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"desert Storm In The Eye Of The Media" Ignorance Is Strength

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On Wednesday, February20, over250people showedup at Rackham Auditorium on the University of Michigan campus to heartwo well-known media watchers, Martin Lee and Nabeel Abraham, in a program entitled "Desert Storm in the Eye of the Media." Dr. Abraham's insightfulandinformative talk was accompanied by a slide presentation, which unfortunately negated our ability to appropriately transcribe and print his portion of the program. What foilows are the remarks of Martin Lee, an awardwinning investigative journalist, the co-founderofFAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), and the publisher of its joumal, Extra!. Lee is also a U-M gradúate and the vinner of f our Hopwood Awards, as well as the author of the recently published "Unreliable Sources: A Guide to Detecting Bias in the News Media." The event was sponsored by the University Activities Center. Dhere has been a lot of talk lately about opinión polls which indícate that a substantial majority of Americans, when asked, say "yes" to Bush's policy. I was in Amherst last night when a professor of Communications there gave me a paper on a poll that a group of professors at the University of Massachusetts had conducted, which also concurred that a significant majority favor the Bush policy when asked a basic yes or no question about it. But what this poll did, and what most polls don't do, was that it correlated that response to what the basic knowledge is of the facts of the Middle East. They not only asked "How do feel, yes or no, about the policy?" but "Were you aware of this?" or "What was the U.S. response when this happened?", and "Do you know where this is in the Middle East?" Very, very fundamental questions. The findings were quite interesting. They found that the more people watched televisión news, the less they knew in terms of the basic facts of the situation in the Middle East. Furthermore, the less people knew in terms of the basic facts, the more likely they were to support the policy. It says something about televisión news, and of course that's how most people experience this war - through televisión. When I watch televisión reporting on the war I 'm reminded of a scène in a Marx Brothers movie in which a woman who was flirting with Groucho beckons to him saying, "Come closer, come closer," to which Groucho responds: "If I got any closer, I'd be behind you!" I think that is the basic posture of theU.S. press with respect to theU.S. government. When I look at televisión I see a lot of cheerleading, I see a lot of jingoism, I see a lot of boosterism. I do not see much journalism. Journalism requires, in its most elementary sense, diverse and antagonistic sources. That's basic Journalism 101. When you do a story, you don't just quote one point of view. You diversify your sources. Well I haven't seen muchdiversity on televisión, particularly in termsof the lineup of experts that they have on to talk about the war. The way it stands on televisión, since most of the reporting from the Gulf consists of spoon-fed information at Pentagon press briefings in Saudi Arabia, which journalists seem to claim there are not enough of (that seems to be the basic complaint), most of the time has been filled by an array of national sec urity experts, former and current CIA officials, admiráis, generáis, representatives of conservative think tanks, and sometimes some hawkish Democrats. That's generally what you get. One of our main cri tic isms of coverage of the war at FAIR is that articúlate dissidents, independent policy analysts, representatives from the anti-war movement itself , are rarely included in national televisión discussions and debates. They might report about the anti-war movement, often in a skewed fashion, but rarely are the leaders of that movement or experts who are sympathetic with the movement invited into the studio to particípate in the discussion about the war. We cali it "nature footage" when you see pictures of peace activists as people who are only indigenous to the streets - that's their natural habitat; that's where they are shown, with a sound bite or a slogan. But they don't seem to figure that leaders of the peace movement-dissident critics - can speak in more than sound bites and slogans; and may be have something intelligent to say if they were included in the debates. So we don ' t see, for example, people like Daniel Ellsberg on televisión these days talking about the war. We have been in touch with Daniel Ellsberg at FAIR and found out that he was invited by ABC at one point to be a commentator for a press briefing that Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney was about to give. Now it makes sense that someone like Ellsberg would be in a perfect position to do this. After all, he used to prepare Defense Secretary McNamara for his press briefings. If we had an independent press corps we would have someone like him on it. As it happened, he was disinvited. He was told at the last minute by ABC that the limousine would not be coming for him. And that happened a number of times in the fírst few days of the war. He was invited, he was ready to go on, and all of a sudden he was disinvited. So people like Ellsberg, and others like him, who ought to be on televisión - and would be if we had an independent press corps - are simply not on (with few exceptions). To us, that' s a form of censorship. It'snot the Pentagon telling ABC WorldNews Tonight, "Don't have Daniel Ellsberg on, we'll be upset by what he will say ." The