Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The New York Times:

"Missing White Women Captive News Media, Raising Bias Questions. ...

'Research, including my own work, has shown that white missing women and girls do receive more initial coverage and they do receive more repeated coverage,' said Danielle Slakoff, an assistant professor at California State University, Sacramento, who researches criminal justice and the media.

She said that white women were typically depicted as good people, while women of color were often characterized as risk-takers or somehow complicit in their own disappearances. 'White victims tend to be portrayed as being in very safe environments, so it’s shocking that something like this could happen, whereas the Black and Latino victims are portrayed as being in unsafe environments, so basically normalizing victimization,' she said. ...

'I don’t think we can discount the profit motive and the fact that, historically, these types of stories have gotten tons of engagement, viewers and clicks,' Ms. Slakoff said. 'So I do think it could be argued that it’s kind of this vicious cycle.' ”

-->We have to give credit to the NYT for discussing the US media's inherent racism in reporting of victims. Of course, the NYT itself has also been part of the problem, having given pages of coverage to Gabrielle Petito's disappearance and murder. 


Black Agenda report:

"President Joe Biden has issued an executive order threatening to impose new US sanctions on Ethiopia and Eritrea for their roles in humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ethiopia’s northern regions. Unilateral sanctions, meaning sanctions not approved by the UN Security Council, violate international law codified in the UN Charter.

'Famine' is the Ethiopian emergency that US AID Chief Samantha Power has been shrieking about most for nearly a year. The Ethiopian government, she says, is blocking food aid into war-torn Tigray. Never mind that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, a US puppet for nearly 30 years, started the war that’s causing the suffering, as war always does. Or, that the Ethiopian government says that they wouldn’t starve their own people, that they are delivering more food to Tigray than any of the Western NGOs, but that they have set up checkpoints to make sure that aid convoys aren’t transporting arms to the TPLF. Power, like Blinken and Biden, don’t call the Ethiopian government’s account of facts on the ground a lie. They just ignore it, as do other Western officials and press. ...

Time will tell whether the US and its allies will go to such extremes to control the Horn of Africa, but President Biden has heightened the threats. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wrote an open letter in response, asking him to respect Ethiopia’s sovereignty, but Biden has not responded, and the letter has not been published by Western press.

-->The usual propaganda venues, like NPR and the NYT, are all over this suffering in Tigray. It looks like there is another orchestrated campaign to get US troops in the Horn of Africa. The American Empire can't seem to help itself, and our mainstream media is only too glad to lend a helping hand. 


Common Dreams:

"A new report released Wednesday identifies $86 billion worth of offshore tax loopholes that a dozen U.S.-based oil and gas companies exploit each year as part of a 'tax bonanza,' a finding that comes as climate justice advocates push Congress to eliminate subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. ...

The report (pdf), compiled by Friends of the Earth, Oxfam America, and BailoutWatch, reveals the consequences of 'two esoteric provisions in the tax code worth tens of billions of dollars to Big Oil's multinational majors, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and other polluters most responsible for the climate emergency. ...

House Democrats' failure to stop showering Big Oil with public money—a move supported by a majority of people in the U.S. and many, though not all, Democratic lawmakers—has drawn progressives' ire. 'The House bill made a decent start by targeting Big Oil's international tax loopholes, but it went nowhere near far enough,' Lukas Ross, Climate and Energy Justice program manager at Friends of the Earth, said Wednesday in a statement."

-->No major media including the NYT wanted to print this story. The result is that the public remains unaware of the huge tax breaks given to oil and gas companies. Readers are also never told of the complicity of the Democratic Party in these tax giveaways. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The New York Times:

"The Scientist and the A.I.-Assisted, Remote-Control Killing Machine."

-->According to the NYT, the assassination of a top Iranian scientist was a "straight-out-of-science-fiction story" that needed to be told. There was high tech weaponry with awesome power, and ingeniously crafted remote controlled machine guns. James Bond stuff, with enough fire power to titillate even the most jaded fans of mechanized warfare.

The victim, we are told in this NYT article sort of had it coming. He got up early "to study Islamic philosophy before his day began," like any typical US movie terrorist would supposedly do. He wore the same silver ring as Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenie. He had been a member of the Revoutoary Guards, and like any Western villain, "had no sense of humor." Finally, the NYT speculated that maybe he "found the idea of martyrdom attractive."

