simple assault alleged to have taken place five months ago during the notorious standoff when the US government was working to remove the official Venezuelan government from its DC embassy and replace it with diplomats from the Guaido-led puppet government it was attempting to force into power. Dissident journalists, including Blumenthal, stationed themselves in the embassy in opposition to the illegal eviction and to document the behavior of the evictors. Blumenthal calls the assault charge “a 100 percent false, fabricated, bogus, untrue, and malicious lie.”

I watched the news of the embassy standoff with much interest, largely because the obnoxious, oafish behavior of the anti-Maduro counter-protesters on the scene were a perfect reflection of the obnoxious, oafish behavior I’d experienced from anti-Maduro accounts online. I’ve argued with every major political faction in America at one point or another, and some of them can be downright vile,  but I’ve never run into such an intellectually dishonest, crude, nasty group of people in my three years on this job as those who’ve been cheering on the Trump administration’s regime change agenda in Venezuela. There’s not a doubt in my mind that someone from this unscrupulous, shady group would be capable of making false allegations against a dissident journalist who disagreed with them.

“According to an individual familiar with the case, the warrant for Blumenthal’s arrest was initially rejected,” Grayzone reports. “Strangely, this false charge was revived months later without the defendant’s knowledge.”

Strangely indeed.

Strange as it is, alternative media figures are the only people talking about an opposition journalist being arrested on highly suspicious grounds in a highly suspicious way. Mainstream media reporters have been completely ignoring this story.

“Arrest and caging of opposition US journalist Max Blumenthal reminds me (and others I know) of the worst of Russia,” tweeted journalist Mark Ames. “Except there, when oppo journalist Ivan Golunov was arrested, most big-name Russian journalists—including Putin-friendly—publicly supported Golunov. Here—silence.”

This silence is unsurprising at this point, because this same media class has for years been either mute or vocally favorable on the persecution of another dissident journalist, Julian Assange. Ambitious young journalists are made well aware that the very easiest way to demonstrate your loyalty to the media-owning plutocratic establishment is to participate in the relentless smear campaign against the WikiLeaks founder which has worked its way into virtually all political sectors of the western world, and the very easiest way to lose standing within the plutocratic media is to defend him.

There’s a popular quote that a German pastor wrote after the second World War that goes,
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak for me.”

It’s a good quote, and, understandably, people have been invoking it for the steadily escalating war on oppositional journalism we’ve been witnessing throughout the western empire. Cries of “First they came for Assange” and “First they came for the journalists” are common in circles which value the existence of a free press which is capable of holding power to account, the argument being that if you let them come for journalists like Assange and Blumenthal, it’s only a matter of time before they come for you, too.

Only one problem: it isn’t true.

It isn’t true that if you allow authority to come after dissident journalists they’ll necessarily end up coming after you. That’s only true if you intend at some point to publish something that those in power don’t want you to publish. If you’ve closed the door to the possibility of your ever doing that, then you know that there is no risk to you, so there’s no need to defend dissident journalists when their reporting sees them targeted for legal persecution by the powerful. Which is exactly what mainstream reporters who fail to defend Assange and Blumenthal are telling us about themselves: they’ve closed that door and chosen the side of power, come what may.

This is where the silence comes from. It isn’t that those who work in mainstream news media lack an understanding that at some point power structures may shift and you’ll want to report facts that are inconvenient for the powerful without fear of imprisonment; these people all watched Donald Trump get elected. They already know that things can take a very dark turn in the future for where power is located, and they’ve already decided they don’t care and will always side with the powerful going forward. If the election of Donald Trump wasn’t enough to show these people that it’s a good idea to make sure the press can continue to hold power to account in the future, then nothing will. They’re not ignorant, they’re subservient. They’ve made a lifelong commitment to continue to worship at the altar of power, no matter what form that power takes.

If we were to re-write the “First they came” poem to describe the current war on dissident journalism we’re seeing in 2019, it would go more like this:

First they came for Assange, and I did not speak out,
Because I was a mainstream western journalist with no intention of ever upsetting the powerful.

Then they came for Blumenthal, and I did not speak out,
Because I was a mainstream western journalist with no intention of ever upsetting the powerful.

Then they came for all the other dissident journalists, and I did not speak out,
Because I will never be a dissident journalist.

