Sunday, May 31, 2009

Some Journalists are More Equal Than Others

(graphic by Jim Conte - used with permission )

In the post below regarding a letter to the Ombudsman, I noted that Simon referred to former Vice President Al Gore in a story on the two US journalists detained in North Korea. The detention deserves coverage, as did some coverage of Saberi's arrest in Iran (though not the wall to wall attention given by NPR).

In the May 23rd open thread comments, a reader posted a link to this LA Times article on another irregular (illegal?) detention of a journalist. In this case the journalist was seized by US forces and its allies. The reader noted the lack of NPR coverage on the abduction/detention of Ibrahim Jassam, complaining that NPR has voiced "not a word" - which this search of NPR proves.

A glance at the Committee to Protect Journalists report for "Attacks on the Press in 2008: United States" reveals that Jassam's case is not an anomaly (e.g. Jawed Ahmad). What is not an anomaly is NPR's utter disregard for, and refusal to investigate, attacks against journalists that are initiated by the United States government / military. Jeremy Schahill has written incisively about the US strategy of violence and intimidation against critical media and the complicity of mainstream US media outlets (such as NPR) in covering it up.


Anonymous said...

The management at NPR may not realize it, but they are really doing a number on their credibility.

Their actions are not only unprofessional but they are incontrovertibly propagandistic.

They seem to think that they can ignore stories at will and that 1) it makes no difference because "they are not reporting untruths"
2) no one will notice the omission.

But their silence speaks volumes, not unlike the silence of the Germans during WWII spoke volumes.

Through their silence, they are complicit in crimes.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

NPR indubitably IS a propaganda outlet for the CorpoRat State.

And NPR's audience--educated, middle-class+, mainly affluent-- are that segment of the society which, ironically enough, is the most easily propagandized (Ellul, 1965), because it is the group which as the most at stake in believing the propagandistic utterances of the State, because they view the state as the guarantor of their status.

geoff said...

Ok - the first I've heard of Ellul. But it correlates with of the creepiest radio I've heard in a while - not because it was necessarily bad radio: I'm talking about last week's This American Life episode titled The Turncoat.

The story about is about a radical anarchist turned FBI informant and involves Common Ground and the Republican National Convention in the twin cities that seems to connect a lot of weird dots.

It also explains a lot about someone like Robert Siegel or whoever, you know, goes into radio broadcasting with good intentions and is brought over to the dark side by a CIA operative whose own motives are highly questionable. Belligerence and world weariness mixed with a goading and toading by the pysops agent who doesn't even know why he's a psyops agent/agent provocateur - part ego, part cynism, anger at estrangement and betrayed by ideals - the typical CIA psyops dude, as I imagine him.

That's the sickness of having a government agency like the CIA which isn't supposed to operate domestically (in the fatherland) and NPR morphing into a domestic VOA (see Kevin Klose) but the system just can't help itself. 'Specially after 911 - gotta k'neck the doubts.

Anonymous said...

More propaganda by omission at NPR?

We will see how long it takes for them to even mention General Rick Sanchez' (former commander in Iraq) call for a truth commission to investigate torture in Iraq.My guess is that if NPR even mentions it (a big if), they will "balance it" with more BS from Obama about the "need to look forward, not back".

Unlike Obama, Sanchez understands what is to be gained by looking back (then again, maybe Obama understands that all too well)

"For the American people to really know what happened, " he replied, "...this was an institutional failure, a personal failure on the part of many...."

"If we do not find out what happened," continued the General, "then we are doomed to repeat it."

///////end Sanchez quote

Wouldn't it be nice to have someone like Sanchez for leader?

My guess is it will never happen. He's too damned honest.

Anonymous said...

NPR's constant coverage of Saberi has led me to suspect that she probably was working for the CIA.

geoff said...

Yes, methinks NPR doth protest too much. TPM reporter acanuck pretty well calls it as it is: "She was indeed a spy. Just not a very good one." I suppose that's par for NPR. Or maybe even a birdie.

Anonymous said...

If the CIA are relying on NPR "journalists" for their "intelligence", I'd have to say that the security of our country is probably at serious risk.

Perhaps it is just an "act", but many of the people at NPR seem to be utterly clueless.

But it might actually explain why pre-war assessments of Iraqi WMD were so far off.