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Should the Media be Restricted During Wartime?

Squawker

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This is a good case of the media inciting violence. If you wonder why other Countries hate us, just look at the way our media portrays us, and events such as this one. The only thing that surprises me is that it was Newsweek, and not the New York Times. We were damn lucky not to have any of our military men killed over this. Where do we draw the line in a time of war? If the media isn’t going to be responsible by themselves, I think the government or courts should be able to put a gag order on them while our servicemen are in harms way. The New York Times had story after story about the events at abu ghraib . I wonder how many people got killed just because they wanted to make the Administration look bad.

May 11, 5:13 PM (ET)

By MUSADEQ SADEQ
JALALABAD, Afghanistan (AP) - Shouting "Death to America!" more than 1,000 demonstrators rioted and threw stones at a U.S. military convoy Wednesday, as protests spread to four Afghan provinces over a report that interrogators desecrated Islam's holy book at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Police fired on the protesters, many of them students, trying to stifle the biggest display of anti-American anger since the ouster of the ruling Taliban militia 3 1/2 years ago. There were no reports of American casualties, but the violence left four dead and 71 injured in Jalalabad, a city 80 miles east of the capital, Kabul.
-snip-
The source of anger was a brief report in the May 9 edition of Newsweek that interrogators at Guantanamo placed Qurans on toilets to rattle suspects, and in at least one case "flushed a holy book down the toilet."
Source
 
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bellisaurius

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I don't see how this is a bad portrayl, squawker. The report is to the point without any real editorializing.

The bad part is that some interrogator did something that he should have known was going to arouse passions if the people involved was ever set free. I'm not arguing human rights ot any such clap-trap, but rather simple cold tactics; part of the job is to "win hearts and minds," a little beating up on prisoners isn't going to cause riots, but stuff that's way out there is.

Now, as this happened, and it is as newsworthy as say, the watts riots (well, nit really because it's farther away, but given this isn't frontpage, I guess that's in line with that) I can't see how a reporter can't tell the story. No operational info was given up, so no need for military censorship, and the story reveals things that need to be corrected within the penal system, so it seems good for the republic in the big picture.

We need to have stories that muckrake like these. It's the look into our soul that will hopefully cause us to improve and become better as a country.
 

Squawker

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I can't see how a reporter can't tell the story. No operational info was given up, so no need for military censorship, and the story reveals things that need to be corrected within the penal system, so it seems good for the republic in the big picture.
I don’t see that it serves any purpose for that information to become public knowledge. The military will take care of the person “accused” if they are found guilty of a crime. What possible good could come from airing our dirty laundry while our men and women are in a war zone. I think it shows a callus disregard for their safety. When Bob Novak mentioned the name of a CIA “operative” Valarie Plame, the lefties wanted him fired, wanted him fined, and wanted him charged with a crime. Source
Innocent people actually did get killed because of what Newsweek wrote, and it barely gets mentioned in the media. What a load of hypocrisy.
 

shuamort

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Any restrictions or limits on the press, especially during wartime, is unconstitutional. Plain and simple.

Then again, if it could stop Fox News' Geraldo from doing any more "stories" from Kandahar :)spin: *ahem* Tora Bora *ahem*:spin: ), then maybe it would be a good thing.
 

