by Lev Tsitrin
Whether it was the “national coming out day,” or something else that made the New York Times publish a guest essay by Ms. (née Mr.) Manning, it proved to be a fascinating read. And not because Manning fascinates me — she (née he) does not — but because of the unspoken accusation which the essay levels at the mainstream media, the accusation of indifference to doing its job of reporting facts that may well be central to the public life.
Of course, whether putting a microscope to the fog of war to enumerate countless “enemy engagements with hostile forces or explosives that detonated, … body counts, coordinates and businesslike summaries of confusing, violent encounters” is for each reader to decide; I for one am not sure that the daily summaries one reads in a paper or sees on a TV screen are insufficient. That part of Manning’s essay left me cold; what I found fascinating though, was the viscerally-felt, angry and despondent description of the indifference by the mainstream media towards this would-be ardent champion of factual truth — and thus, towards truth itself. The few sentences that are almost accidentally thrown into Manning’s essay — “I called The Washington Post and The New York Times, but I didn’t get anywhere. … as the weeks went by and I got no response from traditional newspapers, I grew increasingly desperate” are by far the most bitter, and the most important in it.
Manning had a very good reason to be bitter: lacking protection from an acknowledged journalistic outlet, the consequences of eventual leaking to Wikileaks were unexpectedly harsh: “I figured at most I was going to be discharged or lose my security clearance. … I never really reckoned with the notion of a life spent in prison, or worse. … Nobody had gone to prison for this sort of thing; I hadn’t heard of Mr. Ellsberg at the time, but I was very aware of Thomas Drake, a National Security Agency whistle-blower who had been prosecuted under the Espionage Act. He’d faced charges that carried a 35-year prison sentence, but shortly before trial he’d cut a deal that left him with only probation and community service. … The details of what happened to me are, by now, well known. I was held for several months in a cage in Kuwait. I was sentenced to 35 years in a maximum-security prison, where I spent seven years, much of it in solitary confinement. … I went on a hunger strike. I attempted suicide twice.”
Had the New York Times or the Washington Post cared to hear Manning out, the outcome would have likely been very different, limited indeed to getting “discharged or losing security clearance.” The papers could have talked her out of the whole idea that the information was of vital importance, or would have, prior to publication, redacted what needed redaction. But they simply ignored Manning, dooming that young idealist to the harshness of the law. One suspects that if not for the prison experience, Manning would have likely stayed a “he,” without the “transitioning” nonsense. Even in that respect, media’s interest in the story would have resulted in one less personal tragedy of the so-called “sex change.”
So above all, the Manning story is yet another sad illustration of the malfeasance and the malfunction of our mainstream media. Of course, this is nothing new: the New York Times famously turned a blind eye to the post-collectivization famine in 1930es Soviet Union that took the lives of several million people who starved to death; and it refused to cover the Holocaust as it was occurring.
My personal experience with the media, the Times and the Post including, confirms the fact that their narrative is aimed at manipulating the public, not informing it. What made my blood boil was the discovery that judges simply ignore “due process of the law” and concoct their own, bogus argument to adjudicate cases the way they want to, not the way they have to based on the argument of plaintiff and defendant. When sued for fraud, judges point to a self-given, in Pierson v Ray, right to act from the bench “maliciously and corruptly,” thus getting away with open swindles. And the likes of the Times and the Post (both of which, among so many others, I approached) adamantly refuse to tell the public that the full third of US government — its judiciary — is, officially and proudly, “corrupt and malicious.” Wikileaks, obviously, wouldn’t care either — this systemic judicial fraud is done in the open, so what’s there to leak?
So, while I don’t find Manning to be a sympathetic figure, I fully sympathize with what she (née he) went through when trying to approach the mainstream media which only cares to manipulate us — the actual reality be damned.
I still don’t know how or why Manning’s essay got into the New York Times, but I am glad it did, just for the sake of the sneaked-in and fully justified, if only implied, accusation of hypocrisy of which the mainstream media that pretends to publish “all the news that’s fit to print” (as does the New York Times), or declares that “democracy dies in darkness” (per the Washington Post) is totally guilty. The couple of gut-wrenching, heart-felt, cry-to-God sentences in Manning’s essay that dealt with dealing with the press were worth the entire long read.
Lev Tsitrin is the founder of the Coalition Against Judaical Fraud, cajfr.org