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Michael Moore is widely revered on the Left, he’s the best known political documentarian in America, and he’s so well thought of amongst liberals that he even famously sat next to Jimmy Carter at the 2004 Democratic convention.

Michael Moore is also a deather — someone who believes that the US government already had Bin Laden in hand and just decided to finally get around to killing him on Sunday. As you read these tweets, keep in mind that they’re from the same man who tweeted this;

“No matter what Obama says, bin Laden’s not dead until Donald Trump see’s his death certificate. #Deathers”

Ha, ha, ha! Hilarious…well, except Moore also tweeted this:

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From Accuracy in Media‘s Don Irvine:

The photo of President Obama’s national security team watching the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound isn’t all that it appears to be.

According to the Telegraph, CIA director Leon Panetta admitted that there was no live video footage of the raid as the specially mounted helmet cameras had been cut off.

In an interview with PBS, Mr Panetta said: “Once those teams went into the compound I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on. And there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information.

“We had some observation of the approach there, but we did not have direct flow of information as to the actual conduct of the operation itself as they were going through the compound.”

If that was the case what was the national security team looking at? As it turns out it was just another photo op staged by the White House for dramatic effect and it resonated around the world.

Women’s Wear Daily was duly impressed by the photo and asked other photographers for their reactions:

Here, photography editors and designers explain why the picture is destined to be one for the history books:

Richard Turley, creative director, Bloomberg Businessweek
“I don’t think it’s something that you would look at as an incredible piece of photography, but as a moment of time captured, it’s very powerful.…It’s quite a human picture isn’t it: The way Obama kind of tucked himself into the corner, the body language on everyone.…It’s weight is in your own baggage of the picture, your own prior knowledge about what’s going on and what they’re looking at.”

Dora Somosi, director of photography, GQ
“It really is the two faces, between Obama’s intensity and Hillary Clinton’s surprise and shock, or whatever the hand covering the mouth is. That’s where your eye goes. She may not have had her hand over her mouth a second later, but [the photographer] did catch a moment. I think it’s about those two people and catching their unguarded reaction.…I think it’s further validated by the document that’s in front of Hillary that’s been wiped out a bit because it’s classified information. That makes you feel that you have an insider view.”

Kira Pollack, director of photography for Time
“The Hillary Clinton expression is the one that holds the photograph fully. The reaction of her hand over her face. Her eyes. Clearly, she’s reacting to something she’s watching. She’s very unaware she’s being photographed. To me, the whole image is about Hillary. In some ways, she holds the image. You look at her first, and then you look at everyone else. That instinctive reaction that must have happened for her hand to go over her mouth like that? There must be something powerful on that screen.…The other thing about this picture that we all find fascinating is that the document that is blurred. It’s one more element of what’s in that room. How extraordinary is it that we’re seeing inside that room?”

History book alright. The book of fake photos.

And as for that dramatic reaction by Hillary Clinton, New York magazine got the real scoop:

“I am somewhat sheepishly concerned that it was my preventing one of my early spring allergic coughs,” she said. “So, it may have no great meaning whatsoever.”

Powerful  indeed. Next time bring along some cough drops.

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This was written by a regular CiF Watch contributor who writes under the name, Israelinurse.

For several years now, the Guardian’s Associate Editor Seumas Milne has been attending the annual ‘Al Jazeera Forum’ in Doha, Qatar.

This year the event was held between March 12th -14th at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha and according to the advance publicity, its aim was to “explore the significance of the revolutions and unrest sweeping the Arab world and examine their impact on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”.

Milne spoke at a plenary session entitled “Leaks: the future of journalism” along with several other interesting figures. Two other Guardian employees were also among the 500 conference attendees flown out to Doha by Al Jazeera for this all expenses paid event. Matt Wells and Francesca Panetta produced a subsequently published podcast on the subject, including some blandly sycophantic coverage of the Al Jazeera TV station.

Al Jazeera produced video interviews with some of the conference participants, including Seumas Milne who was in clear self-congratulatory mode as he talked about the Guardian-Al Jazeera joint project which became known as the ‘Palestine Papers’.

Milne describes his newspaper as one engaged in “pushing boundaries” due to the fact that, like Al Jazeera, it is not a “profit maximizing” organization and therefore enjoys “freedoms that other media organisations don’t have”. However, like Al Jazeera itself, the Guardian is extremely selective on the subject of where exactly it chooses to push boundaries and exercise its “freedoms” and for both these organisations, the subject of human rights in Qatar is a self-censored no-go area.

Ironically, even as Egyptian, Tunisian and other bloggers and social media revolutionaries were being feted at the Qatar government-funded Al Jazeera Forum, a Qatari blogger was being held incommunicado by that same government, prompting Amnesty International to launch an appeal to its members to act for his release.  Whilst the gentleman concerned does not, according to his blog, seem to be my idea of a human rights activist, his incarceration is symptomatic of the lack of media and internet freedom prevalent in Qatar.

