Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's black and white and red all over?

I'm currently reading the excellent Tell Me Lies: Propaganda and Media Distortion in the Attack on Iraq edited by David Miller. Many of the essays in the book cover familiar ground such as the UK government's exaggeration of the threat from Iraq, as well as the convenient overlooking by the media of the fact that the very worst of Saddam's oppressions of his people (including his only use of chemical weapons) came at a time when we (the US and the UK) were supporting him in it because he was at the same time fighting a war against Iran which we had encouraged.

One of the best pieces in the book is this one by Edward Hermann on the supine compliance of the UK and especially the US mainstream media with their governments' view of events. But the palm has to go to this amazing piece by Phillip Knightley on the problems faced by reporters on the spot. Once again, as with the previous post on Israel and the UN, while I was aware of such notorious attacks on independent journalists as the bombing of the al-Jazeera office in Baghdad, nothing ever made it through the British media's self-censorship to alert us to the fact that journalists - even British and American ones - who had not renounced their impartiality to become "embedded" with coalition forces were deliberately targetted for murder. No, I didn't believe it either, until I started looking for corroboration.

Next time you hear a British or American politician moaning about the lack of press freedom in some foreign country or other, remember this: the US and UK murder dissident reporters.