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[IAC] A.N.S.W.E.R. Fact Sheet on the Media

A.N.S.W.E.R. FACT SHEET – The Media and the Government The State Of The "Free Press" After October 7 —
A.N.S.W.E.R. FACT SHEET The Media and the Government

The State Of The "Free Press" After October 7


In the past weeks, images have been seen around the world of

bombings of villages, hospitals, mosques, Red Cross

facilities and more. What has been the response of those

dropping the bombs? The U.S. and England are opening what

they call Coalition Information Centers a plan for

24-hour-a-day domination of the news to manipulate and

refute these images.

In the last weeks, the Bush administration, the Pentagon and

the CIA have been battening down all of the hatches to

deprive the people of the United States of any independent

source of information. Why is the government so afraid that

people in the United States will have the opportunity to

receive uncensored news and information? It is because the

Bush administration, having learned a crucial lesson in

Vietnam, knows that if the people actually learn the truth

about the war, they may become its most vocal and effective


In some countries, governments have waged violent and

repressive wars against journalists. Reporters have been

arrested and even killed, fear has been installed in those

who seek to go against the government. But that is not the

case in the U.S. Reporters here dont have to be arrested

or shot or even threatened. These big capitalist media

realize that their real function is to be the public

relations arm of the Pentagon. They are engaging in


U.S. textbooks teach of a U.S. media that is distinguished

from the media in vast parts of the globe because it is a

free press not a state-run media, but an independent

media, free from government supervision and dictates.

But since September 11, 2001, and especially since the

bombing of Afghanistan began on October 7, it would be very

hard to assert that there is a free or independent press in

the United States. (Those who have studied the

corporate-dominated media know that there wasnt much of a

free press in the U.S. prior to September 11 either,

though there is a growing progressive media independent from

corporate domination.)

Did you know that ...

On October 7 the day the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan

the National Imagery and Mapping Agency signed a contract

for exclusive rights to all commercial satellite imagery of

Afghanistan and other countries in the region. The U.S.

governments National Imagery and Mapping Agency is a

top-secret Defense Department intelligence agency, and it

is currently in negotiations to renew its contract, which

expires November 5. It paid $1.91 million for the first 30

days of the contract. (Reuters, 10/30/01, US in talks to

keep rights to satellite images)

On October 10, White House national security adviser

Condoleezza Rice met with major U.S. television networks and

asked them not to show videotaped messages issued by Osama

bin Laden live and unedited. They agreed to this request.

MSNBC and Fox News did not air at all the next statement

issued by bin Laden, and CNN showed only brief excerpts.

On October 11, the Bush administration asked newspapers not

to print statements issued by Osama bin Laden. They agreed.

On October 17, a closed-door meeting was held between

network heads and studio chiefs in Hollywood and members of

the Bush administration. Deputy Assistant to the President

Chris Henick and Associate Director of the Office of Public

Liaison Adam Goldman represented the Bush administration in

the meeting, where Hollywood heads committed themselves to

new initiatives in support of the war on terrorism. These

initiatives would stress efforts to enhance the perception

of America around the world, to get out the message on the

fight against terrorism and to mobilize existing resources,

such as satellites and cable, to foster better global

understanding. (Variety, 10/18/01, White House enlists

Hollywood for war effort, By Peter Bart)

On October 30, the chairman of CNN and its head of standards

and practices sent memos to the CNN staff relating to their

coverage of the war. In the first memo, Walter Isaacson,

the chairman of CNN, said it seems perverse to focus too

much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan. The

memo sent by Rick Davis, the head of standards and

practices, continued, it may be hard for the correspondent

in these dangerous areas to make the points clearly. Davis

actually suggested language for anchors to use while footage

of civilian casualties was being shown: (1) We must keep in

mind, after seeing reports like this from Taliban-controlled

areas, that these U.S. military actions are in response to a

terrorist attack that killed close to 5,000 innocent people

in the U.S. or (2) We must keep in mind, after seeing

reports like this, that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan

continues to harbor terrorists who have praised the

September 11 attacks that killed close to 5,000 innocent

people in the U.S. or (3) The Pentagon has repeatedly

stressed that it is trying to minimize civilian casualties

in Afghanistan, even as the Taliban regime continues to

harbor terrorists who are connected to the September 11

attacks that claimed thousands of innocent lives in the

U.S. He concludes, Even though it may start sounding

rote, it is important that we make this point each time.

(CNN Chief Orders Balance in War News by Howard Kurtz,

Washington Post 10/31/01)

On October 30, British Defense Minister Geoff Hoon met with

U.S. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, to stress Englands

concern about the fact that public opinion in Britain and

the rest of Western Europe has been turning against the war,

largely because of the increasing reports of civilian

casualties from the bombing. A Western diplomat quoted in

the New York Times said, the collateral damage doesnt make

nice pictures in the newspapers. The Times also reported

that The European public appears more concerned about

civilian casualties than ending the war swiftly. Senior

Blair adviser Alstair Campbell met with U.S. Presidential

Counselor Karen Hughes about concerns about public opinion

in Europe and the Middle East. (U.S. Campaign on 2nd Front:

Public Opinion by Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt, New

York Times, 10/31/01)

On October 31, Taliban representatives held a press

conference in Pakistan to announce that over 1,500 people

had been killed in the first 24 days of bombing, mainly


On October 31, at a joint press conference with British

Prime Minister Tony Blair, Syrian President Bashar Assad

said We cannot accept what we see on the [television]

screen every day hundreds of civilians dying.

On November 1, the U.S. and Britain jointly opened

Coalition Information Centers in Washington DC, London and

Islamabad, Pakistan. These centers will allow for

24-hour-a-day efforts to dominate news coverage of the U.S.

and British bombing of Afghanistan. Their focus will be on

rebutting reports of civilian casualties. It will include

press conferences, speeches and Internet reports staggered

to target morning and evening coverage in the U.S., Europe

and the Middle East and South/Central Asia. The State

Department is planning its own effort to circulate

information on the Internet and providing downloadable

information sheets to be used by U.S. embassies worldwide.

(U.S., Britain Step Up War for Public Opinion, by Karen

DeYoung, 11/1/01 Washington Post)

On November 2, New York Times Op-Ed writer Thomas Friedman

wrote, A month into the war in Afghanistan, the

hand-wringing has already begun over how long this might

last. Let's all take a deep breath and repeat after me: Give

war a chance. This is Afghanistan we're talking about. Check

the map. It's far away. (One War, Two Fronts, by Thomas

L. Friedman, NY Times, 11/2/01)


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