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Cole writes: "Glenn Greenwald on the BBC's Hardtalk seems to surprise the anchor by asserting that journalists need to investigate the powerful since the latter tend to lie to the people."

Glenn Greenwald. (photo: AP)
Glenn Greenwald. (photo: AP)

Greenwald: Journalists Must Investigate Government Officials Because They Lie

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

30 November 13


lenn Greenwald on the BBC's Hardtalk seems to surprise the anchor by asserting that journalists need to investigate the powerful since the latter tend to lie to the people.

This is how the BBC describes the program

"Journalist Glenn Greenwald who reported on the data leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden has told HARDtalk it is the job of journalists to investigate the claims of people in power.

Mr Greenwald said the Iraq war was as an example of how the US and UK governments had made "false claims" to gain support for the war.

"People in power, specifically national security officials will routinely lie to their population," he added.

The video is here: your social media marketing partner


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+60 # tigerlille 2013-11-30 17:17
Wow. This BBC so-called journalist is as bad as those CNN hacks.
+48 # babaregi 2013-11-30 19:12
Quoting tigerlille:
Wow. This BBC so-called journalist is as bad as those CNN hacks.

Yep, he had to be told to shut up and allow space for the answer to his questions or the interview was going to be over!
+67 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-12-01 01:20
What? You mean we are being lied to? Who would actually do that to us? Holy Moley. Rememebr Ben Franklin's story about how a horse thief stole a horse based on truth? Horse thief cased a farm figured out the best time to steal a horse. Got away with it based on truth. Why? His desire to steal the horse was greater than his fear of getting caught. When journalists and politicians lie to the American people, their lying is based on the truth that their desire to tell a well fabricated lie is greater than their fear of getting caught. Cheney, Bush and company told the American people "believable" lies because they thought the American people were not that smart in critical thinking skills. And they are right. American students (who, of course sometimes become adults) ranks 25th in the world in math and science based on the upper 10 percentile. Math and science skills are critical thinking skills. Additionally, this country believes in religious "Fairy dust." Fairy Dust, hmmm?
Now, Fairy dust, great poetry but the world runs on prose. Was Canada smart enough not to pollute their pristine country by not refining and building ports to export Tar Sands products? Used the U.S. as a "dumbest country" to transport their dirty crude tar sands product. You know, I really do not remember one newspaper reporting on why the U.S. was "selected" as the dumb country to process Alberta's stinking crude. Only in America could people be forced to tolerate "fracking." "Greatest country in the..."
+14 # John S. Browne 2013-12-01 17:07
Most of the "Amerikan" people still believe the Iraq war lies, and won't hear otherwise. That's how powerful the propagandizing and brainwashing in the U.S. are. Most of them still believe that we have the greatest, most wonderful, government that there ever was, and that they "shouldn't" question what it does. Yes, they'll give lipservice to agreeing that the government constantly doesn't tell us the whole truth concerning important issues, for example about Fukushima which there's been a virtual total blackout about, but when they say that, they're being disingenuous and just parroting what they heard, because they don't really believe that important information is kept from them by the government to any great extent. They can't wait for such conversations to end; and, as soon as they do, they quickly forget such facts by moving on to concentrating on unimportant stuff like what their wife or girlfriend wants them to pick up at the store, or what they should buy for their husband, boyfriend and/or child(ren), and/or who's winning, or won, a football game, or a "reality" TV show, etc. The unconscious cognitive disconnect is so strong that they disconnect from all that makes them feel uncomfortable; which, of course, the truth does. The truth is so alien to them, and it's so inculcated into them that they should avoid and deny truth, that they will do anything in order not to be confronted with it, or to quickly forget it if they allow some people to discuss it with them.
+11 # John S. Browne 2013-12-01 17:26

