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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What independence?

The Pentagon is organising a "Freedom March" in September. "This year the Department of Defence will initiate an America Supports Your Freedom Walk," US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. The march would remind people of "the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation". Let's make a wild guess that the Bush administration will spuriously connect 9/11 and Iraq. Again.

The Washington Post initially agreed to co-sponsor the event but pulled out after protests from within the paper and by anti-war groups. "As it appears that this event could become politicised, The Post has decided to honour the Washington area victims of 9/11 by making a contribution directly to the Pentagon Memorial Fund," said Eric Grant, a Post spokesman, at the time of the paper's pullout. "It is The Post's practice to avoid activities that might lead readers to question the objectivity of The Post's news coverage." The Post's true colours were revealed, however. Independence between the Bush administration and the media, already far-too-cosy, was shown to be worth less than displaying appropriate patriotism.

The Washington Times has now stepped in. "We offered to help with free advertising," said Dick Amberg, general manager and vice president of the Times. "It seems like a very reasonable thing to do in terms of public service."

No conflict of interest there at all.

Perhaps Kerry Packer's Bulletin could buy rounds of armour-piercing ammunition for the Australian military. Or Rupert Murdoch's Australian could fund the welcome home parade for troops returning from active duty in Iraq. How about the Sydney Morning Herald agreeing to publish free ads to recruit more cannon fodder for imperial wars?


Blogger msnada said...

An example of the private-public partnership. It shows that corporations can be responsible citizens, with their interest in 'public service'.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 2:27:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Er, that's one way to look at it.
Or, more likely, the media should not be getting into bed and subverting its independence to help sell wars. That's called a dictatorship. Or the Murdoch press.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 2:57:00 pm  
Blogger msnada said...

Hmm....I haven't found the sarcastic font that could signal the tone and spirit that those statements were made in.

It's true, they shouldn't be getting into bed with a bullying govt...but I think they have been bedfellows for quite some time. It's just that occassionally they slip up and the reality is revealed. Most of the time the facade styas intact.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 3:15:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Point taken sir/madame. Damn that lack of sarcasm font...
You're right, the media have long been in bed with the govt, and it's probably refreshing to actually see it revealed.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 3:17:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Good post, Ant, and a point well made above. The question is, now it's revealed, what do we do about it?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 5:11:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

The Washington Times is a rag, and it really isn't surprising that it's having intimate relations with the Bushies. As for the Post, well, it's becoming, like the New York Times, an increasingly irrelevant source of information, at least best taken with a heavy dose of scepticism.
What else to do? Use the widest array of sources possible on any possible story.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 5:16:00 pm  

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