Is Politico a Credible News Outlet?



FOR THE PAST YEAR Politico has been publishing hysterical articles by Molly McKew of Fianna Strategies. The titles of the articles would make tabloids like the National Enquirer and Weekly World News blush:

“Putin’s Attack on the U.S. Is Our Pearl Harbor”

The articles are accompanied by tweets promoting those articles:

THE PROBLEM is that Molly McKee’s company Fianna Strategies is a registered foreign agent for the President of the Republic of Georgia. McKee is PAID to offer their viewpoint. (By one account, $320,000 over a 16-month period.)

Georgia– once part of the Soviet Union; sitting between Russia and Turkey– wants NATO membership. McKew is paid to expedite this.

THE QUESTION is why Politico presents as a credible journalist an individual paid to be biased?

BEYOND THIS, it’s irresponsible for anyone to casually make analogies to the attack on Pearl Harbor, where 2,403 American sailors and soldiers died in an actual military event. What does Molly McKee advocate? That the United States declare war on Russia? (Listed as co-author of the Pearl Harbor article is a retired U.S. General who was involved in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.) (The last time we witnessed this level of war hysteria was in 2003, about Iraq.)


Russia has a crumbling economy smaller than California’s. They have a plummeting population, and are desperately trying to hang onto what remains of their shattered empire. BUT they also retain an enormous nuclear arsenal. Thoughtlessly promoting war with that country is insanity.

russian missile

WHAT OF Molly McKew’s neoconservative thesis that Russia is promoting a “global imperialist insurgency”?

FACTS contradict this. The USA surrounds Russia with military bases to the immediate west, south, and east– Germany, Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, Kosovo, Turkey, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Afghanistan, Indian Ocean, Philippines, S. Korea, Okinawa, Japan, etc. This doesn’t include NATO troops stationed in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, which are on Russia’s border.

Russia meanwhile has ONE military base outside its immediate vicinity– in Syria. None in the western hemisphere.

WHICH nation is the insurgent global imperialist??

The Politico articles go beyond bias and slant into actual untruth.

THE PREMISE behind the flood of articles from Politico and other news outlets is that Russia is engaged in some kind of massive propaganda assault. Yet when looking at which countries are more greatly influencing elections– which have the propaganda and cyber ability to influence elections– Russia, for all its machinations and duplicities, ranks far down the list. We’ll cover this with a follow-up sometime next week we’re tentatively calling “Propaganda USA.” Stay tuned.


(NOTE: We’ve gone outside the lines of our usual topics because we like this planet and don’t wish to see it wiped out because of bouts of war hysteria. We have follow-ups to the Junot Diaz matter, and coverage of other lit-world topics, COMING SOON.)

-Karl Wenclas for New Pop Lit News.

Politicized Book Awards


The elephant in the room that NO ONE will talk about is the thorough politicization of the National Book Awards. Here are the Finalists and other nominees:

The choices might be most slanted in the NonFiction category– as if the judges looked for every book which would conform to a narrative of America as an evil place which should never have been founded. Exaggeration?

Erica Armstrong Dunbar‘s target is George and Martha Washington– engaged in the “relentless pursuit” of a runaway slave.

Frances Fitzgerald‘s target is evangelicals, “right-wing zealots” in the words of an approving review of the book in New York Review of Books.

David Grann‘s target is white oil barons in Oklahoma in the 1920’s out to wipe out an Indian tribe.

Nancy MacLean targets the “History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.” (Subtitle saying all you need to know about that one.)

Then there’s Masha Gessen, the most anti-Putin, pro-Cold War-with-Russia proponent around, which says a lot. Gessen has the energy of an evangelist, and as fervent a cause. While the other writers give, more or less, honest reportage, albeit from a slanted premise or viewpoint, Ms. Gessen is a professional attack dog. A propagandist. Doubt it– or her political slant? Gessen’s recent articles on the U.S. President include “The Real Madman,” and “Diagnosing Donald Trump, and His Voters”– both of which posit the man as insane. Playing to her audience, sure, and inflaming them– which is what a propagandist does.

Every year hundreds of non-fiction books are published– many thousands if the DIY variety are included. The slant, the bias, the distortion in the National Book Awards comes via which books are selected. Which images chosen to create the desired portrait– which for this nation is not an edifying one. (We are still a nation, though some would think not.)

Could more balance have been provided by the other five nominees? No. If anything, they’re more slanted, more a one-way view of culture and politics– the capper being Naomi Klein’s book on “Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics.” Ms. Klein is an even more hysterical propagandist than Ms. Gessen. (I base that on having read a few of her books.)

Objective commentators? Or advocates with a cause?
The bias exists throughout the other categories, though in not as blatant a fashion. Again, it’s as if the books were selected to fill in a predetermined picture of America, past and now. Need a novel on the struggle of undocumented aliens in this country? We have one– Lisa Ko’s The Leavings. And so on.

If the impression is given that the selections were made for political reasons, for advocacy, and not for quality, this hurts most the writers themselves.