Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Hate The War

In the snapshot today I noted the little photo-fest-hug-fest-love-in at the Pentagon today that took place after the press conference and a few -- including one reporter who was present and has reason to feel guilty -- have e-mailed to insist that it was no big deal.

No, it was a very big deal. You're e-mailing the wrong person to convince it was nothing. I've participated in many junkets, I've smiled and posed for photos. And I damn well know I didn't do it because I was a sweet person full of sunshine. I did it because I was promoting a product and I knew my actions would influence the coverage. The same way Robert Gates and the Pentagon knew that the schmoozing would influence the coverage (which has been ga-ga throughout The Robert Gates Farewell Tour) of him and the Pentagon.

But if that's too much to wrap your mind around, all you need to know is in the snapshot. What did the spokesperson state?

"I want everybody to sit tight. Let's kill the cameras. He'll come back out in one moment and we'll say goodbye individually and so forth with photos for you guys. This is off the record."

If there was nothing wrong with what took place, it wouldn't need to be hidden. It wouldn't need to be "off the record" and it wouldn't require that the cameras be turned off.

It was a cute little scene that you the news consumer were never supposed to know took place.

Ethically, it never should have happened. By the code of ethics for the profession, it never should have happened. That's not open to debate. If you doubt that you need to consult even the most basic ethical guidelines for journalists.

It did take place and it went a long way towards explaining not just the easy press but why so many sell the wars. It's not that they're trapped or they're fighting the system at their own news outlets. It's that they're co-opted and have been whored out. And FYI, anytime I did a junket, everything in public was in public. There was no "Kill the cameras!" In fact, killing the cameras would have meant I walked since I was only present to promote a product.

Gates and the Pentagon promoted their product today -- only they and the reporters involved didn't think you had the right to see it or to know about it.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4457. Tonight it is still [PDF format warning] 4466.

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