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Blaming the Messenger

Posted by Rick · May 16th, 2005 · No Comments

Over the last few years, since a secret government was installed in America, I’ve often lamented the fact that we no longer get real news. Instead, we get Fox, presumably so-named because the right-wing Republican hicks who started and run it mis-pronounced “Faux” when they were working with their attorneys to file the incorporation papers.

The truth is that everytime real news gets reported, the government — and numerous of their sheep-like followers — start an uproar. The result is that whenever real news is reported, the news organizations get another lesson in what they are not supposed to do.

Most of them learn their lessons well, with the result that Americans seldom get real news anymore. Instead, we get stories about steroid use in baseball. About the only real news about our government we’re allowed to receive is news that paints Democrats in a bad light. For example, we’re barraged with stories about Democratic filibustering aimed at convincing Americans what horrible people those Democrats are. Left out of the story are two important facts: 1) The nominees offered up by the President should not be judges; everyone knows it, including Republicans, but the theocratic lobby is too strong to resist these days by anyone except the underdog Democrats. 2) Perhaps more importantly, the Republicans used the filibuster as much or more when they were the underdogs. And watch the shit hit the fan if Republicans succeed in doing away with the filibuster just in time to lose a few seats in the Congress as people finally start awakening to what the Republicans are doing to our country. “He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:51 (NIV).)

But, for now, forget the fact that the press frequently panders to the political aspirations of our President’s party for the moment. What inspires my post today is the recent Newsweek “admission” that it was irresponsible. Because it reported the truth. Or, as I’ve seen some other websites write things like this lately: Because. It. Reported. The. Truth. This point deserves that kind of emphasis.

Newsweek reported that U.S. military investigators had found evidence that interrogators placed copies of Islam’s holy book in washrooms and had flushed one down the toilet to get inmates to talk. — Newsweek Apology In Quran Flap (May 16, 2005) CBSNews.com.

Subsequent to the publication of the story, there has reportedly been massive rioting in Muslim countries. (In keeping with the tradition of not reporting news Americans shouldn’t hear, you’ll only see reports of the rioting if you read stories about Newsweek’s apology; the apology is apparently the news and the rioting is a mere incidental supporting fact.) Muslims are understandably pissed off.

To put things in perspective — because so many Americans have trouble understanding why Muslims get upset about things like Americans forcing Muslim prisoners to simulate sex and Americans flushing the Islamic Bible (Quran) down the toilet — just imagine that some Muslims had collected a bunch of fundamentalist Christian Bibles and flushed them down the toilet. For some of my readers, it will require both brain cells to imagine the possibility that anyone would consider the Quran to be on an equal level with the Bible for purposes of this scenario; the rest of us readily understand how such a thing might be upsetting. I don’t even want to see a Christian Bible flushed down a toilet — and I’m one of those hated Jews who sees Christianity as an illegitimate (and perverse) rip-off of Judaism.

But let’s understand something here. Newsweek reported the story after checking facts with Defense Department officials. Before the story was printed, no one denied that the Quran had been used to cleanse prison sewer systems. One Department of Defense official declined to respond; another responded, challenging a different part of the story, but not the Quran Toilet claim. In California, and many other legal jurisdictions, there’s a concept known as the “adoptive admission.” It’s based on the common sense idea that if someone hears a falsehood that reflects badly upon them and they do not challenge it, this constitutes an admission on their part as to its truth. How does that common sense view apply here, when an official denies one claim in a story, but not another?

Now, after Muslim outrage and rioting, the U.S. government is claiming the story is not true. We have here one of two possibilities: Either the Defense officials deliberately set up the newspaper, or the story is true, but the government is claiming it’s not in order to quell Muslim outrage. And, after all, a government whose President kisses and holds hands with his Saudi lover — not that there’s anything wrong with that; I’m all for anyone expressing their affection towards anyone in any way that makes them happy — but, as I was saying, a government whose President kisses and holds hands with his Saudi lover is probably pre-disposed to quell Muslim riots before they overflow (pardon the pun), causing a problem even for Saudi Arabia, whence all good terrorist-pilots come.

Given the amount of crap this Administration has tried to cover up, before being forced to admit it, my inclination is to believe the story is true. After all, how hard is it to think that an Administration that believes sodomizing people with lightbulbs, forcing them to simulate sex — even murdering them — are valid torture techniques, will also think that it’s a good torture technique to desecrate the Quran? “Talk, or this baby goes down the toilet.”

But the strategy of attacking newswriters and journalistic outlets which dare print the truth isn’t new. It goes back at least to the Iraqi War — you know, the one with the rising body count that is officially over? During the war, the United States reportedly kidnapped independent journalists who dared try to report news that hadn’t been filtered through the U.S. military. (Another story, by the way, that you really only got to read if you took the time to seek out foreign newspapers, or bloggers reporting what they’d read in foreign newspapers.)

It also isn’t limited to stories about war, Iraq, President Bush’s continuing program of self-enrichment through manipulation of the oil markets, etc.

A Spokane newspaper is facing criticism about the ethics of a sting operation in which it lured the city’s mayor into meeting a consultant posing as a gay teenager in the paper’s investigation of molestation allegations. — Reed Stevenson, Sting operation under fire in Spokane sex scandal (May 12, 2005) SignsOnSanDiego.com.

Imagine that! A newspaper used an undercover reporter to get a story! But let’s not be outraged at a rabidly anti-gay Republican leader who not only hypocritically sought out homosexual encounters on the Internet, but knowingly attempted to liaise with a minor! A Republican mayor of Spokane, Washington, is a child molester? Let’s go after the newspaper that reported it!

Fact is, Americans, it’s well past the time we need to stop blaming the messengers. America’s leadership has significant issues. They range from inappropriate sexual behavior with minors to inappropriate sexual behavior towards prisoners to inappropriate behavior…period. They are compounded by a government that insists on secrecy, feeds fake news to the public, and attacks anyone who reports the truth. (Anyone remember Paul O’Neill? Maybe Plan of Attack? The real reason for the war? How about the more recent revelation of the British memo on how Bush carefully mislead the American public to war?)

Rather than curse reporters and stick our heads in the sand, we need to start holding our leaders accountable.

It doesn’t take much more than five minutes for you to contact your representative today and let them know what you think.

The Theocrats do it constantly. If you don’t speak up, it’s only their voices that are heard.

Categories: News Reporting


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