Just Asking: Media Outfoxed on Spate of Bizarre Shootings?

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James Holmes, mass shooting suspect

Perhaps you’ve heard that a Fox News reporter could go to jail for protecting confidential sources in the Aurora, Colorado, mass shootings. This has generated a debate: are “liberal” media unwilling to go to bat on a Freedom of the Press issue for a reporter from a “conservative” outlet? This is an obvious entrant as the “hot button” topic of the week.

But there’s another, more nuanced issue that deserves consideration: what is the nature of the information leaked to reporters? And whose interests do the leaks serve?


The defense attorneys for Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes want to know the sources for reporter Jana Winters’s assertion that Holmes’s notebooks contained violent ramblings and drawings. Winter could potentially face up to six months in jail if she does not identify her sources in law enforcement.

The other day, Fox News ran a segment alleging that the news profession has thus far been largely silent because Winter is with Fox. Even Fox’s resident liberal agreed that this reflected liberal bias.

And the executive editor of the conservative Washington Examiner posted this question on an email discussion thread for investigative journalists:

Has anybody on this listserv spoken up on the web, in print or on the air in defense of Jana Winter?

Thus, the story becomes another iteration of the common refrain that the “liberal media” is hypocritical. And the likely response is that the “liberal media” (which is not actually all that liberal, but that’s another story) will rush to prove that, no, it is not hypocritical or biased, and thus it will line up behind Jana Winter—particularly if a judge decides to compel her testimony or send her to jail.

What is missed in all this is an angle as important as freedom of the press. Here it is:

Are reporters used to disseminate information that benefits certain parties? Answer: of course they are. As important as the principle that journalists serve the people is the reality that many journalists build their careers around “scoops” that are essentially handouts from interested parties seeking to influence outcomes.


Most of us would probably agree that Jana Winter and all journalists need to be able to speak to sources on a confidential basis in order to ferret out information of vital public interest. But this reporter cannot help wondering: who gave Winter that information, and why?

To be sure, the decision to give it to Fox News rather than to some other outlet presumably was made in full awareness of Fox’s position in America’s propaganda hierarchy. Although Fox is currently the “opposition,” given that the Democrats hold the White House, the network still plays an important role in advancing the narratives of the corporate security state. It’s in that establishment’s interest to discourage deeper scrutiny of the alarmingly frequent litany of strange violent events that increasingly bedevil this country—and profoundly affect the national psyche.

Holmes’s attorneys wouldn’t be doing their job if they just rolled over and allowed the prosecution to settle their case in the court of public opinion, crystallized through the Fox franchise.


Surely the leakers know that Fox is unlikely to dig too deep for answers that might prove upsetting. How upsetting could the answers be?

Well, it’s entirely possible that James Holmes, as well as villains of Newtown, Columbine, Tucson, Virginia Tech, and on and on are just the inevitable byproduct of our alienated times. But any journalist worth her or his salt would have to take a hard look at the growing parade of mass killers who have in recent years sprung from nowhere to dominate the headlines. They, and the violence they introduce, prod us to divide ourselves into two camps: on the one hand, those who seek safety through a stronger security state, and, on the other, those who trust no one and withdraw into a militia-mindset of bomb shelters and personal weaponry.

Nothing good can come of this stratification.

Once we recognize the danger signs of a society headed toward inevitable and even (for some) desirable breakdown, our antennae ought to go up. Once they do, we begin to acknowledge how many of the figures involved in major violent spasms have strange pasts, strange hospitalizations, strange personality shifts and more, that deserve coverage.

As we have noted time and again, these incidents have profound consequences. And many of them affect leaders of our country.  Recently, we reported on new evidence in the case of another “lone nut”—Sirhan Sirhan—that there’s a high probability that a false consensus was created by the government and the media in order to cover up something far more insidious. Earlier, we reported on disturbing particulars behind “lone wolves” who presented threats to President Obama. Add to that the deaths of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and others—and even the strange case of John Hinckley, a family friend of then-veep George H.W. Bush and his shooting of President Ronald Reagan, and, well, we have a lot more work to do.

