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Posts Tagged ‘War’

Blog 2: Syrian War

September 14, 2015 1 comment

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WAR – HMPH – YEAH

March 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Challenging the president and or military leaders during war can bring some good and some bad to situations. For the people (since our government is “for the people”) it affects two different crowds – the aware and the unaware. For those that are aware, those that are politically knowledgeable and engaged – it often answers some questions but develops independent opinions. This is good. For the unaware crowd it develops mostly questions but pulls the crowd to believe the opinions towards those of the source in which they received it. This is not good.

Time of war is already a difficult time for the nation because it is often the people who suffer. It is the people who have the close relatives fighting in a foreign land to protect the things we call “privileges of freedom” (if that is what we are REALLY fighting for).

In a time of crisis, such as the events of September 11, 2001, the role of a reporter changes dynamically.  For these times of crisis as much as a reporter wants to be that person to bring the news first, bringing the credible news or have their name as the one reporting this is when they realize they are still human and things such as emotion become present.

I personally believe challenging the president and military leaders during a time of crisis like September 11 ads to an already confusing time. If the nation is at an upheaval, the time to go against the government and its leaders might not be right then. I remember hearing my first political discussion after the September 11 attacks and it did nothing but create more confusion and emotion distress in the small room we were in. Just taking that small scene and multiplying it by 200,000 to encompass most of the different political views, religious views and social expectations I can only imagine what it does on a large scale.

BLOG 4: Big Brother’s Not Watching, But the Media Should Be

February 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Excuse me and not to be overly cliche and borderline-paranoid, but I think every good discussion on the role of the media deserves a quote from our friend, George Orwell.

And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed-if all records told the same tale-then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past. (1984, Book 1, Chapter 3)
Call me paranoid, but Orwell has a point. Maybe it’s a little strong to say that the government is capable of imposing such authority over the past and present, but isn’t the core of the idea–that the absence of questioning the government leads to what is accepted as the absolute truth–chilling? What is the (American) government if not a body that must persuade us, its democratic citizens, that the decisions it’s making–both in times of peace and war, but mostly in times of war–are the correct decisions, guided by some almost otherworldly moral compass that isn’t quite divine if only because that would be a serious breach of the separation of Church and State?
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The point here is simple, but important–for the government to not have such unparalleled, unquestioned influence over the course of political events, it is absolutely essential for the press to not only be free, but to play an active, inquisitive role in society. This means more than simply publishing official resources or questioning Obama’s decision to appear on the Daily Show instead of reforming economic initiatives. What it means is that, yes, the media–especially the news media–have an almost moral obligation to not only report the news at its core, but to analyze it in such a way that is critical in nature, even if that might be perceived as accusatory.
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Here’s the thing. It’s true that the press, much like the rest of the United States, is almost charged with a moral obligation to be as patriotic as it is possible to be. We all like the Red, White, and Blue, we get it. However, it’s absolutely ridiculous to accuse the press of being unpatriotic or even treacherous for challenging the President or Congress for certain policies, statements, or actions–even if those policies, statements, and actions come during times of war or distress.
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The media’s role is to question the President, to challenge Congress, to report the facts and investigate the statements given beyond the obvious. It isn’t a job that begins and ends in times of peace. On the contrary, the media’s role is even more crucial during times of war and emergency because an objective, third party observer is almost necessary to ensure that no impulsive actions are taken needlessly.
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As normal citizens, we don’t have access to the kinds of links, resources, and evidence that those in the news media industry have. We’re reliant on what the media presents to us and what meager intellectual, intuitive capabilities that we have. In some of our cases, that isn’t much at all. If CNN and Fox News insist that Saddam Hussein has Weapons of Mass Destruction hidden under every building in Baghdad, then who are we to think otherwise? If MSNBC reports that Congress has passed legislation that singlehandedly cures the Middle East of its sectarian problems, then why would we deny this is the truth? CNN, Fox News, MSNBC have resources that we don’t have.
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This is a problem when those sources come directly from the government and aren’t analyzed, sifted through, or even questioned. That’s not our job, Olbermann. Isn’t that why we’re paying you? It’s the sad truth that most consumers of the media just want to be hand-fed information and even the synthesis of that information. If that synthesis falls short because the media are “in bed” with the government, then the average understanding will fall short as well.
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That is not to say blogs and the Internet aren’t changing that to some extent, but it’s going to be quite a while before most consumers of news media drift away from relying on the major networks and news media to play that critical watchdog position.
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Since that’s the case, I don’t really want to know how much Wolf Blitzer agrees with Obama’s decision to buy a Portuguese Water Dog or how much Glenn Beck thinks that Rahm Emanuel is the antichrist just because he might theoretically look like one.
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What I want to know is: what are the real reasons we went into Iraq, why did we not prevent 9/11 when we had previous intel that it might happen, why is the government so paranoid about the WikiLeaks, how could our democracy-toting Congress and President side not pull support from Mubarak during the Egyptian Revolution, and why is it okay to blacklist CIA whistleblowers?
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No, I don’t think challenging the government makes you unpatriotic or a terrible human being. I think it makes you someone Orwell would be relieved to know. xoxo!

