enemy of the state
one man's conspiracy is another man's business plan
Tuesday, April 27, 2004 | The current mood of DuctapeFatwa
War and the Fog of News

Between cover bans and closed military zones, and embeds and spin and business considerations, how can anyone claim to know what is happening halfway around the world?

It is one of the great ironies of the age that in an era of 24 hour satellite TV news, and the internet that empowers anybody with a computer and a modem to talk in real time to anybody else with those things, assuming they can scrape together enough of a common language to do so, in a world where we should be over-informed, ultra-informed, if a duck shits in Zanzibar we should, in theory know within minutes on whose petunia it shat, and with which rude phrases it was shooed from the garden, those of us who have an interest in news seem to spend an unreasonable amount of time gathering it, and debating whether it is true.

War has never made newsgathering easy, and the adversarial relationship between government and press is legendary. It is especially frustrating for people in the US who have been repeatedly told since infancy that America has a "free press," unlike thoe other nefarious nations where the government tells the newspaper what to write, to discover that their own press has, while their back was turned, morphed into something more closely resembling Pravda in Soviet days than the model of independent journalism cum dependable global town crier that forms an integral part of the fabled American sense of entitlement.

The press in the US is first and foremost, a business, a profit-making enterprise controlled by a dwindling number of expanding mega-corporations, whose mission is less about informing and more about making money. Since the government has undergone a similar transformation, the relationship between state and press has become less adversarial and more incestuous, giving rise to incidents such as Condi Rice's famous "request" to the press that they not show Osama bin Laden speeches in their entirety, lest any secret coded messages embedded in the English translation of same might be communicated to "sleeper cells" of Arabic speakers who are watching Al Jazeera anyway.

A more recent state vs. press startle involves the prohibition on showing the return to US soil of flag-draped coffins of American war dead.

Some months ago, Israel banned video or photos "identifiable" of the faces of Israeli gunmen, after discovering that a rights group was documenting atrocities for the purposes of seeking legal redress via international courts.

Banning the media from "zones" shortly before "operations" involving the slaughter of civilians, as well as from "interrogation and detention facilities" has become as standard for the US and Israel as it has long been for North Korea.

How then, is a news junkie to get his/her fix? And how to tell if the stuff is any good?

Some Suggestions

Read it all. Read government press releases, papers from everywhere, raw wires, independent media, blogs.

Comparing the raw wires alone to what you see on CNN can be very informative.

Use common sense. If the US says 1 soldier died, and the guy from the little paper in Pashtunistan says 50 died, assume that about 25 soldiers died.

Take advantage of the internet. One of the greatest and most under-utilized advantages of the net is that if CNN says it is raining in Paris, you can go to #paris and ask "Are y'all wet?" Granted, 3 people will say no, 2 will say they are drowning, 1 will tell you that Frenchmen are never wet, but be patient and you will find 9 or 10 who will tell you that either they are carrying umbrellas, or that they are not.

Learn to distinguish between deliberate bias and perspective. For example, if Malaysia invaded the US, would Canadian TV be more likely to show cute Malaysian toddlers lisping about daddy going off to kill the bad guys, or footage of destroyed homes in a suburb of Chicago and wounded American children in the emergency room.

Some Americans especially seem to find this a challenge. A good first step is to realize that while to you, Iraqis, for example, may be an exotic strange breed of creature, seen only on TV, to people in the region, Iraqis are regular folks, people they know through marriage, business, sporting events.

Some do not realize that when they speak of news from other places being "biased," what they really mean is that quoting a Syrian source without immediately following it with the White House approved line on the nation, individual and/or the situation is something they are so unaccustomed to that they are unable to process the basic information contained in the quote!

The typical complaint about Al Jazeera is that they report on civilian casualties and humanize the victims, not unlike the way US channels personalize Israeli victims of suicide bombings.

To western eyes, humanizing Arabs seems so strange that they perceive it as "anti-American." In reality, it is empirical evidence of the effectiveness of decades of indoctrination with the belief that Arabs, nor for that matter, other groups from the Majority World, are not human.

A flood in India can kill 3000 people and if mentioned at all, it is a throwaway line before the commercial break, in the "world news briefs," but if one American is among the dead, you can count on at least one network having a camera crew out in front of the home of the deceased, interviewing old school chums. To an extent this is natural. Stories that hit close to home will logically be of greater interest than events that occur in far-flung lands. But just as it is important to recognize that, it is equally important to recognize when it is taken to such an extreme that it becomes an unconscious self-parody.

