Thursday, January 31, 2008

FANTASY LAND: US Media

Suharto died this week, and his death was covered by both NPR and the NY Times. But the history of his rule in Indonesia was strictly censored by both these supposed paragons of US media. Anything that could be considered anti-American was just left out.

The NY Times reported that "Mr. Suharto remained virtually untouchable to the end..." No mention of the US plot that put him in power. Or of the CIA lists given to him for the killings. No mention of the US involvement in the invasion of East Timor and the slaughter of 2 million. No, just a vague statement that he remained "untouchable."

NPR's coverage was even worse. It didn't even describe how he came to power, or the years of US backing while he was killing upwards of 600,000 of his own people. NPR couldn't even bring itself to mention the US at all in its story. At least the NY Times admitted that the US had funded Suharto with billions each year for his long reign of terror.

Both the NY Times and NPR tried to be "balanced" about Suharto. Sure he was a butcher, but his economics helped Indonesia into the 21st Century. Sort of like saying Hitler was a murderer, but the trains ran on time.

And what can we say of our media that just won't let Americans know what happened 50 years ago? Both the NY Times and NPR run stories to make us feel good about our empire, not question it. Often, they are not news sources at all, but simply government propaganda.

To find out the real story, we have to go to a foreign press, the Guardian.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2248012,00.html

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The wall came down for 1.5 million starving people in Gaza last week. The flooded into Egypt to buy food, medicines, and fuel. The images told the story of the people betrayed by the US, and facing annihilation by the Israeli blockade.

But leave it to the US media to try to diminish the story. Why were the Palestinians in such dire straits? Why, because of the rockets being fired on Israel! No mention that collective punishment, a favorite tactic of the Nazis, is deemed illegal by any number of international laws. No, the collective punishment of 1.5 million is just stated as an accepted fact by our media.

And what were the Palestinians buying? CNN mentioned one product, and that was cigarettes. Millions without food, medicine or fuel, and CNN says they were streaming over the wall to buy cigarettes. What an amazing hold the Israeli lobby has on the US media.

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A November 2007 Harris poll found that less than 15 percent of the population believes each of the following industries to be “generally honest and trustworthy:” tobacco companies (3 percent); oil companies (3 percent); managed care companies such as HMOs (5 percent); health insurance companies (7 percent); telephone companies (10 percent); life insurance companies (10 percent); online retailers (10 percent); pharmaceutical and drug companies (11 percent)...

An amazing 84 percent told Harris in a poll earlier in 2007 that big companies have too much power in Washington.

These results have proven durable. At least 80 percent of the public has ranked big companies as having too much power in Washington since 1994. In 2000, Business Week and Harris asked a broader question: Has business gained too much power over too many aspects of American life? Seventy-four percent agreed.

Are any of the leading candidates even talking about controlling the power of big corporations? Are there stories in the US media about the overwhelming desire of the US population to control corporate power and abuse? None to date in a democracy that likes to talk of the "will of the people."
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/01/16/6399/

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