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From the blog LiberalPro

usempire2006.gifI cannot watch the news on television anymore. I am tired of the lies told baldly to my face and the “spin” put on everything that is not in the Empires best interests. That is what we are; an Empire that rules the world in order for the benefit of The United States. Listen further my fellow Americans, when I say for the benefit of the United States, I am not talking about the people of the United States, rather I am talking about those that own and manage the United States. These people are the people in our government, our corporate leaders, and our mega-wealthy ruling class. The people of the United States are no more or less important to these people than anyone else in this world save for the fact that we pull the lever to put them in power.

Today that right is not even guaranteed. If this government can’t convince us with their fear and propaganda along with their wars and economic power over their own citizen’s to vote the cabal’s way, why… they’ll just change the vote! When there is no paper trail to visually verify the vote what are we left with, the word of the government official that tallied up the score? We saw this in our last two Presidential elections, will we see it again? Of course we will, for nothing has changed. We can’t even predict primaries on poll data; do you think something’s wrong here?

The people that promise to change the status quo are run out of the election by collusion between the corporate-run media and the corporate financed candidates. No one wishing to change the way this country runs can get equal footing with these “sponsored” candidates. What change will any of them bring? They will do as they are told and we will continue to have an Empire, again, not of the people for the people, but for the ones that control this nation’s destiny, and believe me brother, it’s not you or me. To these people that run this Empire we are a nuisance that they must deal with from time to time. We are allowed to believe that we are free by voting for one of them. Once in a blue moon we will actually get to vote for someone that is not part of the Empire, but that is a rare occurrence. We are the serfs of this Empire, back to being plundered by the “Robber Barons” and most people in this nation aren’t even aware of it.

This Global War on Terrorism is a lie. There are no Al Qaeda cells in every city in America and in over 60 countries in the world. This is the same “Red Scare” tactic our government has used so well since the end of the last World War. It is propaganda, pure bullshit. Deep in your hearts you know it’s true. To say or think differently would be seen as anti-patriotic. Well chew on this for awhile, why has this country been instrumental in bringing down close to 50 governments of other nations? Why did we finance the overthrow of Hugo Chavez in 2002 only to see his people rise up and re-install him? Why is Hugo Chavez, a man that works for the poorest of his country, so savagely attacked by the Empire? The reason is because like Fidel Castro, he won’t play the Washington game. He won’t sell his nation’s resources to the Empire for pennies on the dollar. Is he a threat to you? Is he a threat to any average American? The answer is obvious, but he is a threat to the multi-national oil cartel. The people controlling this Empire’s government will tell you any number of lies to watch out for their interests.

Why are we fighting in Iraq? Were we ever afraid of Saddam? Give me a break. We are fighting over there to pay for Lockheed-Martin and all the other defense contractors’ budgets. We are in Iraq to give the Empire military bases to control the Persian Gulf and to assert our presence to insure our interests. We care not for the people of Iraq, nor do we care for the soldiers that die on command. This is just another example of Empire at its most malicious. Killing, according to some estimates, over a million Iraqi’s and almost 4,000 American soldiers that die on the ground, many soldiers who died in the air on a medi-vac didn’t make the count. We have destroyed their infrastructure and now pay Halliburton, Cheney’s company to put the country back together with no-bid contracts.

We threaten Iran with attack for having the audacity to build a nuclear power reactor. The Empire which once overthrew their infant democracy and re-installed the Shah, now tells the people of Iran what they can and cannot do. Meanwhile the Empire is selling nuclear secrets to India and Turkey and is the world’s foremost owner of nuclear weaponry. How insane is this logic? Still, this is the dictatorial nature of the Empire that we let thrive and grow while they scared us with horror stories of “Evil Empires” out to crush us and our “freedoms”. Now we are locked into an Empire that we can’t reign in because they have shredded our Constitution and we have surrendered our rights as citizens.