producers of ABC World News censor themselves. So I think the whole issue of censorship has to be lookcd at in a broader way. Ellsberg is one of many who could be included. As a result what we get is a very one-sided view of the war, a onesided view of policy. And it's the side that the Bush administration prefers people to be exposed to. As a result the information is quite skewed. Michael Deaver, former press whiz for President Reagan, and master of the staged photo opportunity, was recently asked how the Bush administration was doing in terms of managing press coverage. And this is how Deaver responded: "If you're going to hire a public relations firm to do the media relations for an international event, it couldn't be done any better than this is being done." That's a rather frank acknowledgement of what's going on. When we talk about this kind of phenomenon, where the press is so well managed, it's not simply a credit to the tacticians of the Bush administration, it says something about the United States press corps. There seems to be a willingness to submit to this management. There has been no serious attempt to challenge the Pentagon censorship. There has been a suit filed against the Pentagon contesting the restrictions, incidentally, on behalf of the Nation magazine and other smaller circulation publications by the Center for Constitutional Rights. But none of the major newspapers or networks have joined that suit, which to me says they are complicit in the censorship - they are not serious about challenging the censorship. Indeed, it seems if anything, journalists are partaking of this - how shall I say - almos t festi ve celebration of the war. Many journalists seem to identify so strongly with the government officials they are quoting that there is very litüe critical distance. And that is [FAIR 's] main criticism of the U.S . media, not just in terms of just the Gulf, but in how they cover other issues as well - not that they are too liberal, that is totally absurd. I think the press is too close to power, corporate and government power. We see this reflected in various ways. How many times did we hear someone like George Lewis from NBC Nightly News say, shortly after the war broke out, "We're winning (continuad on page 14) cverything." Or CBS correspondentBob Shaefer. "We knocked out half the Iraqi air force," ( which tumed out not to be true). They even dusted off good old Walter Cronkite who came on to say "We shot down one of their missiles ." Now who are these joumalists referring to when they say "we'7 1 don't think they are saying CBS shot down the missile. They're referring to the U.S. military. Apparently they have forgotten that a basic rule of journalism is you're supposed to be objective. You're not supposed to be rooting for one side - which is what journalists do when they say "we;" they are referring to "our" side - you're supposed to bereporting. You're not supposed to be speaking for the govemment, you're supposed to be reporting on the govemment. That's just basic journalism. So when we at FAIR criticize joumalists, we don'tcriticize them because they have lousy politics or because they are pro-war. Joumalists have every right to have strong feelings about the war. If they support the war, so be it. But as joumalists it seems they ought to be required to live up to certain professional standards which they're not living up to at all, and that's a fundamental principie. When joumalists use the phrase "we" - and they do this often during times of war and a so-called nalional security crisis - they get so excited they start to mak e we" on camera. When joumalists do this they are really making a mockery of the separation between press and state. Tne U.S press corps, so the myth goes, is separate from the U.S govemment. When you say "we" you erode that distinction. In the first few days of the war, we saw not only the "we-we" phenomenon going on, but also this oohing and aahing over the technological prowess of the U.S. military hardware. On the first evening the CBS correspondent talked about the "sweet beautiful sight" of airplanes taking off to bomb Baghdad. And while Iraqi Scud missiles were typically described as terrorist weapons, that were terrorizing Israeli civilians (I think that' s an accurate description actually ), U.S. weapons were typically referred to as smart bombs that somehow managed to veer down Broadway in Baghdad, hang a right at any street, skip over the playground and slam into the munitions factory . These weapons are capable of surgical strikes with collateral damage. Yet we haven't heard Iraqi attacks on Israel referred to as producing collateral damage. It's the sanitizing of the war. I was particularly struck by a recent cover of Newsweek featuring the Stealth bomber. There is a picture of a Stealth on the cover and the caption reads: "The New Science of War: High Tech Hardware - How Many Lives Can it Save?" What Stealth does is destroy lives, not save lives. But that's the spin at Newsweek. Torn Brokaw, General Electric 's anchor, referred to how the U.S. forces were "fighting the war at arms length to keep casualties down."Now that will come as news to citizens of Baghdad - that the war is being fought at arms length. Which casualties is he referring to asbeing "keptdown"? Which lives are being saved? Well, it's the lives of American soldiers that are being saved by this kind of technological warfare but certainly not the lives of Arab civilians. American soldiers lives ' are being saved at the expense of thousands of Iraqi civilians dying. To say that this weapon saves lives is really a form of racism, because it implies