Category Archives: Media Freedom

Clooney Speech on Media Freedom

In the public interest.

Secrecy is repugnant. Critical thinking is to look deeply into what is being said and critique it for truth.

This quote is key:

The current media crisis involves both the silencing of truth and the amplification of misinformation to levels we have never seen before. I believe that the way the world responds to this crisis will define our generation and determine whether democracy can survive.

Introducing the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on media freedom: Amal Clooney’s speech

Speaking on the second day of the Global Conference for Media Freedom, Special Envoy Amal Clooney explained the role of the new independent Legal Experts panel.



Amal Clooney

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to be among so many distinguished guests today.

When I addressed the conference yesterday I noted that global media freedom has been in decline for over a decade, and we see evidence of this daily. In the last month alone, Myanmar’s authorities blacked out the internet in Rakhine state, where the army has committed horrific abuses of Rohingyas; Sudan’s military rulers shut down the internet to silence reporting of crimes against protesters.

A journalist in Russia had drugs planted on him as revenge for his investigations. Chinese censors deleted reporting of the turmoil in Hong Kong, and Turkish prosecutors launched a criminal probe against Bloomberg reporters who Bloomberg said were reporting ‘fairly and accurately on newsworthy events’. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, a country of 200 million people, the authorities continued to literally mute TV news content they considered unfavourable and even took the video feed of the main TV news program off the air.

I spoke yesterday of one of my clients, Maria Ressa, a brave journalist and former CNN bureau chief from the Philippines who dared to criticize the actions of her President and as a result has been the victim of every kind of government-sponsored harassment and persecution. She is attacked by online trolls who insult and threaten her in the vilest terms. The authorities tried to revoke the operating license of her news site, Rappler, and applied laws retroactively to criminalise her work. And the justice department has now launched a succession of cases against her that threaten to bankrupt her and send her to prison for up to 63 years.

The current media crisis involves both the silencing of truth and the amplification of misinformation to levels we have never seen before. I believe that the way the world responds to this crisis will define our generation and determine whether democracy can survive.

So when the Foreign Secretary asked me to be the UK’s Special Envoy on Media Freedom, and to serve on a dedicated Panel of Legal Experts, I agreed.

In discussions with the Foreign Secretary, he made it clear that he wanted to establish a powerful new initiative that could create meaningful and lasting change, an initiative that should continue to operate regardless of which individual or political party was in power. He explained that the initiative would include the establishment of an independent and international panel of lawyers to advise governments on how they could better protect freedom of the press, and a Media Freedom Fund to help journalists access legal advice and training in the field.

I understood that the campaign was an opportunity for the UK and Canada to lead by example by supporting new initiatives to ensure that more robust international mechanisms would exist next time a journalist was arbitrarily arrested or attacked.

In these discussions with the UK and Canadian governments I set out my vision for the legal panel based on the issues that I think are priorities for reform:

  • the institution and consistent use of sanctions regimes to impose serious financial consequences on state officials who abuse media freedom
  • enhanced consular duties when a journalist is detained abroad
  • a system of visas for persecuted journalists seeking asylum
  • an international investigative team – including lawyers and forensics experts – that could be deployed when a journalist is attacked; and
  • the promulgation of model legislation to guide states on the free-speech guarantees that must be respected under international law

The legal panel will consider these issues and publish reports about what it believes can be done to better protect journalists and media freedom around the world. I am proud to say that the Chairman of the panel is one of the most distinguished judges in the world: Lord Neuberger, the former President of this country’s Supreme Court; and he has asked me to serve as his Deputy Chair.

Together we have sought to identify the leading international experts on media freedom from a diverse group of legal backgrounds: judges, defence lawyers, academics, constitutional law experts, media specialists, and leading human rights practitioners. The panel includes:

  • a former Vice-President of the European Court of Human Rights
  • a United States federal appeals court judge
  • a former Constitutional Court judge from Colombia
  • the former Attorney-General of Canada
  • leading barristers from the UK
  • academics from the US and Korea; and
  • lawyers who are at the forefront of advocacy to promote media freedom around the world including in Russia, India, Pakistan, Uganda, South Africa and the Middle East

Today, although 173 States have ratified a United Nations treaty – the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – that guarantees freedom of speech, many countries still have laws that allow the muzzling of journalists. That includes laws criminalising defamation, blasphemy and sedition; and vague laws on espionage, terrorism, fake news, public order and hate speech that have been written or applied to silence dissent.