Look at how many people in this very thread are defending major government propaganda networks. That's how convinced they are that those networks are telling them the truth while they're constantly lying to them. And most "Amerikans", Brits, Canadians and Aussies, etc., don't have the ability to discern between the truth and the lies, so they don't realize just how much of the lies they have absorbed and believe are "truth"; Anyone and everyone who tries to tell them that they shouldn't trust ANY of the "lamestream" government propaganda media, is supposedly overboard or deluded. They shouldn't be watching ANY of the mainstream propaganda ministry of the government(s) and "intelligence" agencies, headed by the many-tentacled "al(l) CIAduh(!)", but most of them will continue to do so no matter how bad it gets. That's how brainwashed they already are. They won't take the "trouble" to train themselves to be truly discerning in order to recognize all lies and to avoid all purveyors of those lies. It's much more "convenient" to trust what they've been used to for years, just as intentionally designed by the powers-that-be (PTB) for them to do, so they won't accept that things really are that bad to the point where they need to take the "trouble" to avoid all purveyors of lies like the plague. No, instead, they will purposely continue to allow themselves to be brainwashed as they have been programmed, indoctrinated and conditioned to do their entire lying lives.
+6 # John S. Browne 2013-12-01 17:57

Most peoples' lives, especially in the "West", are a lie, and they've been living a lie their whole lives by the purposeful design of the PTB, to such an extent that they will do almost anything to keep living that lie undisturbed, or relatively undisturbed. And they won't let anything wake them up to the fact that they've been living in a fantasy world their entire lives. As I've said before, it is truly, literally miraculous when some, an extreme minority, do wake up to the true reality, and to the fact that facing that true reality is the way to go and is preferable to living in the dreamworld that that so-called "reality" is, rather than living as a "Copper-top" in the "Matrix" that intentionally keeps them dumbed-down and emotionally unhealthy, if not physically unhealthy, and preferring to live in artificial "reality", and living "The Great Big Lie". No matter how much living the lie makes them unhappy, unhealthy and/or artificially "healthy" and "happy", they will refuse tooth and nail to face that the truth, no matter how depressing it is, WILL set them free and truly make them happy and healthy; not continuing to live the lie, and living in the fantasy world, that will only make them more unhealthy and unhappy.
+8 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-12-01 21:09
This, your post is good. When I travel to and arrive in China, the first cultural characteristic that is obvious. The Chinese are slender. I have dinner with my relatives in China as I'm married to a retired Chinese school taecher who at this time, is living in China, pending her visa. What is a good Chinese dinner experience? first, of course, one may want to learn to use chop sticks. What is usually served? Typically, several selections of meats, vegetables. My curiosity asked, "what will the Chinese serve for a dessert?" Answer, your whole meal is your dessert. They do not serve cookies, pies, cakes, puddings, ice cream, soda, etc. It struck me that the Chinese first say, "what is good for me as I am essentialy, bodily, a chemical factory." Then, they do try to make the food tasty with oils, a little spice, etc. I quickly found out that when I offer my elder Chinese realtives to join me for dinner at my hotel, they will enthusiasticall y, politely say, "yes!" If they are offered processed sugar or high fructose corn syrup products American dinner products, they will politely say "no thank you." First trip to China, I quickly realized that Americans are attracted like flies to high fructose corn syrup
products, starchy foods, processed sugar "foods." Americans first eat what tastes good then they ask, if they ever do, "is what I'm eating good for me?" And I mean, "chemically good for me?" Younger Chinese, now becoming addicted to Coke, etc. So sad, Western influence.
0 # rhgreen 2013-12-01 12:54
I routinely watch BBCWorld and I often watch Hard Talk. To be fair, that BBC anchor (who almost always hosts Hard Talk) is aggressive like that with everyone he has on the show. I have seen him being like that with guests who are on the other side of that issue. The show is called "Hard Talk", after all. CNN is the best objective news channel the US has to offer, and it really fails on some issues. The BBC is head-and-should ers the best English language source of news in the world. Try watching it all day, including its news presentation and documentaries as well as its interviews, instead of just reacting to one Hard Talk interview. Al Jazeera English isn't bad, but most of their staff were originally ex-BBC people and to some extent still are.
+4 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-12-01 15:14
The CBC in Canada isn't all that bad, either - one proof of which is the the Harper Government's unrelenting budget attacks on it.
+7 # crispy 2013-12-01 20:52
CNN is pure propaganda you don't know what real (true) news is
BBC is right behind CNN
I the 1st Golf War CNN propaganda was so bad we called it PNN Pentagon Network News and is remained that way till now; C could also stand for CIA.
Check Al Jezzera and Russian tv (with a grain of salt on the latter)
+5 # Texas Aggie 2013-12-01 23:02
CNN International and CNN in the States are so different that they might as well be run by different companies. The one we have in the States is totally useless while the one that runs in the rest of the world isn't too bad.