Nowhere is this article is any mention of international law, or even of basic human decency. The NYT just assumes that Israel and the United States have the right to assassinate anyone in the world they want, as long as there is enough one sided reporting of how bad they are. I wonder what the NYT would have to say about the assassination of a US scientist? But wouldn't that be, well, terrorism?


The Intercept:

"SCIENTISTS AT THE Environmental Protection Agency have provided The Intercept with new information showing that senior staff have made chemicals appear safer — sometimes dodging restrictions on their use — by minimizing the estimates of how much is released into the environment.

The EPA gauges the potential risk posed by a chemical using two measures: how toxic the agency considers it and how much of the substance the public will likely be exposed to. Whistleblowers from the EPA’s New Chemicals Division have already provided The Intercept with evidence that managers and other officials were pressuring them to assess chemicals to be less toxic than they actually are — and sometimes removing references to their harms from chemical assessments.

Now new documents, including meeting summaries, internal emails, and screenshots from the EPA’s computer system, along with interviews with whistleblowers and other EPA scientists, show that the agency’s New Chemicals Division has avoided calculating the exposure to — and thus the risk posed by — hundreds of chemicals and have repeatedly resisted calls to change that policy even after scientists have shown that it puts the public at risk."

-->Ever carful not to offend the large chemical companies, the NYT did not print this story of yet another corporate takeover of a regulatory agency.


LA Progressive:

"The U.S. has claimed a humanitarian 'Responsibility to Protect' to justify military operations in the name of saving civilian lives from evil dictators. Most notable have been the brutal U.S.-led wars in Libya and Syria which destabilized entire regions in the name of 'civilian protection' and 'promoting democracy.' These operations relied heavily on self-described human rights NGO’s and media outlets to cultivate support among liberal sectors of the US intelligentsia. Sadly, Democracy Now has been among the most influential and insidious outlets carrying water for the humanitarian interventionist agenda.  

The flagship program of the left-wing Pacifica radio network, Democracy Now (DN) and its founding host, Amy Goodman, are regarded as standard bearers of grassroots progressivism. However, in recent years the show has become a reliable platform for uncritical regime change propaganda, demonizing targets of US empire from Syria to Nicaragua while sending a correspondent to embed with US-backed 'rebels' in Libya. Now that China is in the crosshairs of the US, DN is playing host to virtually any piece of humanitarian agitprop that Washington can conjure up, while publishing a regular serving of sharply negative stories about Chinese government and society.

A review by The Grayzone of every China-related report and interview Democracy Now aired in the past year found that 3 out of every 4 painted China in a decidedly negative light, often echoing narratives emanating from the US State Department. Perhaps its most inflammatory and factually questionable report appeared this February amid an escalating wave of anti-China propaganda."

-->Say it ain't so! Our Amy an imperialist in disguise? Has the empire at last stepped on one of its long standing critics? Is her 20 year progressive run just about over?

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Common Dreams:

"Airstrikes conducted by the United States have killed between 22,000 and 48,000 civilians since September 11, 2001, according to a report published Monday by Airwars, a military watchdog that monitors and seeks to reduce civilian harm in violent conflict zones.

The new analysis, released ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the retaliatory launch of the so-called "War on Terror," came just days after a U.S. drone strike killed at least 10 members of a single family in Kabul amid the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Most media accounts point out that more than 7,000 U.S. service members have died in post-9/11 wars, but only some go on to state the massive civilian death toll, and 'almost exclusively in generalities, researchers lamented.' While Brown University's Costs of War project estimates that over 387,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the War on Terror, Airwars sought to answer a specific question: How many civilians have likely been killed by U.S. airstrikes in the last 20 years?"

-->Scott Simon bloviated about 9/11 on NPR, and the rest of the mainstream media retold patriotic stories of first responders; there wasn't much time spent on the mass killings of our war machine in Afghanistan over the last 20 years. Yes, go ahead and weep some tears for our fallen. But let us not forget the terrible war crimes visited on Afghanistan in the name of American patriotism.   


Common Dreams:

"A new report just ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks offers a scathing analysis of how Big Tech corporations are 'complicit in' and have 'profited from' the so-called war on terror by at least $44 billion since 2001. 'When the U.S. chooses war over aid, Big Tech profits,' the publication, Big Tech Sells War, states. 

