NEWS BANNED, CBS SHOULD BE
By Jon Christian Ryter
August 10, 2005
On Tuesday, August 2 the Russian government announced it would not renew the accreditation of any journalist working for ABC News. Boris Malakhov, the deputy government spokesman, said that the decree from Vladimir Putin ends ABC's ability to gather news in Russia. Russian defense minister Sergei B. Ivanov branded ABC as an "outlaw" network and ordered the military not to speak to any journalist associated with ABC until their accreditations expired and the network people could be expelled from Russia. In addition, the Putin Foreign Ministry launched a formal complaint through the US State Department against ABC because the network used a journalist, Andrei Babitsky, who had no accreditation as a correspondent to interview the Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev (who ordered the Sept. 3, 2004 assault on a public school in Beslan in North Ossetia, Russia where 344 people—172 of them children—died). Babitsky is a Russian who now lives in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He has not returned to Russia since the interview
When ABC went to Chechnya on June 22-23 last year to interview Basayev the network left in the report that aired Basayev's groundless statement that the Russians themselves had shot down the two downed Russian passenger airplanes on August 24 last year. The two planes crashed shortly after taking off from Moscow. One of the two planes transmitted a distress call to the tower moments before it crashed, saying they had been hijacked. One of the planes, a Tu-134 airliner with 42 people on board crashed 125 miles south of Moscow at about 10:56 p.m. The second plane, a Tu-154 with 44 people on board went missing near Rostov-on-Don, about 600 miles south of Moscow. (Earlier in the same interview Basayev, who appeared muddled and confused at times, took credit for downing the two Russian airliners.)
David Westin, president of ABC News responded to the Putin rejection of ABC by saying the network would not allow "...any government to deter us from reporting the news fully and accurately." Westin, like the rest of the executives at ABC News who approved the broadcasting of terrorist propaganda disguised as news, has no concept of what 'fair and accurate" reporting means. To the liberal media, fair and accurate reporting means giving equal air time to enemies of the United States or its allies—and then allowing them to make groundless, disputable claims about the United States and its allies to justify their own actions against the American people.
In 1986, Nicholas Daniloff of US News & World Report was arrested for espionage before being expelled from Russia towards the end of the Cold War. The last foreign reporter expelled from Russia was Steve LeVine. LeVine was a stringer for the Washington Post and Newsweek, but also did some pieces for the Financial Times of London and the New York Times. He had his visa revoked in 1995 and was expelled from Uzbekistan on orders from the Kremlin. LeVine is now a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal in Kazhahstan.
LeVine wrote several articles that appeared in the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Washington Post and Newsweek that were critical of the government of Uzbekistan and how it handled its ethnic problem. Foreign journalists face restrictions concerning their coverage of the Islamic problem in the former Soviet Union, in particular in Chechnya. News reports about the Chechen rebels are rigidly censored to make sure that journalists do not portray the Chechen rebels as "victims"—a practice long observed by the liberal media in the United States not only with respect to Chechnya, but with the Muslims in Palestine, and the "insurgents" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
More recently, in 2004, Vibeke Sperling an ultra-left pro-Islamic reporter for the Danish Politiken, complained that she had been denied a visa to enter Russia because of her reporting in Chechnya. Lucie Morillon, the Washington, DC representative of Reporters Without Borders, an international journalist advocacy group thinks it is appalling that Russia —which claims to be a democracy—would revoke visas or not issue them to journalists who refuse to cover what is happening in Chechnya the way Russia wants the Chechens represented to the world.
America has seen first hand how Islamic terrorists—whether in the United States, England, Russia or Israel—are positioned by ABC News, CBS News and CNN and by the major metropolitan newspapers in the United States. Islamic terrorists—whose preferred targets are innocent women and children—are viewed by the liberal media, at worst, as "insurgents." At best, they are called freedom fighters. At the very least, the differences between insurgents, terrorists and freedom fighters are sufficiently blurred so that those who defend themselves against the Islamists are painted as being equally as violent as the terrorists. The American media, playing politics because the mid-term elections are only 16 months off, have done the same in how they represent the terror cells of Jordanian extremist Abu Muscab Zarqawi in Iraq. Zarqawi's terrorist rebels are presented by the liberal media as freedom fighters, the Sunni opposition to the American-backed Shi'ite government of Iraq, or simply as "insurgents."
