Cognitive Casualties

by lizard

When James Conner denounced 4&20 Blackbirds, he included our propensity (JC and myself) for mistrusting mainstream news sources as a contributing factor to our anti-Americanism:

They don’t trust the mainstream media, such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Guardian. They seem to see a conspiracy behind every sunflower. They hate the United States and its government with a black bile that corrodes their judgment.

For me, there absolutely has been a corrosion of trust in mainstream news sources. The complicity of the New York Times in the run up to the invasion of Iraq is the worst example of media manipulation, but there are lots of others, which I will get to in a second.

(On edit, the NYT decision to spike the Bush warrantless wiretapping story until AFTER the 2004 election is also way up there.)

First, though, I can’t help highlighting a little blurb from a post at Intelligent Discontent where the self-admitted media scold, Don Pogreba, laments about local political coverage from the Great Falls Tribune:

I got into blogging just over nine years ago as a bit of a media scold. I was troubled that the Montana press didn’t seem to cover stories that needed to be covered and that often the stories took a predictable approach of letting both sides (Democrat and Republican) speak with equal authority, even when one side was clearly not telling the truth. Voices outside of the two parties were largely marginalized.

What a perfect segue to the actual meat of this post: the marginalization of voices outside the mainstream media’s lock-step fealty to Israel (and whatever atrocity IDF soldiers are in the midst of committing).

First up, Max Blumenthal takes a look at how MSNBC responded to criticism from within the network:

MSNBC contributor Rula Jebreal’s on-air protest of the network’s slanted coverage of Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip has brought media suppression of the Israel-Palestine debate into sharp focus. Punished for her act of dissent with the cancellation of all future appearances and the termination of her contract, Jebreal spoke to me about what prompted her to speak out and why MSNBC was presenting such a distorted view of the crisis.

“I couldn’t stay silent after seeing the amount of airtime given to Israeli politicians versus Palestinians,” Jebreal told me. “They say we are balanced but their idea of balance is 90 percent Israeli guests and 10 percent Palestinians. This kind of media is what leads to the failing policies that we see in Gaza.”

She continued, “We as journalists are there to afflict the comfortable and who is comfortable in this case? Who is really endangering both sides and harming American interests in the region? It’s those enforcing the status quo of the siege of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank.”

NBC had another problem with a reporter actually in Gaza because he, you know, REPORTED what he saw, which was 4 kids on the beach playing soccer get blown up. NBC response? Get him out of there:

Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspondent who personally witnessed yesterday’s killing by Israel of four Palestinian boys on a Gazan beach and who has received widespread praise for his brave and innovative coverage of the conflict, has been told by NBC executives to leave Gaza immediately. According to an NBC source upset at his treatment, the executives claimed the decision was motivated by “security concerns” as Israel prepares a ground invasion, a claim repeated to me by an NBC executive. But late yesterday, NBC sent another correspondent, Richard Engel, along with an American producer who has never been to Gaza and speaks no Arabic, into Gaza to cover the ongoing Israeli assault (both Mohyeldin and Engel speak Arabic).

The good news here is that NBC reversed its decision after a healthy heaping of social media scorn for its clearly political move and subsequent deceit that it was for “security reasons”.

And how about more good news: mainstream media sources seem to be having more difficulties peddling propaganda, and that, I think, is because members of non-mainstream sources are getting more traction when they point out obvious bias and manipulation. Here is a post from writer Greg Mitchell, for example, calling out the New York Times:

NYT tonight finally changes headline on story it posted this morning– which declared, “Gazans and Israelis Tally Damage.” I pointed out here (see below) and via Twitter that the story did not, or could not, point to a single example of Israel damage (beyond it reputation and moral standing, perhaps). Instead, it had Israelis going to the beach (“It’s fun”), holding bar-b-qs and visiting soldiers. Perhaps feeling shame, the paper has finally changed the headline. It also added reference to 21 Gazans in one family killed by Israeli shelling last night–but as always reporter allows Israel flack to claim it must have been because of Hamas fire from nearby.

The way online stories are sometimes subtly changed can be hard to catch. But it happens. In the case of Mitchell helping to coerce the change of a headline, the change made the piece less biased. In this example, caught by b at Moon of Alabama, the change to the NBC article expunged the eyes of the reporter. I will re-quote the two versions with b’s bold emphasis included (using red instead of b’s bold). Oh, and I should mention the article is about strikes near Gaza’s Shifa hospital.

