Helen Thomas Blasts Rumsfeld For

Helen Thomas Blasts Rumsfeld for Closure of al-Arabiya

Helen Thomas condemned the closure of al-Arabiya offices in Iraq:

‘The raid by the U.S.-appointed Iraqi officials on an Arab television network bureau in Baghdad and the ban on its broadcasts hardly fits my idea of how to spread democracy in the Middle East. Isn’t that the first thing dictators do — shut down broadcast outlets and newspapers? For those in power, tolerating a free press is difficult, even in a democracy. As a foreign occupier in Iraq, we are proving it is intolerable . . . The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned the move against Al-Arabiya, noting that “statements from Saddam Hussein and the former Iraqi regime are inherently newsworthy and news organizations have a right to cover them.”‘

Thomas, who had been UPI’s White House correspondent for 40 years, resigned from the news service in 2000 when it was acquired by Korean rightwing nut case Reverend Moon, who also owns the rightwing Washington Times. It is really, really scarey to me that Moon and his Unification Church has become so influential in US news reporting. In 2002, Moon said, “I hope that the Washington Times, UPI and other major media will accept this lofty command from Heaven and take up the task of educating humankind, taking a stance beyond religion and ideology.” His audience for this alarming prayer included talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, former Times editor Arnaud de Borchgrave and singer Randy Travis. The Washington Times and the Unification Church’s Insight were among the more virulent attackers of Bill Clinton.

So if you want to know why US news is so screwed up and uncritical, just look to foreign wacky billionnaires who own major outlets like Fox and the WT. I wonder if the Chinese Communist government will be allowed to buy CBS next. Or maybe there are no objections only as long as the wacky billionnaire foreigners support the far right.

And Michael Powell wanted to let the Rupert Murdochs and Reverend Moons consolidate their hold over US media even more! Maybe Rumsfeld could have avoided some bad publicity by having Reverend Moon just buy al-Arabiya and have it take direction from “this lofty command from Heaven.”

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