Not even the Wahabbi-inspired Islamic extremists who flew three 757 jet airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were labeled as terrorists by the liberal media in the United States—which actually helped fan the conspiracy fires that implied the Israeli Mossad was behind 9-11 and that United Flight 77 did not hit the Pentagon and that it was internal sabotage and not United Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 11 that brought down the twin towers.
ABC News, if you recall, banned their on-air reporters from wearing American flag lapel pins shortly after the World Trade Center-Pentagon disaster, suggesting that Americans were overdoing the patriotic bit by saying that the lapel pin flags might be viewed as offensive to viewers in other nations. Makes you wonder exactly what audience it was that ABC was trying to attract.
CBS News broke the Abu Ghraib scandal on May 5, 2004 by showing the sordid photographs of hooded Iraqi detainees being sexually abused by a half dozen American soldiers—two of whom were female. The unnecessary photo collage—also displayed on the front pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, Time magazine and ultimately, every newspaper in the United States and around the world—unleashed a severe backlash against the United States throughout the Muslim world, giving theoretic justification to the extremism of Abu Muscab Zarqawi, who responded to the CBS photo op by beheading first Nick Berg, a American Jewish communications tower rigger three days later, on May 8, 2004.
Berg, a cable and satellite TV installer, went to Iraq to look for work against the advise of the State Department. His decapitation, like that of Paul M. Johnson, Jr. was videotaped and aired—uncensored—on Al Jazeera TV. Johnson, a Lockheed Martin employee, was beheaded on June 18, 2004, almost a month and a half after the Abu Ghraib scandal. In both cases, the Arab media justified the decapitations based on the Abu Ghraib photos.
Shocking as it was to America's moral sense, the Abu Ghraib scandal was grossly overemphasized by the Democrats and by the liberal media. CBS insisted it was showing the photographs only to make certain the Bush Administration did not try to sweep the scandal under the rug. Before CBS News aired the story, it knew that the Army's Judge Advocate General [JAG] had notified Congress and the White House in January—5 months before CBS received the photographs—that an incident had occurred at Abu Ghraib. What Dan Rather and CBS did not mention, nor did the New York Times or the Washington Post, was that a military investigation had been conducted between January and March, 2004 and that Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba was just completing his 53-page Article 15-6 report on the incident, naming several officers—including the commander of Abu Ghraib, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, two colonels, six field grade officers and about two dozen enlisted personnel.
When CBS News advised the Pentagon it was about to break the scandal, Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs advised CBS and Dan Rather that showing the photos on TV would create a backlash that would cost American lives. CBS, using the same poor judgment shown over the past four years by ABC, opted for the headlines instead of protecting American lives. They broadcast the damning photographs. The first civilian victim of CBS's poor judgment was Nicholas Berg. Paul Johnson followed. Soon ritualistic decapitation was a regular feature on Al Jazeera TV. Following the executions of the two Americans at the hands of Zarqawi, Sunni dissidents in Fallujah attacked four security contractors from Blackwater Security Consulting, killing them. The insurgents then ignited their car. The charred bodies of the four Americans were videotaped as the insurgents dragged their charred bodies through the streets of Fallujah. Two of the corpses remained sufficiently intact to be hung from a bridge as a warning to Americans to stay out of the Sunni Triangle.
Tragically, the sole purpose—and the unspoken agenda of the liberal media—for placing, and keeping, the Abu Ghraib scandal on the front pages of America's newspapers was to inflict as much political damage as possible to George W. Bush in an election year when the President's popularity was soaring in the polls at home even as it sagged in France, Germany and Russia (we now know because of bribe-taking by high-ranking officials in all three of those countries who profited exorbitantly from Iraq's Oil-For-Food program which was actually an bribery scheme in which UN officials turned a blind eye while France, Germany and Russia supplied Saddam Hussein with both weapons and intelligence in exchange for oil given not to those nations but to political officials within them).
