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"New study documents media's servitude to government" from Salon.

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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 01:11 PM
Original message
"New study documents media's servitude to government" from Salon.
"A newly released study from students at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government provides the latest evidence of how thoroughly devoted the American establishment media is to amplifying and serving (rather than checking) government officials. This new study examines how waterboarding has been discussed by America's four largest newspapers over the past 100 years, and finds that the technique, almost invariably, was unequivocally referred to as "torture" -- until the U.S. Government began openly using it and insisting that it was not torture, at which time these newspapers obediently ceased describing it that way:"

from the study, page 2.


"The current debate over waterboarding has spawned hundreds of newspaper articles in the last two years alone. However, waterboarding has been the subject of press attention for over a century. Examining the four newspapers with the highest daily circulation in the country, we found a significant and sudden shift in how newspapers characterized waterboarding. From the early 1930s until the modern story broke in 2004, the newspapers that covered waterboarding almost uniformly called the practice torture or implied it was torture: The New York Times characterized it thus in 81.5% (44 of 54) of articles on the subject and The Los Angeles Times did so in 96.3% of articles (26 of 27). By contrast, from 2002‐2008, the studied newspapers almost never referred to waterboarding as torture. The New York Times called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture in just 2 of 143 articles (1.4%). The Los Angeles Times did so in 4.8% of articles (3 of 63). The Wall Street Journal characterized the practice as torture in just 1 of 63 articles (1.6%). USA Today never called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture."





"Similarly, American newspapers are highly inclined to refer to waterboarding as "torture" when practiced by other nations, but will suddenly refuse to use the term when it's the U.S. employing that technique:"


same paragraph continued.


"In addition, the newspapers are much more likely to call waterboarding torture if a country other than the United States is the perpetrator. In The New York Times, 85.8% of articles (28 of 33) that dealt with a country other than the United States using waterboarding called it torture or implied it was torture while only 7.69% (16 of 208) did so when the United States was responsible. The Los Angeles Times characterized the practice as torture in 91.3% of articles (21 of 23) when another country was the violator, but in only 11.4% of articles (9 of 79) when the United States was the perpetrator."




"As always, the American establishment media is simply following in the path of the U.S. Government (which is why it's the "establishment media"): the U.S. itself long condemned waterboarding as "torture" and even prosecuted it as such, only to suddenly turn around and declare it not to be so once it began using the tactic. That's exactly when there occurred, as the study puts it, "a significant and sudden shift in how newspapers characterized waterboading." As the U.S. Government goes, so goes our establishment media."













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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
1. Headline might as well have read...
New study documents media's servitude to corporations via government"
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Your version is MUCH more accurate!!
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Kicked and recommended for the OP and your post.
Thanks to Solly Mack for the thread and to you for your addendum. :thumbsup:
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. SHOULD have said.
Massive, inexcusable fail from Salon. x(
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Vinnie From Indy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
4. K&R
What a world!
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
5. kick
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:33 PM
Response to Original message
6. K&R
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 06:06 PM
Response to Original message
8. K&R. One can never have too much proof. n/t
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. True that!
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 06:14 PM
Response to Original message
9. K&R
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mix Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 06:20 PM
Response to Original message
10. k&r nt
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 02:18 PM
Response to Original message
12. Here's Scott Horton's article from today on the subject
The Torture Hypocrisy of the New York Times


The way newspapers characterize practices like waterboarding has an immediate impact on the attitudes adopted by their readers. Accepting the language suggested by the Bush Administration (enhanced interrogation techniques) helped build public acceptance for the application of torture techniques. Victor Klemperer, in his masterful study of the manipulation of language in Germany from the thirties to the end of World War II, called such phrases little doses of arsenic: they are consumed without being noticed; they seem at first to have no effect, but after a while, indeed, the effect is there.

In his impressive attempt to catalogue these doses of arsenic, Klemperer awards pride of place to the words used by the state to describe prisoners, prison camps, and the treatments to which they were subjected. Indeed, one of the phrases developed in this era is still with us today. In special circumstances and usually only with the permission of higher authorities, interrogators were permitted to use a set of highly coercive techniques on prisoners, including hypothermia and stress positions. These techniques were called verschrfte Vernehmung: enhanced interrogation.

But as George Orwell pointed out in his essay Politics and the English Language, the process of language manipulation was hardly reserved to the Axis powers during the war. He wrote two novels that focused instead on the same sort of word games that Klemperer documented, drawing on the Soviet Union as an example. And he was convinced that the same malicious force was at work in the English language:

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
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