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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Something Bush and Kirchner Have In Common

Anyone who follows Argentine or U.S. politics might be surprised at the title of this article. After all, with Kirchner moving closer to Hugo Chavez and Venezuela, what could Bush and Kircher possibly have in common?

A Complete Disregard For The Role of Independent Media

In Argentina, it has been reported that Kirchner retaliates against journalists and newspapers that print unfavorable stories. He directs government ad buys to papers and media that support him. He denies critical journalists access to government sources and presidential briefings. He has never sat down for a complete interview. Kirchner remarked once that his favorite journalist were photographers, because they don't ask questions.

The Economist stated in its most recent issue that the Argentine people might want to pay attention to this issue more closely, or else they might miss having a fair and impartial press in the future. I think they should be giving the same warning to the people of the United States.

Bush's government, instead of trying to influence media covertly and subtly like Kirchner's administration, directly issued payments to television personalities, such as Armstrong Williams, to spew government propaganda. They created TV news snippets and distributed them to local news stations, which ran them without identifying they were government-produced. Now the Department of Defense has been found to be paying Iraqi newspapers to plant U.S. propaganda in their news reporting. The articles were actually written by DOD spin-masters.

I find the whole situation distasteful and it proves that even though you can have two politicians that are on opposite sides of the issues, they're both wrong about the ways the go about trying to garner support. I'm sure each of them thinks they're only defending their own views and trying to move the public to their side of the issue, but what they're really doing is weakening the institution of the press in their respective nations.

When they're both out of power and the other party takes office a few years down the road, they're both going to wish the press was stronger to investigate the scandals and misdeeds of the next guy. No matter who's in power and what agenda they're pushing, everybody loses when we don't have a free, impartial, and independent press.



Blogger johnny said...

Nicely put regarding powers that be and their willingness to avoid scrutiny by those in the press with whom they disagree (and sucking up to, or manipulating the rest). All true, though I can't help but believe that the press (particularly in the states) has, in many ways, abdicated responsibility for truthful, in depth reporting. The culture of sound bites, ratings wars and the general "dumbing down" of the consumption driven populace has provided little motivation and "ego stroking" for many in the press (particularly the print media). In other words, in the states, many in the press are just as busy sucking up to the administration as vice versa. The print and television news media don't want to be critical of the administration unless the mood of the country appears to be "ready" for a more negative perspective. Once there is a "tipping point" reached, i.e. the comments by a well respected congressman from Pennsylvania a few months ago attacking the policy in Iraq, THEN, and only then, will the media begin the "critical" stories. Unfortunately, more evidence of the insidious manner in which marketing and money (their ratings and thus advertisement dollars may go down if they buck the prevailing mood of the country) rule the roost !
I am very new to Argentina and have no idea how much the media might be co-opted here. It certainly could not be any worse than what is the norm the United States. I a conservative, a liberal, left leaning, or just a social critic ? The media would not be able to do a story about me until they decided !!

1/18/2006 04:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, my. You are in the wrong profession. You should be a Liberal Talk Show host on Air(head) America. The oldest story in the world is government planting of news. It's been around for centuries, since the 1400s when the printing press was invented. Luis XIV did it. Henry VIII used planted stories. Mitterand was a champ at it. So was Churchill.

In the 2004 election, Kerry's camp planted stories about Bush's military record. Whoops! It backfired. (Swift Boats for Truth outed Kerry's fake wounds and fake purple hearts.)

Kirchner and Bush have nothing in common. Kirchner is a Leftie. He pushes investment away from Argentina. His infrastructure is a mess. He decided to hug Chavez, and pay Argentina's debt owed to the International Monetary Fund. Economists worldwide were alarmed. Kirchner should have fixed Buenos Aires' rotting sidewalks. Walking down the street requires eyes down, or you will break an ankle. Buenos Aires looks like New York when David Dinkins was mayor, before Rudy Guilliani.

Bush fosters investment. Kirchner has no stomach for investment. His tax revenues can't pay the bills. His banking infrastructure is rated E, junk. He is the reason I will not invest in Argentina.

The good people of Argentina deserve better. Buenos Aires tiene mi corazon. I go there every year. But the country does not deserve my investment.

Bush deserves my investment.

1/23/2006 02:05:00 AM  
Blogger johnny said...

I guess there is a reason why Anonymous is anonymous ! My guess is that it would be a waste of time (for both of us) to engage in debate. I will say there is a difference between planting stories ( I agree with you), and cash payments (hefty ones at that)to "journalists" who spread the Bush gospel. Invest with prudence Anonymous. I believe the canary is about to start chirping.

1/23/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was my first blog post, as I have other things to do, and didn't see where to put my name. My name is Lauren. I've been reading this blog for a while, and come away scratching my head. It's been stated on it that banks are unfriendly, investment by foreigners is treated with suspicion, and other financial verdades. It's beyond me why Johnny et al can not see that el Socialismo de Kirchner, Silva y Chavez is reason for Sudamerica's failings. Frankly, it is scarey what's happening in South America. As I left Argentina, las noticias were reporting that the Boys of Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia invited Iran's (very nuclear) president for a little visit. If Kirchner kisses Iran, I will not travel to Argentina next year -- and neither will the folks on this blog.

1/24/2006 01:24:00 AM  
Blogger johnny said...

What if he just blows him a kiss for the hell of it ?

1/24/2006 02:51:00 PM  

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