They never came for me,
Because I have chosen to serve power.

______________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemitthrowing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandisebuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Liked it? Take a second to support Caitlin Johnstone on Patreon!

Latest comments

  • The Media, propaganda and you — Julian Assange — TheWikiLeaksChannel

  • Julian Assange news:
    .
    Liveblog: Julian Assange Under Threat – Defend WikiLeaks
    https://defend.wikileaks.org/liveblog/

  • correct analysis **CJ**
    as long as WE obey
    ………..WE are OKAY

  • Will the Mossad be sending out a ” hit squad ” to get rid of Bernie Sanders? I am not a democrat so I can not vote in their New York primary election; if I could I would vote for Mr. Sanders because he has the ” stones ” to finally tell the United States of American people the truth actual about Israel!
    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/10/30/bernie-sanders-says-give-aid-gaza-and-calling-out-netanyahus-racist-government-isnt?cd-origin=rss&utm_term=AO&utm_campaign=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_content=email&utm_source=Daily%20Newsletter&utm_medium=email

  • Hi Caitlin. I think you will find the rougher elements in cyber space on both sides of most arguments. It’s just a matter of using the counterbalance to ensure the debate is relevantly covered. I have put your link on my blog too.

    • See this truth stuff?. Yeah exactly … let um have it on all barrels … and dont forget the small 30mm stuff too. Fact is the methology that has been developed, the technology doesnt matter. We can do all this on 1980’s if needed, or even a quill maybe with a little ink and stuff too….at a push. The shift has already occurred. We dont know yet how to turn the clock back.

  • If one really wants to see the decrepit state of western journalism, they should read the financial press. Anything like what an oldtimer would call ‘reporting’ is non-existent. The modern version of a journalist prints a) what the owner tells the division manager who tells the editor who tells the journalist what to print, b) what the shadowing voice on the phone tells the MJ(modern journalists) about “Blue Star Airlines” (see Oliver Stone if you don’t get the reference), and c) otherwise just publishing the press releases of the people whom the owner/manager/editor tells the MJ that they are ‘verified’ people who should be in the echo-chamber.
    …..p…..
    Thus, the source of information of anyone out of the know trying to figure out where to try to grow a very humble nestegg that a lifetime of wage slavery has yielded them is faced with “Financial” news that is a complete morass of lies and misinformation. There is nothing like investigative journalism that might reveal a fraud like “Enron” for people to avoid it. Instead there is a slew of favorable stories pumping Enron and making it look like the greatest company ever with incredible innovation making the money. The name anchor on the cable financial shows do softball interviews with the genius who started Enron treating him as if his eventual ascension to the realm of the Gods is all but assured. But, in reality, The Financial press only publishes what the Oligarchs who own the outlets and won’t tell you that it was really just fraud and moving money from account to account to make whatever account people are looking at right now look rich.
    ….p….
    Thus, the Finanical Press is a good window into the western version of “Media”. It mirrors what is in the “News”. Interestingly, this leads to the obvious conclusion that everyone who’s risen to the level where they have any real inside knowledge of what’s going on, in a big company as an example in the Fin. Press, knows for certain that the Media is lying. They know they lied in the stories the Financial Press ran on them, their competitors, regulation of their industry, or any other topic that someone decently high in a corporation would know as a part of being good at their job.
    …p…
    Anyone decently high in this corrupt western society knows for absolute certainty that the “News” is lying.

    • This so true. One of my sisters used to be a journo for the Dow Jones wire service, but after Rupert “Hnnnch… Ptui!” Murdoch took over everyone was basically told the line they had to follow, or get out.

      She now teaches 2nd and 3rd grades.

    • I think “see Oliver Stone” is a complete non-explanation of “Blue Star Airlines”. Everybody in the world doesn’t watch Oliver Stone movies, you know. So what does it mean?

  • I think you would understand the dynamics of it better if you were in the US, l’m 69- years-old today, and inretaliation to occasional remarks that I make here and elsewhere, someone tried to kill me last night, and it’s not the first time, that’s what we’re up against here, because it’s all about Mafia thugs holding every government position.

  • …Oh, so now C J gets on the anti-Russia bandwagon with a ridiculous quote from an idiot named Mark Ames…not a good move C J, definitely makes your commentaries a tad suspect going forward.

