How to misuse unc0nditional support of the "Iraqi Resistance"

Jose G. Perez jgperez at netzero.net
Wed Sep 3 23:22:07 MDT 2003


Robin Maisel writes:

>>As I said in a previous posting, would the people who conducted the 
bombings please issue some kind of statement of their political goals.  
That is a starting point. After stating their goals we can see if the 
bombings aid or hurt the gaining of mass support for a goal.<<

Actually, apparently there HAVE been statements taking credit for at
least the UN attack, I saw a dispatch making a reference to three such
statements.

The *content* of these statements (nay, and even their existence) is
being systematically blacked out by the bourgeois press. 

Go back and research how many statements from the mambises, the Cuban
patriots, actually made it INTO the American press during the "Spanish
American" War of 1898. The same number of statements by Iraqi "mambises"
are making it through today.

Those of us who identify with or have some knowledge of the history and
experiences of the global South for whatever accidental reasons of
personal or family history find it very simple, direct and
straightforward to accept that in the global North we simply aren't
going to even hear a hint that there is another side to this story. 

In little details or world shaking events, we've been exposed to THIS
before.

Those from the North, especially those from the Vietnam generation in
the U.S. who lived through the unique experiences and press coverage of
Vietnam and Watergate, when ruling class circles were divided for years,
and even after those divisions were overcome, a degree of the press
freedom and less dishonest reporting they led to continued, having been
institutionalized to a certain extent during the time of capitalist
class infighting, find it hard to accept that major statements on a
thing like the UN attack would be issued and not even mentioned.

That, however, is reality.

I do not know if this is literally true, but the required reading for
bourgeois journalism 101 as it is practiced TODAY, and I assure you, I
know whereof I speak, is said to be "1984." Not viewing Orwell's novel
as allegory, or a cautionary tale, but rather as a practical handbook,
the how-to of the trade.

"I can't believe it. All the real journalists are leaving," said a very
dear friend, a journalism professor at a major American university,
referring to people we had both known as worked with in *the* most
famous U.S. news organization of the late 1980's and early 1990's. 

We were talking on the occasion of the suicide of someone no one on this
list has ever heard of, but who touched both our lives and was a mentor
to a lot of journalists in U.S. Spanish speaking media from the
mid-1970s to the late-1990s. 

In these admittedly narrow and ingrown circles, he was a figure revered
like people such as Murrow, Huntley-Brinkley, Sevareid and Cronkite were
revered by old-timers in the US English-language TV news racket when I
first came in contact with it 15 years ago.

But actually my professor friend back when was a refugee from the
English-language media, an American woman, and she was speaking not
about the Spanish language newsies, but the English-language ones. 

A few days later another friend messaged me about who was so "Jose
Blow." Turned out this is a guy who came into the major news
organization's equivalent of the minor leagues in April, 2003, and by
June was catapulted into a national correspondent, which is the last
step below Olympus and becoming a minor deity as an anchor. 

Having seen him once or twice on air, I can attest he is awesomely
decorative, very pretty, a real Ken doll. And --I'm willing to bet money
on it-- cheap, having been recruited from a local station somewhere like
Tucson or Albuquerque or Boulder, not exactly the top ten markets in
local stations from where "network talent" used to be drawn. 

And he has the tremendous seasoning as a journalist one acquires from
doing one and a half years --or was it two years?-- of covering local
car crashes and police chases before being hired as a local "anchor," a
trade related to journalism in the same way butcher is related to cattle
raising. 

Before that he was a political pimp, on some congresscritter's payroll.

Now to be fair to "Blow," he may well be an awesome person, a great
lover, an insightful reporter and an absolute killer at a Yu-gi-oh!
dueling monsters tournament. But, of course, all those things are
entirely unrelated to the job of playing a journalist on TV, which is
what he is paid for.

Looking up his history on the web site of the news organization
involved, an outfit that I have known intimately for a decade and a
half, I noticed under "anchors" and "correspondents" all the brand-new
names that were there, and all the familiar names --many of them
friends-- who weren't there, but had been a couple of years ago.

Especially the guys --and women-- who had been shot at covering every
"nasty little war" in Latin America and Africa over the past two
decades. The journalistic Vietnam Vets --this network until 4 or 5 years
ago had a half dozen or more on air-- would have brought a real sense of
perspective to coverage of the latest quagmire in Iraq. 

A perspective that was definitely not wanted, and entirely dispensed
with.

In talking to friends outside the news business about my work, they
often express the fear, in essence, that if things keep going on the way
they are, the U.S. is going to wind up with a totally kept press. I keep
pointing out, in my best "objective" journalistic style, that they have
the verb tense wrong.

My friend the journalism professor, who was the one who came up with the
"1984" quip about journalism 101, pointed out this essential difference:
In "1984," the Ministry of Truth operated openly. Not so 19 years later.
So perhaps we are not there. On the other hand, a glance at any front
page should be enough to convince anyone we are definitely living in
1898.

BTW my friend has lost her job, too. She is a paralegal for some lawyer
now. The man who killed himself, a week before it happened, had written
her an email saying that no one in the news biz wants to hire a
60-some-year old. She told me it wasn't true. What they don't want to
hire are any journalists.

This is the point: You know how much information we have on the
positions of the different factions in the internecine wars in the
Klingon empire? Well, we should stick to commenting on that, because
when it comes to Iraq, we know a lot less: the clampdown by the Ministry
of Truth is pretty much absolute.

José

P.S.: Except, of course, what we know about the Klingons is at least
real, on some level. "Iraq" as it exists in the U.S. press is,
relatively speaking, absolute fiction.


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