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THE LISTENING POST
Media spin on the Iraqi elections
plus, Wikileaks, the online information phenomenon.
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2010 19:44 GMT



This week, we pick up from where we left off in our last broadcast and analyze the media spin on the Iraqi elections – this time from the American side.
Also, we go underground on the World Wide Web to understand what makes whistle-blower's website Wikileaks tick.

For our lead story this week we have put American media coverage of the Iraqi elections under the scanner. In the seven years since the invasion of Iraq, American media's schizophrenia towards the war and its chief perpetrator George W. Bush, the former US president seems to have come full circle.

During the war, liberal hawks who had supported the invasion turned on Bush as the losses and failures piled up. Now, post-election however the media chatter has been about the 'success' in Iraq - with most commentators pointing to the recent election as proof of America's achievement.

Two examples came up high on our radar: an opinion piece by the New York Times' Thomas Friedman titled 'It's Up to Iraqis Now. Good Luck' and Newsweek magazine's Iraq election cover which declared 'Victory at Last'.

In our Newsdivide this week Richard Gizbert takes a look at the shifting American media narrative on Iraq and the effort by commentators and editors to rehabilitate reputations while Iraqis continue to grapple with the fallout of a war they did not ask for.

In our Newsbytes section, we look at a curious news broadcast in Georgia that told the story of a Russian attack that never was. Also, a sinister list in Sri Lanka appears to show names of journalists and human rights workers who are on the governments watch list. In Mexico, the threat to journalists.

'Wikileaks'

In the second half of our show, the website Wikileaks is our focus. Online since 2007, the website has attracted both controversy and accolades for its fundamentalist approach to freedom of expression.

The website's mission has been to provide a safe space for whistle-blowers, journalists and political sources to release suppressed information that is vital to the public interest. In the course of its work, the website's founders have been hauled to court over 100 times and yet, they have produced numerous scoops and have managed to protect their sources.

Meenakshi Ravi finds out how Wikileaks dodges the legal grenades launched at it and why despite its success, it has been shut down since the beginning of this year.

For those who watch 24 hour news television, our Video of the Week will definitely strike a chord. The funny men/women at satire website theonion.com have put out a new video with their take on what passes for news on channels that are trying to break stories every hour on the hour. Watch it here.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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