In 2006 the American people sent the government a clear and concise message to this government. We elected the opposition party into power in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. We did this on the basis that they would rend the excesses of this administration and stop the war in Iraq. Yet to this day, there have been no meetings of oversight committees that have produced anything of note. Bolton and Miers thumb their noses at the contempt of Congress citation and the Speaker of the House puts out a civil suit. If this Congress had a backbone they would send the Federal Marshall’s to the White House and put them in jail for contempt! This won’t happen, and you want to know why? It’s because the majority of Democrats are a working part of the Empire. The people’s party has been hijacked from the common American by politicians with a median income of $675,000.00 a year in the House and $1.7 Million in the Senate. http://www.opensecrets.org/pressreleases/2008/CongressFinances.3.13.asp

This, my friends, is what you call an example of “Class War”. In this country we have the rich, the middle-class and the poor. The top 10% of the families in this nation control 71% of its wealth. This means that 90% of the people of this nation share 29% of its wealth. The median income of the Middle-Class is shrinking by $2,000.00 an year as we sell off our industries to countries that provide cheap labor. The individuals that own these industries care not if they stay in America to give its citizens work. We are expendable; the only thing that concerns these huge corporate interests is the bottom line. The Empire exists to serve its masters whether they are Americans or not. This is excessive, ruthless, unchecked capitalism of the worst sort. Unregulated economic barbarism for the influential and wealthy, the divide between the two major political parties has been bridged by wealth. The Unions have been bought off, the politicians work for their corporate masters and the corporate masters work for the American Empire because they are the Empire. We spend more money on the military than all the nations on Earth combined. We have military bases in 130 different countries.

How did this happen? The truth is that it has been going on for over 60 years. Almost everything our government in Washington tells us is a lie. They are so confident of maintaining power from either party that they hardly disguise the lies that they tell anymore. There is no great political genius waiting in the wings to give our government back to its people. There is no great movement that will restore our Constitution. Those on the left fight amongst themselves and those on the extreme right prepare for survival in a world gone mad. Meanwhile both factions have never been so close on their view of this government. This is underscored by the 9/11 truth movement that has both factions working together to find out what really happened on September 11th and who was involved.

On Wednesday, March 19th, there will be a mass civil disobedience demonstration on the steps of the Capitol. If you can be there, then be there. If you cannot attend, go to a rally near where you live. The future of this nation is at stake. This means our future is at stake. This monster that has been created must come to an end and this nation must return to its borders and re-join the community of nations. The simple fact is that all Empires fall. Do you want to be here when this one does?

That’s the way I see it.

posted by Timothy V. Gatto @ 8:25 PM

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Reuters

Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:32pm EST

By Randall Mikkelsen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A high-tech “virtual fence” on part of the U.S. border with Mexico is finally ready for service and the technology can fight illegal crossings all along the frontier, the Homeland Security chief said on Friday.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff made the announcement during a review of border-control efforts, at which officials also unveiled higher fines for employers who hire illegal immigrants.

Immigration, a highly charged political issue, has been at the forefront in this presidential election year. Republican front-runner Sen. John McCain of Arizona is fighting conservative criticism he has been too soft on illegal immigration, and Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama accuse the Bush administration of heavy-handed tactics.

boeing-virtual-fence.jpg


The so-called Project 28 “virtual fence” was built near Nogales, Arizona, by Boeing Co, covering a 28-mile (45-km) stretch of the border. The $20 million project of sensor towers and advanced mobile communications was supposed to be completed in mid-2007 but was delayed by software problems, drawing congressional criticism that continued on Friday.

“I have personally witnessed the value of this system, and I have spoken directly to the Border Patrol agents … who have seen it produce actual results, in terms of identifying and allowing the apprehension of people who were illegally smuggling across the border,” Chertoff said.

Clinton and Obama suggested in a debate on Thursday that high-tech surveillance could lessen the need for a planned 700-mile (1,130-km) border fence that has drawn opposition along its route.

Chertoff indicated the physical fence plans would not change, but said advanced technology would be deployed along much of the border.

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT

The Homeland Security Department is acquiring a fourth unmanned aerial vehicle for patrols and plans to get two more, he said. It also plans to increase the number of ground-based mobile radar surveillance systems to 40 this year, from six.

“In some form or fashion, technology is going to be virtually every place on the border, but it’s not necessarily going to be in the configuration of P28,” Chertoff said.

President George W. Bush asked Congress this month for $775 million to build more fencing along the southern border and install high-tech surveillance equipment and other infrastructure.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who heads the House of Representatives Homeland Security committee, said the virtual fence project relied too much on contractors and that Border Patrol agents were blocked from pointing out “obvious flaws,” impairing performance.

“I would hope that they (Homeland Security officials) have learned from these mistakes,” he said.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced the increase in employer fines at the news conference with Chertoff. “We are increasing civil fines imposed on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants by (an average of) 25 percent, the maximum allowed by law and the first such increase since 1999,” he said.

