One of the features of the post-modern media environment has been the apparently chaotic -- or even non-existent -- editorial department of various publications, particularly newspapers. [Editorial note: they must be emulating blogs in order to capture more market share!] What gets covered and what gets published appear to be part of a free-for-all rather a coordinated effort to inform the public. There is less and less real news, more and more fluff in practically all media, but within the context of what passes for Real News there are more and more outright lies and deceptions, less and less reliable information (after all, "facts have a liberal bias" and we can't have that!) and far too much "he said, she said" reporting when plain facts are staring reporters and editors in the face.
So it has been with coverage of the uprising, coup, and subsequent violence in Egypt. The Guardian has a particularly shameful record in that regard. A grotesque record when it comes to the bloody violence inflicted on protesters against the military coup and particularly with regard to the massacre of Muslim Brotherhood protesters in Cairo the other day. A massacre which the Guardian can't quite bring itself to call a massacre, but instead uses the shameful tactic of asserting that "some people say" there was a "massacre." Even going so far as to headline the "alleged shooting" at the Republican Guard Club.
What's odd about this is that the Guardian has had no problem reporting on the number of deaths and injuries in that morning's incidents -- more than fifty dead, hundreds and hundreds injured by gunfire from the troops and police -- but cannot bring itself to call it a massacre in part, it seems, because the Muslim Brotherhood calls it a massacre and the Egyptian Army disputes it, saying it was "self-defense."
Clue to Guardian "news" people: it literally doesn't matter whether a massacre has occurred in "self-defense" or not. It is still a massacre.
An indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of people: "the attack was described as a cold-blooded massacre". Verb
Deliberately and violently kill (a large number of people). Synonyms
noun. slaughter - carnage - butchery - bloodshed
verb. slaughter - butcher - murder - slay - kill
The reports I've seen elsewhere of what happened that morning in Cairo are doGawful, truly grotesque, murderous and bloodthirsty, deeply, deeply infuriating and tragic -- for the victims. Victims which include at least one police officer killed by the military in their frenzy to murder fleeing citizens. Not reported in the Guardian. I don't know whether it is true or not, but there have been some claims that all the police and military casualties (a few killed, somewhat more wounded) were due to friendly fire. Again, not reported in the Guardian. There were Army snipers firing into the crowds, fusillades fired from fixed positions at the crowds, there were chases through the streets and summary executions of unarmed citizens, housing was shot up, people were rounded up at random, and on and on. Little or none of it was reported in the Guardian.
Most of the Guardian's coverage was confined to official announcements and official reaction to charges by the MB, as well as ample coverage of denunciations of the MB by various well placed individuals. And the arched-eyebrow reactions of reporters to comprehensive eyewitness accounts of the mayhem and bloodshed.
It was typical of the kind of partisan reporting that passes for "news" these days, meant not to inform but to propagandize on behalf of a particular political interest or team, in the Guardian's case, on behalf of the Egyptian military and its supporters, who in turn are on the International Finance Team.
The headlines -- all of them -- should have said: "The Guardian Backs Military Coup In Egypt and Bloody Suppression of Dissent." It would at least have been honest.
It's obvious as sin what the Egyptian coup is all about, given the swift placement of Mubarak retreads and international finance figures into positions of authority and power in the so-called "transitional government." It's bloodier but not politically any different than the replacement of elected governments in Greece and Italy with lackeys to international finance. "Technocrats," I believe they are called.
It was called Gleichschaltung in the original German. Only now it is far more sophisticated and, if resisted, suppression is quite openly brutal. In the case of Egypt, suppression is murderous.
Back in the day a lot of Americans bridled at this kind of reportorial nonsense when it came from the New York Times or the Washington Post in support of the looming War of Aggression in Iraq. Many of us knew quite well that we were being propagandized with lies and deceptions from the government and in the media continually; it was plain as day. And yet strangely, many of the same people who clearly saw through the barrage of propaganda back then continued to rely on the NYT and the WaPo for authoritative news in the traditional sense, as they do today. If it's reported in the Times, or on the pages of WaPo apparently, it is a priori reliable and true. Unless what is reported is not in line with the current "progressive" position, in which case it is "obviously" propaganda.
The dissonance is striking.
When I've pointed out that it's better to be skeptical of everything in the Times and WaPo because their role is to propagandize on behalf of factional players in the game, the idea is met with outrage and derision. No, one has to pick and choose what one believes, and one should trust most of what appears in the Times and WaPo, because where else are you going to get accurate reporting and truthful news? Hm?
Now some of people who have come to rely on the Guardian for News That Is True are finding that in fact the Guardian is a factional player as well, and that what they publish is not necessarily true in any thorough or objective sense at all, any more than what is published in the New York Times is. [Besides, they're British, and the British media have long played games with the their readers and the truth, offering up falsehoods on a routine basis and telling tales, shall we say, rather than reporting truth, on a daily basis. It's part of the media culture in Britain that Americans tend not to be aware of.]
I've been skeptical of the Guardian's NSA series from the beginning, but their grossly distorted coverage of the Egypt Thing, particularly the massacre the other day, should be a clue to what is really going on in their newsrooms, and it should alert every reader to be skeptical of everything that appears on the Guardian's pages and at its website.