that the lives that are being lost are somehow not full lives, not fully human. The cruel irony of this caption is that it was the Stealth that dropped the bombs that killed hundreds of civilians in the bunker while this magazine was on the stands. Now how does that play? How are civilian casualties described in the U.S. media? The first few days, there just weren't any. It was never mentioned at all. Then after a while, the generáis admitted to the media, "Well there's some collateral damage but it's an accident." When the bombs destroyed the bunker last week and killed the men, women, and children inside, it was first described by U.S. officials as an attack on a military installation. Let me read you a statement by Harry S. Truman, made in August, 1 945 . This is the first sentence of the official announcement made when the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima: "Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important J apáñese army base." Hiroshima was not an important army base. And that Iraqi bunker, where hundreds of men, women, and children, whose charred bodies were carried out from the wreckage, was not an important military installation. When Peter Amett and some of the other correspondents actually went in the building and looked around they saw no evidence whatsoever of any kind of military function. So how was it reponed? First, "it was a military installation." Then, "Well, maybe not" - because the reports on the ground weTe honest reports - "Maybe it was an accident?" When Amett and others investigated the bunker and reported what they saw with their own eyes, the typical response from the anchors was: "But isn't this Iraqi propaganda? Aren't you serving as Iraqi propagandists?" And indeed the entire discussion from all of the so-called experts - and it was completely uniform - was, 'This is Iraqi propaganda. This is a horrible thing that happened but it's Iraqi propaganda and if you feel moved by it, if you feel horror and shame and you cry, you are a dupe of Iraqi propaganda. It might even be true; maybé it wasn't a military installation. But you 're still a dupe of Iraqi propaganda because they are using this to manipúlate things." Óf course, that is the U.S. propaganda line - that all of this is Iraqi propaganda. And you didn't hear reports on civilian casualties - and still don't - ever mentioned just in and of themselves, without "Iraqi propaganda" attached right next to it. That was a very smooth propaganda technique used by the U.S. government to which the U.S. media submitted willingly. That's the shame of it. When military or govemment officials claim that something was an "accident," that they "are not targeting civilians," I remember Norman Schwarzkopf, at one of these Pentagon briefings, describing how the U.S. pilots are actually putting themselves at more risk by flying circuilous routes in order to avoid civilian casualties in Iraq. Let's give him a Nobel Peace Prize, shouldn't we? It would behoove joumalists to be very skeptical about such statements. After all, joumalists are aware of the Pentagon Papers that Daniel Ellsberg released - 7,000 pages of documention which sho wed that the entire Vietnam War, the entire policy, was based on lies. The whole thing. Even the Gulf of Tonkin incident which was an excuse used to escálate military presence in 1964 was a fabricated incident, it tumed out. Among other things, the Pentagon Papers refer to attacks on civilian targets in North Vietnam which were not accidental, but conscious policy. Let me read one document from March 4, 1968, from Harold Brown who was Secretary of the Air Force (keep in mind that Harold Brown is now on the board of CBS ). The document contains a proposal by Brown "that the present restrictions on bombing North Vietnam be lifted so as to permit bombing without the present concern for collateral civilian damage and casualties. The aim of this campaign would be to erode the will of the population by exposing a wider area of North Vietnam to casualties and destruction." This was implemented - "erode the will of the population" by killing more civilians. That's what they were talking about It is wrong for joumalists to accept at face value that the United States military is doing its utmost to avoid civilian casualties when there has been ampie precedent that that's a conscious policy at times during a war. In my opinión, any journalist who does not approach any statement by a U.S. military official during a time of war with extreme skepticism is just not being competent as a journalist. What we have today is willful denial, a willful exclusión of people like Ellsberg who will bring these facts to light. A willful denial on the part of joumalists that this [the intentional killing of civilians] has gone on in our recent history. When we talk about denial - I will digress very briefly here because I think denial is part and parcel of the news media game - I refer to a lead editorial in the New York Times; an assessment of Bush's presidency in its first 100 days which stated point blank that "no crisis, no national emergency confronts President Bush at the present time." That was a remarkable statement, a remarkable form of denial. No crisis, no emergency confronts the president? This is at a time when one out of five American children live in poverty, according to the official statistics (which suggests that the real figure is much higher). But that doesn't constitute an emergency for the New York Times. This a time when once every six minutes a woman is raped in the United States; one out of four women will be sexually abused by the time they are seventeen years