  • There is a force we have to speak out about. But social media etiquette in the matrix forces everyone to pretend that these psychopathic elites are innocent victims. And so while your hatred of me for pointing this out is entirely understandable, its not pardonable. Unless your’re just another coward who dares not speak truth to power, of course?

  • There is a force we have to speak out about. But social media etiquette in the matrix of power forces everyone to pretend that these psychopathic elites are innocent victims. And so while your hatred of me for pointing this out is entirely understandable, its not pardonable. Unless your’re just another coward who dares not speak truth to power, of course?

  • They never came for them, nor ever come, because they are NOT EVEN journalists at all! These are the Talking Heads — the hand-puppets of the hidden-hand bamboozling the public with yet another Punch & Judy Show.

  • However, after all the smear campaigns against Assange, when his new superseding indictment of May 23 effectively converted investigative journalism and publishing, along with whistleblowing, into espionage — punishable with life in supermax prison — then they realized this evidence:
    .
    “Julian Assange’s indictment aims at the heart of the First Amendment.”
    — The New York Times Editorial Board, May 23, 2019
    .
    https://twitter.com/SomersetBean/status/1186303966629580808

  • Caitlin, do you mean upsetting or usetting in your poem?

  • Thanks again for the truth Caitlin. I’m glad to see you post about Max Blumenthal’s arrest. And yes, I want to invoke Pastor Niemoller’s poignant work, however I think everyone knows it off by heart now.
    The mainstream presstitutes will not defend anything except the 0.01%, the Empire’s imperialist rampages, the Neoliberal economic order, and their own salaries.
    They are the craven courtiers fully embedded with the Establishment.
    I note too, the revolting silence from almost all the ‘socialist groups’ in Australia. A couple of them made mealy mouthed statements after Julian Assange was hauled out of the Ecuadorian Embassy, but that was pure cynicism, as they’ve all gone back to complete silence about JA.
    None of them even said one word about Julian’s Stalinesque show trial last week – Not a word, except for one group: Socialist Equality Party, the only ones to have the basic morals in consistently supporting Julian Assange. And no, I’m not a member.
    The SEP were also one of the few independent sites to report Max Blumenthal’s outrageous arrest. The Masters Of the Universe, the Elites, want groupthink and conformity on a mass worldwide scale. These attacks on our free speech will keep happening.

    • Thank you for acknowledging that the SEP is the only group supporting Julian Assange unequivocally and that we have been doing so all along. The SEP has a very active branch in Australia and its thanks to them and the IYSSE there for setting up rallies and speakers in support of Julian all over the country. I am a supporter in the United States and have been since the WSWS first went online in 1998

      • Hi Carolyn, yes, I’ve been to a few rallies organised by the SEP here in Australia for Julian and have been a regular reader of the WSWS site for a while, tho I don’t consider myself a Trotskyist.
        I do appreciate your anti imperialist stance, your unflinching support of JA, and your refusal to look the other way, as so many do.
        What irks the crap out of me is the shameful deafening silence of those groups in Australia regarding the desperate plight of Julian Assange such as Socialist Alternative, Socialist Alliance and Socialist Party Of Australia among others.
        I note that Socialist Alternative was pretty close with the now defunct ISO in the United States and seem quite friendly with the Jacobin crowd. Bhaskar Sunkara spoke at their Marxism 2019 conference here in Melbourne along with someone from the DSA.
        No need for an explanation. I agree with the SEP’s analysis of these ‘groups’. I don’t regard this as ‘Off Topic’ as it ties in with the theme of Caitlin’s article regarding the cowardly silence of the mainstream media. Thanks for your reply.

  • You might include whistle-blowers in your revised version.

    For the record, this year none of my emails about Julian Assange to MPs have received a response of any kind. That includes four to Albo in and one to Morrison over a period of five weeks (Sept-Oct 2019).

