Wednesday, April 02, 2008

FANTASY LAND: US Media

Since the Iraq War began, aerospace and defense industry stocks have more than doubled.

General Dynamics did even better than that. Its stock has tripled. Banking on its Abrams tanks and Stryker troop transports, General Dynamics gobbled up $2.35 billion “in war revenue last year,” according to Bloomberg News.

“The war has been a huge benefit to almost all contractors,” William Hartung of the New America Foundation told Bloomberg.

War profiteering is not news, I suppose. But it is disgusting. And those who are profiting from the war are Bush and Cheney’s cronies in the corporate boardrooms. For them, war is not a bloody tragedy, it’s a golden opportunity. Bush’s “base” is doing just fine.

The NY Times will run articles about individuals who have suffered because of the war. US soldiers and families, not Iraqis. But there are no stories about corporate profit making from the war. Not from the corporate voice of America, the NY Times. This report from the New America Foundation didn't make it.

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/03/30/7975/ (originally in the Progressive)
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WASHINGTON, DC - March 28 - Think tank citations in the media are dropping, but right and center still predominate, according to a new study by FAIR.

The annual study, which FAIR has conducted since 1995, counts citations of the 25 most prominent think tanks of right, center and left, using the Nexis database. Citations for the 2008 study were counted in what Nexis designates to be major U.S. newspapers, as well as in transcripts of the broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC; the cable channels Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and CNBC; and publicly funded PBS and NPR.

Among the findings for 2007: The ideological breakdown was exactly the same in 2007 as it had been the previous year: Centrist think tanks garnered 47 percent of think tank citations, conservative think-tanks garnered 37 percent and progressive think-tanks received 16 percent.

Media overloaded with center and right opinion? Opinion paid for by corporate money poured into right wing think tanks? Doesn't concern the NY Times which neglected to print FAIR's report.

http://www.commondreams.org/news2008/0328-04.htm
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Here's how NPR anchor Scott Simon introduced a segment on March 15 in which senators James Webb and Jon Kyl talked about "what the war has meant and what the future might hold":
"This coming Wednesday marks the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. So far 3,975 U.S. service men and women have died. Estimates on the number of Iraqis killed range from 47,000 to 151,000, depending on the source."

If NPR is taking its lower estimate of Iraqi fatalities from the New England Journal of Medicine report, why does it ignore the higher estimate given in that same report of 601,000? That's the estimate made by the Johns Hopkins University school of public health, and published by the Lancet medical journal (10/11/06). It's a well-known study done by highly regarded scholars.

It's worth noting that 601,000 figure from Johns Hopkins study and the 151,000 number from WHO both only go up to June 2006, and therefore also leave out the worst of the violence. The most recent survey of Iraqi deaths is the poll conducted by Opinion Research Business, a top British polling firm, in August 2007, which found an estimated 1.2 million deaths by violence among Iraqi households. If NPR really wanted to inform its listeners about the range of credible estimates of Iraqi deaths, it would have included this survey--but instead left them with the impression that the highest plausible estimate was one-eighth as high.

http://www.commondreams.org/news2008/0327-01.htm Published by FAIR
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The NY Times gets failing grades on its reporting on Venezuela. This week we get a report of Venezuela arming Columbian rebels. But the story just didn't make it in the rest of the world. Why? Maybe because the sources were so poor. More Pentagon placements? The US in determined to paint Venezuela as a terrorist state, and the NY Times does its best to play along:

"Though it was impossible to authenticate the files independently, the Colombian officials said their government had invited Interpol to verify the files. The officials did not want to be identified while any Interpol inquiry was under way." Files supplied by the Colombian government. No authentication yet. Some reporting.

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