Friday, November 22, 2013

50 years later, the lies continue...

Parade Magazine in Full Propaganda Mode

Parade of Lies, Part 7

David Martin

It is now an accepted fact with almost everyone that the George W. Bush administration lied us into war in Iraq. Less well recognized is the guilt of the American news media in that colossal crime. As Exhibit A for the charge, consider this little tidbit in what is probably the most-read column in the United States, “Walter Scott’s Personality Parade.” It appeared in Parade magazine on November 4, 2001, well before Secretary of State Colin Powell made his infamous invasion-justifying speech to the United Nations:

Q. Before our war on terrorists began, how well did Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, the world's top terrorists, get along? -C. Barnes, San Antonio, Texas

A. Not well at all, but they worked together on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Intelligence sources tell us Saddam encouraged attacks on U.S. targets because he harbors a deep resentment against George H. W. Bush, who created the coalition that defeated Iraq in the Gulf War. Our sources say Saddam figured the most effective way to punish the former President was to hurt his son, who now occupies the White House. It was a massive miscalculation. The recent outpouring of patriotic fervor pushed George W. Bush's popularity rating to more than 90%.

There they were, giving us a rationale for war on Iraq using “expert” anonymous mind readers. They know their audience. The late Washington Post publisher, Katharine Graham, once said that Parade is for people who move their lips when they read. That didn’t stop her from going for the numbers and including Parade with the Sunday Post, like almost every other major newspaper in the country does. Parade and its audience also brings to mind a great George Carlin line, “Just think of how stupid the average person is…and half of the people are even dumber than that.”

America’s press, as we noted in our previous column, has played at least as crucial a role in selling the coup d’├ętat of the JFK assassination as it has in selling our wars of aggression in the Middle East. With that in mind, we should certainly expect that in its last edition before November 22, 2013, the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination Parade would practically be running the propaganda point for the hoary lone gunman myth. I also noted in that article, though, that the press this time is tending toward the use of the indirect or oblique approach in selling the line of our illegitimate, usurper rulers. So it was with Parade, and particularly with the mythical “Walter Scott” on November 15, 2013. Here’s as close as “Scott” got to the JFK assassination topic:

Q. Who does Piers Morgan think is the greatest American TV journalist ever? - Owen M., Miami

A. “Walter Cronkite would have to be right up there,” says the British news host, 48, whose new book, Shooting Straight, recounts his first two and a half years at CNN. “He presided for so long over so many dramatic stories and had such respect from the nation.” In general, Morgan adds, “I think the American news media is second to none.”

Let’s have a look at what’s going on here. In the first place, you really would have to be one of those lip movers to believe that there really is such a person as “Owen M.” in Miami who would send in such an implausible set-up question to be directed not to “Scott,” but to this former editor of one of Britain’s sleazy tabloids, a newspaper that was involved in the disgraceful practice of phone-hacking. It’s pretty clear in the first place that Parade is simply giving free publicity to Morgan’s TV show and to his new book, whose full title was apparently too long for the attention span of Parade readers, Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God, and George Clooney. The book, which assiduously stirs the phony Left vs. Right debate, would appear to be a perfect fit for Parade’s target audience judging from one reader’s review:

“Shooting his shallow weak show.....this book is as shallow as a crepe the man. Do not buy this book.....unless you need something to start a fire with.”

But what does Piers Morgan have to do with covering up the JFK murder, you might ask. Well, it happens that he is hosting a Kennedy assassination special on Friday night, November 22. One might gather the anticipated slant of the program by reading my article, “CNN Censors Richard Belzer.” Even more germane, though, is the big plug for Walter Cronkite, “the most trusted man in America,” who is very closely identified with the assassination through his coverage of it at the time. Cronkite was also a leading salesman of the lone-gunman theory from the day of the assassination until his own dying day. Listen to him say with great authority “Three sharp cracks punctuated the afternoon air” in this Kennedy special, obviously made many years after the event, as you can tell from Cronkite’s age. He surely knew better by that time, but that’s either the official Warren Commission conclusion he’s parroting, which requires that there be a “magic bullet, or it is the “assassination for dummies” version of events he’s selling, in which one of Oswald’s shots hit Kennedy in the neck, the next hit Texas Governor John Connally, producing a number of injuries, and the final one hit Kennedy in the head. Take your pick. One can also get a better idea of what Cronkite was all about from reading my article, “Clinton and Cronkite: Odd Couple? For what Cronkite’s network continues to be about, see Jim Fetzer’s “The JFK War: CBS Endorses “Magic Bullet”Absurdity.”

