Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

 

In an interview with RT in 2015, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad uttered perhaps one of his most intriguing statements since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011. Assad stated:

“Western propaganda has, from the very beginning, been about the cause of the problem being the president. Why? Because they want to portray the whole problem in Syria lies in one individual; and consequently the natural reaction for many people is that, if the problem lies in one individual, that individual should not be more important than the entire homeland. So let that individual go and things will be alright. That’s how they oversimplify things in the West.” [emphasis added]

He continued:

“Notice what happened in the Western media since the coup in Ukraine. What happened? President Putin was transformed from a friend of the West to a foe and, yet again, he was characterized as a tsar…This is Western propaganda. They say that if the president went things will get better.” [emphasis added]

Putting aside Assad’s vast and extensive list of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Assad highlighted one of the major flaws in Western thinking regarding America’s hostile policies toward a number of independent states.

Just look at the current to-and-fro-ing between North Korea and the United States to gather an accurate picture of what is being referred to here. The problem of North Korea is consistently portrayed in the media as caused by one person (current leader Kim Jong-un), a narrative that ultimately ignores the role America and its allies have played in this current crisis. As Anti-Media previously highlighted:

 

“…the problem [North Korean crisis] is constantly framed as one caused by North Korea alone, not the United States. ‘How to Deal With North Korea,’ the Atlantic explains. ‘What Can Trump Do About North Korea?’ the New York Times asks. ‘What Can Possibly Be Done About North Korea,’ the Huffington Post queries. Time provides 6 experts discussing ‘How We Can Solve the Problem’ (of North Korea). ‘North Korea – what can the outside world do?’ asks the BBC.”

What the media is really advancing here – particularly when one talks about a military option as a response to dealing with North Korea’s rogue actions – is the notion that if the U.S. could only take out Kim Jong-un, the problem of North Korea would disappear.

Would the death of one man rid every single North Korean of the hostility and hatred they harbor toward the United States when many know full well that in the early 1950s the U.S. bombed North Korea so relentlessly they eventually ran out of targets to hit — that the U.S. military killed off at least 20 percent of the civilian population?

If Kim Jong-un is removed, will North Koreans suddenly forget that nearly every North Korean alive today has a family relative that was killed by the United States in the 1950s?

In the simple corporate media narrative, yes they will. Killing that one person and removing them from office will not only save the country they brutalize but will also provide security and stability for the rest of the world.

Never mind that prior to the U.S.-NATO onslaught of Libya in 2011, Libya had the highest standard of living in the African continent. The Times once admitted that its healthcare system was the “envy of the region.” Now, the country has completely collapsed, with well over two million children out of school, countless migrants drowning in its waters, extremism running unchecked and unchallenged, and traders openly selling slaves like a commodity.

Let’s suppose every single accusation against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was true (they weren’t); how can it be said that destroying a country’s infrastructure and assassinating its leader in flagrant disregard of international law is a realistic solution to any problem? If you oppose Donald Trump, would a Russian-led military intervention solve your problems with the country he rules over?

Forget what you think you know about Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Kim Jong-un, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, and Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro – the narrative Western governments and their media mouthpieces have promulgated for the last few decades remains completely nonsensical. You can’t solve Syria’s or Venezuela’s problems by removing their current leaders, especially if you attempt to do it by force. Anyone who claims this is possible is lying to you and is also too naïve and indolent to bother researching the current situations in Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Iraq – to name a few.

The fact that the U.S. evidently doesn’t want to solve any problems at all – that it merely seeks to overthrow leaders that don’t succumb to its wishes – is a topic for a separate article but is certainly worth mentioning here as well.

The same can ultimately be said of Donald Trump. Since his election victory, many celebrities, media pundits, and members of the intelligence community have sought to unseat and discredit him. Yet Donald Trump is merely a horrifying symptom of America’s problems; to think he alone caused them and that by removing him from office the U.S. would suddenly become a safe-haven of freedom and liberty is nothing short of idiotic.

If you agree with the latter sentiment, you must also concede that the problems facing North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and elsewhere could never be solved by the U.S. forcibly removing their leaders.

