Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
Press or Just in Bed
3.67 MBs, 4:34
Short version: mp3,
2.32 MBs, 2:54
In times of war, or other great, emotional issues, the nature of
the press is
always evident. One need only read, watch or listen to the cadences
of speech, to learn what slant the media is placing on a story (
and there is always a slant!).
In this war,
the slant is as obvious as old Jimmy Durante's nose. Every reporter
who wants to keep his job must bury all of her serious misgivings
or questions about the war, or risk what happened to Peter Arnett,
an award-winning veteran reporter of the first Gulf War. Arnett,
on assignment for the latest Gulf Folly... er, I mean, 'War' for
NBC, MSNBC, and the *National Geographic* magazine got fired for
daring to go on Iraqi TV and to speak his honest mind about what
he saw, and heard, and thought about the war he was covering. Arnett,
aired by fuzzy Iraqi TV, offered the opinion that Americans misjudged
the stiff resistance they would receive in Iraq, and offered the
view that the bigwigs had to rethink how to wage the war. His bosses
promptly pulled the plug on his performance, and for a moment, Arnett
seemed contrite, telling one
broadcast audience that he "clearly [made] a misjudgment."
however, the New Zealand-born naturalized U.S. citizen had signed
onboard London's *Daily Mirror*, a paper not known for softening
its positions to praise the Bush-Blair war aims. Credentialed by
the *Mirror* to work as Baghdad correspondent, Arnett's tone hardened:
"I report the truth of what is happening in Baghdad and will
not apologize for it." (*USA Today* 4/1/03, 1A). While the
*Mirror* is certainly to be commended for a great catch, the real
story is the ease and speed with which the Pulitzer prize-winning
journalist was dispatched from his former posts.
had violated the 'rules'. What rules? Don't suppose for a second
that it is somehow anathema for a reporter to have, and occasionally
to express ones opinions. Journalists do such things everyday. Does
anyone seriously think that Arnett would've been canned had he opined
that the War was a glorious attempt to 'liberate' the oppressed
Iraqis from the dastardly clutches of the evil tyrant Saddam?
fired for expressing *an* opinion; he was fired for expressing an
opinion that was critical of the U.S. Imperial Army; one that did
not accord with the wishes of the White House.
He broke an
unwritten, yet still potent rule; and you'd better believe that
every journalist under 40 years old understood it with fear, and
trepidation. The Rule? Know which way your bosses feel -- and don't
piss them off.
Don't dare go against those in Power, for your career may be crippled.
Luckily, for Arnett, he is a rare commodity. He is a Pulitzer prize
winner. Luckier still, the *Mirror* is editorially opposed to the
you can bet that Arnett had his moments of gripping fear, and not
from Iraqi Scuds, or *fedayeen* suicide squads; but from the bosses
of the media outlets that he worked for.
Have you heard
any protests from his 'fellow journalists', who feel that their
colleagues should be entitled to speak his mind, on occasion? Don't
hold your breath.
'embedded media'; reporters who travel, eat, live with and dress
like the soldiers. Under such conditions, while they may get pictures
and stories, their very proximity insures that they will not be
able to truly be objective, for they will over-identify with their
daily associates, and their stories will be tainted by their associations.
The 'embedded media' is a prize for the Government; but for viewers,
readers and listeners of the media, it is but the latest form of
Pentagon-approved propaganda. News in form, but not in content.
For the very essence of news has historically been the critical
questioner of those in power. Ask yourself, how much critical questioning
have you seen since the bombs began to fall? How much cheerleading?
And that's the point.
questioned the status quo, and because he voiced a position contrary
to government dictates, he was shown the door. A chill rolls through
the press corps. They get the message. The tragedy is that the American
Check out Mumia's
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.