Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Let The Censorship Begin!

"People need to be very careful about what they say just as people need to be careful about what they do." -Donald Rumsfeld, commenting on a Newsweek story which allegedly prompted riots in Afghanistan.

"My goodness, why does it take so long for someone to come back with and have the actual facts? Well, it takes a long time to be truthful." - Donald Rumsfeld, being hypocritical.

So Newsweek said that U.S. interrigators flushed the Quran, the Muslim holy book, down the toilet. Nevermind that the allegation may be true. The big thing is, eleven days after the article was published, riots broke out in Afghanistan, and the Bush administration blamed Newsweek, saying that the news weekly's lies got people killed.

Lies getting people killed? Isn't that more of a Bush thing?

Bush and Co., after sitting down to watch Spin City and listen to the Spin Doctors and Spin yarns while taking a Spin class, somehow was able to get away with blaming the media, yet again, for a violent outbreak halfway around the world. And so far, everyone's eaten it up, asked for second helpings, and is calling for journalists' heads on platters.

Doesn't it occur to anyone that, A. The Quran accusation just might be true given what we know of the situation in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere (and that it took 11 days for Bush and Co. to deny the story), or B. That... hmm, maybe it's Bush's policies that are making the Muslim world so mad? You know, policies like jailing people and charging them with no crime?

No. It's the journalists fault, right? We're irresponsible. The job of reporting the news should go to the people we trust. Like Bill O'Reilly.

In the words of Kit Kat, Give me a break.

The truth is, Newsweek did give journalism and the media a black eye. But it wasn't reporting the story. It was bowing to pressure and retracting it. They looked at CBS, which took so much flack over the Bush National Guard memo (which has yet to be proven a fake-- despite a nice animation right wingers like to look at in between visits to anncoutlernaked.com) and the folks at Newsweek started to panic. They sunk to their knees faster than Jenna Bush at a frat party. The result is a form of self-censorship that sets the journalism movement back decades. How can we report on the abuses of this administration, where, according to Rumsfeld, we need to watch what we say? Did reporting on Abu Ghraib incite Muslim violence? Should we have kept silent, shoved the pictures in a drawer and pretended it didn't happen? And should we likewise ignore the daily bombings, the thousands of civilian deaths, the hundreds in top-secret prison facilities around the globe that may be terrorists but may also be cab drivers?

Are we supposed to ignore it? On the chance that telling the world might get the world angry at us?

According to Rumsfeld, yes.

There's your moral values right there.

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