Certainly, this country nurtures its fair share of wackos, and the incredibly easy availability of guns definitely contributes to the ever-present volatile mix. Nevertheless, the idea that the United States is the only country where ferocious financial and political interests would never consider using surrogates to achieve a larger purpose is both statistically unlikely and just plain incredible.

History is replete with examples of regimes, movements and vested interests manipulating or guiding provocateurs to sow panic, while taking extraordinary measures to keep their sponsorship hidden. From the 1933 Reichstag Fire to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, seminal events often turn out not to be as simple as we are told. (And don’t get us started on the endless questions surrounding the intelligence oversights and strange actions surrounding 9/11.)

Our own top military officials thought it was a great idea to attack our own country in the proposed false-flag Operation Northwoods. Our spy agency spent years, decades perhaps, experimenting with mind control, Manchurian Candidates, and similar tools of psywar.

Our national police agency, the FBI, has a sordid history of soliciting problematical individuals and luring them to commit criminal and terrorist acts—all purportedly designed to prevent disorder. Just one example was the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. Here’s FBI informant Emad Salem, speaking to his FBI handler:

[W]e was start already building the bomb which is went off in the World Trade Center. It was built by supervising supervision from the Bureau and the D.A. and we was all informed about it and we know that the bomb start to be built. By who? By your confidential informant. What a wonderful, great case!

Today, the corporate media typically acts not as an honest broker in framing both individual events and the longer arc of history, but as an integral part of a dangerous, fantasy-making propaganda machinery. This  means we can expect even traditional “good causes” like press freedom to be corrupted and twisted to fit sinister ends.

If “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,“ the corollary for consumers of modern media must surely be a grown-up yet unceasing skepticism.

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23 responses to “Just Asking: Media Outfoxed on Spate of Bizarre Shootings?”

  1. Unibrow Chic says:

    Solid piece, Russ.

  2. Orangutan. says:

    Terror Attack Kills 3 and Injures Dozens in Boston … Further Losses of Liberty and More War On The Way? – http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/04/terror-attack-kills-3-and-injures-dozens-in-boston-are-martial-law-and-more-war-on-there-way.html

    The Strategy Of Tension is a tactic that aims to divide, manipulate, and control public opinion using fear, propaganda, disinformation,
    psychological warfare, agents provocateurs, and false flag terrorist



  3. tpmco says:

    Well, I don’t know about being outfoxed, but if this suspect was caught red-handed, he’s going away as a murderer or a crazy murderer for a long time. The “leaks”, if they be real, will just make for a longer trial.

    I would have to see what the motive for the leak might be. Maybe the fox will be caught without pants. The last time I was in a foxes den, all they could do was bark.

  4. William Shanley says:

    Just take a look at Carl Gibson’s April 3rd piece, “How the Government Killed Martin Luther King” http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/275-42/16784-how-the-government-killed-martin-luther-king-jr, detailing how a jury in 1999 found a government conspiracy in the killing of King, add to that the 1977 US House Select Committee on Assassinations finding that JFK “was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy” and the extreme efforts of the Bush administration to cover-up the other great mystery of our times, what happened on 9/11, all the while warning of “conspiracy theorists” and spreading destruction from Palestine to Pakistan, and a more real picture of America comes into view. If one thinks Jana Winter is not finding friends in the media, conservative or not, one need look no further than what happened to Gary Webb (CIA cocaine revelations) to understand how quickly establishment media abandon reporters–or worse, attack them–when they venture too far off the reservation. The Mighty Wurlitzer of Frank Wisner’s Operation Mockingbird in mightier than ever. Folks like Bill Moyers and former CBS News president, Richard Salant, never explained their roles in the operation since Carl Bernstein’s expose in Rolling Stone back in 1977. Reject any rush to judgment that posits simple answers. BTW: Who are the men we see via ABC News chopper camera the Connecticut State Police chase into the woods in Newtown? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n1ngrBMNO0. Always ask questions. Always be skeptical of official sources.

  5. Pierce Aero says:

    Beck, Rush, Dick, and “W”, are all members of that one “Anonymous” group taking “steps” to gain “Higher Power”. Couldn’t we find a new term, that doesn’t imply neurological impairment, and addiction to power? Say, ‘protected source’? Idk. Just sayin’.

