And that's yet another reason the press shouldn't whore.
Nouri is the "previous regime." He's been prime minister since 2006. But thanks to the press making excuses and handing out awards for showing up, he can make these idiotic statements pretty sure that no one will call him out on them or really question them.
The American press, the dying American press, has been as responsible for corruption in the last decades as any government partner. Domestically, they have refused (repeatedly) to alert the public to what proposed laws would actually do. This is how we ended up with, among other things, the foreclosure nightmares, the economic crisis and so much more.
They have forgotten their role is to serve the people. Instead of focusing on how the news would impact people, they worhsipped the leaders. That's also how and why they sold the illegal Iraq War.
And you can see it at play in the foreign coverage today as well. The false assertions that the Arab League Summit was an Iraqi success and that Nouri was a success for pulling it off, that wasn't about providing real coverage, that wasn't about what it meant for the Iraqi people.
It was providing p.r. for a leader. A thug and wanna be dicator.
And confronted with their whoring, they can (and two did) provide a host of rationalizations. They can be highly inventive, in fact. It's just the truth and the supposed purpose of their profession that they sturggle with.
The Arab League Summit was a failure for Iraq. We go through reason by reason in Third's "Editorial: Successful summit for Iraq?." But in addition to that, stamping "success" on it for it taking place is also highly insulting to the other Arab countries.
Is the press really suggesting that the Arab League would risk their own members' lives? Or pretending that the Arab League (and individual countries) did not provide their own security?
The judgment and work of all the other countries are erased -- the same way the Iraqi people got erased -- to create the lie that Nouri al-Maliki is a success.
They have stroked the ego of the tyrant when they should have held him accountable. Let's hope they're willing to take accountability for their own actions as Nouri's newly inflated ego combines with his pre-existing paranoi to do heaven only knows what next. More secret prisons? More targeting of political rivals? More attacks on journalists?
But don't worry, Nouri just sues western journalists so those repeating the spin will be fine and dandy. It's the Iraqi journalists who will have to live with any real fallout. Just as it was the Iraqi journalists who were the most likely to be refused access to the summit. That didn't concern the west press last week either making clear that their motto remains "I got mine." That their actions are in complete conflict with their profession has not and, no doubt, will not occur to them. And that's the sickness eating away at their profession.
At least a billion spent on the summit (and on State of Law big whigs' homes apparently) and yet the Iraqi people still lack basic services. Instead of the shame he should be feeling over that, Nouri's bragging that, in spite of that, he's ready to step up and be the regional leader.
His sixth year of being prime minister and he still can't deliver basic services. And, remember, Iraq's not Eritrea. It's not struggling for an export, it's an oil rich company, one that the AP noted last week brought in $6.595 billion via oil in the first month of this year alone.
And yet Nouri lackey Hussein al-Shahristani (Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs) can tell AFP that the plan now is for Iraq to have fixed the electricity shortage by 2014. (Anyone remember Nouri boasting in 2010 and 2011 that it would be fixed by 2012?) That should be unacceptable. And, in fact, it was to the Iraqi people. That's one of the reasons that they took to the streets last year to protest -- the lack of basic services. And Nouri was so scared he swore give him 100 days and he would fix it. He didn't fix a thing but he doesn't have to because no one in the Western press appears to have the guts or ethics to hold him accountable.
If the press isn't providing accountability, why does it exist? If there's no watchdog measure to it, it's nothing but random gossip.
The following community sites -- plus Reporters Without Borders, Antiwar.com, Susan's On The Edge and On The Wilder Side -- updated last night and this morning:
Meanwhile one of the most popular cultural programs continues, The Bat Segundo Show:
Rethinking Radio, Cultivating Conversation
In this lively talk with the affable philosopher, we question de Botton on the pragmatics of sampling religious elements for secular purposes, the problems with advertising, mandatory voting in Australia, and the mass appeal of Proust and Tarkovsky. (Link to show.)
He's the author of Gods Without Men, an ambitious novel that has invited comparisons with Cloud Atlas. And this two-part, 90 minute conversation is just as sprawling as Kunzru's novel, getting into everything from 1980s computers, Michael Moorcock, the creative possibilities that rise from traveling, war simulations, and John Barker and the Angry Brigade. (Link to show.)
When writing about a 600 pound professor, how does an author draw upon her own experience? The author of Heft answers this question, reveals her favorite James Joyce story, and contemplates certain strains of social meanness with Our Correspondent. (Link to show.)
It's doubtful that we'll ever have a conversation this relaxed about such a heavy subject in a good long while. But the author of The New Hate is a very huggable guy who has no hate in his heart. And he outlines the history of why extremists have given into their worst instincts throughout the years. (Link to show.)
One can never underestimate the difficulties of getting out of bed in the morning. But what if you've suffered from agoraphobia? This one hour conversation with the Agorafabulous author and comedian discusses this and much more. We also get a detailed report on Benincasa's cooking progress over the last few years. (Link to show.)
It's not easy being an easily ridiculed dictator -- especially when you happen to be dead. But what if you're a novelist trying to chronicle a nation which hides behind fabulist strains? This conversation with the author of The Orphan Master's Son gets into North Korea, Robert Coover, and how facets of the thriller genre help get at the truth. (Link to show.)
"If I leave one thing in the world, it's to put the Slanket into the history of literature." The author of Flatscreen discusses working as a bookseller, Gary Lutz, Ben Lerner, and the literary inefficiencies of the American educational system. (Link to show.)
Can any location offer true respite? Why were corpses buried so poorly during the Korean War? And how do other stories about characters reveal backstory? Find out more in our talk with the author of Forgotten Country. (Link to show.)
Nobody was more astonished than we were to learn that gnomes were responsible for getting people interested in financial mechanisms they didn't quite understand. But, of course, that's just the beginning in this jampacked (and often comical) overview of the historical follies of American credit. (Link to show.)
The author of Treasure Island!!! tells us how Robert Louis Stevenson helped her to understand character formation, but regrettably cannot help us on the parrot memoir front. (Link to show.)
Greetings from The Bat Segundo Show, a cultural radio program devoted to goofy, thoughtful, and informed conversations with the cultural figures and intriguing minds of our time. You can listen to the show at the main site or subscribe through iTunes.
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How did Americans become so reliant upon credit? It seems a dry question, but did you know that frightening gnomes were involved? Historian Louis Hyman spills the details. Novelist Catherine Chung reveals how flying ghosts and mathematics helped her flesh out a fictional Korean American family. And while philosopher Alain de Botton is unfamiliar with South Park, he does have a few ideas on how atonement and communal dining can help secular types.
Hari Kunzru, whose recent novel, Gods Without Men, has been compared to Cloud Atlas, talked with us for an epic two-part conversation that gets into just about everything. Heft author Liz Moore discusses reading Joyce as a teenager and passes along some writing tips from Colum McCann. And until we met the very huggable Arthur Goldwag, we didn't think it was possible to have such a fun and low-key conversation about political extremism.
We don't know why we tend to talk with authors who share the same first name around the same time. But it's happened again with a groovy quartet. Treasure Island!!! author Sara Levine reveals how humor and Robert Louis Stevenson permits us to peer into sordid human qualities. The incomparable Sara Benincasa has a few helpful hints on how to get out of bed and deal with agoraphobia.
Then there's Adam Wilson, who was kind enough to talk with us for an hour before getting on a plane. We get into Bellow, Exley, and how young people can rebel through literature. Last but not least, Adam Johnson reveals the North Korean answer to Godzilla and the responsibilities that come from writing one of the first American novels about North Korea.
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