Thursday, November 03, 2005

It Was Not About Regime Change Either!

NEWS DISSECTOR November 3, 2005

OOPS: Saddam Was Willing to Go


Age discrimination? Media Hype? You are hot until you are not? Or none of the above? Why was Aaron Brown suddenly and unceremoniously dumped by CNN. Long time readers know that Mediachannel and Media for Democracy tangled with Mr, Brown who was a band of renown in his own mind and didn't like being pressured to do the right thing—but his being chopped speaks to a deeper crisis as TV news scrambles to survive by rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

CNN says good bye to Aaron Brown and promotes Anderson Cooper is news about the News. This is a big deal in the world of broadcasting as another well-known anchor bites the dust while the networks try to “skew” younger and make news more exciting. They are looking for what broadcasters call the right “demo” or demographic slice, not a general audience. Advertisers buy demos.


Here’s how Bill Carter reported it in the NY Times about what CNN calls a “zero-sum” game:

”CNN ousted its longtime prime-time anchor, Aaron Brown, today in favor of Anderson Cooper, who has received extensive media attention in the wake of his widely publicized coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

“Jonathan Klein, the president of CNN/U.S., said today that he and Mr. Brown had mutually agreed that Mr. Brown would leave the cable news network because the new CNN lineup left "no options" for a program that would include Mr. Brown. "It is, unfortunately, a zero-sum game," Mr. Klein said.”


Another sign of the decline of big media in the newspaper world is the pressure on the Knight Riddder Chain to sell its papers. Knight Ridder’s Washington bureau has consistently done the bes coverage of the war but the company is not wracking in high enough profits to please its top shareholder—a familiar story in a world where the bottom line is the only line.

Mercury News reports:

”The biggest shareholder of Knight Ridder, the nation's second-largest newspaper publisher and owner of the Mercury News, urged the San Jose-based company to put itself up for sale Tuesday.

“In a letter to Knight Ridder's board of directors, Private Capital Management of Naples, Fla., said the company's stock hasn't lived up to its potential value. PCM Chief Executive Bruce Sherman wrote that a sale should be pursued aggressively, "in light of limited revenue growth across the newspaper industry and the difficulties the company has faced in realizing the fair value" for its shareholders. PCM owns nearly 19 percent of Knight Ridder's shares.

Knight Ridder spokesman Polk Laffoon declined to “comment. PCM did not return a phone call…

“PCM's move comes as the newspaper industry struggles with declining circulation and revenues as readers and advertisers turn to online publishers.”

David Broatch explains:

” As you probably know if you're a newspaper junkie, and may not know if you're a normal human being, a Florida-based investment group -- with zero fanfare -- this summer bought up 19 percent of the stock of Knight Ridder, Inc., the owners of the Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer, not to mention the Miami Herald, the San-Jose Mercury News, and a bunch of other big names in the dead-tree world.

"And now, apparently unaware that newspaper readership has been dropping steadily for a half-decade and that advertisers are starting to follow readers to this new-fangled Internet thingee, the investors -- named Private Capital Management -- are shocked, shocked to learn that they aren't getting the greatest return on their investment.

"And so their solution, having been around for all of four months: They want to sell the company.”


CNN reports from Dubai:

” DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) -- Days before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Saddam Hussein agreed in principle to accept an offer of exile from the United Arab Emirates, but the deal fell through, a UAE government senior official told CNN.

“The reported offer came before an emergency Arab League meeting in Egypt in discussions between UAE officials and a Hussein aide, said the senior official, who was then a member of the UAE delegation to the Arab League."


Capitol Hill Blue reports:

”An uncivil war rages inside the walls of the West Wing of the White House, a bitter, acrimonious war driven by a failed agenda, destroyed credibility, dwindling public support and a President who lapses into Alzheimer-like periods of incoherent babbling.

On one side are the dwindling numbers of die-hard loyalists to President George W. Bush, those who support his actions and decisions without question and remain committed to both Bush and scandal-scarred political advisor Karl Rove.

“On the other side are the increasing numbers of those who say Rove must go and who worry about the President's declining mental state and his ability to restore credibility with Congress, our foreign allies and the American people.

