Failure of American Journalism: Pizzagate and the muzzling of Ben Swann

Dr. Eowyn — Fellowship of the Minds Feb 3, 2017

Comet Pizza. Click to enlarge

Comet Ping Pong. Click to enlarge

“Pizzagate” is the term given to speculations and assertions that there is a pedophile network connecting Democratic Party élites and two Washington, D.C. pizzerias, Besta Pizza and Comet Ping Pong. The latter is a Disneyish pizzeria owned by a homosexual named James Alefantis, who is a former boyfriend of David Brock, a powerful Democratic Party operative and Clinton loyalist.

The word “pizza” in Pizzagate isn’t just a reference to Comet Ping Pong pizzeria but stems from the many cryptic references to “pizza” and other food items (“hotdogs”; “pasta”; “tempting” “cheeses”; “yummy” “sauces”) in a collection of curious emails sent by and to John Podesta, a longtime Democratic Party operative who was White House chief of staff in Bill Clinton’s administration, White House counselor in the Obama administration and, most recently, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. This is the same John Podesta whose emails, published by WikiLeaks, reveal his and his brother Tony’s enthrallment with a cannibalism painting and their involvement with satanic performance-artist Marina Abramovic’s occult “spirit cooking” dinners.

Some say the references to “pizza” and “hotdog” are code words used by pedophiles; others dismiss the claim and would have us instead believe that powerful and very busy D. C. élites spend their time incessantly chatting about pizzas in emails. One of the parties in those Podesta emails is James Alefantis who, though the “lowly” owner of a D.C. pizza joint, is considered the 49th most powerful person in Washington, DC.

That there are pedophiles in Washington, D.C. is not farfetched given the Franklin child sex-ring scandal of 1988-1991 which involved GOP élites in Washington, D.C., and Nebraska’s Boys Town and assorted prominent citizens. The scandal is documented in two books:

Then there is the more recent case of former Congressman and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) who, in April 2016 at his sentencing hearing, admitted under pressure from the judge that he had sexually abused boys. The judge in the case called Hastert a “serial child molester” and imposed a sentence of 15 months in prison, two years’ supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

You would think that claims as incendiary as Pizzagate would warrant investigation by the D.C. police and the supposed “investigative” journalists of the MSM. Certainly, if the allegations were about Donald Trump or Republican élites, you can be sure WashingtonPost/NewYorkTimes/CNN/ABC/CBS/NBC would have reporters crawling over this story ad nauseum.

Even more curious is the fact that some big names in the Alternative Media treat Pizzagate like it’s a leprous contagion.

Wayne-madsen

Wayne Madsen, who touts himself as America’s premier “independent investigative journalist,” not only has not investigated and continues to refuse to look into Pizzagate, when asked by a reader why, responded with Alinskyite ridicule and insults, calling pizzagate “fake news” and those who blog and YouTube about it “crazy conspiracists” who do “a great disservice to those reporters” like the great Wayne Madsen “who have been investigating actual criminal conspiracies involving pedophiles.”

In his post of December 5, 2016, available only to his subscribers, Madsen airily dismisses Pizzagate:

“The so-called ‘Pizzagate’ story had problems from the outset of its genesis on a few dubious websites. The vacuous story falsely claimed that the pizzeria was engaged in a pedophile operation with John Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager and former White House chief of staff for Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.”

In the chat forum with his subscribers about his post, Madsen redoubles his mockery, calling Pizzagate a “phony” “100% bullcrap” “fake story” concocted by “fallacious conspiracy-mongering” “malicious” and “libelous” “fabulists”. To a faithful reader Will Shanley who doggedly asked Madsen why he’s avoiding Pizzagate, Madsen replied with more derision:

“This story is so fake the tabloids won’t even touch it. Concentrate on something more authentic, like Elvis’s three-headed alien baby.”

Even Alex Jones and his InfoWars shied away from Pizzagate. As Oscar Platt, who says the Pizzagate story has “definitely something to it,” recounts for Russia Insider, January 19, 2017:

Alex Jones publicly dropped his coverage of it. He has the resources and the audience to break the story wide open. Jones even created a special video explaining to his audience his logic for dropping his investigation, and then another one to explain why Infowars team member Joe Biggs, who was very active investigating Pizzagate, left the company.

Given the reluctance of both the MSM and AltMedia big shots like Jones and Madsen to investigate and report on Pizzagate, it was a breath of fresh air when a member of the MSM produced a TV report on the subject.

ben-swann

He is Ben Swann, an award-winning reporter and anchorman of CBS affiliate WGCL (CBS46) in Atlanta, Georgia, on which he had a regular investigative segment called “Reality Check”. Swann joined CBS46 as an anchor for its early evening and late newscasts in June 2015.

