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By John Helmer, Moscow

An article by Lucy Komisar on the film “Navalny” was republished here at Komisar’s request on February 22.

Komisar has requested its removal after she received an email from Diana Schemo, an ex-New York Times reporter.

This is a new story of what was famously called, almost a century ago, La Trahison des Clercs. 

Schemo’s email to Komisar was dated February 24.  “I read every word of the article,” Schemo said —  “ just don’t think they amount to conclusive proof of fakery. If they put a mic on Navalny for dramatic effect, it may be unnecessary or pure shtick, but it’s not evidence of fabrication. BTW, the journalist you quote, John Helmer, entirely mischaracterizes the Lancet letter written by 14 doctors.  Their letter confirms a cholinesterase inhibitor was used on Navalny. Novichok is a poison that works as a cholinesterase   inhibitor, so this finding is entirely consistent with Novichok poisoning.  The long list of medical conditions that Helmer cites, and you quote, are exactly the symptoms caused by the poisoning. Prior to his sudden collapse on the plane, Navalny was in good health. In fact, the doctors conclude  their letter by saying that Navalny’s overall good health prior to the poisoning was probably what allowed him to  recover as well as he did. They also address the reason for  the delay in identifying Novichok as the agent used. You  should read the Lancet letter yourself instead of quoting  another reporter. When he gets it wrong, you get it wrong, too.”

I wrote to Schemo requesting she “identify which of my reports you were referring to so that I can substantiate. Here’s the archive.  In drawing your conclusions you refer to the Berlin clinic doctors’ letter; you appear not to have read the data tables which document Navalny’s condition on admission. If you would like me to send you these tables, do say. You also appear not to be aware of the conflict of evidence between the German Army laboratory and the Swedish state laboratory on the blood testing. You will find that reported in the archive.”

Schemo refused, repeating her claim and refusing to consider the evidence because “I am quite busy with the work I do have”:

I replied to Schemo: “Your term ‘consistent’ applies to several other diagnoses, including those which Navalny had been reported as suffering for years before the Tomsk incident; and including poisoning from lithium and benzodiazepines which are reflected in the tables you refuse to look at. Your use of the term is medically inadmissible and forensically worthless in a US court; it’s propaganda.”

“I note also that you refuse to identify the reports of mine which your email claims to criticize as ‘entirely mischaracterize[d]’. ‘Entirely’ is your adverb, confirming you’ve not read anything. Since that is the case, the consistency to be drawn is that you are a liar — and a lazy one to boot.”

Schemo replied:

Follow the journalism trail for Schemo. She reports herself as executive editor of a Washington, DC, organization called 100 Reporters.   This is funded by the Ford Foundation and the Institute for Non-Profit News, whose money comes from Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.    In the chain of financing for Schemo’s paymaster there is also the Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) of Washington, DC, where Schemo is an advisory board member. The FIJ’s money trail includes the Gannett and Scripps Howard foundations. The Gannett media currently have the largest newspaper circulation in the US, including USA Today, and their shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of $443.1 million.  Scripps Howard is owned by the E.W.Scripps Company, which owns local television stations across the US and national networks.   Its shares are currently worth $1.08 billion

Partner publications of Schemo’s employer include the New York Times, Washington Post, and Voice of America.  

For the history of state capture of the media, begin with Julien Benda’s book, first published in Paris in 1927, and then translated into English. About  the Schemo type, Benda said: “If shame is cried upon him, … he will point out … that today he has to earn his living, and that it is not his fault if he is eager to support the class which takes a pleasure in his productions.”

Click for the Benda book in English: https://www.amazon.com/  The Chomsky-Herman book on the propaganda role for the state played by the New York Times, Washington Post and other mainstream newspapers, was first published in 1988 and can be read here.  

The credibility among American readers for the media reporting Schemo represents is the lowest in the world – 26% as measured by the Reuters Institute in 2022, and still falling.    For a fresh analysis of the commercial model for these media, click to read Chris Hedges.  

According to Hedges, “the media caters to a particular demographic, telling that demographic what it already believes — even when it is unverified or false…Once fact becomes interchangeable with opinion, once truth is irrelevant, once people are told only what they wish to hear, journalism ceases to be journalism and becomes propaganda.”

The collapse of credibility for the US media and their reporters has also been reflected in the stock market. Since the US war on the Ukrainian battlefield began on February 24, 2022, Gannett, Scripps and the New York Times Company have all lost significant asset value.  


The New York Times Co (grey line) share price has fallen the most sharply and to date its market cap has lost $1.2 billion. Gannett’s share price (green) is down by 33%; its market cap has lost $216 million. Scripps has lost $660 million and is down 38%. Source: https://markets.ft.com/

The archive of evidence in the Navalny story can be read here.

The republication can be read at the Wayback Machine here.

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