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Posts Tagged ‘Mass media’

Western Media Discuss Options To Attack Ian

February 7, 2012 Leave a comment

According to some reports, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated that Israel will strike at Iran sometime between April and June of this year. The Pentagon declined to officially comment, and Israeli leaders are silent as well. The Western media, however, were happy to sink their teeth in the story. Many publications are convinced that both Israelis and Americans may strike at Iran. Read more…

U.S. With Corporate Media Tries To Lead Iran Protests

February 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton had instantly recognized them by referring to them as the Iranian “opposition” a few months ago: “We continue talking with them and supporting the opposition.” The same government that, in the words of Juan Gelman, had so many ups and downs against the protests against the government of their ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, now they have thrown themselves into the effort to head up support to those who are allegedly fighting the government in Tehran, granting them a semblance of legitimacy.

by Iroel Sánchez

Rebellion

Hillary Clinton had instantly recognized them by referring to them as the Iranian “opposition” a few months ago: “We continue talking with them and supporting the opposition.” The same government that, in the words of Juan Gelman, had so many ups and downs against the protests against the government of their ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, now they have thrown themselves into the effort to head up support to those who are allegedly fighting the government in Tehran, granting them a semblance of legitimacy.

Towards this end, the U.S. State Department has opened a Twitter account USAdarFarsi to encourage those who do what America wants. Quickly, in an instant, the mainstream Western media, for example, the Spanish press started talking about repression in the Iranian capital, showing images of a burning trash can they call a “barricade” (El País–The Country), and a video in which a small group People burn a blanket on a busy road to the indifference of passing drivers (Público–Public) which was used to talk about victims of firearms.

Once again the technique of self-fulfilling prophecy begins to operate from the media against U.S. enemies, announcing in advance what the White House wants to happen. In this case, the goal is to divert the anti-imperialist and popular rebellion in the Middle East against the main enemy of the United States and Israel in the area and prevent the fire from reaching regimes such as Morocco and Saudi Arabia, faithful servants of the Empire.

And not only is the United States acting in this case, the consul of the Spanish government in Tehran who was weeks ago so reluctant to investigate and condemn the Moroccan regime’s crimes against the Saharawi people, spent four hours at a police station in Iran “after being stopped when I strolled through the center of Tehran while the ‘protests’ were taking place “…

Much ado about nothing, the U.S. is desperate to deflect attention. See the picture showing the “thousands” of demonstrators, and this is just Tehran. The rest of the country is, well, er. quietly living in peace. University of Tehran Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi said no more than “a few hundred rioters” were in downtown Tehran.

However, just survey the western corporate media. Being dusted off are the stories that failed so miserably not long ago, trying to push Washington’s agenda.

The Empire is now determined to even the score in the Middle East, by generating displays of mass discontent to bring down a U.S. adversary in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Obama’s National Security Advisor, Tom Donilon, issued an official, White House letterhead statement, declaring as a matter of U.S. policy that Iran must allow protests of whatever sort the Obama Administration wishes to encourage.

In other words, they will try to “get something going” in Iran. The administration will fail, and the spectacle will be disheartening for them.

Did somebody say “demonstrators” for hire?

Here’s looking forward to seeing them fall on their faces once again. It’s over…

U.S. with corporate media tries to lead Iran protests

Sweden rats out Russia’s internet to US, now for Assange

February 12, 2011 Leave a comment

As Sweden battles for the extradition of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks cables on the country’s close co-operation with the US are provoking a public backlash.

­The text revealed Washington’s push to influence Swedish wiretapping laws so communication passing through the Scandinavian country can be intercepted. Now Sweden is bugged and wiretapped – at the behest of the US.

The Swedish intelligence service, the FRA, has the power to monitor and intercept all internet traffic in the country. And thanks to leaked US State Department cables, we now know the controversial law was adopted after pressure from Washington. And the security services were deliberately kept out of the process to reassure Swedes there was no “funny business”.

“Forced to operate under strict data storage and protection laws for Swedish citizens, they [FRA] are concerned that the public may perceive their involvement as an attempt to work around these restrictions by using a foreign intermediary (the United States), thus poisoning any chance for success,” US State Department cable (UNCLAS Stockholm 000704) goes on.

The US interest is clear. Eighty per cent of all the internet traffic from Russia travels through Sweden. And from there, to America.

Swedish MP Christian Engstrom explained the set-up. “It was mentioned by the government representatives that ‘No, the purpose is not to spy on Swedes, it’s to monitor, among other things, Russian transit traffic.’”

