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.
Labels: Current Events