However, if you watch an hour of their news (BBC), then you can switch channels because they just repeat it the rest of the day. AJE is better because they actually send their people into the field to talk with the actual people in the news like the rebels in the Congo who were fighting the government. But having said that, often they present the viewpoint of the powers that be as well rather than talking to all sides. Snyder's takeover of Michigan cities with expulsion of all their elected officials was something that AJE thought was an excellent idea.
+3 # Salus Populi 2013-12-03 14:38
I would recommend the on line site , which takes neither advertising nor government nor foundation support. Its videos are high quality, if slow loading on my pathetic excuse for a computer, but its content is head and shoulders above that of any mainscream news outlet. I used to notice, when I was living in Alaska and listening to short wave radio, that national news programs tended to be more reliable about other countries than their home states. Thus if you wanted an unvarnished account of Canadian politics, you might go to a British or Scots channel; for the U.S., the CBC was better than anything available then country wide [since the Pacifica stations at that time did not have national reach, and Counterspin, Alternative Radio and Democracy Now! were only carried on a few stations; for Latin American issues outside of Cuba, Granma had more honest coverage, etc. Nowadays, with the Internet, confining oneself to the whoreporate combine that Dr. Paul Craig Roberts refers to as the "presstitutes" is choosing to wear blinders about what is really going on.
+5 # Texas Aggie 2013-12-01 22:31
He's worse. I've seen him several times in BBC broadcasts in European hotels and I don't watch BBC anymore because he might appear. I have never seen someone who twists and distorts someone else's words and points with such blatant deceit as he does. Glenn was very good about telling him to shut up and listen instead of just running off at the mouth.

This guy is an obsequious water carrier for the powers that be and would never consider in any way casting aspersions on his class superiors or contradicting their talking points. If there were ever a better representation of the British class system run amok, I haven't seen it.
+42 # tomtom 2013-11-30 23:33
Does anyone know how Many people in the world trust that their government's should be trusted, without question, compared to The number who believe the world is going to hell in a basket and it's time to take serious actions? Imprisoning those that speak out, enslaving populations in debt, prívate companies using the military to increase their profits, kidnapping, torturing and killing as a terrorist tool. We don't want chaos, but, it's time we put a stop to these crimes, excusad and defended by the press' propaganda.
+50 # Solomon Davidson 2013-11-30 23:34
Stephen Sackur seems to have forgotten the Downing Street Memo that said all evidence was being "fixed" around a casus belli for going to war against Iraq. Sackur's lapse of memory serves on purpose - the status quo with the military industrial elite in charge of the UK and the USA.
+102 # soularddave 2013-11-30 23:35
Its hard to debate a Real journalist who dedicates his life to uncovering facts and ideas. Greenwald lives to go up against power with truths and facts that powerful people don't want to acknowledge. He makes his living by letting us in on their scams, sometimes before the sh** hits the fan.

I, for one, am grateful for his efforts.
+43 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-12-01 08:16
Dear soularddave, I join with you in being grateful to Glenn G. for his efforts.

And, grateful too I am to the great journalists, whistleblowers, activists in the Hedges, et. al. v. Obama, et. al. 'case of the century'. Then, there's our 'true heroes' and real McCoy Uncle SAM - Snowden, Assange, Manning. How well I know: it takes loads and loads of courage and determination these dreadful days, to out the truth, and...

