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Forcibly Challenging the Media

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media Veracity by Third World Traveler
It's only one article on the Libyan conflict. Nevertheless, the article gains significance by a one-sided and dubious content, whose shabby presentation by one of the largest media sources reveals dishonesty in relating news. TIME WORLD shows no regard for publishing possible falsehoods, for not verifying facts, and for not recognizing obvious contradictions in a published article. Revelations that deceive readers is as much news as revelations that inform readers - creating suspicions that many similar reports are fabricated. The Time Magazine Empire has a huge number of readers. It's time to retime these readers into the real world, and hopefully start a trend that forcibly challenges media empires who improperly report and fabricate news.

The short article, Out of Libya's Shadows: A Source Reveals His Real Identity, by VIVIENNE WALT, Time World, Sept. 01, 2011,

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is composed almost entirely of:

Unverified Comments;

Dubious Facts;

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Apparent Exaggerations;

Obvious Contradictions.

and is awkwardly, written with a plethora of style, punctuation and grammatical errors.

A similar article (different name, different events, different hero, no proof of anything) by New York Times reporter, Nicholas Kristoff, September 3, 2011, A Libyan Prisoner Lives to Tell His Story contained the same elements that questioned the TIME story - no verification, manufacture of a hero, implausible events, inconsistencies, contradictions and obvious exaggerations. It might be valid, but the NYT story seems more fabricated than the TIME story.

Here is the TIME WORLD article with comments in red.

For months I called him only "Mr. Utah," a reference to the years he lived in Ogden. The nickname helped us communicate in one of the most paranoid countries in the world: Muammar Gaddafi's Libya. (Is it paranoid to take severe precautions when being bombed by NATO?) But this week I picked up the phone, dialed Mr. Utah's number and said: "Hello, Taher!" ( Was it that easy to call Libya in August?) The greeting might not sound like much. But in Libya, like much else these days, it is liberating.

When I first met Taher Belhaj, 59, in March, just a few weeks into the revolution, he barely said hello. ( Shouldn't the author make some mention to the new reader of how they met?) We stood at our prearranged meeting spot in downtown Tripoli, while he scanned the narrow street, his eyes darting side to side, looking for signs of surveillance, before whispering, "Walk with me." So I did. For an hour, we wandered through the narrow lanes off what was then Green Square, as he whispered the terrifying details ( What terrifying details?) of his life in the oil-refinery town of Zawiyah, 30 miles west of the capital. "Mr. Utah" and I continued talking in low tones in a dark corner of a cafe downtown, where I ducked into the toilet several times, in order to scribble notes out of sight from prying eyes. ( Note the mysterious tone. What prying eyes?) His account, published on - in which he was named Ahmed - was a rare first-hand (rare?) description of the horrors which regular Libyans ( Who are the irregular Libyans?) were experiencing as a result of Gaddafi's violent crackdown against the uprising. ( Shouldn't there be a referenced link to the previous article?)

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During the week running up to our meeting, Gaddafi's forces had crushed a three-week revolt in Zawiyah, killing scores of people. Belhaj described the ghastly aftermath, where security forces moved through Zawiyah's streets, rounding up thousands of locals - he estimated about 5,000 - ( How could he know this number? Has this figure been authenticated?) who the regime believed were rebel fighters or their supporters. Belhaj's account, of course, was drastically different from the reports Gaddafi officials fed foreign journalists while we were under strict lockdown in Tripoli's Rixos Hotel . (What sensible nation permits foreign correspondents, most of whom are antagonist to the regime and could spy, wander the streets of a warring nation?) Our minders twice drove us from Tripoli to Zawiyah to demonstrate that locals were celebrating the defeat of the rebels, who they said were foreign al-Qaeda operatives. (Why doesn't the author review the findings of the delegation?) Under Zawiyah's main square lay the bodies of several rebels shot during the town's final battle.

Desperate to protect his family, "Mr. Utah" made the riskiest move of his life that week. (riskiest?) He sneaked (sneaked?) into Zawiyah's hospital just Gaddafi's forces were rampaging ( rampaging?) through the corridors, looking for fighters. There, he smuggled ( smuggled?) out his injured son Ayoub, 19, who had been hit in the head with shrapnel from tank fire, when he was caught in the battle crossfire (Belhaj says his son was not himself a fighter). This week, Belhaj finally felt safe enough to allow me to publish those details. He had crept past ( crept past, on the floor?) Gaddafi's forces after they were in control of the hospital, he says. "In 15 minutes I smuggled out my son ." (Not much detail.)

(No description of why it was a risk, how he sneaked in, why Gaddafi forces had to be rampaging when patients were in bed, how he smuggled his son out and how "Mr. Utah" crept past hospital authorities. We must accept an unsubstantiated report.)

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Dan Lieberman is the editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter. His website articles have been read in more than 150 nations, while articles written for other websites have appeared in online journals throughout the world(B 92, (more...)

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