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  Bombshell: CNN takes money from foreign dictators to run flattering news stories about them

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Posts : 7979
Join date : 2012-05-29
Location : Manchester UK

PostSubject: Bombshell: CNN takes money from foreign dictators to run flattering news stories about them    Thu 04 Oct 2012, 11:45

Bombshell: CNN takes money from foreign dictators to run flattering news stories about them

(NaturalNews) Those of you who are regular readers of Natural News
- and your numbers are many - may not always agree with points of view
expressed here, but we believe you at least consider us a trustworthy
news source, a point driven home by the tens of millions of page views
we receive every month.

That said, how much trust would you place
in us if, say, we were being paid to put out certain information or
relate only a singular point of view? We're guessing that number would
be much, much smaller.

Yet that's what one establishment media organization - CNN
- appears to be doing, according to multiple sources who say the
network has begun engaging in a practice of killing stories that portray
governments and countries which have become the network's sugar daddies
in a bad light.

Silencing government response to the 'Arab Spring'

March 2011, you may recall, much of the Middle East began to erupt.
This "Arab Spring," as the general movement has been labeled, began as
simple protests by seething opposition groups against long-time Arab
dictators but soon exploded into full-fledged revolution and, in the
case of Libya and Syria, civil war.

Early on, CNN sent a
four-person crew to Bahrain to do an investigative piece "on the use of
internet technologies and social media by democracy activists in the
region," Glenn Greenwald, of Britain's The Guardian newspaper, reported in September.

team, led by veteran reporter Amber Lyon, a three-time Emmy
Award-winning journalist, had a most eventful eight-day stay in the
small Washington-backed kingdom, which is home, by the way, to the U.S.
Navy's Fifth Fleet.

the time Lyon and her crew arrived, a number of sources who had
previously agreed to speak to them had either disappeared or took to
hiding. Opponents of the Bahraini regime who did speak to them
suffered government-led recriminations, "as did ordinary citizens who
worked with them as fixers," Greenwald wrote.

'It made clear just how willing the regime is to lie'

In one case, leading human rights activist Nabeel Rajab was arrested for allegedly fabricating a photo of a dead man
who appears to be on a table in a medical examiner's office (no details
were provided by the Bahraini police site about how the man died).

In another case, Saeed Ayyad, a doctor who gave the crew a tour of his village before arranging meetings with government opponents, had his house burned down shortly thereafter.

In still another case, the crew's local fixer was fired 10 days after working with them.

and her crew were even violently detained by agents of the regime in
front of Rajab's house. They later described the encounter after
returning to the U.S. as being accosted by "20 heavily armed men" whose
faces were "covered with black ski masks" and who "jumped from military
vehicles" before they "pointed machine guns at" them, then forcing them
all to the ground. The security forces proceeded to seize the crew's
cameras, deleting photos and video footage before interrogating them
against their will for six hours.

The experience "both shocked and emboldened" Lyon, Greenwald wrote.

following morning after her detention, she said newspapers in the
kingdom prominently featured reports about the incident that contained
what she described as "outright fabrications" by the government.

"It made clear just how willing the regime is to lie," Lyon told Greenwald last month.

the episode strengthened her resolve as well; she committed to exposing
how abusive and thug-like the regime had become in attempting to quash
the fledgling democracy movement, as well as any negative coverage of
the government's inevitable response.

"I realized there was a
correlation between the amount of media attention activists receive and
the regime's ability to harm them, so I felt an obligation to show the
world what our sources, who risked their lives to talk to us, were
facing," she said.

cost for the team to travel to Bahrain to get the story was north of
$100K, "an unusually high amount for a one-hour program of this type,"
according to The Guardian; the story was titled, "iRevolution:
Online Warriors in the Arab Spring," and it took up a 13-minute segment
of the program, (it is now available on YouTube).

Per Greenwald:

the segment, Lyon interviewed activists as they explicitly described
their torture at the hands of government forces, while family members
recounted their relatives' abrupt disappearances. She spoke with
government officials justifying the imprisonment of activists. And the
segment featured harrowing video footage of regime forces shooting
unarmed demonstrators, along with the mass arrests of peaceful
protesters. In sum, the early 2011 CNN segment on Bahrain presented one
of the starkest reports to date of the brutal repression embraced by the
US-backed regime.

The highly award-winning segment, which was praised by thousands of Bahrainis on Facebook as well, aired just once in the U.S.

Internationally, on CNN's sister network, CNNi, it never aired.

An expensive piece of hard-hitting, award-winning journalism never aired overseas. Why?

Government sponsorship of 'reporting'

has aggressively pursued a business strategy of extensive, multifaceted
financial arrangements between the network and several of the most
repressive regimes around the world which the network purports to
cover," writes Greenwald. "Its financial dealings with Bahrain are deep
and longstanding."

Specifically, he notes, the network
aggressively pursued - and then came to rely on - revenue from several
Middle East regimes, in order to remain viable, especially after the
2008 economic recession, "which caused the network to suffer significant
losses in corporate sponsorships."

The result: The employment of
journalistically dubious ways to earn revenue from the very governments
the network was created to cover.

The arrangement goes far beyond simple advertising agreements. According to CNN, programming is produced in what the network describes as an "in association with" type of arrangement with a government.

programs are then featured as part of CNNi's so-called 'Eye on' series
('Eye on Georgia,' 'Eye on the Philippines,' 'Eye on Poland'), or
'Marketplace Middle East,' all of which is designed to tout the positive
economic, social and political features of that country," says

As you might have guessed, disclosure of these
arrangements is often deft and wholly unnoticeable by all but the most
trained journalistic eye.

In mid-July, Myles Smith, a Central Asia-based consultant, pointed out that a series CNNi produced on oil-rich Kazakhstan was similarly skewed - and similarly government-sponsored.

Paid coverage is akin to tainted coverage

of the spots are quirky, soft-core reportage and travelogue sprinkled
with carefully framed shots of the glitziest parts of Astana and Almaty.
Topics include economic diversification, transportation infrastructure,
skiing, and dating games," he writes. "CNN International offers
no coverage of labor strikes, human rights abuses, nascent violent
insurgencies, violence against women, or any other diversions from the
narrative of relentless growth and limitless opportunity."

Smith notes, "...[W]hat looks to the unsuspecting viewer like more of CNN at its finest appears in fact to be sponsored advertisements paid for by none other than Kazakhstan's oil-rich government."

As for Lyon, she says that China and many other foreign, authoritarian regimes also pay CNN
and other mainstream networks to run flowery, flattering propaganda
pieces. And what's more, she says a number of reporters and producers at
the network have privately complained about the paid-sponsorship of
programming, but believe they can't complain publicly out of fear they
will be blacklisted within the news industry and branded troublemakers.

Couple this revelation with our earlier coverage of an admission by The New York Times that many mainstream media stories are actually scripted by the White House, and you get a sense of why Natural News
and a number of other leading "alternative" sites are where information
consumers are increasingly turning to for honest reporting.

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