Cheryl Seal
News Blackout on Iraq, US Flu Epidemic
Fri Jan 13, 2006 11:59
 


This week's key news stories - shared of course by every major media outlet in the US - have never been more White House directed. Everything in the headlines is clearly designed to help bolster Bush and his objectives, while blacking out anything detrimental to the Bush cause. Have you noticed the nearly complete blackout of news from Iraq since Monday?

Polls released last weekend (Jan 7-8) showed that the ONLY areas where Bush's numbers are doing mildly better than others is domestic security and fighting terrorism, while Bush's approval on Iraq is abysmally low

Now look at this week's news trend:

***A complete news blackout for Iraq this week. That there is violence happening in Iraq right now seems unquestionable (over a dozen US troops were killed just a week ago in what was obviously escalating violence). Then there's also what SHOULD BE the unfolding story of the election results. What's the problem? Do US officials in Iraq need time to doctor the results without the press looking over their shoulder, or what?

In short, in place of any Iraq news, we get unspecific predictions by Rumsfeld & Co. that "increased violence is likely." My "prediction"? That something is already happening in Iraq - the escalation of a civil war, most likely - that the White House wants to push out of the news for a week.

***** The "threat of Iran" is hyped this week - WHILE the news of deaths in Iraq are blacked out. It is as if the US public will consider the idea that a war against Iran might be OK as long as they are not actively hearing about deaths in another failed war. The White House also no doubt hopes that the Iran hype will highlight the "Bush as tough on terrorism" bit..

****This week, the media has increased hype about the threat of bird flu. Bush's promising billions to "fight bird flu" has been promoted as evidence of his "being on top of domestic security" Meanwhile, if you try to find any news stories about the current "common flu" season in the US, you'll find it hard. Put "flu epidemic" into the google news search engine and you will come up with page after page of "bird flu" stories - and none on common flu, which will kill over 35,000 Americans this year.

In the days before Xmas, the CDC was already issuing reports that the US was facing a flu
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2003-12-22-flu-usat_x.htm

Meanwhile, poorly equipped US emergency rooms are RIGHT NOW handling thousands of cases of common flu - and this year, the CDC says it is an "epidemic season," one that is hitting children harder. So where's the stories about this growing crisis? (see http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2003-12-22-flu-usat_x.htm )

***** Bush makes trip number 9 to the Katrina disaster zone - and, of course, the media hypes it to the hilt, especially the promises of billions in rebuilding.


*****Then of course, there is the Alito case. It would not be a leap to say that one of the reasons the White House wants Iraq swept out of the headlines is because Alito is associated with Bush. So the White House wanted to keep any bad Bush press suppressed during the Alito hearings.

Not only that, but about 90% of all media coverage of the hearings is heavily pro-Alito, while trying to paint the Democrats as "picking on" the candidate. I haven't seen the media wagons more tightly put in a propaganda circle since the run up to the war in Iraq, when they blacked out all dissent and questions.

In short, this weeks mainstream media offerings is evidence that the White House has re-exerted near-complete control over the media. What kind of promises were made and favors called in remains to be seen, but you can be sure that the email-phone connections between the Bush people and highly placed TV/Radio/newspaper owners and managers were smoking the past 10 days or so.

And, I fear, it is only going to get worse, as long as there are so few newspeople of conscience out there.

 

 

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