Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Freedom of Expression is not Free

As much as the new technologies have made it possible for voices that have never been heard to be heard, for those who have had easy access to the public, the danger is being overexposed -- and most have not adapted to these new realities.

It is much like the human body has evolved over million of years to covet every calorie it can, and in a short period of time, there is an excess of food, shelter and clothing -- and people's first impulse is to overconsume, get as much as they can, while the going's good, thinking the abundance and prosperity will soon disappear. So they haven't developed a shutdown switch to prevent them from gorging themselves into useless vulnerability.

So people given a microphone think they now have the power to shout expletives -- as their freedom of expression, of who they really are. Others who have the cameras turned on them, immediately take to obscene gestures and stripping naked -- with their 15 minutes of fame. And so with the writers, given easy access to publication, and knowing of the easy access of others, feel they must "weigh in" daily or momentarily, with their august and eagerly anticipated pronouncements.

The function of publications previously was to make them a fairly scarce resource -- and so writing and words got out judiciously. With today's abundance, many are misled into thinking more quantity is what is still necessary -- when in fact, the abundance creates the critical mass for the quantum leap into better, and not simply more writing, more opinions, more reading for reading's sake.


At October 27, 2005 8:22 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

On the advice of Malia Zimmerman’s Hawaii Reporter editorial, I checked out the Hawaii Republican homepage and the Hawaii Democrat homepage, to see which was more appealing. Malia said the appeal of the Dem homepage was that there was a lot of pictures -- as well as the listing of a lot of articles. But the pictures are of poor quality -- and so are the articles. In fact, reading every article feels like brainwashing and an attempt to manipulate one’s thinking in a very conscious, deliberate, heavy-handed way, obvious to most thinking, perceptive individuals.

That’s a lot of people’s idea of what political writing and government reporting is all about -- an attempt to persuade one into thinking a certain way rather than just providing the information so citizens can make up their own minds, pick and choose the information they want and need, and leave the rest. That’s what an intelligent conversation is like -- and not one person trying to convince the other he is smarter than the other, or that the other is stupid for not thinking as they do.

The tenor of that communication is that of the teacher to the student, the leader to the follower, the boss to the worker -- instead of peer communications. That is the difference in the message of the Republican and Democrat homepages. Every communication and article is this contention between the communications director and another to convince the other of the invalidity of what he feels to be true.

Freedom of expression is also allowing others to have theirs.

At October 27, 2005 3:46 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said... - Oct 27, 2005
Whose Side Are You On?
By David Horowitz

In war, the first order of business is to know whose side you are on, and who is on yours. In the case of the war to defeat the terrorists and establish a democratic government in Iraq, the answer is not always easy to come by. Take the American press. Take the Los Angeles Times. On Wednesday, October 26, 2005, the main headline spread across two columns of Times was “U.S. Death Toll In Iraq Hits 2,000.” The sub-headline began “Antiwar protesters plan demonstrations…” Two photos centered at the top of the front page showed President Bush declaring that “Iraq has made incredible political progress from tyranny to liberation to national elections” and an “anti-war” activist lighting 2,000 candles for the dead. Underneath the two photos a three-column story headlined “A Deadly Surge” began, “A year and a half ago, at the first anniversary of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the death rate for American troops accelerated. Since then, none of the political milestones or military strategies proclaimed by U.S. officials have succeeded in slowing the death toll.”

The article on the death toll continues into a full two-page spread inside the paper, which further details the body count, including a half-page chart of the dying and a map of the United States showing where each of the dead soldiers lived. In other words, let’s bring the war home. Facing the charts and continuing the front page story the headline for reads “Fallouja Marks Divide.” The “divide” as the Times editors see it is not the battle of Fallouja which destroyed the main and only terrorist stronghold in Iraq and paved the way for democratic elections, but the “fact” that the death toll of American soldiers has only “accumulated” since Fallouja. As if this numbing repetition of a single fact which in itself has no significance (why not the 1999th death or the 2001st?) wasn’t enough, the Times has devoted another full page to continuing the “Deadly Surge” story (new headline: “US At Grim Milestone In Iraq War: 2000 Dead”) and a human interest column (“A Life Back In Flower When It Was Lost”) on one of the casualties. In all, the Times devoted 23 newspaper columns to a death toll which has no significance in itself and which is smaller in two years than the number of Americans who died in 10 minutes on 9/11.

Buried by the Times editors in a three-column story on page 6 (continued on p. 7) is the following item: “Iraq Charter Ratified by Big Margin in Final Tally.” What’s this? On the same day as an American volunteer was killed in Iraq, the final tallies of the vote on the new Iraqi constitution were reported. Here’s the news the Los Angeles Times worked so diligently to bury and subvert: Nearly seventy percent of the Iraqi people voted to endorse the most democratic constitution in the entire Muslim world -- and in the entire 1800 year history of Islam itself!

The margin of victory for the new Iraqi constitution was 4-1. Moreover, the majority of Sunnis who had boycotted the previous election, voted this time. This is huge news in itself. The Sunnis had oppressed the Shi’ites and Kurds for the previous forty years under the Saddam tyranny. They were a population sea in which the Sunni terrorists swam. But now they were voting in an election sponsored by the “occupiers” – the enemy, us. In other words, the news is that the majority of the population of a country whom every nay-sayer on the left has proclaimed to be incapable of supporting a democracy and resenting our “occupation” have now joined the political community that we have created in Iraq. Yes, the Sunnis rejected the constitution. By in voting they agreed to debate and haggle over its details – over the details of their new democracy -- in elections to come.

