Global Policy Forum

General Analysis on Media and the Project of Empire



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The US Swallowed These Cups of Tea to Justify its Imperial Aims (April 22, 2011)

The biography “Three Cups of Tea” is receiving heavy criticism over its fast and loose factual content. However, regardless of whether or not author Greg Mortenson did raise millions of dollars to found schools in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region, this article investigates how his fame illustrates the deeply entrenched civilizing concept of Empire, which pervades US society. This article argues that the figure of the American hero who single-handedly brings education to an impoverished region, demonstrates the extent of Orientalist and imperialist thought throughout western society. (Guardian)


General Petraeus Goes to Media War (August 16, 2010)

General Petraeus' recent media blitz has precluded expectations of a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2011. This comes just as the progressive wing of the Democratic Party in the US has strengthened its opposition to the Afghanistan war. During interviews, the top US military commander in Afghanistan stated that while he still supports President Obama's decision to begin withdrawing troops in July 2011, he could not commit to the size of the drawdown. Ambiguous phrases used by Petraeus such as "conditions-based withdrawal" and "attenuating the drawdown" are meant to soften public expectations and suggest that a troop withdrawal is quite unlikely.   (Truthout)

Occupied, D.C. (May 28, 2010)

The US capital's subway stops, particularly those serving the Pentagon and other government offices, are flooded with advertisements for some of the most expensive and lethal military equipment ever produced. These ads, sponsored by defense contractors, are clearly aimed at US military decision-makers. However, they also promote fear-mongering among the public and help propagate the notion of a "need" for military prowess in an unstable world. They are also a manifestation of militarization in the US and the public acceptance of the state of war as a norm in the wake of 9/11.  (In These Times)

How Americans are Propagandized about Afghanistan (April 10, 2010)

Poor quality media and government propaganda is fuelling popular support for the war in Afghanistan. News agencies in America are mindlessly regurgitating facts handed to them by the government, without sufficient investigation. A recent piece in the London Times recounted why reporters fear doing more; they included: resource constraints, dangers of travelling around and NATO-led intimidation, censorship and punishment of reporters who portray the Afghanistan war negatively. (Salon)

"The Price is Worth It" (September 26, 2001)

Says a likely terrorist: Our attack may, in the long run, save far more lives than those lost in the bombing of the WTC by forcing the US to reconsider its oppressive policies. Said former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright after half a million children died because of US imposed sanctions against Iraq: "We think the price is worth it." Now what does the media have to say? (ZNet)


"Careful and Discriminating" (October 6, 2009)

Steven Poole explores the Media's use of "careful and discriminating" and "surgical strikes" when referring to US air strikes. These phrases clinically imply that the US is carefully choosing its targets and killing only these targets. Yet US drone attacks do neither, instead killing 687 civilians in Pakistan from January 2006 to April 2009 in attacks that allegedly killed 12 mid or lower level al-Qaeda leaders. (Unspeak)

The Joint Post/Obama defense of the Patriot Act and FISA (October 6, 2009)

The US administration has been exploiting a recently foiled terrorist coup, the Najibullah Ziza case, to justify the Patriot and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Acts. Such fear mongering resembles the behavior of the previous administration. By publicly connecting the Patriot Act with prevented terrorist attacks the administration misleadingly suggests that the plot could not or would not have been thwarted without recourse to such extreme surveillance measures.  (Salon)

Washington's Beltway Punditocracy Treats Foreign Policy Like a Theater of Machismo (October 1, 2009)

A section of the US media presents US foreign policy in overly dramatized terms. International developments are inevitably portrayed as "crises" featuring cartoonish madmen who can only be stopped by war. This type of gung-ho coverage of the news paved the way to Iraq. But with the US already deeply involved in Afghanistan and Iraq, these war cries are likely to have less effect than in the past. (Salon)

Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand (April 20, 2008)

New York Times reveals that the Pentagon groomed a "media Trojan horse'"of retired military generals to appear as "objective" specialists in mass media and shape public perceptions in favor of the administration's terrorism policy. Many of these "analysts," which Fox News, NBC and CNN employed, worked as lobbyists for military contractors and held positions at defense firms that sought Pentagon contracts. This article argues that an "implicit trade of privileged access for favorable coverage" between military analysts and Department of Defense has destroyed the dividing line between government and journalism.


