Saturday, May 07, 2005

Fun With Real "News" Stories

Sometimes a story from a supposedly objective mainstream media source is just so grossly biased that it screams out for parody. As someone who studied journalism in college, back in the day, I really don't know how creatures like Ian Simpson of Reuters can live with themselves. But that's just me, having been taught by an old school print journalist who had little use for "interpretive reporting" and especially detested "advocacy journalism", which he considered to be blatant propaganda.

Basic News Slanting Techniques
a lecture by Ian Simpson of Reuters

Now remember class, it's inevitable that the imperialists will have military successes in Iraq; after all, they have the most powerful war machine in the world. Your job is to minimise those successes, and always, always, always...dwell on the negative. As an example, here's the lead of a recent story I posted from Iraq:
U.S. leans more on Iraq troops to fight insurgents

MUQDADIYA, Iraq (Reuters) - When Major Mark Borowski
plunged with Iraqi troops into a date palm grove notorious as an insurgent hideout, he did something a U.S. officer would not have done a year ago -- almost nothing.

Now class, as you might imagine, this assignment was particularly distasteful, pointing out as it does the success of the Forces of Occupation and Suppression against the glorious Resistance. But notice how I turned that around. Instead of emphasizing the Iraqis' successful operation, I say that the American is doing nothing, even though he's in the middle of a combat situation, which is of course, dangerous in its own right. Also he's trying to survive in this environment while simultaneously observing and evaluating his Iraqi counterpart's performance. And how often have we printed stories about valiant journalists doing essentially the same thing? No Matter!- always look for the negative! Let's continue:
Borowski's hands-off approach during the dawn sweep by hundreds of Iraqi soldiers marked the changing role of U.S. troops as they shift the burden of fighting insurgents onto under-equipped, barely trained Iraqi troops and police.
I've managed to slip a couple of extremely negative value judgments in here - it helps when the editors are on the team - even though I have absolutely no expertise in evaluating the effectiveness of military operations. As you will learn, it doesn't matter. The public unquestioningly accepts the word of "journalists", because "journalists" tell them to do so. Lovely bit of closed loop feedback there, what?
The brigade-size raid through dusty streets and a maze of towering palm trees, irrigation ditches and thickets at Buhriz, a town about 50 km (35 miles) north of Baghdad, was judged by U.S. officers to have been a success.
Isolate the imperialists every chance you get, lads. And imply that what you just saw with your own eyes is some sort of propaganda.
I was pretty happy, this is a complex mission," Borowski, a battalion operations officer in the 3rd Infantry Division, told Reuters. "You saw the terrain. It was like the land that time forgot back there."

U.S. aircraft and artillery were available for support. But most of the few U.S. troops on the ground stayed close to their Humvees as Iraqi soldiers kicked down gates, searched through brush and bashed open the doors of uninhabited huts.
This is the most troublesome part of the story, because I was obliged to use some actual quotes, and these colonial wankers are just a bit too articulate. But I was able to bury it several paragraphs deep and minimise the damage. Plus, I slipped in that "uninhabited", just to make it all look like a wild goose chase, even though I admit at the end of the story that several suspects were detained, so, of course, not all of the huts were actually "uninhabited". Poetic license, lads.

Notice that we're already five paragraphs deep. Most people have stopped reading now, but, just to be sure, I've put the successful aspects of the raid at the very end, in the twentieth through twenty-third paragraphs. Right after six paragraphs (actually single sentences stretched into paragraphs for emphasis) of negative opinion about the Iraqis' equipment and training.
But despite the difficulties, the raid netted a heap of munitions, including an anti-aircraft gun and an army motorcycle with sidecar that a U.S. soldier rode down Buhriz's main street.

Several suspects were detained.

Iraqi commander Brigadier General Haad Ibrahim al-Tamimi was pleased with the result.

"With the help of the U.S. and relying on our soldiers we have driven the criminals out of here," he said.
And there you have it class. The successes of the American warmongers and that odious Blair wanker have been themselves successfully buried deep into the propag...journalism.