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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Thursday, June 09, 2005

USA Yesterday

In a further sign of American mainstream media decline, USA Today reveals why the now infamous Downing Street Memo - proving that intelligence was being fixed to support war in Iraq - was ignored in its newspaper. Here's Jim Cox, the paper's senior assignment editor for foreign news: "We could not obtain the memo or a copy of it from a reliable source. There was no explicit confirmation of its authenticity from (Blair's office). And it was disclosed four days before the British elections, raising concerns about the timing."

Let's get this straight. A story isn't a story until confirmed by a government source? The appearance of the memo before the election was news in itself and was released by a British media that actually understood its job. Finally, numerous papers around the world had published extracts of the memo and USA Today couldn't obtain the memo? USA Today wasn't alone in its deficiencies as much of the US media ignored the revelation.

There is a distinct lack of truthfulness in the public domain. CBS News has recently been suggesting that things are getting better in Iraq and the source for this fallacy has been the word of military officials, again proving that news isn't news unless confirmed by government organs. At least now, finally, more than half of Americans believe that the Iraq war has made America less safe. Let's hope the tide is turning and a timetable for withdrawal will be announced before the end of Bush's second term.

Speaking of America's Dear Leader, he today announced that alternatives to Guantanamo Bay were being considered but assured his restless flock that detainees were being treated humanely. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, meanwhile, continued his ability to increase hatred towards America throughout the world. Is he, perhaps, working for Osama?

Here's Rumsfeld discussing those "evil doers" at Guantanamo: "These were terrorists, swept up off the battlefield in a place like Afghanistan, for example. And it's in our nation's interest that we learn a lot about those people that are still in detention, because we're still trying to find out how to better protect our country."

All terrorists? Really? So why have America released so many of them? And how to explain recent reports that much of the intelligence gathered at Guantanamo is next to useless? This 2002 report proves how effective the new "gulag" has become: "The questioning of al-Qaida prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba has descended into farce, with inexperienced interrogators routinely outwitted by detainees..."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Cox calls himself a journalist.

It must be difficult to speak truth to power when it's cock is in your mouth.

Thursday, June 09, 2005 5:37:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I think Mr Cox is happy to be suckled on the establishment tit. Indeed, sounds like much of our mainstream media here...

Thursday, June 09, 2005 5:42:00 pm  
Anonymous michael said...

The corporate media were pretty quick to pick up on the new excuse provided by Newsweek for self-censorship - the problems of single sources. Bet it won't apply if the single source is an approved leak from government or one of its puppet pundits like Chalabi or Gunaratne though.

In a similar vein, Chris Masters showed just how far he has fallen from the heights of 'The Moonlight State' on today's Media Report.

Compare his comments about police reporting and 'bottom-up sources' with some of his own recent work (e.g. 'Directing Traffic', which was just an exercise in damage control on behalf of Peter Ryan).

Do as I say, not as I do, eh Chris?

Thursday, June 09, 2005 11:47:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Wonder what Chris Master's tome on Alan Jones will be like. It's finally nearly ready for publication, I read recently. Fingers crossed (though if it's anything as wimpish as his 4 Corners profile, God help us...)

Thursday, June 09, 2005 11:59:00 pm  
Blogger Jozef Imrich, Esq. said...

US Tomorrow: Henry Kissinger, Int'l Herald Tribune Relations Between China and the U.S. ;

Friday, June 10, 2005 12:33:00 am  
Anonymous michael said...

I'm sure Masters will do a reasonable job on the Jones bio.

Another media pundit is a fair target for an ABC hack (even if it is a government approved shock-jock) and there is plenty of juicy stuff already on the record that Jones wouldn't have a hope in hell of suing over.

Its Masters' investigations of authority that are utterly compromised by his need to stay on the right side of partisan/factional sources (especially in police forces) and his inability to step outside the restricted Manichean tradition of media narrative that has made his stuff almost unwatchable these days.

A recent example is the information that he received from several serving and former undercover cops and at least one former CIIS officer that the AFP was riddled with corruption and involved in drug smuggling (including tipoffs as to where to find some documentary evidence produced by the largely suppressed 1996 Harrison Inquiry).

Masters received that info (from several sources) in mid-2004 while he was researching Corruption Inc and if he'd run with it he would have scooped the recent Mascot baggage handler scandal by almost a year (though the info he got related mostly to mid-90s importation through Brisbane airport).

But he ignored it.


The sources seem a lot stronger (to me) than many others used in Four Corners (especially those of the excreble Janine Cohen).

The story was/is strong and has still never been touched by the mainstream media.

Is he still waiting on an FOI for the Harrison Inquiry documents?

Was he already set on a 'good feds, bad state cops' story and the info didn't fit into his pre-written script?

Does he need to stay on the right side of serving and former senior AFP officers who trickle feed him corruption stories from other people's patch?

Or has he just gotten old and lost his touch?

Friday, June 10, 2005 2:06:00 am  
Anonymous Glenn Condell said...

Rude commment was mine - name fell off for some reason - sorry.

Friday, June 10, 2005 6:18:00 pm  

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