CounterCurrents has cross-posted an article from The International Human Press, Wilson Blair's "What's Wrong With Keith Olbermann" and I honestly believe Mr. Blair is far too kind to Mr. Olbermann. He also blames the people and says they are underinformed when someone like Screaming Olbermann is focused on pseudo news as opposed to real news.
Mr. Blair is mistaken. Viewers are repeatedly given the wrong information and it happens over and over -- regardless of whether the issue is serious news or fake news. Bob Somerby (The Daily Howler) has repeatedly documented how Mr. Olbermann is grossly uninformed.
I would also reject Mr. Blair's claim that the 'soft' or 'fake' news brings in better ratings for MSNBC. MSNBC's ratings are in the toilet.
I would argue that MSNBC prefers to serve up news-you-cannot-use because they prefer to distract than inform. They are not concerned with informing the public, they are focused on distracting them from issues that really matter.
I did enjoy Mr. Blair's article and recommend it but he is far, far kinder than I would ever be on the subject of Screeching Olbermann.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:
I don't believe Obama when he says we'll be done occupying Iraq and killing and being killed there by 2011 because that's not what we do. He'll withdraw some of the "combat troops" and "re-mission" the rest as "non-combat troops" (these operations include the physical protection "Americans and U.S. assets in Iraq" and "counterterrorism operations in which Iraqi forces would take the lead." That's all to say, they will still be killing and being killed.) We'll get a "lease" from the Iraqi government on some nice plots of land situated between some oil fields, kick up our feet, and have our "non-combat" frogs, our Blackwater toads, and our intelligence snakes go right on violently occupying foreign populations.
The legitimacy of the electoral process and the independence of Iraqi institutions have been thrown into serious question among both Iraqis and the international community. Sunni-Shia resentments have been rekindled, with such polarization evidently being seen as a winning electoral strategy in certain quarters. Sunni participation may well be depressed, though a full-out boycott is unlikely. The damage is likely to me measured in increments, not in a single apocalyptic collapse.
Layla Anwar (An Arab Woman Blues) offers this view:
BBC News notes, "As posters appeared across Iraq for Friday's start, the fate of more than 170 candidates is still undecided." Will anyone vote? Mohammed Abbas and Samia Nakhoul (Reuters) report that "[. . .] Iraqis living with only a few hours of power a day amid mounds of rubbish and pools of sewage are wondering whether to bother voting in a March election." Reuters also offers a look at some of the political parties vying for votes. BBC News' Gabriel Gatehouse decides today to report on the Sunday protest in Baghdad and he still can't get it right. It was an "angry crowd," he tells us and that's supposed to inform? From Monday's snapshot:
That shameless disgusting BBC so reminiscent of the colonial days of the British empire, still uses that same perfidious language and word twisting. BBC you hate Saddam Hussein because he would not bend over for your politicians. You only approve of those whom you can bugger. And some of us Iraqis will not be buggered.
And it seems to me despite all the information in your possession, you still hold that Ahmed Chalabi, the crook, the embezzler and the spy for Iran as a reference and a credible source of information. and that, despite the fact that your f**ked up nation is still inquiring into the " legality " of your going to "war" in Iraq.
You truly have ZERO shame and ZERO ethics.
FROM the market town of Khanaqin, on the Iranian border, all the way to Sinjar, near the border with Syria, a fortified line snakes across northern Iraq. To the east and north stand Kurdish forces, known as the Peshmerga, keen to reclaim land taken from them by Saddam Hussein more than two decades ago. On the other side of the line, to the west and south, are Iraqi regular-army troops sent by the central government in Baghdad to stop ancient cities along the Tigris river falling into what it fears may become a purely Kurdish sphere.
