Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fantasyland Media:

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want to keep from the public eye.


The NY Times:
"Gaza, Vexed by Floods, Gets Fuel and Power, By FARES AKRAM and ISABEL KERSHNER"

-->The NY Times does its best to avoid printing what has really "vexed" Gaza. First it is the storms and floods. Then Hamas and its wrangling with the Palestinian Authority. Finally, The NY Times cites the Egyptian Army. But never the Israeli blockade. Wouldn't it be refreshing if our newspaper of record told it like the American Friends Service Committee: "One of the strongest winter storms in decades hit the occupied Palestinian territory on December 11th bringing with it strong winds, heavy rains, and low temperatures. The storm also brought new hardship to an already exhausted population in the Gaza Strip and exacerbated the existing humanitarian crisis caused by the 7 year long Israeli blockade of Gaza."


Common Dreams:
"Surveillance Is Theft: World's Leading Authors Protest NSA. Calling it 'a stand for democracy in the digital age,' 560 of the world's most renowned writers, including five Nobel prize winners, have signed a petition condemning state surveillance and urging the U.N. to create an international bill of digital rights. The statement by authors from 81 countries, which is being published globally in over 30 newspapers and can be signed by the public, says the surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden violates privacy, compromises freedom of thought and undermines the fundamental right of all humans to remain 'unobserved and unmolested.'

'A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy. To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space.' "

-->The NY Times somehow missed this story. Human rights stories are only covered if they are about countries on the empire's hit list like Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and China. 


Guardian, UK:
"The National Security Agency is telling its story like never before. Never mind whether that story is, well, true.

On Sunday night, CBS’s 60 Minutes ran a remarkable piece that provided NSA officials, from director Keith Alexander to junior analysts, with a long, televised forum to push back against criticism of the powerful spy agency. It’s an opening salvo in an unprecedented push from the agency to win public confidence at a time when both White House reviews and pending legislation would restrict the NSA’s powers.

But mixed in among the dramatic footage of Alexander receiving threat briefings and junior analysts solving Rubik’s cubes in 90 seconds were a number of dubious claims: from the extent of surveillance to collecting on Google and Yahoo data centers to an online 'kill-switch' for the global financial system developed by China.

Reporter John Miller, a former official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and an ex-FBI spokesman, allowed these claims to go unchallenged. The Guardian, not so much. Here’s our take ...'

-->Why is it that an English newspaper can expose and even ridicule the 60 Minutes piece as obvious propaganda, and The NY Times can't? When it comes to criticizing the national security state, America's foremost newspaper is almost always missing in action.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fantasyland Media:

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want to keep from the public eye.

------ :
"Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote his paper's obituary for Nelson Mandela. As you might have guessed, it glosses over the CIA's role in helping the apartheid government catch Mandela: 'Upon his capture he was charged with inciting a strike and leaving the country without a passport' is all the depth he goes into, although the Times has in fact covered this little-known story in the past. You have to ask yourself: If the secret police of an ostensibly democratic society helped put someone viewed as one of the great heroes of the past century in prison, isn't that something the public ought to know about?

Keller did go into more detail about Mandela's armed efforts to overthrow the apartheid state, seemingly in an effort to belittle them:

'Mr. Mandela's exploits in the 'armed struggle' have been somewhat mythologized. ... The ANC's armed activities were mostly confined to planting land mines, blowing up electrical stations and committing occasional acts of terrorism against civilians.'

Mandela, as it happens, went into great detail at his 1964 trial–where he was convicted of sabotage, not 'acts of terrorism against civilians'–about the African National Congress' decision to abandon its commitment to nonviolent resistance and turn to armed struggle. ..."

-->The NY Times trying to trash Mandela's image, while protecting the reputation of the CIA. How predictable this coverage is in the empire's newspaper.


Mail & Gardian: South Africa
"Many heads of state would not miss internationally renowned peace icon Nelson Mandela's funeral, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will do just that. His reason: it is too expensive to travel to South Africa, according to Israel's Haaretz daily newspaper. ...

