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16 January 2013


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A general comment on the press. Some of the media's readiness to serve as a disseminating agent of whatever line their partnered public officials are selling is a continuing phenomenon. It is a disgrace. However, I think that we should distinguish between the willful subservience of people like Gordon - going back to Iraq - and the sheer diffidence/laziness/ignorance of those journalisats who define reporting as passing along official communiues and serving as press agents for celebrities like Petraeus.

During the Occupations of Iraq (and Afghanistan) the latter has predominated. The reporting from Iraq in particular was abominable as legions of hotshot reporters never left poolside in the Green Zone. most never even took their skatebaords down to the Iraqi end of the Zone to find out what was going in Iraqi politics (abour which we always knew next to nothing before, during and - often - after the fact). Yes, it was dangerous but if the environment was so intimdating why not just stay in NY or Washington.

By contrast, we have in the field reports on nearly all aspects of what's going on physically in Syria despite equivalent dangers and journalistic fatalities. Why the differences? Reporters in Syria are not enbedded since their is no US Army or officialdom who coopt, buy and corrupt.

So it looks like brave reporters will continue to do their job so long as they operate in settings where they are allowed to do it. Wherever we are involved that will continue to be impossible.



You can't really have it both ways. First you bitch about people like Gordon who are rear echelon political propagandists and then you bitch about reporters who go out in the field with the troops. pl


I do not bitch about reporters who get out in the field with troops. I bitch about those who accompany troops (and in Iraq hung at the sides of the occupying forces for four or five years) who became little more than public affairs officers for both the Army and the Embassy. They almost never acted autonomously in either sphere but rathered allowed themselves to be coopted. If they cannot act autonomously and use independent judgment n their reporting, wouldn't we be better served if they stay home rather play the game of make-believe that we're getting the kind of reportage that we did in WW II or in Vietnam?

We do seem to be getting that reporting from Syria - including informed, candid portrayals of the ambivalent attitudes of many segments of the population. That never occured in Iraq. Isn't that one of the reaons we are so surprised today by Sadr's sympathetic statments about the Anbar Sunnis having failed to pay attention in 2004 to the marches that he organized in Baghdad with banners linking his Shi'ite struggle against the Americans with the Falluja fight?

In other words, this is just a plea for a measure of honest reporting.

William R. Cumming

Journalism majors in rapid decline as an undergrad degree and English majors also. But that decline more than matched by the rise of the COMMUICATIONS DEGREE that apparently fails to teach or induce critical thinking. The Medium is the Message. Thus a largely ignorant press wallows in that lack of ability.


Whenever I see a picture of Ms. Nuland I think of vinegar, and this memorable press conference.


That said, obviously the people feeding Gordon with this crap are interested in having the public narrative match the administrations case for war.

So the Obama administration's threshold for intervention is the use of chemical weapons by Assad? One can arrange news to that effect ... a conflicting reality is hardly an insurmountable problem. The only thing needed for an alternative reality is that reports and innuendo mounts and mounts ...

In order to make the case for war, Saddam's WMD didn't need to be real also. Even at this day, a sizeable number of Americans believe in this fiction. A starkly different reality is no obstacle to that.




Yes, the factual ignorance of people in the broadcast industry has been surprising to me in my many contacts with them. I doubt that most TV news producers and bookers could read or comprehend David Habakkuk's arguments. pl

The beaver

Not to appear sexist since I am from the "gent feminine" but one just have to watch Miss America or whatever in that area, to see that most if not all of these candidates are majoring in the COMM field and then a couple of yrs we see them as talking heads on the networks - they don't know what is reporting or how to investigate a case. It was/is still laughable to watch them during the financial crisis for example and this past presidential campaign has been an entertainment.

So, with the advent of the WWW and social media, everyone believes that he or she is a genuine journo. cum reporter. John Oliver from the Jon Stewart show had a good one this week - re: CNN canning its investigation reporting unit.

Charles I

For the life of me I can't recall all the trio of your MSM talking heads I saw on a Celebrity Jeopardy tournament last year. One was Bill O'Reilly(who wasn't a total ignoramus)

One was Chris Matthews. His level of ignorance, of the most basic history of the 20th century, never mind this one, compounded by his willingness to hit the button and hazard the most absurd guesses in face of that ignorance, was so disturbing as to be totally devoid of schadenfreude.


It's a valid point that if American troops become involved, otherwise dangerous independent reporting becomes a virtual military target, it would seem.
Really good piece in the Guardian here...


The beaver

In the meantime, the hostage taking in Eastern Algeria is taking a bad turn:


Watching the French news , it seems that between 25 to 37 of the hostage have been killed during the Algerian army strike to free them



In the meantime, the hostage taking in Eastern Algeria is taking a bad turn:"

sadly, is this what they call blow back!!!!

too bad, frenchies are becoming Vichy as opposed to De Gaulle's france.


I stopped watching Matthews years ago when he made his 1,000,000th reference to "Munich." Like Nuttyahu, Matthews doesn't do "appeasement."

The proper use of appeasement, i.e., buying time, should not confused with its improper use, i.e., believing that you are changing the behavior of an aggressor. Britain appropriately appeased Nazi Germany before September 1939 because Britian was not ready to fight before then.

J Jackson

Israeli 'air strike on convoy on Syria-Lebanon border'

The gist of this story is an Israeli air strike on a Syrian convoy in Syria. This is obviously an early draft on a story with fluid 'facts' but if substantially correct what are the ramifications, as this seem a substantial ratcheting up? Has anyone better facts?

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