This "Bombshell"? Took a Year Falling (April 2, 2008)

This article argues that the mainstream press showed "overwhelming bias against Hamas" as it disregarded evidence that the US supplied Fatah with arms in June 2007, to help ignite a "Palestinian civil war." Mainstream news sources ignored the US-Fatah arms deal until nine months after the event, when Vanity Fair published the story as a scandal. Some critics claim Vanity Fair timed its belated report to fuel the distrust between Fatah and Hamas. (Inter Press Service)



Al Jazeera: "It's No Hangout for Al-Qa'ida" (November 19, 2007)

The news channel Al Jazeera English, launched in 2006, already has viewers in 100 million homes. For many years, the US demonized the Arabic version and even bombed its offices in Kabul and Baghdad. In opposition to BBC World and CCN, the channel provides a "north to south interpretation of news." According to Ben Rayner head of AJE news, the channel focuses on the entire world, not just the Western centers of London and Washington. (Independent)

Murdoch's Expanding Empire Seen as "Ominous" (August 2, 2007)

Analysts argue that Rupert Murdoch's purchase of Dow Jones, which owns the "highly respected" Wall Street Journal, will further eliminate diverse voices in the news. Murdoch has often promised in the past not to alter the media companies that he buys. But critics claim that Murdoch's "vast media empire" has already turned Fox News and the New York Post into right-wing "mouthpieces" that promote Murdoch's economic interests and political agenda. They worry that the Wall Street Journal will suffer the same fate. (Inter Press Service)

From the Grave, a Senator Exposes Bloody Hands on Capitol Hill (July 19, 2007)

The activist group, Sacramento for Democracy, hosted an event where they screened a 1964 video of former Oregon Senator Wayne Morse. In the video, Morse argues with a CBS journalist and maintains that the government and media, in the midst of the Vietnam War, were not presenting the truth to the public about foreign affairs, allowing the president to pursue his own will instead of the public's. The event coincided with the ineffective Senate debate on the US occupation of Iraq. This AlterNet article argues that the notion that Congress is putting forward its utmost effort to enforce withdrawal from Iraq is "a big media lie."

Get Me Out of Gitmo (July 19, 2007)

This article argues that the US media are "being suckered by the Bush spin" and presenting the cases of Guantanamo prisoners accordingly. The media focus on the rare prisoners who do not want to go back to their home countries where they would risk torture or further imprisonment. The author also claims that the media's spin implies that innocent detainees cannot leave Guantanamo because foreign governments will not accept them. In reality, Washington refuses to release the prisoners because it will not “admit making mistakes in classifying these men as "enemy combatants." (In These Times)

Finally, the Neocons Are Sinking (June 25, 2007)

This Inter Press Service article argues that the neo-conservative camp has lost much of its power over US foreign policy and is instead tightening its grip on US-supported media sources in the Middle East, including Voice of America and Al-Hurra. Neo-conservatives maneuver changes in the networks' leadership to assure that the high-level administrators support the Bush administration's agenda, including its "offensive against Iran's regime."

Is There a "Foxification" Underway at Al Jazeera Television? (June 9, 2007)

The Qatari television network Al-Jazeera is often recognized for its political independence and outspoken views on US actions in the Middle East. Seeking to counter Al-Jazeera's influence in the region, Washington has employed many different strategies, including setting up a pro-US TV station in the region, and even bombing the network's offices in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, inside sources warn that Al-Jazeera's new board of directors is adopting a pro-western angle, compromising the network's integrity and political diversity. (Common Dreams)

Venezuela and the Media: Fact and Fiction (June 1, 2007)

This Common Dreams article argues that the recent hubbub about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's refusal to renew the license for the conservative television network, RCTV, is unwarranted and based on distorted US media coverage. The coverage fails to report that RCTV has falsified much of its news and played a leading role in the 2002 coup against Chavez's democratically elected administration. Chavez's decision to shut down the network is highly controversial, but there are still many other opposition news sources operating in Venezuela.

