Propaganda and War

Obama administration, US press continue drumbeat of baseless attacks on Venezuela

Mark Weisbrot, Guardian

US-Latin American relations fell to record lows during the George Bush years, and there have been hopes - both north and south of the border - that President Barack Obama will bring a fresh approach. So far, however, most signals are pointing to continuity rather than change.

Obama started off with an unprovoked verbal assault on Venezuela. In an interview broadcast by the Spanish-language television station Univision on the Sunday before his inauguration, he accused Hugo Chávez of having "impeded progress in the region" and "exporting terrorist activities".

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With Gaza, journalists fail again

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

The assault on Gaza exposed not only Israel's callous disregard for international law but the gutlessness of the American press. There were no major newspapers, television networks or radio stations that challenged Israel's fabricated version of events that led to the Gaza attack or the daily lies Israel used to justify the unjustifiable. Nearly all reporters were, as during the buildup to the Iraq war, pliant stenographers and echo chambers. If we as journalists have a product to sell, it is credibility. Take that credibility away and we become little more than propagandists and advertisers. By refusing to expose lies we destroy, in the end, ourselves.

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Defense Dept. investigation finds no misdeeds in Pentagon’s use of TV analysts

David Barstow, New York Times

The office of the Defense Department’s inspector general said in a report Friday that it had found no wrongdoing in a Pentagon public relations program that made use of retired officers who worked as military analysts for television and radio networks.

The report was prompted by articles in The New York Times last year that described an elaborate and largely hidden Pentagon effort, dating from 2002, to transform a group of high-profile network military analysts into “surrogates” or “message force multipliers” for the Bush administration.

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Media bias endangers peace in Gaza

Terry Ahwal, Detroit Free Press

In the media coverage of the violence in Gaza, the voices of Palestinians are, as usual, absent.

The voices of the Israelis have proclaimed defense. Ehud Barak, Israel defense Minister was quoted as saying“There is time for calm and time to fight.” Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stated on NBC news that Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas and has the right as a sovereign country to defend itself. Outgoing U.S.resident George Bush told the Israeli government that the U.S. will stand by Israel. Our incoming President Barak Obama is refraining from taking a stand at this time, but when the commentator on this subject pressed his aid David Axelrod, he responded that Israel has the right to defend itself.

Am I surprised?

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Israel takes battle with Hamas to YouTube

Amy Teibel, Associated Press

Israel's bruising war on the Islamic militants who control Gaza has moved online, where sites like YouTube and Facebook are the new battlegrounds.

Israel posted video of its attacks on militants firing rockets over the past five days on a new YouTube channel to try to show the world the threat against it.

YouTube temporarily yanked the clips on Tuesday after viewers, apparently supporters of Hamas, flagged it as objectionable and asked that it be taken down. The video-sharing Web site restored the video a few hours later, labeling it inappropriate for minors.

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Iran demands end to Gaza media blackout

Press TV

Iran has officially requested that Arab media outlets provide responsible coverage of the developments in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The head of Iran's national broadcaster Ezzatollah Zarghami spoke to the management of Qatar's Al-Jazeera, Lebanon's Al-Menar, Turkey's TRT and Iraq's Afaq TV in separate telephone conversations on Tuesday, requesting more informative coverage of the Israel-Palestinian crisis and developments in Gaza.

According to Zarghami, the Israeli policies and attacks on Gaza amount to a "holocaust".

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Who is Amira Haas? Israeli journalist decries civilian casualties in Gaza

Greg Mitchell, Editor and Publisher

A powerful column appears today in the Jerusalem daily Haaretz, written by one of its top correspondents, Amira Hass, reporting on Gaza, which opens: "This isn't the time to speak of ethics, but of precise intelligence. Whoever gave the instructions to send 100 of our planes, piloted by the best of our boys, to bomb and strafe enemy targets in Gaza is familiar with the many schools adjacent to those targets -- especially police stations. He also knew that at exactly 11:30 A.M.

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Mideast papers on Gaza

BBC Monitoring

Commentators in the West Bank-based Palestinian press are united in dismay at the Israeli operation in Gaza, condemning it as an "ugly massacre".

Some also voice their fury at what they see as the inaction of the region's Arab states and the West's support for Israel, while one commentator fears the operation will only drive more of Gaza's young men into the arms of radical Islamists.

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Attack on Gaza - US media provides little balance compared to Israeli media

Greg Mitchell, Editor and Publisher

In the usual process, the U.S. government -- and media here -- are playing down questions about whether Israel overreacted in its massive air strikes on Gaza, while the foreign press, and even Haaretz in Israel, carries more balanced accounts. The early reports on Sunday already reveal the bombing of a TV station and mosque and preparations for an invasion.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey