Putting the media coverage of the latest Wikileaks revelations in perspective - Greenwald compares the angles taken by major papers and news sites around the word with that of the NYT, which avoided the issue of torture. Avoided even the word “torture”. As he says at the end, “that’s what makes it ‘establishment media’ “.
To supplement my post yesterday about The New York Times’ government-subservient coverage of the WikiLeaked documents regarding the war that newspaper played such a vital role in enabling, consider — beyond the NYT’s sleazy, sideshow-smears against Julian Assange — the vast disparity between how newspapers around the world and The New York Times reported on a key revelation from these documents: namely, that the U.S. systematically and pursuant to official policy ignored widespread detainee abuse and torture by Iraqi police and military (up to and including murders). In fact, American conduct goes beyond mere indifference into active complicity, as The Guardian today reports that “fresh evidence that US soldiers handed over detainees to a notorious Iraqi torture squad has emerged in army logs published by WikiLeaks.”
The difference in how (a) the NYT “reported on” — i.e., whitewashed — these horrific, incriminating revelations about the U.S. and (b) the rest of the world media reported on it, could not be more vast. Again, even Politico understood its significance, as this was the first line of its article: ”Newly released Iraq war documents paint a devastating portrait of apparent U.S. indifference to a pattern of murder and torture by the Iraqi army, raising new questions about the Obama administration’s plans to transfer the nation’s security operations to Iraqi units.” But the NYT in its headline chose to venerate the superiority of American detainee treatment, while barely mentioning one of the most critical revelations from this leak.
Similarly, newspapers around the world heavily covered the fact that the U.N. chief investigator for torture called on the Obama administration to formally investigate this complicity in Iraqi abuse, pointing out that “if leaked US files on the Iraq conflict point to clear violations of the UN convention against torture, Barack Obama’s administration has a clear obligation to investigate them,” and that “under the conventions on human rights there is an obligation for states to criminalise every form of torture, whether directly or indirectly, and to investigate any allegations of abuse.” Today, Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister called on the British Government to fulfill that obligation by formally investigating the role British troops might have played in “the allegations of killings, torture and abuse in Iraq.”
The notion that the Obama administration not only should — but must — investigate the role its military played in enabling this widespread, stomach-turning torture and abuse in Iraq is simply suppressed in American political discourse, most of all by the newspaper which played the leading role in enabling the attack on that country in the first place. It’s not hard to see why. The last thing American political and media elites in general want is a discussion of the legal obligations to investigate torture and bring the torturers to legal account, and the last thing which enablers of the Iraq War specifically want is a focus on how we not only allowed but participated in the very human rights abuses which we claimed (and still claim) our invasion would stop.
ABC News, Diane Sawyer demands to know whether WikiLeaks — but not the U.S. Government officials responsible for perpetrating and sanctioning torture in Iraq — will be arrested. To paraphrase that exchange:
WikiLeaks documents: There was mass torture, abuse, government deceit, reckless civilian deaths in Iraq.
Diane Sawyer: Will WikiLeaks be arrested?
As I wrote yesterday: ”serving the Government’s interests, siding with government and military officials, and attacking government critics is what they do. That’s their role. That’s what makes them the ‘establishment media’.”
See this Amp at http://amplify.com/u/e48n