Monday, November 14, 2005

An Open Letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

An Open Letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Jim Glover

Dear SLPD:

In your editorial of November 12, you continue to beat up on military whistle-blower Jimmy Massey, who had the temerity to point out that our brave men and women in uniform in Iraq might not be acting as humanely as our mythology would have them do. You conclude by congratulating yourself as follows: “Absolute truth is hard to come by, but as the bloggers bloviate and the blowhards blow, good reporters and good newspapers are out there digging.”

Really?


Perhaps, then, you could answer a few questions that have been bothering me about good newspapers:

1. Why has the Post-Dispatch done more digging into one former Marine’s allegations – which are actually quite consistent with many other stories reported in non-U.S. newspapers – than it did into the far more important allegations that our government was making in the build-up to the illegal Iraq invasion?

2. Why was the Post-Dispatch, for example, not “out there digging” into those statements by Bush, Cheney, Rice at al. about “WMDs” and “stockpiles” of anthrax and “dual purpose” aluminum tubes and “yellow cake” from Niger?

3. Where were your “good reporters” when you acted as if you were nothing more than Tony Blair’s stenographer by passing along his ridiculous fairy tale of Iraq needing just 45 minutes to wreak unspeakable havoc on England?

4. Why did you virtually ignore statements by well-informed dissenters like former weapons inspector Scott Ritter?

5. Why did you never even mention the (well documented) story, reported by Newsweek on February 24, 2003, that Gen. Hussein Kamel, a key Iraqi dissident source used by the Bush war promoters to scare everyone, had also said that all the weapons he told our CIA about had been destroyed? [1] A web search of your archives shows that you were aware of Newsweek’s existence because you passed along other Newsweek stories from that time, such as one about actor Nick Nolte’s drug problem [2], which, it would seem, was more important.


6. Why did you not “dig into” an explanation for why statements about Iraq’s threat to the U.S. changed dramatically soon after 9/11, even before there was a chance of any real new intelligence? (For example, Colin Powell told “Face the Nation” in February 2001 that “We have been able to keep weapons from going into Iraq….it's been quite a success for ten years.” [3] And Tenet, also in February 2001, told Congress that although Iraq should be always be under suspicion, “We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since (Operation) Desert Fox to reconstitute its WMD programs.” [4]

7. Why do you find it appropriate to say in two different articles that Massey outright lied about his alleged U.S. war crimes, yet you never use the L-word in relation to the clearly much bigger and clearly more deliberate lies by our government that led to the destruction of an entire country?

8. Why have you been so reluctant to “dig into” the many other war crimes we have more recently committed and continue to commit every day? Why, for example, did you find it unnecessary to even mention the recent showing on Italian television of a film called “Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre,” which depicts, among other crimes, the burning away of Iraqi civilians’ skin by internationally-banned weapons used by the U.S., and contains damning testimony from other U.S. combatants that sound a lot like what Massey said? [5]

9. Why have you not “dug into” the reports of our troops isolating entire Iraqi cities from the outside world – cutting off their electricity, for example -- and then occupying their hospitals, killing civilians, and destroying as many as two-thirds of residents’ homes, making refugees of hundreds of thousands at a time? [6]

10. Have you decided that the literally thousands of reports of U.S. war crimes in reputable newspapers around the world are ALL merely “bloggers bloviating and blowhards blowing.”

11. Your bashing of Massey has mainly been done by an “embedded” reporter named Ron Harris. [7] Do you honestly feel that government-sanctioned and –censored writers constitute an honorable and trustworthy system of “good reporting” and “good newspaper” work?

12. Your publisher, the once-widely renowned Pulitzer Inc., was gobbled up last June by Lee Enterprises, a Delaware-based corporation that now owns 58 daily papers in 23 states, and nearly 300 other “shoppers” and businesses. According to its web site, five of its six top priorities for 2006 do not include any reference to “good reporting” or “quality journalism.” The exception is the priority of “strong local news.” The priorities do include, however, “grow[ing] revenue creatively and rapidly,” and “exercising careful cost controls.” [8]

May we assume, then, that the purpose of the Post-Dispatch is officially no longer actual journalism, but rather the selling of advertising in the most efficient way possible in order to best enrich the shareholders and upper-level managers of Lee Enterprises?

13. Any thoughts on why so many American readers have indeed lost confidence in their newspapers, and turn instead to bloviating bloggers and on line papers from other, less “developed” countries?

[1] http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1845

[2] http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=list&p_topdoc=31

[3] http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5680.htm

[4] http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5680.htm;
http://www.iraqwatch.org/government/US/CIA/CIA-2-23-01.htm.

[5] http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10907.htm

[6] http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7298.htm; http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m17796&date=14-nov-2005_00:39_ECT

[7] http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/politics/story/51DC19D72A063D2F862570B00067A5B7?OpenDocument&highlight=2%2C%22massey%22

[8] http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/22303156BE628EB2862570AF0079F15D?OpenDocument; http://www.lee.net/index.shtml