DEMOCRATS.COM'S MEDIA METER: Sept. 9-16
Compiled by Cheryl Seal
CANDLES IN THE DARK AWARDS:
GHAITH ABDUL-AHAD: Cameraman for Getty Images and Columnist for the Guardian. (UK). Abdul-Ahad was on the scene as 13 civilians were killed when US helicopter's opened fire on an unarmed crowd that had gathered around a destroyed US vehicle. Abdul-Ahad could have run for safety, but continued to try to record the scene. As he filmed the scene, a fellow journalist, Mazen Al-Tomaizi (see below) was shot dead by the US helicopter guns. Frantically wiping the blood spatters from his camera. Abdul-Ahad, dazed and wounded himself, continued to shoot images of the horrific scene.
Here is his first-hand account of his harrowing experience
MAZEN AL-TOMAIZI: The fourth Palestinian journalist to die in Iraq, was killed in the same incident witnessed by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad. Al-tomaizi, who worked for Saudi television Akhbariya and for the pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Arabiya, was gunned down by a US helicopter as he was reporting live, cameras rolling, on the conflict that had erupted between US forces and insurgents. As he fell, Al-Tomaizi screamed out, "I'm dying! I'm dying!"- determined to, with his last words, record the truth as the camera continued to roll. The video footage salvaged in the tragedy proved that the US "official" account of the incident was false. So Al-Tomaizi died doing what honest, courageous journalists have long sought to do: record the truth.
Here's another overview of the incident:http://www.counterpunch.org/patrick09162004.html
UNNAMED IRAQI CAMERAMAN: Not one news account listed this courageous man's name. It is only known he worked for Reuters. But he, too, was present at the Baghdad bloodbath and injured. Nameless or not, we honor him as a Candles in the Dark.
CBS and DAN RATHER: For a few years there, it seemed that Rather had lost his journalistic fire and integrity, especially in the months leading up to and for some time after the Iraq war. CBS until VERY recently seemed to have become just another Bush minion. But both CBS and Rather went a long way toward redeeming themselves this week for standing by the content of the story on Bush's Texas National Guard duty (or lack of it). With the Bush thugs circling (and believe me, we here at Democrats.com KNOW how nasty some of these troglodytes can be!) Rather and his editors at CBS refused to take the easy way out and recant the story. Even if the documents were copies, the woman who typed up the originals said the content was accurate. It was recognized by CBS that the point was the TRUTH, not it's package, and the overall evidence was overwhelming (Ben Barnes being a highly credible part of that evidence).
So Dan Rather has the distinction of being the first network anchor to rescind Bush's "free media pass." Unlike Tom Brokaw, he may be able to retire with a feeling of self respect.
Now we go fom the sublime to the reprehensible!
DOG'S BELLY AWARD**
**NOTE: This award is named for the image of an abject hound lying on its back exposing its belly to its belligerent master to avoid being kicked.
TOM BROKAW: NBC News. Unlike Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw has undergone no apparent wrestling of conscience since 2001. He is an "old timer", and thus knows what real journalism is supposed to be. Yet day after day, week after week, Brokaw continues to spew White House propaganda, while suppressing stories of critical importance to the American people. He has received this distinction this week because of his handling of the Bush AWOL story. While for weeks failing to question the Swift Boat veteran's credibility (yet frequently giving them press), Brokaw couldn't wait to pounce on and amplify the possibility that some of the documents used by CBS to support the contention that Bush got special treatment in the Texas National Guard might not be authentic. Brokaw's ongoing apologia/pump-up of the Bush administration - he has been one of the loudest, most hawkish promoters of the war - has no excuse: this is a reporter who remembers first hand the Nixon era and Vietnam yet learned nothing.
DISHONORABLE MENTIONS: For exceptional dishonesty.
Pat Caddell: FOX News Pundit and former pollster for Jimmy Carter. Caddell is currently pretending to be a "more liberal" voice to counterbalance the GOP view whilst making talk show rounds. He uses his forum to bash Kerry and thus to aid the Bush election campaign.
Phillip James: Another former Democratic party strategist turned Bush shill, but posing as "helpful" to the Democrats. James is planting columns that bash Kerry in various papers, including the Guardian. He is reminiscent of Zell Millers - but less honest.
Joseph Farah: Rightwing columnist, for claiming that WorldNet Daily, which is only slightly to the left of the KKK, is not a conservative paper.