If Assad was removed from Syria, would extremism disappear or would it thrive in the political vacuum as it did in Iraq? Could Syria’s internal issues — which are much more extensive than the corporate media would have us believe — be solved by something as simple as removing its current leader? Can anyone name a country where this has been tried and tested as a true model for solving a sovereign nation’s internal crises? Anyone who truly believes a country’s problems can be solved in this facile way needs to do a bit more reading.

If you can recognize this dilemma, you can agree that it’s time for the media to completely undo the simplicity in its coverage of these issues and start reporting on the genuine diplomatic options that could be pursued, instead.

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The Clinton campaign has repeatedly pushed an article linking Donald Trump with a Russian bank, even though multiple outlets – including the New York Times – have disputed the claims.
On Monday, Slate’s Franklin Foer published an article with an explosive revelation. According to Foer, a number of cybersecurity experts claim that a private computer server in Trump Tower appeared to be directly connected to Alfa Bank, a commercial institution in Russia. This was the latest in an ongoing mainstream media narrative that the Republican nominee is secretly a Kremlin puppet.

The legitimacy of Foer’s article was immediately called into question. A number of outlets, including the Daily Beast and the New York Times, said they had looked into the story as well, but found it lacking.

“[FBI] agents scrutinized advisers close to Donald J. Trump, looked for financial connections with Russian financial figures, searched for those involved in hacking computers of Democrats, and even chased a lead – which they ultimately came to doubt – about a possible secret channel of email communication from the Trump Organization to a Russian bank,” the Times reported.
“FBI officials spent weeks examining computer data showing an odd stream of activity to a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank,” the Times continued. “But the FBI ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.”
Foer claimed that the server activity “appeared to follow the contours of political happenings in the United States.” Writing for Vox, Timothy Lee pointed out that
“If anything, the chart shows the opposite of that.” “In short, this chart seems to be totally unrelated to the political calendar. It provides no support for the idea that the Kremlin was using it as a back channel before and during the Republican National Convention in mid-July,” Lee writes.
Despite the fact that the Slate story was debunked almost as soon as it was published, the Clinton campaign has seized it as part of its arsenal of Russophobic tactics to defeat Trump.
“The Washington Post piled on, attacking the Foer report, saying ‘For all of Foer’s exegesis of the situation – culminating, he admits, with a lack of certainty about what it all means – it seems likely that the simplest answer isn’t that someone affiliated with Trump or his campaign set up a backchannel method for contacting someone at Alfa Bank in Russia,'” says Sam Sacks of Radio Sputnik’s Unanimous Dissent.
“The Intercept also has a pretty thorough takedown of the Foer piece, published on Tuesday. So too do a number of computer researchers, including people who were cited in the Foer piece, coming out and saying that the Foer piece is garbage.”
Unfortunately, these grand Russian conspiracy theories distract from the legitimate issues of Trump’s campaign, including his proposals to ban Muslims from the country and his frightening insinuations that nuclear weapons could be used in the Middle East to combat terrorists.

 

The Invisible American

I’ve been reading a lot about a “recovering” economy. It was even trumpeted on Page 1 of The New York Times and Financial Times last week.

I don’t think it’s true.

The percentage of Americans who say they are in the middle or upper-middle class has fallen 10 percentage points, from a 61% average between 2000 and 2008 to 51% today.

 

Ten percent of 250 million adults in the U.S. is 25 million people whose economic lives have crashed.

What the media is missing is that these 25 million people are invisible in the widely reported 4.9% official U.S. unemployment rate.

Let’s say someone has a good middle-class job that pays $65,000 a year. That job goes away in a changing, disrupted world, and his new full-time job pays $14 per hour — or about $28,000 per year. That devastated American remains counted as “full-time employed” because he still has full-time work — although with drastically reduced pay and benefits. He has fallen out of the middle class and is invisible in current reporting.

More disastrous is the emotional toll on the person — the sudden loss of household income can cause a crash of self-esteem and dignity, leading to an environment of desperation that we haven’t seen since the Great Depression.

Millions of Americans, even if they themselves are gainfully employed in good jobs, are just one degree away from someone who is experiencing either unemployment, underemployment or falling wages. We know them all.

There are three serious metrics that need to be turned around or we’ll lose the whole middle class.

