Lobbying for Dictators a ‘Precarious,’ ‘Uneasy’ Business

In 2007 Harper’s journalist Ken Silverstein wanted to do a story on Beltway lobbyists’ willingness to work on behalf of creepy dictators. So he went undercover: I decided to approach some top Washington lobbying firms myself, as a potential client, to see whether they would be willing to burnish the public image of a particularly reprehensible regime. The first step was to select a suitably distasteful would-be client. Given that my first pick, North Korea, seemed too reviled to be credible, I settled on the only slightly less Stalinist regime of Turkmenistan. As he reported, someof the lobbyists he approached […]


Jeffrey Goldberg Pushes for War With Iraq–er, Make That Iran

Former Israeli soldier and current writer for the Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg has a long cover story (9/10) on the “better than 50 percent chance” that Israel will launch air strikes against Iran by next July, with the aim of taking out the alleged nuclear threat from the Islamic Republic. Based on roughly 40 interviews with American, Arab and Israeli officials–some of them anonymously–Goldberg meanders from describing the worst-case scenario for what will happen after Israel attacks Iran to relaying dubious Israeli claims about how Iran is the new Nazi Germany to an analysis of Netanyahu’s relationship with his right-wing 100-year-old […]


Dictator Coverage Dictated by U.S. Policy

Harper’s Ken Silverstein is again bucking the media that condemned him for actually investigating U.S. lobbyists for foreign dictatorships–this time contrasting (1/8/09) how, “if the U.S. government deems a country to be a hostile state, the American media will devote significant time and energy reporting on that country’s political and economic problems” with the fact that “if you’re on our side, and especially if you’re providing us with oil, you can get away with murder (literally)”: Today’s Washington Post has yet another op-ed piece about the terrible human rights situation in Zimbabwe (“A Cancer Called Mugabe“). That follows up on […]