Monday, October 17, 2005

"Cheney Aide May Still Be a Focus in Leak" (David Johnston)

In her article in The Times on Sunday, which recounted two appearances before the grand jury, the reporter, Judith Miller, wrote that she was asked numerous highly detailed questions about what Mr. Libby told her in her three conversations with him in June and July 2003, as well as about sometimes cryptic notes she took during the conversations.
[. . .]
Ms. Miller's article appeared as the inquiry was entering a 10-day period in which the prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, is expected to decide whether he will charge anyone with a crime before the term of the grand jury expires on Oct. 28.
[. . .]
In part, the impact of Ms. Miller's testimony on Mr. Libby depends on how Mr. Fitzgerald evaluates her credibility. Some lawyers with clients in the case have suggested that Mr. Fitzgerald could be skeptical about her hazy recollection of events.

The above is from David Johnston's "Cheney Aide May Still Be a Focus in Leak" in this morning's New York Times. Skeptical of her hazy recollection? Why ever for? Sunday's coverage in the Times didn't cut it.

Lloyd e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "Bush’s Obscene Performance with Troops in Tikrit" (This Just In, The Progressive):

It was obscene enough that Bush put on such a staged event. Turns out now that one of the soldiers he called on was actually a Pentagon PR person, whom he refused to identify as such.
But even more obscene was Bush's immature and foolish boasting about how cool it was that the soldiers were in Tikrit, Saddam's hometown.
First, he said, "By the way, you're in Tikrit, as I understand it, as well. It's kind of an interesting place to be. It's Saddam’s old stomping grounds."
He's so out of it he thinks the people of Tikrit are grateful to the U.S. troops for being there.
He asked one of the soldiers, "As you move around, I assume you have a chance to interface with the civilians there in that part of the world. And a lot of Americans are wondering whether or not people appreciate your presence. . . . Can you give us a sense for the reception of the people there in Tikrit toward coalition forces?"
The soldier, as instructed, passed that question on to another soldier, Captain Williams, who couldn't answer how U.S. soldiers "interface" with civilians because they can't. It's too dangerous.

Also on the topic of fake news, Lynda e-mails to note Diane Farsetta's "The Fight Against Fake News" (CounterPunch):

Like much news that's damaging to the Bush administration, the report came out on a Friday.
Since then, it's gotten little media attention -- just 41 mentions in U.S. newspapers and wire stories, according to a news database search on October 11. That's remarkably sparse coverage for a story showing that the U.S. government has been engaged in illegal propaganda aimed at its own citizens.
On September 30, the nonpartisan, investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), announced that several aspects of work done for the Department of Education by the public relations firm Ketchum violated federal law. Taxpayer-funded projects carried out by Ketchum or its subcontractors -- including Armstrong Williams and Karen Ryan -- constituted "covert propaganda" or "purely partisan activities," according to the GAO.
Yet, what the GAO has condemned, administration officials seem to consider business as usual.
Standard Operating Propaganda Procedures
In one such disputed activity, a Ketchum subcontractor wrote an article about an Education Department study of "parents' views on the declining science literacy of students." The article ran "in numerous small newspapers and circulars throughout the country," with no disclosure of "the Department's involvement in its writing." Similar practices also happened under another Education Department contract with the same company, the GAO noted.
A different subcontractor produced a prepackaged television news story, or video news release (VNR), on tutoring and other student assistance programs included in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Karen Ryan, a PR flack who misrepresents herself as a reporter on the VNR, closes the segment with, "This is a program that gets an A-plus." The Education Department has defended the VNR as containing only "factual information." The GAO found it to be "covert propaganda," not because of its content, but because the Department's role in commissioning, directing and funding the piece was not disclosed to viewers.
In the third case, the Ketchum firm analyzed "media coverage for the messages associated with the No Child Left Behind Act ... in trade and consumer media outlets." While the GAO found "the media analysis as a whole" to be "within the information functions authorized," it ruled that one message Ketchum scanned media reports for -- "the Bush administration / the GOP (Republican Party) is committed to education" -- was prohibited, since it served "purely partisan purposes." The GAO urged the Education Department to be "more diligent in its efforts to ensure" that future analyses are "free from such explicit partisan content."

["Diane Farsetta is a Senior Researcher, Center for Media & Democracy, publisher of PR Watch, where this article originally appeared. She can be reached at:"]

On the same topic, let's note the latest from Danny. "Keeping the Light on Injustice" (Danny Schechter, News Dissector, Media Channel Org.)

"It's not enough to complain. We have to act."I couldn't say it any better.And that, in a way, is what our "Keep the Light on Injustice" campaign was about in the aftermath of the Katrina Catastrophe. We posted the petition on a Friday. By Saturday, we had collected 3,500 signatures with many readers adding their own ideas and suggestions. Have a look if you haven't seen it recently.Katrina gave us a glimpse of some members of the media actually doing their jobs. Perhaps it was because the Administration misunderestimated the impact of the crisis and didn't have its perception managers immediately on the case. Or perhaps because when faced with a human disaster, some journalists reverted to being human.
[. . .]
Our Keep the Light On Injustice petition ( ) spelled out what we wanted from the media -- not just what we saw, but what is needed -- in terms of follow-up, economic analysis, more focus on race and class, and "follow the money" reporting.
And, yes, there have been some stories that do that, but not nearly enough of them. The Center for Media and Public affairs noted: "The primary lesson of Katrina media coverage? Reconnecting journalists with those who feel policy, not just the policy makers."

[. . .]
We can't do everything, but we can do something. We can speak up and speak out.Please sign on if you agree, and stand by for more.

One more thing we can do is watch Democracy Now! -- we may have an e-mail from Rod on that, I don't know. There are too many e-mails on a topic that I feel (my opinion) we've dealtt with. If you disagree with that, Beth's e-mail appears in every round-robin and she is our ombudsman, so let her know what you think by dropping her a line. (Beth will curse me when she opens her inbox.)

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