  1. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of the total U.S. adult population that has a full-time job has been hovering around 48% since 2010this is the lowest full-time employment level since 1983.
  2. The number of publicly listed companies trading on U.S. exchanges has been cut almost in half in the past 20 years — from about 7,300 to 3,700. Because firms can’t grow organically — that is, build more business from new and existing customers — they give up and pay high prices to acquire their competitors, thus drastically shrinking the number of U.S. public companies. This seriously contributes to the massive loss of U.S. middle-class jobs.
  3. New business startups are at historical lows. Americans have stopped starting businesses. And the businesses that do start are growing at historically slow rates.

Free enterprise is in free fall — but it is fixable. Small business can save America and restore the middle class.

Gallup finds that small businesses — startups plus “shootups,” those that grow big — are the engine of new economic energy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 65% of all new jobs are created by small businesses, not large ones.

Here’s the crisis: The deaths of small businesses recently outnumbered the births of small businesses. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the total number of business startups and business closures per year crossed for the first time in 2008. In the nearly 30 years before that, the U.S. consistently averaged a surplus of almost 120,000 more business births than deaths each year. But from 2008 to 2011, an average of 420,000 businesses were born annually, while an average of 450,000 per year were dying.

Bottom line: The two most trusted institutions in the U.S. are the military and small business. Most people know about our military’s importance, but not as many appreciate the role small business plays in creating the majority of new jobs and in national security itself.

America needs small business to boom again. Small businesses are our best hope for badly needed economic growth, great jobs and ultimately accelerated human development. When we get small business to boom, we can save America, restore our middle class and once again lead the world.

This is serious.

  • David Brock operates over a dozen pro-Clinton organizations from his office in Washington DC.
  • Uncovered records expose a constant flow of money between his organizations.
  • Brock’s unregistered Professional Solicitor, the Bonner Group, receives a 12.5% cut every time money is moved.

There’s a reason why David Brock chooses to house an unregistered Professional Solicitor in his office to raise money for his conglomerate of Super PACs and non-profits.

Professional Solicitors are required to disclose their active solicitation contracts.  Brock wants his unregistered solicitor, the Bonner Group, to keep their client list hidden for a very specific reason.

 

David Brock is laundering money

David Brock has 7 non-profits, 3 Super PACs, one 527-committee, one LLC, one joint fundraising committee, and one unregistered solicitor crammed into his office in Washington DC.

Uncovered records expose a constant flow of money between these organizations.

The Bonner Group, his professional solicitor, works off a commission.  Every time money gets passed around, Bonner receives a 12.5% cut.

 

Follow the money

Nonprofits are required to disclose who they give cash grants to.

But they aren’t required to disclose who gave them cash grants.

This weak system of one way verification is being abused by Brock.  He’s been cycling money between his organizations for years, and the Bonner Group’s 12.5% commission gets triggered after every pass.

In 2014, Media Matters for America raised $10,021,188.

The Bonner Group was credited for raising these funds.  Media Matters paid them a $1,147,882 commission.

media-matters-bonner-commission

 

That same year, Media Matters gave a $930,000 cash grant to David Brock’s Franklin Education Forum, an organization that shares office space with Media Matters.

media-matters-grant-to-franklin-education-forum

In 2014, the Franklin Education Forum reported $994,000 in total contributions.  93.6% of that total came from Media Matters!

Surprisingly, though, the Franklin Education Forum gave full credit to Bonner for raising that money.  They paid the fundraiser a $124,250 commission in 2014!

franklin-education-forum-bonner-commission

 

Notice what happened?

  1. David Brock’s Media Matters gave a $930,000 cash grant to David Brock’s Franklin Education Forum
  2. David Brock’s Franklin Education Forum credited the Bonner Group for raising those funds, triggering the 12.5% commission
    • David Brock paid the Bonner Group a $124,250 commission to solicit a cash grant … from himself!

 

It doesn’t stop there

After the Franklin Education Forum retained $869,750, they sent a $816,224 cash grant to David Brock’s The Franklin Forum:

franklin-education-forum-grant-to-franklin-forum

Note: The ‘Franklin Education Forum’ is a 501(c)3, and ‘The Franklin Forum’ is a 501(c)4. They are not the same company.

Since The Franklin Forum 501(c)4 paid Bonner a commission in 2013, it’s safe to assume fundraiser received a $102,028 commission in 2014. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell for sure. They still haven’t filed their taxes for 2014!

