Foreign influence operations are bad. Unless they’re coming from your guys.
Bezos’ Washington Post is obviously up to its ears in the Khashoggi influence operation by Qatar and Turkey against the Saudis. But the New York Times can’t be seen to lag too far behind the bosses behind Al Jazeera and Brookings.
The old gray lady rolled out its latest push, “An Oscar Winner Made a Khashoggi Documentary. Streaming Services Didn’t Want It” without mentioning certain very pertinent details.
Like the ones I covered in my debunking long before The Dissident ever became a major story.
The Dissident is the latest effort at mythologizing Khashoggi, a former Saudi stooge, terror propagandist, bigot, and friend of Osama bin Laden, by Islamist interests operating out of Qatar and Turkey. Jamal Khashoggi was not a journalist: he was producing pro-Islamist and anti-Saudi propaganda for the Qatar Foundation, a pro-terror organization, which helped draft his articles and dictated their content.
There are actual dissidents and actual journalists in prison in Islamist tyrannies like Turkey. But instead of telling their stories, The Dissident and its director, Bryan Fogel, turned to Turkey’s Islamist regime.
Bryan Fogel claims to care deeply about human rights. He cares so deeply that he ignored the tens of thousands of political prisoners in Turkey, journalists, judges, professors, and Kurds, to lobby the regime to help him make a propaganda flick about Khashoggi. Nor is Fogel at all ashamed of toadying to Turkey.
Articles about The Dissident boast of how Fogel received “unprecedented access” to material from the Turkish government and its intelligence apparatus.
“I was building a relationship with the Turkish government who at the end of the day saw the power they could have in this story if they allowed me to tell it, rather than it coming out through Turkish media,” Bryan Fogel admitted.
Asked about Erdogan’s human rights abuses, Fogel shrugged them off.
“You have to know when to pick your battles depending on that story you’re telling… This was not the film to focus on other political matters and in this case Turkey has been a superhero. I felt very strongly that this wasn’t the film to go down political rabbit holes,” he insisted.
Turkey’s lack of an independent press, its ethnic cleansing of Kurds, and its 48,924 political prisoners would be one of those “political rabbit holes” that Fogel didn’t want to explore. The Leni Riefenstahl of Sundance was telling a story about the regime’s political martyr, its Horst Wessel, and noting that Hitler and Goebbels aren’t very nice people would be a political rabbit hole that would ruin the whole tale.
“I needed the world to see and fall in love with Jamal and understand this man was not Muslim Brotherhood or an al-Qaeda sympathiser or all these things being presented by Saudi Arabia or being written about by the alt press in the United States,” Fogel tells an interviewer.
To put it plainly, this is regime propaganda by a state sponsor of terror responsible for incalculable amounts of human suffering abroad and at home.
None of this comes up when Nicole Sperling get a prominent platform at the New York Times to bash streaming services for not picking up The Dissident, and to give Fogel a platform to whine some more about being censored while pushing the propaganda of a regime that literally eliminated the independent press and sends people to jail for the most minor criticisms of the Erdogan regime.
Here are a few key words missing from the huge New York Times article.
Turkey is mentioned twice even though that’s the country where the Qatari backed Islamist allegedly died. There’s no mention of the Turkish government’s role, only that of the police, and this is mentioned only in passing.
Qatar, the regime backing Khashoggi, which used him as an influence operation aimed at American policymakers by planting the stuff they wrote for him in the Washington Post, isn’t mentioned at all.
That’s like writing an entire article about the Rosenbergs or Snowden, and not mentioning Russia. Or Christine Fang and not mentioning China.
It’s one of those, “This is what we can’t talk about when we talk about X” moments thet reveals just how thoroughly censored the media is.
There’s a line between propaganda and bias. And dispensing a narrative that doesn’t even attempt to engage with the basic facts about a case is propaganda. In this case, it’s a foreign influence operation.
You know, the sort of thing that the New York Times keeps claiming is a “threat to democracy”.