I am proud to see the UK taking a leading role in the effort to review such laws, and it is right for it to do so. The UK is a UN Security Council permanent member that has traditionally supported international law and institutions. Many of the problematic laws that are being used to silence journalists around the world also came from British Commonwealth rule and the UK has experience in reforming or abolishing these laws to bring its legislation in line with its modern values and international human rights norms.

The UK’s laws, for instance, used to criminalise blasphemy and over 40 countries still do, including many former colonial states. British law criminalising sedition was used in colonial India to prosecute Mahatma Gandhi and the offence is still on the books today in the world’s most populous democracy, as well as other Commonwealth states.

By the time the UK officially repealed such laws just over 10 years ago they had long ceased to be used in British courts, but many Britons were concerned about the impact such laws could have on the rest of the world. During debates about their repeal in Parliament in 2009, the Justice Minister observed that the existence of such obsolete offences in this country had been used by other countries to justify the retention of similar laws that were used to suppress political dissent and restrict press freedom.

As a member of the House of Lords observed at the time: “[i]f our Parliament takes this step, it will be an example elsewhere”. This legal reform initiative in the UK was ultimately successful after a campaign by British media organisations, civil society groups, parliamentarians, and lawyers, and it can be a model for the international effort being launched today.

I know that some of you will be sceptical about an international campaign of this nature. I myself thought long and hard about whether this was likely to have impact, or be just another conference, establishing just another committee. But as I said yesterday, I believe that this campaign is important because the international system we have in place is broken.

It is so broken that we have record levels of journalists being killed, and jailed. So broken that people like Jamal Khashoggi can be murdered on foreign soil without any coordinated investigation, open trial or effective accountability. So any new initiative that has the potential to move the needle in the right direction is worth considering.

As Eleanor Roosevelt has said: “universal human rights begin …[i]n small places, close to home…[W]ithout concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world”. So I believe that each of us has a role to play.

I believe that it is the responsibility of journalists to do their job by engaging in fact-based reporting that values accuracy over speed or clicks. I believe that legislators and judges should ensure that their country’s laws comply with the international standards that their government has signed up to, and that such laws are not being abused to prosecute dissent. I believe that governments that respect press freedom should stand up to those that don’t – by imposing real world consequences on officials who abuse human rights.

For my part, I will work with my colleagues on the Legal Panel to research and produce recommendations for change. We will seek advice from civil society, academia and the legal profession where necessary and we will consult with journalists on what they think is needed to keep them safe. And, when the time is right, I will report honestly on whether States are listening.

The world is turned upside down when those who commit the worst abuses are free, while those who report on them are not. And if we don’t turn things around democracy cannot survive. The global decline in press freedom has been hastened by rhetoric from the leader of the world’s most powerful democracy and it will not be reversed without strong leadership from others.

So I thank the governments of the UK and Canada for bringing us together today; I celebrate the opportunity that this gathering represents: and I hope that we will look back on this day as the beginning of an era of change.

Find out more about the Global Conference for Media Freedom.


Spying is the wicked Web Us Weave

I just had a look at Freedom of the Press blog and found Edward Snowden on the Board.  Further exploration of the Board revealed Laura Poitrus, the women filming the Snowden interview in Hong Kong. I felt something about her when I saw the film. She and her colleagues changed the world as they awakened ‘we the people’ to the illegality of citizen surveillance. The courage and wisdom of these journalists deserve the Pulitzer Prize for revealing what is hidden.  I contemplate Julian Assange and keep getting inspiration about his incarceration as I intend that he is protected by a higher power in the public interest. As our world has dark forces actively at work to dismantle true freedom, but they will do it in the name of safety, freedom and security. The wolf comes in sheep’s clothing and appears to be here to save and protect but in actual fact they have prepared strategies to work in the opposite direction. That is why whistle-blowers are vital, as the public have no other source of data. The ones involved in high level surveillance (not in the public interest) hold the technological cards in a game where much is done under the table, out of sight is out of mind.  Yet there are other factors that no-one can control, that is life itself and the purpose of each soul as they walk their path. No-one can predict, control or enslave purpose as life has its own disruptive quality that will rebalance the scales of justice, as nature intends.  I look to nature for my own inspiration and know that the scales are indeed rebalancing, regardless of what appears to be happening.

Laura Poitrus is Praxis films and produced her film called Citizenfour. This is about Edward Snowden, whose life purpose was to awaken humanity to mass surveillance. The irony is the public have to pay for their own enslavement. It is a wicked web they weave. I feel for the spider and the web (internet), I see it as banks of computers, or computer banks as reality.  It appears to glitter as movement to attract the unsuspecting.  They get stuck (addicted) on the web and can’t get off.  The spider waits and makes its way to devour its prey.  The flywheel is a flytrap, it is a web of our own making as we participate.  The truth is the spider needs the fly, the fly does not need the spider.  This is the great secret that is being revealed.  The deeper secret is the spider is the fly. This is revealed in The End.