  6. hruhs says:

    The World is now locked in generalized warfare of every sort. The loud explosions distract us from the fact that control of information, denying one’s enemies access to the truth and seeking to make one’s lies seem like truth to the enemy, is the primary field of battle in war. It is highly unrealistic to expect that, under these conditions of economic, cultural and violent warfare that bystanders have any chance to see any aspect of the truth beyond what is immediately experienced in ones location at a given time. Entering into combat means burying the truth very deep. What people come to accept as truth beyond their immediate experience is, by definition, a product of psychological warfare.

    A world at war oddly resembles the individual experience of entering into a delusional psychosis. In a world at war the delusional are considered the well oriented and the blatantly psychotic are sought out to be armed to the teeth by waring parties.

    It is true that oil is the strategic material that, once again as in the first and second world wars, is what the adversaries most seek to control lest their war machines get too thirsty. Since the beginning of the petrochemical industrial age the entire worlds population has been involved in continuous warfare of one sort or another, punctuated by periods of false peace to allow for regrouping by the combatants. Oil = war. War = destruction of truth and sanity. By definition investigative journalism becomes very dangerous under these conditions. All sides in the conflict hate the truth teller. In a way it is comforting to see the waring parties make war on their own journalist. It means they are worried.

    It is beginning to look like our species is done since we have no realistic way to bring an end to hostilities in time to halt the worst developments from climate catastrophy. On the other hand, never has there been a more interesting time to be alive.


  7. concerned says:

    when a non-governmental actor is seeking disclosure of a journalistic source – because, say, they fear a reporter has been manipulated by gov’t actors – i say the first amendment does not protect the journalist from having to disclose their source. we’ve got to keep in mind that the first amendment is primarily a tool to defend ourselves against gov’t malfeasance. it should not be interpreted in a way to protect govt’ manipulation of the MSM. in deciding the limits of first amendment protection for reporters, i’d look at the identity of the party demanding disclosure instead of the identity of the suspected source.

  8. ICFubar says:

    It’s plainly obvious that Ms Winters, whether it’s just a pay cheque to her or she is a willing participant, she plays a part in the propaganda machine that is Fox swen. Is her source just giving her a leg up or planting info? Has she been threatened by the source not to reveal a psych-op or is she actually trying to protect, and how would we know she was telling the truth if she gave a secret confessional to other investigative journalists? From the looks of it I’d say she knowingly took inconsequencial info from an informent with ulterior motives. Sorry but I’d let her and Fox deal with problem themselves. I’ve put a sticky note on my monitor to remind my trusting self to be aware of the disingenuous and psych/ops. “There is so much bullshit you need wings just to stay above it”.

  9. $14221648 says:

    This is how truthful the media is and it’s about fox news reporters that got fired.


    • sgtdoom says:

      Into the Buzzsaw, edited by Kristina Borjesson

      This was EXACTLY why I recommended this outstanding book in a later comment/response; Ms. Borjesson includes this story, but also how the majority of TV/Radio station-owning companies signed onto the Fox legal case, filing an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on behalf of Fox’s “right” to fictionalize the news on a daily basis.

      Now, the lobbyist group which these owners belong to has an interesting career legal counsel, (before and during this lawsuit) by name of Valerie Schulte, the peculiar “mystery witness” who didn’t fit any of the witnesses’ description of said real mystery witness, brought forward by LA’s Ramparts PD during the Sirhan trial on the assassination of Bobby Kennedy — now isn’t that a most interesting event?

      Great link, BTW, and thanx.

  10. edwardrynearson says:

    James Sirhan Oswald Ruby Holmes?

  11. planckbrandt says:

    The book “The Strange Death of Henri IV” by Phillippe Erlanger reveals the methods of “ferocious financial and political interests using surrogates.” That was 400 years ago. The methods are out there. The answer is Yes. They do that. And, creating hard economic times is one way they get more of them to choose from.

    The hard-times gives rise to madness, which in turn gives rise to more surrogates to rein terror, which in turn lets them control more and more of us through fear and loathing…it is a vicious circle. They are in control of it.

