....LMB: "All the News That's Fit to Eventually Print"....

July 20, 2002

From today's NY Times- Flaws in U.S. Air War Left Hundreds of Civilians Dead

Well duh.

To quote Blowback's commentary on this article:

"Now that operations are winding down, the New York Times seems to think that news of Afghan civilian casualties is finally fit to print. Too bad they couldn't be bothered to report on it back when air raids were being carried out across the country on a daily basis."

I guess my first question regarding this article is about its headline: were the killings of Afghan civilians really a "flaw" in the eyes of the US military? I'm not saying that the US intentionally killed all these Afghan civilians, I'm saying that I don't think they care. Generals draw up a list of military targets, and then attack from the air. If those targets are near civilian populations and civilians get killed, that's too bad. "Collateral damage."

That's the conclusion of a report by University of New Hampshire professor Marc Herold. Herold's report attempted to document the number of Afghan civilians killed in the US air war by tabulating the death counts in newspaper reports from around the world. Not the most scientific study, but it seems to be the most reasonable guess we have. Herold's estimate was that between 3000-3400 Afghan civilians were killed by US bombs between Oct. 7, 2001 and March of 2002.

Another good report, Strange Victory, comes to a lower total, estimating that 1000-1300 civilians were killed by bombing (this study claims to use a method similar to Herold's, but "applies a stricter criteria to screen these sources and correct for likely reporting errors and distortions"). But they also attempted to calculate the number of Afghan civilians who starved to death due to the US attacks cutting off vital food supplies to the impoverished population, and estimates that between 3200 and 18,000 Afghans died due to starvation and easily treatable illness between mid-September and mid-January.

A few weeks ago I was thinking about the Rolling Stones song "Sympathy for the Devil," which for some reason, I'd always thought was about Death, the Grim Reaper. But it takes only a moment to realize that I was obviously wrong, and it's actually about the Devil. I suppose there's a difference between the two, but looking at these numbers makes me sadly favor Evil over Death.

Posted by Jake at 10:35 PM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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