The report—released Thursday by the Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE), MPower Change, and LittleSis—accuses companies including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft of providing tools ranging 'from databases to drones' to U.S. government agencies that have propped up the war on terror for nearly two decades.

The report has a number of features, including a timeline of significant events such as October 24, 2001, when Congress passed the Patriot Act. 'Its passage,' the report says, 'opened the doors for Big Tech to become, first and foremost, the brokers of our personal data, selling to government agencies and private companies at home and abroad and unleashing the era of the data economy.' "

-->This story was covered by Vice, but not the NYT. In fact most of the major media avoided this story of war profiteering. Better to concentrate on American suffering than to expose the war machine behind US war crimes in the Middle East.


The Intercept:

"Pretty much every day since 9/11, the U.S. military has disciplined soldiers who failed to do their jobs properly. They have been punished for minor offenses, like being late for duty, and for serious crimes, such as murder or assault. Since 2001, there have been more than 1.3 million cases of discipline in the armed forces, according to the Pentagon’s annual reports on military justice.

But the generals who misled Congress and the American public about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have not needed to worry about negative consequences for their careers. After 20 years of conducting a disinformation campaign about what was really happening on the ground, not a single U.S. general has faced any punishment. The reverse happened — they were praised for their deceptively upbeat assessments and given more stars, and when they retired with generous military pensions, they landed high-paying jobs on corporate boards, further profiting from their disingenuousness. ...

In Afghanistan and Iraq, several hundred thousand civilians and combatants have perished (including more than 7,000 American soldiers), millions of people have become refugees, and trillions of dollars have been wasted. Politicians were responsible for this, pundits were responsible, and so-called experts from think tanks were responsible too. But the generals were closest to these wars and most aware, or should have been, of what was happening. Few were closer or profited more than two in particular: Gen. Lloyd Austin, who is now secretary of defense, and Gen. David Petraeus, one of the most lauded military figures of the past 20 years."

-->Where is Scott Simon to weep for all those American victims of the "War on Terror?" The US empire is perpetually claiming to be the victim, when in fact it is the perpetrator.  

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

The Guardian UK:

"Why won’t US TV news say ‘climate change’? It’s media malpractice not to mention that burning fossil fuels drives extreme weather events like Hurricane Ida. The climate emergency is exploding in various parts of the world this week, but climate silence inexcusably continues to rein in much of the United States media.

Hurricane Ida has left more than a million people in Louisiana without running water, electricity or air conditioning amid a heat index topping 100F. The Caldor fire destroyed hundreds of houses and forced mass evacuations around Lake Tahoe in California. Abroad, vast swaths of Siberia were ablaze while drought-parched Madagascar suffered what a United Nations official called the first famine caused entirely by climate change. ...

The problem is that most viewers won’t make that connection, because most stories don’t contain the words “climate change”. Six of the biggest commercial TV networks in the US – ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC and MSNBC – ran 774 stories about Ida from 27 to 30 August, an analysis by the watchdog group Media Matters found. Only 34 of those stories, barely 4%, mentioned climate change."

-->Media malpractice keeps Americans in the dark about fossil fuels. All the news that fits the interests of Big Oil.


The Guardian UK:

"The FBI’s inadequate response to far-right violence results from a lack of will, not a lack of legal authority. The FBI has used its domestic terrorism authorities to target environmental, animal rights and racial justice activists. Yet the FBI doesn’t even track the number of murders committed by white supremacists each year, much less consistently investigate these crimes as domestic terrorism.

Expanding counterterrorism authorities will not solve this attention deficit. To the contrary, both history and recent events suggest that new laws could become tools in the future for FBI agents to target those seeking to reform systems of structural racism and social inequity rather than those committing racist violence.

The Biden administration has also revived an Obama-era program designed to counter violent extremism (CVE), which relied on widely discredited theories of terrorist radicalization that painted Muslim religious practices and the expression of political grievances as precursors to violence. The Biden administration’s version has been rebranded as the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3), but it adopts the same basic model.

-->Surprise! The FBI sees its role as the suppression of reform efforts in the United States. White supremacist violence, why that's OK. It's as American as Apple Pie. The FBI has always been America's thought police.


Peace And Planet News:

"As a tsunami of crocodile tears engulfs Western politicians, history is suppressed. More than a generation ago, Afghanistan won its freedom, which the United States, Britain and their 'allies' destroyed.

