City of Roses
|Whew, a lot has been said since the last time yesterday where I've had the time to discuss my thoughts, LOL! I was busy working for KBOO News much of the day as both producer, reporter and audio editor, so I certainly had my hands full! That's OK though! So let me just review a few particular comments made here I find most important to respond to.
Let me ask you this. Let's suppose for argument's sake that the Koran/toilet issue were true? What exactly about it was so important that Newsweek would consider it so important that the news got out to the world? Was it the "the public has the right to know" song and dance that has been used since the beginning of time? What made this issue vital to be aired? Certainly Newsweek would have to know that it would be very detrimental to our efforts over there. Certainly they would know that it would make the work of our soldiers and civilians more difficult and more dangerous. Why was it so important to them to get this "incredible news story" out to the world that any consequences would be inconsequential to them? I'm sure you know the answer to that question as well as I and a large percentage of the population do and it has nothing to do with "the public's right to know".....as you well know.
The answer's simple, Balladeer. Because it is wrong.
And you're right that there overall is no real beneficial value to sharing the information. Nevertheless, it's as though you're saying that citing all the bad things happening at Abu Ghraib shouldn't be allowed and is nothing but detrimental to our mission, which all those atrocities must be known and be made available to the public simply because it is wrong and to cultivate a sense of wareness to what is happening and speaking for a huge outcry against that form of abuse.
I'm not defending Newsweek here for their truly irresponsible behavior, but it's also important to note out that the American Red Cross has a number of times before cited incidents of Quran descecration, which its origin is said to link back to the 1980's when it was done in Afghan-Russian conflicts. It's also interesting that Condoleezza Rice, though condemning Newsweek's actions, hasn't said the story was untrue.
As I have said before, over the past so many months, terrorists have kidnapped civilians, distributed video of them beheading innocent victims, bombed churches, shopping centers, schools and killed countless Iraqi citizens and the majority of the headlines have been composed of The US insensitivities to prisoners. We shot pictures of them naked. We flushed their holy book down the toilet. (Oops, was that a head rolling by?) The terrorists don't need to do anything. The greatest weapon they have is our own media.
Our media and their hatred of Bush is the most powerful weapon the terrorists have. Our media has done more damage that any terrorist could ever hope to accomplish. If the terrorist groups were able to get together and hand out medals, the United States media would receive their highest award....and CBS might even televise the event! But, hey, let the heads roll where they may. The media is exercising their right that the country they are abusing with their power gave them. Nothing is their fault because they are just innocent bystanders reporting the news. If the stick they jab the beehive with causes bees to come out and sting people....hey, they didn't tell the bees to come out and hurt anyone!
May they all feel very proud.....
Aside from your claims that the media portrays a generally antagonistic attitde towards Bush and his agenda, which I strongly disagree with and believe that the media actually has a generally favorable view of this administration, I absolutely agree with you that our own media is the cause of so much of what is wrong with our culture and the world right now, and continues to fail to answer questions and only incite more problems and mass confusion.
I just believe our culture is being domianted by one of the single most deadly viruses; fear. Our media and society is being fueled by fear everyday, and it is terribly unhealthy for we and the children. I believe we have to return to a type of mentality where we don't let the threat of terrorism dominate our lives and water cooler conversations. I believe we can do that AND not being passive about it in this conflict management and resolution.
The fact that so much of our media landscape had come out defending Isikoff also affirms my understanding of where the media directs itself. They go out blasting on and on about Newsweek, but let Isikoff off the hook. That right there is an example of that "greatest weapon" you speak of.
Speaking of tabloids, The Sun has a new edition, with a photo of Saddam in very white briefs. What The Sun quite failed to understand, or really didn't care about, is that the distribution of such a photo is a very clear violation of the Geneva Convention. Whoever leaked/gave/sold that picture, and whoever printed that picture should be tried in accordance to the Geneva Convention. I quite fail to understand the purpose of even taking such a photo, but whoever did on whomever's orders, both should be held by the same yardstick as the ones who distributed and printed it.
I absolutely agree with you there, Alicat, and I absolutely see where you see that Geneva Convention violation.
Look, there's no question Hussein is a murderous, barbaric man. Nevertheless, what type of message does it send the rest of the world when you go and present a sort of picture like that? There's no dignity, no class behind that, and to some it would only portray some negative indication of an American hegemony or something of that sort. America is unique because even when we're already aware and find obvious the cruel things many men have done, we still treat prisoners of war in true discipline, especially up until the time they are formally charged.
