Monthly Archives: December 2007

Embedded with power – Part 2

An Interview with Pepe Escobar, journalist and author

‘For politics / economics, the real information is on the net’

In Part 1 of this interview Pepe Escobar discussed the way in which Hugo Chavez is portrayed in the mainstream media. In this second part of the interview he discusses the context of the corporate media more generally and some of the factors which lead to its fatal inability to reflect either reality or truth in the cases of Iraq and Iran.

[PE – Pepe Escobar, MB – MediaBite, David Manning and Miriam Cotton]

MB – Noam Chomsky, I believe, has suggested that it is sometimes instructive for readers to consider news reports in reverse, i.e. that important contextual information is often ‘tacked’ on loosely to the end of pieces. Would you have any advice for readers wishing to become more discerning or critical consumers?

PE – If you read the mainstream/corporate press, that’s exactly the case: the crucial info most of the time is in the next to last paragraph, and the story is buried in the bottom half of page A-21. News agency copy is required to provide contextual info – but it’s usually superficial and in many cases (e.g. Iran, Palestine, Russia) heavily biased. Papers always need to fill up blank space. That leads to papers in the Middle East, for instance, publishing agency copy – or conservative syndicated columns – that totally contradict their own reporting.

My suggestion is that readers forget about reading serious news on mainstream/corporate media: stick to the sports and entertainment pages. At least you can’t politicize infotainment to death – like Sarkozy having an affair with Carla Bruni (well, the Times of India put it on the front page, like it was a major political story…) In the case of weeklies, stick to the actual reporting and forget about editorials (well sometimes even that is impossible; in Time magazine ideology drips from every report). The Wall Street Journal or The Economist may carry excellent reportage, but frankly no one has to swallow as fact Wall Street and the City of London’s wishful thinking.

Continue reading Embedded with power – Part 2

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Embedded with power – Part 1

An Interview with Pepe Escobar, journalist and author

Pepe Escobar is a Brazilian born journalist and writer. He has reported from many different countries and conflicts over his career so far, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, the US and China. He is a contributor to The Real News Network, a non-profit news and documentary network financed by its members; leaving it free from the pressures imposed by advertising, government and corporate funding. In his current role as the ‘Roving Eye’ of Asia Times Online, he is well placed to discuss world events and the ways in which they are interpreted and reported by international media. [1] [2]

Escobar has written in detail on the continuing conflict in Iraq and has been a continued source of unsanitised reality on the subject. In 2005, while many in the Irish media worshiped at the feet of US imposed ‘democracy’ in Iraq – ‘Poll success eclipses past blunders for US’ [Conor O’Clery, The Irish Times, February 1 2005] – Escobar pointed out the absurdity of what was happening: ‘History will salute it in kind: the US administration of George W Bush, parts 1 and 2, has introduced to the world the concept of election at gunpoint.’ [3] [4]

Continue reading Embedded with power – Part 1