As it turns out, Parade chose to tuck its more direct propaganda into a very short article, even for them, called “Parade Picks.” It’s on page 6, about 80% of which is taken up by an ad for a drug to treat psoriasis. Here is the article in its entirety:

Our Favorite JFK Reads

1. End of Days As he did with the Lincoln assassination in Manhunt, James Swanson makes history read like a crime thriller, vividly re-creating the details surrounding the shooting through the perspectives of the killer, the victim, and those closest to them.

2. Dallas 1963 Spotlighting the local cabal of hard-right extremists—politicians, business leaders, media executives, and clergymen—who considered the president a traitor, Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis construct a riveting portrait of a city ruled by paranoia and hate.

3. Camelot’s Court Leading Kennedy biographer Robert Dallek provides a fascinating nuanced look at a brilliant but flawed leader and the close circle of advisers whose counsel on subjects including Vietnam, the Cold War, and civil rights shaped the administration—for better and for worse.

Most of the propaganda poison, going by the customers’ reviews at, is packed into that first recommendation, and it appears to be perfectly prepared for Parade’s semi-literate readers:

James Swanson's books about the Lincoln assassination are preeminent history. Manhunt is one of the finest works of history that I have ever read.

Needless to say, I was so excited to hear that he was doing a book on the JFK assassination.

From the very beginning I was struck by several things. His writing style in this book seemed aimed at adolescent readers. Throughout the work, he sounds more like a middle school teacher than an honored historian.

Mr. Swanson also plays psychiatrist throughout delving into the shooter's mind, how he felt, etc.

In his introduction, he talks about staying away from making exact judgments on the who, why, and how. Then he immediately dives into a discussion of the "assassin" Oswald. Huh?!

The worst part is that he continues the fiction about single bullets, no grassy knoll witnesses, etc.

This book is totally unobjective and does not present any information that pushes the "official" story. What a disappointment.

I could spend 1,000 words challenging what he presents as the truth, but why bother.

I saw Swanson on CNN's Morgan Show, and he arrogantly pronounced that he does not accept any challenges to the government's findings---"And I have read all those conspiracy books, have them in my home."

Please read books by [Jerome] Corsi, [Roger] Stone, [Jim] Marrs and [James] DiEugenio. They write for adults, with overwhelming challenges to the Commission without arrogance, just a search for the truth. (Links supplied by the author to their most recently published books. Marrs and DiEugenio have also written other books on the Kennedy assassination.)

Even a reader of a less critical mind than the one above noticed that Swanson has written a really dumbed down book, but ideal for one who stretches his intellectual capacity to its limit when he reads the likes of Parade:

Author James Swanson wrote a fascinating account on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in his book entitled Manhunt. His latest effort entitled End of Days on the assassination of John Kennedy has received mixed reviews at best. I enjoyed the book and it held my interest to the end. However, I do agree with one reviewer who stated that it appeared to be written for middle school students even though he has written a similar book for young readers entitled "The President Has Been Shot."

Swanson focuses on Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone shooter and he does not buy into any conspiracy theories. Swanson switches back and forth to Kennedy's itinerary while in Dallas while switching to Oswald's schedule until they collide with the assassination. Swanson believes there were three shots fired with the first shot missing the President. The subsequent shooting of Officer J. D.Tippit and the capture of Oswald are related as is the coverage at Parkland Hospital. Swanson relates the fiasco at the Dallas city jail where Jack Ruby shot and killed Oswald while he was in the process of being transferred to the county jail. The funeral of the President and its aftermath conclude the book.

As I previously stated I enjoyed the book but did definitely find it written at a middle school level. I purchased three copies as gifts for middle and high school student of Swanson's book "The President Has Been Shot" but had I known the book End of Days was written at a middle school level I would have purchased additional copies of this book and let it go at that.

The second book, again going by the various customer reviews, does what Parade and the mainstream media do best, which is to keep the populace divided by fanning the Left vs. Right flames. The bad guys in most cases, except from the perspective of Fox News and most of talk radio, are those on the Right. So it is, with Dallas 1963. It was not so much any one individual or group of individuals for that matter who killed Kennedy, it was that bad old “climate of hate.” If you, too, are among that species of liberal who are all touchy-feely and have little more than oatmeal for brains, it might be the book for you. You might even agree with Rachel Maddow that if we had had a law in place forbidding the importation of foreign combat rifles like that lethal Mannlicher-Carcano that they say Oswald used, JFK might not have been killed. And I’ll bet that you will watch the Reverend Al Sharpton’s JFK special on MSNBC on the night of November 22 entitled “50 Years of Guns.”