The new maximum fine for multiple violations will rise to $16,000 per illegal hire, from $11,000 currently.

Mukasey said the Justice Department also aimed to step up criminal prosecutions against the most egregious employers. It plans to add this year 50 new attorneys and 100 deputy U.S. marshals dedicated to border enforcement.

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As Senators Clinton and Obama prepared to debate in their state, Texans were marching in protest over the NAFTA superhighway known as the Trans-Texas Corridor, or I-69, the primary purpose of which is to speed the delivery of goods coming in from Mexico to proposed inland ports.

The TTC is planned to span the state of Texas from Laredo, on the Mexican border, to Texarkana, on the border with Arkansas, to continue north to Canada. The projected cost is $183 billion over fifty years, with no American companies expressing interest in financing it.

With no public approval required to begin construction, repeated calls against the TTC at public meetings, with seldom a word of support, may easily go unheeded.

“This is about international–global companies that are coming in and having their way with our politicians,” says Terri Hall of TexasTURF. “It doesn’t matter what does to the people in the path,” she continues, “it doesn’t matter what it does to our way of life…”

“Citizens here,” says an unidentified man at a public hearing, “are not going to bear the burden so Wal-Mart can get their cargo into the U.S. cheaper and faster.”

Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) is among opponents of the TTC, doubting the intentions of those planning its construction. He cites millions of acres subject to eminent domain, which the state promises to use against landowners who protest, and also notes that he has yet to encounter a person that supports the TTC.

“Frankly,” says Texas Department of Transportation’s Phil Russell, “we’re in a different day and age right now, and the way we built our roadways fifty years ago simply isn’t keeping up with the congestion that we’re seeing here in Texas now.”

“This is really messing with Texas,” quips an incredulous Lou Dobbs to anchor Bill Tucker. “You can’t tell me that Governor Rick Perry and the head of the Department of Transportation down there–that they’re dumb enough to say that, because all of this traffic’s coming out of Mexico, that Texas citizens should be funding the highway that is needed as a result of that traffic. That’s absolutely idiotic.”

“If people are putting up with this nonsense from their state government, and Governor Rick Perry, and their Department of Transportation,” Dobbs continues, “these aren’t the Texans that I know, and who I respect mightily.”

The report, broadcast on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight on February 19, 2008, is available to view below.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from rawstory.com posted with vodpod

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Lies and Spies

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

February 20, 2008

from Freedom’s Phoenix

President George W. Bush and his director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, are telling the American people that an unaccountable executive branch is necessary for their protection. Without the Protect America Act, Bush and McConnell claim, the executive branch will not be able to spy on terrorists, and we will all be blown up. Terrorists can only be stopped, Bush says, if Bush has the right to spy on everyone without any oversight by courts.

The fight over the Protect America Act has everything to do with our safety, only not in the way that Bush and McConnell assert.

Bush says the Democrats have put “our country more in danger of an attack” by letting the Protect America Act lapse. This claim is nonsense. The 30 year old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act gives the executive branch all the power it needs to spy on terrorists.

The choice between FISA and the Protect America Act has nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism, at least not from foreign terrorists. Bush and his brownshirts object to FISA, because the law requires Bush to obtain warrants from a FISA court. Warrants mean that Bush is accountable. Bush and his brownshirts argue that accountability is an infringement on the power of the president.

To escape accountability, the Brownshirt Party came up with the Protect America Act. This act eliminates Bush’s accountability to judges and gives the telecom companies immunity from the felonies they committed by acquiescing in Bush’s illegal spying.

Bush began violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in October 2001 when he spied on Americans without obtaining warrants from the FISA court.

Bush pressured telecom companies to break the law in order to enable his illegal spying. In court documents, Joseph P. Nacchio, former CEO of Qwest Communications International, states that his firm was approached more than six months before the September 11, 2001, attacks and asked to participate in a spying operation that Qwest believed to be illegal. When Qwest refused, the Bush administration withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Nacchio himself was subsequently indicted for insider trading, sending the message to all telecom companies to cooperate with the Bush regime or else.

Bush has not been held accountable for the felonies he committed and for leading telecom companies into a life of crime.