  12. JED says:

    Thanks Russ for this reminder of how little trust our MSM has earned.
    Thankfully we have independent researchers and authors like WWW
    that help illuminate the darkest areas.

    Another good example is HP Albarelli’s “A Terrible Mistake”
    More than just a murder mystery regarding a CIA scientist, it sheds
    light on some of the darkest areas of CIA chem/bio weapons testing
    during the Cold War era. The CIA had no issues exposing the monstrous effects of these drugs/chem to public populations like
    prisons, mental hospitals etc.
    With such a subservient MSM, it’s no wonder we have to wait over 50
    damn years to learn of these horrors.

  13. Guest says:

    This freedom-of-the-press stuff ain’t what it’s cracked up to be.

    Take Judith Miller of the New York Times, for instance. As an agent of Dick Cheney’s office, she terrorized the American people into supporting the Iraq invasion. And when they locked her up for withholding information about the Valerie Plame affair, she was still working for the government — she was still protecting Dick Cheney’s propaganda machine. She should have been locked up for the rest of her life, but the prosecutor cut a deal for limited “testimony” and cut her free.

    Bob Woodward’s another one. This guy has probably never done an honest day of reporting in his life. He worked for the government before Watergate, he worked for the government during Watergate, he worked for the government after 9/11, he worked for the government during the Valerie Plame affair (see above), and he’s probably working for the government right now. Yet people still see him as the little guy who stood up to the government.

    • sgtdoom says:

      Exactly, and thanks for very well thought out and insightful comments, Woodward — as Russ mentions in his book Family of Secrets — has a highly questionable background, and still no one has ever proven that the fellow who claimed to be “deep throat” (deceased former FBI deputy director) was really such — and how could he have bugged Nixon’s Oval Office, when it was swept for bugs multiple times per day, first by the Secret Service techs, then by private contractors (used to know the US Secret Service tech involved)? [Much the same as Osama bin Laden was never proven guilty of 9/11, and now some shyster/crooked judge is allowing the prosecution in the Bradley Manning trial to use as a witness one of the SEAL team members involved in the assassination of OBL — no guilt proven, no dead body provided, fantasy after fantasy after fantasy and hearsay!]

      Best book to read about the unfree American press:

      Into the Buzzsaw, edited by Kristina Borjesson (a truly outstanding work and achievement on her part, and the part of the contributors)

      Another soon-to-be published book is Lance deHaven-Smith’s Conspiracy Theory in America (truly part of the library one should possess including Russ’s book(s).

    • rjgarcia says:

      Miller and Woodward could be making shit up. Who would know. What a profession. As for the Aurora shooter, they should save time and money and hang his ass.

  14. Orangutan. says:

    It all is starting to remind me of the Strategy of Tension and Operation Gladio that the U.S. used abroad and now seems to be bringing home to our population.


    And Remember… “the process of transformation.. is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” — PNAC document “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (Sept. 2000)

    • sgtdoom says:

      And don’t forget, the wife of one of the founding members of PNAC, Robert Kagan, is the State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland (appointed by Hillary, of course).

  15. Puppetburglar says:

    What if her source wasn’t in law enforcement, but was still credible enough to run with the information? A line may have been cut…

  16. Once again Russ allows the media to frame the narrative when any half wit has questions about the conflicting reports of a lone gunman. Also I note Eustace Mullins was reporting on George HW Bush’s career in the CIA before becoming director of CIA .long before Family of Secrets.

    • johndissed says:

      Reports of Bush’s early CIA work are acknowledged in FOS. Where do you think Russ found out about it himself? He followed up and published more in-depth work on the family than anyone has before or since, and changed the conversation in America in a way that very few have.

      “Any half wit has questions” but most journalists don’t, which is the point.

    • edwardrynearson says:

      Bush’s father founded the CIA

  17. Mc says:

    I have become that person who is unceasingly skeptical. I find myself approaching every narrative trotted out for public consumption with a raised eyebrow. It’s depressing. I never in a million years thought I would be this person and I’m still not entirely comfortable with this endless lack of trust with regard to msm. But when I pose logical questions and receive illogical or incomplete answers what else can I do but doubt? And continue to ask questions…..The rabbit holes seems to go on and on and somehow they all wind up intersecting at certain points.