In 1978, a liberation movement led by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) overthrew the dictatorship of Mohammad Dawd ... It was an immensely popular revolution that took the British and Americans by surprise. Foreign journalists in Kabul, reported The New York Times, were surprised to find that 'nearly every Afghan they interviewed said [they were] delighted with the coup.' The Wall Street Journal reported that '150,000 persons … marched to honor the new flag … the participants appeared genuinely enthusiastic.'

For women, the gains had no precedent; by the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up 40 percent of Afghanistan’s doctors, 70 percent of its teachers and 30 percent of its civil servants."

-->That's the government that the US tried to overthrow by financing and training Muslim extremists, including Osama Bin laden. It was the US that  ushered in the new age of terrorism and invasions in Afghanistan. Writer John Pilger sets us straight, although our country's major media would never carry this story.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

The Guardian UK:

"Whistleblowers say the US Environmental Protection Agency has been falsifying dangerous new chemicals’ risk assessments in an effort to make the compounds appear safe and quickly approve them for commercial use.

Over the past five years, the EPA has not rejected any new chemicals submitted by industry despite agency scientists flagging dozens of compounds for high toxicity. Four EPA whistleblowers and industry watchdogs say a revolving door between the agency and chemical companies is to blame, and that the program’s management has been 'captured by industry'. The charges are supported by emails, documents and additional records that were provided to the Guardian.

'The depth of it is pretty horrifying,' said Kyla Bennett, New England director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a non-profit whose attorneys are representing the four scientists. 'I don’t sleep at night knowing what I know from the whistleblowers.' ”

-->Readers of the NYT will not be losing any sleep over this story. Our newspaper of record didn't think this "capture" of the EPA warranted a story. This could be because the NYT board of directors is heavily weighted by corporate fat cats, who are busy capturing other federal agencies for their business interests. 


Common Dreams:

"Just as US corporate news media 'discovered' Afghan women's rights only when the US was angling for invasion, their since-forgotten interest returned with a vengeance as US troops exited the country.

After September 11, 2001, the public was subjected to widespread US news coverage of burqa-clad Afghan women in need of US liberation, and celebratory reports after the invasion. Time magazine (11/26/01), for instance, declared that 'the greatest pageant of mass liberation since the fight for suffrage' was occurring, as 'female faces, shy and bright, emerged from the dark cellars' to stomp on their old veils. In a piece by Nancy Gibbs headlined 'Blood and Joy,' the magazine told readers this was 'a holiday gift, a reminder of reasons the war was worth fighting beyond those of basic self-defense' (, 4/9/21).

The media interest was highly opportunistic. Between January 2000 and September 11, 2001, there were 15 US newspaper articles and 33 broadcast TV reports about women's rights in Afghanistan. In the 16 weeks between September 12 and January 1, 2002, those numbers skyrocketed to 93 and 628, before plummeting once again (Media, Culture & Society, 9/1/05). ... Now, as the US finally is withdrawing its last troops, many corporate media commentators put women and girls at the center of the analysis, as when Wolf Blitzer (CNN Situation Room, 8/16/21), [referred] to 'the horror awaiting women and girls in Afghanistan.' "

-->Yes, the empire has used women's rights as the new "white man's burden" in the Middle East. How many liberal Americans believed this propaganda, and even used these stories to support the US invasion and occupation?


Common Dreams:

"Human Rights Watch said Monday that the Israeli military's May bombings that leveled four high-rise buildings in Gaza were 'apparently unlawful' and possibly amount to war crimes.

The organization—which noted that those strikes represented 'just a small fraction of the Israeli military's attacks in Gaza' in the May 10 to May 21 fighting—cited in its new analysis a lack of any evidence to back up Israeli authorities' claims that the buildings were being used by Hamas for military purposes. The report also noted the disproportionate harm to civilian property caused by the Israeli attacks. For its latest analysis of attacks during the 11-day assault, HRW reviewed video and photo evidence of the aftermath of the bombardments and conducted interviews with victims and eyewitnesses. ...

'Human Rights Watch found no evidence that members of Palestinian groups involved in military operations had a current or long-term presence in any of the towers at the time they were attacked,' the group said. What's more, 'even if there were such a presence, the attacks appeared to cause foreseeably disproportionate harm to civilian property.' "

-->None of the major media covered this story. War crimes by Israel always gets a pass when it comes to mainstream news, including the NYT.