FAIR: The press turns its back on Private Bradley Manning

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FAIR, the national media watchdog organization, has written an excellent critique of the coverage of the Bradley Manning case, one of the more shameful episodes in U.S.military and journalism history.  KPFA's "Democracy Now" radio program headed by Amy Goodman  (9-10 weekdays) has also  done regular superlative coverage.  Here is FAIR's report (B3):

Turning Their Back on Bradley Manning: Whistleblower speaks but press doesn't listen

As the alleged source of many of the most vital WikiLeaks reports of the past several years, U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning shed considerable light on how the United States has prosecuted the Iraq and Afghan wars. Other State Department cables reportedly leaked by Manning conveyed vital information about U.S. foreign policy.

Manning has, in other words, been connected to a lot of news (FAIR Media Advisories, 4/7/10, 12/16/10, 7/30/10): the video of a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed several civilians (two Reuters journalists died in the attack); the revelation that hundreds of U.S. attacks on civilians in Afghanistan had been recorded by the military-- but were unreported elsewhere; the cache of diplomatic cables that uncovered U.S. efforts to stymie legal investigations into torture, U.S. involvement in airstrikes in Yemen; and much more.
But the developments at his trial last week--including the first time Manning has spoken about his treatment--are evidently not newsworthy.

Manning has been held in conditions that have been criticized as psychological torture, including long periods of solitary confinement in a tiny cell, forced nudity and sleep deprivation.

Last week, the military trial at Fort Meade centered on the question of whether these pre-trial conditions were unlawful. Arrested in May 2010, Manning faces 22 counts associated with the leaks of classified material--including the government argument that Manning's leaks constitute aiding the enemy, apparently because some of the materials he leaked made their way onto the computers of Al-Qaeda figures.

The government maintained that Manning's treatment was based on a judgment that he was a suicide risk. But the court proceedings included testimony from military psychiatrists who disagreed, and recommended against holding Manning under such "clinically inappropriate" conditions--recommendations that were ignored at the Quantico military facility where Manning was confined (Guardian, 11/28/12).

These dramatic developments, in particular the testimony from Manning (11/29/12), were mostly unreported in corporate media. The New York Times ran a brief Associated Press wire story (11/30/12). Manning's story was mentioned by just one of the three big network newscasts (CBS Evening News, 11/29/12). There was a brief mention on the PBS NewsHour (11/30/12), mostly about suicide risk.

CNN did regular reporting on the trial throughout the week. According to the Nexis news database, Manning's trial last week was not mentioned on the liberal MSNBC channel until a discussion on Up With Chris Hayes (12/1/12). Democracy Now!, which has closely followed the Manning case for the past two years, featured thorough analysis of the trial.

It is not hard, on any level, to see the relevance of the Manning trial. As the Guardian's Ed Pilkington argued on Up With Chris Hayes (12/1/12), the government's argument in the case will have a chilling effect, which should obviously concern journalists:

You have to bear in mind that the main charge, charge No. 1 against him, is aiding the enemy. Now this is a massively chilling thing. What he's being accused of is by posting something via WikiLeaks on the Internet, that by doing so he effectively gave it to Osama bin Laden. They don't have to show--in the prosecution's mind, the government's mind--they don't have to show that he intended to do that. They're just saying by the sheer act of putting it on the Internet, it was available to Al-Qaeda.

Indeed, the notion that such trials constitute a threat to freedom of the press was part of the reason that the leak investigation of New York Times reporter Judith Miller was so closely followed by corporate media. Many outlets and editorial pages proclaimed the proceedings an attack on journalism itself--even though in that case,  the reporter in question was seeking to protect a government source who was peddling information intended to diminish a government critic (Extra!, 9-10/05).

In the Manning case, the whistleblower apparently responsible for releasing documents that formed the basis for literally thousands of reports of incredible international significance is challenging government mistreatment. The questions about the case have been longstanding. As NPR's All Things Considered noted (11/26/12), the secrecy around the proceedings has been "so intense that reporters and human rights groups have sued to get access to information."

All that in mind, the minimal attention to Manning's trial last week tells us how little corporate media care about the mistreatment of a government whistleblower. The revelations about U.S. foreign policy Manning allegedly made possible were news; the military's abusive retaliation against him apparently is not.

FAIR,  the national  media watchdog organization, has written an excellent critique of the Bradley Manning case,  one of the more shameful episodes in military and journalism history. Here is its report (B3):
Turning Their Back on Bradley Manning
Whistleblower speaks--but press doesn't listen

As the alleged source of many of the most vital WikiLeaks reports of the past several years, U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning shed considerable light on how the United States has prosecuted the Iraq and Afghan wars. Other State Department cables reportedly leaked by Manning conveyed vital information about U.S. foreign policy.

Manning has, in other words, been connected to a lot of news (FAIR Media Advisories, 4/7/10, 12/16/10, 7/30/10): the video of a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed several civilians (two Reuters journalists died in the attack); the revelation that hundreds of U.S. attacks on civilians in Afghanistan had been recorded by the military-- but were unreported elsewhere; the cache of diplomatic cables that uncovered U.S. efforts to stymie legal investigations into torture, U.S. involvement in airstrikes in Yemen; and much more.

But the developments at his trial last week--including the first time Manning has spoken about his treatment--are evidently not newsworthy.

Manning has been held in conditions that have been criticized as psychological torture, including long periods of solitary confinement in a tiny cell, forced nudity and sleep deprivation.