old. That is not a crisis for the New YoTk Times. This is a time when, if y ou are a young B lack male, you are more likely to end up in jail than in college. No emergency. No crisis. At the time when the editorial ran, the number of Americans who had died from AIDS was just about to eclipse the total number of American soldiers who died in the Vietnam War. No crisis. No emergency. Very extreme form of denial. As another example of denial, to get back to the Gulf, Ted Koppel made this statement a few days into the war: "Aside from Scud missile attacks on Israel a few hours earlier, it has been a quiet night in the Middle East" That would have come as a surprise to the people in Baghdad who were being pummeled. But you know, Koppel's mind is like the New Yorker magazine's cartoon map where you have New York real big, and a little bit of middle America and then there ' s the west coast. Well for Koppel, there ' s W as hing ton, then Tel Aviv, and then there's nothing eke. That's the way he operates. In terms of Nightline, the program which he hosts on ABC, FAIR did a study in which we looked at who the guest experts were, we counted and categorized them in the first month after Iraq invaded Kuwait. FAIR found that during the month of August - that first crucial month in which the terms of the debate and the parameters of discussion were being defined by very influential news programs like Nightline - of all the U.S. guests on to discuss the Gulf crisis, not a single U.S. guest, during that first crucial month, argued against sending troops to the Gulf. What this means is that the issue of whether or not it was a good idea to send troops to the Gulf wasn't even considered worthy of debate among the U.S. guests. It was just a given - yes, the policy was good, implicitly. Journalists weren't asking tough questions like "is this a wise policy?" Ot, "how can we justify this?"The toughest question asked of George Bush in the early going was, "Should he be on the golf course?" That was the toughest question asked of hún. "Is this sending the wrong signa] , the wrong message, the wrong impression? Shouldhe be on vacation?" For a while we couldn't figure out if they were talking about the gulf crisis or the golf crisis! We expected to see Amold Palmer on Nightline discussing the situation. Indeed he would have at least said something different from the admiráis and generáis who were all saying the same thing - which was basically nothing. Another very telling statistic for Nightline in the first month of the crisis, which is emblematic of televisión coverage as a whole, 98% of U.S. guests were not Americans. When you consider that a third of the troops sent theTe are African-Americans and Latinos you wonder, is it so hard for a program with the resources and prestige of Nightline to find representatives of these groups to have on to dicuss the policy? Is it so hard to find some women to discuss the policy that 90% of U.S . guests were men? Indeed among African-Americans and women there is a much higher degree of skepticism about the policy, thus we didn't see them on Nightline. This kind of coverage, this censorship of critics, is not only insulting to African-Americans, and women but it also does the entire country a great disservice because you need diverse and antagonistic sources; you need different kinds of perspectives in order to assess policy. And that's not what we 're getting in the U.S. media. It has really been a one-note kind of thing. As a resul t, because you have very predictable guests you have a solid insurance against unpredictable insights forming - novel ideas, or maybe articulations which cut against the grainor challenge conventional wisdom. So we never heard certain facts emphasized or brought to light. We didn't hear, among other things, that the United Arab Emirates, one of the countries the U.S. allegedly sent its troops to defend, is considered one of the main centers of drug money laundering in the world today. Heroin money from Pakistan flows through there, it's like an off-shore bank in the desert. We didn't hear that discussed in any so-called debates a bout the policy. We didn' t hear much about the f act that George Bush, just a few days beforelraq invaded Kuwait, was personally lobbying Congress to prevent them from imposing sanctions against Iraq. We didn't hear much about the fact that the United States was Iraq's number one trading partner until the day of the invasión. Or about the fact that the U.S. govemment repeatedly, throughout the Reagan and Bush years, intervened with the U J4.'s human rights commission to make sure they wouldn't take action against Iraq. A very big doublé standard comes across when you consider how the media has covered Iraq's human rights abuses, which have been very significant over the years. I was struck by one headline in the New York Post, which is not a paper we generally look at, but this one jumped right out at me. It was right after Saddam Hussein posed with the children of some of the Western hostages. Implicitly it was American propaganda but it wasn't identified as such. They 're always so good at identifying and labeling Iraqi propaganda. They never can seem to identify U.S. propaganda. The picture on the cover of the Post was of Saddam Hussein posing with these children and the banner headline read: Child Abuser! Now Amnesty International has been issuing yearly reports throughout the 1980sdocumenting the Ir aqigovemment'stortureof children. We never saw any headlines like that. We never heard much about the torture of children by Iraq. We never heard very much about Iraqi rights abuses at all while the United States