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Saddam Hussein, Gulf War. Photograph: Guardian.co.uk
Editor’s note: This was inspired by a submission from “Jenine.”

If anything about the case for Dzhokhar is fact, it’s that the media has been inconsistent with it’s reports on the Boston Marathon Bombing and the events surrounding it. This includes but is not limited to the 7-Eleven robbery, the Watertown shooting, and Dzhokar’s capture (all covered in previous editorials). However, in addition to these inconsistencies, a look into the media’s recent history further demonstrates their implausibility. Let us use the Cable News Network (CNN) to illustrate this. Last year, Amber Lyons, ex-CNN correspondent shed light on their agenda-based decisions. She says CNN International (CNNi) has accepted money from Bahrain to ‘promote flattering reporting.’ CNNi has refused to air ‘iRevolution,’ an award-winning documentary Lyons and her crew organized revealing Bahrain’s brutal regime. The UK’s theGuardian states:

‘It is CNN International that is, by far, the most-watched English-speaking news outlet in the Middle East. By refusing to broadcast “iRevolution,” the network's executives ensured it was never seen on television by Bahrainis or anyone else in the region.

CNNi's decision not to broadcast "iRevolution" was extremely unusual. Both CNN and CNNi have had severe budget constraints imposed on them over the last several years. One long-time CNN employee (to whom I have granted anonymity to avoid repercussions for negative statements about CNN's management) described “iRevolution” as an “expensive, highly produced international story about the Arab Spring.” Because the documentary was already paid for by CNN, it would have been “free programming” for CNNi to broadcast, making it “highly unusual not to air it.” The documentary “was made with an international audience as our target,” said Lyon. None of it was produced on US soil. And its subject matter was squarely within the crux of CNN International's brand.’

Another incident is CNN anchor, Nancy Grace’s false satellite interview (May 5, 2013) while discussing the Cleveland kidnappings with Ashley Banfield. Satellite interviews are meant to facilitate conversation when 2 or more persons are miles apart. However, Grace interviewed Banfield while standing in the same parking lot in Phoenix. (Source

Back in December 1992, a documentary called ‘To Sell a War,’ was aired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). It is described by them as:

‘Examination of the atrocious story of how Saddam Hussein's invading Iraqi troops pulled Kuwaitee babies from incubators and left them to die. This invented horror story turns out to be part of a multi-million dollar public relations campaign to sell the Gulf War to the American people and motivate support of Kuwait.’

While we are not advocating anti-media agenda, we do want to bring these factual circumstances to the table for discussion. 

Do previous deceptions deem the media unreliable? To what extent can we trust the media’s claims? What possible motives could the media have for presenting Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the only suspects? Why do they not ask the hard questions like many others?


Sources:
AnonymousPoster
6/3/2013 05:38:44 pm

Do previous deceptions deem the media unreliable?
Mainstream media, I say yes. At this point mainstream media outlets are all owned by global corporate entities. As such, they protect economic interests & in many cases the political agendas of those granting them economic function. It leaves traditional journaistic ethics lost to be picked up by indie outlets & publications that all too often do not get the large audience mainstream ones do.

To what extent can we trust the media’s claims?
I would say only to the extent that their claims are backed up by reality. Mainstream media reports for big stories have their highest following in the first few days & that is when the information is the most at risk in being incorrect due to confusion. In corrupt cases I think some outlets even use that to their advantage to push interests instead of factual information from the jump. those who do not continue to follow the story only remeber the misreports, you can see this so often online with current events discussions and people parrot the misrepoted info as if it were never corrected.


What possible motives could the media have for presenting Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the only suspects?
Perhaps sensationalizing to get ratings which equal into ad dollars, perhaps for gains to agencies involved who may trade favors or allowances to corporate entities etc. I would argue their stating within stories calling them 'the bombers' violates journalistic ethics considering at this date even a probable cause hearing hasnt even taken place against the alleged suspects.

Why do they not ask the hard questions like many others?
They have traded in traditional journalistic objectivity meant to inform the public for opinionated gobberish that satisfies their own corporate based and/or personal interests.

*excellent blog.

Reply
A
6/4/2013 05:34:29 am

I agree with everything you’ve said. May I also add that in a democracy freedom of press is constitutionally enshrined – they traditionally existed to provide ‘we the people’ with political accountability. So in a democracy we take things like censorship and manipulation (by government or financial entities) seriously. If we don’t keep the media in check, we could lose them completely to the government (autocracy). Next thing you know, we are being told how to feel, what to think and warned that if we don’t comply great tragedy may befall us. The government takes the position that they are privy to threats we may not comprehend so we should pick them over whoever they state our current ‘enemy’/threat is.

In the brothers’ case I watched an interview with Jahar’s high school wrestling coach or photographer (I can’t remember)– he called into CNN soon after his capture and was in a state of absolute shock. He kept repeating good things about Jahar and how he couldn’t believe he was a suspect. There was a point where the CNN guy snapped at him “we’re talking about a terrorist here”. That really made me sit up – I mean you would let this guy speak if you were hearing things for the first time and build the story from there. Why cut him off unless you’ve been given cues or you’re forcing the story a particular way? The problems with CNN as I see it is they have been forcing this story a particular way from day one.

News propaganda is unethical, I can’t think of a way to justify it although there are degrees to which you can tolerate it. My question to CNN is have they bothered to follow up on the inconsistencies they reported earlier or are they just feeding us pre-packaged, counterfeit news? Why are they offering so much protection to certain individuals involved in this case while being belligerent and invasive with others (especially the suspects and their families)? If they don’t show accountability we are well within our rights to drag them to that other constitutionally enshrined goodness, the courts.

Lastly, thank God for the Internet.

Reply
AnonymousPoster
6/4/2013 06:51:07 am

A, Well said on all accounts. I am firmly with you in the frustration that media misuse is a constututional violation. All communications in our country are regulated by the FCC, the FCC is overseen by congress and lists one of its primary functions as Homeland Security. Any current administrations agenda will be pushed in the mainstream media's forefront as a result.

I saw that interview with Dzhkhar's coach too and felt the same way. Over a month later and we have yet to hear a single personal account about that kid that isn't favorable. Yet the main.media doesnt address it at all. This really makes me worry about the quality of information we will get about the legal proceedings as Federal Courts do not generally allow audio/video in the courtroom & the Judge can seal any information they deem unsuitable for the public or to protect federal officers testimony. The proceedings are available to the public in person, though I bet seats will be hard to come by..I pray someone who is interested in actual journalism gets one of those seats to inform us.

Prudence
6/4/2013 01:56:05 am

I believe it's extremely important for every individual to take on the responsibility to keep themselves educated and well-informed. There are shreds of truths in most mainstream media, and for that reason, I believe it's important to watch the news and stay up-to-date with it. I also, however, believe it's crucial to investigate things yourselves. As citizens of the world, we have the right to know the truth and we should have the right to find the truth for ourselves.

Reply
M
6/5/2013 02:21:03 am

“The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” - Malcom X

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