+24 # Floe 2013-11-30 23:51
Wow, some journo interviewing Greenwald. If only he had the same level of skepticism with government officials that he has with fellow journos! What does he expect once from the ones who have already lied already and caused thousands of lives? Does he expect to brush that aside and continue trusting in what they claim about others? What a joker.
+33 # m... 2013-12-01 01:21
I would say its incredible to even see an actual REAL Reporter like GreenWald in front of a camera speaking his mind so that the human race can hear his views these days seeing as how BOTH the now vastly Corporate Privatized Government and the huge, vast, all pervading and extremely narrowly owned Corporate (Free?) Press seem so happy and cozy in bed together doing the work of and for the Global Corporate 'PERSONS' they work for. All of which surely seems to exclude views and efforts like Greenwald's... Or for that matter-- excludes just about any actual and true investigative journalism by any actual and truly 'FREE' Press from even occurring anywhere in the world anymore.

Do you think there is an actual 'Free' Press operating in America anymore holding what we still call 'Government ' or any Corporate 'Person' accountable for anything they say or do anymore ?… Or.., if you think there is., do I need a Microscope to see it..?

-42 # ishmael 2013-12-01 01:59
It was a good interview.

In this little piece, notice that Mr Greenwald, whatever you think of him, responded to Mr Sackur's question with non~sequiturs.
+26 # engelbach 2013-12-01 06:38
I don't notice that at all. I found his answers complete and to the point.

Which of his answers do you claim were non-sequiturs?
+9 # John S. Browne 2013-12-01 18:28
Willful idyots like "Ishmael" believe that all "lied-into-the- Iraq-war" answers for how the powers-that-be lie to us constantly, are supposedly "non-sequitors" and/or "evasions"; because most "Western" people are so brainwashed, and so enamored of the news and talkshow personalities, or at least by what they say usually, that they are convinced that, even if they know that the Iraq war lies were lies, the subject of the Iraq war is so "past", so "old news", something that we "'should' move on from and 'forget'", and that it's supposedly no longer relevant to showing and proving the constant lies of Western government(s). They can't see, and choose not to, and/or are brainwashed into not seeing, the forest for the "trees" of truth that happened longer than five minutes ago, let alone ten, almost eleven, years ago. For, even though the Iraq war supposedly "ended" relatively recently, even that is too "long" ago for them to pay much if any attention to. And the government propaganda ministry that the main/lame-strea m media is, makes certain that they respond like that.

Plus, on talkshows like the instant one, people like Greenwald, if they're actually allowed to finish presenting any significant truth(s), don't have enough time to fully answer questions and/or give other examples of how, for instance, we're lied to constantly. He knows of many, but he couldn't give any but the most glaring and obvious one which most people now ignore, if they know the truth of it at all.
+6 # Texas Aggie 2013-12-01 23:09
How is saying that three members of the Senate Intelligence Committee said that the intelligence was a lie is a non sequitur?
+20 # Milarepa 2013-12-01 02:51
I like both Greenwald and Sackur. In this brief bit Greenwald
clearly came out on top - simply because he has history on his
side. Sackur was, and is, in an untenable position. In future, when confronting people of Greenwald's stature, Sackur would do well to rethink his approach.
-47 # ishmael 2013-12-01 06:09
Probably correct about Sackur's approach although Greenwald still responded with non-sequiturs to the particular question Sackur asked him.

Referencing Iraq-based lies from the past is not solid evidence. A good journalist would know that but Greenwald evidently didn't, or didn't care.
+48 # engelbach 2013-12-01 06:40
Referencing lies from the past is not evidence?

Then what is?

We have only what has been done in the past to point to. We cannot reference the future ...

And are you the only person on the planet who isn't aware that the head of the NSA lied to Congress, and admitted it?
+3 # intheEPZ 2013-12-01 18:18
He could have pointed out that Snowden's revelations of NSA spying on the American people gave the lie to Gen. Alexander's testimony to Congress that they weren't drag netting phone calls. That would have been a more current and relevant piece of information, and raise the point that gov't even lies to itself, to provide cover. IMHO govt in general, with only a few exceptions, is made up of a bunch of sociopathic compulsive liars.
+2 # Salus Populi 2013-12-03 14:50
As the legendary Izzy Stone put it, "Governments lie. All of them."