Squawker

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Geraldo was punished for revealing their position, and I believe he was removed from the battlefield. Putting restrictions on the press isn’t illegal during war time, and I think we need to at least put pressure on the media to act responsibly, so people don’t get killed because of something they printed.
In the entire course of American history, Mr. Stone observes, ''the national government has never attempted to punish opposition to government policies, except in time of war.'' He cites six periods during which the United States attempted to punish individuals for criticizing government officials or policies:
$(6$)Under President John Adams the Federalists enacted the Sedition Act of 1798, which prohibited any person from writing, publishing or uttering anything of a ''false, scandalous and malicious'' nature against the government of the United States; although it was supposedly adopted as a measure to strengthen the nation in an impending war with France, Mr. Stone argues, ''it served primarily as a political weapon to strengthen the Federalists.''
$(6$)During the Civil War, President Lincoln on eight separate occasions suspended the writ of habeas corpus (which enables a person who has been detained by government officials to seek a judicial determination on the legality of that detention); and individuals were arrested for speech critical of the administration.
$(6$)During World War I the federal government prosecuted some 2,000 people for their opposition to the war and the draft; those convicted under the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 routinely received sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years in prison. President Wilson pushed without success to get a censorship provision included, arguing that ''authority to exercise censorship over the press'' was ''absolutely necessary to the public safety.''
$(6$)During World War II 120,000 individuals of Japanese descent were interned. In the years preceding Pearl Harbor, a Congressional committee began investigating ''the extent, character and objects of un-American propaganda activities in the United States''; the F.B.I. established an aggressive informer program; and Congress passed the Alien Registration Act of 1940 (the Smith Act), which forbade individuals to advocate the propriety of overthrowing the government by force.
$(6$)During the cold war, President Truman established a loyalty program for all civilian government employees; the House Un-American Activities Committee, or HUAC, cited 135 people for contempt (more than the entire Congress had cited for contempt in the history of the country to that point); and Senator Joseph R. McCarthy launched his virulent rampage.
$(6$)During the Vietnam War the F.B.I. carried out a wide-ranging program to ''expose, disrupt and otherwise neutralize'' dissident political activities; the federal government sought to enjoin The New York Times and The Washington Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers; and protesters were prosecuted for burning their draft cards and expressing contempt for the American flag.
Source
 

bellisaurius

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I too, don't disagree with a level of restriction during wartime, especially where operational issues are concerned, squawker. There is a definite overiding interest there.

However, issues like torture and extremes of treatment are a public good issue. Those people in afganistan were going to hear a lot of this anyway through informal gossip networks. Riots would still ensue and we would be left with just rumors to go on off some random blogs. By having it in a reputable newssource, the public has a chance to complain about it and reform the system.

My understanding is that our troops are being made to look bad by private contractors who engage in a lot of this activity and encourage the MP's to do it as well (and if you remember what it was like being in the military, pretty much anyone who had some level of authority had quite a bit of influence over your activities). I've seen this pop up in a few of the stories. I want to believe that, but I also need to know that something wrong is going on to correct it.

I would hope that the examples you gave about press restrictions during wartime aren't meant as more than precedents. I mean, the alien and sedition act is considered a black mark on our record. After it lapsed under Jefferson, all prisoners were released and fines returned. An apology, of sorts.

The civil war one doesn't apply because of critical nature of the speech (the story linked isn't critical, it's merely a statement of record..

The "Pentagon Papers" was a losing case. The supreme court sided with the governement with one of the weirdest set of appeals/injunctions in histrory (PS, I loved McNamara's "Fog of War" I was tre pleased the documentarian didn't turn him into some monster, it just let him tell his story.)

And, of course the japanese internment. I don't think anyone can say this was a triumph of constitutional law. Rather a sad moment in out history which was apologized for.

So, as can be seen from a selction of examples, most are constutionally questionable, or have been overturned and apologized for. Therefore, the paper is well within its perview to write the story (of course, were they to writie it maliciously, I might be convined libel was involved).

If our governemnt is doing something wrong, we need to know. The Press is given the privelege of informing us. This is seems to be a clear cut case where their privelege outweighs the gov'ts need for secrecy.
 
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Squawker

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Evidently this isn’t the only offensive article Newsweek has put out.

Source

By having it in a reputable newssource, the public has a chance to complain about it and reform the system.
Reform what? Some liberals definition of torture? A probably false report of a military man desecrating the Quran?

My understanding is that our troops are being made to look bad by private contractors who engage in a lot of this activity and encourage the MP's to do it as well (and if you remember what it was like being in the military, pretty much anyone who had some level of authority had quite a bit of influence over your activities).
Private contractor was never on my list with CO’s, and none of the MP’s that I knew would take suggestions as you imply.


