Tuesday, August 22, 2006

How News Is Born

ATC today allows an unintended look into the machinations of the US propaganda machine. NPR interviews Sarah Chayes, a former NPR Afghanistan reporter who is now running a self-help program in Khandahar.

During the interview Chayes describes how during the downfall of the Taliban in late fall 2001, she ended up reporting a completely bogus story supplied by the US government. The story claimed that a fierce battle was waged by local forces in Kandahar against the Taliban--though she later learned it was a complete fabrication meant for consumption back in the US.

The focus of the piece was on the failure of US policy in Afghanistan and especially the supposed role of Pakistan in supporting former Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan which was interesting. But I found myself wondering two things. First, why should I trust Chayes information and deductions now--given that she had been so misled and misinformed before. And most importantly--how many other stories on NPR have been nothing but US government planted stories?

Unfortunately these two questions were never addressed in the piece?

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