But what kind of information are they after?

“I think the information that is made accessible to special services by this law is, of course, sensitive and there are ways it can harm Russia’s political interests,” head of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev believes.

The law has been slammed by some as “the most far-reaching eavesdropping plan in Europe,” and prompted widespread protests ahead of its implementation. Cables also suggest the Swedish government was colluding with the US to avoid involving the public at all costs.

“The agreement may have to be presented to Parliament under a vague constitutional requirement for ‘matters of great importance’. If so, the process will take considerably longer and be subject to public scrutiny, something the Government of Sweden will want to avoid. As the Ministry of Justice continues to analyze the proposed text, it is also considering how to craft an arrangement that will avoid the need for parliamentary review,” says US State Department cable (UNCLAS Stockholm 000704).

“There is no parliamentary control of what the FRA does, and of course the public in Sweden has even less control,” Christian Engstrom says. “Much of the pressure comes from the US and the copyright industries, and the Swedish government is more than happy to do whatever these American corporations ask through the American government,” Swedish MP revealed.

Judging from the dates on the leaked cables, while Sweden was debating whether to pass the bill, the Americans were already negotiating with the Swedish authorities on what kind of information they wanted.

“They [the Swedish Ministry of Justice] see your October 23 meeting as an opportunity to seek precise details on the type of information the United States wants and overall aim of the agreement,” the same cable informed.

And it is clear that the US ended up getting what it was after – at least in terms of information on the 80 per cent of Russian internet traffic that passes through Sweden.

“Our intelligence co-operation with Sweden on Russia is excellent,” acknowledged another cable (Stockholm 00000266 002 of 003). “DIA Director Lieutenant-General Burgess will be here next week for exchanges with the Swedes on Russia and other topics.”

Now it is not just information on Russia that the US is after from Sweden. America is reportedly carrying out its own investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the source of all this information about the deal, to see if it can bring espionage charges. If it can, and applies to Sweden for Assange’s extradition, all this close co-operation we have seen may mean his feet will not touch the ground in Stockholm.

Sweden rats out Russia’s internet to US, now for Assange

Guardian Reporter Expelled from Russia in “Cold War” Echo

February 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Luke Harding, the accredited Moscow correspondent of the British Guardian newspaper, has been expelled from Russia in what appears to be the first incident of its kind since the end of the cold war.

Mr. Harding, who has reported on the full range of Russia issues since arriving in Moscow in 2007, was detained at Domodedovo airport last Saturday as he attempted to reenter the country after spending two months in London working on the paper’s WikiLeaks coverage.

According to Harding’s Twitter feed, he was kept in a cell for 45 minutes with a group of other detainees, then placed aboard a flight to London and told “Russia is closed to you.”

“Stopped at [passport] control, put in a locked cell and deported. No explanation given,” Harding tweeted. “Extremely sad to leave Russia under these circumstances.”

Rare even in Soviet times

According to the Guardian, two non-accredited British journalists have recently been blocked from entering Russia. One of them, Thomas de Waal, worked for many years in Moscow and is widely recognized expert on the North Caucasus but was refused entry in 2006. The last time an accredited British reporter was kicked out of the country, according to the Guardian, was when the Moscow correspondent for the Sunday Times was expelled in 1989. Nicholas Daniloff, US News & World Report correspondent arrested by the KGB in 1986, was held for two weeks before being forced out.

But even in Soviet times, this practice of kicking out journalists working on the staff of major international newspapers was quite rare and usually connected with some sort of diplomatic crisis. In some of those cases, it could be clearly seen that the journalist was being used as a pawn in a larger game.

It’s not at all clear what’s going on in Harding’s case.

An unnamed source in Russia’s security establishment told the official RIA-Novosti agency that Harding was blacklisted at the request of a particular security agency, which suggests he incurred the wrath of either the Federal Security Service (FSB), which deals with domestic matters, or the SVR external intelligence agency.

No official reason has been yet given for the expulsion of a foreign correspondent who was accredited by the Russian Foreign Ministry and issued a visa to work as a journalist under international agreements signed by Russia.

In a statement, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger called the expulsion a “very troubling development with serious implications for press freedom … it is worrying that the Russian government should now kick out reporters of whom they disapprove.”

British Member of Parliament Chris Bryant proposed that the government rescind an invitation to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to visit Britain next week in response.