Always remember: What goes around comes around. As you put out it returns, this is a universal law. Those spying are spied upon, as life is the mirror of their own making. 

Here are excerpts from the website. Most definitely in the public interest.


Official Site

Released: 2014

Running Time: 114 mins



CITIZENFOUR is a real-life international thriller that unfolds minute-by-minute. With unprecedented access, this behind-the-scenes chronicle follows director Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald’s encounters with Edward Snowden in a Hong Kong hotel room as he hands over classified documents that provide evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency.

CITIZENFOUR places viewers in the hotel room with Poitras, Greenwald and Snowden as they attempt to manage the media storm raging outside, forced to make quick decisions that will affect their lives and all around them.

Fake News vs Media Freedom and Alternative Truths

Media freedom houses the implied agreement to freedom of speech not only enshrined in Constitutions, but as a birthright.  Below I have provided a range of links to articles to awaken awareness to the reasons why freedom of speech underlined by truth is critical for humanity’s development.  The last article is the Freedom of the Press Foundation’s critique of Donald Trump.  I have just checkout out their board, and I am confident, they are bonifide journalists.  So I take on board their critique but remain open to questions in respect of Trump’s critiques.

The key is to keep an open mind and trust yourself, as you have inner guidance that will show you what is true and what is not. If you are still enough you will recognise a lie spun sprouting great principles as often the wolf comes in sheep’s clothing offering a good but underneath that is another agenda. So stay discerning of information but do not become cynical as the world is full of good intentions and negative and it is the yin/yang of life. It creates the clash of ideas, religions, civilisations and ideologies. This clash shakes up truth, as is its job.  In the future there will be inquiries into mass deception and mind control.

This blog is in the public interest.  

As you independently research you come to realise how much is not told in the so-called free press.  On the other hand there are shining lights in the media who risk life and limb to bring the story to the public’s attention.  However, media freedom can be caught up in the propaganda to justify restricting freedom of speech.  On the other hand the media have to be accountable for not revealing important information in the public interest. Compounding this issue is the online reality that is being forced on every person on the planet due to the ambitions of Silicon Valley partnering with equity financiers, like the Rothschilds, who have a vested interest in power and control given their lineage. Is this in the public interest to have an IT industry empowered by financiers to maximise profits of world business and at the same time remove privacy given influence in governments? There are also major questions around radiation and biological impacts (e.g. cancer, DNA), depopulation, targeting individuals, restricting information (them and us, type of information), rule by algorithms (filtering news and educational content), mind control (repeated messages), access to iPhones (private conversations), 5G mm waves and health impacts and the loss of felt humanity? 

What I have found is when money is NOT involved we have a chance at finding some light in the darkness of vested interest, politics, egoic defence and brand image risk management protection.  Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely is a truism. Money is power in our world (so it is believed) and people will obey when money talks. Yet the real power in this world is love of truth and each other.  Community bonds are powerful as well but minimised. Truth is the real gold in our world and it is the real liberator from falsehood and deception. Truth, when accurate, empowers people to make their own decisions. The real leadership is within every person when they decide for themselves. That is what life gave them from birth, the power of self determination. This is inherent within human rights or what I tend to say, the right to be human.

I personally found the Guardian here in Australia a good source and investigative journalists from the ABC. However, the ABC is likely to be sold off by the Liberal Party as a leak revealed at their national conference. I noted that Nine Entertainment now owns The Age.  Peter Costello, former Liberal Treasurer is the Chairman of the Board.  If that is not a conflict of interest, I don’t know what is!  We have Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and subsidiaries owning the majority of the media in key markets across the world. It is evident it has a right wing leaning. As a US citizen he is supportive of US interests not the Australian people. Yet he is the unannounced king maker to whom many make pilgrimages to in order to be validated for power.  Where is the media critique and community action around this clear bias. 

No-one should have any concentration in the media. They definitely should not have political affiliations or biases as a group.  Media must be absolutely clear of bias and constructed in the format of peace journalism, where both sides are shown and questions asked, so the community learns to think for themselves.  A profile of Rupert’s empire is as follows:


Peter Costello is the Chairman of Nine Entertainment. The question for the public is, should ex-political figures still aligned with politics be able to have control over media given vested interests?

