BuzzFlash Reader Commentary
December 2, 2002
BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY
Reporters without Borders just ranked the United States "17th" in press freedom. In 2001 ABC, NBC, and CBS News' guest identifiable news sources were 75% white, Republican males according to a FAIR Media study.
Our media has fallen far and hard. It is impossible to have a real democracy in this state we are in. You, the media have become a voice for the Bush Administration, without critical analysis, spreading lies and deceptions put forth by this administration. It began when you all followed the lead of GW's first cousin at Fox who announced Bush the winner. It went into full throttle when the corporate media under reported the results of the media vote counting task force which found that Bush lost Florida and therefore the presidency when Florida's votes were fully hand recounted. It became shameful when you gave almost no coverage to the fact that the Bush campaign had hired the thugs who stopped vote counting in Florida by banging on the doors (per Bush campaign tax records), and ignored the illegal purging of legally registered Florida voters by Jeb Bush, Kathleen Harris, and with support from GW himself.
Paul Begala on CNN discovered that:
* There were exactly 704 stories in the campaign about this flap of Gore inventing the Internet. There were only 13 stories about Bush failing to show up for his National Guard duty for a year.
* There were well over 1,000 stories -- Nexus stopped at 1,000 -- about Gore and the Buddhist temple. Only 12 about Bush being accused of insider trading at Harken Energy.
* There were 347 about Al Gore wearing earth tones, but only 10 about the fact that Dick Cheney did business with Iran and Iraq and Libya. (per Paul Begala on CNN)
On June 11th, 2002, ONLY the San Francisco Examiner reported that 400 of the families of Sept. 11 victims have sued Bush for 9-11 complicity, while this major story was COMPLETELY censored by US media. The 9-11 victims families press conference at the National Press Club, announcing the launch of unansweredquestions.org was completely boycotted by US media.
The media has become a PR agency for the Pentagon. CNN ordered reporters to frame reports of civilian deaths with reminders that "the Pentagon has repeatedly stressed that it is trying to minimize" such casualties, and that "the Taliban regime continues to harbor terrorists who are connected to the September 11 attacks that claimed thousands of innocent lives in the U.S." (See FAIR Action Alert, 11/1/01.) While the host of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Brit Hume" (11/5/01) recently wondered why journalists should bother covering civilian deaths at all. "The question I have," said Hume, "is civilian casualties are historically, by definition, a part of war, really. Should they be as big news as they've been?"
Mara Liasson from National Public Radio was direct: "No. Look, war is about killing people. Civilian casualties are unavoidable." Liasson added that she thought what was missing from television coverage was "a message from the U.S. government that says we are trying to minimize them, but the Taliban isn't, and is putting their tanks in mosques, and themselves among women and children." (Of course, anyone who has watched much TV news knows that this information is included in virtually every report.)
Fox pundit and U.S. News & World Report columnist Michael Barone echoed Hume's earlier remarks: "I think the real problem here is that this is poor news judgment on the part of some of these news organizations. Civilian casualties are not, as Mara says, news. The fact is that they accompany wars."
If journalists shouldn't cover civilian deaths because they are a normal part of war, does that principle apply to all war coverage? Dropping bombs is also standard procedure in a war; will Fox stop reporting airstrikes?
The media has also vigorously character assassinated officials who raise questions the media has dubbed "unaskable." As when five-term Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney raised legitimate questions about Bush and Bin Laden family connections, and their mutual benefit from skyrocketing weapons stocks after 9-11. CNN pundits called her "pugnaciously evil, and pugnaciously ignorant," without ever discussing the reality of the issues she brought up.
This obvious media bias is the most dangerous threat to US democracy. Given the above examples, Reporters Without Borders ranking of US media as "17th" in the world in press freedom . . . seems generous.
Bill Douglas, Kansas City
A BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY
* * *
|DAILY BUZZ||FIFTH COLUMNIST||CARTOONS||SOUTHERN STYLE|
|MEDIA LINKS||LINK ARCHIVES||SEND NEWSFLASH||ABOUT|
otherwise noted, all original