As the lawmakers who gave us FISA understood, spying on people without warrants lets a political party collect dirt on its adversaries with which to blackmail them. As Bush illegally spied a long time before word of it got out, blackmail might be the reason the Democrats have ignored their congressional election mandate and have not put a stop to Bush’s illegal wars and unconstitutional police state measures.

Perhaps the Democrats have finally caught on that they cannot function as a political party as long as they continue to permit Bush to spy on them. For one reason or another, they have let the Orwellian-named Protect America Act expire.

With the Protect America Act, Bush and his brownshirts are trying to establish the independence of the executive branch from statutory law and the Constitution. The FISA law means that the president is accountable to federal judges for warrants. Bush and the brownshirt Republicans are striving to make the president independent of all accountability. The brownshirts insist that the leader knows best and can tolerate no interference from the law, the judiciary, the Congress, or the Constitution, and certainly not from the American people who, the brownshirts tell us, won’t be safe unless Bush is very powerful.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison saw it differently. The American people cannot be safe unless the president is accountable and under many restraints.

Pray that the Democrats have caught on that they cannot give the executive branch unaccountable powers to spy and still have grounds on which to refuse the executive branch unaccountable powers elsewhere.

Republicans have used the “war on terror” to create an unaccountable executive. To prevent the presidency from becoming a dictatorial office, it is crucial that Congress cease acquiescing in Bush’s grab for powers. As the Founding Fathers warned us, the terrorists we have to fear are the ones in power in Washington.

The al Qaeda terrorists, with whom Bush has been frightening us, have no power to destroy our liberties. Compared to the loss of liberty, a terrorist attack is nothing.

