Newspaper Charges Military With Censorship Over Critical Reporting From Iraq

logoheader2160px-1st_Cavalry_Division_-_Shoulder_Sleeve_Insignia.svgThe respected newspaper Stars and Stripes has raised the alarm of censorship against the military. Stripes receives federal funding for the coverage of the military, but has long earned the respect of journalists for its independent reporting. An editorial raises a very disturbing incident involving the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division.

Federal law protects the editorial independence of Stripes. Yet, the First Cavalry reportedly refused to embed journalist Heath Druzin because the high brass did not like Druzin’s earlier reporting. The reason giving for the rejection is clear content-based retaliation against both Stripes and Druzin. The Army specifically noted that it did not like how Druzin reported that Mosul residents wanted Americans to leave. Major Ramona Bellard, a public affairs officer, wrote that “[d]espite the opportunity to visit areas of the city where Iraqi Army leaders, soldiers, national police and Iraqi police displayed commitment to partnership, Mr. Druzin refused to highlight any of this news.” That pretty much defines content-based manipulation and censorship of the media.

The Army appears to either not care or be clueless about such abuse. Lt. Col. David H. Patterson Jr. stated “U.S. Army units in Iraq remain committed to the media embed program and appreciate objective media reporting. The relationship that Druzin established with the command during a previous embed did not facilitate being invited back.” It appears that “objective” in the new military speak means reporting that it agrees with.

During the Bush Administration, the military engaged in acts that came close to propaganda and maintained false stories as in the case of Pat Tillman and the rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch.

The fact that the Obama Administration would tolerate such an attack on journalistic ethics is particularly distressing and should be the subject of an immediate congressional inquiry.

For the coverage by Stripes, click here.

For the full story, click here.

10 thoughts on “Newspaper Charges Military With Censorship Over Critical Reporting From Iraq”

  1. General McChrystal Pat Tillman

    Meet the Press Take 2 web extra video regarding Pat Tillman and General McChrystal’s cover up of a fraudulent Silver Star recommendation.

    This is the same general asking for at least 40,000 more troops for the AfPak ‘war’ on ‘terrer’….

    Jon Krakauer

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032608/vp/33573505#33573505

    —–

    Also more @:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/01/jon-krakauer-mcchrystals_n_341545.html

  2. “Journalists have standards? that is a hoot. more like lap dogs of the DNC.”

    If you keep saying that loudly enough, with your fingers firmly embedded in both ears, you may even come to believe it yourself. It also helps if you scream la-la-la at the top of your lungs whenever reality tries to intrude on your very active fantasy life.

  3. Found at Glenn Greenwald and well worth thinking about:

    “At Balkinization, Law Professor Alice Ristroph also notes the relationship between (a) the impact which inflammatory images of violence in Iran have had and (b) Obama’s efforts to suppress inflammatory images involving the U.S. Government:

    To defend this decision, [Obama] drew a distinction between information and image, claiming that the photos would not provide any new information and would inflame anti-American sentiment. The latter worry has some merit—just as Ahmadinejad is right to believe that images of Iranian protests will inflame anti-Iranian (or anti-Ahmadinejad) sentiment. But the claim that the photos of detainee abuse have no independent value is wrong. Sometimes, images convey ideas and information for which we have no words. Sometimes, as Iranian tweeters know, images will capture attention in ways that words will not. And sometimes, as General Eisenhower knew, images can make us speak and think about subjects that we would otherwise like to avoid.

    If there’s one thing Americans need more of — not less of — it’s vivid evidence of what it means to have a Government that systematically tortures — for the same reason that all the words in the world could not have conveyed the violence of the Iranian government.”

  4. I really respect the Stars and Stripes for standing up to the Pentagon. Think about our WH press corp(se). There are few things more creepy than watching them hear lies and laugh. Remember Rumsfield and his henny-penny the sky is falling down? Well that was about the truth in Iraq and most of those sycophants laughed. Remember Obama’s spokesdroid and his distraction of taking a “reporter’s” ringing cell phone. More laughter. Only a few people in that group, most notably, Helen Thomas have a shread of integrity. The Stars and Stripes understands journalism. They take a real risk in opposing the Pentagon. If you’ve dealt with the govt. you know it can find incredible ways to punish those who challenge them. The newspaper was very smart to report this illegal activity.

    Yes, this should be taken before Congress. Our press is a sad excuse for journalistic integrity. Stars and Stripes is to be commended for knowing what reporting is and going to the wall to support actual investigative, objective analysis.

  5. Full Disclosure and protected sources always works well, especially when you have a person trying to right a wrong.

  6. Journalists have standards? that is a hoot. more like lap dogs of the DNC.

  7. Good on you Stars and Stripes. In an era when access is exchanged for silence, you decided to be journalists, not traders.

  8. Stars and Stripes,

    What Jill said. Good show. The Constitution thanks you.

  9. This is not the only case of censorship. The army’s report on civilian causalties in Afghanistan is being whitewashed. There’s a real back and forth with the Afghan govt. and human rights groups on one side and the Obama administration on the other.

    We should also remember that Obama has suppressed pictures of torture in the name of national security. Glenn Greenwald has an excellent contrast between Obama’s response to the censorship of Neda’s pictures by the Iranian authorities and his own refusal to submit the pictures of US wrongdoing. It’s in today’s column.

    Excellent work, Stars and Stripes. You are showing a lot of courage. Keep it up.

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