Saturday, September 27, 2008

Michael Benton: Mort Rosenblum's Escaping Plato's Cave; Carlotta Gall's Story; Taxi To the Dark Side

Tonight I was reading the 2nd chapter of Mort Rosenblum's Escaping Platos' Cave in which he describes the slow degradation (destruction) of active American foreign news reporting through his histories of AP (Associated Press), Knight-Ridder/United Press, the dismantling of newsroom/newspaper foreign reporting staffs and the corporate consolidation/cutting of news agencies/newspapers/newsrooms in the interest of bigger profits. At the end of the second chapter, in a series of stories that detail the active blocking of American foreign correspondents' ability to fully report the important issues that American citizens should know (because of timid editors, publisher intervention, and governmental pressures), from the time of the Iran-Contra scandal through the Bush administration's drive to the Iraq War, Rosenblum relates the story of foreign correspondent Carlotta Gall's attempt to get her editors at the New York Times to publish her story about the homicide of an innocent Afghani Dilawar (22 yrs old at the time) at Bagram Air Force Base. Three years later it was recounted in:

Columbia Journalism Review: Eric Umansky--Failures of Imagination

The New York Times executive editor Howell Raines found it to be "improbable" and buried it on page 14 of the main section under a headline that the military was investigating. In fact, it was a military report that stated Dilawar's death in American custody was a homicide that led Gall to research the background of the story. Luckily a young documentary filmmaker happened to read it and it became:

The oscar winning documentary is going to be released on September 30th. It is a very important story that all American citizens should investigate for themselves before the november elections (watch it, research it more, discuss it). Watch it with someone you love (or even someone you don't like that much ;)

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