“The war erupted into full-blown shout fests at Camp David this past weekend where decorum broke down in staff meetings and longtime aides threatened to quit unless Rove goes. Insiders say Chief of Staff Andrew Card now leads the anti-Rove legions and has told Bush that he wants out of the high-pressure job.”

TODAY:" Sooter" Liddy will be in court and enter a plea. Innocent of course!


Comments Jim Hightower:

“The White House says that Bush will issue the first veto of his presidency, claiming that the ban on torture would tie the president's hands. ... Well, gosh... yes! The very idea of the ban is to bind our government's leaders to a standard of behavior recognized by all civilized nations. Military leaders know that torture yields worthless information, false confessions, and a bitter determination by the armies of those tortured to return the favor."


Mark Crispin Miller passes along a letter from Barry Sussman:

”I was speaking with a NY lawyer who had extensive dealings with the NJ US atty's office and several points were made that may be relevant.
“First of all, it is quite a coincidence that two of the most overly zealous pro-government prosecutors in the nation came out of the same US atty's office. Even stranger is that we are speaking of an office not in the deep south, not in the Midwest, but on the east coast in a relatively liberal/moderate state.
“Alito and Chertoff are like bookends. In their world the government is never wrong and the rights of individuals always takes a backseat to the master they serve. I really hope Roe and Casey are not allowed to dominate Alito's confirmation process because in my opinion, this is not where the real problem lies.

“Alito is the epitome of a federal government yes man. He has no regard for individual liberty or privacy. His game is to use the vast array of prosecutorial tools available and prosecute to the fullest extent allowed by law. Like Chertoff, he completely lacks a sense of proportionality. His ascension up the judicial corporate ladder was fueled by a twisted zeal for performing what he believes to be God's work. To him, Rule of Law is merely a euphemism for law to the nth degree.”

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Media Mendacity And More


FCC Chairman's Wife May Testify In Libby Trial

Catherine Martin, former Assistant to the Vice President for Public Affairs and wife of FCC chairman Kevin Martin, might be called to testify in the case involving I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, according to the New York Times.

“Catherine Martin, who was not named in the indictment, joined the Cheney/Libby office in 2001 as the Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for Public Affairs. At the time, the White House put out a press release extolling her talents and mentioning her husband was serving on the commission. Both Cheney and Libby were quoted. Martin is currently Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director for
Policy and Planning.

BRADBLOG: Mainstream Media Completely Ignores GAO Report,

”It's been nearly a week and a half since the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its 107-page report [PDF] confirming what many of us have been reporting for what seems like forever: That electronic voting machines are not secure, are hackable, and employ secret software that is frequently neither certified nor adequately inspected. resulting in the loss and miscount of votes."

“Furthermore, it was released in tandem with a joint bi-partisan news release which lauded the report. The extremely rare joint news release was issued by six high-level U.S. Congressmen in the House of Representatives (three R's and three D's) all Committee chairman and ranking minority members including the Chair and ranking member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

“And yet, not a single wire service (AP, Reuters, UPI, AFP, et al) nor the NY Times nor the Washington Post has even run a single paragraph on the landmark GAO report or even the news release to our knowledge. Not one. Even though many of those same outlets reported on numerous occassions that the claims now confirmed as very real by the GAO were little more than "conspiracy theories" forwarded by "leftwing blogs" such as this one.


Aunohita Mojumdar reports for WeNews: Sgrena Rejects War Glory While Telling Its Story

KABUL, Afghanistan (WOMENSENEWS)--After Giuliana Sgrena flew into Kabul to report on Afghanistan's first fully representational elections in September, she kept a very low profile.

"Not impossible, perhaps, but difficult for the Italian reporter of the communist paper Il Manifesto who became a household name in February when she was abducted by Iraqi insurgents. She was eventually released after an intense public outcry in Italy, only to be wounded by American soldiers as she headed home via a Baghdad checkpoint.