Netanyahu had initially notified the South African authorities that he'd join his other counterparts to honour Mandela but made a last minute cancellation because the $2-million needed for his transport and security alone was just too steep. ...

The decision to cancel the trip to South Africa during such an important period is likely to raise suspicion and remind many of a difficult relationship Tel Aviv has with Pretoria. ... Mandela was the first democratically elected president of South Africa and took power from the apartheid government, which was Israel's strong ally when most countries of the world rebuked racial segregation."

-->The NY Times, like Netanyahu, ducked out of this story at the last minute. Why remind readers that Israel was South Africa's best friend during apartheid, supplying them with weaponry and advising them on strengthening their regime of all white rule.


NBC News Investigations:
"From the White House to the halls of Congress, U.S. government officials have responded to the death of Nelson Mandela with a hail of testimonials to the late South African president’s leadership in the struggle for freedom and human rights.

Until five years ago, however, the U.S. officially considered Mandela a terrorist. During the Cold War, both the State and Defense departments dubbed Mandela’s political party, the African National Congress, a terrorist group, and Mandela’s name remained on the U.S. terrorism watch list till 2008. ...

The terrorist designation finally proved too embarrassing for the U.S. government to ignore. In April 2008, during the last year of the George W. Bush administration, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a Senate committee that her department had to issue waivers for ANC members to travel to the United States."

-->The NY Times always puts the empire's image above its readership's right to know. Our newspaper of record relegated this story to one of its blogs rather than put it into print.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Fantasyland Media:

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want to keep from the public eye.

------ :
"Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the sur­vival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of peo­ple find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape. ...

In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about great­er justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and na├»ve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed." 

-->It is hard to find the Pope's actual words (Dec. 1 Mass) in the US media. The "National Review" came the closest, but that was because the reporter was challenging the translation, trying to make the Pope's message more business friendly. The NY Times printed a sentence or two in an op-ed that concluded, "when it comes to lifting the poor out of poverty, global capitalism, faults and all, has a better track record by far than any other system or approach." All the pro-business news that's fit to print.


"Schools have a lot to learn from business about how to improve performance, declared Bill Gates in an Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal in 2011. He pointed to his own company as a worthy model for public schools. ...

The Microsoft model, called 'stacked ranking' forced every work unit to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, a certain groups as good performers, then average, then below average, then poor. ...

And now, just as public school systems have widely adopted the Microsoft model in order to win the Race to the Top, it turns out that Microsoft now realizes that this model has pushed Microsoft itself into a Race to the Bottom.

In a widely circulated 2012 article in Vanity award-winning reporter Fair Kurt Eichenwald concluded that stacked ranking effectively crippled Microsoft’s ability to innovate. 'Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one— cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees,' Eichenwald writes. 'It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.' "

-->When will our national media begin questioning Obama's Race to the Top, his attempt to destroy public education through competitive testing and charter schools? It's a model now discredited by the very corporation that invented it.  


The Independent UK:
"In a move celebrating academic freedom not as a geopolitically-based privilege but as a universal right, the executive council of the American Studies Association voted at its annual meeting to support the Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel - a move some see as a key step toward breaking the taboo on boycotting Israel. 

Speakers at the meeting of the oldest U.S. organization of academics and scholars cited U.S. complicity in the Israeli occupation, the denial of access to 'normal scholarly life' for Palestinians through occupation, blockade, school closings as collective punishment and the inability to travel, and the importance of current calls for cultural boycott of Israel, as in apartheid South Africa, as 'a test case for our intellectual and moral consistency.'

'In the intellectual world, the resort to force is not a position of strength. (The vote) showed the power of reasoned, moral argument (and) there is no going back.' "

-->The NY Times doesn't care much for "intellectual and moral consistency" when reporting news critical of its favorite client, Israel. It didn't print this story.