You may have noticed that yesterday I made no comments on the war in Iraq. When I read that Peter Arnett was being considered for charges of treason, I really had to step back and consider how far down this country, America, has fallen. It's scary, and in fact, I'm almost afraid to write my opinions here...because who knows who lurks out there, ready to pounce upon me for voicing a "different" opinon. Perhaps the Bush Gestapo will come after ME next...?
Here's some links to the Peter Arnett fiasco. If I were Mr. Arnett, quite simply, I'd stay in England or Australia or Canada (all of which have a better democracy AND social programs than the USA). Who the hell needs America, as it is now run by neo-conservatives? I'd move to either Canada or England, had I the financial means. But alas, I'm like MOST people in the world: born, bred and likely to die in the same place. I'm so sad about our country, and feel that someday all that is transpiring will be an ugly episode in history -- rather like the McCarthy Era.
Here's the links/excerpts:
Senator who requests treason for Arnett
"I think Mr. Arnett should be met at the border and arrested should he come back to America," said Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky. "We all firmly believe in the First Amendment which protects the freedom of religion, speech, press and assembly. However, no U.S. citizen should be allowed to provide aid, and comfort, through false information, to the enemy during wartime."
'I think he should be brought back and tried as a traitor to the United States of America," Bunning said. "If this was 200 years ago, I'm pretty sure Peter Arnett would be hanging in the village square."
Erm, is he suggesting, a "witch trial?" What bunk!
In feedback to the Poynter analysis, Danielle Jenkins wrote that it was wrong for Arnett to be fired, saying news organizations are caving in to the White House and Pentagon.
"It troubles me that we bash Iraqi TV for broadcasting only what they want their people to hear and the news media here in this country are doing the same thing. I don't want to hear just the party line of the White House and Pentagon. ... It's what I call whitewashing by the White House!"
For a more balanced column, read this:
Was Arnett's Firing Fair?
Perhaps I'm missing something here, but how is Arnett's interview with Iraq's state operated televison network different from the heavily censored reports provided by American "embedded" journalists? I fear the American media will lose credibility as it moves ever closer to becoming a new form of war technology, one used to disseminate the Pentagon's official line.
And this by a journalist:
by Ted Frederickson, University of Kansas
As an 18-year member of the Society of Professional Journalist's Ethics Committee, I have been very disappointed by the reaction of Bob Steele and others in the world of journalism to Peter Arnett's firing. Whether a reporter covering a war should provide opinions about that war is a debatable issue, but certainly not the most important ethics issue in this controversy. I am most concerned by what this incident tells us about whether journalists covering that war are able to act independently, as the SPJ Code requires.
When I hear NBC or ANY journalist suggesting that Mr. Arnett should not have allowed himself to be interviewed on Iraqi state television because it would give aid and comfort to the enemy, I find myself wondering what that means, exactly. Does it mean journalists covering a war have an obligation to provide aid and comfort to a designated good guy and avoid doing that with the designated bad guy? I think a strength of our democracy and our free media is that we not only tolerate hearing unpleasant truths but benefit from views that do not follow the spin desired by our own government. While I don't know whether Peter Arnett's opinion is correct or not, I know that many others share his views and it is useful to hear the thoughts of an American reporter in Iraq. Also, those of us who care about ethics frequently applaud the actions of reporters who seek out and report unpleasant truths despite the wishes of their employers. I remain convinced that NBC was upset not because Arnett expressed opinions, which Washingon reporters do virtually every Sunday, but because he openly expressed opinions in Baghdad that were politically unpopular with the U.S. government and with his own PR-conscious network. Had he applauded the U.S. war effort on Iraqi television, he would still be reporting for NBC. I find that troubling. It is clearly a warning to other journalists who hope to act independently and report important truths about this and other wars.
The termination of someone who was a credible journalist and a Pulitzer prize winner, shows me that no one is exempt from error, and that network stations will cut their losses to keep their clients happy. As all journalists probably know, what the news has become is far from where newspapers have their roots buried. --Posted by Catherine Wallace 4/3/2003 1:32:34 PM
We're living in STRANGE times, and it's scary when you can realize just exactly what is happening. But as I stated earlier, I'm a bit afraid that the Bush Gestapo will be after me any day now. Let's hope not.