This story below I just found which features Tim Costello, brother of Peter Costello. Tim and Peter were often at logger heads as he is a priest and Peter, a former Treasurer.  One speaking morals the other speaking money. This article talks to the corruption of Crown Casino. I note a little media item where the current Victorian government are looking into this. 

I’ve had inspiration around Crown Casino.  I note the word ‘Crown’ these days and the shields, symbols that reflect power, I feel the links to established power and endorsement. Interestingly, I interviewed Edward de Bono (famous Lateral Thinking expert) at the hotel at Crown. He was quick to say to me he wasn’t at the Casino, just staying at the hotel. Back then I had no idea, I am slowly waking up now.  

This article highlights why media freedom is essential and the importance of reporting on corruption as the public outcry does have power and is heard, alone we are ignored. The public has to find the truth if they want to be empowered to create change in its image not other’s with vested interests. This grows more important as our ecology collapses reminding us of our own imbalance.  It is true that knowledge with wisdom empowers.   Here is the article on the Crown Casino:

The links below will definitely not appear in the mainstream media. This provides insights into the different styles of reporting. Independent reporting is revealing what has been hidden by information control in the mainstream media. However, the internet freedom (whilst we still have it) is essential to being out the truth so that people can make balanced decisions, given their money is spent in ways they have no idea about. Those in positions of power must be held to account and those orchestrating false information must be tried.  Deception, PR spin, falsifying media items (video, written) in order to influence public opinion undermines democratic principles and freedoms (real freedom). The purpose of democracy is underlined by the implied ‘We the People’ and it is to represent not enslave the world community. I recall giving my poem ‘We the People’ to Kristine Keneally (shadow Minister Home Affairs). Later that day I recall her saying there would never be a Charter of Rights for the people. That is etched into my mind.  MP Andrew Wilkie tried to pass a Bill of Rights for Australians on 24 March 2020.  This was not passed. Questions should be asked.  Rights arise when values decline this is why democracy (in its true sense) is under threat with increasing secrecy, non disclosure, changes to discrimination laws, weakening of regulators, costly legal action and most notably media ownership – buying up the press by those seeking to ‘shape’ views rather than respecting diversity and allowing the publics differences to shape the future on the basis of debate, informed discussion, critiques and real needs in order to understand what is true and what is not and what is needed and what is not. As public money is channeled in the direction of influence not the greatest need. Critical thinking is essential if people are to be led out of the infotainment, electronic addictions, distractors and mainlining cultivated information to fulfil the needs of specific economic and financial interests.  

It is real freedom from fear that enables discernment. I turn off the television, I don’t listen much to radio and I inform myself using instinct, intuition, intellect, feeling and the love of truth to guide my words and actions.  My only interest is peace as harmony. I dreamed I was teaching peace and this changed my life from a market analyst to peace maker.  I was a community journalist in public radio for a few years. I was seeking to find my voice and allow other voices to be heard. Surveillance happened after I aired Scott Ritter (senior weapons inspector, Iraq) and Major Douglas Rokke (depleted uranium expert, Pentagon). I had no knowledge of the murky, smoke and dagger world of intelligence. Today I have become wiser. 

Peace will only arise from inner peace which resolves inner conflict (untruth) as realisation (ah ha) informs as the real shape changer.  This is how personal growth happens, you awaken bit by bit to the truth of what is really going on. You cannot go back to the uninformed unconscious life that just believes what it hears, reads and sees.  I no longer believe in most of it.  I am disillusioned but in a good way. I refer to my life similar to the ‘philosophers stone’ where questions open pathways to truth, intent is important. As I reach for truth I find myself changing as I grow in awareness.   I am open to being wrong, but ultimately I have felt the awakening and I come into a feeling of  ‘knowing’. This knowing is ‘I know I don’t know’ which opens my mind. It is the real wisdom, which is no about knowing it all but awakening to the illusion of it.  Below is further links I found by following a gentle search for truth.

This excerpt is from an article I believe is in the public interest and is the basis of control in our world. I remember Fiona Barnett saying once paedophilia is solved and those involved brought to justice much of the evils of our world will disappear. I felt truth in that. However, having said that by all means you critique the article and find your own truth, as I believe we all have to work it out ourselves. This article provides an insight as a contrast to the mainstream media. You would never find this article on the front page of a popular newspaper. I present it with a noteworthy quote which awakens to the underbelly of power:

“The ‘mass hysteria’ and ‘false memory’ bromides disseminated by the establishment press obscure federal and academic connections to the mind control cults, which are defended largely by organized pedophiles, cultists and hired guns of psychiatry.”