Harding’s coverage of Russia included hard-hitting stories about terrorism and Russia’s long-running counterinsurgency war in the north Caucasus – where he interviewed the family of a Dagestani suicide bomber – as well as the increasingly authoritarian drift of Russia under presidents Vladimir Putin and his successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

The WikiLeaks connection

But Harding has suggested that his role as one of the Guardian’s team of analysts tasked with assessing the WikiLeaks cables may have been particularly riling for official Moscow. While in Moscow he wrote about several controversial US embassy cables, including one that quoted a Spanish prosecutor as saying that Russia is “a virtual mafia state,” and another that queried Mr. Putin’s possible foreknowledge about the 2006 murder-by-radiation of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

“The Russians have been unhappy with my reporting for a while. But it seems WikiLeaks may have been the final straw,” Harding tweeted Tuesday. He is coauthor of “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy.”

But an unnamed official source quoted by the independent Interfax agency said Tuesday that Harding’s journalistic work couldn’t be the reason for his expulsion. “The reason for expelling him is not yet clear,” the official said. “But whatever the British journalist wrote cannot be the reason for invoking such measures.”

The chair of Russia’s Union of Journalists, Vsevolod Bogdanov, says the Kremlin has an obligation to explain its reasons for kicking out an accredited foreign journalist.

“Public opinion has a right to know what he did wrong, or what ethical rules he violated,” Mr. Bogdanov says. “The Guardian is a respectable and well-regarded newspaper. This is probably the decision of some official who has no idea of what a journalist’s job entails. If no explanation is forthcoming, then this is a violation of normal relations in a democratic society.”

The head of the Kremlin’s in-house human rights council, Mikhail Fedotov, told journalists Tuesday that he will review Harding’s case.

“We do not know yet why his visa was canceled,” Mr. Fedotov said. “There must have been some very serious reasons for that …. The creation of favorable visa conditions for journalists is an obligation accepted by all member states of the [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] and we should fulfill this obligation.

“Of course, there are issues of national security to take into account,” he added.

Veteran Russian human rights activist, Lyudmilla Alexeyeva, says Russian authorities appear to be reviving Soviet-era practices of blaming the messenger.

“Judging by this case, we might soon be left without any foreign correspondents,” she says. “Even in Soviet times, Moscow always had foreign journalists here,” even if they had to work under tough conditions, she says.

Foreign Ministry’s explanation

Late Tuesday the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Harding was expelled for “violating the rules of accreditation,” a process that Russian officials take seriously. “He violated a number of rules governing the work of foreign correspondents [that] were approved by the Russian government in 1994 and which all journalists are well familiar with,” the ministry statement said.

Normally, journalists receive an accreditation card from the Foreign Ministry after providing proof that they represent a legitimate news outlet. The document is treated as official ID in Russia, and the journalist receives his visa on the basis of it. Visas are always issued for exactly the same period – usually one year – for which the accreditation is valid.

The ministry statement suggested that Harding had failed to renew his accreditation before leaving for a London assignment last November, but failed to explain how Harding held a visa that was valid until May.

Other officials, anonymously quoted in the Russian media, have said that Harding may have failed to obtain special security permission required to travel to the “zone of counter-terrorist operations” in the north Caucasus.

The Guardian responds

In a response e-mailed to Moscow-based journalists Tuesday night – adding to the confusion surrounding Harding’s expulsion – the Guardian said: “We are baffled by the statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry today. We have still not received an adequate explanation of why Luke Harding was deported on arrival at Moscow airport on Saturday February 5th, despite having a valid visa. Failure to collect his press card before leaving urgently on a trip to London is manifestly not a plausible reason for detaining Luke at the airport and refusing him entry to Russia. This is part of a pattern of behavior by the Russian Foreign Ministry who first expelled Luke Harding in November 2010. That expulsion was partially delayed after intervention by the British government, but it was understood that Luke would have to leave by May 2011. We did not make this public at the time but it discredits attempts to portray this week’s expulsion as an administrative error.”

 

Guardian reporter expelled from Russia in cold war echo

Reagan legacy hijacked by mainstream media

February 9, 2011 Leave a comment

This weekend, President Ronald Reagan celebrated his 100th birthday. But since he’s not alive anymore, former followers and supporters celebrated for him, with a party fit for a King.

Over the last few years, Regan’s name has been invoked by conservative politicians and Tea Party activists as the model President and great Republican. Now, the US media has jumped on board spending hours dishing out praise for the 40th President.

Sunday, NBC’s Meet the Press broadcast directly from the Reagan Library, as several others did as well.

He stuck to his principles, he was authentic which is one of the reasons why he’s so admired and he knew when he needed to compromise,” said Correspondent Andrea Mitchell of President Reagan.