The Assault on Reason (May 16, 2007)

In this excerpt from his new book, The Assault on Reason, Al Gore argues that contemplation and logic have nearly vanished from US public political thought. Americans are obsessed with celebrity updates and sensational news stories, which now bombard the media. Television has become Americans' main source of information, and because television ownership is concentrated in the hands of very few people, the news only presents a narrow range of ideas, often managing to convince the public to believe false information, such as the connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks. (Time)

The Neo-Con Dog That Isn't Barking (February 16, 2007)

This Inter Press Service article argues that compared to the lead up to the 2003 US-led invasion, neo conservative media is disseminating surprisingly little pro-invasion propaganda concerning Iran. The author argues that this might signal that the Bush administration is not planning to attack Iran in the near future and will continue to use diplomacy to convince Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.

How PR Ploys Fill the Pentagon's Recruiting Quotas (February 1, 2007)

This article from the Center for Media and Democracy details the public relations campaign the US Army undertook in the months preceding its 225th birthday on June 14, 2000 in an attempt to boost recruitment. The author argues that the US media played a major role in promoting the army during its 2000 campaign and speculates that with US President George W. Bush's call to increase the size of the US armed forces by 92,000 over the next 5 years the army will again carry out a massive public relations campaign to enhance its image.

Preparing Us for War with Iran (January 17, 2007)

This CommonDreams article discusses how the use of a definite article such as "the" impacts people's presumption on the validity of statements. The author argues that US President George W. Bush and other high-ranking officials often use "the" when attempting to justify contentious issues such as the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq or making the case that Iran's nuclear enrichment program poses a threat to the US. The article concludes that the US media fails to critically analyze such statements and instead disseminates them carelessly for mass consumption ultimately assisting officials validate their argument.


Catalyst for Iranian Resistance (December 18, 2006)

Washington has openly funded a variety of Iranian and US organizations through the US-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED). These organizations provide "leadership training" to Iranian groups opposed to the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This ZNet article argues that the US media has largely ignored the Bush administration's interference in Iranian affairs despite the fact that NED openly admits to its "democratic" interventions in Iran.

Americans Should Be Able to See al-Jazeera English TV (November 30, 2006)

This Mercury News article argues that the English language version of al-Jazeera - launched in November 2006 and popular throughout the Middle East- should be available to television viewers in the US. The Bush administration has frequently criticized the network claiming its reporting to be both "vicious and inaccurate." Accordingly, US cable and satellite television providers have opted against broadcasting al-Jazeera for "business reasons" leaving the US one of the "few democracies in the world where the network will not be seen." The author concludes such a decision portrays the US belief that "only others should know about us; we do not have to know about them."

I Heard You, Malachi (November 9, 2006)

This piece from the Independent Media Center details the death of Malachi Ritscher who self-immolated (set himself on fire) in Chicago, Illinois on November 3, 2006 in protest of the 2003 US-led war in Iraq. The author discusses the lack of US-media coverage for Ritscher's death and compares it to abundant media coverage that the immolations of Buddhist monks received during the Vietnam War.

North Korea, Turkmenistan, Eritrea the Worst Violators of Press Freedom (October 24, 2006)

The annual global press freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders ranked the United States 53rd out of 168 countries - a drop of 9 places from 2005. Northern European nations such as Finland and Iceland ranked the highest while North Korea and Turkmenistan ranked the lowest. The organization states that the deteriorating relationship between the Bush administration and the media results from the government using "the pretext of national security to regard as suspicious any journalist who questions the war on terrorism."

November Surprise? (October 17, 2006)

This article in The Nation ponders why the US media largely ignored the announcement by the US-supported Iraq Special Tribunal that it would not deliver a verdict in the trial of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein until November 5, 2006 - two days before US voters go to the polls for midterm elections. The article suggests that the Bush administration gained popularity immediately following other major events in Iraq such as the capture of Saddam Hussein and wants to replicate that surge in popularity to ensure Republicans continue to control the US Congress.