I suspect this is the main driver of misinformation embedded in the intelligence community.  I have concerns about Home Affairs or Homeland Security, the latter called ‘shadow government’ by former CIA Kevin Shipp. When intelligence is blended with an internal intelligence capability it raises real concerns about false flag operations, fake stunts to cause terror, holographic imagery and the very real concern of cults in positions of power. The Bush Administration is a case in point and the links to the Skull and Bones, KKK and CIA Whistleblower assertions of 911 as a CIA operation It further raises questions about COVID-19.

There has to be critical thinking. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the Trump narrative but I do think there is truth in what he is saying. It is not for the media to get defensive at the critiques but investigate as intelligence merges with the media as part of information control (counter=terrorism techniques).

Whistleblowers are coming out and revealing what the mainstream media is not revealing. For example ex CIA whistleblower:

Montgomery maintains that the data on the hard drives prove the existence of THE HAMMER and prove that Brennan and Clapper engaged in illegal domestic surveillance, despite the existence of safeguards that were already in place.



The last article is from Freedom of the Press Foundation online.  It is a critique of Trump. However, I see some truth in his tweets. He is definitely taking on the established media and those infiltrated by vested interests. Yes he is crass, yes a misogynist, yes a deal maker, ball breaker, but interestingly, he is taking on the power elites.  Why? he is not in the club. He doesn’t give a toss what anyone thinks, he plays by his own rules. He is a leader as he makes his own decisions. Yet there would still be room for critique with him in that he hasn’t revealed the whole truth, yet he is leaking out questions, particularly about COVID-19.  The question is are people giving thought to what is the truth of COVID-19?

Freedom of the Press Foundation


Trump, in crisis mode, tweets his 2000th attack on the press


Reporter, U.S Press Freedom Tracker


Managing Editor, US Press Freedom Tracker


Illustration/Kelsey Borch

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend daily life, President Donald Trump accelerated smearing the press on Twitter, reaching 2,000 negative tweets about the media in a string of insults and accusations on April 11, 2020.

According to our analysis of more than 19,400 of Trump’s tweets, 2,000 means that he has, on average, tweeted negatively about the press more than once a day for the past 4 ½ years. While the president’s rate of tweeting about the media has varied over those years, a noticeable uptick occurred as the severity of the new coronavirus progressed throughout the United States, and his administration’s handling of the global health crisis came under increased criticism.

The 2,000th tweet came on a Saturday, as part of a series of posted and deleted tweets, criticizing the coverage of no fewer than five outlets and accusing most of bias, if not outright corruption. The 2,000th tweet:

2000 Tweet PFT_2000

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker maintains a searchable database tracking Twitter posts in which Trump mentions media, individual journalists or news outlets in a negative tone since he declared his candidacy in June 2015.

In January, we wrote that Trump’s anti-press tweeting had begun ramping up last year around his official reelection campaign launch, and that he was following the same “playbook” of attacking the press on Twitter that he used during his first campaign. Those Twitter mentions, however, dropped dramatically after the impeachment inquiry began in September 2019 and stayed relatively low through the end of the year.

As concerns about the new coronavirus took hold in the U.S. in early 2020, Trump’s negative media tweet rate began accelerating to a pace not seen in the previous 5 months. It rose from 5.6% of his overall tweets in January to 11.2% in March. During the week of March 23 — when the U.S. began to lead the world in confirmed cases — Trump criticized the news media in nearly one in every five tweets.

2000 Tweet PFT_Graph1

The Nation’s First Virus Death, and an ‘Enemy of the People’ Tweet

On March 1, Trump referred to a sweeping number of print and broadcast news outlets as “The Enemy of the People,” a term he first used shortly after taking office but which had seen less use in the previous six months.

The tweet came one day after the U.S. recorded its first coronavirus death, that of a Washington state man in his 50s.

The Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, ABC, CBS News and more, he tweeted, “headed” the “Fake News Media” and were a source of national disgust and embarrassment.

2000 Tweet PFT_EoP

A week later, on March 8, he used the term again, singling out only the Times. A few days later, on March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, or global epidemic. On March 13, Trump declared a national emergency.

Over the course of the month, Trump tweeted a total of 447 times. Of those, 50 tweets used a negative tone about the press — nearly the same amount as in January and February combined.

Trump’s anti-press tweets predominantly focused on the media’s coverage of the pandemic and his administration’s response. Trump repeatedly condemned the use of unnamed sources, alleged that the media was deliberately dramatizing the outbreak to hurt the economy and his reelection chances, and asserted that outlets should unite with him in the face of the crisis, rather than continue covering the outbreak and response critically.