Bill O'Reilly: FOX rightwing talkshow blowhard who feeds his audience a steady diet of phony statistics and "facts" and rightwing spin, for claiming he is "fair". O'Reilly - after systematically disseminating all of the Swift boat phonies' lies, allowing chief phonie John O'Neill to hold forth ad nauseum while never inviting Kerry on the show - actually claimed he had of all the media presented the "most fair" coverage of the Swift boat issue. LOL!
TEN OF THE MOST UNDERREPORTED STORIES FOR Sept 7-16
Since 2000, US Household Energy costs Have Risen $1,000 per year - a total Cost of $500 BILLION
Consumers Union: "American consumers have been hit by an average $1,000 increase in their annual household energy bills during the past four years, draining more than $500 billion from the economy, a new report from Consumers Union and Consumer Federation of America shows. Much of these higher prices are due to unchecked consolidation in the oil and gas industry, which has resulted in a lack of competition and increased profits - close to $100 billion - for oil and gas companies since 2000. 'The energy problem American consumers have been facing is now a problem for the whole economy,' says Mark Cooper, CFA's director of research. 'Even though gasoline prices have dropped by a few cents during the past few weeks, they're still higher than we've ever seen and consumers continue to face escalating energy costs.' "
Economists Say Greenspan is Spinning Economy to Help Bush
Business Report: "The upbeat outlook from Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has failed to convince many economists, who argue that the US is likely to see tepid growth at best in the near future. Some experts say Greenspan may be putting the best possible spin on an economy that is just muddling through. 'With still-fragile confidence and less than full employment, the Fed does not want to undercut the recovery with pessimistic talk,' Harris said. 'The problem with the soft-patch theory is that it puts too much emphasis on the run-up in oil prices. A series of factors are weighing on growth.' Avery Shenfeld, a senior economist at CIBC World Markets, said Greenspan's comments to law makers were more upbeat than the central bank's Beige Book report on the same day. Shenfeld said there might be some political reasons for Greenspan's outlook, with George W Bush facing a tough re-election challenge. 'The Fed chairman is not above politics,' said Shenfeld."
Three Million Illegals Expected to Slip Across US borders in 2004-2005
Pretty sad when this info has to come from an AUSTRALIAN newspaper!:The Australian reports: "THREE million people are expected to enter the United States illegally this year. The number of illegal immigrants, most of whom slip across the long border with Mexico, was three times the number of legal immigrants...Border patrols only listed illegal immigrants as being Mexicans or from other nations, without keeping tallies on how many came from third countries. But the list of other countries included Afghanistan, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Nicaragua, Russia and Venezuela."
Bush Administration Cuts 200 Proposed Regulations for Protecting Public Safety
OMB Watch: "An analysis of four key federal agencies charged with safeguarding the public's air, water, food, health, transportation and workplaces reveals consistent and widespread obstruction, neglect and weakening of protections. The report attributes the pattern to a pro-corporate bias of the Bush administration and appointed agency heads favoring narrow special interests over the public good. EPA has withdrawn 90 agenda items, most addressing clean air and water...FDA has withdrawn 62 agenda items, including one to track contaminated blood... NHTSA has withdrawn 31 auto safety agenda items...OSHA has withdrawn 24 agenda items. This report updates and expands the May 2004 report, "Special Interest Takeover: The Bush Administration and the Dismantling of Public Safeguards."
Kofi Annan Declares Iraq War Illegal
This should have been a HUGE story, dominating headlines and analysis for days. Yet it was hardly mentioned by the networks. And the internet news sources quickly supplanted the story with headlines like "Allies Blast Kofi Annan."
Independent: "Speaking on the BBC World Service, [UN chief Kofi Annan] said the [Iraq] war was "not in conformity" with the UN Security Council or with the UN Charter.Asked if there was legal authority for the war on Iraq, Mr Annan said: "I have stated clearly that it was not in conformity with the security council, with the UN charter." He also said there could not be credible elections in Iraq next January if the current unrest continued. This is the first time that Mr Annan has been so outspoken in his criticism of the grounds for going to war.The Foreign Office [and the entire US media] last night sought to play down Mr Annan's comment."
