The Role of the US Press
A few days ago we mentioned George Bush’s claim that Iran had been irresponsible by “announcing they want to destroy countries with a nucular weapon” and that â€œTheyâ€™ve declared they want to have a nucular weapon to destroy people â€” some in the Middle East,” both of which statements were untrue, though deliberate.
National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe cleared up the American people’s misunderstanding by explaining:
â€œThe president shorthanded his answer with regard to Iranâ€™s previously secret nuclear weapons program and their current enrichment and ballistic missile testing.â€
to which we say: How is falsely, directly, without qualification, unequivocally stating that Iran has â€œannouncedâ€ and “declared” that it wants to annihilate Israel with nuclear weapons shorthand for anything? It quite obviously isn’t. Itâ€™s plainly a flat out lie and a fully intentional one at that, intended to mislead the American people and the world at large – perhaps to prepare them for an attack on Iran – and the assertion by a public official that it is anything else is just as big a lie – in fact a worse one, because although paid by the public he is acting directly against their interests in lying to them also to pretend the President is not a liar.
But Bush and Johndroe and all the rest of them know the American media wouldnâ€™t be so impolite as to suggest they were fudging the facts at all.
Indeed, there has lately been a good deal of “shorthanding” (Bush) and “mis-speaking” (McCain, on Iran supposedly training Al Qaida, and Clinton, on her supposed bravery in the face of non-existent sniper fire in Bosnia), but of course as long as it’s one of those then it isn’t lying, right?
So you won’t mind if we steal our own comment from a favourite blog where the topic of the relationship between the powerful and the American media came up:
…this article, by Glenn Greenwald, in Salon seems apropos.
It concerns the remark by Obama advisor, Samantha Powerâ€™s, reference to Hillary Clinton as â€œa monsterâ€. This was reported by The Scotsmanâ€™s Gerri Peev. Power claimed it was off the record only after she had said it in an on the record interview. MSNBCâ€™s Tucker Carlson took her to task for not fawning on an influential person as an American journalist would have done. In the process, he gave the whole game away.
Tucker Carlson unintentionally reveals the role of the American press
In one of the ultimate paradoxes, for American journalists â€” whose role in theory is to expose the secrets of the powerful â€” secrecy is actually their central religious tenet, especially when it comes to dealing with the most powerful. Protecting, rather than exposing, the secrets of the powerful is the fuel of American journalism. Thatâ€™s how they maintain their access to and good relations with those in power.
CARLSON: What â€” she wanted it off the record. Typically, the arrangement is if someone youâ€™re interviewing wants a quote off the record, you give it to them off the record. Why didnâ€™t you do that?
PEEV: Are you really that acquiescent in the United States?
CARLSON: Right. But I mean, since journalistic standards in Great Britain are so much dramatically lower than they are here, itâ€™s a little much being lectured on journalistic ethics by a reporter from the â€œScotsman,â€ but I wonder if you could just explain what you think the effect is on the relationship between the press and the powerful. People donâ€™t talk to you when you go out of your way to hurt them as you did in this piece.
Donâ€™t you think that hurts the rest of us in our effort to get to the truth from the principals in these campaigns?
PEEV: If this is the first time that candid remarks have been published about what one campaign team thinks of the other candidate, then I would argue that your journalists arenâ€™t doing a very good job of getting to the truth.
The whole of the article is well worth a read. The grovelling and self-serving American media are helping to destroy the democracy that Americans pretend they live in. Yet amazingly they appear to believe that by hiding the truth from the citizens and protecting the powerful from scrutiny they are somehow contributing to the political health of the nation.
And it has to be said that although Australian journalism is not yet quite so brown-tongued as the Americans there is already too much willing inhalation of political flatulence going on in some quarters, particularly amongst some “commentators” who used to work for the Government Gazette in earlier, happier days but are now forced to work for the somewhat shrivelled Opposition Organ.
[tags]Bush, MKcCain, Clinton, Hillary, monster, Johndroe, President Bush, politics, American politics, US poliltics, media, press, American media, American journalism, journalism, Australian journalism, journalistic ethics, shorthand, mis-speak, mis-spoke, Iran, Iraq, Israael, Salon, Greenwald, Unspeak, Scotsman, Great Britain, United Kingdom, truth, lies, lying, nuclear, nucular, flatulence, fart, grovel, Government Gazette, Carlson, Tucke Carlson, Peev, Gerri Peev, Obama, Samantha Power, values, ethics, morals, worth, principles, integrity[/tags]