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Feature Story March 11, 2005
 
Dubleya Standards
You Either Censor Our Way, Or the Highway By Mark Ames Browse author Email
 
Page 3 of 6
 
I don't know if the Kremlin directly intervened to fire Shakirov-I'm not sure they need to anymore, but they might just to swing their dicks around-but the funny thing is, even after American officials PUBLICLY called for Koyen's newspaper to be trashed, Koyen still couldn't convince fellow Americans that the attack on the NY Press was really a government attack on outrageous, or rather "free" speech. Yet a single unnamed source within Izvestia is all it takes for the entire American populace to decide that Putin is a censorship-made autocrat (which, to be fair, he is, and a really clumsy, vulgar one at that: or wait, no, rather, he isn't, heh-heh, I hope he didn't hear that, heh-heh, Your Liberalness:).

Readers will object that substantively there's a massive difference between getting stomped for publishing a cheap joke belittling the Pope's impending death, which after all was designed to cause outrage, and getting stomped for printing the unbearable truth in Beslan, a vital truth that the Kremlin very crudely tried to manage. This is absolutely true-and points, in fact, to how much MORE insane America is than Russia. If American politicians can get away with calling for the effective censorship of a newspaper over something so trivial-and get the "owners" to fire the editor, as per the formula explained by Bush-then just think what would happen in America if the stakes were much higher, as they were in the case of Shakirov and Izvestia over Beslan.

But wait, we don't have to imagine! We can just look at the recent past, so effectively white-washed (or purple-washed or orange-washed) from America's collective conscience.

Let's go way, way back in time, to ancient history by American brain-stem standards. Yup, that's right, back to the spring of 2003, if you can put on your thinkin' caps, pop some gingko bilabo, and try remembrin' real hard-like. Cuz that's when Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Peter Arnett, probably America's most famous television war correspondent, was fired by NBC (as well as from National Geographic - which adds a kind of sinister humor to the story) on March 31st, 2003, roughly a week after the war started, for saying this during an interview he gave to Iraqi state television:

"The first war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance. Now they are trying to write another war plan. Clearly, the American war planners misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces."

That was it. He said: the flat truth. Nothing could be more threatening to an American than hearing the flat truth.

Almost no one, except for the usual crunchy crowd, objected when Arnett was fired- because technically, the "owner of the outlet" did the firing, not the government. Not that government officials didn't have their say. Former New York Senator Alfonse D'Amato said of Arnett's interview, "He gives aid and comfort to the enemy." Fox News' John Gibson said Arnett's interview seemed "to be supporting the Iraqi regime." A Republican Congresswoman from Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, called Arnett's comments "nauseating," adding, "It's incredible he would be kowtowing to what is clearly the enemy in this way."

NBC News President Neal Shapiro released a statement explaining his firing: "It was wrong for Mr. Arnett to grant an interview to state-controlled Iraqi TV, especially at a time of war, and it was wrong for him to discuss his personal observations and opinions in that interview." Shapiro would have done well in the Soviet Union. "It was wrong, petite-bourgeois, and deviationist for Comrade Arnett to speak to evil foreigners during a time of our historic struggle, offering his personal opinions:it was subjectivism and a betrayal of the Party:"

Never mind that everyone from President Bush, Vice President Cheney and war architect Paul Wolfowitz have all subsequently admitted exactly what Peter Arnett said: that the American war plan misjudged the determination of the Iraqi resistance. The point is that mainstream American journalists are not supposed to try to shape reality our exhibit behavior contrary to what those in power expect.


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Ames
Browse author
Email Mark Ames at editor@exile.ru.
 
 
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