The difference between Pravda and the New York Times is that Pravda readers knew they were being lied to.
The Times deceives its readers not so much by misreporting facts as by suppressing them. The result is a morally smug but often stunningly ignorant readership.
This thought occurred to me during a pre-interview for an Irish national radio program. The producer wanted to assure herself that I was sane enough to be on “The Moncrieff Report,” the program in question.
The subject at hand was my new book, “TWA 800: The Crash, The Cover-Up, The Conspiracy.” How was it possible, she asked in a roundabout way, that I knew the solution to a “mystery” that eluded America’s major media?
To put the answer in an Irish context, I told her about the year I spent in Galway, 1992-1993. At the time, there were two national radio stations in Ireland, both well produced.
For an author to get an hour of airtime, as Philip Nobile did on the day I was listening, was a major accomplishment. Nobile had a huge story to tell, and the European media knew it.
He had just written a devastating exposé for the influential alternative newspaper, the Village Voice. His contention was that Alex Haley’s mega-best-seller “Roots” was, in his words, “one of the great literary hoaxes of modern times.”
As Nobile documented beyond all dispute, Haley plagiarized his Pulitzer-Prize winning work of “non-fiction” from white novelist Harold Courlander and quietly paid a huge sum to settle a lawsuit.
Two prominent genealogists tried to trace Kunta Kinte’s roots, but found there was no Kunta Kinte to trace. And if that were not enough, Haley’s editor, the very white Murray Fisher, did much of the book’s writing.
When I returned to America, I said to friends, “How about that Haley stuff!” They answered, “What Haley stuff?” To this day, Times readers are still saying, “What Haley stuff?”
The Times had exactly this to say about Nobile’s revelations: “Two weeks ago, the charges about the authenticity of ‘Roots’ and the integrity of Mr. Haley were raised anew in an investigative article by Philip Nobile in the Village Voice. Members of the Haley family have rebutted the accusations.”
The Times reported this in its “Book Notes” section on page 18. The fact that Haley had to pay Courlander the contemporary equivalent of $2 million to buy his way out of the plagiarism suit went unmentioned. Thanks to the Times’ dishonesty, Haley kept his Pulitzer.
In a similar vein, Times readers are still saying in regard to TWA Flight 800, “What eyewitnesses?” The FBI interviewed 258 people who claimed to see an ascending object blow the 747 out of the sky in July 1996. The Times interviewed exactly none of them.
The only eyewitness the Times interviewed thought he saw a bomb blast. This was the line the FBI was then feeding the Times in August 1996.
When, a month later, the FBI decided a careless cop spilled explosives on the plane in a dog-training exercise – thus negating the bomb theory – the Times did not bother interviewing the cop.
I was the first person in the media to interview him, six years after the fact, and he was still “pi–ed off about what they did to me.”
Then too, the Times never bothered interviewing Nakoula Bassely Nakoula, the Christian producer sent to prison to sell the lie that his video provoked the assault on the Benghazi mission. No one in the major media did.
Nakoula was not hard to find and not shy about telling his story. I found him buried in a Texas hellhole, and we have been talking ever since.
In 2003, when I was doing my research into the life and death of Ron Brown, I requested the 22-volume USAF report into the 1996 plane crash that killed Brown.
The Times had not bothered to request this eye-opening report despite the fact that one of its reporters died in the crash. Its editors did not want to know any more than they had to.
To be sure, they did not want to know anything about presidential candidate Barack Obama that might have upset their readers. In late October 2007, the Times ran an article headlined, “Obama’s Account of New York Years Often Differs From What Others Say.”
Given that he was an announced candidate for president, the Times expected Obama to welcome the chance to reconcile his account in his memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” with the accounts of those who knew him.
“Yet he declined repeated requests to talk about his New York years, release his Columbia transcript or identify even a single fellow student, co-worker, roommate or friend from those years.”
A campaign spokesman, Ben LaBolt, offered a conspicuously lame explanation for Obama’s reticence: “He doesn’t remember the names of a lot of people in his life.”
Lame or not, it worked. Obama wanted to conceal the lies he had told in “Dreams,” and the Times happily obliged him.
As to the Clintons, the Times kept mum on the rape changes against Bill and Hillary’s role as his enabler. A few years later, however, its reporters turned the paper into a “journalistic laughingstock” in their blind rush to injustice in the Duke lacrosse rape case.
The list goes on and on. Times readers have no idea who Juanita Broaddrick is or Frank Marshall Davis or Nakoula Bassely Nakoula, let alone Harold Courlander.
They just know they’re a whole lot smarter than those ignorant kooks, conspiracy theorists, and – of course – racists who get their news from Fox.
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