Susan Hu wrote earlier this evening about the latest incident in which the U.S. military seems to be targeting foreign journalists in Iraq. This time it was an award-winning Iraqi journalist, Ali Fadhal, on assignment to The Guardian and Channel 4 to investigate “claims that tens of millions of dollars worth of Iraqi funds held by the Americans and British have been misused or misappropriated.”

I won’t re-hash Ali-Fadhal’s horrific experience. You can read about that in Susan’s story and in The Guardian.

What I want to know is why the U.S. mainstream media continues to ignore incidents that strongly suggest a war on journalists in Iraq (and elsewhere) by the U.S. military. As far as I can tell, not a single outlet of the U.S. mainstream media reported this incident. If you know about it it is probably because of the efforts of Editor & Publisher; The Guardian; Al-Jazeera; Juan Cole; Susan Hu’s piece here at Booman Tribune; or elsewhere on the blogosphere where the Guardian article is linked.

It wasn’t long ago that much of the was bemoaning the fate of Judith Miller, pining away in jail for shielding White House officials who had outed Valerie Plame in order to punish her whistle-blower husband. The Society of Professional Journalists even awarded her its First Amendment Award.

Yet the U.S. mainstream media continues to wear blinders despite ever growing evidence that the U.S. military is targeting journalists in incidents ranging from harrassment to arrest to humiliation to murder.

There was overwhelming evidence that the U.S. military was targeting Al-Jazeera, virtually all of it ignored by the mainstream U.S. media until a British memo was leaked in which it was revealed that Tony Blair had to talk President Bush out of bombing its headquarters. Even then, the story was played down and even mocked by much of the media.

When the Committee to Protect Journalists released a report in May 2003 revealing that the Pentagon officials and commanders on the ground knew the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad was full of international journalists before it was shelled by U.S. troops the month before, the U.S. mainstream media largely ignored their findings. Two journalists died in that shelling, and three others were wounded.

In February 2005 the International Federation of Journalists:

…accused [the U.S. government] of hiding behind a “culture of denial” over the deaths of at least 12 journalists who are alleged to have perished at the hands of the US military in Iraq.

…Since US, British and other soldiers first began Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003, more than 70 journalists have been killed in the country.

The IFJ said that at least 12 journalists had met their deaths at the “hands of US soldiers”, including the killings of Taras Protsyuk of Reuters and Jose Couso of Spain’s Telecinco after US tanks opened fire on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad…

…”On that day journalists around the world will once again protest over impunity [and] secrecy over media deaths and, in particular, at the failure of the United States to take responsibility for its actions in Iraq which have led to the killing of journalists,” said the IFJ general secretary, Aidan White…

The U.S. mainstream media ignored the IFJ charges as well.

Yet the U.S. mainstream is not always silent when suggestions arise that the military is targeting journalists. Eason Jordan, former chief news executive at CNN, was forced out of his job in February 2005 after comments he made the month before at The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland were leaked. Jordan dared to opine that coalition troops had “targeted” journalists in Iraq. The media firestorm that followed was relentless:

…Blogs operated by National Review Online, radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt and commentator Michelle Malkin were among those that began slamming Jordan last week after a Davos attendee posted an online account, but the establishment press was slow to pick up on the controversy. The Washington Post and Boston Globe published stories Tuesday and the Miami Herald ran one Thursday. Also on Thursday, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Bret Stephens, who was at Davos, published an account accusing Jordan of “defamatory innuendo,” and the Associated Press moved a story…

Linda Foley, president of the 35,000 member Newspaper Guild was likewise pilloried when she made similar remarks in St. Louis:

…According to a tape of her remarks, Foley said: “Journalists, by the way, are not just being targeted verbally or … ah, or … ah, politically. They are also being targeted for real, um … in places like Iraq. What outrages me as a representative of journalists is that there’s not more outrage about the number, and the brutality, and the cavalier nature of the U.S. military toward the killing of journalists in Iraq.”

Foley continued, “They target and kill journalists … uh, from other countries, particularly Arab countries like Al -, like Arab news services like al-Jazeera, for example. They actually target them and blow up their studios with impunity. …”

Much of the world believes that the U.S. military is engaged in a war on journalists in Iraq. Why does the U.S. media relentlessly avoid reporting incidents like the ordeal of The Guardian’s Ali Fadhal while attacking all those who suggest that the U.S. military war on journalists is real?

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