Date: Sun Jun 28 2009 - 04:23:23 EDT
Jingoism Isn't Journalism: Why I Don't Trust Corporate Media on Iran
By Linda Milazzo, AlterNet
Posted on June 25, 2009, Printed on June 28, 2009
As a critic of media, in particular of cable/satellite "news," I'm troubled
by American corporate-media, in particular CNN's near non-stop coverage of
the turmoil in Iran. Not because the story isn't important. It's critically
important and warrants the personal coverage it's getting from the Iranian
people as they bypass corporate channels to tell their stories on facebook,
youtube, flickr and twitter.
Thanks to Iran's tech-savvy society, old-time corporate media is now
relegated to the position of new-media aggregator, whoring its visibility
to co-opt the Iranian people's new-media messages to America and the world.
Old-media, and specifically CNN, are learning the difficult lesson that
with or without their vast resources and state of the art studios, the
Iranians' stories will be told. And they'll be told to tens of millions
more viewers than cable and satellite programs tend to reach.
Despite CNN's attempt to co-opt the scope of new-media in the Iranian
social justice movement and present it as a novel approach, social
networking venues have been used by activists around the world to broadcast
and document grassroots activities that corporate-media either buried or
refused to report. Youtube and flickr have long been used by grassroots
organizations in the United States and elsewhere to document and
corroborate socio-political actions such as marches and rallies which
opposed the Iraq war, Bush administration policies and corporate greed, but
weren't in corporate-media's interest to cover since they challenged their
power elite: their corporate advertisers and their government cronies.
As a participatory journalist who's been present at a multitude of marches
and rallies that were spurned by corporate-media, I've consistently used
new-media to document corporate-media ignored or buried events. Witness in
this article written in August '08 during the Democratic National
Convention, the baton bashing of a woman anti-war activist in Denver by a
Colorado law enforcement officer that was virtually ignored by
For the past several years the anti-war movement has photographed for
flickr and video'd for youtube the number of attendees at its events to
counter the reckless underreporting by corporate controlled print and TV
news. As reported by Indymedia, the St. Paul police routinely beat and
arrested progressive protesters during the 2008 Republican National
Convention in Minnesota when they protested the improprieties of their
government, yet these events got little corporate-media coverage and no
visible anchor sympathy was shown for the beaten. Instead, Americans who
have challenged the policies of the US government have been mocked and
overlooked by their own country's media, while those in other nations who
challenge the leadership of non US allies like Iran, Argentina and Bolivia
get enthusiastic coverage. The hypocrisy is astounding.
Why is corporate-media so willing to provide wall-to-wall coverage of the
people's movement in Iran and graphic images of the Iranian government's
brutality, but unwilling to cover the progressive anti-war movement in
America and the police brutality here? Jingoism isn't journalism! Again, I
don't mean to diminish the momentousness of the socio-political happenings
in Iran, nor the valor of the Iranian people as they face off against their
I'm in awe of their patriotism and heroism and I want them to prevail.
Still I question whether corporate-media's intense coverage and
uncharacteristic emoting are in the best interests of the people of Iran.
As the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's graphic violence against the people is
continually televised, some in this country may soften to the idea of
American intervention in Iran, as happened with Iraq after ongoing
corporate-media/Bush administration/anti Iraq indoctrination. Absurd
inflammatory statements have already been made by corporate-media
representatives, notably by CNN, that can drive the case to support
military action. Witness the video below of CNN anchor Don Lemon's wanton
assertion of a correlation between Iran and Rwanda, suggesting that Iran
may be the new Rwanda and the United States may suffer similar regret for
non-action as it did for not interceding in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Here's the video of Lemon making that ludicrous comparison, which he has
made more than once:
I question the motives and involvement of the same corporate-media that
sold an unnecessary preemptive war and profited from its prosecution. I'm
suspect of a corporate-media that co-opts people's personal media reports,
then re-frames and retells them using the same corporate launch pads that
propelled an illegal war.
I'm distrustful of the same corporate-media that refuses to show graphic
murders in Iraq that involve our American military, but broadcasts murders
by the military of a nation America opposes. And worse, I'm infuriated by
that same Corporate News Network, CNN, that had the temerity on Sunday to
feature Paul Wolfowitz being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer in a discussion on
Iran. The same Paul Wolfowitz who was a principal architect of the Iraq
war, and who on Sunday used the ominous words "the darkness is falling" to
support his argument for outside "assistance" for Iran.
Really, CNN, have you no shame? I'm nervous folks. I hear the drums of
corporate-media pounding to engage Iran -- and they aren't pounding
diplomacy. I see a clear and present danger. I hope I'm wrong. And I
sincerely hope Barack Obama maintains his politically sound disengagement
and doesn't follow the drum beats to war.
Linda Milazzo is a Los Angeles based writer, educator and activist. Since
1974, she has divided her time between the entertainment industry,
government organizations & community development projects, and educational
© 2009 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/14091