 

Let’s recap

Say, for example, you donate $1,062,857 to Media Matters for America.   This is how David Brock would have used your charitable donation in 2014:

  1.  Media Matters would receive your $1,062,857 donation
    • The Bonner Group would earn a $132,857 commission
    • Media Matters would retain $930,000
  2. Next, Media Matters would give what’s left of your entire donation, $930,000, to the Franklin Education Forum
    • The Bonner Group would ‘earn’ a $116,250 commission
    • The Franklin Education Forum would retain $813,750
  3. The Franklin Education Forum would then forward the remaining $813,750 to The Franklin Forum
    • The Bonner Group would ‘earn’ a $101,718 commission
    • The Franklin Forum would retain $712,031

In the end, Brock’s solicitor would have pocketed $350,825, almost a third of your initial donation! That’s a far cry from the advertised 12.5% commission.

As bizarre as that scenario may sound, this is exactly what David Brock did in 2014.

 

How can we be sure this is intentional?

David Brock is the Chairman for each of these organizations!  How could he not know what’s going on?

He’s a hands-on Chairman.  According to their tax returns, Brock allocates time, weekly, to his organizations:

  • Media Matters: 31.50 hours per week
  • Franklin Education Forum: 3 hours per week
  • The Franklin Forum: 1 hour per week

Furthermore, the New York Times reports that David Brock shares a summer rental in the Hamptons with Mary Pat Bonner, the President of the Bonner Group!

David Brock will have a hard time claiming ignorance on this.  These transfers are intentional.  He vacations with his solicitor.  Case closed.

 

Still not convinced?

David Brock didn’t even bother to give his organizations different phone numbers.  They all share the same

phone number!

same-phone-number

 

What if…?

We even located the Bonner Group’s solicitation agreement with Media Matters on Florida’s Gift Givers’ Guide.  Clarification on their commission can be found on page 2:

bonner-contract-snip

In English:  Contractually, David Brock has the option to exclude certain contributions from triggering the commission.  In spite of this option, he intentionally chooses to trigger the 12.5% commission for money grants between his organizations.

Note: Yes, we are making the assumption that all of Brock’s organizations have the same solicitation agreement with the Bonner Group.  Given that his organizations share the same address, board members, and telephone number, we feel it’s safe to assume they also share the same solicitation agreement.

 

This barely scratches the surface

Utilizing public facing tax returns, along with records submitted to the FEC, we mapped out all the significant money transfers from 2014 that took place in Brock’s office:

brock-transfers-2014-part-1

brock-transfers-2014-part-2

This is all from just one year!  No further commentary required.

We understand this may be hard to believe.  We first came across this in July, and are still having a hard time wrapping our heads around it.

All of the data referenced in this article originated from publicly accessible sources.  Check for yourself – we provided links to the source material in our article exposing the organizations operating in Brock’s office,  This data has been sitting out in the open, gathering dust for years! 

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

We’ve spent months trying to find some sort of loophole to justify this activity.  But there aren’t any loopholes.  David Brock has something to hide.  Just last week, The Daily Caller reported the following:

“Brock’s former long-time live-in boyfriend William Grey (whom Brock has thanked in several of his books) threatened to go to the IRS with damaging information about how Brock was running his Media Matters empire.  What did Brock do? He paid Grey $850,000 to keep quiet. Brock reportedly had to sell his home in Rehoboth, Delaware to come up with the money. This certainly seems to indicate that Brock was terrified about what the authorities would uncover.”

Adding to this, Fox News reported the following:

“Grey accused Brock of “financial malfeasance” and threatened to undermine Brock’s fundraising efforts.

“Next step is I contact all your donors and the IRS,” Grey wrote in an email dated May 19, 2010. “This is going to stink for you if you do not resolve this now.””

We believe that the information presented in this article is what has Brock so terrified.  We feel confident in saying, with close to absolute certainty, that David Brock is laundering money through his Media Matters conglomerate.

Look at the argument we’ve been making on The Citizens Audit:

The year was 1955, the dawn of the cold war, and an old prophet was writing what would be his last book. It was a volume of history – The American Story, he called it – in which he reviewed the cavalcade of twists and turns that had brought us to that moment when we stood “at the top of the world, “ as he put it. There was no terrorist threat back then – not counting the threat of global annihilation that hung over us during those years of “duck and cover” and backyard bomb shelters. Yet Garet Garrett – a former editor of the New York Times and the Saturday Evening Post, an Old Right “isolationist” who lived in exile on a New Jersey farm – foresaw our present age, and what we would become:

“How, now, thou American, frustrated crusader, do you know where you are?

