Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Masters of Misinformation: Embedding Begins in New Orleans

I am catching up on my reading about Katrina. I have posted these comments here, as they relate to what I and many othres consider to be the most important struggle in the world today, whether in Ukraine or anywhere else; namely, the information struggle. The Bush administration and it stooges are masters of ''embedding" false images and half truths in the American mind.

One could also call it the sterilization of truth.

This is from Democracy Now! I reccommend reading the site for on the ground coverage of what is really happening among the city's people (also try reading the European press).

Friday, September 9th, 2005
Is the Government Trying to Stem the Tide of Images From New Orleans by Threatening Journalists?

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Journalists covering New Orleans in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina report that militarization in and around the city has hindered their work and threatened their physical safety. We hear from two journalists who were reporting in New Orleans recently. [includes rush transcript]
The journalists who have been covering Hurricane Katrina have literally been risking their lives for the last week. Reporters have been stationed in and around New Orleans since the Hurricane hit and have tirelessly reported on the devastation to the city. Some journalists have expressed enormous outrage at government officials for their slow response. A few television reporters openly broke down on air as they report the horrific conditions and the desperation of victims. Reporters have witnessed the militarization of the city and are starting to feel the effects of the government crack-down on information gathering. FEMA is now rejecting requests by journalists to accompany rescue boats searching for storm victims. In addition, journalists are being asked not to photograph any dead bodies in the region. NBC News Anchor Brian Williams reported on his blog, that police officers had been seen aiming their weapons at members of the media. And a blogger named Bob Brigham wrote a widely read dispatch that the National Guard in Jefferson County are under orders to turn all journalists away. Brigham writes: "Bush is now censoring all reporting from New Orleans, Louisiana. The First Amendment sank with the city."

Earlier this week, Reporters Without Borders issued a warning about police violence against journalists working in New Orleans. They highlighted two cases – in one case police detained a Times-Picayune photographer and smashed his equipment to the ground after he was seen covering a shoot-out with police. In the second case, a photographer from the Toronto Star was detained by police and his photos taken from him when police realized that he had snapped photos of a clash between them and citizens who the police claimed were looters.

  • Tim Harper, reporter with the Toronto Star
  • Jacquie Soohen, Independent film maker with Big Noise films. Among her films - "Zapitista" and "Fourth World War," where she traversed the globe – from South Africa to South Korea, from Argentina to Iraq- documenting anti corporate globalization struggles.
The interview is here.

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