I would hope that the examples you gave about press restrictions during wartime aren't meant as more than precedents. I mean, the alien and sedition act is considered a black mark on our record. After it lapsed under Jefferson, all prisoners were released and fines returned. An apology, of sorts.

The civil war one doesn't apply because of critical nature of the speech (the story linkes isn't critical, it's meerely a statement of record..

The "Pentagon Papers" was a losing case. The supreme court sided with the governement with one of the weirdest set of appeals/injunctions in histrory (PS, I loved McNamara's "Fog of War" I was tre pleased the documentarian didn't turn him into some monster, and let him tell his story.)

And, of course the japanese internment. I don't think anyone can say this was a triumph of constitutional law. Rather a sad moment in out history which was apologized for.
It is always easy to second guess actions after the fact. Liberals thrive on twenty, twenty hindsight, and would of course make apologies even hundreds of years later. Throw in some restitution also, that helps heal the wounds.

So, as can be seen from a selction of examples, most are constutionally questionable, or have been overturned and apologized for. Therefore, the paper is well within its perview to write the story (of course, were they to writie it maliciously, I might be convined libel was involved).
I think all the left wing anti-war, Bush bashers, are doing it to be malicious and they do impact how our troops are treated around the world. It does spread hate for America to other Countries.

If our governemnt is doing something wrong, we need to know. The Press is given the privelege of informing us. This is seems to be a clear cut case where their privelege outweighs the gov'ts need for secrecy.
Our Government didn’t do anything. One or more soldiers May have. It was irresponsible for Newsweek to put an unsubstantiated story out.
 

bellisaurius

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I shouldn't have implied that military personnel are easily swayed. I would hope the MP's ethics and standards were every bit as pristine as ours werein my field. I also realise that taking the word of a couple of detainees over army personnel is a questionable practice at best.

However

Bad things do happen sometimes. If these things are hidden and allowed to continue, morale and discipline can suffer. If people are allowed to deal with prisoners inconsitent with FM34-52 which doesn't allow "The use of force, mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure to unpleasant and inhumane treatment of any kind" then we've lost part of what we are, a law abiding country that needs the national prestige to act as the world's police man when need be.(http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/policy/army/fm/fm34-52/chapter1.htm).
This act -were it to actually have occurred- is an insult. Sticking a Koran in the drink is about the worst insult I can imagine to one of those folks. I'd compare it to the feeling I get when someone burns a flag.

The newspaper may have gotten it wrong. The guy may have been full of flaming goat terds, I won't disagree with that. But don't we owe it to our national honor to investigate the charge? If it weren't for the story, do you think it would be pursued? It might, I grant. If I remember correctly, there was already an ongoing investigation over abu gharib before the press broke the story. However, I don't know if there's already one ongoing. If there isn't, there needs to be one, just to make sure.
 

Squawker

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The newspaper may have gotten it wrong. The guy may have been full of flaming goat terds, I won't disagree with that. But don't we owe it to our national honor to investigate the charge? If it weren't for the story, do you think it would be pursued?
The latest report I heard there isn't any evidence that allegations were even made. The military investigates charges no matter who they are from, of course it would be looked into if a complaint was filed. If it turns out this was a fabricated story, what do you think the punishment to Newsweek and or the reporter should be?
 

bellisaurius

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http://voanews.com/english/2005-05-12-voa69.cfm

I'm not sure which way to take this. My original desire was to discuss why it's imporatnt for the media to put out stories even when they can be construed as "against the government." However, the more fruitful and interesting line of inquiry seems to be along the lines of "what is and isn't permissable in interrogation."

As I hoped, an inquiry is being begun acoording to Condi. That's as it should be in all cases like this. As to the question about who is held accountable if newsweek got it wrong, probably no one. As long a newsweek asked a representative from gitmo about the truth of the accusations, their part was met. Unfortunately I don't have a link to check. Needless to say, they will deny it, and the inquiry will hopefully reveal a satisfactory answer.