Most networks traveled to California for the festivities and news anchors spoke about their fondest memories. One Fox anchor said Reagan’s words still “give her the chills.”

Former White House Chief of Staff under Reagan, James Baker, also appearing on Meet the Press, said, “He knew when to hold em, he knew when to fold em, he was a fine negotiator.He learned all that as the head of the Screen Actors Guild.”

CNN’s John King asked Newt Gingrich, “Why is it in your view that everybody who’s a Republican, almost everybody, wants to be a Reagan Republican?”

Well he’s the most significant Republican since Abraham Lincoln,” Gingrich responded.

It was clear what the US media didn’t want to discuss was his actual record.

Under Reagan, the number of employees in the federal government grew from $2.8 million to $3 million. The national debt grew from $700 billion to $3 trillion during his time in office. And he may have lowered taxes but he also raised taxes after having lowered them. Still, Sarah Palin remembered him as a friend to the Real American.

President Reagan said you can’t be for big government, big taxes and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy,” Palin remarked.

Reagan legacy hijacked by mainstream media

US free speech strangled by political correctness

February 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Freedom of expression in the US has given way to many things; pornography, provocative artists, gay pride and political correctness – language that aims to offend no one.

Is the so called PC way of speaking stifling Americans to a point where remaining silent is safer than speaking your mind? America is a country that pioneered freedom of expression, but is the rising tide of political correctness reigning in the right to say what you think?

“Sometimes you want to call a spade of spade, and sometimes you want to call it a f**king shovel,” said New Yorker, Ray Andlew.

According to a Rasmussen Poll, the majority of citizens think the US is overdosing on PC.

Turning the land of the free into a nation of hypersensitive sissies, where even Dorito’s can cause mass controversy. In this a new company ad, a Roman Catholic priest substitutes the corn chip for the Eucharist, the body of Christ. The commercial was created for a possible super bowl broadcast. But after an uproar among Catholics, Frito lay apologized and pulled the plug on the satirical spot.

“The Doritos’s commercial being pulled is a classic example of Americans freaking out over something to do with religion. I understand why the Catholic would flip out, that’s their job. However, you gotta be able to laugh at yourself folks, “said political comedian Sarah Benincasa.

But the price of humor can end up costing big. Navy captain Owen Honors – entrusted with a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier worth half a billion dollars was fired over racy moral boosting videos he had helped make several years ago. Having survived 85 combat missions Owen was shot down by fraternity style gestures and comments.

As for the man who wrote 19th century classics, not even Mark Twain is protected from present day PC.Two of Twain’s books are being republished with the word slave replacing the “N” word.

“It’s about laziness.We don’t want to trust people to learn and examine. To look at something and go beyond that and examine and say what does it mean? What were those times like? What is the author trying to say,” said Christopher Chambers, a Georgetown University professor.

When film critic Roger Egbert took to Twitter to criticize the censorship, he was criticized for simply writing the “N” word.

Who can speak the “N” word has become a battle in court. A federal jury will soon decide if white people can use the “N” word at work. This as a white TV reporter is suing a local Fox News affiliate in Philadelphia after being fired for using the “N” word during a staff meeting.

Of course the R-word can also make you a glorified villain.As was the case last year, when former US Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel privately called a group of liberals “f**king retards.”

At ESPN, sensitivity surrounding sex has become a touchy subject.Announcer Ron Franklin was fired this month for allegedly calling a female reporter “sweet baby.”

Many say political correctness has neutered the American language and created a super-sensitive society incapable of laughing things off.A PC influence that’s left more people biting tongues for fear that freedom of expression may be more trouble than it’s f**king worth.

John Romano, the founder of YesButHowever.com asks; ‘where do we draw the line?’

“We are at the precipice where we are about to go over the edge. Where does it stop,” he said. “I like the idea we have some respect, but where do we draw the line?”

American society is heading towards a place where everyone will be afraid to speak freely, he argued.

Forcing political correctness requires people to back-step, constantly apologize, to remove or delete comments they have made. However, this is not a positive.

“If we have people constantly saying something and then cow tail to a popular opinion, it doesn’t look so great,” explained Drew Grant, the deputy editor of Crushable.

In today’s America, political correctness has become a “tool of politicians to punish their enemies,” argued Romano.

Scott Blakeman, a political comedian and liberal pundit argued that Americans have free expression, and that political correctness is not all that wide spread in America.

“It’s not a nationwide trend taking over” he said.

Commenting on the firing of Navy Captain Owen Honors, Blakeman argued it is possible he should not have been fired.