In other words, this was a victory for freedom in Iraq, a defeat for the terrorist opponents of America and democracy in Iraq, and a great boost for the security of Americans in the United States. Yet in reporting the events of October 26th, the editors of the Los Angeles Times (and – to be fair -- the New York Times and the rest of the American mainstream media) did their best to obscure these momentous facts and to spin them in the opposite direction.

In two years, with less loss of life than we suffered on 9/11, America has liberated 25 million Iraqis, ended the most heinous tyranny of the 21st Century, inflicted terrible defeats on our terrorist enemies, and created the first democracy in the history of Islam.

The words of the President – of America’s commander-in-chief – mocked by the Times are 100% correct: “Iraq has made incredible political progress from tyranny to liberation to national elections.” Thanks to George Bush and our men and women in arms. Yet the Los Angeles Times edition of October 26, 2005 is designed to make a mockery of his leadership and his words and to turn to Americans against the war for Iraqi freedom. What a shame. What a disgrace. What a tragedy for our nation.

At November 02, 2005 4:15 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The good news from Iraq is not fit to print
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | November 2, 2005

WHAT WAS the most important news out of Iraq last week?

Do you see the war against radical Islam and Ba'athist fascism as the most urgent conflict of our time? Do you believe that replacing tyranny with democratic self-government is ultimately the only antidote to the poison that has made the Middle East so dangerous and violent? If so, you'll have no trouble identifying the most significant development in Iraq last week: the landslide victory of the new Iraqi Constitution.

The announcement on Oct. 25 that the first genuinely democratic national charter in Arab history had been approved by 79 percent of Iraqis was a major piece of good news. It confirmed the courage of Iraq's people and their hunger for freedom and decent governance. It advanced the US campaign to democratize a country that for 25 years had been misruled by a mass-murdering sociopath. It underscored the decision by Iraq's Sunnis, who had boycotted the parliamentary elections in January, to pursue their goals through ballots, not bullets. And it dealt a humiliating blow to the bombers and beheaders -- to the likes of Islamist butcher Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who earlier this year declared ''a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy" and threatened to kill anyone who took part in the elections.

No question: If you think that defeating Islamofascism, extending liberty, and transforming the Middle East are important, it's safe to say you saw the ratification of the new constitution as the Iraqi news story of the week.

But that isn't how the mainstream media saw it.

Consider The Washington Post. On the morning after the results of the Iraqi referendum were announced, the Post's front page was dominated by a photograph, stretched across four columns, of three daughters at the funeral of their father, Lieutenant Colonel Leon James II, who had died from injuries suffered during a Sept. 26 bombing in Baghdad. Two accompanying stories, both above the fold, were headlined ''Military Has Lost 2,000 in Iraq" and ''Bigger, Stronger, Homemade Bombs Now to Blame for Half of US Deaths." A nearby graphic -- ''The Toll" -- divided the 2,000 deaths by type of military service -- active duty, National Guard, and Reserves.

From Page 1, the stories jumped to a two-page spread inside, where they were illustrated with more photographs, a series of drawings depicting roadside attacks, and a large US map showing where each fallen soldier was from. On a third inside page, meanwhile, another story was headlined ''2,000th Death Marked by Silence and a Vow." It began: ''Washington marked the 2,000th American fatality of the Iraq war with a moment of silence in the Senate, the reading of the names of the fallen from the House floor, new protests, and a solemn vow from President Bush not to 'rest or tire until the war on terror is won.' " Two photos appeared alongside, one of Bush and another of antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan. And to give the body count a local focus, there was yet another story (''War's Toll Leaves Baltimore in Mourning") plus four pictures of troops killed in Iraq.

The Post didn't ignore the Iraqi election results. A story appeared on Page A13 (''Sunnis Failed to Defeat Iraq Constitution"), along with a map breaking down the vote by province. But like other leading newspapers, including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times, it devoted vastly more attention to the 2,000-death ''milestone," a statistic with no unique significance apart from the fact that it ends in round numbers.

Every death in Iraq is heartbreaking. The 2,000th fatality was neither more nor less meaningful than the 1,999 that preceded it. But if anything makes the death toll remarkable, it is how historically low it is. Considering what the war has accomplished so far -- the destruction of the region's bloodiest dictatorship, the liberation of 25 million Iraqis, the emergence of democratic politics, the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, the abandonment by Libya of its nuclear weapons program -- it is hard to disagree with Norman Podhoretz, who notes in the current Commentary that these achievements have been ''purchased at an astonishingly low cost in American blood when measured by the standards of every other war we have ever fought."

But that isn't a message Big Media cares to emphasize. Hostile to the war and to the administration conducting it, the nation's leading news outlets harp on the negative and pessimistic, consistently underplaying all that is going right in Iraq. Their fixation on the number of troops who have died outweighs their interest in the cause for which those fallen heroes fought -- a cause that advanced with the ratification of the new constitution.

Poll after poll confirms the public's low level of confidence in mainstream media news. Gallup recently measured that confidence at 28 percent, an all-time low. Why such mistrust? The media's slanted coverage of Iraq provides a pretty good clue.

Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is

At November 02, 2005 4:17 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Think the President's poll numbers are low? -- as widely reported by the media.

What the media won't tell you:

"Poll after poll confirms the public's low level of confidence in mainstream media news. Gallup recently measured that confidence at 28 percent, an all-time low. Why such mistrust? The media's slanted coverage of Iraq provides a pretty good clue."

From article above.

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