Blog 4: Journalism

February 27, 2011 1 comment

When I first saw the topic for this blog, many thoughts popped into my mind. I have many opinions on how journalists should act during a crisis. Obviously, there are many journalists who will support the things that a certain President/Military leaders do, but there will always be some who do not support them. That is the great thing about our 1st Amendment right of free speech. Journalists in this country are allowed to speak their mind, and their opinions. In many other countries, saying bad/negative things about the government, etc can cost a journalist their career, or even life. In this famous video, an Iraqi journalist throws his sweaty shoe at George W. Bush. I think it can be assumed that in other counties if a journalist had thrown his shoe at the country’s leader, that would not be tolerated.

I think that journalists have the right to challenge the President/Military leaders during a war. However, I do not think that it is always the right thing to do. I think that journalists should, and have the right to question what is going on, but that their goal should not be trying to scare the country. If a journalist does not agree with something, they have the right to question it, and investigate further, but they should do it in such a way that does not scare the people, and does not make them question or fear their government.

After a major tragedy, such as September 11th, I think initially journalists need to stand by their country. They need to report the facts, and stand united. A great example of a journalist being very Patriotic is Dan Rather, of CBS News. As we watched in class, when he appeared on Dave Letterman soon after 911, he appeared very Patriotic, and even cried when discussing the tragedy. In his interview, he stands by George W Bush, even stating “George W. Bush is the President, and he makes the decisions.”

I think Dan Rather was a great example that day of how journalists should act during a crisis. He stood by the President and his country, and made America proud.

The role of journalists during and after a crisis is to get the news out there. The American public need, and have a right, to know what is happening on any given day in their country, especially during a crisis. Journalists need to report the facts.

Blog 4: The Role of Journalist during Wartime/Crisis

February 27, 2011 1 comment

I believe that journalist should question the government in times of crisis, but our news media often blurs the line of objectivity.  While there are minor exceptions to this role (i.e. Knight Ridder and Christiane Amanpour), many media outlets let the government doing the talking because they aren’t asking the right questions to get to the “final proof.”

Journalists are often considered part of the “fourth estate” when it comes to the government “as an additional check on the three official branches.”   Our country’s founders discussed the “freedom of the press” in the Constitution’s First Amendment, which many see as a need for truth and news for our country from the very beginning, protecting us from “the worst forms of tyranny.”  But, unlike doctors and lawyers, journalists don’t take an official oath; it is up to the individuals and news organizations to ensure that they follow some sort of code to ensure public trust and to distribute the truth.  Georgetown Law laid out the most important rule in Media and Journalists in Society: “The information must be accurate; it must be presented objectively and interpreted fairly; and it must, if an expression of editorial opinion, be answerable.”

As journalists strive to deliver the news, the truth easily gets lost in the process.  In times of crisis, is American patriotism or accurate reporting necessary?  This is where the line is blurred. As American citizens, we want the truth, but as we discussed in class, when the New York Times reported unpatriotic “truths,” protesters lined their sidewalks. They were called out for being anti-American while simply trying to inform the public.  So what DO Americans want?  It seems we say one thing, but do the other when it comes to journalism and politics.

