Monday, December 20, 2010

R.I.P. Journalism, part ∞ : Mainstream media completely ignores significant war protest

What did American journalists based in our nation's capital and elsewhere do when over a hundred U.S. veterans chained themselves to the White House fence--during a snowstorm, mind you--to protest the country's ongoing wars in Afghanistan and other countries?

If your answer is something along the lines of bupkis, nada, or sod-all, give yourself a chocolate reindeer.

Because that's exactly what happened on Thursday and Friday last week. Nothing to see here, folks, let's keep it moving... [bolds mine]

Washington Police arrested 135 of the protesters, in what is being called the largest mass detention in recent years. Among those arrested were Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who used to provide the president’s daily briefings, Daniel Ellsberg, who released the government’s Pentagon Papers during the Nixon administration, and Chris Hedges, former war correspondent for the New York Times.

No major US news media reported on the demonstration or the arrests. It was blacked out of the New York Times, blacked out of the Philadelphia Inquirer, blacked out in the Los Angeles Times, blacked out of the Wall Street Journal, and even blacked out of the capital’s local daily, the Washington Post, which apparently didn't even think it was a local story worth publishing.

Making the media cover-up of the protest all the more outrageous was the fact that most news media did report on Friday, the day after the protest, the results of the latest poll of American attitudes towards the Afghanistan War, an ABC/Washington Post Poll which found that 60% of Americans now feel that war has “not been worth it.” That’s a big increase from the 53% who said they opposed the war in July.

Clearly, any honest and professional journalist and editor would see a news link between such a poll result and an anti-war protest at the White House led, for the first time in recent memory, by a veterans organization, the group Veterans for Peace, in which veterans of the nation’s wars actually put themselves on the line to be arrested to protest a current war.

Friday was also the day that most news organizations were reporting on the much-touted, but also much over-rated Pentagon report on the “progress” of the American war in Afghanistan--a report prepared for the White House that claimed there was progress, but which was immediately contradicted by a CIA report that said the opposite. Again, any honest and professional journalist and editor would immediately see the publication of such a report as an appropriate occasion to mention the unusual opposition to the war by a group of veterans right outside the president’s office.

And yet, the protest event was completely blacked out by the corporate news media. (Maybe the servile and over-paid White House press corps, ensconced in the press room inside the White House, didn't want to go out and brave the elements to cover the protest.)

I wonder if the protesters might have got themselves a bit more (as in, any) news coverage if they'd worn bright red Fight The War on Christmas sweatshirts decorated with tiny plastic made-in-China baby Jesuses and big faux-fur Santa hats festooned with tea bags?

Ah, staying indoors where the message, like the controlled climate, is reliably warm and fuzzy--all in a day's work (where "work" = rubbing shoulders and kissing backsides) for the poseurs who bring us what they call news and I call gossipy, meaningless effluvia.

How transparently bought-and-paid-for of them. How completely irresponsible, craven, and dishonest.

How utterly disgraceful.

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