    • It begins to change:
      .
      “AUSTRALIAN MPS BACK ASSANGE
      .
      “Meanwhile in Assange’s native Australia, members of Parliament have demanded that Assange be returned to his country.
      .
      “MP Andrew Wilkie told the House of Representatives last week that Assange is ‘an Australian citizen and must be treated like any other Australian. He was not in the U.S. when he provided evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq. He can’t possibly have broken their laws.’ . . .
      .
      “Wilkie, an Australian former intelligence officer who resigned because of the falsehoods about WMD in Iraq before the 2003 invasion, is reportedly working to set up a parliamentary committee that crosses party lines to demand that the Liberal government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison opposes Assange’s extradition.
      .
      “The Australian TV program ‘The Project’ reported on Sunday that up to 10 politicians were ready to join the committee.
      .
      “‘It’s important that parliamentarians learn the facts of this matter,’ Wilkie told the program. ‘There’s so much naiveté and ignorance and disinformation swirling around that it’s no wonder that a lot of people are wary or even dislike Julian, but I reckon that when people find out the facts of the matter they will get behind him.’ . . .
      .
      “Wilkie joined right-wing MP Barnaby Joyce who the previous week came out in Assange’s defense. . . .
      .
      “Wilkie told ‘The Project,’ ‘When someone like Barnaby Joyce thinks there’s an issue here then people should pay attention.’”
      .
      Judge Denies Assange Extension on Extradition Hearing — Joe Lauria — Consortium News — October 21, 2019
      https://consortiumnews.com/2019/10/21/judge-denies-assange-extension-on-extradition-hearing/

    • Whistle-blowers? I thought those all came from the CIA! 😀

  • 1 Million Tweets Critical of India deleted by Twitter

    https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Kashmir-1-Million-Tweets-Critical-of-India-Removed-by-Twitter-20191030-0013.html

    “By the end of the month, Indian police arrested Aasif Sultan, the journalist who wrote the piece, and Twitter withheld the magazine’s account in India, blocking local access to more than 5,000 tweets.”

    It’s not just English-speaking dissident journalists who aren’t being defended…

  • Gmail has already auto-flagged several “new post” emails from this site as “spam,” and some people have had trouble sharing CJ’s posts on Facebook, so it’s only a matter of time before they shut down her Medium account for “violations.”

    • I have not had any trouble posting Caitlin’s articles on Facebook. I do it all the time, along with articles from the World Socialist Web Site and RT. The only site that has banned my posts is TruthDig, since they are complete bourgeois tools these days.

  • If too many ” truth tellers ” show up on the ” Internet ” our owners and masters will shut it down as is done in many other ” dictatorships “.

  • Major media outlets have proven themselves corrupt propaganda outlets. It was sadly laughable when progressive free speech advocates pointed out that these “journalists” will suffer censorship themselves if they don’t defend Assange. They missed what Caitlin is pointing out here. The major media outlets do not do journalism and do not employ journalists. What they are doing is protecting their propagandists from real journalists. So of course they are all on board with making an example of Assange and destroying Wikileaks.
    There is nothing surprising about the facts on the ground that we have observed for years.

  • The reason why Julian Assange, ever since 12 June 2012, has been under various forms of imprisonment – and now torture – without there having been any conviction for anything, and not even any trial being held in his case, is that the United States and its allied regimes need to keep their secrets, and therefore need to eliminate him.

    To publishers, and to journalists, throughout the United States-and-allied world, his case is the ultimate warning of what each one of them could face.

    This is how the real law actually operates, throughout the empire.

    Mr. Assange is simply the personification of it, for everyone.
    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/10/30/how-us-regime-justifies-theft-syrias-oil/

  • It’s true what you say but ‘so what’ talk is cheap. Point is what can be done to change this plutocracy when they control all levers of power Govts, MSM, money supply, education, pharma, food, energy etc

    As we’ve seen from history only violent upheaval like revolution can change this for a while. Then the old tentacles conspire to rig the system again but with a facelift

    I’m in 2 minds about you. I really value your way of expressing the shit that’s going down but I also sense that the best thing about what you write is the fact that you write it

    Do you ever read other people’s responses to what you post or do you just keep churning it out

  • The 0.1% ruling demonic warlords have openly repeated their goal to exterminate 90% of the world population. To do that, they need the 10% loyal lieutenants. If the rulers will kill 90%, why not kill 91%.
    Do you feel lucky, punk ?

    • More importantly, how many of Them are you going to take down with you when they come for you? And, is that a loss they themselves will be willing to die for?

  • Sorry meant to ask is Facebook deliberately blocking you?

  • This is the second time Facebook has said something went wrong when I tried to share your post. I Facebook blocking you?

  • Well said. And Yup.

  • Nailed it as usual. Thanks for your service

leave a comment