Against an Imperial Internet (October 17, 2006)

The internet, the most democratic form of media that exists today, risks a corporate takeover  a move which will crush competition, create a massive divide between rich and poor and, ultimately, undermine democracy. The Bush administration, through its majority control of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has thus far allowed corporations to increase their control over the internet, "diminishing network neutrality." The highly influential corporate lobbyists in Washington have made clear their desire to create "digital empires" by thwarting attempts by US lawmakers to restore the independence of the internet. (TomPaine)

Is Olbermann on Thin Ice? (October 5, 2006)

US mainstream media suppresses criticism of Bush administration policies, according to this AlterNet article. In the lead-up to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, for example, US television network MSNBC implemented a policy requiring certain programs that host a guest critical of the Bush administration to have a larger number of pro-administration guests present to preserve an "ideological balance." The article claims that the network cancelled Phil Donahue's show right before the outbreak of the war, fearing it would become "home for the liberal anti-war agenda." The author warns that MSNBC host Keith Olbermann faces the same risk for his frequent criticisms of US policies, which run counter to the conservative beliefs of network executives.

Blueprint for an American Empire (September 27, 2006)

In Greg Grandin's book "Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism," the author discusses the methods used by the Reagan administration during the 1980's to rally domestic support and counter "anti-imperialist" opposition to its policies in Nicaragua. This AlterNet article comments on the attempts by government officials to convince US citizens to support the rebel Nicaraguan group, the Contras. The Reagan administration used the media to distribute government-authored information to justify the Contras' activities against the Sandinista government. The article concludes that US interventions in Latin America throughout the 1980's laid the procedural groundwork for future "imperial" ambitions.

Torture Exhibit A (September 22, 2006)

In 2002, the US illegally detained an innocent Canadian citizen at JFK airport and, suspecting that he had connections to terrorist networks, sent him to Syria, where he was subsequently tortured. US media outlets, while publishing the facts of the story, stopped short of asking important questions such as whether or not the government actively tried to verify the alleged terrorist linkages with the Canadian authorities. And more importantly why should the US send "suspects" to countries infamous for torture. The article concludes that without the mass media or the US Congress questioning actions taken by Bush administration such illegal actions will continue. (TomPaine)

Lying About 9/11? Easy as ABC (September 14, 2006)

US-based television network ABC and its parent company Disney have made a controversial film about the events of September 11, 2001. This article in The Nation analyzes why Disney would decline to produce a film, such as "Fahrenheit 9/11," but would choose to produce and air, at its own expense, a partisan, conservative miniseries. The author suggests the media giant made a partisan program to please conservative government officials.

US Steps Up Anti-Castro TV (August 17, 2006)

The Christian Science Monitor reports on the newest front in Washington's propaganda war against Fidel Castro and his brother, Raúl With Cuban leader Fidel Castro in frail health, the US steps up efforts to encourage Cubans to remove their leader. Six evenings a week, a small plane leaves Florida to broadcast over Cuba's US Spanish-language television network known as TV Martí­.  While US officials claim the broadcastings help support democracy, critics argue that TV Martí only attempts to further US interests over Cuba.

Evidence of Election Fraud Grows in Mexico (August 2, 2006)

The US media reports that Mexican presidential candidate Lopez Obrador has escalated his campaign to undo official results even though voting authorities have not yet released the election results. This questionable, but widely reported false conclusion undermine Mexican voting authorities'  ability to investigate growing evidence of irregularities and fraud in the election process. This Alternet article shows specific examples of US media bias and Mexican election irregularities.

Cowboy My Foot (July 19, 2006)

This LewRockwell article examines the role that media have played in creating "instant myths." Author Charley Reese cites the example of a Time magazine story asserting that the Bush administration has made a big shift in its approach to foreign policy, changing from unilateralism to diplomacy. Reese argues that the US still uses threats of pre-emptive war and non-negotiable positions in dealing with other nations. The author warns that we should "always pay attention to what people do and not what they say."