was supporting Iraq in its war against Iran. It was only after Iraq feil out of favor with the U.S. govemment that suddenly Iraqi human rights abuses became a prominent item on the media agenda. That to me is emblematic of how the U.S. govemment sets the agenda - dominates the agenda - of the U.S. press. And it's typical of human rights coverage in general. We did a big study at FAIR looking at coverage of human rights abuses in different countries around the world, and also in the United States, and we found a pattern: that the reporting tended to reflect the geopolitical priori ties of the State Department. We still haven't heard much about the human rights abuses of some of our partners in the so-called coalition. Do you know that Turkey has 250,000 politica] prisoners? Ninety-five percent of them are tortured, according to Amnesty International. We didn't hear much about that here. We did hear what a Hitler Saddam Hussein was. Again, Turkey is an ally so you don' t hear much about it in the press. Very rarely do you see journalists actually challenge the fundamental assumptions of the Gulf policy, or other policies for that matter. An example of this is a quote from Thomas Friedman, who is the State Department correspondent for the New York Times. He plays tennis every week with Secretary of State Jim Baker. As the state department correspondent for the New York Times, how he can report critically on someone who is his tennis partner, I cannot figure out. Maybe Thomas Friedman can figure it out. Anyway this is Friedman. What he is doing is parroting assumptions of U.S. officials, regurgitating them as if they were his own, and not attributing the statements to any source - just stating them as if it was the god-given truth. Thomas Friedman, on September 19, 1990, wrote in the New York Times: "While U.S. diplomats appeal to high moral values and a lesson to history, deep down the U.S. understands that many of its partners are in the coalition only because of the coincidence of interests, not because they share a common sense of moral purpose." No quotes here, no attributions, this is just the truth. The United States is motivated by this high-minded moral purpose. I would think that Thomas Friedman might be aware that this high-minded govemment of ours, when Bush was vice president, was supplying weapons to both Iran and Iraq during the war. This was morality? It is always the United States that is motivated by the high-minded moral purpose when it comes to foreign policy. That's the given assumption, that's the word put out by U.S. officials - and absorbed and repeated by these journalists. It's a subtle kind of cheerleading. It's not the "rah-rah" and "we-we;" it's a more subtle form of cheerleading that's just as insidious. At FAIR we fault journaliste for not living up to the standards of good joumalism. One example of this is when joumalists act like s tenographers rather than reporters, and simply repeat something an official says (in this case President Bush), and play it in a sound bite on the TV. And that's it. They don't include independent policy critics in their story, they don't include diverse and antagonistic sources. They are then acting like s tenographers rather than joumalists. I see this all the time, particularly during the Persian Gulf War. So, George Bush can get away with saying things like, "The policy is based on the need to uphold international law against international aggression." He said this countless times. Countless times he's repeated it, and countless times he has been allowed to get away with it while joumalists are there acting like stenographers. If joumalists were acting like independent reporters, they would go to an independent legal expert - an international legal expert - and ask them to comment about Bush's record when it comes to international law. ín terms of international law, we 've seen a very explicit doublestandard in terms of the United Nations. The U.N. resolution required Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. It caught a lot of attention, which it deserved. It's an important story and it deserves to get a lot of media coverage. But the day after the U.N. gave a green light to the United States to go ahead and do what it wanted to do in the Gulf - the day after - the General Assembly on November 30, 1990 voted 144 to 2 behind the resolution calling for an international peace conferenceon the Middle East. Now, it is President Bush's prerogative to play up one U.N. resolution - and claim that he's acting out the will of the U.N. - while ignoring the others. He can do that if he wants to be hypocritical; if he wants have a policy based on double-standard. But it's not the role of the U.S. press to selectively emphasize what the president wants to be emphasized, and then ignore what the president wants to be ignored. Why didn't we hear about this resolution? Why didn't we hear about the fact that almost until the day fighting broke out, 56% of Americans polled favored an international peace conference in the Middle East? So the U.S. govemment was ignoring not only the will of the people, but that of the entire international community. Not just Iraq - the entire international community besides the United States favored this resolution. Had the United States honored both U.N. resolutions instead of one, there would not have been a doublestandard, and this whole war might have been avoided, because that was the face-saving device that Saddam Hussein was said to be looking for. 4t That is the real tragedy with the U.S. news coverage. By selectively emphasizing certain facts and ignoring others, the U.S. press aided