Take one:

Israeli strikes hit within yards of Gaza’s main hospital as well as at a refugee camp on Monday, leaving at least 30 dead and wounded.

The explosion near Shifa Hospital around 5 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) caused some damage to the outpatient clinic, according to witnesses including an NBC News crew on the ground in the area. There was no immediate confirmation of deaths or injuries.

Another strike occurred at the Al-Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza. At least 30 dead and wounded were brought to Shifa Hospital in ambulances, civilian cars and on motorcycles. A NBC News team in the area said the strikes were in “close succession.”

The Israel Defense Forces told Haaretz that a “preliminary investigation has found the Israeli army did not fire at the Shifa Hospital, and the fire is believed to have been Hamas.” The IDF could not immediately be reached to clarify that account on Monday. However, a NBC News journalist witnessed the attack on the hospital and said it had been fired by an Israeli drone.

Take two:

Missiles or rockets struck within yards of Gaza’s main hospital and a nearby refugee camp Monday, leaving at least 30 dead and wounded.

The Israeli military denied reports its forces were responsible for the strikes, saying they were the result of rockets misfired by Palestinian militants.

The explosion near Shifa Hospital around 5 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) caused some damage to the outpatient clinic, according to witnesses including an NBC News crew on the ground in the area. There was no immediate confirmation of deaths or injuries.

Another strike occurred at the Al-Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza. A Palestinian health official says at least 10 people, including children, were killed in Monday’s strikes. An NBC News team in the area said the strikes were in “close succession.”

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that failed rocket launches were to blame.

“A short while ago Al-Shifa hospital was struck by a failed rocket attack launched by Gaza terror organizations. A barrage of three rockets that were aimed towards Israel, struck the hospital. At the time of the incident there was no Israeli military activity in the area surrounding the hospital whatsoever. “

Early reports from the ground said an Israeli drone was responsible for the attack.

The wars and slaughters being waged are being told to us through a parallel war, the information war. The palpable disgust expressed by James Conner that JC and I have created some nefarious alternative reality shows me what a cognitive casualty looks like.

Don’t be a cognitive casualty of the information war. Think possibility, not blind patriotism.


  1. I read and watched for years as the number of media companies went from to 60 to 15 to 6. These people cannot report fairly as corporate ownership, aligned with military and government, prohibits it. They are one voice. We were warned about it 30 years ago. What are we supposed to do now – be surprised?

    • lizard19

      no, fight back.

      • Big Swede

        Occupy parks, beat on 5 gallon buckets.

        • Swede makes a good point here – do what? Get people’s attention? This is a dumbed down country. Occupy Wall Street, to me, appears to have been a PSYOP, to expose opposition and then crush it. Creates a sense of futility.

          I think, living as we do in a National Security State, that opposition has to be passive, like it was in the USSR.

  2. JC

    My buddy David Rovics has a great “musically annotated” piece up at CounterPunch today called “The Pattern.” Make sure to listen to his songs embedded in the links to his SoundCloud site.

    ———–
    “I’m getting older, and the pattern is now a familiar one. Israel starts committing war crimes on a daily basis in Gaza (or the West Bank, or Lebanon). “In response” to Hamas missiles. (Or Hezbollah provocations, depending. But always in response.)

    The war of words heats up. Israeli and US leaders are all over the airwaves, saying Israel has a right to defend itself and that Hamas is responsible for all deaths on both sides. The news organizations feel they have to have some reporters in Gaza for a change. They keep trying to spin the news in Israel’s favor, but once they’re showing even a little bit of the reality on the ground, it all starts looking really bad for the Israelis with each new dead Palestinian child buried beneath the rubble. The US Secretary of State goes to Israel and defends the regime there…”




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Angry vet 88 on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Washing Ton on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Angry vet 88 on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Angry vet 88 on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Breakdown Assistance on A visit from a Montana Na…
    Even more ICYMI camp… on The Montana Republican Party B…
    Jon Tester’s G… on Senator Tester Backs Wall Stre…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,640,430 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,733 other followers

  • July 2014
    S M T W T F S
    « Jun   Aug »
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    2728293031  
  • Categories


%d bloggers like this: