On today's BradCast, how corporate media control of our public airwaves helped elect Donald Trump, and a decades-long, top-level CIA intelligence briefer of U.S. Presidents responds to concerns about Trump skipping Presidential Daily Briefings and on, so far, evidence-free, anonymous claims that Russia hacked and manipulated the U.S. election.
First up today, speaking of questioning "conventional wisdom", there is no doubt that the stranglehold of our public airwaves by corporate media helped elect Trump. But a new report suggests their helping hand may have been even worse than we knew, as Sinclair Broadcasting, the infamously rightwing media behemoth and largest single owner of television stations in the nation, apparently struck a deal with the Trump campaign to provide non-critical coverage on its scores of television "news" outlets in the South, Midwest and elsewhere.
Then I'm joined by 27-year CIA analyst, Ray McGovern, who served as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and prepared and personally delivered the CIA's Presidential Daily Briefings (PDBs) each morning to American Presidents from Kennedy to Clinton. Since leaving the agency, he has become an outspoken anti-war advocate and peace activist and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group which includes esteemed former intel officials, analysts, experts, and whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg, Coleen Rowley, William Binney, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, Karen Kwiatkowski, Col. Ann Wright and others. He is also a contributor at Consortium News and his writings and appearances can also be found at RayMcGovern.com.
I invited him back on today to offer insight as to how the preparation and delivery of PDBs to Presidents and Presidents-Elect have changed over the years and how important they are. McGovern offers some fascinating insight and inside Presidential stories on all of the above. But I wanted to talk to McGovern about this specifically in the wake of Trump's somewhat alarming recent admission that, he rarely attends the briefings because he's "smart", and doesn't "have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years." Instead, Trump says, he sends his national security team to attend what McGovern describes as "the acme of the intelligence cycle, just to give you an awareness off how important the process is."
But our conversation soon moved to the various allegations --- still without evidence and said to be from unnamed intelligence sources citing secret National Security Estimates (NIEs) that some respectable critics say don't necessarily make a lot of sense --- charging that Russia hacked DNC and other emails during the campaign in hopes of helping Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.
In short, McGovern and his fellow team of longtime intelligence analysts, experts and whistleblowers believe the allegations are, in McGovern's words, 'a crock'. He explains why he and his colleagues recently released a memo explaining their dispute with the charges, and what they actually believe is at the root of the thousands of leaked emails. While I agree with Ray on the lack of evidence presented at this time in support of the claims against Russia, I am also skeptical of VIPS' assertions about what they believe really happened, as we discuss on today's show as well.
But, of course, I am always skeptical of anything that cannot be independently verified, especially when it comes to anonymous claims and secret evidence used to lead us into wars. McGovern offers some fascinating details and reminders on the show today as to why such skepticism is a very good idea! Unfortunately, similar skepticism seems to be all too rare these days in much of the rest of our media. Either way, I'll look forward to your thoughts on today's program...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)