The two forces have come close to flat-out fighting several times, usually outside the cities where commanders act off their own bat. Last year an Iraqi army unit drove into the disputed, though mainly Kurdish, town of Altun Kupri and took up sniper positions on rooftops. When residents, supported by armed Peshmerga, started demonstrating against their presence, the Arab soldiers were told to shoot to kill. Bloodshed was avoided at the last minute by American troops stationed nearby.
Meanwhile Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) reports on the US military beliefs concerning the kidnapping of American citizen Issa T. Salomi by the League of Righteous:
But a senior US military leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, says the kidnapping appears to be a one-off incident possibly sparked by the Iraqi government's recent arrest of two mid-level members of the AAH, which US officials say is backed by Iran.
He said the group, which broke away from the movement of militant Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr after Sadr agreed to a ceasefire in 2008, appears to have further splintered after its leader Sheikh Qais al-Khazali renounced attacks on Iraqi forces and was released from US and Iraqi custody. The release was an apparent exchange for a British hostage and the bodies of three of his bodyguards and seen as key to reconciliation between the Iraqi government and Shiite militant groups.
"What I think has happened…is that there are elements within AAH that are not following any orders from Qais…. We believe it is that element out of that group that is pursuing their kidnapping campaign," says the senior U.S. official.
It's always interesting to watch the US military and US officials -- named and unnamed -- offer takes on what this or that group is in doing in Iraq -- you know, as opposed to what Iraqis think the groups doing in Iraq. For example, many don't buy the idea of a 'splinter group' -- or that al-Sadr 'ridded' his organization of the militias.
To stick with the US position presented in the article, so the League of Righteous allegedly felt shut out of the 'political process' and, in their anger/depression/rage, decided that they could best have a 'voice' and get their way via violence? Well wherever could they have learned that? From a US administration that ordered the US military to release the ringleaders of the organization despite the League's claims of responsibility (bragging, actually) for the death of 5 US service members in a raid on a base?
3 dead British citizens and 1 alive also proved to be very beneficial for the League.
Maybe that's why you have to be very careful about entering into negotiations with those who resort to violence? Concerned because of the message you send and the message the current US administration sent by releasing the ringleaders and others starting in June of last year was: Violence means you get your way.
One exchange hinted that the panel had access to secret documents revealing that George Bush planned to attack Iraq even if Iraq complied with inspectors and was in compliance with the crucial UN resolution 1441.
Sir Lawrence Freedman had asked Mr Straw: "Was there any point where Powell said to you that, even if Iraq complied, President Bush had already made a decision that he intended to go to war?"
When Mr Straw said this was not the case, "to the best of my recollection", and talked more broadly around the question, Sir Lawrence pressed him a few times on the issue.
Sir Lawrence Freedman said: "I was going to suggest you might want to look through your conversations and check."
"I will go through the records, because I think you are trying to tell me something," said Mr Straw.
Haiti, Americans' for global crises is usually very
short. But is there a way to keep American audiences from tuning out
important global issues of violence, poverty, and catastrophe far beyond
their backyards? On Friday, at 8:30 pm (check local
listings), NOW talks with filmmaker Eric Metzgar about "Reporter," his
documentary about the international reporting trips of New York Times
columnist Nicholas Kristof. In the film, Metzgar provides fascinating
insight into how Kristof breaks through and gets us to think deeply
about people and issues half a world away.
Staying with TV notes, Washington Week begins airing on many PBS stations tonight (and throughout the weekend, check local listings) and joining Gwen are Dan Balz (Washington Post), Naftali Bendavid (Wall St. Journal), Janet Hook (Los Angeles Times) and David Sanger (New York Times). Meanwhile Bonnie Erbe will sit down with Melinda Henneberger, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Genevieve Wood to discuss the week's events on PBS' To The Contrary. Check local listings, on many stations, it begins airing tonight. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes:
Nowhere in the world can such a concentration of power be found than at the World Economic Forum's meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where the world's most powerful and influential people gather yearly to try to solve the world's most pressing problems. Scott Pelley reports.
Made In The USA
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60 Minutes, Sunday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
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