Friday, January 26, 2007

NYT: With all the campus gossip, Marc Santora!

The New York Times has a war to sell. So Marc Santora wastes everyone's time with "Iraq Leader and Sunni Officials in Sectarian Clash on Security." It really is a wealth of embarrassment Santora provides. The puppet faces criticism and threatens to "turn over the documents" on one person questioning him (Sunni legislator Abdul Nasir al-Janabi). Then, not content to rely on the edited version that aired on Iraqi TV (and it did air edited -- Santora seems to forget that by maybe he was playing a video game), Santora turns the article over to a legislator . . . from Nouri al-Maliki's party. Naturally, Nouri was all things wonderful and good, praise be the puppet.

It's such nonsense.

For instance, a real reporter, whether the puppet was willing to talk to the press or not, would probably noted that "turn over the documents" on a person also calls to mind the number of arrest warrants Paul Bremer kept at the ready so he could just pull those out whenever someone was less than agreeable. As usual, in the Times, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani is held up to ridicule -- through second hand news (how very Fleetwood Mac of Santora). Hey, everyone remember when he was out? Remember the Times selling that in August when all the press was elsewhere. He wasn't out. He's still the speaker. But they had a run there, didn't they? The paper did a story where they spoke to his father who explained his son was unable to talk and the paper played it that not only was he about to be kicked out by parliament but al-Mashhadani was so dejected that he couldn't even come to the phone. It was over.

But it wasn't. He couldn't come to the phone, as anyone following the international coverage knew, because he wasn't in Iraq. He was in Jordan on official business, on a trip planned and announced weeks prior. But someone either didn't know how to do their job or the paper wanted you to get this impression that he was about to be drummed out of the parliament.

So, when you read a report today in the paper and with all the parliamentarians present, a Times reporter can only find one to speak with and it's one who doesn't care for al-Masshadani, you should know your reading garbage (at best). So busy is Santora with the second hand news
(that should be his theme song, truly, "I'm just second hand news, I'm just second hand news . . ." -- his favorite CD must be Rumors) that he mentions, in passing, 25 dead in Thursday's worst bombing in Baghdad when it had risen to 26 in more than enough time for the paper to get that right.

He doesn't say a word about the 42 corpses discovered in Baghdad either. Remember the paper's for escalation and they're trying to present the view that things are looking up. Maybe tomorrow they can offer a comical look at the brief detention of Adnan al-Dulaimi?

One thing the paper doesn't tell you is about the rockets that hit the Green Zone yeterday.

There's one other Iraq related article and we'll grab that in the next entry.

But if you want to see how a reporter could have handled the issues in parliament (which Santora never even bothers to address -- the actual conflict, he's more interested in: "Oh my God, you should have been there, it was soooo nasty. First, like, this one guy, says this one thing and the other guy is all, 'Oh, no, you didn't!' And the first guy, he's like all, 'Oh, yes, I did!' and then . . .") you can turn to Alexandra Zavis' "Iraqi premier and Sunni lawmaker face off in parliament: Maliki and a critic argue heatedly over his new security plan" (Los Angeles Times) which can tell you about the Green Zone attack, can tell you that the figure dead from the one bombing rose to "at least 27," can tell you something other than name calling -- for instance, what the conflict was over -- the new 'security' plan. From Zavis' article:

Janabi demanded that security forces lift their cordon around the area, insisting to loud protests from the Shiite-dominated chamber that "there are no terrorists in Haifa Street."
"Aren't there terrorists in Sadr City or Shula?" he said, referring to two Shiite militia strongholds.
Janabi accused Maliki's administration of purging Sunni Arabs from the government, arresting pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia and imposing politically motivated death sentences, a possible reference to the execution last month of former President Saddam Hussein.
"We cannot trust this premiership," Janabi said, as the shouting escalated around him.

The last sentence is, more or less, where Santora wants to come in. It's interesting how the Times of New York doesn't appear to want their readers to know about al-Maliki's much reported speech yesterday that schools, houses, you name it, all would be subject to raids and armed battle 'if needed.' (Zavis covers it.) We'll note that Zavis isn't interested in rushing through the school cafeteria to recount a blow by blow exchange but does manage to note this:

Mahmoud Mashadani, parliament speaker and a Sunni, interrupted the exchange, chiding Maliki for making "unacceptable" accusations and adding with heavy sarcasm that "the security plan will be very successful because you people are divided from this moment."
He then called for an adjournment to avoid inflaming sectarian tensions. The session resumed soon after, but Al Iraqiya, the state-run television station, stopped airing it. The station later put out an edited version of events.

Quite a bit different than the way the Times of New York portrays it but there is reality and then there is the New York Times.

Last night, we noted that Ehren Watada will be speaking in Seattle tomorrow, Bob Watada (his father) will be speaking in DC on Saturday. Mia notes Meredith May's "Anti-war activists will take to streets Saturday Local and national politicians expected to speak at rally" (San Francisco Chronicle) which informs that Ehren Watada's mother, Carolyn Ho, will be attending and speaking at a demonstration in San Francisco:

Anti-war activists will march down Market Street on Saturday to call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
Although the event was in the planning stages last fall, before President Bush announced he would send an additional 21,500 troops to the region, organizers hope to capitalize on growing resentment with Bush's decision.
Saturday's event will begin with a noon rally at Powell and Market streets. Carolyn Ho, the mother of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada of Hawaii, who is refusing orders to deploy to Iraq, will speak to the crowd.
San Francisco Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Chris Daly have been invited to speak, and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, has expressed interest in being on the podium, said event organizer Snehal Shingavi, a member of the International Socialist Organization and a graduate student at UC Berkeley. Congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. at the First Unitarian Universalist Church at 1187 Franklin St. about the Bush administration's plan to send more troops to Iraq.
"We started planning this event in response to the new Congress coming in, and already we are noticing more politicians are taking an interest in what the activists are doing," Shingavi said.

Mia notes, "The family's going all out but our left commentators still seem to think the big story is not Ehren's court-martial but whether or not Sarah Olson will testify. It is interesting the way this is playing out, all these voices being silent about Ehren, but filing all these pieces on a reporter. It's like watching the morning infomericals on CBS, ABC and NBC and seeing them ignore violence and chaos around the world to rush to cover some young, missing, blonde woman." It is interesting and it actually rather sad. Bob Watada went around the country on three speaking tours trying to raise awareness of his son, Carolyn Ho put herself out there for the same reason and certainly Ehren Watada has made himself accessible but few on the left can be bothered. Give them a report on the edges of the story and that they'll cover. With the exceptions of a few (Laura Flanders, Amy Goodman, Philip Maldari, Nora Barrows-Friedman, Dennis Bernstein, Margaret Prescod, etc.), they all ought to be sent to their rooms for some corner time.

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meredith may