Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fantasyland Media

According to data compiled by Andrew Tyndall, a television consultant who monitors the three network evening newscasts, coverage of Iraq has been “massively scaled back this year.” Almost halfway into 2008, the three newscasts have shown 181 weekday minutes of Iraq coverage, compared with 1,157 minutes for all of 2007. The “CBS Evening News” has devoted the fewest minutes to Iraq, 51, versus 55 minutes on ABC’s “World News” and 74 minutes on “NBC Nightly News.” (The average evening newscast is 22 minutes long.)

CBS News no longer stations a single full-time correspondent in Iraq, where some 150,000 United States troops are deployed.

Journalists at all three American television networks with evening newscasts expressed worries that their news organizations would withdraw from the Iraqi capital after the November presidential election. They spoke only on the condition of anonymity in order to avoid offending their employers.

--->This was a story from the NY Times, which does not hesitate to criticize TV news coverage. For the average person in the United States, the war has just gone away. Except for the patriotic advertising from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and the Army Advantage Fund. Why have the news any different than the advertising anyway?


The UN children's fund UNICEF has severed ties with an Israeli billionaire and financial backer due to his suspected involvement in building settlements in the West Bank, UNICEF said on Friday.

Lev Leviev, a real estate and diamond mogul who is one of the richest men in Israel, has supported UNICEF with direct contributions and indirectly by sponsoring at least one UNICEF fund-raiser.

UNICEF decided to review its relationship with Leviev after a campaign ... found "at least a reasonable grounds for suspecting" that Leviev companies were building settlements in Palestinian territory, a UNICEF official said.

--->The NY Times publishes only positive stories about Lev Leviev, an important diamond merchant and real estate developer in New York. It didn't cover this story, although the Israeli paper, Haaretz did.


WASHINGTON - A Cambridge-based human rights organization said it has found medical evidence supporting the claims of 11 former detainees who were allegedly tortured while in American custody between 2001 and 2004, in what a former top US military investigator said amounts to evidence of war crimes.

Medical evaluations of the former inmates found injuries consistent with the alleged abuse, including the psychological effects of sensory deprivation and forced nudity as well as signs of “severe physical and sexual assault,” Physicians for Human Rights said in a report scheduled for release today.

The report also alleges that in four of the cases, American health professionals appeared to have been complicit by denying the detainees medical care and observing the abuse but making no effort to stop it - charges that, if true, represent gross violations of medical ethics.

--->Few media outlets in this country covered this story. The NY Times didn't, although the Boston Globe did. Perhaps the story is too anti-American for the general public to read.


A Senate investigation has concluded that top Pentagon officials began assembling lists of harsh interrogation techniques in the summer of 2002 for use on detainees at Guantanamo Bay and that those officials later cited memos from field commanders to suggest that the proposals originated far down the chain of command, according to congressional sources briefed on the findings.

The sources said that memos and other evidence obtained during the inquiry show that officials in the office of then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld started to research the use of waterboarding, stress positions, sensory deprivation and other practices in July 2002, months before memos from commanders at the detention facility in Cuba requested permission to use those measures on suspected terrorists.

--->The NY Times prefers a lighter touch on such stories. Instead of accusing the Pentagon of torture, the Times presents them as unsure of the right direction. The NY Times story is entitled: "Notes Show Confusion on Interrogation Methods."


--->The NY Times gets this week's award for the most effective propaganda images. In a recent story about the truce between Israel and Hamas, there are two pictures, one for each side. The Palestinians are in black hoods carrying rocket launchers. And the Israeli soldiers? They are playing volleyball. Masterful pro-Israeli propaganda. Something Isabel Kershner, the NY Times reporter with Zionist ties, is very good at.

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