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“Newspaper of record”

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, December 23rd, 2008 - 8 comments
Categories: Media - Tags:

A friend just flicked me an article from the Nation which shows just how the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia was misrepresented by the New York Times and other US media.

Written by a journalist who was actually on the ground during the invasion, Mark Ames, it shows the sharp end of the manufacturing of consent:

The real problem was this: the editors at their desks in the home countries weren’t interested in Ossetian suffering; they wanted to exaggerate the Georgian suffering and vilify the Russians. To the second-stringers at that table, being shown the awful truth of Georgian culpability was equivalent to being handed a bunch of losing lottery tickets–because Georgian culpability and Ossetian grievances simply weren’t in demand back in New York and Washington.

It pays to read the whole article and to remember that this is from the New York Times aka “the Newspaper of Record”. Ames has also pointed out similar behaviour by the Washington Post.

Every day I read a new story about how the papers are going broke and the industry is dying. It used to concern me.

8 comments on ““Newspaper of record” ”

  1. Yeah, that was blatant. I think many people picked up on this. Hence why the story sort of died.

  2. IrishBill 2

    If you read the US press you’ll find the story had much greater legs than it did here.

    As an aside, I did ban you for two weeks but you seem to have stopped your personal attacks on posters and I can’t be bothered enforcing it so I suppose you are unbanned.

  3. RedLogix 3

    Once upon a time the newpapers could easily get away with this sort of thing… and frequently did. The last decade has seen some dramatic changes in the way people receive information, and most obviously the net being the prime driver.

    One of the big events in this change was the Bush Admimistration lying over Iraq possessing WMD’s. A decade earlier and most of us would have not much choice but to accept the official narrative; but in 2002/3 there were any number of blogs being run by amateurs on spare change, who made the right call, when all the billions that fund the US intelligence and media machines got it wrong.

    Bit of a turning point that. It made many of us realise that while the net sloshes and slops with information both good and bad, at least you get to apply your own filter to it all, rather than the filter someone else has pre-applied for you in the media.

  4. Chris G 4

    heres a clip of FOX being far too blatant in cutting out Pro-Russia talk in this interview with a 12 year old girl re: Georgian conflict.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lptVAbw5oos (This clip is from a russian news channel showing how FOX censored the truth)

    Its a fuckin disgrace. The original of the FOX clip is:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KUY9Sp79sY

    These similar lines to less of an extreme were echoed in NZ MSM

  5. IrishBill 5

    “One of the big events in this change was the Bush Admimistration lying over Iraq possessing WMD’s.”

    I would suggest that the reversal of the coup against Chavez within a couple of day showed the significant change the internet has made to international politics.

    If it had happened in the pre-internet days (it was a very 80’s style coup) then we would never have known what had happened until it came out as a Pilger doco or a Chomsky book ten years later.

  6. spot 6

    worth a listen

    [audio src="http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/docarchive/docarchive_20081103-1039a.mp3" /]

  7. Con 7

    The anti-Chavez coup was an interesting example of the importance of public telecommunication in war; Fidel Castro rang Chavez and urged him to surrender himself to the coup forces but NOT to resign. Don’t go down fighting like Salvador Allende, he said; keep yourself alive and you will make a comeback. Chavez rang his daughter and told her he wasn’t resigning. That night Chavez’s daughter (from hiding) rang Fidel Castro in the middle of the night to say that her father had told her he wouldn’t resign. Fidel was still up (of course: they were in crisis mode over the coup). Fidel rang his mate Randy Alonso who runs the “Round Table” TV talk show on Cuban TV (and on TeleSur) and they did an interview right then. Then they got their scoop – that Chavez hadn’t resigned, as the Venezuelan MSM was reporting – onto CNN (which is big in Venezuela), and the next day everyone in Venezuela knew the truth and THAT day they took to the streets and overthrew the fascist regime which lasted ONE DAY – a record even for Latin America.

  8. captiver 8

    Yes, I too used to worry about the demise of MSM. And almost believed its scaremongering that there would be no investigative journalism and no watchdog without it. But it hasn’t been doing so much of that lately, and I’m increasingly optimistic that new media will do a good job of filling its shoes in those regards. Some days, I wish it were happening faster. I worked in the MSM myself for about 20 years (out now). Took part in the making of that sausage, know its arbitrariness and conservatism — not conservatism in the partisan sense, but in the way it insists we cling to old battles, fighting them over and over again. Like the cold war paradigm that lingered in coverage of the Georgia conflict, mixed with the media-hyped (if not invented) “new cold war” between the U.S. and Russia. Plucky little Georgia vs the Bear. A classic movie tale the MSM couldn’t resist. I recall working as a middle-level editor at an MSM daily and frequently having senior editors insist the story was X, no matter what the reporter said. Rewrite the intro to make it say X. Screw the reporter. The justification was always: the reporter is in the middle of it and can’t really see the bigger picture like we can. I see that in the reporting of Russia vs Georgia also. R.I.P. MSM

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