The American news still does not reflect, but two journalists decided on Thursday (3) to doubt what their government says about what is happening in Russia and Syria.
In the dialogue reproduced above and transcribed here, Matt Lee, who covers the US State Department for the Associated Press, questions spokesman Ned Price about the alleged Russian plan to justify an attack on Ukraine, with passages such as:
“You haven’t shown any evidence to back this up… Actors? Really? This is Alex Jones territory you’re stepping into right now. What evidence do you have to support the idea that there’s any propaganda film in the works?”
Jones is the far-right radio presenter and documentary filmmaker known for falsifying information.
Lee insisted again and again at the press conference, demanding the evidence. Price said that’s the way things are, that it’s necessary to “protect the sources and methods” of the government, which Lee “has been doing this for a long time” and should have known. What the reporter reacted to:
“That’s right. And I remember the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and I remember that Kabul wasn’t going to fall. I remember a lot. So where’s the information besides you coming here and talking?”
The dialogue continued like this, until this passage:
Price: “If you doubt the credibility of the US government, the British government, other governments, and you want to take solace in the information the Russians are releasing, you are the one who knows.”
Lee: “Comfort? I don’t want… I’m not asking what the Russian government is saying. What does that mean?”
The spokesperson then called another journalist and cut the subject.
It was not much different with Joe Biden’s own spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, after announcing that an Islamic State leader had committed suicide and killed his own children during an American attack. The dialogue is transcribed here.
Ayesha Rascoe of the NPR radio network: “About the civilian deaths in Syria, is the government saying they were caused entirely by the detonation of the bomb? Is there any evidence to support this idea? Because there may be people skeptical about what happened to the civilians”.
Psaki: “Skeptical of the US military’s account of when they went and overthrew the leader of the Islamic State? That they are not providing accurate information and the Islamic State is providing accurate information?”
Rascoe: “Well, not the Islamic State, but the US wasn’t always honest [straightforward] about what happens to civilians. This is a fact.”
In both cases, the government implies that reporters must accept its version because the alternative is to believe the enemy. The episodes have been reverberating among American journalists, with this point in particular.
Another NPR journalist, Steve Inskeep, warns: “Answering ‘believe me or believe in the Islamic State’ is not an answer. This country has tried to make war on the ‘you are with us or against us‘ and it didn’t work either.”