Wednesday, December 14, 2005

NBC Nightly News - reporting from a parallel universe

I often watch the NBC Nightly News for unknown reasons. I have mentioned before that I feel that their Iraq coverage is extremely biased but tonight there were some fluctuations in the barrier between universes and for brief moment I was able to see what NBC nightly news would be like if there was an attempt to be principled.

The first fluctuation occurred in the middle of an "update" on last night's story on how the Pentagon was spying on anti-war groups and labeling them as "threats" they were reporting on how the fallout from this issue was continuing to result in sharp criticism (last night they fantasized about how this was exactly the same kind of thing that went on during the Vietnam war and contributed to the end of that war) when all of a sudden they mentioned that the Pentagon had responded to the charges. The information was collected by law enforcement agencies like the FBI so the charge that the Pentagon is spying on citizens is... (what is the euphemism that the media uses when they are caught lying?) controversial. The other source of this information is the military recruiters who these people are screaming at which explains why the military has labeled some of these groups as potential threats and why they are looking at these groups to begin with. They are concerned about the safety of their employees. (The bastards! Their kind always sticks together.)

NBC presented the original story as if peace groups were being labeled as threats, presumably to national security, simply because of their anti war activities. This kind of behavior by the Pentagon is quite unbelievable to the public and for good reason. It did not happen. I have, however, seen footage of some of these anti-recruitment protestors in action and frankly I would consider them a threat to the safety of recruitment personnel quite easily.

Still, NBC did at least give the Pentagon's side of the story which is actually quite a step. Usually if they don't like the information in question they just don't report it. Fortunately NBC in Bizarro world is somewhat more conscientious. Luckily for me, Bizarro NBC was partially visible tonight.

The regular NBC came back and Brian Williams trotted out the old canard about not reporting good news from Iraq because it is too dangerous for journalists to function there except when they are gathering reports on bombings - they can get to any town in seconds of an explosion - and of course they could not report on stories done by the Iraq media because... um... (Strange that they could get reporters into war zones with bullets hitting the walls behind them in the 1980s and 90s but being driven to a location like an electrical plant or a sewage treatment plant or a school by an Iraqi while the American journalists hides in the legwells is too much of a risk for modern news bureaus to take. Workers comp. rates must have gone up.)

Then there was another fluctuation and the Bizarro NBC actually reported on some of the good news in Iraq:
  • The Iraqi stock exchange
  • A female Iraqi broadcaster who was thankful for the liberation
  • The fact that 60% of the respondents to a recent pole in Iraq said that while they wanted the US troops to leave, they did not want immediate withdrawal (the 40% who wanted immediate withdrawal were not broken up into whether they wanted this because they resented the US presence or because they thought that the terrorists would stop if the US pulled out. At least, if such a distinction was made it was not during the viewable portion of the alternative universe's broadcast).
Nothing about the reconstruction of infrastructure or the employment trends over the last few years and such were aired but parallel universes do not stay in contact for long it appears. Still it was fun to see how the other world lives.

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