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Can the American press be gagged?

 
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R. S. Refugee



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Location: Shangra La, ROK

PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 6:58 am    Post subject: Can the American press be gagged? Reply with quote

'Lies of war: How the press enables
the Bush administration'

By Randolph T. Holhut

DUMMERSTON, Vt. - What does it take to get the American people to care about what is being done in their names in the so-called "war on terror?"

There is more outrage over shoddy sourcing in one story in Newsweek about Koran desecration at the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay than about the numerous stories of well-documented abuse and torture of inmates in American prison camps.

A leaked memo from British intelligence comes out in the British press that all but confirms that the Bush administration had decided upon invading Iraq in 2002 and doctored the facts to bolster its case, and it is greeted with a collective yawn by the American press.

Linda Foley, the president of The Newspaper Guild suggests that non-embedded journalists are being killed in Iraq by what she called "the cavalier nature" of U.S. forces, and she instantly becomes a target of the right-wing screech monkeys who equate any deviation from the Bush administration line with treason.


British MP George Galloway can go before a bogus Senate committee investigating his alleged ties to the UN "Oil for Food" program, knock down every lie used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and see his words disappear down the memory hole of the corporate press within hours of speaking them.

The soldiers that keep dying in Iraq - more than 1,600 so far - and the soldiers that keep getting maimed - more than 15,000 so far - do so off stage. Their pictures and stories rarely are seen and told. Their corpses come home in the middle of the night, shielded from public view. The gravely wounded also come home in darkness, away from the cameras. The corporate press itself is too scared to use pictures of the dead and wounded, for fear of the Patriotism Police coming down on them.

The war has become an abstraction, except to the families who have loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. You would hardly know that people are fighting and dying, except that, on average, two U.S. soldiers die every day in Iraq, whether or not we see their faces.

Yes, there are some brave and honest reporters in Iraq, trying to tell us what is happening there. Yes, there are some fearless reporters back home, trying to unravel the lies and disconnects between the Bush administration's fantasies and the reality on the ground. But there aren't enough of them to keep up with an administration that seems obsessed with making sure Americans never find out the truth about the war.

It's laughable to hear White House spokesman Scott McClellan - a man representing an administration that paid off columnists, spent millions of dollars to manufacture news and planted a GOP lackey in the press gallery to lob softball questions - lecturing reporters on credibility and ethics. But that's where American journalism is today. It is letting a group of bullies and liars set the news agenda because the corporate press is too afraid to challenge the Bush administration on the war.

What the hell are they afraid of?

Losing their status? The press has none in the Bush administration, unless they are toadies. Losing their sources? No one in the Bush administration speaks to the press on the record and if they do, it's only for the rote recitation of that day's talking points.

Losing their jobs? Mavericks that speak truth to power don't last long in corporate journalism, and every reporter knows this.

Too many members of the press have forgotten the words of the legendary independent journalist I.F. Stone: "Every government is run by liars and nothing they say should be believed."

Most of you reading this column know that the Bush administration used distortions and lies to drum up popular support for going to war against Afghanistan and Iraq. You know that every rosy scenario regarding the "liberation" of Iraq has turned to dust. You know civil society is non-existent in Iraq. You know that Iraq is on the brink of civil war. You know that the chaos in Iraq will last as long as U.S. forces occupy that country.

The trouble is too many other Americans either don't know this or don't care to know this.

Why do many Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had a role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks? Why are there people who still believe there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Why, if you bring up the real reasons for invading Iraq - control of Middle Eastern oil, new military bases and dreams of an American empire - you get painted as a traitor by the pro-war crowd?

Because the corporate press is too obsessed with profits and status to tell the truth about the war. Because reporters are too cowed by the right-wing bullies to dare to tell the truth. And because too many Americans are either too lazy and/or stupid to know they are being lied to.

The Bush administration knows this. They can lie with impunity, knowing that few, if any, reporters will challenge them. The White House can manipulate the news and attack those who challenge them and get away with it.

Since our fellows in the corporate press don't feel like using the First Amendment anymore, it's up to us here on the online frontier to hold the salient until the reinforcements arrive. Until they start rounding up the truthtellers, it's time to keep challenging the lies and deceit by President Bush and his minions until the truth is unavoidable and inescapable: that the war in Iraq - a war built on lies and paid for with the needless bloodshed of our sons and daughters - is illegal, immoral and just plain wrong.

Randolph T. Holhut has been a journalist in New England for more than 20 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at randyholhut@yahoo.com.

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/article.php?sid=21252&mode=nested&order=0
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guangho



Joined: 19 Jan 2005
Location: a spot full of deception, stupidity, and public micturation and thus unfit for longterm residency

PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RS...

Let it go. Sell some barrels of oil from the church parking lot. Say that those who don't buy are traitors to America. Go to said church. Afterwards, buy a gun. Buy 20 guns. Pitch a tent for a revival meeting/fundraiser. Shoot some abortion doctors and homosexuals on the way home. Buy a radio station with the oil money. Get on air and tell people that if they don't buy oil from you, they are traitors. Buy a second station. And a third. Be a one man Christian oligarch. Move to Sugar Land, Waco or Wilson county, Tennessee. Assimilate to modern culture for the sake of your sanity.
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dulouz



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Location: Uranus

PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd bet you'd like it if Rush and Fox News were gagged.

Wise up and grow up. This is why you lost the election...

"Americans are cowardly and stupid" and then you insist enlightenment
can be had at "Smirking Chimp". You don't win people over that way and instead drive them the other way and then lose elections.
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tommynomad



Joined: 24 Jul 2004
Location: on the move

PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Screw winning people over. This isn't about winning some stupid argument. This is about a press that is generally so emasculated/co-opted/corrupted that a comedian has to lecture them on how to do their jobs, and when he does, he's right.

The Centre for Public Integrity: ever heard of them? They actually investigate news. The don't regurgitate official newspeak. You probably haven't heard of them because their investigation turn up such scathing stuff that the news organisations/wire services won't pick them up. Why? Because it would also hurt those fatcats who own these so-called news organisations.

There is less media diversity in the USA today than there was in the USSR in 1980. But the American people aren't cowardly or stupid to have let that happen, right?
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Ya-ta Boy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: Established in 1994

PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The FCC took the view, in 1949, that station licensees were "public trustees," and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance. The Commission later held that stations were also obligated to actively seek out issues of importance to their community and air programming that addressed those issues. With the deregulation sweep of the Reagan Administration during the 1980s, the Commission dissolved the fairness doctrine...


By 1985, the FCC issued its Fairness Report, asserting that the doctrine was no longer having its intended effect, might actually have a "chilling effect" and might be in violation of the First Amendment. In a 1987 case, Meredith Corp. v. FCC, the courts declared that the doctrine was not mandated by Congress and the FCC did not have to continue to enforce it. The FCC dissolved the doctrine in August of that year.



While it would not solve all the problems of the media, I think a new version of the Fairness Doctrine would be a step in the right direction.
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Big_Bird



Joined: 31 Jan 2003
Location: Sometimes here sometimes there...

PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dulouz wrote:
I'd bet you'd like it if Rush and Fox News were gagged.

Wise up and grow up. This is why you lost the election...

"Americans are cowardly and stupid" and then you insist enlightenment
can be had at "Smirking Chimp". You don't win people over that way and instead drive them the other way and then lose elections.


We can always count on dulouz for some intelligent enlightening and biting commentary!
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