Meanwhile, Bush, the beneficiary of two stolen elections, has urged Zimbabwe to hold a fair election. America gets away with its hypocrisy because no one in our government has enough shame to blush.

~~~~

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

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Former Mexican President Urges U.S. to Embrace “Solidarity” Not “Selfishness” as North American Union Unfolds

Aaron Dykes from JonesReport.com

February 16, 2008

bush_selling_out_america_to_vicente_fox.jpgFormer Mexican President Vicente Fox indicated that he would favor the emergence of a world government and also reaffirmed his support for a North American Union during a conversation with WeAreChange.org.

Fox told cameras, “I would love to see the process [of World Government] adapted to the local situation.”

Fox played down concerns that sovereignty would be compromised under NAFTA and other agreements facilitating integration– asserting claims that Germany and Great Britain had lost no sovereignty under the EU.

He indicated that the ‘original agreement’ under the SPP (Security & Prosperity Partnership) had not moved forward at the pace that he had desired, but that progress was underway. Fox expressed hopes that the next U.S. administration could reassess and advance the agreement.

Rest of the story and videos here.

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kosovomap.gif

Is Kosovo really an independent or sovereign country now? Who will really be ‘running’ Kosovo? Has the U.S. and NATO violated and ignored International Laws and seized additional ‘real estate’ property? Is this just another greedy oil seizure situation? Is gold involved? Is this a dirty trick to increase U.S. military presence around Russia? Is the U.S. trying to start WWIII with Russia or China? Or is it a combination of several of the above factors??

Seems the American people, and the people of Kosovo, are being led to believe that Kosovo is to be a sovereign country. Well, at least, this is what the mainstream media, NATO, the UN, and the USG want us to believe.

So what’s the REAL story?

Is MSM telling the WHOLE story?

Is the USG or NATO or the UN telling the WHOLE story?

Here’s what some folks think:

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/2/19/kosovo

http://members.iimetro.com.au/~hubbca/kosovo.htm

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/PatrickJBuchanan/2008/02/19/does_balkanization_beckon_anew

http://hannah.smith-family.com/archive/000959.html

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2997

What do YOU think?

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In his controversial new book, Nick Davies argues that shadowy intelligence agencies are pumping out black propaganda to manipulate public opinion – and that the media simply swallow it wholesale

The letter argued that al-Qa’ida, which is a Sunni network, should attack the Shia population of Iraq: “It is the only way to prolong the duration of the fight between the infidels and us. If we succeed in dragging them into a sectarian war, this will awaken the sleepy Sunnis.”

Later that day, at a regular US press briefing in Baghdad, US General Mark Kimmitt dealt with a string of questions about The New York Times report: “We believe the report and the document is credible, and we take the report seriously… It is clearly a plan on the part of outsiders to come in to this country and spark civil war, create sectarian violence, try to expose fissures in this society.” The story went on to news agency wires and, within 24 hours, it was running around the world.

There is very good reason to believe that that letter was a fake – and a significant one because there is equally good reason to believe that it was one product among many from a new machinery of propaganda which has been created by the United States and its allies since the terrorist attacks of September 2001.

For the first time in human history, there is a concerted strategy to manipulate global perception. And the mass media are operating as its compliant assistants, failing both to resist it and to expose it.

The sheer ease with which this machinery has been able to do its work reflects a creeping structural weakness which now afflicts the production of our news. I’ve spent the last two years researching a book about falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media.

The “Zarqawi letter” which made it on to the front page of The New York Times in February 2004 was one of a sequence of highly suspect documents which were said to have been written either by or to Zarqawi and which were fed into news media.

This material is being generated, in part, by intelligence agencies who continue to work without effective oversight; and also by a new and essentially benign structure of “strategic communications” which was originally designed by doves in the Pentagon and Nato who wanted to use subtle and non-violent tactics to deal with Islamist terrorism but whose efforts are poorly regulated and badly supervised with the result that some of its practitioners are breaking loose and engaging in the black arts of propaganda.

Like the new propaganda machine as a whole, the Zarqawi story was born in the high tension after the attacks of September 2001. At that time, he was a painful thorn in the side of the Jordanian authorities, an Islamist radical who was determined to overthrow the royal family. But he was nothing to do with al-Q’aida. Indeed, he had specifically rejected attempts by Bin Laden to recruit him, because he was not interested in targeting the West.

Nevertheless, when US intelligence battered on the doors of allied governments in search of information about al-Q’aida, the Jordanian authorities – anxious to please the Americans and perhaps keen to make life more difficult for their native enemy – threw up his name along with other suspects. Soon he started to show up as a minor figure in US news stories – stories which were factually weak, often contradictory and already using the Jordanians as a tool of political convenience.

Then, on 7 October 2002, for the first time, somebody referred to him on the record. In a nationally televised speech in Cincinnati, President George Bush spoke of “high-level contacts” between al-Q’aida and Iraq and said: “Some al-Q’aida leaders who fled Afghanistan, went to Iraq. These include one very senior al-Q’aida leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks.”

This coincided with a crucial vote in Congress in which the president was seeking authority to use military force against Iraq. Bush never named the man he was referring to but, as the Los Angeles Times among many others soon reported: “In a speech [on] Monday, Bush referred to a senior member of al-Q’aida who received medical treatment in Iraq. US officials said yesterday that was Abu al Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian, who lost a leg during the US war in Afghanistan.”

Even now, Zarqawi was a footnote, not a headline, but the flow of stories about him finally broke through and flooded the global media on 5 February 2003, when the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, addressed the UN Security Council, arguing that Iraq must be invaded: first, to stop its development of weapons of mass destruction; and second, to break its ties with al-Q’aida.

