Independent Media in a Time of War

Independent Media in a Time of War

Amy Goodman:

journalists, mainly unembedded reporters like those at the Palestine hotel. Everyone knew where the Palestine hotel was and it was packed with hundreds of reporters who are packed in like sardines when the U.S. military shelled the hotel, killing a Ukrainian cameraman. Killing a Spanish cameraman and then there was Tareq Ayub (sp), who is the Palestinian Jordain reporter who had just come in from Jordan and was at his office at Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera had given the coordinates to the office repeatedly to the Pentagon and maybe that was their first mistake.

NEWS CLIP: We gave them the exact location in terms of longitude and latitude. The height of the building from the ground.

AMY GOODMAN: Because the Pentagon dropped a missile on the Al Jazeera offices and killed the 34-year-old journalist. His wife, wailing in Amman at the funeral said, “hate breeds hate.” The U.S. said they were doing this to route out terrorism, who’s engaged in terrorism now? Abu Dabi TV, which was right next door, their competitor, the reporters were still broadcasting as the tanks surrounded them and they knew that they had already bombed the Al Jazeera offices, pleaded with anyone to help save them as the tanks surrounded and shelled their offices. In this country, there has hardly been a peep from the establishment mainstream media objecting to what the U.S. military has done. Pentagon spokesperson Victoria Clark, she was in charge of the Washington office in the first gulf war when that 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl gave that heart-rending testimony before the Human Rights Caucus about how she watched Iraqi soldiers drag Kuwaiti babies out of incubators. Turned out it was all a hoax, she was never there. She’s the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador. Well the Pentagon was very impressed and she’s now their spokesperson.

The two Spanish journalists who died. Two, Jose Cousa from Telecinco. He was a cameraman and also the Spanish reporter who died, Julio Anguita Perado (ph), a reporter for Spanish newspaper El Mundo. When this happened the Spanish reporters, back in Spain, said “no” and they engaged in a one day strike. When the Prime Minister of Spain came to the Spanish Parliament, they laid down the tools of their trade, they put down their cameras, their pens and their pencils, they laid down the cables and the microphones and they turned their backs and said “Shame”, that they would not record the words of the powerful who have condoned these acts. And then they went outside, hundreds of media workers. These were the elite journalists of Spain and they stood outside the U.S. Embassy, they blocked the intersection and they chanted “murderer, murderer”.

As the press in this country, unfortunately people like Ann Garrells of NPR, said that Tareq Ayub should have known better than to be in his office. The Agence France-Presse reporter in New York was outraged as he listened to this report. They got calls from all over, “How dare you blame the victim” and she a reporter herself and I watched on CNN as Aaron Brown asked General Wesley Clarke why this happened and he said, “well this was clearly a mistake”. And Victoria Clark is put on saying that “they should know Baghdad is dangerous and they should not be there”. I believe that’s the role of reporters to go to where the silence is, to bring us the voices of people who are at Ground Zero. Now it’s one thing if they were killed by others but they were killed by Victoria Clark’s own troops and she never apologized. The pentagon has yet to do that and now 14 journalists are dead.

It is a very strong message that is being sent to the world’s reporters now that this embedding has become such a success. And that is you’re in bed with the military or well, think about the Palestine hotel.

Independent Media in a Time of War


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