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7 Oct 2004 - MiddleEast.Org - MER is Free
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MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 7 October: The moderators -- both from the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) -- could have, and should have, asked hard, probing, unexpected questions like this:

"Mr. President and Senator Kerry:
Recently the International Court of Justice nearly
unanimously ruled about the illegality of Israeli policies
in occupying the Palestinians. And recently still another
Israeli spy scandal erupted in Washington. Isn't it time
to reevaluate the massive financial and military support
the U.S. alone provides yearly to Israel"?

"Mr. Vice-President and Senator Edwards:
Today the U.N. Security Council passed, but the U.S.
vetoed, another resolution about Israel. Only the U.S.
voted Against. How can there be a real peace between
Israel and the Arabs if nearly the whole world sees things
one way and only the U.S. and Israel always seem
to see things and do things otherwise?"

But of course the unspoken reality is that the recent moderators, Jim Lehrer and Gwen Ifil, are hired and well-paid never to ask tough questions of this kind. They are professional journalistic softball players, always holding back, always deferring to authority and their corporate sponsors, and when it comes to Israel never being direct and candid. This is not only always reflected by the questions they ask, but even more by the questions they do not ask and the very narrow range of persons they invite to be asked any questions at all.

Of course it is these underlying realities that explain why the two parties chose PBS's Jim Lehrer and Gwen Ifil to be the moderators of the first Presidential and the only Vice-Presidential debate, now history.

How things really work in Washington and the interlinkages between the media, the government, and the funding corporations -- many of them major players in the military-industrial complex -- is a crucial theme MER deals with frequently. The following article specifically about the premier PBS program that Jim Lehrer hosts every weekday, "The News Hour", was published by Mark Bruzonsky last year as the invasion of Iraq was underway:


"The News Hour" and the Horrors of War
by Mark A. Bruzonsky
MID-EAST REALITIES - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 1 April 2003:

For years now the well-known PBS TV Program "The News Hour" has served as a kind of quasi-government interview show for the American establishment - top heavy with government officials, former government officials, friends, colleagues, and apologists.

Sponsored by big on-the-make on-the-take corporations, produced at the top by a group of 'liberal' pro-Israeli Jewish personalities - Executive Producer Lester Crystal the most prominent - "The News Hour" did its thing Monday evening as Marine Corps General Peter Pace, no less than the deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, rushed from the nearby Pentagon to do his duty -- in this case to coverup and deceive.

And as usual for "The News Hour" this senior government official was greeted with smiles and pleasantries, softball questions, no serious counter-views, and certainly no challenging follow-up questions of any serious nature...well you get it by now.

Meanwhile, even The Washington Post, not to mention more tell-it-like-it-really-is foreign news organizations, were already beginning to report that the story put out by General Pace was simply not true -- based on actual eye-witness accounts. Either General Pace had been lied to by his own commanders in the field, or he was purposefully out there attempting to lie and deceive the American public (the more likely case based on past precedent).

Meanwhile, shamefully, PBS, Jim Lehrer, Lester Crystal, and the quasi-government "News Hour" program, did what their sponsors and their government want them to do, pay them to do, and reward them for doing with ever more access, more guests, more sponsorship, and more awards.

Oh yes, this particular coverup having failed due to the eye-witness reports, today the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs huried forward to make a half-hearted public apology for killing the civilians...but said nothing about why General Pace tried at first to cover it all up.

Meanwhile as well, true to form, 'The News Hour" this evening put on two like-minded "analysts" with another Pentagon official to talk about the relationship between the media and the military and about the cozy "embedding" policy. They all agreed it was a really good thing, thanked the Pentagon for being so helpful, and competed to condemn Peter Arnett for courageously telling the truth from Baghdad (as of yesterday Arnett by the way now works for non-American news agencies).

* The author's bio and publication information can be found at:

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