Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Gordo's Wet Whispers

In this morning's New York Times, as expected, War Pornographer Michael Gordon's rushing to the speculation circus. John F. Burns tags along to restrain him such as it is and as if anyone could. What do we learn from "U.S. Says Iran Helped Iraqis Kill Five G.I.'s"?

First off, the deaths of soldiers may get buried inside the paper (including, most recently, when they had five deaths to announce last week as well as today when they had six to announce but that didn't even rate a headline) but unsubstantiated claims will always find a home on the front page.

Well why not?

Wasn't that how the illegal war was sold to begin with by the paper? Rumors and allegations (often unsourced) passed off as facts while actual facts fell by the way side? And not just in the lead up, also when the press hit the ground in Iraq?

Second, we learn that yesterday's rumors come from "Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, the military spokesman here" and doesn't a military flack with that kind of title conjure up images?

"I got this wound as a result of a tactical and harsh questioning from Christine Amanpour."

"You think that's something? Did I ever tell you abou the time I had to guard the crafts table from Geraldo? I still have flashbacks."

So what's the story? Rumors and speculation. Based allegedly on a confession -- which should probably be "confession" considering how the White House has destroyed the US' international reputation. The allegations are that Iran is sewing discord and plotting attacks in Iraq. 8 paragraphs into the front page story (and after you flip over to A9) comes this:

A statement by Iran's Foreign Ministry rejected the American claims, describing them as "fabricated and ridiculous."

Ah, yes, 'reporting' as explained by Rudith Miller. In fact, let's refer back to Rudith:

Now, if like "Judy," you've built your house on the sand of non-existant WMD, it is important that you present a dissenting voice or two -- at least until readers forget that all your trumped out stories never bore out.
So if you're in that phase you're going to have to offer dissenting voices in a long piece. I don't know what people expect from "Judy" -- I'm no fan but good God, people, she was practically commanding a unit in Iraq, issuing orders of where to go and what to do!
The expectations of readers can be so high. You've given them a paper, what more do they want -- truth??? Well when those faceless, unimportant readers question you, just ride it out by tossing in a dissenting quote or two. Just sprinkle it in for flavor. But never at the top. That way people who just read the front page don't have to be bothered with these nay sayers or facts. "Judy" has that part down. You have to turn to page A8, inside the paper, to hear a dissenting voice. Silly people who persist in reading every word of the text will find out that all the declarative statements offered as fact at the top of the piece aren't as concrete as they might have seemed.
You can quote Paul Volcker, who's heading the investigation, saying that the audits "don't prove anything." You just do it down in your piece so that you've already left people with the impression that the audits do prove something, something very dire. And remember they already mistakenly think you've read all the reports so, even if they make it that far, they'll remember your strong "star turn" upfront more than anything else.

Well, remember Gordo and Miller sold the illegal war together on the pages of the New York Times. What do we really know? The US military is again making accusations (for the White House) which cannot be proven.

Now if we all just use our short term memories, we'll remember how last month was all about al Qaeda bombing mosques! As Nancy Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reported last Friday, turns out, no proof to those claims either (Youssef was citing US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates).

Judith Miller? Apparently the only one who will be forced into taking any responsibility for either the illegal war or the government's own outing of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame.

The above is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts, "Gee Whiz" from October 2005. Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Matt Cooper and Judith Miller. Wally and Cedric noted yesterday, "THIS JUST IN! SCOOTER WALKS!" and "Scooter Scoots".

Now we're noting this from yesterday's snapshot:

Multiple deaths of US service members were announced today. Today, the US military announced: " A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed in a small arms fire attack that followed an improvised explosive device strike targeting a joint combat patrol in a western section of the Iraqi capital July 1. Two Iraqi National Police officers were also wounded in the attack." And they announced: "One Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed when a combat patrol was targeted with small arms fire in a southern section of the Iraqi capital July 1." And they announced: "Two Soldiers and one Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West were killed July 1 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "One Task Force Lightning Soldier died as a result of injuries sustained from an explosion near his vehicle while conducting operations in Salah ad Din Province, Monday." Six deaths in all -- five soldiers, one marine -- announced today. ICCC's current total is 3583 US service members killed in the illegal war since it began and 6 killed in July thus far (reminder, this is only the second day of the month).

All but one of the six died July 1st. Now we're drop back to this morning's earlier entry:

Today, the US military announced: "Two Marines assigned to Multi National Force-West died July 1 in a non-hostile related accident while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." The two deaths bring the ICCC total number of US service members killed in the illegal war to 3586.

5 US service members dead on July 1st announced Monday. 2 US service members dead on July 1st announced today. 7 US service members were killed on July 1st -- at least 7. Find the coverage.

Find the coverage.

Instead of Where's Waldo, let's try playing Find Journalism For Grown Ups.

Try finding the coverage of the two arrests of Adam Kokesh and, no, if Democracy Now! today, IN HEADLINES, only noted the Sunday arrest then the program did not do its job.

If, instead, it is offering more gas baggery (Scooter Libby) then it's not doing its job.

I haven't listened. I would prefer not to. And "airhead" is the kindest word for the (female) guest in the e-mails today. I'm not in the mood for it and I'm not in the mood for COWARDS who can't say the words "Matt Cooper." Most of all, I'm not two-year-olds.

I'm fully aware an illegal war is going on even if All Things Media Big and Small rarely appears to be. I believe it was Elizabeth de la Vega who (rightly) called out the press rollout on the Libby pardon, how the media was enabling by offering it up immediately and obsessing over it in their coverage.

As for the airhead, if she can't say the words "Matt Cooper" (whom Karl Rove leaked to) in her 'historical analysis' then she is full of many things but information is not among them. But it's so much easier to reduce it all to Judith Miller, isn't it? And that reduction, that non-stop Bash the B*tch, is one reason Gordo's been able to do the rollout for war with Iran. Airheads and gas bags should take note. And trying growing the ___ up because it's getting real damn old. People are still dying in an illegal war and Judith Miller critiques are not only old they are cowardly at this late date. Dexter Filkins, Michael Gordon, go down the list. Lot of people enjoy it when it's All Miller Time because it certainly allows them to avoid being called out.

In the real word, 1 (800) 948-8523 is the Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline. You can find that in Pauline Jelinek's AP story. As we've noted before, Col. E. Cameron Ritchie appeared last month on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show bragging about that hotline -- which she couldn't be bothered with giving out on air but noted it could be found at the Army Behavioral Health website. The military has apparently decided to create a puzzle for veterans and their families as if the inept maze that passes for veterans health case wasn't already 'fun' enough.

Repeating, the number is 1 (800) 984-8523 and that, unlike gas baggery, does actually mean two ___ in the grown up world. The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.