Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fantasyland Media

Last weekend’s National Conference on Media Reform in Minneapolis was a freewheeling, articulate, committed gathering of activists, policy wonks and everyday citizens dedicated to the idea that there can be no real democracy without a media democracy — independent reporting from diverse communities free of the interference and spin of government and big business...

Some 3500 assembled to participate in panels and hear a range of speakers that included my colleague Bill Moyers, Senator Byron Dorgan, Center for Internet and Society founder Lawrence Lessig, Naomi Klein, Louise Erdrich and Dan Rather. Participants grappled with mobilizing grass roots movements around such hot button issues as continuing, big media consolidation and net neutrality — two words perhaps more elegantly phrased as “Internet freedom” keeping cyberspace open and accessible to all, regardless of income.

--->That story is from Common Dreams. The major sources of US media didn't even cover this story of emerging media reform in America. There was nothing on it in the NY Times.


Former Democratic presidential contender, Dennis Kucinich, has called for the impeachment of George W Bush claiming that the president set out to deceive the nation, and violated his oath of office with the Iraq war.

The Ohio representative yesterday introduced 35 articles of impeachment against Bush on the floor of the US House of Representatives. Kucinich unveiled a list of alleged illegal and improper acts by Bush, including war crimes.
He accused Bush of executing a "calculated and wide-ranging strategy" to deceive citizens and Congress into believing that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States.

He went on to say that Bush and Cheney lied to Congress and the American public about the reasons for invading Iraq in 2003 and abused their offices in order to conduct the "War on Terror" following the 9/11 attacks.

--->The NY Times, like most of the Democratic Party, remains uninterested in impeachment. America's newspaper of record didn't cover this story, although it gave wide coverage to Bill Clinton's impeachment for conducting a sex act in the White House. That was sex. This is the preservation of our Constitution, just not as important a story.


FALLUJAH - Babies born in Fallujah are showing illnesses and deformities on a scale never seen before, doctors and residents say.

The new cases, and the number of deaths among children, have risen after “special weaponry” was used in the two massive bombing campaigns in Fallujah in 2004.

After denying it at first, the Pentagon admitted in November 2005 that white phosphorous, a restricted incendiary weapon, was used a year earlier in Fallujah.

In addition, depleted uranium (DU) munitions, which contain low-level radioactive waste, were used heavily in Fallujah. The Pentagon admits to having used 1,200 tonnes of DU in Iraq thus far.

Many doctors believe DU to be the cause of a severe increase in the incidence of cancer in Iraq, as well as among U.S. veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War and through the current occupation.

--->The NY Times has had one piece on depleted uranium in Iraq since 2005, and that was in a letter to the editor. With determined investigative reporting like that, who needs media reform?


By now, billions have evidently gone into single massive mega-bases like the U.S. air base at Balad, about 60 miles north of Baghdad. It's a "16-square-mile fortress," housing perhaps 40,000 U.S. troops, contractors, special ops types, and Defense Department employees. As the Washington Post's Tom Ricks, who visited Balad back in 2006, pointed out - in a rare piece on one of our mega-bases - it's essentially "a small American town smack in the middle of the most hostile part of Iraq." Back then, air traffic at the base was already being compared to Chicago's O'Hare International or London's Heathrow - and keep in mind that Balad has been steadily upgraded ever since to support an "air surge" that, unlike the President's 2007 "surge" of 30,000 ground troops, has yet to end.

--->The American permanent occupation of Iraq is the big story that always gets left out of our media. Occupation is the forbidden subject, be it in Gaza, the West Bank or Iraq. There is no freedom of the press in America when it comes to reporting on the empire.

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