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February 20, 2006

On Truth And Consequences - The 'Misguided Outrage', World View, And Distorted Truths Of America's Press

Topics: Follies of the Mainstream Media

Captain Ed's piece yesterday on the "Misguided and Cowardly Outrage" of the national press focuses on two examples that serve to exemplify how the American media have reduced themselves to propaganda pieces for America's enemies, and serve to explain why the media is in fact what they have become - cowardly, agenda and bottom line-driven, corporate tools of the Left, who refuse to report honestly on events that do not support their world view of the driving forces behind the need for the War On Terror. By doing so, the media have contributed to America's enemies by reducing the effectiveness of the War On Terror, and have "abdicated their position as the conveyors of truth and information when the effort carries any real risk."

Although Ed's piece is more about the national press's loss of credibility and their cowardly refusal to publish one of the most urgent stories of the day - the editorial cartoons satirizing Islam and Mohammed, it also serves to call attention to the agenda-driven, "selective" reporting of the news and it's disastrous effects upon America's efforts in the WOT. No information is too good for America's enemies (i.e. the NSA leaks), so long as the national press can push their leftist agenda and protect their corporate bottom line. They apparently have no fear of terrorist nuclear bombs bringing a screaching halt to their presses, or their wives and children having to live under sharia should radical Islam actually succeed in it's Islamofascist agenda to do nothing less than "Islamocize" the West, their cowardess is selectively focused on their bottom line. Giving our enemies buffets of propaganda to use against us is okay, but the earth would stop turning should they actually offend Muslims that are rioting, rampaging, burning and murdering people all over the globe over very silly and childish cartoons

The two separate news stories Ed mentions that have "overwhelmed the national press over the past fortnight," the deadly protests that have come from imams stoking Muslim rage and anger over four-month-old editorial cartoons satirizing Islam and Mohammed, and the idiotic and childish outrage of the White House press corps and the national media in general over an eighteen-hour delay in reporting the accidental shooting of Harry Whittington by the Vice-President, serve to help make the case for both Ed's point and of the media's contribution to America's enemies and an increase in the danger from acts of terrorism on America's streets.

As Ed has noted, Jeff Jacoby noted in his Boston Globe column that the press has mostly abdicated their position as the "conveyors of truth and information when the effort carries any real risk":

The vast majority of US media outlets have shied away from reproducing the drawings, but to my knowledge only the Phoenix has been honest enough to admit that it is capitulating to fear. Many of the others have published high-minded editorials and columns about the importance of ''restraint" and ''sensitivity" and not giving ''offense" to Muslims. Several have claimed they wouldn't print the Danish cartoons for the same reason they wouldn't print overtly racist or anti-Semitic material. The managing editor for news of The Oregonian, for example, told her paper's ombudsman that not running the images is like avoiding the N-word -- readers don't need to see a racial slur spelled out to understand its impact. Yet a Nexis search turns up at least 14 occasions since 1999 when The Oregonian has published the N-word unfiltered. So there are times when it is appropriate to run material that some may find offensive.

Rationalizations notwithstanding, the refusal of the US media to show the images at the heart of one of the most urgent stories of the day is not about restraint and good taste. It's about fear. Editors and publishers are afraid the thugs will target them as they targeted Danny Pearl and Theo van Gogh; afraid the mob will firebomb their newsrooms as it has firebombed Danish embassies. ''We will not accept less than severing the heads of those responsible," an imam in Gaza preaches. ''Whoever insults a prophet, kill him," reads the sign carried by a demonstrator in London. Those are not figures of speech but deadly threats, and American newspapers and networks are intimidated. ...

Journalists can be incredibly brave, but when it comes to covering the Arab and Muslim world, too many news organizations have knuckled under to threats. Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, a veteran foreign correspondent, admitted long ago that ''physical intimidation" by the PLO led reporters to skew their coverage of important stories or to ignore them ''out of fear." Similarly, CNN's former news executive, [Eason Jordan], acknowledged after the fall of Saddam Hussein that his network had long sanitized its news from Iraq, since reporting the unvarnished truth ''would have jeopardized the lives of . . . our Baghdad staff."