In matters of war, especially wars involving the US, as most do, directly or indirectly, the parody becomes even more exaggerated, with gandaclature that would make Orwell blush: a gang of gunmen, armed to the teeth kicking in doors, backed up by aerial bombardment of a residential neighborhood is a "peacekeeping operation." Crimes against humanity are "pacification." A Berlin-wall type prison enclosement is a "peace fence." Mercenaries are "civilian contractors," people defending their homes and homeland from a foreign aggressor are "insurgents," "rebels," "militants," or "terrorists." Children of seven or eight are "youths."

If the US seizes its own citizens or those of another country, for any reason, the victims are "detainees," to be held without charges or rights, forever if the US so pleases, but any US combatants captured by Iraqis are "hostages."

This ruse, on its face transparent to the point of absurdity, seems harmless enough, until you notice that the same terminology is used, automatically, unconsciously, by people who OPPOSE the policies and actions described, effectively turning their most eloquent arguments into a concession of defeat, a homage to the superior power of those who have successfully infiltrated their very thoughts.

Words are powerful things, and though news may appear to consist of words, until you have removed the words, you cannot know what happened.

DuctapeFatwa

posted at 5:17 AM

incitement
Iraqi Resistance Report
They Rule
Moonsighting
Sacred Texts
Cooperative Research
Transnationale
Peak Oil.net
Global Conflict
News Now
Mathaba.Net
inflammatory rhetoric
 
the past in bulk
11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003
12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
 
haley's nose, America 2009
10-05 Quake
Katrina/Rita
Tsunami
Gaza Relief
Justice for Bassim
 
palestine news


Please Support B'TSalem

Eegee Board

Koufax Award Loser

This Blog Supports the Lebanese Resistance
This Blog Supports
The Lebanese Resistance

Torture Awareness Month

This Blog Supports the Iraqi Resistance
This Blog Supports
The Iraqi Resistance



living with blogism
Technorati Enemy of the State Feed
Email Me Blogroll Me
Add Enemy of the State to your yahoo View Secret Evidence Against DuctapeFatwa
copyleft sorta thing Blogcritics
Bloglines KMax
Blog Explosion  
Listed on BlogShares
 
testimonials
Actions like Sep 11 do not happen in a vaccuum. Long before those hijackers ever stepped foot on the planes the damage had been done. They were brainwashed with the same type of garbage propaganda that is spewed from Fatwa's weblog.
RedTard
blogcritics.org
Middle Eastern countries are so much more barbaric today and preAmercia than America can ever hope to be...America has only been around 230 years...who did you blame for everything before that Ductape? I am calling a Fatwa on your bullshit!
Militarytracy
boomantribune.com
IMO - terrorist plain and simple. He is an Al queda operative who should be put in a cage on gitmo
Skinner
conservativeunderground.com
My favorite..."In Defense of Holocaust Deniers"
drdon326
democraticunderground.com
I always thought that "The Enemy Within" was just a metaphore for liberalism, that is, until I encountered Ductape Fatwa. He should be in an orange jumpsuit for sure.
limewireayane
peopleforchange.net
ductape is either a commie, al queda, or a deep cover mole
windansea
conservativeunderground.com
Tells you something about this asshole doesn't it. He's really serious.
GabysPoppy
conservativeunderground.com
I believe that DF is nothing but a Republican plant...
SallyCat
boomantribune.com
Ductape is a commie, a terrorist, and he drinks blood too. He drinks Capitalist blood. He eats unborn babies too
J97
conservativeunderground.com
Give me your address and I'll send you $20 and a thank-you note for taking your hatred elsewhere.
redwagon
boomantribune.com
A terrorist with a sense of humor!
Nephilim
conservativeunderground.com
He ain't nuthin' but shit
Jim Sagle
democraticunderground.com

inadequate, halfway house bullshit
Arthur Gilroy
boomantribune.com
You are a dumbass. Fuck you and your condescension about us "benighted sheeple."
hamletta
dailykos.com
Untruthful, damaging bullshit
John Locke
democraticunderground.com
no better than the neocons and no different than Timothy McVeigh space
dailykos.com
a turd in the punchbowl...if DF were Joe Hill he probably would have killed himself rather than get put to death.
nothingshocksmeanymore
democraticunderground.com
A compost pile of fecundity
Feanor
dailykos.com
despicable and literally mentally ill
Addison
dailykos.com