I would have it noted that Ms. Rice agrees with mu opinion that desecrating a religion's book of faith is bad, "abhorrent" as she calls it.

PS, A shame we can't get voice of america in the states. It's usually on par with AP or the BBC.
 

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shuamort said:
Any restrictions or limits on the press, especially during wartime, is unconstitutional. Plain and simple.

Then again, if it could stop Fox News' Geraldo from doing any more "stories" from Kandahar :)spin: *ahem* Tora Bora *ahem*:spin: ), then maybe it would be a good thing.
The media is always censored for profits, not giving people voices,(except maybe NOW), and half the media talks about crap, like the runaway bride, how meny people actually care? Fox,CNN,MSNBC all suck, but FOX is the worst!(bill o'reilly claims to be independant, he is, an independant fascist that is!)
 

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Do we have a double standard here? Lefkow wants legislation to suppress freedom of speech that is protected by the Constitution. It will be interesting to see how these two cases are treated. I think what Newsweek did is a lot worse than a few words from Pat Robertson.
Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition and head of the Christian Broadcasting Network, appeared on ABC's "This Week" earlier this month and criticized the federal courts. "Over 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings," he said.
Lefkow said that kind of "harsh rhetoric is truly dangerous."
"I have never encountered a judge in the federal judiciary who can remotely be described as posing a threat, as Mr. Robertson said, 'probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings,'" she said.
Lefkow called on Congress to increase funding for the U.S. Marshals Service, which protects judges. She also wants legislation to ban putting personal information about judges and other government officials on the Internet without their permission.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., focused on the importance of judges being willing to request protection when needed. He asked Lefkow why she didn't request protection after the white supremacist group threatened her life several years ago.
Lefkow said she lacked the expertise to properly assess the threat and that, to her knowledge, no system was in place to properly assess and protect her safety.
Congress should make sure that money that has been allocated for home security systems for federal judges gets to them as fast as possible, she said.
Congress has approved $12 million to install home security systems for the 2,200 active and semiretired judges and magistrates in the federal court system.

"As recently as last Friday, which was May 13, I was spotted and harassed in a restaurant in downtown Chicago," Lefkow said. "Had that harasser come back rather than left a nasty sign and had a gun, then obviously I wouldn't be here today."
Source
 

shuamort

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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.

It's as simple as that.
 

Squawker

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We will see what happens when Judges want it done.
 

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Squawker said:
If the media isn’t going to be responsible by themselves, I think the government or courts should be able to put a gag order on them while our servicemen are in harms way.
Yeah. **** the First Ammendment. That was only meant to apply to times of peace when the govt says it's okay. Why should the electorate be able to keep tabs on the govt anyway? I mean it's composed of politicians. Who's more resonsible and trustworthy than politicians?


Dear, Squawker,

Liberty's worth more than Life. Sometimes, as unfortunate though it may be, we must sacrifice not only. comfort, but limbs and life for Liberty. It is awful that on occasion "freedom can be messy", as our SECDEF puts it, but part of the American creed is that Liberty is worth sacrificing lives for.
 

Simon W. Moon

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Squawker said:
The New York Times had story after story about the events at abu ghraib . I wonder how many people got killed just because they wanted to make the Administration look bad.
That's All Abu Ghraib was about to you? Making the Admin look bad?
 

Squawker

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That's All Abu Ghraib was about to you? Making the Admin look bad?
That is all it was to the NY Times. They were obsessed over it. The Military was investigating and would deal with the people involved, they didn't need the NY Times spreading more hate and discontent around the world with rumors. Some of the stories were grossly exaggerated, that is propaganda, pure and simple.
 

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Squawker said:
The military will take care of the person “accused” if they are found guilty of a crime.
How will we know?

