"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Monday, May 02, 2005

Proof Reader Goes Awol

Does Conor O'Clery believe what he writes? More importantly, does he read what he writes?

In today's Irish Times Mr. O'Clery writes two articles with almost polar opposite views. In the first, his passive approach to Bush's statements gives a none too subtle endorsement to the presidents rhetoric. In the other, he delves deeper into what one can only imagine is Mr. O'Clery's real viewpoint and as such, makes for much more interesting and insightful reading. Whether he chooses to suppress this in his everyday reporting and therefore in the events he chooses not to report, is a question only he or his editor can answer.

The first and arguably far more important piece focuses on the nature of insurgency in Iraq. In this, Mr. O'Clery quotes president Bush (sans quotation marks) without commenting on whether his description is valid, "US forces in Iraq were making good progress and were winning because the Iraqi people were beginning to see the benefits of a free society." A statement that reveals the extent of Mr. Bush's distorted perspective, apparently living in a war zone is how he percieves a free society.

Mr Bush acknowledged, however, that Iraq faced "hard-nosed killers" who wanted to go back to "the old days of tyranny and darkness, torture chambers and mass graves.""

The only perspective offered by Mr. O'Clery:

"Just hours after he spoke, Iraqi insurgents detonated 10 car bombs in Baghdad in a day of widespread violence which claimed at least 27 lives."

Nothing more. No passing mention of the fact that this violent day is but a quick reminder of what Iraq is now, a population besieged on several fronts. The remainder of the article is yet more press fodder released by Mr. Bush and faithfully reported by the independent media. Is this what news reporting has become, government propaganda fed loyally to readers as news, the purpose of the news media forgotten?

His second piece is noticeably more personnel, but at the same time represents actual news. Investigative (of sorts) reporting with informed comment, tucked away inside a myriad of propaganda. And here his real feelings become more apparent.

Quoting Andy Borowitz, President Bush "reiterated his opposition to gay marriage - unless one of the partners has several billion barrels of petroleum," a comic take on Mr.Bush's expression of trust with the Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. In this we are treated to a rare glimpse into what Bush actually means by free society. It is okay to support an oppresive regime, as long as the trust is mutual.

The irony of taking a man's word in one piece and then criticising the same word in the next is not lost, but just hard to find.

In a homage to Marla Ruzicka a journalist who "joins the growing number of courageous people killed bringing aid to victims" and who's "work had drawn attention to the human cost of the war, which was made all the more important by the fact that the US military refused to account for civilian casualties" serves only to highlight the disparity in this womens sacrifice and Mr. O'Clery's subservience to power.

The Irish Times