But in the present case, given the limited time, Greenwald's referring to an episode that all informed people now commonly acknowledge as a lie was a good way to emphasize his point. Especially in view, again for those who have any interest in the subject whatsoever, that at the time of the lies, while they were being called out all over by the radical press and prominent radicals, those same lies were being swallowed with gusto by most of the media, facilitating the job of the black propagandists in high offices.
+2 # Texas Aggie 2013-12-01 23:11
Obviously you "missed" the part about three members of the Intelligence Committee saying that they lied.
+36 # engelbach 2013-12-01 06:42
Sackur's questions were intended not to elicit information, but to impeach Greenwald.

Sackur's gullibility about government and his lack of serious journalistic insight were pretty glaring.
+18 # keenon the truth 2013-12-01 07:02
I find Steven Sackur abrasive and unpleasant, and argumentative for the sake of being argumentative, most of the time. However, I think perhaps he has been told to be like this. I am noticing a trend in the BBC journalists to try to browbeat their interviewees, and to be the 'winner' in the debate. And the times when we really need them to push, they don:t. Channel Four news (UK) is a much better option.
+11 # Billsy 2013-12-01 13:00
Would that journalists like Sackur be as abrasive and argumentative when addressing those in power as they do embattled and exiled journalist Greenwald. Sadly, they tend rather to coddle them, throwing softball questions their way so as not to lose "access" to the powerful & mighty. It's the reason I largely ceased paying any attention to TV news circa 1978.
+16 # JohnBoanerges 2013-12-01 07:39
Izzy Stone wrote a book that covers nearly 2 inches of my bookshelf, the title based on a famous quote of his. It's All Governments Lie. Lying is 'part of the job' of government employees from the low to the high and it is done with nauseating regularity if one pays attention. It is the lack of attention that borders on insanity. I posit that if they were punished for lying, they would not remain employed. Think about cops (and bathe in inward satisfaction).
+1 # JohnBoanerges 2013-12-01 07:39
Izzy Stone wrote a book that covers nearly 2 inches of my bookshelf, the title based on a famous quote of his. It's All Governments Lie. Lying is 'part of the job' of government employees from the low to the high and it is done with nauseating regularity if one pays attention. It is the lack of attention that borders on insanity. I posit that if they were punished for lying, they would not remain employed. Think about cops (and bathe in inward satisfaction).
+18 # Artemis 2013-12-01 07:42
Sakur is just one more example of the appalling level of journalism that the media has sunk to. We do expect this of American TV journalists, but, until some years ago, not of the BBC.
The BBC has been getting worse and worse, and it would be interesting to pinpoint exactly where their demise began - was it in the Thatcher era? It must have something to do with the people who run it (Guardian headline in September: "Mark Thompson's career in the balance over BBC payoffs. The former director general of the BBC and now chief executive of the New York Times is on shaky ground." Why on earth the NY Times took him on is beyond me.)
We also have BBC director's who have represented Israel's interests in previous jobs and truth-telling about Palestinian occupation is rejected, as is any balance on that subject. The BBC have been reprimanded for allowing an Israeli view of the conflict to dominate most programming on the subject. But there is also an inevitable storm of complaints by the pro-Israeli lobby when, for instance, there is any objective reporting on the misery in Gaza.
All in all, the BBC now appears to represent the Conservative government's views.
Today an interesting piece on whitewashing Israel at the BBC to give an idea:
+14 # Anarchist 23 2013-12-01 11:29
The BBC Sell-Out is prominently on display on 9/11 when it reported that building 7 (the Salamon Brothers Bldg. as BBC called it) had 'just collapsed...20 minutes before it happened...too bad for them their carefully positioned reporter moved..clearly showing WT)7 in the ill standing.

