Nov
23
2010

NYT and the Fake Taliban Talks

If you had concluded that the Afghan War was in disarray, the front page of the New York Times today probably didn't do much to change your mind: Taliban Leader in Secret Talks Was an Impostor By DEXTER FILKINS and CARLOTTA GALL KABUL, Afghanistan â┚¬” For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement. But now, it turns […]

Jun
30
2009

A Massive 'Press Blackout' for a Massive Press Outlet

Calling the six months of unanimous news media silence on New York Times reporter David Rohde's kidnapping "the most amazing press blackout on a major event that I have ever seen," Greg Mitchell (Editor & Publisher, 6/23/09) now wonders if a great debate will break out over media ethics in not reporting a story involving one of their own when they so eagerly rush out piece about nearly everything else. I imagine some may claim that the blackout would not have held if a smaller paper, not the mighty New York Times, had been involved. Or is saving this life […]

Jun
29
2009

Why Read the Press Release? Just Blame the Taliban

Investigative reporter Gareth Porter's careful reading (Dissident Voice, 6/28/09) of "the official military investigation into the disastrous May 4 airstrike in Farah province" of Afghanistan, which "omitted key details" and "gave no explanation" for reasserting "that only about 26 civilians had been killed"–"well-documented reports by the government and by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission [showed] that between 97 and 147 people were killed"–yields a "central contradiction between the report and the U.S. military's 'human shields' argument" that "was allowed to pass unnoticed in the extremely low-key news media coverage of the report." In fact, news coverage of the report […]

May
17
2009

U.S. Media Solution for War: More Wars

Pointing to a May 9 Boston Globe editorial saying that Barack "Obama conveyed the right message last week by hosting Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari" to emphasize "the close link between Pakistan and the anti-Taliban struggle in Afghanistan," before admitting that "U.S. military strikes against militants in both countries inevitably provoke anger and indignation among civilians," Palestine Chronicle editor Ramzy Baroud (5/14/09) notes that "this is as much as most U.S. media… are willing to concede as far as U.S. responsibility in lethal wars, civil strife and militancy in both countries is concerned." Baroud elaborates […]

May
08
2009

On Journalism's 'Long Line' of 'Everyday Extremists'

Reading Mark Lander's and Elizabeth Bumiller's New York Times "tidbit out of an overheated Washington last week: 'President Obama and his top advisers have been meeting almost daily to discuss options for helping the Pakistani government and military repel the [Taliban] offensive,'" Tom Engelhardt (TomDispatch, 5/7/09) decides to toss some cold water on "this kind of atmosphere that naturally produces the bureaucratic equivalent of mass hysteria": Reports indicate that Obama's national security team has been convening regular "crisis" meetings and having "nearly nonstop discussions" at the White House, not to mention issuing alarming and alarmist statements of all sorts about […]

May
01
2009

Pentagon Pundits Still Thriving at MSNBC

During coverage of the Obama administration's 100-day mark, MSNBC had war reporter Richard Engel and anchor Tamron Hall interview MSNBC analyst Barry McCaffrey, who CJR.org's Clint Hendler (4/29/09) calls "the retired army general whose many conflicts of interest have been analyzed by David Barstow's now-Pulitzer Prize winning reporting for the New York Times." When asked by Engel about attempts to "draw away the Taliban's source of funding by cutting down the opium crop or burning it or whatever," McCaffrey was emphatic: "I think we've got to take it on. But, you know, the lead agent can't be U.S. combat troops. […]