Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to view the news?

TF Stern has posted a "comparative" of the presentation of the stories about the Moscow terrorist action, and the arrest of "freedom fighters" in Illinois and Michigan. He opens thusly -
A couple of stories this morning give a glimpse of how the news media portray dangerous factions of society. See if you can figure out the bias as the details are brought out.

The article he links is an AP feed on Foxnews (Oh dear how the Right have sold out!!). It starts -
DETROIT -- Nine alleged members of a right-wing Christian militia group that was girding for battle with the Antichrist were charged Monday with plotting to kill a police officer and slaughter scores more by bombing the funeral -- all in hopes of touching off an uprising against the U.S. government.

Seven men and one woman believed to be part of the Michigan-based Hutaree militia were arrested over the weekend in raids in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. The ninth suspect was arrested Monday night after a search in rural southern Michigan.

TF opens out his critique -
The article went on to name the faction Christian group Hutaree, obviously one of the right wing terrorist groups mentioned recently. I do have a question, exactly what crime was committed or is it now permissible to arrest American citizens for thinking about committing a crime; you know, like in the movie Minority Report with Tom Cruise?

Now that is a fair question. It is one I have asked as well, following the misguided and unjustified raids in the Ureweras.

The news that I read, courtesy of the NZ (Granny) Herald, opened the corresponding article like this -
DETROIT - Nine suspects tied to a Christian militia that was preparing for the Antichrist were charged with conspiring to kill police officers, then kill scores more by attacking a funeral using homemade bombs, federal prosecutors said.

The Michigan-based group, called Hutaree, planned to use the attack on police as a catalyst for a larger uprising against the government, according to newly unsealed court papers.

US Attorney Barbara McQuade said agents moved quickly on the group because its members were planning a violent mission sometime in April.

Members of the group, including its leader, David Brian Stone, also known as "Captain Hutaree," were charged following FBI raids over the weekend on locations in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

Seven people were arraigned in Detroit on Monday, and another one of Stone's sons, Joshua, is being sought.

Interestingly, though the article does quote individuals interviewed by AP and is similar in structure to the Fox article, it is actually by-lined to an individual - Corey Williams. Does that make it any more valid?

For my part, I have an element of sympathy with TF's criticism. It is a law-enforcement action which has parallels dangerously close to the Urewera raids. That makes it not a good thing but a bad.

I will watch with interest, TF, and I will be interested to hear when these people appear in Court to face charges. The Urewera seven have been charged, are on bail at present, and with no date as yet set for the formal trial to begin. I hope that American justice is somewhat swifter than ours.

The second article, again from Fox News, TF introduces like this -
The other AP story in today’s headlines, Homicide Bombers Kill 38 on Moscow Subway . That had me wondering, “What kind of folks strap on explosives and detonate themselves with the intent of taking out as many innocent civilians as possible?”

The answer was given; but not exactly in clear and understandable English. The AP preferred to use coded text rather than come right out and say, “Muslim Terrorists”; instead these were “rebels from the restive Caucasus region that includes Chechnya”. I like that “restive region”; sounds like a vacation poster slogan instead of an area of the world infested with Muslim Terrorists who have declared war on infidels where ever they might be.

Just a bit further into the article:

“The head of Russia's main security agency said preliminary investigation places the blame on rebels from the restive Caucasus region that includes Chechnya, where separatists have fought Russian forces since the mid-1990s.”

That really clears things up, “separatists”; well why didn’t you say so? You should hear the music from the Wizard of Oz playing as you enter the Emerald City, the door keeper stroking his mustache as you get a glimpse of the Horse of a Different Color.

His only quote from the story -
“Russian police have killed several Islamic militant leaders in the North Caucasus recently, including one last week in the Kabardino-Balkariya region. The killing of Anzor Astemirov was mourned by contributors to two al-Qaida-affiliated Web sites.”

TF must have read no further because I am sure that he might have found greater value toward the end of the Fox article -
In February, Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov warned in an interview on a rebel-affiliated Website that "the zone of military operations will be extended to the territory of Russia ... the war is coming to their cities."

Umarov also claimed his fighters were responsible for the November bombing of the Nevsky Express passenger train that killed 26 people en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

I wonder, unlike him, how he might have written had the FBI failed to take action against the Hutaree. I can not help but wonder had the Hutaree bombed government buildings on a scale compared with the Olkahoma bombing of some years back how he would have viewed the failure of law enforcement to prevent the commission of such a crime. His criticism is more than a bit OTT in my book, but lets look to the Herald's version of the same story -
Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up on Moscow's subway system as it was jam-packed with morning rush-hour passengers, killing at least 35 people and wounding more than 30, the city's mayor and other officials said.

Now I have to leave out at this point any further criticism of TF's conceptions and understanding of events as I am writing about differences in the presentation of the news, not an individual's understanding. Again there are similarities, close ones, between the Fox and Herald articles.

TF concludes -
Maybe it’s just me, being one of those right wing Christians with a concealed handgun permit just waiting for my opportunity to blast away from my easy chair while listening to Rush, Hannity or Beck; but has the news media forgotten how to report evenly and without prejudice or have they refused to do their job since being purchased by the Obama administration?

I guess that the validity of the struggle does not depend upon the oppression and direct impact of war, the strictures against the free conduct of religion. It depends far more on the religion of the insurgents. Because the mid-west arrested are Christian, and fighting against the US government they are the good guys. Because the Tchetchians are Muslim, they must be the bad guys, end of story.

Personally, both presentations of the two events struck me as reasonably, supportably, even-handed and objective. Perhaps that is the problem TF faced. There was not the rabid anti-Muslim invective he was expecting in the article from Russia, nor the warm fuzzy sympathy for right-minded Americans on the other.

There was not the clear reporting and open criticism of events presented Herald and other NZ media following the Urewera stupidity.



T. F. Stern said...

Probligo, I hope when you buy fruit and vegetables at the local market they have a better means of measuring than your blind eyed account of what was written here or you are paying 6 to 1 what your produce actually weights.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eugene Tan said...

You might wanna get rid of the Chinese porno ad between TF's entry and mine.

The probligo said...

Thanks Tef. Appreciated.

TF, there is a post which will be coming up in the next couple days.

It will (as you might expect) add somewhat to the debate...