Career journalists quickly learn the rules, and grasp the acceptable
boundaries within which a debate or story may unfold.
Duodu is right about the manipulation of the media (take the embedded
journalists during the Iraq invasion - how sanitized was their perspective?!).
On the other hand, we shouldn't underestimate the media's corresponding
hunger for a good story - there must be days so horribly desperately dull....
day-dreaming comes into operation. Surely this is the only possible excuse
for broadcasting Powell's WMD trailer diagrams, the staged toppling of
the statue of Saddam or Bush's 'mission accomplished' presentation.
I don't know where that leaves us. Much of what we read and hear is
reported half-truths or framed
tightly so as to avoid the ugly truth which is the honest answer to
question noone dare ask. You can find the information you want if
you search hard enough and use a bit of imagination, but this is time-consuming
beyond the means of most hard-working people.
Here's something that might change your mind about the role of the
mainstream press - a quote regarding its role in the Iran-Contra affair.
'Several reporters did some outstanding investigative work, but their
findings were either ignored or scantily treated by major media organs
like the New York Times and the Washington Post... '
'journalists (and politicians) remain reluctant to squarely address
the recurring CIA-drug problem. One exception is Gary
Webb*, whose stories on the CIA, Contras, and cocaine... appeared
in the San Jose Mercury News in August 1996. After they received national
attention through talk radio and the World Wide Web, his stories were
soon attacked, at extraordinary length, in the New York Times, Los Angeles
Times, and Washington Post. Attacks on his stories soon became attacks
on his personal integrity. As we go to press, Webb has been demoted...'
From Cocaine Politics (Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall) 1998
Given the imminent flooding of the UK with cheap heroin from Afghanistan
(at a time when the UK military are tasked with overseeing the eradication
of the poppy harvest), why do you suppose nobody is writing about these
If Iran-Contra is anything to go by, we'll need to wait at least another
4 years to find out more.
*On Friday, 10 Dec 2004 , 49 year old Gary
Webb was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head.
"There is no freedom of information in this country; there's no public
right to know. There's a commonsense idea of how to run a country and
Britain is full of commonsense people... Bugger the public's right to
know. The game is the security of the state - not the public's right to
Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher's press secretary, to American journalists
in an off-the-record
Note how the Murdoch media empire - which owns The Sun, News of the World,
The Times and 39% of Sky TV - responds to MP Chris Bryant's questioning
on why his phone was illegally tapped. Also listen to BBC
Today discussion on who pays who and how the promised police investigation