Former CNN reporter Amanpour attempts into the “watchdog role” in her reporting, but it has caused criticism from many outlets:

“Some people accused me of being pro-Muslim in Bosnia, but I realised that our job is to give all sides an equal hearing, but in cases of genocide you can’t just be neutral. You can’t just say, ‘Well, this little boy was shot in the head and killed in besieged Sarajevo and that guy over there did it, but maybe he was upset because he had an argument with his wife.’ No, there is no equality there, and we had to tell the truth.”

Moyer’s documentary discussed how the Bush administration ensured that the approved reporters were able to ask questions. This is where the problem lies – journalists have to ask questions and get answers to really report a story, but if they aren’t given the fair opportunity, how can they report the truth?  The Bush administration was extremely wary of the press, which inhibiting this coverage.  Bush once responded to a reporter asking difficult questions:

“You’re assuming that you represent the public. I don’t accept that.”

No matter what ethics code a journalist stands by, if the opportunity doesn’t present itself, the news cannot report the full story.

“It’s a question of being rigorous. It’s really a question of really asking the questions. All of the entire body politic in my view, whether it’s the administration, the intelligence, the journalists, whoever, did not ask enough questions, for instance, about weapons of mass destruction. I mean, it looks like this was disinformation at the highest levels.” – Amanpour

While I agree there needs to be some secrecy in government (and I don’t agree with the Wikileaks’ goals), there needed to be more of a challenge to the Bush administration post-9/11.  For instance, how exactly do Saddam Hussein and the Al-Queda link?  What proof is there of weapons of mass destruction?  The intentional internal leaks are frightening to me as a journalism student.  We received the information the government wanted us to hear about Iran/Iraq but not what we needed to hear.  Reporters and anchors, like CBS’ Katie Couric, cannot just simply repeat the government-framed information.

The juggling game continues.  As newsroom budgets and staffs get cut, can the American public accept a “sleeping watchdog” press, which advocates for objective news, but doesn’t practice it?   With only the Knight Ridder Washington bureau questioning Bush’s post-9/11 movements, it seems as “cheerleading” for the presidential policies is much more encouraged post-crisis.  I don’t think we would be in such a mess now, if the press had only questioned Bush’s actions at the time.  The media must practice objective reporting now, so we don’t have to pay for misinformation later.

Blog 12(11): From One Generation to Another

November 17, 2010 Leave a comment

I think that being a democratic citizen in 2010 does not mean the same thing as what it did when my parents were my age and when my grandparents were my age.  From generation to generation the issues change and so does what is important to a generation.  It’s just like when our grandparents tell us that they walked up hill both ways in the snow to get to school when they were kids.

Political involvement then meant volunteering on campaigns and getting involved in protests and joining groups that made a difference, not that this is not what happens today it just happens in a different way.  College students of today are engaged in a different way thanks to technology.  Now we join groups on Facebook and instead of protests we write blogs, and we still do volunteer on campaigns, but the process is a different one.

When  we get out political information is also different.  Newspapers and radio were our grandparents generation; radio, newspapers, and television were our parents; and now we have the Internet and all of the other information outlets as well.  But we use all of them, just some more than others with the Internet in our cases.

Challenging Government during War-Time

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

The question of challenging the president or military leaders during time of war is loaded.  There are questions and challenges to be made and asked at every level.  Starting with the basic: should we go to war? Then to: What is the plan exaclty?

Pre 9/11 I’d say yes, absolutely challenge a huge decision like going to war.  “Buying the War” mentioned how Pres. Bush had a press release with a list of journalists that he could call on.  They only asked surface questions.  They did not even ask about how Iraq was connected to the terrorist attacks on 9/11.  TThey all just agreed with him, the video said there wasn’t even any hard evidence to back up Bush’s claims during his press release that led to war.  Why did no one question this? Because the US was attacked and the overall census was to retaliate but at who?  The Government picked Iraq and Afghanistan and off we went to war.

The entire time the decisions listed above were being made, journalists were practically forced to agree with the president or they were being un-American and unpatriotic. 

Ideally, during a crisis the journalists would provide the facts of the situation so that the government and the nation can make informed decisions.  After the crisis, the journalists should review the facts and the decisions made and criticize/analyze whether the government made the right decisions.

Who knows where we would be if the papers and television crews had reported a little less on the emotional side of 9/11 facts and a little more on the critical side of the situation and the possible outcomes.