...but don't count on television news for truth and accuracy.
Glass photographic plates from 1910-1918, found at the flea market at Vanves, Paris.
In recent years, the mainstream media - particularly television news - in the US has veered dangerously off course. Gone is the objectivity that's drilled into our heads in journalism school; instead, money, power, influence and politics have corrupted the news agenda. And I'm not talking only about Fox "News," which is known for its right-wing slant. I'm referring to ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, as well as Fox.
The most recent example of abysmal reporting concerns the television news coverage of the Putlizer Prize. David Barstow of The New York Times deservedly won for his "tenacious reporting that revealed how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended," according to the Pulitzer Committee.
But, as Glenn Greenwald of Salon noted, the television networks "kept completely silent about Barstow's story, even though it sparked Congressional inquiries, vehement objections from the then-leading Democratic presidential candidates and allegations that the Pentagon program violated legal prohibitions on domestic propaganda programs. The Pentagon's secret collaboration with these "independent analysts" shaped multiple news stories from each of these outlets on a variety of critical topics. Most amazingly, many of them continue to employ as so-called "independent analysts" the very retired generals at the heart of Barstow's story, yet still refuse to inform their viewers about any part of this story."
American television networks simply eliminated Barstow's name from their Putlizer coverage or any direct reference to Barstow's honor. Obviously, to do so would shine a spotlight on their own cupability, as outlined in Barstow's investigation.
NBC's Brian Williams was one of the worst offenders,prompting Media Matters to call him out for his so-called "reporting" on the pervasive impact of the Pentagon's program on television news coverage. Greenwald called Williams' behavior "disgraceful on this issue, almost certainly due to the fact that some of the 'analysts' most directly implicated by Barstow's story are Williams' favored sources and friends."
CNN ran a lengthy story on the Pulitzer winners, conveniently omitting any mention of David Barstow's prize for uncovering corruption at the core of CNN's Iraq War coverage, as well as its reporting about other military-related matters.
Such disgraceful, shameful and unethical behaviour on the part of American television news! It seems many, many pronouncements of television reporters must be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. If you want the true story, best to check in regularly with Media Matters, which does an excellent job of dissecting the mainstream media's reporting and separating fact from fiction.
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