and abetted Bush's designs for war, and made the war completely inevitable. Not Saddam Hussein - he didn't make this war inevitable; in many significant ways, the U.S. press corps did. Nabeel talked earlier about the offers that Iraq had made to negotiate. This week in the New York Times they had the front page headline "Saddam's Signáis, Undemeath the Theatrics, A First Hint of Concession." Of course, as Nabeel pointed out, this is a blatant lie. This is not the first offer of concessions; Hussein has been making concessions going back into August. There were many offers to negotiate. I'll just piek up on one thing Nabeel mentioned, the August 23 proposal, in which Iraq offered secreüy to the United States to withdraw from all of Kuwait except for a sliver of land on a disputed oil field near the border and to negotiate all of their points. This was completely downplayed in the New York Times. I did find the news of this offer buried on page 14. And how was it discussed? They quoted an unnamed U.S. official dismissing the offer as baloney. That's how the New York Times played it. Newsday in New York gave it a front page story. The Financial Times of London, certainly no left-wing paper, stated as follows, about the same offer: "Saddam Hussein's offer may yet serve some useful purpose, offering a path away from disaster through negotiations." We never heard about that in the New York Times. That was do wnplayed. It wasn' t given much credibility . There were a number of offers like that, conciliation offers, and they were sy s tematically downplayed. To underscore something that Paul Kraus, an Aus trian scholar, said from early centuries, "How does the world move in times of war? Diplomats lie to journaliste and journaliste believe those lies when they see them in print." I think that's a lot of what's happening at this point in foreign policy. The United States was never interes ted in stopping Iraq from invading Saudi Arabia. Have you heard commentators raising the possiblility that maybe "we" intended to go to war in the very beginning? You haven't even heard that possibility raised. So, we get this kind of devastating, willful denial, willful indifference on the part of the press. To conclude, I'll talk a little bit now about the coverage of the anti-war movement. We did a survey at FAIR of the evening news network coverage on the three main commercial networks, tallying all the minutes of coverage on the Gulf situation. This was during the five months leading up to the out break of the war. Of all the minutes, and there were many, only one percent of the coverage even tangen tially related in any way to grassroots opposition to the war. Only one percent! And that's really stretching it to make it one percent. It 's as if the anti-war movement and grassroots opposition didn't even exist according to U.S. televisión reporters. It was virtually invisible. Now when the war did break out, the protests did become more visible. There was some coverage of the anti-war rallies, which generally tended to focus on arrests, flag burnings, and traffic jams created by the civil disobedience. And the coverage tended to be dismissive. The sizes of demonstrations were deflated. An exception to this, I should point out on ABC World News Tonight, Peter Jennings did a very decent report on the anti-war movement; a two to three minute story in which he made the points that there is no support of S addam Hussein in this movement, and the protes ters considered themselves to be patriotic. It was a very decent report, talking about the anti-war movement on its own terms. But that's the exception, and the exceptional story by definition is exceptional. The rest is propaganda, it's repetition. What you hear day in and day out in the U.S. news media is the cheerleading, the one-note, the one-sided view; only rarely do you get the exceptions. What we still don't get on ABC World News Tonight, or on any station, even though Jennings himself refened one time to the called liberation of Kuwait," which shows a bit more critical distance, is the inclusión of legitímate spokespeople and representatives of the anti-war movement. They are not invited into the studio. We still have this exclusión - this de facto censorship - of dissidente, analysts who are sympathizers with this movement, and actual leaders of the peace movement. And censorship is the only word for it; it's a corporate censorship - decisions made by corporate executives that won't rock the boat. We don't see any AfricanAmericans or Arab-Americans or dissidente on American televisión. At FAIR we have launched a campaign to oppose censorship, and we have made available in the recent weeks over a hundred thousand free copies o f a complete listing of national media addresses and phone numbers. Take it; use it; complain directly to the media, or praise your journaliste when you see something good. But don't just be skeptical - that's obviously the important first step. Be active , in your relations with the media. Just as you can fíght city hall, so too can you bring pressure to bear on the news media to be more realistic, to be more diverse in its present ation, to be belter journaliste. That's essentially what we are asking for. Along that line we invite you to work with FAIR. We are a membership organization and we encourage you to join if you can or if you want to. We need your support. The publication of this speech was made possible, in part, bya grant from Crazy Wisdom Bookstore, in , order togivegreaterexposureto independent media analysis and criticism of the sort in which FAIR is engaged.


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