“But for Sgrena, the anonymity in Afghanistan was all about getting back to work after taking time off following her kidnapping. The 56-year-old Italian journalist has been reporting for Il Manifesto since 1988 and has traveled extensively to cover the world's conflicts. But while she has been celebrated as a war correspondent, she herself defies that description, preferring obscurity to the limelight.

"I refuse to be a war correspondent," she said. "I am not a reporter of war; I report on situations of war. I reject this because I hope in these countries there will one day be peace. These are countries which I am interested in and I hope to go back to them.”

Giuliana Sgrena's Photographs: -

Tom Nusbaumer’s latest in Intervention Magazine

Kent State Administration Threatens Iraq Veteran with Expulsion

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The Dissectorville Town Square


Frank Meagher, our man in the French Capital, writes:

”About the Paris riots: after reading reports in Liberation, CNN, BBC, LA Times and the NY Times, I found that only the NY Times article from AP, referred to the suburbs north of Paris where the riots are taking place, as " fertile terrain for Islamic extremists". The LA Times article, also from AP, excluded this phrase opting instead for "an area of North African muslim immigrants". The other journals mentioned describe the area as home of poor, unemployed immigrants of North African origin. The truth may be found in all three descriptions, however, The New York Times chooses to imply that Islamic extremists are somehow the key factor? Is this an example of "Rove - ian" spin ????? Perhaps Rumsfield and company should stop over on the way to Syria and Iran to invade Paris and stamp out this "fertile terrain for Islamic extremists".”


DXM writes: Congrats on your blog recovery!

”Good report today on News Dissector. What came to mind is that unless the Dems, Greens, serious writers, comedians and bloggers alike don't include Blacks, and support Black leadership, and then take our lead from them, all the hoped for good written about today on News Dissector, won't happen, can't happen, and imho, doesn't deserve to happen... But going back to the can't happen, WE can't fight the straight media and the right wing nuts, political and religious, without the sheer man/woman power and the experience of the Black community. Blacks, most importantly know more about poverty, theirs and that of whites and Chicans than your average mostly white Dems, Greens, serious writers, comedians and bloggers combined.

“Today, just like the Civil Rights days, it cannot have happened without black and white working together, as it was then, headed up by the good-cop bad-cop team of the martyred Martin and Malcolm. RFK was the white component of that leadership. Half of the "whites" were Jews. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner weren't Manny, More and Jack. George and Jonathan weren't members of a family singing group.

“The one word that struck me in the Dissector blog today was courage. Rosa Park's courage, but I remembered the courage Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, and Malcolm and Martin. They feared, and with good reason; that what they were doing could get them killed. It was their courage and what they were fighting for that kept them going 'til the last.”


Virginia Weldon writes:

” They, the right wing adjustment cabal; the machine that neversleeps, roared into full steam as soon as the "Libby" can of worms was opened & immediately closed last week, by going into full press operationthis week.
1st, we received the Alito nomination with his Biblical intonations of a woman's right to be subservient to her husband and needing his permission,as in "pregnant and barefoot."
2nd, Mr. Bush took up his incessant stumping on "the long haul" commitment regarding the Global War on Terrorism wherever he may determine it (at home as well as abroad). With the Hariri assassination being fired up again,could regime change in Syria be far from our sights? Shifting gears, Mr Bush launched into his next fear factor, the Bird Flu Pandemic which he has already stated will be handled by a military state of quarantine. I can just see the cauldrons boiling up vaccine for one and all.
3rd, Condi sets forth another "long haul" statement admonishing us all that this is not a short term effort. We will be "there" until it is finished. Whatever that means (like glutting, perhaps).
4th, Today, Rumsfeld disclosed his new vision on "The War on Global Terrorism" by stating "we face an enemy who believes we are not in for "the long haul." He then deftly turns to a map of somewhere in Asia and regalesus with a statement on Bird Flu (of all things) and how we are preparing to fight this pandemic. Of course, he didn't mention his stock tie with Gilead Sciences, the company that owns the rights to the virus fighter, Tamiflu.
Oops, who says there's no profit in fear?
So, there we have the start of it. A three-pronged front they will shove down our throats: "The Long Haul, Alito, and the Bird Flu Pandemic." Get ready to choke! They are at it again…”


RLD writes:

“The real pandemic that's sweeping across America and much of the world is the Bush flu, not the bird flu. A feasible antidote? Democratic control of the House
in 2006 and Articles of Impeachment in 2007 fostered by massive public protest.”