Powell claimed that “Iraq today harbours a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab al Zarqawi”; that Zarqawi’s base in Iraq was a camp for “poison and explosive training”; that he was “an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al-Q’aida lieutenants”; that he “fought in the Afghan war more than a decade ago”; that “Zarqawi and his network have plotted terrorist actions against countries, including France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and Russia”.

Courtesy of post-war Senate intelligence inquiries; evidence disclosed in several European trials; and the courageous work of a handful of journalists who broke away from the pack, we now know that every single one of those statements was entirely false. But that didn’t matter: it was a big story. News organisations sucked it in and regurgitated it for their trusting consumers.

So, who exactly is producing fiction for the media? Who wrote the Zarqawi letters? Who created the fantasy story about Osama bin Laden using a network of subterranean bases in Afghanistan, complete with offices, dormitories, arms depots, electricity and ventilation systems? Who fed the media with tales of the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, suffering brain seizures and sitting in stationery cars turning the wheel and making a noise like an engine? Who came up with the idea that Iranian ayatollahs have been encouraging sex with animals and girls of only nine?

Some of this comes from freelance political agitators. It was an Iranian opposition group, for example, which was behind the story that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was jailing people for texting each other jokes about him. And notoriously it was Iraqi exiles who supplied the global media with a dirty stream of disinformation about Saddam Hussein.

But clearly a great deal of this carries the fingerprints of officialdom. The Pentagon has now designated “information operations” as its fifth “core competency” alongside land, sea, air and special forces. Since October 2006, every brigade, division and corps in the US military has had its own “psyop” element producing output for local media. This military activity is linked to the State Department’s campaign of “public diplomacy” which includes funding radio stations and news websites. In Britain, the Directorate of Targeting and Information Operations in the Ministry of Defence works with specialists from 15 UK psyops, based at the Defence Intelligence and Security School at Chicksands in Bedfordshire.

In the case of British intelligence, you can see this combination of reckless propaganda and failure of oversight at work in the case of Operation Mass Appeal. This was exposed by the former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter, who describes in his book, Iraq Confidential, how, in London in June 1998, he was introduced to two “black propaganda specialists” from MI6 who wanted him to give them material which they could spread through “editors and writers who work with us from time to time”.

In interviews for Flat Earth News, Ritter described how, between December 1997 and June 1998, he had three meetings with MI6 officers who wanted him to give them raw intelligence reports on Iraqi arms procurement. The significance of these reports was that they were all unconfirmed and so none was being used in assessing Iraqi activity. Yet MI6 was happy to use them to plant stories in the media. Beyond that, there is worrying evidence that, when Lord Butler asked MI6 about this during his inquiry into intelligence around the invasion of Iraq, MI6 lied to him.

Ultimately, the US has run into trouble with its propaganda in Iraq, particularly with its use of the Zarqawi story. In May 2006, when yet another of his alleged letters was handed out to reporters in the Combined Press Information Centre in Baghdad, finally it was widely regarded as suspect and ignored by just about every single media outlet.

Arguably, even worse than this loss of credibility, according to British defence sources, the US campaign on Zarqawi eventually succeeded in creating its own reality. By elevating him from his position as one fighter among a mass of conflicting groups, the US campaign to “villainise Zarqawi” glamorised him with its enemy audience, making it easier for him to raise funds, to attract “unsponsored” foreign fighters, to make alliances with Sunni Iraqis and to score huge impact with his own media manoeuvres. Finally, in December 2004, Osama bin Laden gave in to this constructed reality, buried his differences with the Jordanian and declared him the leader of al-Q’aida’s resistance to the American occupation.

JONATHAN GRUN, EDITOR,PRESS ASSOCIATION

The Press Association’s wire service has a long-standing reputation for its integrity and fast, fair and accurate reporting. Much of his criticism is anonymously sourced – which is something we strive to avoid.

ANDREW MARR, BROADCASTER AND JOURNALIST

Thanks to the internet there’s a constant source of news stories pumping into newsrooms. Stories are simply rewritten. It produces an airless cycle of information. Papers too rarely have news stories of their own.

IAN MONK, PR

The media has ceded a lot of the power of setting the agenda; the definition of news has broadened to include celebrities and new products (the iPhone is a big story). But I don’t join in the hand-wringing or say it’s desperate that people outside newspapers have got a say.

JOHN KAMPFNER, EDITOR, NEW STATESMAN

Davies is right to point to the lack of investigative rigour: the primary purpose of journalism is to rattle cages. I was always struck at the extent to which political journalists yearned to be spoon fed. Having said that, I think he uses too broad a brush.

DOMINIC LAWSON, FORMER EDITOR SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

I’m not saying this is a golden age, but there’s a strong investigative drive in the British press. A lot of papers put a strong value on such stories. I suspect we’re about the most invigilated establishment in Europe.

CHRIS BLACKHURST, CITY EDITOR, EVENING STANDARD

I’m disappointed that a book which has as its premise the dictation of the news agenda by PRs should contain in it an anonymous quote from a PR criticising theStandard’s coverage of the Natwest Three.

HEATHER BROOKE, JOURNALIST

It’s not entirely true what Davies is saying. In the past, we just got scrutiny from newspapers and now think tanks publish results of investigations. But there’s an assumption that the public aren’t interested in government, just Amy Winehouse.

FRANCIS WHEEN, JOURNALIST/ AUTHOR

Davies is spot on. It’s reasonable that newspapers carry PA accounts of court hearings, but he’s right that there’s more “churn” now. Reporters don’t get out of the office the way they did once – partly a reflection of reduced budgets.

This is an edited extract from “Flat Earth News: an award-winning reporter exposes falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media”, published by Chatto & Windus, price £17.99. To order this title for the special price of £16, including postage and packaging, call Independent Books Direct: 08700 798 897

Independent.co.uk

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