Last week, the military trial at Fort Meade centered on the question of whether these pre-trial conditions were unlawful. Arrested in May 2010, Manning faces 22 counts associated with the leaks of classified material--including the government argument that Manning's leaks constitute aiding the enemy, apparently because some of the materials he leaked made their way onto the computers of Al-Qaeda figures.

The government maintained that Manning's treatment was based on a judgment that he was a suicide risk. But the court proceedings included testimony from military psychiatrists who disagreed, and recommended against holding Manning under such "clinically inappropriate" conditions--recommendations that were ignored at the Quantico military facility where Manning was confined (Guardian, 11/28/12).

These dramatic developments, in particular the testimony from Manning (11/29/12), were mostly unreported in corporate media. The New York Times ran a brief Associated Press wire story (11/30/12). Manning's story was mentioned by just one of the three big network newscasts (CBS Evening News, 11/29/12). There was a brief mention on the PBS NewsHour (11/30/12), mostly about suicide risk.

CNN did regular reporting on the trial throughout the week. According to the Nexis news database, Manning's trial last week was not mentioned on the liberal MSNBC channel until a discussion on Up With Chris Hayes (12/1/12). Democracy Now!, which has closely followed the Manning case for the past two years, featured thorough analysis of the trial.

It is not hard, on any level, to see the relevance of the Manning trial. As the Guardian's Ed Pilkington argued on Up With Chris Hayes (12/1/12), the government's argument in the case will have a chilling effect, which should obviously concern journalists:

You have to bear in mind that the main charge, charge No. 1 against him, is aiding the enemy. Now this is a massively chilling thing. What he's being accused of is by posting something via WikiLeaks on the Internet, that by doing so he effectively gave it to Osama bin Laden. They don't have to show--in the prosecution's mind, the government's mind--they don't have to show that he intended to do that. They're just saying by the sheer act of putting it on the Internet, it was available to Al-Qaeda.

Indeed, the notion that such trials constitute a threat to freedom of the press was part of the reason that the leak investigation of New York Times reporter Judith Miller was so closely followed by corporate media. Many outlets and editorial pages proclaimed the proceedings an attack on journalism itself--even though in that case,  the reporter in question was seeking to protect a government source who was peddling information intended to diminish a government critic (Extra!, 9-10/05).

In the Manning case, the whistleblower apparently responsible for releasing documents that formed the basis for literally thousands of reports of incredible international significance is challenging government mistreatment. The questions about the case have been longstanding. As NPR's All Things Considered noted (11/26/12), the secrecy around the proceedings has been "so intense that reporters and human rights groups have sued to get access to information."

All that in mind, the minimal attention to Manning's trial last week tells us how little corporate media care about the mistreatment of a government whistleblower. The revelations about U.S. foreign policy Manning allegedly made possible were news; the military's abusive retaliation against him apparently is not.

     

Comments

He should win the Nobel Peace Prize. Instead, they gave it to warmonger Obama.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 8:45 am

Heroes don't try to stab their stepmother. Heroes don't strike their female superior officer. And heroes don't violate their oaths in order to impress some hacker they have a man crush on.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

his/her motivations weren't to bring truth, beauty and light to the nasty side of wars..It was to draw attention to himself/herself..not noble, not heroic.

read the classified cables from Libyan ambassador Chris Stevens to the State department...the ones Little miss"I'm going to kill myself with my underpants" Manning released to the tune of Lady Gaga. Those cables included information about the very people responsible for Chris Steven's death..thanks so much bradley.brianna. You don't have the courage to kill yourself..pity.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

Bradley Manning is this generation's Daniel Ellsberg.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

More whistle blowers, more leaks, the better off our nation, the world, and the general state of democracy.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

Jason Grant Garza here ... yes, what does private Manning, the Boy Scouts, DPH and myself have in common.

Manning is standing for his values, convictions, the law, what is right and what is HUMANE against the full machinery of the banality of evil. The system is corrupt and unaccountable. This is the system that disposed of the torture tapes ... this is the system that keeps innocent men in jail in guantanamo and this is the system that "fixed the intelligence" to go into the Iraq WAR.

In the recent BOY SCOUT scandal ... the police, courts and medical professionals all further harmed the VICTIM and created the culture that allowed the continual ABUSE, HARM and DAMAGES. Now that it is out will any of the above pay the price?

Now for the reference to myself and the connection ... go to http://www.myownprivateguantanamo.com to read and see the signed confession/settlement agreement from CCSF and DPH for breaking MEDICAL LAW and then they LEFT me DEAD. Shall we speak of the FEDERAL LAWSUIT C02-3485PJH ???

Now it has started all over again ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cP3jCmJFRo Denial of health services, denial of legal rights to access the medical services, denial of access and accommodation, criminal fraud, no advocacy, abuse under the color of authority, civil right violations, etc.

Want to see what I got from the DA ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eN41g_veF8

or maybe what I got from the Sheriff Investigative division .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=024cFdvqSQg

or from the SHERIFF (note the ADVOCACY) ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=024cFdvqSQg

and if you do not believe that I have TRIED to USE the by design FAILING systems ... type my name into a google search engine to read all the articles here in the Bay Guardian that I have commented on over the MINISTRY of SUNSHINE (sunshine task force), the FARCE of the ETHICS COMMISSION and the INHUMANITY dressed up.

So in the END ... you are either a part of the SOLUTION or like the well paid professionals ... part of the PROBLEM.

"Telling the TRUTH during TIMES of UNIVERSAL DECEIT is a REVOLUTIONARY Act." George Orwell

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 7:19 am

of the courageous efforts of Bradley Manning and of the torture he has endured from commentors who aren't even courageous enough to post except under the default "Guest" name.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 9:29 am