Sunday, December 16, 2007

NYT burying the illegal war

Never forget that the press sets the agenda and never doubt that they know that. The New York Times knows what it wants, Iraq off the radar. Yesterday, they offered nothing on Iraq. Today they provide one story, buried deep in the paper (A21), Cara Buckley's "11 Killed in Attacks on Sunni Patrols and Security Forces in Iraq." It's the only article [it's not the only article, see added on section] on a page featuring an electronics ad. So you might assume that, buried or not, they give it a large amount of space. You would be wrong. Twelve brief paragraphs and then it's all over now, faded news.

Buckley writes of the so-called Awakening Councils who saw four of their collaborators killed on Saturday -- three were killed via roadside bombings in Adhamiya while one was shot dead in Baghdad. Use the link because Buckley appears to be using "security forces" and "Awakening Council" interchangeably. That's not necessarily the problem. The problem is she says four died in her first paragraph and there's the three noted in Adhamiya and the one in Baghdad as well as 1 killed in Salahudding Province which would be five and not four. After that section, she moves on to "In other attacks" and notes2 people dead from Baghdad roadside bombings and "two government workers" targeted in Adhamiya and wounded with gunfire while a car bomb ("south of Baghdad" -- which leaves a whole lot of Iraq) claimed 1 life and a gun battle left four "Iraqi security forces . . . dead, three of them police officers."

Added on: A24 contains a lengthy article on Iraq. It appears three pages after the first article and also after stories on Afghanistan. It's Alissa J. Rubin's "Iraqi City Is Poised to Become a Hub of Shiite Power:"

A millenium after Najaf first became a magnet for Shiite pilgrims, leaders here are reimaing this city, long suppressed by Saddam Hussein, as a new hub of Shiite political and economic power, not just for Iraq but for the entire Middle East.
That shift would further weaken the Iraqi central government and complete Najaf's transformation from a dusty, conservative town known mostly for its golden-domed shrine and soaring minarets into the undisputed center of a potentially semiautonomous Shiite region, with some of the country's richest oil reserves.

Due to the photo and scope of the article, this should have run on the front page. You learn that journalists with the paper attempting to photograph or film "outside Grand Ayatollah Sistani's office" were asked, "Are you Iranians?" Rubin makes the call that this reveals tensions with Iran. (Which may or may not be the correct call.) Had Rubin not attempted to report and opened with some form of her third to the last paragraph, it could have been more feature-ish and possibly front page. (Which lives for the features, especially on Sundays.)

Again, there are two articles, both buried inside the paper (with Afghanistan reports on the pages betweent hem) and not one as I incorrectly wrote.

In a report that appeared in print on Saturday, Hannah Allam's "Survey: Many Iraqis in Syria fled during U.S. troop buildup" (McClatchy Newspapers) demonstrates that, yes, news outlets could report on the study . . . if they wanted to. From Allam's article:

One in five Iraqi refugees in Syria has been tortured or suffered from other violence, and more than a third fled their homeland between July and October, at the height of the U.S. troop buildup that was intended to quell sectarian violence in Baghdad, preliminary data from a new United Nations study show.
The survey also found that the refugee population is highly educated -- nearly a third have university degrees, including master's and doctorates -- and that many refugees are only weeks away from exhausting their savings.
The survey, which the IPSOS market research firm conducted in October and November, is the most comprehensive study to date of the 1.5 million Iraqis who've sought safety in Syria from the sectarian violence at home. The results are based on interviews with 754 refugees, who were asked detailed questions that ranged from whether they'd been hit by grenades to how they treat their children's illnesses. Full results are expected in early January.
The U.N. survey includes special questions about trauma that researchers from Harvard University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hope will help them determine for the first time the extent to which the violence in Iraq has damaged the mental health and stability of the war's survivors.
The survey may provide some insight into the impact of U.S. actions. The preliminary results suggest that as American forces moved into Baghdad's neighborhoods to establish security, large numbers of Iraqis moved out.

New content at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Truest statement of the week
A Note to Our Readers
Editorial: We keep giving them money, they keep funding the illegal war
TV: ABC's Cesspool
"I love my drug buddy . . ."
Best war song you may not have heard
Dope of the week
Ike Turner (Ava and C.I. feature)

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Smashing Pumpkins, tilted windmills" went up this morning, Ruth's latest "Ruth's Report" went up Saturday night and Isaiah's latest comic goes up after this. (In addition, I just saw Brenda's e-mail. We'll take care of that right now.)

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