The Dutiful Stenographers at the NYT and WP Are at it Again

“The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.”
Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823. ME 15:491

“The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers… [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers.”
Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp Oct. 13, 1785. (*) ME 5:181, Papers 8:632

You probably read last week that the Dept. of Defense Inspector General, belatedly, released a report indicating that top Pentagon officials, led by Douglas Feith , (whom General Tommy Frank famously referred to as”the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth”) had manufactured “intelligence” to support Bush’s Iraqi adventure.

Feith’s “intelligence” was expectedly, dutifully reported as facts by the Murdoch and Rev. Moon owned official organs of the Bush administration, The Weekly Standard, Faux News, the New York Post and Washington Times. Not so expectedly, Feith’s nonsense was also passed along by the New York Times and Washington Post, both of which later issued criticisms of and apologies for their reporting.

Also this past week unnamed Bush administration “sources” conducted a briefing in Baghdad, for a gathering of reliable media whores, to present “unsubstantiated” evidence that Iranian manufacturered explosive devices had killed 170 “coalition” forces (which amounts, it should be noted, to less than 5% of “coalition forces killed in the criminal war.)

Stenographers for both the New York Times and the Washington Post passed on the unsourced, unsubstantiated Bush administration propaganda as actual news reports.

One may certainly expect that the administration propaganda would be dutifully passed on by the Murdoch and Moon house organs, after all Murdoch acknowledged this past week that his “news” organizations were pushing the Bush administration Iraq adventure agenda.

But how is it that the NYT and WP, after half-heartedly flailing their organizations for uncritically reporting lies about Iraqi WMDs again find themselves passing on Bush administration propaganda, and in the case of the NYT by the very same reporter who repeatedly collaborated with Judith Miller on reporting administration lies?

If either of these stenographers were, in fact, reporters they would have perhaps contacted a widely recognized authority on events in Iraq such as Juan Cole who has deduced that “It is far more likely that corrupt arms merchants are selling and smuggling these things than that there is direct government- to- militia transfer.”

Or they could have contacted the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, who has refused to endorse the administration’s propaganda.

Walter Cronkite has warned that the corporate media’s pursuance of profit at the expense of resources necessary for responsible news reporting is putting “at risk… American democracy” and “freedom”.

One characteristic of fascism is the melding of the interests of the government, business, and media. Americans would do well to heed the warning of Jefferson and Cronkite and ignore the offerings of corporate owned media outlets, so as to starve them economically.

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8 Comments

Filed under Blogroll, Corporae Media Whores, Cronkite, Iran, Juan Cole

8 responses to “The Dutiful Stenographers at the NYT and WP Are at it Again

  1. El Macho Grandisimo

    Wow! That was a good one.

  2. Saludos El Macho,

    Coming from you I take that as a very high compliment. Thanks.

  3. Life Long Harborite

    Good one! I read everything that Cronkite says because as you know he is also a anti drug war advocate.

  4. El Macho Grandissimo

    The only thing I wonder is this: What is the alternative to ” corporate owned media outlets.” Government-owned channels like Russia’s or Cuba’s or (after this week) Venezuela’s?

  5. I suppose “corporate owned” is too broad a term. After all the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is corporate. I guess “profit driven media” would be more accurate.

    Profit driven media maximizes profits by appealing to the broadest audience possible in order to enhance advertising revenues. And in order to appeal to the broadest audience possible an entity must aimed for the lowest common denominator. Thus, for example, the wall-to-wall coverage of the passing of Anna Nicole Smith and such.

    The CBC and BBC are reliable sources of real news. And speaking of Venezuela so is this site http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/.

    I should also give credit to McClatchy and formerly Knight-Ridder for responsible reporting of events in Iraq and for calling BS on Bush administration lies.

    I think publicly owned, independent news services could provide real news.

    Remember the survey that determined that fewer viewers and listeners of PBS and NPR believed that Iraq was involved int he 9-11 attacks and Iraq and al Queda were in league than viewers of other news outlets. The survey found Faux News viewers to be most likely to believe such, with CBS and CNN not far behind.

  6. El Macho Grandissimo

    NewsTrust is a promising sounding noncommercial service (which rates news stories according to criteria such as “balance” and “number of anonymous sources,” but it depends on volunteers to do the reviews, and they don’t necessarily know much abt the topics. I haven’t been reading it long enough to judge it. I did review some stories.

  7. I had not run across NewsTrust. I had run across Diggs and understand there are a number of other sites that allow users to aggregate and rate news stories and blog entries, either promoting them to the front page or sending them packing.

    It seems like the democratization of news presentation.

    I read recently that the publisher of the NYT predicted the demise of the print edition of the NYT.

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