“Quick firing, I don’t think that should happen,” he said. “If Captain Owen Honors was discriminatory to his sailors, if he treated gay sailors worse than other sailors he has no place in the military. If he is just guilty of having a horrible sense of humor, a low brow stupid sense of humor and videos with sex jokes and gay jokes ,that didn’t reflect on the environment his ship operated in, than I think it was unfair to push him out.”

Categories: Politics Tags: , ,

Corporations decide what Americans see on TV

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Several huge corporations own major networks and newspapers in the U.S. How much of the content do they control?

Everyone seems to know that the hand that feeds is the hand in charge.

“He who pays the piper gets to call the tune,” said Steve Rendall, a senior analyst at FAIR.

In the US, paying the piper and running the show are corporations. The tune they call, what Americans see, hear and read.

“It’s a money maker, it’s a cash cow. People don’t think that there is any money in the media. Aside from health care these days, the media is the industry of the 21st century,” said Georgetown University Professor Chris Chambers.

Half a century ago, fifty corporations ran the major networks and newspapers. Since then, a rapid concentration of media ownership has resulted in a near media monopoly spearheaded by a lucky few.

“The danger of this kind of media concentration is that it robs democracy of diversity, it robs viewers of being exposed to a wider range of views,” said media critic Danny Schechter.

Analysts say the U.S. is living in the golden age of media bias.

“It’s never been easier to find out exactly who is behind what, and where the conflict of interests are,” said media analyst TJ Walker.

Topping the list of owners is Rupert Murdoch and his empire News Corp.

Murdoch stands over FOX News, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post – just to name a few.

General Electric, one of the largest military contractors in the US and Comcast, one of America’s largest cable providers are joined by the hip running NBC.

“The floor of the Hudson river is covered in carcinogenic PSBs – these toxigenic dangerous chemicals, that were put there by General Electric. General Electric owns NBC. NBC has not taken any trouble to report on this massive environmental story,” said Rendall.

With the innocent face of Mickey Mouse as their trademark, Disney is the proud owner of ABC.

“When ABC was bought by Disney and there were some ABC stories about improprieties at Disneyland and Disney World, and Disney killed those,” said Chambers.

CNN and Time magazine belong to Time Warner.

Joining the media giants is CBS Corporation towering over CBS News and Viacom – a global entertainment content company – running, among others, Comedy Central.

“They are supposed to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, but when you have journalists treading lightly around corporate and government elites, it almost defeats the purpose of their even existing,” Rendall said.

The purpose of existence for corporations is profit. Meaning, investors interests are placed ahead of anything else that would matter in journalism.

“Good business is bad journalism. Good journalism is bad business,” said Chambers.

Broadcaster Laura Flanders says counting on getting facts from the corporate media is simply naive.

“We can’t be reliant on military contractors GE to bring us our news about the war, any more than we can be reliant upon television networks that are run by Disney to bring us the truth about what’s happening in our economy,” she explained.

As media are increasingly monopolized, the number of voices interested in bringing US viewers a little something called “truth” has decreased. As a result, instead of representing journalism, media have turned into loud mouthpieces for corporations.

Author Michael Parenti said not only are large news outlets owned by large corporations, they are also funded by additional corporations through paid advertising.

“There’s always a concern about pleasing your advertisers,” he said. “Americans are taught that we have a free and independent press, because the government doesn’t own it. But, in fact the ideological parameters around that press are very strict and very narrows, and they are set by the corporate owners and corporate advertisers. Those ideological parameters mean that you don’t say anything too critical about the world corporate system.”

Because of this system, argued Parenti, Americans are indoctrinated to think US policy is both correct, and “God’s gift to the world.”

Parenti explained, “It’s very hard to say anything critical about anybody who has any level of economic power.”

Radio host Alex Jones said objectivity in the media is impossible with such invested interests behind the content.

“You have the old dinosaur media, now owned by five or maybe six mega conglomerates, and they are really teaming up with the government and getting secrete payments,” he said. “It’s not just these five or six mega corporations that have all these other corporate subsidiaries and they won’t report on things that put them in a bad light, you have direct government payments of tax payer money secretly being funneled to them.”

Jones explained this is pushing many Americans away from corporate media. They are turning to the web for independent news sources.

“We’ve seen massive viewership drops in cable and broadcast TV and in newspapers and you’ve seen sites like infowars.com and other alternative media exploding,” he noted.

He said alternative media is now a threat to the corporate media, and corporate media outlets are lobbying the government to ban other media sources.

Corporations decide what Americans see on TV