“Is it security you want? There is no security at the top of the world.

“To thine own self a liberator, to the world an alarming portent, do you know where you are going from here?”

Garrett knew where we were going, and we are living that reality today, sixty years after he wrote those words.

On a late summer Saturday night in the Chelsea district of New York City an explosion caused by an IED that injured 29 people shook the nation: a second bomb was discovered a few blocks from the first site and disabled. This was preceded by a pipe bomb going off at the site of a benefit run for families of US Marines in Seaside, New Jersey, a mere ninety minutes away: multiple devices were found at the same location and were disabled. Injuries were prevented only because the event was delayed due to the size of the crowd; five thousand people would have been in proximity otherwise. To top it off, a person invoking Allah stabbed eight people at a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota – albeit not before first asking them if they were Muslim. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the stabbing spree, dubbing the perpetrator a “soldier of Islam.”

Imagine you are a visitor from Mars, watching all this from a very great height. Surely two aspects of this are striking:

To begin with, we have the world’s sole superpower, which purports to be the defender of the “international order,” unable to ensure the security of its own citizens on its own soil. We send our fleet thousands of miles away, to the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea to “protect” the sea lanes – and yet we cannot protect Americans on the streets of New York City.

Secondly, the reactions to this amazing fact reveal a strange bifurcation: government officials and the national news media (or do I repeat myself?) are in denial, while ordinary Americans are on the cusp between anger and hysteria. The reaction of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was emblematic of the former: he said the explosion was “intentional” but not linked to terrorism. He went on to say:

“Now, I want to be clear: Whatever the cause, whatever the intention here, New Yorkers will not be intimidated. We are not going to let anyone change who we are or how we go about our lives.”

This is the very definition of terrorism, but apparently the policy of denial is supposed to keep people calm. What’s more likely is that it does just the opposite. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, apparently concerned that this was a bit too much cognitive dissonance for the public, weighed in by saying it was “obviously” terrorism, but that there’s no evidence it was linked to international terrorism.

One has to be remarkably obtuse to ignore the pattern: three attacks on the same day, one of which a terrorist group has claimed “credit” for, two of which are similar in their modes of operation – a bomb in a dumpster on a public thoroughfare. Authorities are now confirming that the Chelsea and Seaside explosive devices were put together by the same person. Put this in the context of continuing threats from Islamic terrorists that they will hit the homeland, and the only conclusion one can draw is that the events of September 17 were a coordinated attack – and the prime suspects aren’t Presbyterians.

It isn’t “Islamophobia” to acknowledge this – it’s realism. After all, the very “blowback” theory offered up by critics of US intervention in the Middle East has to lead us to this conclusion: it makes perfect sense that, having spent the greater part of the past twenty years leveling much of the Muslim world to the ground, some of the inhabitants would be coming after us.

What’s more, it’s an indisputable fact that the US government is now at war with one billion Muslims – at least, that’s how they perceive it. The origins of this war can be traced back to US foreign policy, yes, but that’s not the whole story. It’s gone way beyond that. Given the history of the post-9/11 era – the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria – a significant portion of the Muslim world has integrated this conflict into their religion. “Jihad” is a religious duty in mainstream Islam, and Muslims – unlike most Westerners – take their faith seriously.

So what’s the solution? Simply put, there is none. We cannot undo the history of the last fifteen years: the winds of blowback are unstoppable. The US government cannot possibly protect its citizens from random attacks on soft targets, such as the Chelsea district of New York City on a Saturday night, or a mall in Minnesota. Our vaunted system of universal surveillance hasn’t worked in the case of San Bernardino, Orlando, the Boston bombing, the Ft. Hood massacre – and it didn’t work on September 17.

We can no more stop the terrorist assault on the homeland than a child who puts his finger in an electric outlet can avoid a shock. This is the New Normal – and the consequences for our republic, our politics, and our everyday lives can only be painted in the darkest hues. This is why the first response of our elected “leaders” is kneejerk denial: an honest confession of their powerlessness would only inspire panic – and retribution.

