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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, January 02, 2006

A clueless journey

While the situation in Iraq descends into chaos, possible civil war and an Iranian-backed government, many in the Murdoch press still live in fantasy land. Take the Herald Sun's Andrew Bolt. He recently travelled to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East with Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. This should have been enough to stop any legitimate journalist from expecting anything other than sanctioned propaganda, but Bolt seemed not to care. His two reports (here and here) are textbook examples of embedded "reporting". At least he adds this at the beginning:

"I was largely kept behind concrete blocks of tightly guarded security zones and met few Iraqis."

So what exactly was the point? He receives largely positive accounts from foreign troops, speaks to a couple of Iraqis clearly praising the "Coalition" invasion and salutes the bravery of Australian men and women in the field.

He sees and hears nothing the occupation forces don't want him to experience. His association with Downer leaves the trip almost meaningless as it seems he wants to enter the vulgarity of Saddam's palaces and experience the taste of Western occupation. He touches on some problems, but largely ignores them. After all, he isn't shown anything that may contradict the view that the Iraq war is going swimmingly. Furthermore, I wonder who paid for the trip, the Howard government or his employer? I'll try and found out.

Bolt either doesn't realise he's being used as a useful propagandist or he simply doesn't care.


Blogger violet said...


Your diatribe appears meaningless unless you have been to Iraq yourself and can report on the reality of it there. You look a little silly otherwise.

Monday, January 02, 2006 5:35:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Not at all.
Reporting on Iraq requires more than following a "Coalition" minister into the zone. Truly, that's not called journalism. How the hell can he have any idea what's going on if he even admits to barely speaking to Iraqis?

Monday, January 02, 2006 6:10:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Agreed Anthony,

Downer, you wil lrecall was the one who arrogantly parroted the crap abotu mobile weapons laboratories in Iraq, in Parliament. Has he retracted that BS? Has he retracted any of the BS he has been peddling?

Almost everything this goevrnmet has told us about the Iraq war hs been proven to be false. Who in their right mind still believes what they have to say?

Are you honestly that naive Violet, to believe that Downer would have the spine to contradict the party line?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006 4:21:00 am  
Blogger violet said...

Bolt spoke to the Australian soldiers deployed in Iraq. They, more than you Antony would know what was going on. I didn't mention Downer, you bought him into it.

And you didn't respond to my statement that you look silly commenting on Iraq if you have never been there.

Of course, being a Jewboy, Iraq would be a dangerous place for you. I imagine the insurgents would love to saw your head off with a rusty bayonet. And then the United States Army might have to save your arse. Now that would be interesting wouldn't it?

There are plenty of Iraqi blogs out there telling you that they are grateful to be rid of Saddam. You need to get around a bit more -- and get some accurate info -- instead of all this armchair analysing. It's amusing, but inaccurate.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006 6:09:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...


You naiveté is amusing and almost adorable, but you haven't a clue. If Australian soldiers were to make comments that were embarrassing to the Australian government, do you honestly think they would be covered?

You are completely avoiding the fact that AL is simply relaying the messages reported by on the ground reporters - the few unimpeded ones like Robert Fisk, Dahr Jamail and Patrick Cockburn.

You really do need to do some reading and open your eyes just a tad.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006 7:11:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Further to this, Violet might want to explain this.

If the soldiers on the ground in Iraq are so full of glowing comments about the situation in Iraq, why does the US government feel the necessity to not only pay for good news to be written in Iraq, but also to shut down U.S. soldiers' blogs,0,959146,print.story?coll=ny-linews-headlines

Maybe too much good news is a bad thing?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006 8:17:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Violet, your first comment - "don't criticise Bolt for not being in Iraq when you are not there either" - is a fallacy. Now you are looking a little bit silly. You might want to think before you let your bored little hands clamber across the keyboard again.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006 12:09:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

Bolta went with Downer? He was brave.
Seriously, how relavant is this to anything which could be described as journalism? Rides with a minister-(dangerous? - No) Hangs out with the boys in the coalition, he could be Downer's press secretary.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006 5:31:00 pm  

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