| Thursday, January 05, 2006
| CONTROVERSY: 2005 YEAR IN REVIEW
|THE MOST OVERHYPED AND UNDERREPORTED STORIES OF THE YEAR.
As one would expect in a year when one of the underreported stories was out government's covert propaganda campaigns, there's plenty to unravel; stories that should never have been stories, stories whose reporting largely missed the point, and stories barely told at all in mainstream US media.
** THE YEAR'S 10 MOST OVERHYPED STORIES **
1. THE FATE OF TERRI SCHIAVO.
Somehow, the fate of a woman who hadn't done much more than twitch in nearly two decades became a crude political football for pandering presidents and members of Congress. They should be ashamed -- as should themedia outlets that milked this non-story for weeks.
2. INTELLIGENT DESIGN (SIC).
3. THE "WAR ON CHRISTMAS".
What do all three of these items have in common? They were all introduced and hammered into self serving "controversies" by the right wing echo chamber at times when they really wanted to make sure the public wasn't paying attention to congressional or White House scandals, a disastrous war or the death of a major American city.
4. EVERYTHING'S GOING SPLENDIDLY IN IRAQ.
From the myth early in the year that Bush's vision for democracy was spreading like wildfire throughout the Middle East, to the notion that Iraqi troops were trained en masse and ready to fight, to entrie mythical "progress" in Iraq's economy and reconstruction, to the prediction, dutifully trotted out during three separate elections, that each such election marked a major turning point and a crippling blow for the insurgency, to an insurgency in its "death throes", it was hard to take seriously anything the White House said about Iraq. Yes, remarkably, large segments of U.S. media did just that.
5. MICHAEL JACKSON'S TRIAL.
6. MARTHA STEWART'S COMEBACK.
7. JULIA ROBERT'S BABY.
OK, OK, any of the beautiful people.
8. HOWARD DEAN.
Now the Democratic National Committee head, Howard still shoots off his mouth (often accurately), and Republicans still get themselves all in a knot whenever he does. Get over it. He's a glorified party fund raiser now, not a public official. What he says about public policy does not matter.
9. PAT ROBERTSON.
He wants Hugo Chavez deac. He threatens Dover, Penn., on behalf of God who apparently can't speak for Himself. He thinks New Orleans' suffering is punishment for not meeting his warped idea of mrality. WHO CARES. The publicity just encourages him.
A few hundred yahoos on the Mexican border, and a few dozen on the Canadian border, prove only that there are still unemployed racist idiots in Orange County and its spiritual equivalents.
THE YEAR'S 10 MOST UNDERREPORTED STORIES
1. GEORGE BUSH IS ALREADY A LAME-DUCK PRESIDENT.
There's usually a year or two grace period after the president is elected for the second time when he can point to his second election victory as vindication for his policies and use it to get some important legislation passed. Bush has squandered his election victory. All the major initiatives he wanted to pass in Congress this year, from the privatization of Social Security to the permanent renewal of the Patriot Act provisions, have gone down in flames, even with a solid Repuboican majority in both houses.Meanwhile, members of his administration are leaking stories of Bush administration misdeeds every week.
2. THE UNITED STATES IS BECOMING A TORTURE REGIME.
Numerous aspects of this abomination remain undercovered. The year was full of shocking revelations about how far the Bush administration has taken us into totalitarian atrocities; the NSA listening to and reading U.S. citizen's foreign telephone calls and e-mail without warrants; the Pentagon spying on peace groups; the rendition of prisoners to secret CIA detention centers in Eastern Europe; the testimony of former prisoners at Guantanamo and victims of rendition that they were brutally abused in prison; more evidence that the United States maintains secret detention centers around the world; the Guantanamo Bay hunger strikers; dozens of deaths of "war on terror" prisoners in U.S. custody; the Graham Amendment, whcih voids habeas corpus for suspects in the "war on terror" and renders moot a Supreme court challenge to Bush's military tribunal system; the Army's newly expanded list of permissible interrogation techniques; the evidence that the decision to employ torure began at the highest levels of the White House -- the list goes on and on.
3. IRAQ IS SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL.
Ethnic and sectarian hostilities have turned into open street battles between Siite religiuos factions, beattles between factions of the Sunni insurgency, mass killings of Sunnis by Siite death squads, secret arrests, government sanctioned torture of prisoners, and mass migrations of people between neighborhoods, cities, and provinces -- an outright Balkanization of Iraq. Iraq's oil fields are rapidly deteriorating from a combination of sabotage and neglect. Oil exports are down drastically, leaving the Iraqi government withou money to pay salaries of the teachers, doctors, police and other civil servants. Meanwhile, corruption is rampant at high levels in the Iraqi government while smaller, local governments run a=on extortion and bribery ( a matter of basic survival when they're not getting paid a regular salary).
4. SAY, WHERE IS OSAMA BIN LADEN, ANYWAY?
5. THE DOWNING STREET MEMOS.
Ignored for weeks by U.S. media until he blosphere buzz became simply to loud, these early revelations of "fixing the intelligence around the policy" have now gone dwon the memory hole again. But their content has been completely corroborated by subsequent revelations.
6. BUSH WANTED TO BOMB AL-JAZEERA HEADQUARTERS IN QATAR.
This British report was squelched by the Official Secrets Act, but not before it caused a sensation around the world because of its detailed plausibility -- except in the United States, where corporate media dismissed the allegation out of hand.
7. THE ECONOMY IS BALANCED ON A KNIFE-EDGE.
The Bush administration would like you to forget that the United States has a record trade deficit, a record budget deficit and that the housing market -- the one thing that's kept the United States economy afloat for the past three years -- is beginning to cool a little too quickly for comfort.
8. THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S CONTINUED ATTACKS ON THE ENVIRONMENT.
From criminatl attempts to stop the implementation of the Kyoto global warming treaty and a possible successor to the privatization of public lands to drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. press has'nt cared much about Bush's shocking attempts to pillage the enviroment the same way his adminsitration has pillage the public treasury.
9. REPUBLICAN CORRUPTION SCANDALS.
Some four dozen congressmen, mostly Republican, have been confirmed as taking money from Jack Abramoff or his clients at about the same time they took legislation action favourable to Abramoff or his clients. Tom DeLat and Jack Abramoff are just the tip of the iceberg, but our compliant press has trouble seeing even that much. Now the Supreme Court is reviewing the Texas redistricting scheme that helped the Republican win a bigger majority in the House -- a scheme that was undertaken by the Republicans after their own Justice Department had ruled it unconstitutional. This should be a much bigger scandal.
10. FAILURES OF HOMELAND SECURITY.
Hurrican Katrina, racism and gutting of FEMA. This was a huge story that while briefly covered extensively by the U.S. press, disappointed from the mix far too quickly and without enough analysis. And both the corruption of rebuilding contacts and the complete subsequent abandonement fo New Orleans by the feds have recieved virtually no attention.
(Source :AlterNet.Org by Geov Parrish - is a Seattle based columnist and reporter for Seattle Weekly. In These Times and Eat the State! He writes the Straight Shot Column for WorkingForChange.)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 9:03 AM