Archive for the ‘reporting’ category

The absurd “furor” over Reverend Wright

May 1, 2008

The only reason there is a “furor” as the press likes to say, is because the Repubs and the press who are so firmly snuggled up in their pockets have created one. And the only credibility Obama has lost in my eyes is due to him feeling that he has to address it as if it is valid.

If Obama is responsible for what Wright says, or anyone else for that matter, doesn’t it follow that the victims of Catholic abuse are also responsible for the actions of their pedophile priests? After all, these priests were once the victim’s “reverends” too.

And what about the rest of us. Are we somehow responsible for the misdeeds and even the misspeaks of our former bosses, colleagues, and pastors? Are children held accountable for the independent actions of thier parents? Are newspaper subscribers responsible for whatever might be printed in the oped? Any sane person would agree that that would be ridiculous.

Is Wright an independent, fully grown adult? Yes. Did Obama tell him what to say or encourage it in any way? No. Does Obama or anyone else have the power to control what Wright says? I doubt it.

Hilary tells a blatant lie trying to show herself to be some kind of macho war mistress, having to run for cover under a barrage of bullets to visit the troops and that actually serious incident has disappeared from the press. But Obama, who is leading the race and is a real threat to the Republican criminal cartel, is still all over the news because of something someone else said that has nothing to do with him.

The only good part of this whole dirty business is that it shows – no, proves how embarrassingly petty the press, the republican party and all the Americans who eat this crap up as if it is gospel really are. The whole rest of the world is laughing their asses off because we are publicizing what all of them have known all along. That with all of our riches and blessings we are still just a petty, racist country and really no better than anyone else.

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The other, less important news

April 24, 2008

I haven’t posted much about politics lately. I’m pretty much bored and disgusted with the whole thing. It’s just a repeat of all past election seasons with all the candidates telling us daily how bad the other candidates are and how only they can and will save us and the world. Of course, none of them can or will.

My home page is Google News and right now, in the long list of stories there, there is just one Iraq related story and that is about Petraeus getting promoted. It seems the war is no longer of any interest to the American people. Lots of news about Mugabe, Dalai Lama, Sri Lanka, North Korea, Jordan, and of course Texas religious fanatics, a new house full of murdered people in Chicago, a grizzly bear that some idiot decided could be tamed and the very latest on American Idol. Somehow American soldiers being brutally killed everyday didn’t have the pazazz necessary to make the news.

So in case anyone is interested, and the evidence is strong that no one is, during the Pennsylvania primary this is what else was going on.

Pvt. Ron Harrison,26 of New Jersey, was killed by a “non-combat” injury near Baghdad.

Spc Steve Christofferson, 20 from Wisconsin, was blown up by an IED in Bayji.

Sgt Adam Kohlhaas, 26 of Missouri was blown up at the same time.

Two as yet unidentified Marines were blown up by an IED in Ramadi.

Another as yet unidentified Marine was blown up by an IED in Basra.

Four as yet unidentified Marines were wounded in those explosions.

A few bodies were found in and around Baghdad but they can’t all be identified because they didn’t all have heads.

I’m sure the families of the dead and wounded soldiers cared about it. That’s probably about 100 people. The other 320 million of us apparently couldn’t be bothered.

Profiles in Courage

March 31, 2008

When I first saw the movie “The Killing Fields” in the mid 80’s I, like most Americans, was completely ignorant of the events taking place in Cambodia. Like many vets, I saw all the movies that were related to Vietnam in an effort I suppose to find some meaning that I had missed. Most were disappointments but this movie, based on the genocide of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979, was so much better than the rest that I ended up watching it 3 times over the years.

It depicts the real life close relationship between western journalist Sydney Schanberg and his Cambodian counterpart, Dith Pran who worked as an interpreter for western newsmen trying to report on the war. The movie won three Oscars.

Dith Pran was captured by the Khmer Rouge but managed to survive by hiding his intellectual background and pretending to be a peasant. The horrors he witnessed are for most, unimaginable and the courage and fortitude he displayed is the stuff of legends.

After Dith finally escaped and moved to the U.S., he became a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and founded the Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Project, dedicated to educating people on the history of the Khmer Rouge regime.

He was “the most patriotic American photographer I’ve ever met, always talking about how he loves America,” said Associated Press photographer Paul Sakuma, who knew Dith through their work with the Asian American Journalists Association.

It was Dith Pran himself who coined the phrase “killing fields” when describing the horrifying stacks of corpses and skeletal remains of victims he encountered on his desperate journey to freedom.

Dith Pran died yesterday at his home in New Jersey from pancreatic cancer. He was 65.

Reporting on the War III

March 22, 2008

Several key questions are posed in this excellent assessment of reporting the war in Iraq. The most profound of these is what would be the reaction of the people in the coalition countries, primarily the US, if they actually saw what was going on in Iraq instead of the heavily censored and sanitized version that the government allows?

This reporter says that the war news seen on TV in the US is more sanitized than in other western countries and the middle east. He says,

Journalism, particularly television journalism, by its failure to show the real horror of war, has become a lethal weapon supporting governments that want to go to war.

This short video is an excellent bit of reporting in its own right.

cross posted at The Impolitic

Reporting on the War II

March 21, 2008

This scene plays out over and over again. Frightened and confused Iraqi civilians leaving their homes, fleeing not Al Quaeda, but the Americans. These soldiers do stop to listen but seem to not have a clue how to deal with these people.

Then listen while a marine explain why it is necessary to break down people’s doors in order to make them safe. I’m sure he is a good marine, but he is not the guy who should be out explaining policy to the Iraqi people.

While Bush keeps saying that if we pull out there will be a bloodbath, these people seem to be begging us to leave so the bloodbath will stop.

These people are scared to death of us. No wonder.

Reporting on the War

March 21, 2008

A lot has been said about the American press and it’s unwillingness to report anti war or anti administration news. The complete absence of news about the Winter Soldier hearings is a perfect example. The MSM also avoids stories about the abhorrent treatment our veterans receive, their homeless rates, suicide rates, etc. Pictures and video from the war zones are heavily censored and, although the vast majority of common Americans are against the war, we sure don’t hear much from them.

It’s almost as if people are afraid to speak out.

There is a conspiracy of information control in America and it is perhaps the most threatening and dangerous thing that has evolved out of the Bush presidency. Speak out against policy (a constitutional right encouraged by the founding fathers) and risk being discredited and humiliated by the right wing minority.

It has gotten to the point where we must depend on the foreign press (and the blogs) to get a true picture of what is going on in our own country and in the war. In the case of the war, if the reporters are embedded with the US military they are safer but they only get to see what is allowed.

Some reporters have chosen to go it alone. But they do so at great personal risk, not only from the militias but from the coalition as well. Over the next few days, unless my Alzheimer’s kicks in, I’m going to post a few of their reports.

How you protect the people from harm by firing rockets at them is a little beyond me.

cross posted at The Impolitic