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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/7/08

Day Two NCMR: Moyers Saves the Day

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A session called “Corporate Media Confidential” was billed as an insider’s look at big media. Catherine Crier, former 20/20, Court TV, FOX News and CNN correspondent ruled the panel with recollections of her stint with Big Media. She now has her own production company. Crier’s challenge, as she related it, was going from a career as a Texas state judge to journalism. The big boys did not feel that she had the chops for reporting, so she had to earn her way through the ranks. This is all well and good, but as Moyer’s pointed out today, it was journalists from the big prestigious journalism schools who allowed Iraq to happen by being lazy, misdirected, misguided, and afraid of their corporate bosses. It was the big school graduates who told Crier she was not good enough.

Crier said she tried very hard to “maintain the integrity of the system”—a system which she believed in—the rule of law. “I was naïve to think I could move from the courtroom to CNN,” she said.

After her panel, we spoke for a few minutes about Africa. Crier was somewhere on the border of Rwanda in 1994 when Rwandan President Juvenal Habiyarimana’s plane was shot down in an incident that ignited the Rwandan genocide.


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“What do you think really happened?” I asked.

Our eyes locked in that instant of knowing, as journalists who have worked in Africa know, that it will be impossible to say for certain, but that we certainly had formulated an opinion. She did not answer, and I did not press, but I sensed that perhaps we were in agreement in that Africa is a disaster of occult maneuvering.

In a spirit of total disclosure as a writer here, I must say that Crier agreed to help me look into a few things. That is camaraderie, that is truth seeking, and it is the co-operation that Moyers said is essential if we are to function effectively as truth tellers who are willing to speak to power.

In my “career,” if you can call it that, I have found that white, male, big time journalists will not give white women journalists the time of day, and they certainly will not risk losing a piece of the investigative pie if it will further their careers. Male African journalists, on the other hand, will risk, life limb and family to help you get at the truth.

Women, even the big shots like Crier, have that quality of empathy, which encourages them to take time with you, listen and offer to help if they are able. That is class, cooperation and professionalism. We don’t have time to waste over turf wars. As Crier said, “The world is no longer divided by miles, it is divided by milliseconds.”

The truth would have prevented the Rwandan genocide. The truth that FBI Agent Coleen Rowley tried to access in Zacharias Mousoui’s computer would possibly have prevented 9/11.

So, what was my “C” rating all about for Day One?

Maybe it was an overabundance of conference narcissism due to the distinguished panelists, great turnout, and terrific venue. It seemed as if the alternative media was intoxicated with itself. There was entirely too much snickering, snide remarks, overt political endorsements, and shilling of wares for my tastes. This came from the panelists who were here to teach and inform both working media and conference delegates—frankly, I was embarrassed.

I wrote in a comment attached to another OEN article on the conference that Amy Klobuchar’s taped opening remarks truly were pandering, and little more. If the journalists here would take a look at her record since she has been in office as Minnesota’s junior Senator, they might be more tepid in their applause. That being said, Amy is a great orator, a formidable woman, and she will run for President someday. My prediction is that she will be our first woman president. God help us if she does not find her old footing as a kid from the Iron Range. She needs advisors who are strong enough to remind her when she is wearing no clothes.

Yep, I feel better today. Plus, I am writing this piece in a plush, quiet, air-conditioned media lounge. I have hot coffee and high-speed cable access. Alternative media seldom operates from digs this nice. The problem is if we get used to it, we will no longer want to go out to the streets, the conflict borders, the jungles and the deserts. We will be like the Washington Post reporters who write from the safety of hotel rooms in Africa— parroting press releases rather than getting their khakis soiled.

Now, I’m gonna grab this really fancy aluminum coffee mug we got for free and mosey on over to Naomi Klein’s forum.

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)
 

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