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Title: American Pravda: Mutually-Assured Political Destruction
Source: [None]
URL Source: ... assured-political-destruction/
Published: Sep 18, 2023
Author: Ron Unz
Post Date: 2023-09-18 09:33:42 by Ada
Keywords: None
Views: 14

Treason, Drugs, Homosexuality, Blackmail, and Murder in the 2008 McCain- Obama Presidential Race

I launched my American Pravda series just over a decade ago and during the last five years it has grown enormously, now including many dozens of individual articles and encompassing more than a half-million words of text. I’d still stand behind at least 99% of its contents, and the series probably constitutes one of the most comprehensive historical counter-narratives of the modern era found anywhere on the Internet.

Yet its roots actually go back a few years earlier than that and the entire series might never have come into existence if a link on a fringe website hadn’t caught my eye. I told that story in a short piece I published in 2010:

In the closing days of the 2008 presidential campaign, I clicked an ambiguous link on an obscure website and stumbled into a parallel universe.

During the previous two years of that long election cycle, the media narrative surrounding Sen. John McCain had been one of unblemished heroism and selfless devotion to his fellow servicemen. Thousands of stories on television and in print had told of his brutal torture at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors, his steely refusal to crack, and his later political career aimed at serving the needs of fellow Vietnam veterans. This storyline had first reached the national stage during his 2000 campaign, then returned with even greater force as he successfully sought the 2008 Republican nomination. Seemingly accepted by all, this history became a centerpiece of his campaign. McCain’s supporters touted his heroism as proof that he possessed the character to be entrusted with America’s highest office, while his detractors merely sought to change the subject.

Once I clicked that link, I encountered a very different John McCain.

I read copious, detailed evidence that hundreds of American POWs had been condemned to death at enemy hands by top American leaders, apparently because their safe return home would have constituted a major political embarrassment. I found documentation that the cover-up of this betrayal had gone on for decades, eventually drawing in a certain Arizona senator. According to this remarkable reconstruction of events, the average teenage moviegoer of the 1980s watching mindless action films such as “Rambo,” “Missing in Action,” and “Uncommon Valor” was seeing reality portrayed on screen, while the policy expert reading sober articles in the pages of The New Republic and The Atlantic was absorbing lies and propaganda. Since I had been believing those very articles, this was a stunning revelation.

But was this alternate description of reality correct? Could this one article be true and all the countless contrary pieces I had read in America’s most prestigious publications be false, merely the presentation of official propaganda endlessly repeated? I cannot say. I am not an expert on the history of the Vietnam War and its aftermath.

Yet consider the source. The author of that remarkable 8,000-word exposé —“McCain and the POW Cover-Up,” published on The Nation Institute’s website—was Sydney Schanberg, one of America’s foremost Vietnam War journalists. His reporting won him a Pulitzer Prize, and his subsequent book on Cambodia was made into “The Killing Fields,” an Oscar-winning movie. Schanberg later served as one of the highest-ranking editors at the New York Times, with a third of the reporters at our national newspaper of record working under him. A case can be made that no living American journalist can write with greater credibility on Vietnam War matters. And he had labored for years researching and exhaustively documenting the story of American POWs abandoned in Indochina—a story that if true might easily represent the single greatest act of national dishonor ever committed by our political leaders.

He presented a mass of evidence with names, dates, and documentary detail. Many of the individuals mentioned are still alive and could be interviewed or called to testify. Sealed government records could be ordered unsealed. If America wishes to determine the truth, it can do so.

In the years following the 9/11 Attacks and the Iraq War WMDs, I’d grown increasingly suspicious of the mainstream media, beginning to suspect that it was far less reliable than I’d always assumed. The growth of the Internet had unleashed a vast torrent of additional material, much of it from alternative or fringe sources that sometimes made wild, conspiratorial claims about all sorts of things. My own views on such matters had always been quite mainstream and conventional, so I was very reluctant to abandon a lifetime of media habits and begin navigating an information jungle of implausible or often contradictory claims. Could I really take that sort of material seriously compared to the professionally-printed pages of my regular newspapers and magazines?

However, I explained that Sydney Schanberg’s astonishing John McCain revelations had finally tipped the balance and forced me to recognize that I had long been living in a world of comforting illusions based upon media lies:

Yet what I found most remarkable about Schanberg’s essay were not its explosive historical claims but the absolute silence with which they were received in the mainstream media. In 2008, John McCain’s heroic war record and personal patriotism were central to his quest for supreme power—a goal he came very close to achieving. But when one of America’s most eminent journalists published an exhaustive report that the candidate had instead served as one of the leading figures in a monumental act of national treachery, our media took no notice. McCain’s public critics and the operatives of his Democratic opponent might eagerly seize upon every rumor that the senator had had a private lunch with a disreputable corporate lobbyist, but they ignored documented claims that he had covered up the killing of hundreds of American POWs. These allegations were serious enough and sufficiently documented to warrant national attention—yet they received none.

A couple of years ago, in one of my last exchanges with my late friend Lt. Gen. Bill Odom, who ran the National Security Agency for President Ronald Reagan, we agreed a case could be made that today’s major American media had become just as dishonest and unreliable as the old Soviet propaganda outlets of the late 1970s. At the time, we were discussing the coverage of our road to the Iraq War, but subsequent events have demonstrated that this national illness is far more advanced than either of us had suspected. Whether or not Schanberg is proven correct, the shameful cowardice of our mainstream media is already proven by the wall of silence surrounding his work.

American Pravda: Was Rambo Right? Hundreds of POWs may have been left to die in Vietnam, abandoned by their government—and our media Ron Unz • The American Conservative • May 25, 2010 • 1,300 Words Once a single large hole has breached a dam of disbelief, the forces of hydraulic pressure will steadily widen it, and I gradually became convinced that many of the astonishing claims I’d seen mentioned on alternative websites over the years were probably correct. Three years later, I published my original American Pravda article, summarizing much of that surprising material.

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