Al Jazeera has been frequently criticized by some in the Qatari press for not addressing domestic issues liable to embarrass its patrons. An editorial in the’ Peninsula’ stated that:

“Al Jazeera is hailed as an epitome of free media in the Arab world and beyond but critics say its so-called freedom and boldness would actually be put to test when the channel begins covering local issues. Al Jazeera has, of late, been at the receiving end on Qatari social networking sites for focusing attention on the outside world and ignoring issues in the country of its birth. Its coverage of events in neighbouring Bahrain and Oman has also left many viewers wondering if it is really objective in its treatment of developments in those countries .Praised the world over for its boldness, the channel lacks the guts to cover sensitive issues in Qatar, for instance, say critics. Al Jazeera is also accused of practicing double standards. A website which sometime ago talked of some appointment in the channel’s administration had to be closed down and its owners were taken to court. So the local Arabic and English-language newspapers score over Al Jazeera in that they sometimes show the guts and can cover issues like corruption. Al Jazeera is thus not a good example at all while discussing media freedom in the Qatari context, say critics.”

International organisations monitoring press freedom have also criticized the archaic Qatari laws which make criticism of religion, the army and the royal family punishable offences and the fact that many of the journalists working in Qatar are foreigners who, by law, cannot hold citizenship and are therefore very vulnerable to state pressure.  As pointed out by ‘Reporters without Borders’, Qatari journalists are also at a distinct disadvantage due to the fact that all trade unions are illegal in that country. A new press law was promised by the end of 2010, but so far has failed to come into effect.

One would think that both as a journalist and a life-time socialist, as well as a person claiming that investigative reporting performs a public service, Seumas Milne and his Guardian colleagues would have been keen to take on the subject of the dire situation in which Qatari journalists and bloggers operate. Apparently not.

Neither has the Guardian paid very much attention to the subject of human rights in general in Qatar, despite some of its staff paying fairly frequent visits there. The 2010 Amnesty International report on Qatar makes for grim reading and exposes  institutionalized discrimination and violence against women, prison sentences for ‘insulting Islam’, continued illegality of homosexuality, severe abuses of the rights of migrants and continued use of cruel punishment such as stoning, flogging and the death penalty. In 2010 Qatar rejected a series of recommendations made by the UN Human Rights Council to correct some of these human rights abuses.

And yet, when one takes a look at the ‘Qatar’ page in the Middle East section of ‘Comment is Free’, one finds that a grand total of sixteen articles on Qatar-related subjects have appeared there since August 2006, of which only one – not written by a Guardian journalist – can be classified as critical.

Now of course all this raises an awful lot of chicken and egg-type questions. One wonders why Guardian journalists are so keen to take part in a conference celebrating revolution against dictators and what they perceive as a ‘Arab Spring’ of democracy in the Arab world which is generously and exclusively funded by an equally non-democratic hereditary dictatorship which controls every aspect of life in a country rated ‘not free’ by Freedom House.

One ponders as to why their ‘brave new journalism’ does not extend to investigative reporting on the subject of the many human rights abuses taking place right outside the front door of the luxury hotel in which they were wined and dined by the regime perpetrating those abuses.

One also asks how these ‘liberal progressives’ manage to reconcile their ever-increasing collaboration with a government-owned and funded TV station which provides a regular slot for one of the most offensive racist and homophobic hate preachers on the circuit – Yusuf al  Qaradawi – and if they privately raised any eyebrows at the fact that the ‘Qatar Foundation’ – funded by the same government – supplies student scholarships in his name.

One may even wonder if the Guardian management has any qualms about accepting luxury all expenses paid trips for some of its staff from a dictatorship which also funds terrorist organizations which murder innocent civilians in another part of the world, for whilst there may be no legal grounds for refusing such favours, there certainly should be moral ones.

The fact that yet again the intrepid investigative reporter Seumas Milne finds himself suddenly struck by a distinct lack of curiosity whilst in Qatar actually shows that contrary to his claims in the above video, he and his newspaper are far from being graced with “freedoms that other media organisations do not have”.

Not only are they in hock to a hereditary dictatorship of the type they repeatedly claim to abhor and oppose on grounds of principle, but they are also puppets to their own political ideology which obliges them to sell out any remaining vestige of integrity for the sake of ‘the cause’ and makes “pushing boundaries” no more than an empty mantra when coming from their mouths.

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By 2050, America is expected to have a “majority minority” population and every vote from now until then, we can expect minorities to account for a larger share of the voting population. This is not good news for the Republican Party because black Americans vote for the Democratic Party 9-to-1 and Hispanic Americans lean to the Left at a 2-to-1 clip.

Sadly, conservatives are doing absolutely nothing to change any of those numbers.

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From Accuracy in Media‘s Benjamin Johnson:

The word ‘war’ is overused.  There is a “war on drugs,” a “war on trans-fats” and “a war on Lindsay Lohan” (the latter I completely agree with). Seems every minor cultural conflict is hailed as a new war. So when new media mogul Andrew Breitbart tells us he is at war with the “establishment media” there is some time to pause. Does this title actually apply or is it ever so cheaply used? A quick YouTube or Google search of the name ‘Breitbart’ should answer that question.  The war against Breitbart is on.

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