This is the second time in a week where Goodman’s editorial judgment has left me deeply disappointed. First was the refusal to cover -- yet again -- the AIPAC conference, with all its implications for US politics and the Middle East. In a year when even the mainstream media was finally forced to take notice (with Jon Stewart of the Daily Show going so far as to refer to the lobby group as the 'Elders of Zion', Democracy Now appeared alone in missing the irony of three presidential candidates pledging to fight the domination of lobbyists in Washington genuflect to the most powerful of them all.
Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against George W. Bush for high crimes ranging from creating a false propaganda campaign to lead the country into an illegal war to felony treason in leaking classified information of CIA operative Valerie Plame to obstructing justice of the investigation of the attacks of September 11th.
One might think that this would be on the front page of every newspaper and website as well as the lead story on all the major networks.
What is the function of the media if not to inform the people about important decisions facing our country? How are we to take part in a participatory democracy if the media is unwilling to give us all of the information needed to make decisions?
Given the number of lives lost and the amount of money wasted, these were the moral equivalents of serious felonies. When crimes take place in other settings, eventually government officials step in. As the scandals become public, there are exposés and then prosecutions. In this case, it is the government committing the crime, and the media, in essence, covering it up.
Yes, media crimes rationalize war crimes. Both are shameful and worthy of indictment.
Official scrutiny of media practices rarely happens, partly because of Constitutional protections afforded journalists and media outlets, and partly because wronged parties have little recourse.
In discussion of the revelations in Scott McClellan’s new book that the media was too easy on the administration in the run of to the war, Congressional correspondent Jessica Yellin on Anderson Cooper 360 admitted that she was pressured by the network executives to frame her pieces in a way that made President Bush look positive, even editing her pieces to favor the administration.
The headlines, splashed across The Drudge Report, ABC News and other major news sites last night, were scary indeed: AL QAEDA TAPE TO CALL FOR USE OF WMD
According to the reports, the tape urged jihadists to use “biological, chemical and nuclear weapons to attack the West,” and a quote from an official source followed, adding further credibility:
“There have been several reports that al Qaeda will release a new message calling for the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against civilians,” FBI spokesman Richard Kolko told ABC News in an e-mail.
If confirmed, this would represent an overt threat, and an unusually intense one. However, the headline turned less dire upon closer inspection. A few hours after the story broke, Evan Kohlmann, a terrorism expert who closely tracks Al Qaeda, posted a blog item dismissing the threat as a prank:
TVNL Comment: This is an ongoing, calculated farce - that will not end.
Corrections: In Which the New York Times Perpetuates the Myth It Created -- That Bush Won Florida in 2000
The New York Times did not do its own recount. It did participate in a consortium. Here's what they actually said: "If all the ballots had been reviewed under any of seven single standards, and combined with the results of an examination of overvotes, Mr. Gore would have won, by a very narrow margin." Ford Fessenden And John M. Broder New York Times, November 12, 2001
We have often noted here the special role that New York Times reporter Michael Gordon plays in the national media. For years, he has served as a key conduit for government propaganda aimed at fomenting military aggression, then justifying it once it has begun. In many ways, he has probably been a far more effective tool of the militarists than the Fox News network.
But nonetheless, with Gordon's help, the narrative of the surge's "success" marches on. An anti-American cleric grants government troops permission to enter areas controlled by his militia – and this is ballyhooed as a triumph. Meanwhile, Gordon does not neglect his drumbeating duties in the push for war with Iran: the story is laced with unqualified references to mysterious "Iranian-backed militias" which, we're told, skulked away from Sadr City when al-Maliki flexed his muscles. Readers of the New York Times – and those disseminators of its conventional wisdom further down the media food chain – cannot be allowed to forget that Iraq is seething with perfidious Persia's evil agents, killing Americans in cold blood. Gordon actually shows some restraint in not ending every article with a stirring cry of "Furthermore, Iran delenda est!"
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