March 29, 2004
Compare and Contrast (lots of Bombast)

From the White House's "Iraq Fact of the Day" propaganda (a.k.a. "press release") series, March 22, 2004 (by way of Ward Harkavy's Bush Beat at the Village Voice):

Free Press in Iraq

Free press is flourishing in Iraq and providing the Iraqi people with access to a variety of news sources. More than 646 journalists have credentials for the new international press center in Baghdad. Many of the journalists write for more than 200 Iraqi newspapers now in circulation across the country. This burgeoning free press is encouraging debate and democracy in Iraq.

Source: Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad

From the New York Times' Jeffrey Gettleman, March 29, 2004:

G.I.'s Padlock Baghdad Paper Accused of Lies

BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 28 American soldiers shut down a popular Baghdad newspaper on Sunday and tightened chains across the doors after the occupation authorities accused it of printing lies that incited violence.

[...]

The letter ordering the paper closed, signed by L. Paul Bremer III, the top administrator in Iraq, cited what the American authorities called several examples of false reports in Al Hawza, including a February dispatch that said the cause of an explosion that killed more than 50 Iraqi police recruits was not a car bomb, as occupation officials had said, but an American missile.

Many newspapers and television stations have sprouted in Iraq since the fall of the Hussein government. But under a law passed by the occupying authorities in June, a news media organization must be licensed, and that license can be revoked if the organization publishes or broadcasts material that incites violence or civil disorder or "advocates alterations to Iraq's borders by violent means."

But the letter outlining the reasons for taking action against Al Hawza did not cite any material that directly advocated violence. Several Iraqi journalists said that meant there was no basis to shut Al Hawza down.

METAPHYSICAL NOTE TO SELF: I'm beginning to wonder if it's not a better idea to go the Dennis Miller route and start defending the Bush administration, because criticizing it has started to become far too easy. You know, try and have a go at something challenging for once.

Posted in a Grave fashion.

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