Pentagon Studies Blogs as Terror-Fighting Tool (July 19, 2006)

The US Defense Department has hired Versatile Information Systems Inc. to create a database and search engine of politically-based web logs (blogs). The program will search for patterns in the political writings and create filters for these fora. The Defense Department will record and document blog users and content, with a focus on "Islamic blogs." This Alternet article warns of extreme censorship and the continuing degradation of privacy in the United States.

Russia's Signal to Stations Is Clear: Cut US Radio (July 7, 2006)

This Washington Post article discusses Moscow's decision to bar 60 Russian radio stations from broadcasting US government-funded news reports. Russian regulators cited "license violations and unauthorized changes in programming format" in defense of the decision. The author addresses the "Catch-22" of foreign government influence in local media versus censorship in public fora. Both options involve government in the media and violate freedom of expression.

US Media Should Butt Out of Mexico's Election (July 5, 2006)

Despite missing and uncounted ballots, the US media has declared conservative candidate Felipe Calderon the winner in the Mexican presidential elections. The media portrays left-wing candidate Lopez Orbrador's protests of the unofficial vote-counting methods as the "rants" of a "firebrand." With 16,000 polling areas unaccounted for, this Alternet article suggests that Obrador, "has a right to demand the IFE [Federal Election Institute] conduct a formal count.

Normalizing the Unthinkable (June 2006)

In this article, four prominent journalists discuss the failure of mainstream media in critically reporting on wars, occupations and human rights abuse. The purpose of this kind of journalism is to diminish the real reasons behind conflicts. Journalists typically omit disturbing news or change the language of the event to make morally questionable actions seem innocent. For instance a wall might be called a "fence" a democratically elected leader might be a "despot" or an illegal invasion could be called a "miscalculation." Corporate sponsors push for agreeable broadcasts and alter the course of public perception and world events in the process. (Z Magazine)

Patriotism and the Press (June 28, 2006)

This New York Times editorial defends the newspaper against Bush administration accusations of treason. A free press has an obligation to publish stories "unless there is some grave and overriding reason for withholding the information." By exposing reports about covert US antiterrorism programs, the New York Times serves the US public, the government, and credible journalism.

Fight for a Free Press (June 17, 2006)

The US Supreme Court focused on ensuring a free press in a 1945 anti-trust ruling. Sixty years later, corporate media conglomerates threaten this fragile democratic arrangement. The Federal Communications Commission will review the legality of owning a daily newspaper and broadcasting station in the same community. The decision could affect media partiality and the legitimacy of US news stories. (The Nation)

FCC Investigates Fake News (May 31, 2006)

The Independent UK reports that the White House has distributed propaganda material to US television stations. Members of the Federal Communications Commission are investigating at least 77 US television stations for playing fake, pro-Bush administration stories, or Video News Releases (VNR) during broadcasts. One such example shows an Iraqi-American in Kansas City thanking the US after Baghdad fell. Other VNRs include advertisements for various corporations.

The War on Free Press (May 24, 2006)

The US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has threatened to prosecute journalists for publishing information about the government's terrorist surveillance program. This development seriously threatens first amendment rights to freedom of speech and the press. Boston Globe's Derrick Z. Jackson fears a return to the Nixon's enemies list and further secrecy.

Rice Seeks $75 Million to Spur Democracy Drive in Iran (February 16, 2006)

On top of US$10million already allocated in Iran for 2006, the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice requested US$75 million extra to expand Washington's media influence in the country. Allocating these funds to broadcast US radio and TV programs, Rice argues that the media campaign will inspire Iranian citizens to pursue "freedom and democracy." Although Rice's request attracted criticism from the Democratic and Republican party, she stated that the US will "actively confront the aggressive policies"of Tehran. (Daily Star-Lebanon)

US Plans to 'Fight the Net' Revealed (January 27, 2006)

According to the declassified Pentagon document the "Information Operations Roadmap," the US has expanded its "electronic warfare" from psychological operations to computer networks. While the Washington-financed Lincoln group plants US-favored stories in Iraqi newspapers, the Pentagon plans to influence public opinion through computer and telecommunications networks. However, the document admits that the propaganda put out to influence foreign audiences is blowing back into the US domestic audience. (BBC)