The third book appears to be mainly a rehash of things we already know about Kennedy and his administration. Its publication was timed for the 150th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, but it has little to say about that assassination. Consider it a throw-in to give the list a little intellectual heft, but coming at the end of such a long list will be ignored by most of Parade’s readers.

Parade wasn’t finished with its propaganda barrage with its Cronkite plug from Piers Morgan and its Kennedy book list, although it was through with the Kennedy assassination part of it. The last question for “Walter Scott” from someone who surely does not exist was about someone that, until now, surely very few people had ever heard of.

Q. Aside from the question of who Ronan Farrow’s father is, what else is interesting about him? – Donna G., Dover, Del.

A. Farrow, 25, has been in the news since his actress mother, Mia, 68, said that Frank Sinatra is “possibly” his birth father, not Woody Allen. But scandalous headlines aside, he is a Rhodes scholar, diplomat, and human rights activist with an uncommonly witty Twitter page. He has signed to write a book about American military aid and global crises, and is gearing up to host his own MSNBC news show in 2014.

I hardly even know where to start with that one, so I believe that I will just leave it for readers to ruminate upon.

Parade’s parting propaganda shot is in the section called “Views” and it comes from a former Congressman who is now a TV personality, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. In the article, “My Fix for What Ails the GOP,” Scarborough, who manages to make Piers Morgan look like an intellectual and moral heavyweight, urges his Republican Party to get behind a presidential candidate like Colin Powell, * who, most of us can see, would be virtually indistinguishable from his Democratic opponent. This should be done, he argues, simply in the interests of returning to power:

In retrospect I realize how much better the GOP would have fared against Bill Clinton in 1996 if I had not let my hopes for a conservative stalwart get in the way of the best hope to beat Clinton. “If it’s just going to represent the far right wing of the political spectrum, I think the party is in difficulty,” said Powell this year. “I’m a moderate, but I’m still a Republican.” This war hero, who has made history of his own by becoming the first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state, should still be one of the leading voices in the party because of, not in spite of, his centrist political philosophy. Republicans can kick moderates like General Powell out of the party’s mainstream and drive them into the arms of the Democratic Party every four years, or they can leave their ideological comfort zone, work aggressively to expand their political coalitions, and start stealing swing voters away from Democrats like Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, the Republican Party of the moment bears little resemblance to the party of Ronald Reagan, who would have responded to Powell’s critiques of the Republican Party with an all-hands-on-board effort to win the war hero back.

With that, it has occurred to me that reading Parade has become a lot like Kremlin watching used to be. Just as that little exchange telling us in late 2001 that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11 presaged our attack upon Iraq, Scarborough (or his ghost writer) is giving us a pretty good idea of how the next presidential election is going to play out. Rand Paul, whether or not he is genuine, publicly represents the only thing that even resembles the slightest change from more of the depressing same from these heirs to the fruits of the Kennedy assassination. Here we see the early signs that he will be painted as a quixotic extremist of the Barry Goldwater stripe who can only lead the Republican Party to a similar crushing defeat as that which Goldwater suffered in 1964. It is quite likely to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As a final note, if any doubt remains in your mind that the central problem in the United States is the complete corruption of the news media, please read, in its entirety if your stomach is strong enough, The Washington Post’s lead article by Joel Achenbach on the front page of its fiftieth anniversary issue. In its malevolent mendacity, it is quite similar to their 1999 article written upon the death of Secretary of Defense James Forrestal.

* “Has there been a more vastly overrated person in the past 50 years than Colin Powell? He helped cover up My Lai. He did his part to make sure that the Iran-Contra mess never came fully to light. He buckled under to chickenhawk bullies in the Bush White House and did his part to lie us into a destructive war with a speech to the U.N. that he knew was based on stovepiped bullshit from people he already didn't trust. And still, people trust him and revere him and, I have no doubt, if he came to them shilling another war, they'd salute and agree with him as devoutly as they did back in 2003, when he was before the UN talking about those lagoons of anthrax consomme that didn't really exist.” – Charles P. Pierce, “Colin Powell Owes Us an Apology, Not Another Excuse.” Esquire, May 14, 2012.

David Martin

November 22, 2013


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