Of the 50 tweets, half targeted the media as a whole, with terms like “Enemy of the People” and “LameStream Media,” and descriptions of the media as “corrupt,” “dishonest” and “hopeless.”

2000 Tweet PFT_LameStream

Twenty tweets targeted specific news outlets, with MSNBC and the Times attacked the most often, and used demeaning “nicknames” like “MSDNC” and “DeFace the Nation.” Five individual journalists — representing four outlets — were also targeted by name.

Rachel Maddow and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC, Chuck Todd of NBC, Maggie Haberman of the Times and Chris Cuomo of CNN, all familiar targets of the president on Twitter, were each singled out. Cuomo announced he tested positive for the coronavirus on March 31.

2000 Tweet PFT_Fredo

During his fourth year in office, 14.2% of Trump’s negative tweets about the media have targeted individuals, questioning their legitimacy, ethics and objectivity, as well as insulting their physical appearance or demeanor and assigning them demeaning nicknames.

By comparison, he targeted individual journalists in only 7.5% of tweets in his first year in office and 8.6% of tweets in his second year.

2000 Tweet PFT_Graph2

Press Briefings Return: In-Person Insults Mirror Those on Twitter

On Feb. 26, the same day White House press briefings resumed after a more than year-long hiatus, the president tweeted, “Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus [sic] look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible.”

Trump tweeted multiple assertions that the media was continuing in its “war” against him in spite of the virus, and that the press briefings — this time with Trump leading them instead of a press secretary — were “reaching millions of people that are not being told the truth.”

2000 Tweet PFT_Press Conferences

The president targeted ABC via tweet four times in 2020 — all in March and April — including calling the outlet an “Enemy of the People” and “Fake News.”

In the briefing room, the attacks on journalists were personal. When ABC’s Chief White House Correspondent, Jonathan Karl, asked during an April 6 briefing about a report from the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general, Trump quipped, “You’re a third-rate reporter.” Karl is also the president of the White House Correspondents Association.

Trump had used the same insult in a tweet targeting the Times’ Maggie Haberman on March 27, as well as in reference to Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman on March 11, though the president didn’t name him.

When PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked during a March 29 COVID-19 briefing about the president refuting governors’ needs for equipment, he replied that her question was “snarky” and her approach always “getcha, getcha, getcha.”

On April 5, Trump targeted Alcindor on Twitter, writing that she was “a very biased journalist.”

PFT_2k_live briefing.jpg

President Donald Trump takes questions during an April 6 coronavirus task force briefing at the White House with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Vice President Mike Pence. In this briefing, Trump responded to a question by ABC’s Jonathan Karl, in the second row of seats on the far right, by calling him a ‘third-rate reporter,’ an insult he also uses on Twitter.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The 2000th Tweet: A Milestone of Attacking the Press

Through early April, Trump and the Coronavirus Task Force held press briefings almost every day, and by April 11, Trump had insulted or denigrated the press in nearly one in six of his tweets.

On Twitter, Trump referred to CNN as “a JOKE!,” the Wall Street Journal as “Fake News!” and singled out the Post and the Times, asserting that advertising is “WAY down” either because they are “Fake News” or because “the Virus is just plain beating them up.”

2000 Tweet PFT_Advertising

On April 11, as Trump posted his 2,000th negative tweet about the media, the U.S. led the world in confirmed COVID-19 deaths, surpassing 20,000.

Trump posted a burst of eight tweets that day, a single-day amount not reached since September 2019.

All but one of the tweets targeted specific outlets. The president repeated his refrains about “MSDNC,” the “failing” Times and the “Amazon” Post, and criticized the Journal’s Editorial Board. Trump also disparaged Fox News, tweeting that watching it on weekend afternoons is “a total waste of time.” The tweet followed a report about equipment shortages at the Department of Veterans Affairs and coronavirus-related veteran deaths.

2000 Tweet PFT_Fox

Three of the tweets targeting the Times were nearly identical, with the first two posted and deleted within minutes of each other. The third, which was the milestone-reaching tweet, was posted two hours later. In it, the president called the Times “Fake News,” “Failing,” and questioned its use of anonymous sources in an article linking New York coronavirus cases to Europe, not China.

The day’s string of tweets struck on multiple recent themes, with the president criticizing coverage of the pandemic and implying corruption in the newsroom.

Trump also delegitimized the standard news practice of granting sources anonymity, asserting on Twitter that anonymous sources are fabricated in order to hurt his administration. Nearly one in four of his anti-press tweets in early April — and one in ten in March — denigrated the media’s use of unnamed sources.

