James Clay Fuller

Things We're Not Supposed to Say

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

News overplayed, underplayed, hidden

Let us take a little break to look – briefly, I promise – at the news and/or what the guys who control the airwaves and the presses have chosen to regard as the news of the past several days.

Al-Zarqawi is back at the top of the list around here, after a brief pause that couldn't be entirely avoided (see Gitmo suicides). The big story this morning is that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's apparent successor, one Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, has promised go on killing people in Iraq.

I do not in any way intend to diminish the significance of the awful murders taking place in that hellhole of a country, but that is front page news? Was Zarqawi's death anywhere near as significant as the coverage in this country would lead you to believe?

Answer: No.

In the first place, there is no doubt that the evil man's role in the terrors of Iraq were greatly overblown by the U.S. military and the Bush. That started years ago, possibly even before he got to Iraq. The political spinners and the military find it useful to have an individual, with a name they can make recognizable, to cast as the devil. For at least two years, Zarqawi got the blame every time a Humvee blew a tire. It went beyond absurd.

Now we have a new name, although nothing I've read suggests that either the newsies or the U.S. Military and politicians know anything at all about the man. In fact, a couple of careless high rankers have admitted to lack of any information about him. But it's hard to say who's more eager to have the new guy's name spread around, the butchers of Al-Qaida, who need a “hero” and a focal point, or the U.S. leadership, which simply has to have a devil.

Significant? Who here remembers that Saddam Hussein is on trial? Of those who remember, who cares? He's locked up, he's powerless, he'll probably die in jail of “natural causes,” which might even be natural.


Did you see how quickly the U.S. corporate news operations managed to get the three suicides at Guantanamo Bay off the front page and out of prime time? Could have broken your neck watching that story go from first break to out of sight --faster than a Wimbledon ace.

From what I can tell, the suicides continue to be big news throughout the rest of the world. But the story just doesn't work for the American press. Never push on things we won't like, never give too much play to things the Bush and its right-wing army don't want acknowledged, and don't tell the whole story if you can avoid it.

All over the world, other people are shouting for this country to shut down Gitmo and it's other illegal prisons and torture centers, to stop behaving like the Gestapo. Bush and the vast majority of the American public have their fingers in their ears and are singing “la la la la la...I can't hear you....la la la la.”


Didn't see a story in my local paper or the New York Times about the anti-torture call of 27 high-profile religious leaders. Maybe tomorrow.

The 27, including conservatives such as Rev. Ted Haggard, and the primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America, and the Rev. William Byron, former president of Catholic University, and liberals such as Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, demanded that the United States “abolish torture now – without exceptions.”


Also missed any newspaper stories about how Colleen Graffy, deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, said the suicides were “a good PR move” by the guys who died.

Read over Graffy's title again. Her job is to make this country (or at least the Bush) look good in the eyes of the world. Somehow, she failed to accomplish her goal with that statement: Much of the world's population was enraged by it. It did get plenty of coverage outside the U.S.


There won't be any horror stories out of Iraq about U.S. Troops slaughtering or torturing civilians. No more Haditha-like massacres of men, women and children.
That's because “every soldier in Iraq” will get 30 days of “moral training” on “core warrior values.”

Doesn't that ease your mind?

Newspapers I've seen haven't played that story very big. For once they're right.

On another topic:

Lots of newspapers ran wire stories, mostly truncated versions of a Los Angeles Times piece, on the special election in the San Diego area to choose a replacement for a Republican congressman so crooked that he actually was imprisoned.

The district normally votes upward of 70 percent for Republican candidates, but the GOP candidate won this time by the tiniest possible margin.

The story that hasn't been in the corporate press is that it appears likely that the Republican won through fraud. It seems to have been a Bush-type victory. Election officials probably used, among other things, a Republican favorite since 2000, the disappearing absentee ballots. About 2,000 of them reportedly went missing.

Also, there was a post-election, sudden change in the official count of the total number of ballots cast – up by 8,000, somewhat more than enough to provide the Republican with a win. All this was reported by liberal bloggers, not major news outlets.

Don't look too hard for anything on the air or your newspaper, even if someone provides legal proof of the fraud claim. It has been established beyond any possible doubt that the presidential election in Ohio in 2004 was given to Bush through outrageous fraud, but the corporate media won't touch that story, let alone a special election for one congressional seat.


We must feel really good that Libya has become a stronghold of democracy.
Must have happened, since the Bush, the great promoter of democratic goverance throughout the world (except Latin America), recently restored full diplomatic relations with that great liberal, Muammar Qaddafi.

Oil? What oil?

Enough for now. I said this one would be short.