Squawker said:
What possible good could come from airing our dirty laundry while our men and women are in a war zone.
I know it's a tad too conservative and old fashioned for today's tastes, but we used to prize something that was called public accountability. You see, we didn't used to trust politicians, the government and govt institutions. So, we wanted them to have to keep everything above board where we could see it. Back in the day we used to think of ourselves as the govt's boss since we are the ones who sign the paychecks so to speak. We wanted to have some way of making wure that they were behaving. But like I said, that was back before, in the bad old days when we didn't trust politicians- not even the ones who cloaked themselves in the mantle of "conservatism." Course, nowadays we got the first PotUS who has never told a lie since the first GW.

Squawker said:
I think it shows a callus disregard for their safety. When Bob Novak mentioned the name of a CIA “operative” Valarie Plame, the lefties wanted him fired, wanted him fined, and wanted him charged with a crime. Source
Why is the word operative in quotations?

Squawker said:
Geraldo was punished for revealing their position, and I believe he was removed from the battlefield. Putting restrictions on the press isn’t illegal during war time, and I think we need to at least put pressure on the media to act responsibly, so people don’t get killed because of something they printed.

Source
Actually, a number of items that you have cited are examples where the USG did go too far and did engage in illegal activities.
 

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Squawker said:
That is all it was to the NY Times. They were obsessed over it. The Military was investigating and would deal with the people involved, they didn't need the NY Times spreading more hate and discontent around the world with rumors. Some of the stories were grossly exaggerated, that is propaganda, pure and simple.
I see. It had nothing to dio with iots newsworthiness? It was merely a part of the Liberal Media conspiracy against Team Bush I take it?
 

shuamort

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Squawker said:
That is all it was to the NY Times. They were obsessed over it. The Military was investigating and would deal with the people involved, they didn't need the NY Times spreading more hate and discontent around the world with rumors. Some of the stories were grossly exaggerated, that is propaganda, pure and simple.
Newsmax.com had 674 stories with the words Abu Gharib in them including a lot of propaganda and exaggeration in them as well.
 

Squawker

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Newsmax.com had 674 stories with the words Abu Gharib in them including a lot of propaganda and exaggeration in them as well.
I would assume Newsmax was on the defensive as a result of the negative stories from the left wing media. I think there needs to be a limit to the rhetoric and misinformation that may incite violence during war time. Should Judges be protected because some nut case might kill or threaten them? Lets deal with the hypocrisy of the two situations.
 

shuamort

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Squawker said:
I would assume Newsmax was on the defensive as a result of the negative stories from the left wing media. I think there needs to be a limit to the rhetoric and misinformation that may incite violence during war time. Should Judges be protected because some nut case might kill or threaten them? Lets deal with the hypocrisy of the two situations.
No, let's deal with the fact that you feel it's ok to ignore the founding father's directive on free speech.
 

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I see. It had nothing to dio with iots newsworthiness?
Simon, you know as well as I do, the NY Times hates Republicans. There isn't any news in disecting every move made by our military men and women at Abu Ghraib. That was just left wing snot.
 

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Squawker said:
Simon, you know as well as I do, the NY Times hates Republicans.
To be perfectly honest, I know no such thing. I'm not saying your assertion is false, but I don't know it to be true. Off the top of my head, I can't even name a single editor of the NYT let alone know anything about who they hate.


Squawker said:
There isn't any news in disecting every move made by our military men and women at Abu Ghraib.
Rather than disecting "every move" it tended to focus on the illegal, improper and what our SECDEF called un-American actions- things like "intentional violent or sexual abuse." Intentional violent or sexual abuses, in this instance, includes acts causing bodily harm using unlawful force as well as sexual offenses including, but not limited to rape, sodomy and indecent assault as those offenses are defined in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. You know, frat house fun.

Did you find it newsworthy that the new definition of torture as per Gonzalez no longer includes things like bamboo under the fingernails? It was a surprise to me.

Have you read the Taguba report, btw?
 

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Have you read the Taguba report, btw?
For a better understanding of the use of torture I would suggest reading the following report, written by The Physicians for Human Rights:

http://www.phrusa.org/research/torture/pdf/psych_torture.pdf



On a side note I find it amazing that people are rioting because they read that the Koran was flushed, but nothing happened when they learnt that human beings were being tortured!
 
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