Undermining Coverage in a Time of Crisis

Language eroding public trust in the news media, while a hallmark of the president’s administration, has increased on Twitter in tandem with the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. and criticism of the government’s handling of it.

Trump complained about media bias in a majority of his 2,000 negative tweets, accusing the media of conspiring against him and refuting the accuracy of their reports.

From the first confirmed U.S. coronavirus case on Jan. 20, through reaching the milestone tweet on April 11, Trump tweeted negatively about the media 113 times. In those 83 days, at a time when the public increasingly sought news from established outlets, Trump intensified his criticism of individual reporters and the media’s coverage.

Explore the database

As the president continues to communicate through Twitter, The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker continues to track the rhetoric using this live database.

Read more about Coronavirus

Here’s how to share sensitive leaks with the press

Thinking about securely leaking information to news organizations? This guide will show you how.

How journalists can work from home securely

Both the newsroom and individual journalists must make some changes to work from home securely.

Government transparency cannot be a coronavirus casualty

Government agencies from the local to federal level are failing to live up to their legal transparency obligations even as the stakes for access to relevant information are at an all-time high.

Advice on How to Tell Fake News from Accurate Reporting

In the public interest.  Caitlin Johnstone is a journalist. Her website is

I have noticed a spin company on my blog who look at the alternative media and then spin the opposite.  So be aware of misinformation it comes in many guises from those authoritative or unknown social media fronts.

How To Tell Real News From Useless Narrative Fluff

by Caitlin Johnstone

When Zen teacher Issan Dorsey was asked to describe the essence of Zen art, he answered, “Nothing extra.”

“Nothing extra” is also of course the essence of Zen living itself: perceiving life as it actually is, as opposed to perceiving it through a bunch of believed narrative filters about yourself, about others, about reality, and so on. These narrative filters are an extra pile of layers that are added on top of the actual experience of life, and they give a distorted view which causes a lot of confusion and suffering. Relinquishing belief in them brings clarity and peace.

This is also the essence of clearly understanding what’s really going on in the world. Like so much else, the approach to the large is the same as the approach to the small, which is to say the approach to seeing clearly in the big picture is the same as the approach to seeing clearly as an individual: you need to learn to look at it without the extra narrative overlay.

Because the news media are controlled by plutocrats who have a vested interest in protecting the status quo upon which their kingdoms are built, almost everything in the news is useless narrative fluff. It doesn’t tell you what’s really going on, it rather tries to influence what’s going on by manipulating the perceptions of the audience. It does this by either (A) distracting from what really matters by focusing on what doesn’t matter, or (B) actively working to manipulate how the audience thinks about a given issue.

When you strip away all the empty fluff and manipulative spin, there are basically only four often-overlapping pieces of information that really matter in the big picture: (1) where the money is going, (2) where the resources are going, (3) where the weapons are going, and (4) where the people are going. When it comes to understanding world dynamics, accurate information about these four things is the only real news you’ll ever encounter. Everything else is empty narrative spin meant to justify, distort, or distract from information about these things.

If you ignore everything else and only focus on finding the most accurate information possible about these four items, you will have an infinitely clearer understanding of what’s really going on in the world than someone who trusts news reporters to walk them through it.

Watch where the money is going because you can trust the raw numbers of financial transactions a lot more than you can trust the stories people are telling. A massive percentage of daily news coverage goes toward analyzing the latest foam-brained gibberish that came out of Donald Trump’s mouth even though we all know he’s going to contradict himself two days later, but the fact that he’s been heavily funded by an oligarch who happens to have been a longtime proponent of the Iran policies this administration has been advancing is much more solid.

Zoom out and watch where the money is going in the big picture and you’ll see that a grossly disproportionate amount of it is moving away from the general public and toward a very small group of people, which we just saw illustrated in the historically unprecedented multitrillion-dollar wealth transfer in the US corporate bailout. If you watch this small group and pay attention to the projects, candidates, think tanks and media outlets they pour their wealth into, you will notice that they exert an incredible amount of influence on all four crucial factors: where the money goes, where the resources go, where the weapons go, and where the people go.

Watching where the resources are going gives you an even clearer image of what’s going on because resources, unlike money, are completely independent of narrative. There is no such thing as “money” without the thoughts that humans agree to collectively think about it, but oil would still be oil even if all humans were wiped off the face of the earth. When you see the US ramping up escalations against Venezuela, ignore the narratives about “drug trafficking” and what a bad, bad man Nicolás Maduro is, and look at what resources lie beneath the ground in that nation to find out what this is really about. Mentally “mute” the soundtracks the political/media class spout about who’s doing what to whom and just watch where the resources are going, and who’s controlling them. That way you’ll be able to discern the powerful from the disempowered and the takers from their victims.