Speaking of retribution: the response of ordinary Americans is quite different. Unlike our political class, they are realists who know what they see: given a choice between security and virtue-signaling they’ll take the former every time. What they don’t yet understand is that, as Garrett put it, “there is no security at the top of the world.”

Oh, they can go along with Donald Trump’s scheme of keeping all Muslims out of the country – but some will get through, not to mention those who are already here. We can build a wall, but can we inspect each and every ship that docks at our ports, and examine the cargo with a fine-toothed comb? We can blast ISIS to smithereens in the deserts of Syria – but this will merely disperse the contagion, spreading it to Europe, the steppes of Central Asia, and to the US itself.

What’s worse is that our own government has enabled the very enemies who plot our destruction. The US has openly allied with Islamist radicals in order to bring about regime change in Syria: the results of that policy are underscored by the recent incident in which US Special Forces were forced to flee from a village in the northern part of the country when the “moderate” Islamists we’ve been funding and arming threatened to slaughter them on the spot. The same thing happened in Libya, where we “liberated” the country from Ghaddafi and the very rebels we empowered with air strikes and aid murdered our Ambassador and three others at Benghazi. To go farther back in time, our aid to the Afghan mujahideen who were fighting the Soviets in the 1980s led to the consolidation of al-Qaeda and the rise of Osama bin Laden as the leader and symbol of a global terrorist insurgency.

To top it off, we still regard the Saudis as “allies” in spite of the fact that they had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. Washington is openly colluding with our enemies while the nation sleeps.

Trump, to his credit, is critical of these policies, at least in part. Yet his alternative vision is inchoate, vague, and contradictory on those rare occasions when he gets down to specifics. He is, in short, the embodiment of the American zeitgeist at this historical moment: enraged, confused, and liable to lash out in any direction.

Yet Trump’s critique of the political class, and his diagnosis of the US as an empire in decline, is what gives his message resonance – and it’s one reason why the political class hates him with a passion. His success is the measure of their failure.

We are headed for some dark times. In spite of that, however, there will always be those who will uphold the original spirit of our old republic and fight to defend it against all comers. Out of this will come a renewal – that is, if there is to be one.

In yesterday’s post, The Death of Mainstream Media, I noted:

 At the end of the day, I have concluded that my focus on Hillary as of late (vs. Trump) has as much to with my disgust for the mainstream media as anything else. To see these organs which have destroyed this country by keeping the people uninformed for decades, now rally around a sickly, corrupt, oligarch coddling politician as the empire enters the collapse stage is simply too much to stomach…

The only positive thing to happen during this election season is the death of mainstream media. With their insufferable propaganda fully exposed, there is no coming back. 

Then today, we learned the following from Gallup:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.

Here’s a chart.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-2-05-51-pm

If that’s not a trend, I don’t know what is.

 Gallup began asking this question in 1972, and on a yearly basis since 1997. Over the history of the entire trend, Americans’ trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72%, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans’ trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.

While it is clear Americans’ trust in the media has been eroding over time, the election campaign may be the reason that it has fallen so sharply this year. With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more. It is also possible that Republicans think less of the media as a result of Trump’s sharp criticisms of the press. Republicans who say they have trust in the media has plummeted to 14% from 32% a year ago. This is easily the lowest confidence among Republicans in 20 years.

Meanwhile, if there is any hope for the future, it can be found here.

 Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to say they trust the media, but trust has declined among both age groups this year. Currently, 26% of those aged 18 to 49 (down from 36% last year) and 38% of those aged 50 and older (down from 45%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media.

In 2001, younger Americans (55%) were more likely than older Americans (50%) to express trust and confidence in mass media. This gap emerged again in 2005 when 53% of 18- to 49-year-olds had trust and 45% of those 50 and older expressed the same sentiment. Yet in the past decade, older Americans have mostly had more confidence than younger Americans, and this year, the gap between these age groups is 12 points. And 2016 marks the first time that confidence among older Americans has dropped below 40% in polling since 2001.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-2-03-21-pm

 Before 2004, it was common for a majority of Americans to profess at least some trust in the mass media, but since then, less than half of Americans feel that way. Now, only about a third of the U.S. has any trust in the Fourth Estate, a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public.

