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Media Crimes Sanitize War Crimes in Iraq

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Message Danny Schechter
As events in Iraq continue to slip from bad to worse, the good news brigade
is scrambling for new stories ("anything, give me anything") to shore
up what's left of public support for a bloody war without end.

As some feared and many predicted, the war hovers over our politics and the
president who "brought it on." He is, as the journalist Sid Blumenthal
puts it, stuck in a "paradigm" of his own making. The operative word
is the title and refrain of an early Springsteen song: "Trapped."

Another tipping point seems to have tipped.

Fear and exhaustion is evident in our TV newsrooms, along with a continuing
failure to recognize what is going on. The lack of insight is stunning; the
quality of most of the news, pathetic.

Even CBS's brave Kimberly Dozier - may she fully recover - was not only embedded
in practice with the US military when she was wounded, and her crew killed,
but she seemed embedded mentally, seeking a "feel good" story to cheer
the home front that the Bush administration wants so badly to stay the course
of his "long war."

In an email sent to CBS, and discovered only after she went from being an embed
to being in a bed - at a military hospital in Germany, no less - she described
the story she was going to be doing before another IED did its awful damage.

Reported the LA Times:

When producers of the "CBS Evening News" arrived in the newsroom Monday morning, there was an e-mail waiting from correspondent Kimberly Dozier.

In a note written Sunday night, she detailed a Memorial Day story she planned to do about a US soldier wounded in Iraq who insisted on going back to the battlefield, a piece about "fighting on in memory of those who have fallen."

What a tragic loss - TV journalists dying not in search of deeper truths but to send back another picture-rich but patriotically-correct story along the
same good-news lines as one filed for 60 Minutes by CBS's current chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan. She glamorized the tactics of a brainy American colonel
heroically stopping terrorists in the town of Tel Afar.

A Washington Post journalist, filing a report from the same town, debunked
CBS's storyline. He found no terrorists killed in what was a sectarian and internal
political fight.

Early Thursday morning, the CNN web site carried a story by one of its Iraq reporters who realized after the fact that she knew about the marines at Haditha but did not report on them at the time:

It actually took me a while to put all the pieces together - that I know these guys, the US Marines at the heart of the alleged massacre of Iraqi civilians in Haditha," admits reporter Arwa Damon.

When I went back to quote her more extensively a half hour later, the story was off the web site and its URL did not work, but I found it anyway through
CNN's web site archive.

It's a rare piece of media introspection.

I don't know why it didn't register with me until now. It
was only after scrolling through the tapes that we shot in Haditha last fall,
and I found footage of some of the officers that had been relieved of their
command, that it hit me.

I know the Marines that were operating in western al Anbar, from Husayba all
the way to Haditha. I went on countless operations in 2005 up and down the Euphrates
River Valley. I was pinned on rooftops with them in Ubeydi for hours taking
incoming fire, and I've seen them not fire a shot back because they did not
have positive identification on a target.

(Note: The anguish of the US military still tends to get more air time
than the anguish of Iraqi civilians.)

Damon continues:

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at Amazon.com. See Newsdisssector.org/store.htm.
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