Watch where the weapons are going because those are another non-narrative factor which exerts a huge influence on the world; a bullet will stop a beating heart regardless of what the mind thinks about it. Ignore the irrelevant narrative fluff about where the coronavirus originated and whether or not it’s racist to say “Wuhan virus”, and look at the ring of US military bases encircling China and the way the Marine Corps is shifting its attention onto that nation. Ignore Trump’s gibberish about ending wars and note that he’s been expanding them and increasing foreign troop presence. Ignore the Democratic Party’s nonsense about Trump having loyalties to Russia and watch his administration’s many dangerous nuclear escalations against that nation. Ignore international finger-wagging at humanitarian abuses by Israel and Saudi Arabia and look at who’s still selling them weapons and supporting them militarily.

Watch where the people are going for another important piece of real information that isn’t dependent on narrative. Where are the prisoners? Where are the refugees, where are they going, and what are they fleeing? Where are people moving to, and what do they want?

With each of these four items you can simply watch raw data and ignore all the stories the establishment spinmeisters tell about that data. As long as you make sure you’re getting the most accurate data possible, it’s like you’re looking at a globe and watching lines in four different colors moving around in it from place to place and person to person. And without anyone’s stories tainting your view.

You will notice that there’s a heavy degree of overlap between these four items. You see the weapons moving toward China and you notice that’s the nation with the US hegemony-threatening Belt and Road Initiative (where the resources are moving) and the key player in the US dollar-threatening Shanghai Cooperation Organization (where the money is moving). You see Julian Assange locked in prison (where the people are going) for exposing US war crimes (where the weapons are going). You see US troops illegally occupying Syrian oil fields (where the weapons and resources are going) to prevent the Syrian government from using it to rebuild the nation (where the money is going). And so on.

Nearly everything that makes it to the top of the daily news churn is either propaganda distortion or distracting drivel, and either way you can safely ignore it. Just watch where the money is going, where the resources are going, where the weapons are going and where the people are going, and ignore all the narrative chatter.

Nothing extra.


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 onTwitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and 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, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

ABC Four Corners Program: US Vs Julian Assange

I am feeling intense inspiration tonight around Julian Assange. Intelligence agencies gather all our data and can use it against us if it is decided we are a threat for revealing truth to power.

So intelligence agencies and telecommunications companies are gathering data on the population. Edward Snowden disclosed US surveillance of its citizens. In Australia citizens are surveilled.

This is manifesting as surveillance capitalism given that corporations are controlling governments around the world using their wealth to curry favour and to redirect national interest towards expanding corporate markets.

Surveillance is being privatised and this means that privacy is no longer sacred. When this happens people can be harmed. Visibility, transparency and disclosure of crimes to the public is necessary given public money funds government and militaries.

If checks and balances fail internally due to corruption and/or rules of engagement face no counter balancing authority then limits on abuse of power become a free for all. When we witness civilians being murdered and targeted in cities justified by terrorism, insurgencies, civil war etc. For world authorities and leaders to not stop crimes against civilians creates the conditions for whistle blowers. This is not only the US, it would be any country that uses violence against civilians without limits or consequence. The Geneva Conventions and humanitarian law are important for restraining or at the very least holding to account war criminals, as we saw in Bosnia. The International Criminal Court is essential to ensure global justice

The Nuremburg Trials in Germany were undertaken to hold Nazi Germany to account, as what was witnessed in camps were crimes against humanity. This excerpt is from Wikipedia:

The Nuremberg trials (German: Nürnberger Prozesse) were a series of military tribunals held after World War II by the Allied forces under international law and the laws of war. The trials were most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, judicial, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany, who planned, carried out, or otherwise participated in the Holocaust and other war crimes. The trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany, and their decisions marked a turning point between classical and contemporary international law War by its very nature is a violation and crime but it is sanctioned as defence, yet the violence is not questioned. If leadership are not balanced or able to weigh decisions on the basis of values mindful of human rights, then such a leader can be a danger not only to civilians but to the planet, particularly if nuclear weapons are used.

The key issue is leadership being held to account like any ordinary person. If they are committing crimes then there must be accountability. Accountability is what is being asked for around the world. It is a plea in the heart of millions.

Below is a video from ABC Four Corners discussing Julian Assange, the leaks and the Clinton campaign.

The lack of ethics and respect for the public voice is what is under the spotlight with this case in my view. What is freedom?