Sunday, July 22, 2007

Media News Roundup- Sun Jul 15th to Sat Jul 22nd

Keeping an eye on the failing Fourth Estate and looking for some TRUTH in journalism.

Big Media touts administration news on Iran's involvement in Iraq; says little on much larger and substantial Saudi role. Media under reports, or completely misses, White House executive order on property seizure. Near news blackout on Colin Powell's criticism of White House's lack of diplomacy. Bright spot of the week: Media Matters exposes NBC correspondent who received $30K for speech attacking presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards.

Big Media Echoes White House Charges of Iran's Iraq Involvement; Ignores Larger Role of Saudia Arabia--and now Turkey.

Following White House and Pentagon spin machines, the mainstream news media has repeatedly implicated Iran in attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq. Much was made this week in fact on Wednesday's Senate vote of 97-0 to pass a resolution sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to censure Iran “for what it said was complicity in the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.” Yet the LA Times on July 15 published an article that showed that of the foreign fighters in Iraq, over half are from Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, these foreign fighters are Sunni and allied with the Sunni insurgency thought to be most responsible for attacks on U.S. troops, especially suicide bombers. Whatever aid Iran is giving to Iraqi factions, it is undoubtedly Shia-based, and has little to do with attacks on American forces. Though the LA Times is a mainstream news journal, even its story hardly made a blip on major media corporations. As if to underscore this blindspot, NATO ally Turkey's heavy shelling of Kurdish strongholds just inside the border of northern Iraq (on the same day the Iran Censure was passed by the U.S. Senate) hardly made a media ripple. One can understand why the Bush administration wants to single out Iran as a threat, ratcheting up the rhetoric to justify any future attacks. What isn't as clear, is why the news media seems just as eager to do so.

Media Under Reports, or Completely Misses, White House Executive Order on Property Seizure

In a little reported incident, the Bush White House issued an executive order last Tuesday that has some Constitutional scholars worried. President Bush directed the Treasury Department to block the U.S.-based financial assets of anyone deemed to have threatened "the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq" or who "undermin(e) efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq." The order targets those individuals or organizations that either "have committed, or ... pose a significant risk of committing" acts of violence with the "purpose or effect" of harming the Iraqi government or hindering reconstruction efforts. As the order states plainly, it applies to "U.S. persons," that is, American citizens. Now exactly which Americans have joined up with the Iraqi insurgency or carried out any acts to destabilize Iraq? The only possible Americans this can be directed towards would be anti-War activists, whom both Homeland Security and the Pentagon have spied upon in the past. By itself perhaps, this executive order may merely raise an eyebrow or two. But taken together with the varied other assaults on civil liberties and Constitutional law (from the abuse of signing statements to domestic spying to recent Emergency Powers acts) and this is a troubling development. Even more troubling was the fact that other than a few online sites like TPM Muckraker, the mainstream media hardly gave it even a mention. If the populace isn't kept aware of the doings of its government, exactly how are they suppose to exercise any form of civic responsibility?

News Blackout on Colin Powell's Criticism of White House's Stance Towards Hamas

The following story, near buried in the US media press, managed to make the news--in the Jerusalem Press:

Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday the international diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East should find some way to talk to Hamas.

"I don't think you can just cast them into outer darkness and try to find a solution to the problems of the region without taking to account the standing that Hamas has in the Palestinian community," Powell said in a radio interview.

He said Hamas, which controls Gaza, is not going away and enjoys considerable support among the Palestinian people.

"They won an election that we insisted upon having," Powell said. "And so, as unpleasant a group they may be and as distasteful as I find some of their positions, I think through some means, the Middle East Quartet… or through some means Hamas has to be engaged."

If only our news media could at least show that amount of objectivity towards the Palestinian-Israeli situation.

Bright Spot of the Week

Media Matters: NBC Correspondent Received $30K for Speech Attacking Sen. Edwards

Despite the right-wing charge of a "liberal media," the folks at Media Matters once again showed the glaringly anti-progressive, anti-liberal, anti-left and often anti-Democrat stance that is so often found in the mainstream media. In this case, NBC chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, breaking with NBC's own code of ethics, took $30,000 from the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce to address its Business EXPO 2007--during which he attacked a prominent presidential candidate, Sen. John Edwards.

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