Muslim Scholars Were Paid to Aid US Propaganda (January 2, 2006)

The Lincoln Group, a US public relations firm that has paid Iraqi newspapers to publish pro-US articles, has also paid Sunni religious scholars to assist with its propaganda scheme. Through a plan entitled "Divide and Prosper", the Lincoln Group and the Pentagon sought to infiltrate target audiences and weaken Iraqi resistance to the US occupation by including influential Sunni scholars in its "information offensive." (New York Times)



Planted PR Stories Not News to Military (December 18, 2005)

The US military hired the Lincoln Group, a Washington-based public relations firm, to manipulate Iraqi public opinion in favor of the US. The Lincoln Group's covert program, worth millions of dollars, included various media activities designed to appear as independent journalism rather than US propaganda. According to former Lincoln Group employees, however, US military officials were well aware that the Lincoln Group paid Iraqi newspapers to print pro-US articles and editorials, negating any possibility of "plausible deniability." (Los Angeles Times)

Pentagon Rolls Out Stealth PR (December 14, 2005)

The Pentagon is planning to launch a global media campaign designed to place pro-US messages worldwide, without identifying Washington as the source. The $300 million "psychological warfare" campaign aims at influencing foreign audiences with pro-US articles, news and advertisements. Critics argue that this "Made in the USAâ" campaign discredits a free press. (USA Today)

Paper Says Bush Talked of Bombing Arab TV Network (November 23, 2005)

Leaked British intelligence documents reveal that US President George Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair discussed the possibility of bombing Arab satellite news network Al-Jazeera. Though US officials have called the assertion "outlandish", the arrest of two British officials for making a "damaging disclosure" gives credence to the possibility that the discussion took place. If so, previous US attacks on Al-Jazeera offices in Afghanistan and Iraq, which were explained as mistakes, would come into question. (Washington Post)

Terrorism Experts? Hardly. (August 24, 2005)

"Bugs Bunny-style journalism, in which good guys defeat the bad guys who are culturally inclined to violence," dominates news and analysis of terrorism in the US mass media. The author argues that some media "terrorism experts" base their news on speculative rather than factual data, which focus on the symptoms of terror rather than its underlying causes. These speculations, in return, contribute to the "cycle of ignorance and simplistic one-dimensionalism that defines much of the public communication between Americans and Middle Easterners." The author warns that this attitude increasingly promotes anger, hatred, and violence between nations. (TomPaine)

The Military-Industrial-Media Complex: Why War is Covered from the Warriors'  Perspective (July/August 2005)

The military-industrial complex, which owns a majority of the corporate media, influences mainstream newspapers and TV channels in promoting pro-war news coverage. For example, General Electric, one of the largest US defense contractors, owns the US TV channel NBC. As a result, corporate media sources ignore independent and alternative voices that criticize the military industry and offer a different perspective. (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting)

Extra, extra! Foreign Press, Translated (July 14, 2005)

Are US citizens ready for retrospection? Christian Science Monitor discusses a new website which offers domestic readers commentary-free translations of foreign press articles about the US. With headlines like "Columbus' Discovery of America: History's biggest mistake," many articles make tough reading for a home audience. But the ability to see what those who experience US foreign policy think about it may trigger some genuine public debate which the castrated US media cannot provide.

Bugged by the Brits (July 11, 2005)

Conservative media personalities in the US were dramatically "unsettled" by the British reaction to the London bombings. Instead of allowing their horrific experience to be spun "into political gold for the conservative cause," most of those interviewed refused to echo their interviewers' "pro-Bush pro-war line," or play along with fear and hysteria. Whether commentators or victims, most preferred to engage in thoughtful discourse about the possible motivations behind and solutions for such attacks. The Nation's John Nichols discusses these contradictory reactions, and reprints in full London Mayor Ken Livingstone's moving response to the assault on his city.

