Friday, June 16, 2006

On Iraq and Journalism

From the Huffington Post Friday Daily Brief:

Republican Senators Endorse Amnesty For Terrorists As Iraqi PM Fires Aid Who Proposed It...

After one of his top aides told a reporter that Iraq was "ready to give amnesty to the so-called resistance," Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki scrambled to distance himself from the idea that he would pardon insurgents who had killed American troops. As Senate Democrats called for President Bush to denounce an amnesty plan, Maliki accepted the resignation of the aide, Adnan Ali al-Kadhimi, and issued a statement saying that the aide "does not represent the government on this issue," although previous statements indicated that Maliki was indeed prepared to offer amnesty to any fighters that "were not involved in the shedding of Iraqi blood."

Meanwhile, five members of the GOP Senate took the floor and declared support for the amnesty proposal. Senator Ted Stevens (R-Ak.) said, "if that's amnesty, I'm for it," while Senator Cornyn (R-Tx.) called the amnesty debate a "distraction."

Read the report of comments from these Senators, as well as Senators McConnell (R-Ky.), Alexander (R-Tn.) and Chambliss (R-Ga.) here.

Read the rest of the story here.

When I read this late yesterday night, I could quite comprehend what was written. Maybe it was because I had just woken up from my 9 P.M. nap, or perhaps it was because I hadn't had time to properly caffeinate myself.

Even now, hours later, long after I've satiated my need for caffeine with a mug of coke, I still don't understand why anyone would support this legislation. It reeks of political suicide.

When I was in high school, I took a journalism class as an elective. I'm a self-declared fiction writer, but I needed some other elective to fill the gaping hole in my schedule. I chose Journalism, as it was the most appealing of the options available. During one of our first classes, our teacher gave each of us a newspaper. We were told to underline every argument for, and every argument against in an article of our choice. Once we had found them all, we were to count them up. No matter how many articles we analyzed, there was always one side that was covered more than the other.

"There's always going to be a bias in everything you read," he says. "You need to be able to identify it, and as journalists, avoid writing biases into your works."

Unfortunately, much of the so-called "liberal press" has a clear conservative bias. Don't believe me? Grab a highlighter and your nearest newspaper. Mark every argument for and against a liberal or conservative agenda. You will find that plenty of articles will take a clear swing to the right.

But I digress. Probably one of the "best" sources for conservative news is "The Note", which offers a conservative-slanted synopsis of the previous day's news. It is often used by various news organizations to find the day's "hot news topics". Completely befuddled as to how anyone could possibly support such legislation, I made a mad dash for the ABC website and read through "The Note"'s synopsis, hoping to find some mention of the endorsement. I wanted to see how anyone could possibly justify granting amnesty to terrorists. If I were going to find conservative spin on the issue, it'd most likely be found on "The Note".

But not once in The Note's June 16th edition was this matter even mentioned.

I turned to the Times-Picayune for answers, expecting to find that this was front-page news. Nope, just the drought. I jumped to page 20, where three meager articles covered Iraq. There was no even so much as a blurb on the insurgency amnesty in any of the articles.

When I see failures in reporting like this, it's difficult to take journalism as a profession seriously. Will bloggers be forced to pick up the journalists' slack and report on issues they neglect to report? Are bloggers going to be responsible for doing the investigative reporting that was once exclusive to the journalism profession?

I'm starting to think so.


Anonymous dangerblond said...

I have felt the same way since before Katrina, and now I am totally convinced. In 1997, I was in Mexico and I picked up a copy of Time Mag. There was an article about an American company building facilities in Mexico thanks to a trade agreement. It emphasized jobs for Mexicans in Mexico, etc. When I got back home, the same issue of Time Mag, same article with the same headline had a different story that didn't emphasize the Mexican jobs at all. That was the first time I realized that the news is different depending on who they are pitching it to.

Since 1997, control of the media has only gotten into fewer and fewer right-wing hands. The T-P fails to cover a lot of stuff and frequently lapses into boosterism. I read it just to follow the idiocy of the Louisiana legislature. I read a few MSM, but I check blogs to find out what is really going on. I was surfing the internet about something the other night and I clicked on a link to Time Mag. I have ignored it for so long that I was SHOCKED at what a piece of right-wing propaganda it is. There are a lot of self-satisfied journalists out there who do not know they are complete tools.

Friday, June 16, 2006 4:58:00 PM  
Blogger Rail Claimore said...

I'm trying to figure this one out myself... give me a little time.

Saturday, June 17, 2006 4:31:00 AM  

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