The press: Nicaragua and the US
For as long as I have kept track of Nicaragua (over 30 years) it has always had a press that disagreed with the government. Up until Ortega's re-election, that had meant some press agreeing and some press disagreeing. With Ortega's second coming it has mostly been an anti-government press.
The result has been somewhere between exposure of government wrongdoing and creation of anti-government news. Where you draw that line will likely depend on your political stripes but, no matter, it has been easy to find anti-government facts or at least opinion.
During that same time, the US press has been pretty useless. Yes, when the government got caught with its pants down, the press at least gave lip service to what had happened. But, for the most part, it did little to inform the public. Here are some examples from this same timeframe:
- Illegal funding of the Contras. Yes, we know this now but when Nicaragua was being destroyed, the US press didn't question what was going on. We can also toss in civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala.
- US government involvement in transporting cocaine from El Salvador to the US.
- Lots of 9/11-related questions from training pilots in Venice Florida to really questioning the official report. (I know there are lots of 9/11 conspiracy theories, most of which do not deserve serious press, but something as obvious as what really happened to Building 7 could be good investigative journalism.)
- The Iraq WMD big lie and what was really going on with Iraq.
- Use of taxpayer money to bail out those who caused the 2008 financial problems instead of those who were the victims.
There are lots more, of course. These are but some pretty obvious examples. In general, the press supported the government rather than the people. I assert this is one of the reasons Nicaragua seems to be doing OK and, well, the US is not.
Now, are things changing?
It is really starting to look like it is. There is a lot of possible reasons -- from the Internet to AlJazeera. I have good reason to mention those two specific sources. Here is why.
The Internet makes it possible for anyone to get their news out immediately. Not processed by news organizations, getting OKed by a government and such. What is know as The Arab Spring is an obvious example. Quite different from the embedded journalists game in Iraq.
AlJazeera is, like the BBC, government funded. Thus, they don't have to humor advertisers. They have been doing decent investigative journalism. While the government in Doha may have something to say about what they cover, they are independent of the US, the UK, Germany, Russia, China, ...
Is there hope for the US major media?
If you asked me a year ago I would have said no but maybe there is. I am going to pick the Snowden story as my example because it is so clear. I offer the thread on A42 as my supporting documentation.
About a year ago Snowden was asked why he didn't go through channels with his concerns. He said he had tried but nothing happened. Bart Gellman of the Washington Post inquired and the NSA said “after extensive investigation, including interviews with his former NSA supervisors and co-workers, we have not found any evidence to support Mr. Snowden’s contention that he brought these matters to anyone’s attention.”
Snowden re-affirmed that he had brought the matter up in his NBC interview. The NSA has now "found" one communication. Snowden says there are lots more. NBC has said they are going to submit an FOIA request.
While the MSM has not been seriously involved in Snowden's revelations they are now involved in a situation where the government lied and it sounds like they are going to follow up. This has nothing to do with the secret data but all to do with a government attempt to cover up wrongdoing. Let's see what happens next.