Daniel Ellsberg's Call for Pentagon Insiders to Speak Out and Reveal the Truth
Guardian: "Daniel Ellsberg [of Pentagon Papers fame] is urging government insiders to provide similar classified documents about the invasion of Iraq. Joined by other whistle-blowers and former government employees, Ellsberg said that claims of government deception and lies have 'little credibility' unless supported by documentary evidence.... In a memo to current government employees, Ellsberg and other former government officials said federal insiders owe a 'higher allegiance' to the Constitution, the public and American soldiers in Iraq than to their government bosses. 'A hundred forty-thousand Americans are risking their lives every day in Iraq for dubious purpose,' the memo said. 'Our country has urgent need of comparable moral courage from its public officials. Truth-telling is a patriotic and effective way to serve the nation. The time for speaking out is now.' "
Outgoing Marine Commander Condemns Handling of Fallujah
Boston Globe: "The outgoing commander of US Marines in Iraq said yesterday that he disagreed with the order that sent his troops to invade the restive city of Fallujah in early April and with the decision to halt the attack days later, when he believed they were within days of victory. Lieutenant General James T. Conway said the abortive assault, launched in response to the brutal killing of four US civilian contractors by a mob in Fallujah on March 31, spiked tensions in the area and helped make the region more hostile to US forces today than when his forces took charge of the area six months ago." To summarize, Conway said that ordering a few thousand men to attack a city of HALF A MILLION was irrational enough, but ordering the attack as "revenge" was lighting a match to a power keg. Worse, the Pentagon called the attack off after three days, AFTER the marines had placed themselves in a highly vulnerable position.
Ashcroft's Blacklist Will Be Used To Cut Funding to Nonprofit Groups Whose Employees Are Anti-Bush
From the ACLU: "By requiring non-profit charities to check their employees against a 'black list' [one prepared by the Bush administration] in order to receive donations from the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), John Ashcroft and this administration have created a climate of fear and intimidation that undermines the health and well-being of this nation. Organizations that enhance and promote America's health and education, the arts and the environment, children's services and religious life are threatened by the web of fear that emanates from the Patriot Act and the war on terror, and that is wrong." What is terrifying is that the blacklist will clearly FAVOR all organizations that favor the Bush regime, while ripping out funding from organizations that represent democracy, freedom, and self-expression.
FEC Refuses to Be Used as Bush's Personal Guard/Attack Dog
AP : "The Federal Election Commission has asked a court to throw out a lawsuit by Bush's campaign that seeks to force quick action on complaints against anti-Bush groups spending big donations in the presidential race.' The FEC stated that the Bush campaign won't suffer irreparable harm if its March complaints to the FEC about 'soft money' groups aren't resolved before the November election. The campaign finance laws aren't meant to help candidates avoid 'competitive harm,' FEC lawyers wrote. 'The Act was designed to protect the public interest - both by maintaining the integrity of the electoral process, and by avoiding the corruption and the appearance of corruption of the government,' they wrote. 'It was not the purpose of the Act to protect a candidate from public criticism, or from the registration of voters who might support his or her opponent."
Independent study shows Bush-Appointed Judges the Most Anti-Civil Rights in US History
NZ Herald: "A study of thousands of federal court cases has found that judges appointed by President George W. Bush are the most conservative on record in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties. The study's authors say the re-election of Bush would give US courts a strong rightward tilt that could last for years. Meanwhile, Democrat John Kerry said Bush had 'walked right by' Americans in need. He told the National Baptist Convention that Bush 'traffics in the politics of division' and likened him to the two men in the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan who passed by a robbed and beaten man. The remarks came as a CBS News poll showed Bush with a 7 percentage point lead two months before the election."
Clinton Denounces Bush, Reagan, and Rehnquist as Racists
During the GOP Convention, Bill Clinton made one of the most powerful condemnations EVER of Bush. Yet not a peep from the 'liberal' US media. The Australian reports: "Speaking before his recent health scare, the former president accused Chief Justice Rehnquist of deliberately politicising the system of appointing independent investigators, leading to years of relentless, politically motivated inquiries into his presidency. Clinton dropped the affection with which he usually discusses Reagan and the civility he affords the current President to accuse both men of deliberately using racist electoral appeals to win the White House. Clinton said Rehnquist, Reagan and Bush were part of a far-Right branch of the Republican Party made up of the 'spiritual heirs' of white southern racists, who still used the tactics of personal destruction employed by racists in their campaign to block civil rights for blacks."
ONGOING UNDERREPORTED STORIES
Bush Administration's Suppression of Information that Should be Publcly Accessible
Broadcsting & Cable: "According to the reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the trend toward limiting journalists' access to information in the wake, and under the invocation, of 9/11 continues to grow. 'Citizens seem to not realize how drastically their right to know has been limited in the last three years,' said Lucy Dalglish, RCFP director, in a statement on the release of its annual update, 'Hoefront Confidential. 'Even journalists will be astonished at the lengthy list of actions taken by public officials to turn basic government information into state secrets." Referring to the Patriot Act, the report concludes: " [T]he Justice Department has shown its willingness to use its powers aggressively, even making clear that a law barring newsroom searches is trumped by the [Act} when it comes to terrorism investigations."