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Readers to Media: Tell THE TRUTH

Mike writes from Tulsa:

“I remember listening to you back in the days i was a freshman in Boston at BU (1972)and hearing your show on WBCN . I listened to it daily. I recall you being right on the Chile over throw long before anyone knew there was a covert plot to over throw the Allende regime by the CIA. I also recall your coverage of Watergate long before it was known as such....Danny Schechter your newz dissector....keep up the good influenced me many years ago and it stuck.....”

Malcolm Heber writes from Studio City CA:

”I want to help organize my community to understand what is happening with todays media.

Give me a little direction and I will work. I want to help people understand what the media is not reporting, not just with the war. We need to show them about Energy, Education....I could go on forever, but we need to start with what people are using to gain knowledge on the current events...THE MEDIA. I've got angry energy at the state of the nation and need an outlet, HELP!”


No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. (about Senator Joseph McCarthy's accusations about Communism in the American overnment)... Edward R Murrow

“My name is Christina Hawes. I'm a member of the South Pasadena Neighbors for Peace and Justice and founder of Mothers and Children against War in Los Angeles. I have personally organized three protests against NBC News in Burbank in the last 7 months. I am now looking for co-sponsors for the fourth protest.

“This war cannot be stopped unless we stop the war makers. the people who sell this war to our neighbors, our families, our friends. The lies they tell are dividing us.

“I now ask that your organization please help in demanding in REAL NEWS! We need to take the cause (ANTI -WAR) to the people that are constantly building support for it. Americans are receiving their news coverage from a war profiteer, a weapons manufacturer. People are misinformed and GE'S NBC is a government propaganda machine. GE's NBC is intentionally misleading the public in order to line their pockets with war profits and war contracts whilst abusing their public broadcasting license which is to serve the people. Our Anti War cry is falling on deaf ears in the government. It is time to change our strategy and take the cause to the true shapers of the American ]Mind: the MEDIA War Makers. Please help in organizing this historic and necessary event.”

Joanna Harmon:

” I am in total agreement with "Show the War - Tell the Truth". The war needs to become
a reality for people, most of whom seem to be in deep denial that anything is really wrong. By showing the war in pictures and film they will be challenged to confront the truth of what this war really is - a huge machine which is chewing American and Iraqi people alike and discarding their remains without compassion or conscience. Whatever I can do to help, I certainly will.”

Delores Welty: ”Yes, I will help show the truth. Your analysis and plan of action is excellent.”


”In the matter of getting the media to heed us.

“A digital camera takes a picture of a clock showing the time the new is broadcast. Clock is next to a turned off TV. Said image is emailed to the media. Another pic is taken at the end of the news showing same blank screen. Said email is sent also. Or, same set-up idea, but with a note on the screen saying "We don't buy your advertiser."

“This could be done mornings and evenings for months. The images could be smallish in size so as not to crash the recipients' systems.

“Apparently you have access for your voice, please feel free to incorporate my idea in any manner you see fit.

Ben Kenagy writes from Oregon:

”Doesn't "embedding" mean you have gone to bed with someone you shouldn't?

I have always thought of that as prostitution.

Our media has embedded itself with the military, and therefore has prostituted itself. It has compromised its will and its ability to honestly report the news.”


Brigitte wants us to think of ourselves as world citizens.

how little you know....the military-academic-industrial complex has the media in its embrace for many years now. while you all lay in coma for past 6 decades, the privatization and concentration of media propaganda in your nation took hold. yours is not a democracy; the criminalization of the police state is all but final.concentration/detention camps have been erected, renovated to house many of you in the future. how you still sleep. tens of millions dead now, countless nations destroyed with agenda for twenty more nations after Iraq. the apocalyptic scene unfolds.mindless Americans are the majority. however admirable your intent, it is too little and has come decades too late. the orchestrated crimes of 11 september (by your government, controlled demolitions) ushered in the 'Project for the New American Century' of endless war and much more of the same unspeakable crimes against humanity brought to us (and now to you) by the war criminals and Anglo-American-Israeli axis of indescribable evil. the beast shall devour humanity and itself. with guns in their hands, and god on their side... the cavalries charged, and the indians died.
god bless america.”


