Friday, January 13, 2012

Assassinating English: Belligerent Signals

A Belligerent Signal - from The Mirror (UK)

As usual, Glenn Greenwald has an excellent post on the distorted coverage by the US mainstream media [including NPR] regarding the latest assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist.  In spite of official US denial and condemnation of the murder - most experts agree that Israel - and possibly - the US were responsible for the killing (although at this time there is no conclusive proof).

However, as Glenn Greenwald points out, the murder allows us to see how the term "terrorism" is worthless as a factual term, but - in the US mainstream press - is a politically loaded term of propaganda applied ONLY to states and individuals deemed hostile to the US government/corporate interests.  By comparing the coverage of this actual terrorist attack against a civilian scientist to the coverage of the ludicrous US claims regarding Iran's supposed plot to kill a Saudi ambassador, one can see how the term "terrorism" is distorted and misused in most major news organizations in the US.  And NPR is no exception.

If you have any doubts that NPR is somehow distinct from other corporate news organizations, this latest story offers firm evidence to the contrary.  A simple search on NPR's site will reveal the way the NPR aligns its coverage:

Search "Iran terror assassination" on NPR's site and limit it to "Heard on Air" and you get FIVE stories (3-Morning Edition and 2-All Things Considered) on the flimsy, alleged Iranian assassination plot from October 2011, but NONE on this actual terrorist act against Iran. Among the stories from October is this chestnut featuring State Department "intellectual" Ray Takeyh throwing around various forms of the word "terror" (in relation to Iran) 13 times!

To find anything aired on NPR regarding the actual political murder of a civilian in Iran you have to drop "terror" from your search and simply query NPR with "Iran assassination" and limit it to "Heard on Air".  Doing this gives you ONE story on All Things Considered. Not only does this January 11, 2012 story not mention terror or terrorism, it features Peter Kenyon normalizing this assassination as a legitimate tool of statecraft.  Paraphrasing nuclear analyst David Albright, Kenyon says, "Tehran must be feeling the pressure." Albright then speaks,
"It knows that some of its scientists are under threat by assassination. There's been cyberattacks. There's efforts to get Iranians to defect. And we've called it kind of a third way. All those things are continuing, and that's added to the pressure."
If there is any doubt that Kenyon and NPR share this criminal attitude, Kenyon adds,
"This is the latest in a series of increasingly belligerent signals between Tehran and Western capitals."
That's interesting because I don't recall the "plot" to kill the Saudi ambassador described as a "belligerent signal," and I would wager a Romney-sized $10,000 that the assassination of a US or Israeli scientist by Iranian-backed killers would never be called a "belligerent signal" on NPR.

One can not help but listen to this rubbish from NPR and recall the previous Ombudsman's defense of NPR's refusal to call torture "torture" when the US committed it.  NPR could not call waterboarding torture  because, as she put it, "the problem is that the word torture is loaded with political and social implications for several reasons."  And of course, the exact same twisted reasoning must be motivating NPR to avoid using any form of the word terror to describe actions that serve US government interests - no matter how clearly they fit any basic understanding of the term.


Anonymous said...

nice post MyT Words


Anonymous said...

You need to write a book, MyT. You're very good at this.

Patrick Lynch said...

Knocked this one out of the park. Well said.

Anonymous said...

D.O. said...

Then there's the NPR use of the term "mistakenly" used here:

by NPR's Pam Fessler on today's hit piece "Study: 1.8 Million Dead People Still Registered to Vote".
Closing an accounting that will surely bolster the Repugnican "voter fraud" bogeyman, Fessler states:

"Coney recalled another data-matching program in Florida where legitimate voters were confused with convicted felons and mistakenly removed from the rolls."

Confused? Mistakenly? Someone tell Katherine Harris she only made a mistake. Who knew!