Thursday, May 15, 2008

Embedding Journos is a Victory - for the military

Debate over the "embedded journalist" program run by the Pentagon since the weeks before the Iraq invasion in 2003 has long raged, with some claiming that it gave reporters valuable close access to action while others saying that the journalists were severely compromised within it. Now sociologist Andrew M. Lindner, writing in the spring issue of the American Sociological Association's "Context" magazine describes what is billed as the only sociological study to date of the substantive content of media coverage during the first six weeks of the Iraq war.

Lindner found that journalists embedded with American troops emphasized military successes more often than they covered consequences for Iraqi citizens.

"The embedded program proved to be a Pentagon victory because it kept reporters focused on the horrors facing the troops, not the horrors of the civilian war experience," wrote Lindner, who is completing his doctoral dissertation at Penn State University. "The end result: a communications victory for an administration that hoped to build support for the war by depicting it as a successful mission with limited cost."

Source: Editor and Publisher

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Belgium is 'haven' for neo-Nazis


Yep, you heard it right ... sleepy old Belgium, long-ridiculed in British press but actually a fascinating country rapidly coming apart at the seems, is a great place to be a bonehead. Apparently...

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Accused of being a “paradise” for neo-Nazis, Belgium claims it does not have the necessary legal instruments to combat the racist groups that have been flocking to the country after meeting resistance from the German and Dutch governments.

Neo-Nazi groups such as two called Blood and Honor are increasingly heading to Belgium for their Hitler commemoration events as they usually do not face any problems from Belgian authorities. De Morgen, a Belgian left-wing daily, declared Belgium a safe haven for fascist groups in an article published on Friday. According to the daily a German investigative journalist who had been attending similar gatherings of German, English and Dutch skinheads and neo-Nazis in particular confirmed in the VRT program “Koppen” that the Belgian authorities had done nothing to stop these groups.

According to Minister of Home Affairs Patrick Dewael (VLD), the government currently does not have the necessary judicial means to act. Despite Dewael’s claims, Federal Minister for Employment and Informatization Peter Vanvelthoven has introduced a bill to ban neo-Nazi groups, characterizing these groups as private militia.

Two weeks ago Hitler commemorations were held in the Belgian cities of Bellegem and Overpelt. Home to one of the strongest racist parties in Europe, Vlaams Belang, Belgium was responsible for sending 25,000-40,000 Belgian Jews to concentration camps in World War II.

Back in February, the Belgian government and banks agreed to pay Holocaust survivors, their family members and the Jewish community 110 million euros. Last year, former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt apologized for Belgian authorities’ involvement in the deportation of Jews to Nazi concentration camps.

Despite the presence of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C) as terror organizations on the European Union’s common terror list, both groups enjoy a certain degree of freedom in Belgium.

Source: Today's Zaman