As a sidenote to that, what is particularly interesting is that The Sun and the New York Post are both Rupert Murdoch publications.
Personally, I think there is, depending on what results people are trying to obtain. In my opinion, the Newsweeks, Rathers, Jennings and other parts of the media have one unifying agenda - they want us to fail in Iraq or, at least, they want to make it as hard as possible. The why is a given. Success in Iraq might, in some ways, favor Bush. It could even validate some of his decisions. That thought is abhorrent to them. They spew out all of the negatives they can...any positives don't see the light of day. Does it matter that it makes everything so much harder on our soldiers there? Does it matter that it supplies ammunition to the terrorist movements? Does it matter that it dirties our reputation as a nation in the Muslim world? Not a bit. If their articles or reports can cause anyone to shower condemnation on the administration they consider all of these by-producrs worth it. If it means fabricating reports just before the election, a la Rather, or running off half-cocked at the smell of a juicy tidbit, a la Newsweek, they will do it. They DO do it! The alternative would be favorable light cast on Bush and that would not be tolerable for them. That's what they have to gain by lying, fabricating or engaging in tabloid sensationalism....just IMHO.
I can sense you are very angry right now, and I can respect and understand why that would be, so I'll try and make my strong opinions here as brief as I can.
It didn't take me some sort of Newsweek story for me to understand that war is wrong. It didn't take me some Dan Rather or Walter Cronkite or Bruce Springsteen song for me to understand that war is cynical and disastrous. Certainly to some it may be that way, but I've always just felt it deep down from the tears and screams and agony alone, and where everything else just checks my perceptions.
Why I don't believe we should be in Iraq, or have ever been there to begin with, at the core, has nothing to do politically. It's all about reason, about what is sound. Why should tens of thousands of Iraqis who have nothing to do with terrorist camps have to perish or suffer like this? Why couldn't Bush and McClellan and others have that same sort of attitude towards Iraq that they have towards resolving the conflicts in Uzbekistan, which is home to a dictatorship no less brutal than Hussein's was. McClellan clearly said last weekend that we must resolve this through peace and that is their message to the world. And anyone has still failed to answer to me here why that couldn't be the attitude towards handling the conflict with Saddam and Iraq.
This war has clearly brought out the worst in both America and the world. Those critical of the Newsweek incident damaging America's image worldwide can say that all they want, but the fact is from the very beginning the opposition to the war worldwide has been massive, and we had huge Iraqi protests, car bombing after car bombing, beheadings, etc. well before that story ever got aired, not to mention staggering disapproval ratings by 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 4 margins in almost every country to the war. And I do believe Newsweek's irresponsibility inspired that outburst of violence, but the fact is this war already inspired this massive tension and antagonism in the region.
In the end, I find, the bottom line is that this administration took us to war on absolutely false claims, and Newsweek encouraged that incident of violence. The only difference is Newsweek, even when you can't really measure sincerity and I agree could have been disingenuous, apologized, and the Bush Administration hasn't.
I want this Iraq mission to be aborted simply because I believe this tension is not going to start ending until we stop the occupation. I want this mission to be aborted because I don't want any more innocent people hurt. I want this mission to be aborted because I want our credibility to be restored and our international relations to be rebuilt. Finally, I want this mission to be aborted because it's this mission that's bringing out the worst in us all.
I recognize I've expressed myself very passionately here, so I'd like to try and end on a more encouraging note.
Every day for a long time I shook my head at what I've seen on the news, with all the propaganda and lack of truth-telling.
You know what I did? I recognized the familiar saying, "Don't hate the media, become the media!" And that certainly doesn't mean conform either. It means if you don't like what you hear, well, work to see how you can be heard.
So I've been volunteering a lot at KBOO, my local community radio station. They follow a charter where we promote unpopular opinions that focus on international relations, human rights, environment, peace studies, etc. I'm blessed to be among them. Here, I'm proud to present to you my first story I've reported on:
The point here is, this is only one small step to progress to having our desired voices heard and it may not solve many of the problems with our media now, but if you are truly frustrated over what you're seeing, I encourage you to take some time and volunteer at your local newspaper or, perhaps you have a community station near your community. I may not agree with what you have to say, but I'd be happy to see you get your voice heard!
As far as everything else goes, we just must be ever vigilant and play a role in holding these outlets accountable. I know that may sound terribly cliche and hopeless, but I remain optimistic we'll eventually find a middle ground and try and suit one another's needs.
Whew, I said a lot. Until tomorrow, g'night to y'all!
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"