Ed's comments sum up what the American public should be outraged over - cowardice of the media, and their willingness to place making politcal hay ahead of letting the public know what the Danish cartoonists drew that have prompted Muslims to rampage, riot, murder, burn at least a half-dozen embassies around the world, and threaten the lives of others.
Instead of informing the people of the context of these riots -- the almost ridiculously mild satire of the cartoon published four months ago -- they have steadfastly declined to print them at all. While they regularly issue pronouncements about the right of the people to know, they have banded together to ensure that most of their readers have no idea exactly what the Danish cartoonists drew that have prompted the burnings of at least a half-dozen embassies around the world.

At the same time, the same media outlets that have kept its customers in the dark in one of the most important stories in the conflict with radical Islamists screeched like banshees when Dick Cheney took all of eighteen hours to reveal that he had accidentally shot his hunting partner and friend on a Saturday afternoon. For days, these stalwarts of journalistic courage took turns castigating Scott McClellan for Cheney's failure to give the story to the White House press corps, arguing that the story was so important that it could not be trusted to the Corpus Christi local paper to inform the nation. David Gregory, whose network has not even allowed a pixilated version of the Prophet cartoons to appear lest they incur the wrath of Muslim terrorists, accused the White House of censorship and coverups in supposedly hiding the shooting from the nation.

By placing their agenda and bottom line ahead of national interest - America's media have helped protect it's enemies (by knowing exactly what Muslims have virtually gone nuts over, Americans would be more aware of the true nature of their enemy), and by making it abundantly clear that placing their political agenda ahead of focusing on the important story of the day - the media have in turn made it clear that they can no longer claim to have any credibility as "conveyors of truth and information when the effort carries any real risk". The time for the American media to stand up to the Arab and Muslim world that are "dead set" on the destruction of the West, is long overdue, and the "David Gregories" of the country need to be recognized for what they are - insignificant in terms of insight, uninformative in terms of an ability to report on news events without agenda-driven distortions and avoidance of facts that support any view but their own, and untrustworthy as converyors of meaningful information.

A commenter (TheRealSwede) at Captain Ed's site sums up a prejudicial element of the media that I believe greatly influences what we read:

I think there's much more to it than just a physical fear for reporters and news editors, that kept the cartoons largely unpublished here in the U.S. Violence of that kind can still be viewed as remote. It is another fear that plays an important role in these decisions of self-censorship. What these news people fear more than anything now - is playing any part in events that don't support their world view. They fear that publishing those cartoons would hasten the day when everyone is forced to take a stand, the day when forces are aligned and the true nature of the conflict becomes clear to everyone. It is this crystalization of the struggle that will consign their icons of multiculturalism and political correctness to the ash heap. Forgotten in a clash of civilizations that requires sterner stuff to survive. When the majority of the American people come to see this war as a clash of civilizations, them versus us - then all the underpinings of the left's world view will be tossed aside in a heartbeat, with no prospect of rebuilding those structures anytime soon. That is what those who run our MSM fear more than anything. And that is why they decided the American people could not see the cartoons, and why they could not have Moslems around the world perceive the U.S. media as taking a stand.
Cowardice, distorted and agenda-driven reporting, selective reporting framed by a leftist world view, and focus on the bottom line, all contribute to the growing number of reasons why Jeff Jacoby's comment has such a strong ring of truth - indeed, the American media has "abdicated their position as the conveyors of truth and information". Were it not for the fact that these attributes aid, abet, and give comfort to the people that want to destroy us, and also that the press can and should make an important contribution to the public, were it not for it's agenda-driven, world view-oriented, bottom-line-driven, reporting, we could simply say that it's time to dump the media in the great trash heap of history. But we need them, we just need them to first wake up to the realities of our time, and make necessary changes in their reporting, world view, agenda and bottom line, in order that all of us survive to at least live out our time.

Please read all of the commentary at Captain's Quarters.

Posted by Richard at February 20, 2006 6:34 AM



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