Robert Young Pelton,
April 24, 2002 5:59 AM   Subscribe

Robert Young Pelton, At first the media complains because they're not getting enough information, they're not being allowed to cover the war. Then when they get to know everything, after the 120-day window, nobody cares anymore. Because once they start spelling it out and saying, "Wait a second, these guys are all from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Why aren't we fighting a war in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Egypt? Why are they our allies?" And then those are the tough questions that never really get asked, because the public doesn't really care at that point. Is disbelieving major news organization reports a neccessity to get the real stories?
posted by bittennails (14 comments total)
I wonder why you didn't use this quote instead:

Robert Young Pelton, author of "The World's Most Dangerous Places," says the U.S. military has killed "thousands and thousands" of people in Afghanistan, al-Qaida is a myth and the WTC was brought down by a "Mickey Mouse" outfit.

Maybe because it reveals his insanity?
posted by donkeyschlong at 6:32 AM on April 24, 2002

If you read the rest of the article you'll see that quote is quite oversimplified from what Pelton actually says. I found the article quite fascinating and very revealing. It appears the US government and media has gone back to Vietnam censorship standards.
posted by bkdelong at 6:41 AM on April 24, 2002

"Wait a second, these guys are all from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Why aren't we fighting a war in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Egypt? Why are they our allies?" And then those are the tough questions that never really get asked..."

Um, let me take a crack at those "tough questions." Maybe because it matters little where the person is "from," as opposed to where the person currenty is, and what that person is doing? John Walker Lindh was from the U.S., but I don't think we need to start a civil war.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:48 AM on April 24, 2002

read the article, it's quite sane and so is pelton, and the blurb refers to things that make sense in context.

"disbelieving" major news organizations' reports is not a necessity, but keeping an open mind is, and if you keep an open mind and push deeper for the truth, it often happens that what the major media told you is at best part of the story.
posted by anser at 6:54 AM on April 24, 2002

pardonyou? Here is a better question: more important than where the person is from, where the person is presently located or what the person is doing; what really matters for pre-emptive purposes is who is paying (and who is selling)? Is war-ridden, dirt-poor Afghanistan paying for terrorism? I don't think so, buddy.
posted by magullo at 7:08 AM on April 24, 2002

donkeyschlong: If you think that the man is insane, say so (and having done so, allow me to question why?). I used the quote most relevant to the question I felt like asking, got a problem with that, explain it. I think that bkdelong has it right, read the article, it is an interesting one, then comment.

anser: yes, I try to keep a very open mind, and sometimes clearing thru all the truths, half-truths and such like that are reported are making me cynical of the mainstream press, so I thought I would ask if others have the same feelings about this and assumed I might get an idea of how others grapple with this issue.
posted by bittennails at 7:10 AM on April 24, 2002

About the footage from Afghanistan:

You'll find that almost all the footage was shot by small independents, not by any major network ... the message to journalists is: Don't ever expect a big dumb corporation to just send you somewhere because you have a hunch. Those days are over.

He's not really saying that the government is preventing journalists from doing their job, he's saying the journalists aren't being resourceful enough and their ties to corporations are hindering rather than helping them. Fascinating, especially in a weblog context.
posted by D at 7:27 AM on April 24, 2002

You're right, I should have finished reading the article. My total bad for posting groggy. He makes some interesting points.
posted by donkeyschlong at 7:37 AM on April 24, 2002

I just finished reading Pelton's fascinating "The Hunter, The Hammer, and Heaven". The guy does hang out in some insane places, but I'm pretty sure he is not insane.

I also think the guy is what most of us would think of as a reporter, in that he doesn't stand around in Kabul telling his editors over the sat phone that he can't get the story because the military won't let him or give him a ride. He shows up, looks around, pays off the (usually) correct locals to help him, then goes to where the news is happening. Then he writes about what he saw.

It does seem like a more efficient method than saying pretty please a bunch of times to a military information officer, especially when the answer is always no.
posted by dglynn at 7:41 AM on April 24, 2002

maybe not disbelieve major news organizations but, like pelton suggests, understand where they're coming from. like i get my news from the travel channel :) can't wait for the documentary! we need more writers. and where's ian wright?
posted by kliuless at 7:59 AM on April 24, 2002

pelton is an example of what good journalism used to be before it was turned into a dumbed-down trade-school 'profession.' as he says, he's not a journalist, he's a writer. the former is a profession, the latter a skill.
posted by anser at 8:19 AM on April 24, 2002

Magullo, I don't think the U.S. has ever stated -- explicitly or implicitly -- that it has a beef against "war-ridden, dirt-poor Afghanistan." Indeed, quite the opposite. We've always made clear that we were targeting Al Qaeda (i.e., to use your litmus test, who is paying). Unfortunately for Afghani people, Al Qaeda happened to be located in their country, hence the necessity to attack them there.

It's not like we rampaged Kabul when the Taliban and Al Qaeda left. In fact, the U.S. is "drilling water wells in destroyed villages, fixing roads cratered by bomb blasts and rebuilding schools ripped apart by rocket fire".
posted by pardonyou? at 8:45 AM on April 24, 2002

Graham Fuller of the RAND Corporation, gave a speech at the US Naval Academy. He pointed out CNN as a news network doing a disservice to the American people by "censoring" or "presenting" the news in a manner more acceptable by the viewers. He pointed out how CNN International almost always presents the news differently.

Almost every day, I find conflicts in the "facts" that mainstream media presents. Sometimes the bias, wether the news be about republicans/democrats, or America/Europe or Israel/Palestine, is so open and the anchors make such absurd, fake comments it seems as if they take us all for fools.

I try to get news from every source I can and then make my own conclusions.
posted by adnanbwp at 1:11 PM on April 24, 2002

I've followed the adventures of Robert Young Pelton and I must say he has balls like a gunfighter. He's sort of a cynic, but he has actually been to the dangerous places; he has a knack for getting in where others can't (or don't try) so his observations carry some weight. His take on some dangerous places is somewhat enlightening: Read the one on the United States of America.
posted by Mack Twain at 2:50 PM on April 24, 2002

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