Maureen Kipp writes: “finding out what's going on in this war. My son's over there and I can't seem to find out much. Help”


” My name is Mike Collins, I live in fairview, Montana 59221. This small town, is in the williston basin oilfield of western north dakota and eastern montana. Where taxpayer subsidized oil companies; sugar beet farmers; military recruiters, and god-fearing, law-abiding corporate christians reign supreme.

I would truly enjoy actively participating in your "Show The War, Tell The Truth" campaign.

BUT, starting last year about this time, after I made some general comments about the circumstances and events of 11 september 2001 and the Iraqi war to a
human resources thing at Schlumberger (SLB). I have very effectively Black-Listed from employment in the williston basin, barely able to feed myself in a
time of plenty.

The windows of my personal vehicle have been shot out, as with a firearm and high-velocity projectiles. Also, my vehicle has been vandalized e.g. the license
plates stolen, being "keyed", etc.

And the god-fearing, law-abiding corporate Christians of fairview, montana attribute these incidents to "you've probably pissed somebody off". In a town of
less than 500 people, the fairview, montana police department have not been able to locate any likely suspects that committed these Criminal Mischief/Vandalism of Property incidents to my vehicle…

So, best of fortunes with your "Show the War, Tell the Truth!" media campaign. But, for now, I am just trying to survive an ideological and political hellhole, which is literally threatening my life, here in fairview, montana.


”WASHINGTON, DC-I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the indicted former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, wishes he had stopped answering to his nickname before it was featured so prominently in the news, he confided Monday. "Scooter's fine if it's just the president or Mr. Cheney," said Libby, whose involvement in the Valerie Plame case has made his name notorious. "But when I see it on CNN, I want to hide." If implicated in the Plame leak, Libby could face up to 30 years in a facility where he would almost certainly be given a new nickname.”

Next News Brief

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Name Dropping In Gotham


This is the season of posh events in New York. Some among us hop from black tie event to event, gala fundraiser to gala fundraiser for all causes you can think of. I was blessed not to be invited to meet Prince Phillip and Camilla along with Henry K and a bevy of royal genufectors. (The New York Post which loves to revel in Royalty, trashing its pretenses while exploiting popular interest unfairly called Camilla “Frump Tower.”) I was sorry to miss the Global Health Summit that Bill Clinton and Bill Gates put on with Time Magazine. Gates and Clinton added the celebrity allure needed to to attract attention to a serious issue.

I did go to the opening of Deepak Chopra’s new upscale spa in Manhattan. He spoke movingly of the relationship and unity of health, and spirit, and soul and peace and wholeness and holiness. And last night I was at the Synergos Institute’s Annual University for a night at the Waldorf discussing a wide range of global issues like poverty and development from the botton up. Former Phillipines President Corazon Aquino was honored along with James Wolfensohn, the former World Bank President now engaged in Middle East peacemaking.

It was heady. I saw human rights activist Hafsat Abiola of Nigeria and a number of UN officials and economist Jeff Sachs. Peggy Dulaney, the convenor opened with the observation that “It has not been a very good year” and called on her panelists and and guests to discuss how to keep hope alive. There were some flashes of inspiration followed by a tasty dinner.

I ate too much.


Go see “Good Night and Good Luck” if you can, the new film about Edward R. Murrow. Aaron Brown should take solace to know that he was pushed out of CBS (as was Walter Cronkite at age 65. Compulsory retirement was the reason; Dan Rather is still there well into his seventies. My namesake gave a another speech this week on a campus in Maine decrying the lack of courage in TV News. Why can’t someone start saying on the air what is said on campuses?

For our readers from India, a happy Diwali.

Thanks for joining me. Back tomorrow. Your comments and support welcome.


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