US Retains Control of Web, Worrying Foreign Critics (July 2, 2005)

The US has unilaterally decided to retain indefinitely its control over the internet's main traffic-directing computers. This turnaround in policy has prompted technology experts to ask, does the US want to control the internet? Rather than handover its oversight duties to an international body as expected, the US will retain its grip on the web's root servers, prompting fears the government may try to interfere in the freedom of the world's internet users.(Salon)

Tomorrow's Woodwards and Bernsteins (June 13, 2005)

This article laments the collapse of the "golden age" of investigative journalism and stresses the “immediate need for more resources devoted to exploring and exposing what may prove to be one of the most corrupt, dishonest administrations in American history." Outlining the obstacles facing would-be Woodwards and Bernsteins, from the conflicting and financial interests of large media corporations to outright intimidation, TomPaine calls for a "Herculean commitment" by the media to exposing the truth behind the Bush administration

Big News Media Join in Push to Limit Use of Unidentified Sources (May 23, 2005)

The Newsweek scandal and subsequent criticism from the White House, which blamed riot deaths on the magazine's retracted assertion that Guantanamo interrogators desecrated the Koran, has caused several media organizations to question their use of anonymous sources. The New York Times, which itself has faced criticisms over public distrust, defends the journalistic practice and notes that banning anonymous sources could hinder important stories from coming to light.

It's All Newsweek's Fault (May 22, 2005)

This New York Times editorial oozes irony when it says the question of why Muslims hate the US "can now be answered in just one word: Newsweek." Portraying the aftermath of Newsweek's retracted story on Koran desecration as yet another example of the US government's media manipulation, the author hopes the public will realize "just how much [the Bush administration] is using press-bashing to deflect attention from the fictions spun by its own propaganda machine."

The Newsweek Retraction (May 17, 2005)

Even though Newsweek was not the first to report on US interrogators abusing the Koran and torturing Muslims, US officials blame the magazine for the riots in Afghanistan and Pakistan that killed 17 people. The Progressive points out the absurdity in blaming US media rather than those responsible for the torture.

Air Jesus (May 5, 2005)

Christian media "including six national television networks and a larger number of radio stations than any niche except country music and news talk shows" has experienced unparalleled growth since 9/11 that "shows no signs of flagging." This Columbia Journalism Review piece investigates the evangelicals' political power among the Bush administration and its followers, yet fails to question whether religion should have such a place in media and politics.

For Venezuela, What Follows War of Words? (May 5, 2005)

The People's Weekly World Newspaper argues that the Bush administration is orchestrating a media campaign to discredit Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. "Over a two-year period, five prestigious US newspapers printed 184 negative articles about the Chavez government versus 35 friendly ones." The campaign "eerily echoes much of what preceded the invasion of Iraq," says the article.

Military Channel Reports for Duty (April 25, 2005)

At its one-year anniversary, the Pentagon Channel - which the Department of Defense runs and US taxpayers fund - still serves as a point of contention between the military and its critics. While Defense officials claim the television channel helps with recruitment and communication, critics denounce it as propaganda and emphasize that the money should instead go towards troop protection. (Christian Science Monitor)

Why Media Ownership Matters (April 3, 2005)

Six major corporations own most of the mainstream US media, and the lack of diversity in ownership translates to a lack of diversity in the news. Highlighting war coverage and Federal Communications Commission activities, these authors urge the public to stand up against media consolidation for their own good, otherwise the media will remain a "well-oiled propaganda machine that is repackaging government spin and passing it off as journalism." (Seattle Times)

Karen Hughes: Extreme World Makeover (March 15, 2005)

US President George Bush has appointed confidante Karen Hughes as Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy, a position that gives her authority over public relations on the US image abroad. This acerbic piece by The Nation describes Hughes as Bush's chief spin doctor, who has covered up the truth for the president since his early days in politics.

Brand USA Is in Trouble, So Take a Lesson from Big Mac (March 14, 2005)

US President George Bush's appeals to spread democracy constitute an exercise in "rebranding" as his administration attempts to solve policy by "changing the story." But the Guardian claims that the White House's strategy will not succeed if the US government "continues to actively sabotage democracy in the very countries it claims to have liberated." This hypocrisy will only further erode human rights and incite anger in the Middle East.