Two days before the 15 year anniversary of the September 11 attack, moments ago the House unanimously passed – to thunderous applause – legislation allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts,   The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously in May, now heads to President Obama’s desk. And that’s where things get tricky for Obama.

The White House has fiercely opposed the bill, arguing it could both strain relations with Saudi Arabia and also lead to retaliatory legislation overseas against U.S. citizens. Obama has lobbied fiercely against the bill, and has hinted strongly it will veto the measure.

He is not alone: the Saudi government has likewise led a vocal campaign in Washington to kill the legislation. Those efforts have been fruitless in Congress, however. Meanwhile, the legislation saw broad support from both parties, and Congress could override an Obama veto for the first time if he rejects the legislation. Such an outcome would undoubtedly embarrass Obama and divide Democrats ahead of the 2016 elections and a crucial lame-duck session of Congress.

For now, Obama is adamanat: “The Saudis will see this as a hostile act,” said Dennis Ross, Obama’s former Middle East policy coordinator. “You’re bound to see the Obama administration do everything they can to sustain a veto.”

 How Obama will spin such a pro-Saudi, and anti-US decision, which may be overriden anyway, to the US population is unclear.

To an extent, Obama finds himself between a rock and a hard place. As we reported in April, Saudi officials threatened the enactment of the law could lead them to sell off the kingdom’s U.S. Treasury debt and other American assets, which the officials told lawmakers and U.S. officials totaled $750 billion, according to the New York Times. The Saudi government held $117 billion in U.S. Treasury debt in March, according to Treasury figures obtained by Bloomberg. The kingdom may have additional holdings not included in the data on deposit with the New York Federal Reserve Bank, in entities in third countries, or through positions in derivatives.

According to the Hill, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are unsure whether Obama will actually use his veto pen on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.  “I presume they would have to think very carefully about a veto because it might very well be overridden,” said Nadler.

To override the president, supporters would need a two-thirds majority in each chamber. “I think the votes will be there to override it,” said Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), who introduced the bill in the House.

As a result of potentially facing a lose-lose outcome, many on Capitol Hill do not believe that the veto is a done deal. The White House has not issued an official position on the bill and spokespeople have been careful with their language, stopping short of issuing a full veto threat. “We have serious concerns with the bill as written,” a White House official said Wednesday.

“We believe there needs to be more careful consideration of the potential unintended consequences of its enactment before the House considers the legislation,” the official said. “We would welcome opportunities to further engage with the Congress on that discussion.”

The president has 10 days to either sign or reject the legislation before it becomes law.

Meanwhile, supporters of the legislation see it as a moral imperative.

“The victims of 9-11 and other terrorist attacks on US soil have suffered much pain and heartache, but they should not be denied justice,” Schumer said in a statement Wednesday. Under current U.S. law, victims may sue a country designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, like Iran. The bill would allow citizens to sue countries without that designation — like Saudi Arabia.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 hailed from Saudi Arabia. Critics have long suspected that the kingdom’s government may have either directly or indirectly supported the attacks.

Congress in July released 28 previously secret pages detailing suspicious Saudi ties to the 9/11 hijackers, which made it very clear – according to a closer read of the document – that Saudi officials did indeed help plan and organize the attacks, even as the White House downplayed their involvement.

Saudi officials have for years denied that their government had any role in plotting the attacks and the Saudi government has led a quiet campaign in Washington to kill the legislation.

Despite its popularity in Congress, some prominent national security advisors have also pilloried the bill.

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton and ex-Attorney General Michael Mukasey, both of whom served under President George W. Bush, this week warned that the legislation “is far more likely to harm the United States than bring justice against any sponsor of terrorism.”

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The real question, however, is not so much what Obama – who could potentially be branded a traitor if he proceeds with a veto as suggested, against the wishes of every single member of Congress, and the US population – will do, but how the Saudis, some of the most generous donors of the Clinton Foundation, will respond if the law indeed passes. As a reminder, in an epic media blunder, in early June, the Saudi Crown Prince admitted that Saudi Arabia had funded 20% of Hillary’s presidential campaign, and will surely demand a quid pro quo in exchange. What Saudi vengeance may look like, should the generous Clinton donor’s will not be obeyed, will be something Hillary’s campaign will surely be very interested in.