If ever there was a time for citizenship media, today’s 21st century America is definitely that time. This article clearly demonstrates how dangerous corporate media easily manipulated or agenda driven can become, and that’s not to say citizenship media won’t suffer the same problems, but the increase in the number of sources to choose from opposed to the monopoly that’s slowly enveloping mainstream media offsets that risk. There are a lot of examples of good citizenship media and one of my favorites is Consortiumnews.com an excellent blog run by Robert Parry, but there are certainly others. We are not defenseless in the face of corportate media’s onslaught; while it has its place, main stream media has become increasingly irrelevant in covering or even defining today’s issues. The article below is just one of the reasons why (emphasis in red mine)
Declassified files from a Senate investigation into Israeli-funded covert public relations and lobbying activity in the United States were released by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on July 23rd, 2010. The subpoenaed documents reveal Israel’s clandestine programs for “cultivation of editors,” the “stimulation and placement of suitable articles in the major consumer magazines” as well as U.S. reporting about sensitive subjects such as the Dimona nuclear weapons facility. Documents are now available for download from http://IRmep.org/ila/azc include:
Dimona (excerpt): “The nuclear reactor story inspired comment from many sources; editorial writers, columnists, science writers and cartoonists. Most of the press seemed finally to accept the thesis that the reactor was being built for peaceful purposes and not for bombs.” http://www.irmep.org/11-121960AZC.pdf
Content placement and promotion (excerpt): “The Atlantic Monthly in its October issue carried the outstanding Martha Gellhorn piece on the Arab refugees, which made quite an impact around the country. We arranged for the distribution of 10,000 reprints to public opinion molders in all categories… Interested friends are making arrangements with the Atlantic for another reprint of the Gellhorn article to be sent to all 53,000 persons whose names appear in Who’s Who in America…Our Committee is now planning articles for the women’s magazines for the trade and business publications.” http://www.irmep.org/09101961AZC.pdf
Pressure campaigns (excerpt): “It can be said that the press of the nation…has by and large shown sympathy and understanding of Israel’s position. There are, of course, exceptions, notably the Scripps-Howard chain where we still need to achieve a ‘break-through,’ the Pulliam chain (where some progress has been made) and some locally-owned papers.” http://www.irmep.org/11-121960AZC.pdf
Magazine Committee achievements (excerpt): “We cannot pinpoint all that has already been accomplished by this Committee except to say that it has been responsible for the writing and placement of articles on Israel in some of America’s leading magazines….” http://www.IRmep.org/10301962_AZC.pdf
According to Grant F. Smith, director of IRmep, “It is frightening how easily some in the American news media surrendered to a foreign public relations campaign that spent the 2010 equivalent of $36 million over two years. Time has proven most of the planted content to be misleading, if not dangerous. These historical documents hold many important lessons for Americans who have long needed—but rarely received—straight reporting on key Middle East issues.”
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation’s record keeper. It retains 1%-3% of the most important documents of business conducted by the United States Federal government. The Israel Lobby Archive, http://IRmep.org/ila is a unit of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington.
The British Ambassador to Lebanon has been forced to remove, from her website and which we linked to here at Miscellany101, the remarks she made about Lebanese cleric Mohammad Fadlallah; this after the heavy handed Israeli government complained to the British government about Guy’s remarks. No doubt similar arrogant and illicit entreaties were made by the Israeli government to CNN as well; the similarities of both cases can only lead to the regrettable conclusion that either Guys’ resignation or firing is next.
What I find interesting however is that secular women from both east and west, Nasr and Guy expressed regret over Fadlallah’s death and even a passing interest in this Lebanese cleric would reveal why. Taking a very strong stand against honor killings, female genital mutilation and violence against women in general along with being a nationalist and not an expansionist/imperialist endears one with such positions more easily than most but because of his opposition to the heavy handedness of Israel and especially vis-a-vis his own country, Fadlallah must be an anathema to all who expect to keep their jobs or careers. Towing the line is something Israel expects everyone to do even if it’s not in their best interest.
The European press likes to rattle the nerves of semites, Arab, Israeli, Jew, or Muslim. We all know how the Dannish cartoons of the Prophet of God caused a big reaction in the Muslim world at a cost of world wide derision because for some reason or another people aren’t supposed to get upset about the insults hurled at their religious figures especially when done by members of the press. The publication of the cartoons was done twice for maximum exposure to the Muslim world and the expected ridicule which they faced because of actions of their world wide protests. However, the international community was told how what the Danish newspaper did was a free press issue and in order to be citizens of the 21st century this is the kind of exposure one should expect by a press whose job it is to reveal and expose issues to its readers no matter how inflammatory they may be or who gets upset in the process.
Well that pesky European press is at it again, and this time the Israeli semites are in its cross hairs and they are as mad as the Muslims ever were. In fact, so mad they claim the article in question ‘shames Swedish democracy and the entire Swedish press’. Interesting reference to “democracy” wouldn’t you say? I wonder what does Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor mean when he says an article in a free press Swedish newspaper “shames democracy”? Ignoring the story, the Israeli government’s reaction has been to call the offending paper names and refer to a centuries old stereotype of Gentile blood sacrifice at the hands of Jews….dark blood libels from medieval times is how it was put by the Israeli spokesman, and perhaps they have a right to be angry, but where are all the calls for a free and independent media whose job it is to assess information and report it whether you like it or not. What about the old saying, ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’, and there’s plenty of smoke surrounding the sale of organs at the hands of Jews and Israeli-Americans who claim to have organ donors from Israel.
Responsible journalism is a lot different from a free press. The latter sometimes is a double edged sword as the Israelis have come to find out but it is the very basis of journalism. Responsible press is the epitome of journalism and a lot harder to find; we should insist on it, but not count on it. The Israelis are now complaining against the very thing which they have relied on for so long to forward their disinformation, or yellow journalism, and which during the Danish cartoon fiasco they so highly touted. Israeli hypocrisy can be seen from a mile away. Despite their protestations, like everybody else, they’re gonna’ have to sit and bear it and see if the market place of ideas is their enemy or their friend. Welcome to the world of European journalism; a must in today’s world. Now, take that!