The fact that the CBS News report further damaged America's ability to work diplomatically with its Arab allies was seen, by Senate Democrats like Ted Kennedy as an unexpected bonus. On the floor of the US Senate on Monday, May 10, Kennedy screamed into the network news cameras: "Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new managementÑthe US [military]." Kennedy added that the prison abuse scandal represents a "...disaster policy by the administration in terms of leadership, in terms of control, in terms of command...We have gone from the most respected nation in the world in terms of human rights...[to the] most hated nation in the world as a result of this disastrous policy in the prisons." Every word spoken in condemnation of the Bush Administration made headlines in the Arab world.
President George W. Bush should have, at the very least, revoked the White House press credentials of CBS News for irresponsible journalism when it released photos of Abu Ghraib. Why? Because what CBS did was not only irresponsible journalism, it was biased journalism designed not to report the news, but to embarrass the President of the United States for political gain.
Very specifically, the tactics used by CBS under the guise of "reporting" caused the deaths of both Nick Berg and Paul Johnson. It also resulted in the deaths of four the Blackwater Security people in Fallujah and it caused the deaths of countless American soldiers in the Sunni Triangle due to a massive influx of very angry Islamic insurgents from Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Jordan who joined Zarqawi's band of terrorists only because American soldiers had disgraced their Islamic brothers. There was no better recruiting poster for Islamic insurgents than the Abu Ghraib photographs.
However, where Putin—who doesn't answer to the American voter—had the spine to ban ABC News from Russia, Bush lacked the backbone to address the issue of media integrity here at home. Had he done so, his actions would have be construed by the media as a punitive measure directed at the media for being the sentinel of liberty. The Constitution of the United States protects the media from an overzealous government because the Founding Fathers knew it was government that could not be trusted—and a free press was needed to inform the people. But, what happens when the media is as corrupt as government at its worst? The biggest problem facing America today is that it can no longer trust its national media. The media, like any special interest group officed along K Street in Washington, DC, has its own agenda that has nothing to do with the honest reporting of the news. The major shareholders of the largest media companies in the United States are the same people who are shoveling money into the campaign war chests of Congress to create the laws and regulations they need to control not only Main Street America but Commerce Avenue in the emerging global economy. Therefore not only do I think the government has a right to curb media extremism by limiting the media's access to restricted areas within its offices to attend press conferences by Administration officials, I think it has an obligation to the American people to do so when the media becomes a rogue elephant because of its special protections under the First Amendment. Checks and balances were painstakingly built into the Constitution to limit the power of each branch of government. The media of the day—small family-owned newspapers throughout the colonies—were provided special protection under the Constitution so that the press could not be controlled by, or would not be obligated to, the largess of government. It was specifically for that reason that in 1910 the wealthiest families in America—those families which were trying to influence the passage of the 16th Amendment and create the Federal Reserve—began silently buying the controlling interest in the most influential newspapers in America.
According to a March, 1915 entry by US Congressman Oscar Calloway in the Congressional Record, "...J.P. Morgan interests...got together with twelve men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States. These men...select[ed] 179 newspapers, and then began by the process of elimination to retain only those necessary for the purpose of controlling [the news]. They found it was necessary to purchase control of 25 of the greatest newspapers." Today the invisible puppet master—the Money Mafia—that became a consolidated force in America with the birth of the Federal Reserve which is a private banking institution which they own—now more than ever before, determines not only the news that is fit to print, but which news becomes news. So what do we do when the fail-safe system becomes part of the problem? We do what we are doing. We create our own fourth estate and we check each other.
© 2005 Jon C. Ryter - All Rights
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Jon Christian Ryter is the pseudonym of a former newspaper reporter with the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel. He authored a syndicated newspaper column, Answers From The Bible, from the mid-1970s until 1985. Answers From The Bible was read weekly in many suburban markets in the United States.
Today, Jon is an advertising executive with the Washington Times. His website, www.jonchristianryter.com has helped him establish a network of mid-to senior-level Washington insiders who now provide him with a steady stream of material for use both in his books and in the investigative reports that are found on his website.
President George W. Bush should have, at the very least, revoked the White House press credentials of CBS News for irresponsible journalism when it released photos of Abu Ghraib. Why? Because what CBS did was not only irresponsible journalism, it was biased journalism...