FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Googling for Fun

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

Just for fun, try googling some of the most important stories of the day. The results present a sorry picture of timid or outright biased media in the U.S.

On May 12, I googled “MI6 and memo” and found loads of articles about the memo that had surfaced two weeks earlier (reported on in Counterpunch by Ray McGovern on May 5) proving that President Bush & Co. had planned to invade Iraq back in July 2002 and to “fix” the “intelligence and facts” to fit the policy. My search revealed articles all over the British press, the Sydney Morning Herald had it in Australia-even China Daily, the heavily censored party organ of the Chinese Communist Party, had I! Not the corporate U.S. media, though, where this explosive story was hard to find. Even the N.Y. Times, which ran a reference to it, did so tucked into a piece on the British election headlined “For Blair, Iraq Issue Just Won’t Go Away.” For the country’s newspaper of record, it appears, the only interesting thing is how this memo from Britain’s spy chief raises question about Blair’s credibility.

The fact that it proves Bush orchestrated a war was not worth mentioning. Googling “John Conyers and Iraq” shows that even the dramatic news that Rep. John Conyers and 87 other House members have written a letter to the White House demanding answers from Bush about the British memo have failed to make it into the mainstream American media. That search turns up lots of stories, but they’re all in the alternative media. Imagine if this had been a story about 88 members of Congress demanding that Clinton answer questions about Whitewater. Would the media have blacked it out?

I also googled “real wages fall” and found a number of foreign articles, including a big one in the British Financial Times, detailing how U.S. wages in constant dollars have fallen by about 1 percent in 2005, and that since the fourth quarter of 2004, have fallen at the fastest rate in 15 years. Those statistics come from the US. Labor Department, but they’ve nonetheless gone largely unreported in the mainstream media here, which instead reported the meaningless news that employment rose marginally in the past month (unmentioned in most of those articles is that reality that despite several years of “recovery”, there are still 22,000 fewer jobs in the U.S. than there were back in 2001 before the last recession began.

The alternative media in the U.S.–both print and internet-based-have played a critical role in forcing what amounts to our “government-run” media-CNN, Fox, NY Times, Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NBC, etc.-to report honestly. By May 12, the LA Times was belatedly reporting the British memo scandal, and no doubt eventually the news about falling wages will slip into mainstream discussion, but it remains true that the news media on which most Americans rely for their information are ducking the important stories and, when they do cover them, are tucking them into inner pages.

The public knows it is being deceived. Newspaper readership and TV news viewership are falling precipitously, to the dismay of publishers and media executives.

A few days ago, in an effort to revive its sullied reputation, the New York Times ran an announcement telling readers the steps it was taking to improve its credibility. Among those steps was going to more religious figures as sources! The Times and the rest of the establishment media, would do better just reporting straight on what is really going on for a change. A simple question like, “What’s happening to real wages?” asked at a Labor Department briefing on the latest job figures, or a question about the MI6 memo at a presidential press briefing, or a question by an imbedded reporter about how the military knows that the 100 slain “insurgents” were really all combatants, would go do much more for the restoration of public confidence in the media than the opinions of a bunch of ministers. (It is nothing short of pathetic that many important stories, from election fraud to torture scandals and social security fear-mongering by the administration, are being covered in the Times by editorial writers and columnists, not by the paper’s reporters.)

But the Times is hardly alone in its cowardice and mendacity. I recently called the editor of a mid-sized suburban newspaper to find out why a story critical of President Bush had been killed at the last minute. I was told that the executive editor, a Bush backer, had killed it for political reasons but that the editor could not say this on the record. It’s a sorry commentary on the profession that this kind of hidden political interference is allowed to pass by people who should be willing to put their principles on the line even at the risk of losing a paycheck.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
Jim Goodman
Congress Must Kill the Trans Pacific Partnership
Peter White
Meeting John Ross
Colin Todhunter
Organic Agriculture, Capitalism and the Parallel World of the Pro-GMO Evangelist
Ralph Nader
They’re Just Not Answering!
Cesar Chelala
Beware of the Harm on Eyes Digital Devices Can Cause
Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail