Thursday, June 22, 2006

NYT: Zernike takes her cab (and readers) for another ride, Burns plays Court TV

The military announced today that four Marines were killed Tuesday in the Western province of Anbar, and said a U.S. soldier died in a bombing south of Baghdad on Wednesday morning.
Three of the Marines died when their vehicle was blasted by a roadside bomb, U.S. officials said. The other was killed when a patrol came under attack.

The above, noted by Martha, is from Jonathan Finer and Debi Wilgoren's "Four Marines Killed in Iraq's Anbar Province" (Washington Post).

We're opening with Martha's highlight because that's called "reality." Say it with us, Green Zone reporters for the New York Times, "Reality."

Rita Katz and SITE are not reality. Yesterday, Katz, mustering all the authority her 'indendent'
but working for the US government can bring to bear (translation, not much), weighed in that an internet posting from a group claiming to be The Mujahedeen Shura was false and Dexy ran with it (without noting the government work of SITE). Today, she's back as some sort of Paula Abdul of the far right to tell John F. Burns that another internet posting is genuine. Does the world give a damn what Rita Katz thinks? No but the US government does so the Times does.
But without Katz, Burns has no story because it's largely just recapping the wire reports of yesterday (or in some cases Tuesday).

Of course some wire reports get a sentence and some get ignored. John F. Burns gets the front page with his version of COURT-TV (can his reputation sink any lower -- give him time, give him time). What's missing from the paper? Reality's always missing but other mainsteam news organizations had a great deal of coverage about the charges brought yesterday. The Times buries it inside the paper.

Deep inside the paper you'll find Carolyn Marshall's "8 U.S. Servicemen Charged in Death of an Iraqi Civilian:"

The charges against the eight men are among the first criminal counts brought in connection with several recent high-profile episodes in which marines and other servicemen have been accused of killing Iraqi civilians in unprovoked attacks.

High profile? Not in the Times. In fact, the article has to share space with another incident that's resulted in charges:

The eight men charged by the Marine Corps were identified as Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III, Cpl. Trent D. Thomas, Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda, Lance Cpl. Tyler A. Jackson, Pfc. John J. Jodka, Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. and Lance Cpl. Robert B. Pennington, all marines, and Hospital Corpsman Third Class Melson J. Bacos.
The charges against the marines in California came as the military in Iraq on Wednesday charged a fourth soldier with premeditated murder and conspiracy in the death of three detainees on May 9.
The soldier, Specialist Juston R. Graber, is the fourth serviceman from the 101st Airborne Division's Third Brigade Combat Team to be accused in connection with the shootings near the Muthanna Chemical Complex along the Tharthar Canal, in southern Salahuddin Province, a restive Sunni Arab region in north-central Iraq. The four soldiers are also accused of threatening a fellow American soldier with death if he reported the shootings.

Why does it matter? For a number of reasons. Kate Zernike's back in her cab, with the "ON DUTY" light on. That's not cause for rejoicing. She does a little better at being less obvious that she's taking editorial to the reporting (or "reporting") section, but she still does it. She is a little less obvious but she still tilts to the Levin-Reed toothless measure (what her bosses favor). She finally manages to mention the Washington Post op-ed Mowaffak al-Rubbaie (Iraq's national security adviser) wrote. Mentions. Not explores. It ran Tuesday and it speaks of the foreign troops (that would include US troops) leaving Iraq. It's not a shocker (to anyone outside the Times). Iraqi people have long favored a withdrawal of foreign troops. Last week, Tariq al-Hashia, Iraq's vice president, asked the US government to begin setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.


Why, isn't that some business our Senate should be addressing?

Yes, it is.

And while Zernike's attempted to editorialize, she's failed to inform the readers that the plan she ridicules, the one John Kerry is pushing, is what the Iraq government is asking for. If reporters (or cab drivers) did their jobs, there'd be a lot less room for the posturing that's gone on the last two days.

Zernike's so busy spinning she can't even note that she sites the laughable John Warner's efforts at working with Dems. Which efforts? Yes, that is the problem. You have to pick and choose. So she picks one (from a very small list) and ignores the rest of Warner's record. It pushes her narrative this morning to play it that way.

Maybe Zernike should read Lily's highlight? From Ari Berman's "Prisoners of Uncertainty" (The Notion, The Nation):

The debate over the war in Iraq has from day one been marked by the disingenuousness of GOP talking points.
Al Qaeda is controlling the insurgency.
We're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here.
We're steadily making progress.
Now that we're there we need to finish the job. Etc, etc.
Each assertion false. But perhaps the most repeated bit of conventional wisdom is that Americans are divided about how the US should proceed.
"The American people have mixed feelings about Iraq--where we are, where we're going there," Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democratic supporter of the war, told the
Washington Post yesterday. "The American people really understand that it's a complicated question."
It may be complicated, but the American people are not all that conflicted. For months, a clear
majority of Americans have advocated that the US set a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops. Why is this so hard for elected pols to understand?
As I
wrote yesterday, voters in the country's top 68 swing districts prefer a Democrat who supports bringing the troops home within a year over one who does not.

But at the Times? It's all nonsense in the paper of no record that's always been there to sell the war (and still won't correct their lies -- including lies that other outlets, such as PBS, have corrected). But there will be an editorial (a mushy one in my opinion) and suddenly the paper will get links and holla's from all over the net for their 'brave' stance or maybe for 'finally' getting something right. The paper's still selling the war. The editorials are toothless and they never cover reality. But keep giving them shout outs, they're pretty convinced they've "moved beyond Miller." Enable them and they continue to feel proud.

Oh, did that seem harsh? Well here's the thing, they got shout outs a plenty for their weak ass Guantanamo editorials that came several years to late. But have they done a thing to cover the case of the Australian held in Guantanamo? Where is this topic? (Which has had developments.)

They offer a weak ass editorial that gets links from everyone and then a few days later you get Tim Golden or someone else mocking the prisoners in print (such as calling one a "minor celebrity" -- while summarzing a book he clearly never read). The paper's still selling the war. Zernike's only the latest to enlist in the marketing plan.

Rod passes on the scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now! (Times readers will remember John F. Burns' 'coverage' of the issue and should expect no update to that, so listen, watch or read DN! today):

Leading Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena joins us in our firehouse studio. In February 2005, she was taken hostage by a group of Iraqis and held for four weeks. On the day of her release, as she was being escorted toBaghdad International Airport by Italian security, US forces fired on her vehicle. The attack killed Major General Nicola Calipari, the number-two man in Italian military intelligence. Sgrena's new book is titled "FriendlyFire."

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