On January 18, 2017, CBS46 broadcasted Swann’s “Reality Check” report on Pizzagate, which Swann published to YouTube that same day:

video no longer available

As you can see, that video is no longer available, scrubbed from YouTube.

Fortunately, citizen journalists had saved Swann’s report, which you can see/hear for yourself in this video that, no doubt, will also be removed from YouTube:

.

The media drones immediately went on the attack:

  • Within hours, The Washington Post‘s Eric Wemple called Swann’s report “a gem of video slime”.
  • The Daily Beast‘s Ben Collins ran a denigrating profile of Benn Swann, calling him a “truther”.
  •  Gizmodo‘s Bryan Menegus published an article calling Swann a “CBS imbecile” who “just fanned the Pizzagate flames for no reason”.
  • Swann’s own station, CBS46, scrubbed his Pizzagate report. You won’t find it listed on the station’s page on Swann, which shows that Swann’s last “Reality Check” on “Why reports on Trump are fake news” was aired on January 12, 2o17, 6 days before the one on Pizzagate.

Even more troubling is the fact that, after his Pizzagate report was aired, Ben Swann disappeared and was not seen on CBS46 since.

Writing for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s AJC.com on January 27, 2017, Rodney Ho archly observes:

Ben Swann, the evening anchor on CBS46 who created a social media firestorm last week after reviving the “Pizzagate” story, has been off the air since late last week.

UPDATE on Friday, January 27: He will be back Monday, January 30 after being off air since January 19. But his social media accounts will be deleted, he said

There has been no explanation for his absence on air. His co-anchor Sharon Reed has been solo anchoring at times. Sometimes, Tracye Hutchins joins in, as she did Wednesday night. Internally, staffers don’t even know what’s going on.

He does remain on the CBS46 website so he has not been fired.

Neither news director Frank Volpicella nor his boss and GM Mark Pimental have responded to requests for comment. A spokesman from Meredith Corp., which owns CBS46, has not returned email queries or phone call requests either.

It’s very possible the two sides are quietly negotiating an exit settlement agreement with Swann, who joined the station in mid-2015 and is clearly still under contract. And given that the story was cleared by his bosses, their futures are questionable as well.

Swann did one of his “Reality Checks” last Tuesday bringing back the frequently debunked story of a pizza place in D.C. linked to a Hillary Clinton senior aide that was supposedly running a child prostitution ring there. He noted that there is no clear evidence such a ring exists but threw out a lot of online speculation and innuendo, then wondered why the authorities had not done a thorough investigation….

He has not posted anything on Instagram since the brouhaha hit. Ditto on Facebook.

As the Daily Beast noted, he’s a bit of a conspiracy buff and his website Truth in Media is tied to a Republican PAC. Plus, he did some work for the Russian-government supported Russia Today before coming to Atlanta.

Ho calls Pizzagate a “frequently debunked story”.

Really?

As Ben Swann, with eminent common sense, pointed out in his “Reality Check” report, how can Pizzagate be dismissed as “fake news” or “debunked” when there hasn’t been an official investigation — not one — into the many troubling claims?

On January 27, 2017, Ben Swann posted an announcement on Facebook and Twitter that “things are OK,” but that he will “go dark” on social media beginning “Tzuday, Feb. 1”.

ben-swann-go-dark-announcement1

Note that in his “go dark” announcement, Swann bizarrely spelled Tuesday as “Tzuday,” and identified Feb. 1 as Tuesday when February 1, 2017 falls on a Wednesday. Was this Swann’s way of sending out an S.O.S.?

On January 31, 2017, AJC.com’s Rodney Ho reported that “Swann returned on air Monday [January 30], as announced. I saw him at 5:30 p.m. Oddly, his mic was not working properly during an intro about ‘construction fatigue’.”

Below is a screenshot from Swann’s January 30 newscast.

ben-swann-returns-to-anchor-cbs46-newscast-1-30-2017

But as Swann had warned, his social media accounts have “gone dark,” which you can see for yourself. If you go on:

  • Swann’s Facebook page, you will get this message: “This content isn’t available right now”.
  • Swann’s Twitter account, you’ll get this message” “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!”.
  • Swann’s TruthInMedia.com website, you’ll get a “401 Authorization Required” message, asking you to give your username and password, which you can’t provide because you don’t have one since TruthInMedia.com had never required your username and password before.

Sure looks like Ben Swann, the only MSM journalist who reported about Pizzagate, is being muzzled. So much for the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment declaration of a free press . . . .

H/t AllNewsPipeline

~Eowyn

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