Under Bush, A New Age of Prepackaged TV News (March 13, 2005)

After 9/11, the Bush administration expanded its publicity campaign to include an increased number of government-created video reports "which also appeared under President Clinton" to "counter charges of American imperialism." State Department officials allege that such reports are fair and unbiased, and that existing government propaganda laws do not apply to them; in turn, several reports were delivered to mainstream media often without source identification. This New York Times piece investigates several "covert propaganda" cases, raising serious questions about the role of ethics and accountability in this age of television journalism.

Bush Administration Blurs Media Boundary (February 17, 2005)

In light of yet another White House media scandal, the Christian Science Monitor alleges that the Bush administration is "testing the limits of presidential public relations" more so than any US president in the past. The administration's efforts, which include screening town hall participants and spending nearly $88.2 million on federal government public relations work in 2004, blur â"the line between salesmanship and manipulation."

US Accused of Plan to Muzzle alJazeera Through Privatisation (February 15, 2005)

Despite the Bush administration's "intention of fostering free speech and democracy" in the Middle East, the Independent reports that US and Saudi officials are trying to privatize Arab news station alJazeera to gain control of its reporting. Washington complains that the station, which this article calls "a rare beacon of uninhibited reporting and free expression in a region where strict state control of the media is the norm," is biased and critical in covering US foreign policy.

Too Much Stenography, Not Enough Curiosity (February 4, 2005)

Using statements from US President George Bush in 2005 and President Lyndon Johnson in 1966, this AlterNet article demonstrates how the media repeats what the White House wishes rather than investigating "historic echoes" and "basic contradictions." The author hopes the public will finally realize the "lethal discrepancies between democratic rhetoric and military occupation" and spur journalists to present reality.

The Culture of Secrecy (February 3, 2005)

Investigative journalism has fallen victim to the "war on terrorism," says the Center for Public Integrity. In several instances, journalists do not question the news such as weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, corporate political affiliations and prolonged detentions of terror suspects because media organizations believe such investigations are "not efficient or cost-effective." Journalists are not thrown in jail as in China or killed as in Colombia and Russia, but the current situation far from adequately reflects democratic principles of accessibility and transparency.

Beyond Lynndie England (February 2, 2005)

Prisoner abuse at the hands of the US military has already surfaced in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, yet only seven Abu Ghraib guards have faced prosecution. This Mother Jones opinion piece asks why everyone is so willing to let a handful of lower officials take the blame for such serious crimes. The author says the media must "hunker down and find the real story."

Bush Prohibits Paying of Commentators (January 27, 2005)

As the US Health and Human Services Department reveals another instance of paying a media columnist to support White House policy, President George Bush warns his cabinet to ensure independence of the government and media by discontinuing such practices. Yet the administration has faced increased criticism for using public relations methods that manipulate a "covert propaganda," making it difficult to believe that the agenda can "stand on its own two feet" as Bush hopes. (New York Times)

A Televisual Fairyland (January 18, 2005)

The Guardian highlights three cases: the CBS news scandal over President Bush's military service, television commentator Armstrong Williams' secret contract, and a 1998 CNN apology for a story on chemical weapons in Vietnam to demonstrate how "the US media is disciplined by corporate America." The author says that US media organizations, by deciding what the public hears and punishing journalists for deviating from corporate interests, function as "repressive state regimes."

The Other Tsunami (January 10, 2005)

While the US, UK and their "sidekicks" use a "one-way moral mirror" to separate victims of natural - rather than imperial - disasters as worthy, the western media turns a blind eye. The tsunami victims, for example, receive excessive coverage but everyone ignores genocide in East Timor caused by the Indonesian government's western weapons. And though the media cover aid in Afghanistan and Iraq, they fail to mention that most of the money goes to the US-led coalition and security for foreigners, not reconstruction efforts. (New Statesman)

Media Sense and Sensibilities (January 4, 2005)

This AlterNet article applauds the British media for challenging governmental policies more than the US media, but cautions against much praise as Prime Minister Tony Blair still has excessive executive powers. The author believes the media can be the "only effective barrier" to governmental free reign, but "vigorous journalism is essential to prevent further erosion of civil liberties and other fundamental rights" in Britain as well as in the US.



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