I no longer have TV.
+17 # kalpal 2013-12-01 07:48
No one climbs the political ladder without being what Nixon called, "A Good Enough Liar."

To those whose self assigned task is defending today's liars pointing out that the current boondoggle we are ensnared is is based on past lies is inadequate proof that today's scoudrels are dyed in the wool liars. If you point out an obvious lie, the response is inevitable a false equivalence complaint. There is no denial that it is indeed a lie but simply a complaint that others do it too. (When you were caught misbehaving, I am sure your parents were very understanding when you moaned the excuse that everyone else does it, too.)
+12 # Sweet Pea 2013-12-01 08:00
How could anyone believe what they hear-see-or read in the corporate-run news media. They feed us only the news that they want us to hear---from the angle that they want us to believe.
+10 # Erowidus 2013-12-01 08:34
Stephen Sackur is actually quite good at his job. Some of his interviewees are the worst type of politicians and more often than not he shows them up for what they are. He tries to get at the 'truth' and sometimes that means playing the Devil's advocate. By doing this he gave Greenwald the opportunity to fully explain his version of events. Considering the BBC is the corporate media, I think it's pretty good that we still have a forum like this, for journalists like Greenwald to expose the truth and tell it how they see it.
+3 # Texas Aggie 2013-12-01 23:15
That is one way to look at it, but if it were true, Greenwald wouldn't have had to essentially tell him to shut up and listen.
+14 # hoodwinkednomore 2013-12-01 08:45
Did any one else notice the glaring clear-cut mountain behind Greenwald? Perfectly heart-breaking. Thank you, universe, for a journalist as selfless and as brilliant as Glenn Greenwald!
+14 # animas 2013-12-01 09:00
Ishmael, it is my sense that Glenn was giving the big picture of the ways that governments and officials can and do lie by first referencing the Iraqi war. It was an excellent point to reference because it in fact does prove Greenwald's point in a huge way!!! AND then Glen DID more directly answer his question when he stated that the three democratic senators found no evidence to support the claim that Snowden's releases posed any harm. SO hearing this from the three Senators I now suspect that there could be even more lying from these other top two officials who say that Snowden's releases have posed a threat.
+5 # reiverpacific 2013-12-01 10:15
Well, the BBC should know this better than anybody -they've been covering the English (yes "ENGLISH) "Riles" since day one -and the two houses of parliamentary fiddlers also.
I'm afraid our rulers of whatever stamp are corrupted by the very power that they seek when they achieve a measure of it, "as absolute power corrupts absolutely".
Lying is the very stock-in-trade of the power-drunk ruler from dictators to faux-democracie s. How else could they get the masses to go along with their schemes and be persuaded to become cannon-fodder for their expansionist or internal-contro l lusts.
It's the very guts of the Journalist, Writer and Artist's work to bury beneath all the official window dressing like moles to shine the light of truth on the powerful's machinations; many have died in this cause.
I'm afraid history doesn't show us many like Shakespeare's King Harry V in his stirring speech before Agincourt:
“he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us----
----We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.”
+10 # fredboy 2013-12-01 12:42
The tragedy of this headline is that you have to tell them this. Investigating every office older and government worker we covered was par for the course in the 70s and 80s. Now the wimp press seems afraid, and also wants to be on the inside--not the outside, objectively looking at all. Here is Southwest Florida we've even seen the region's news media look away and even apologize when the region's congressman was busted for cocaine and entered a guilty plea. They asked zero questions. Disgraceful, and quite dangerous.

The watchdog is dead. It's everyone for themselves now.

To the few ballsy journalists left, keep checking out everything and everyone. That's your job, and your duty.
+1 # Texas Aggie 2013-12-01 23:18
The ghost of Izzy Stone is quietly crying at what has happened to investigative journalism. Maybe not so quietly and he is waiting at the Pearly Gates to send these guys to where they belong.
-1 # Annietime13 2013-12-03 00:24
Saddest of all
Izzy is not alone
Right next to him is
Michael Hastings Michael Hastings Michael Hastings

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