Wednesday, April 11, 2007

NYT: 'Reporting'

Sunni militants and residents of the Baghdad neighborhood of Fadhil fought a fierce daylong battle with the Iraqi Army and American soldiers on Tuesday in what appeared to be the most sustained confrontation since the start of the security plan to calm violence in the capital.
The battle left seven people dead, three insurgents and four Iraqi soldiers, and wounded 16 United States soldiers, according to a statement from the American military. Two Iraqi Army soldiers and one child were also wounded, the statement said.
But neighborhood residents reported far higher fatalities and said local gunmen had destroyed five Iraqi Army Humvees. The fighting damaged an Apache helicopter, the United States military said.
The fighting started after the Iraqi Army raided a mosque and killed two men, according to residents contacted by phone and a Sunni religious group. Residents said the gun battle began near the mosque in an area with many warehouses and continued in a residential neighborhood.
While violence has hit many of the capital's neighborhoods during the first eight weeks of the Baghdad security plan, clashes have been shorter, generally lasting no more than several hours. Some suicide bombings have been deadlier. In the Dora neighborhood, prolonged fighting, which erupts almost nightly between militants and sometimes includes Iraqi Army and American forces, has also taken a large toll.
The confrontation in Fadhil pit Iraqi security forces, backed by American soldiers, against armed militants backed by local residents.

The above is from Alissa J. Rubin's "A Mosque Raid Sets Off Sunnis in Iraq’s Capital" (New York Times) and it pretty much captures all that is wrong with what passes for reporting out of Iraq. "Backed by American soldiers"? Yes, that tends to make the official press releases from the US military, why it also makes 'reporting' is another issue. Humvees and helicopters? And it's 'backed'? This is the process that Norman Solomon has repeatedly written about, the process the US saw in Vietnam. But 'reporters' ignore it and even adapt/adopt the official language of distortion and pass it off as reality.

Two kids are fighting in a backyard. One parent showers the yard with gunfire. Did the parent 'back' one of the children? No.

Top heavy on what the US military says, Rubin works in that a child was injured. Apparenlty readers are to shake their heads and hiss, "Damn insurgent." Apparently, we're all supposed to be that stupid.

So the US-created divide led to one group being 'backed' -- with gunfire, with money, with ammo, with . . .

No "so-called" insurgents. The judge and jury of a bullet and a US press release does all the work for Rubin that, in other days, a reporter would be expected to do for themselves.

A similar principle seems to be at work in the coverage of Imus, which Jacques writes up in a similar way and the Times front pages (no link, no link to pure trash). So the issue is whether or not racist and sexist language (homophobic in other cases, but 'just' racist and sexist in this instance) was damaging. Jaques does his 'job' by 'reporting' on what . . . White men think. That's really 'cute,' isn't it? A White man flaunts racism and sexism and the paper of little record tries to figure out whether it was 'bad' or not by going to White men for testimonials? What's the hope there? That it will all come clean in the wash eventually? Years later? From Frank Davies' "House to examine Tillman, Lynch cases" (San Jose Mercury News):

Leaders of the top investigative panel in the U.S. House announced Tuesday that they will examine how the Army handled the "friendly fire" death of Pat Tillman in 2004 and how the military portrayed the capture and rescue of Jessica Lynch in 2003.
The decision by Rep. Henry Waxman, a Los Angeles Democrat and chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, is a victory for members of Tillman's family. They complained that the Army's most recent investigation of the case failed to explain what happened in Tillman's death and how the aftermath was handled.
Waxman's committee is planning an April 24 hearing that will include members of the Tillman family, the Defense Department and Lynch, the Army private who was captured in Iraq - and then rescued - in the early days of the invasion.
The Defense Department's inspector general found that four generals and five other officers gave inaccurate or misleading information about the death of the 27-year-old Tillman, the San Jose native who gave up a lucrative pro football career to enlist in the Army Rangers and serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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