There's a DailyKos diary now up on the Rec List titled Is Anyone Watching 60 Minutes, Re: Iran?, by Richard Cranium. With well over 500 comments, I linked to "Story Only" instead of full diary+comments, but read the whole thing. It has links to video, transcript and great comments regarding the attempted hatchet job by 60 Minutes'
correspondent water-carrying shill Scott Pelley, who appeared to push BushCheney talking points and aggressively (rudely) questioned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
There's a series of comments pertaining to how Ahmadinejad's comments have often been poorly (perhaps purposely?) mistranslated, and that actual / accurate translations often contradict favorite Administration / Reich-wing talking points. Since a preponderance of pundits rely upon the fact that few easily-accessed sources can provide careful and verifiable translations of Farsi (the primary language of Iran), the mis-characterization of words allegedly spoken and the immediate propagation of same through the propaganda mill is made much easier.
Truth is lost in translation, and propaganda is given a leg up over truth. It's a common game in today's world, and a wicked one at that.
Crossposted on ePluribus Media.
Before I delve further into this, here's the promised musical accompaniment -- perhaps a bit inappropriate, but haunting and containing the words "wicked game" so it qualified in my sleep-addled brain:
Chris Isaaks, "Wicked Game"
HIM, "Wicked Game" as an alternative:
(Probably more in line with a BushCheney-esque sensibility, as it's darker.)
We, as a nation, have learned to distrust most of the traditional media over the past years, particularly the last six years, because of revelations of intentional misinformation and withholding of important stories that could have made significant influences upon our decisions. The withholding of the illegal wiretapping story by the New York Times at the time of the 2004 election springs to mind here, and it's not the only instance. In a recent piece posted on ePluribus Media (not specifically about this topic; it was the third of my "CLUE" series), I wrote the following:
News can be funny that way. Sometimes intentionally. And sometimes, if not being used by those formerly trusted to present it as a means to sway, dissuade or lead people astray, we often find others willing to try and turn tales of horror toward their own pet peeves and prejudices. I can only imagine how the anti-abortion folks would have a field day over this item, for example. Sometimes, the news may be gruesome and inconclusive, but contain tantalizing tidbits that could possibly piece together a tragedy, and sometimes the news presents basics tales of clueless behavior due to intoxicating circumstance.
Too often, the stories we find can elicit an I told you so type of response, while others raise questions and hackles that can suggest, without direct implication, the potential of a coincidence or conspiracy.
People in general have become numbed to the relentless, rising tide of negative news and information -- much more so over the past few years than ever before, I believe. With all the hype and hoopla concerning "imminent" terror attacks, even a simple trumpet can sound a sour note on the street. What might have been a harmless prank and misunderstanding in days of old becomes a spooky story of tragedy in today's era of home invasions and terror alerts.
In an era of fear, misunderstanding and miscommunications can do far more than incorrectly translate a restaurant menu item from a fish dish to a nice plate of steamed crap. In this day and age, a misunderstanding can kill you and incomplete or inept translations can lead to the devastating invasion of an entire country under false pretenses.
Translations -- and mistranslations -- can be disastrous, and can cause as much if not more damage to a national psyche than a straightforward propaganda agenda. When used in tandem with a super-sized policy of "all propaganda, all the time" and in concert with the primary traditional media sources available to the public, the results can be devastating.
And that's why issues like net neutrality are important. Through the growth of the blogosphere, important issues have been brought to the attention of the public. Items that received lots of attention resulted in overlap into traditional media and primary sources, much to the chagrin of those who'd rather not have anything cause the illusion built by carefully constructed propaganda to ripple and reveal itself as an illusion.
Issues like PTSD and the appalling treatment of our troops have made national headlines, sparking investigations and change (albeit the changes are slow and, IMO, being resisted at nearly every stage).
Markos and Jerome's book and Glenn Greenwald's books help remind us of how important the role of the netroots and the actions of true patriots are in a functional democracy. Aaron Barlow's books delve more directly into the rise and impact of the blogosphere on public discourse, including the rise of citizen journalism. And ePluribus Media was born from the initial investigations into the PropaGannon fiasco. (Heads-up: Google search string.)
Even with all this going on, however, the shrill and the shriveled have also swung into motion, countering as best their little fingers can any attempts to clarify the murky waters of public discourse. (And no, I don't know -- or want to know -- where those fingers have been.) The balance shifts, somewhat, but still the open information and cross-referenced material provided by bloggers, often including clips from sources like Crooks and Liars or YouTube, makes a harder imprint on the minds of Americans. "We" are still ahead, and likely to remain so as long as we have free and open access to both source information and the internet, which gives us the capacity to share that information openly in real-time.
One thing that has been lacking, however, is a reliable back-base of verifiable translations of non-English languages. In the Richard Cranium piece cited at the start, many folks in comments refer to Juan Cole as often providing accurate translations of Farsi (and Arabic, I think). Good -- that's one source that appears to be collectively taken as reliable.
What else is available to us?
Many people on the blogosphere speak, understand and read more than one language; a great many more either don't, or do not to the extent that we can reliably depend on their translations (at least until they've built up a credibility rating in the collective mind). I'm an advocate of multi-linguism; it helps expand the mind as well as the overall intellect, and leads toward a higher chance of greater understanding (IMO) as well as diminishes the chance that common misperceptions will remain undetected in some venues. I'm not, however, technically multi-lingual. I'm "smattering-lingual" and that doesn't cut it.
Our information is important, especially at this critical time when the drumbeat for war appears to be a major agenda item for the BushCheney Administration and their underlings. Too much is falling through the cracks, both in the nation as a whole and -- perhaps most significantly -- in our capacity to monitor the screw-ups of a nation run by malignant, arrogant psychopaths who don't care and are incapable of responsible planning or action.
There are some truly serious issues at hand, too. For example Avahome's piece over on ePluribus Media, Nukes on a plane....Bent Spear Alert, gives some very scary background detail on those nukes that were "misplaced" by the Air Force recently -- you know, the ones that accidentally flew cross-country? I added a link to a particularly pertinent comment over there about the increasing drumbeat to war -- I hadn't seen it covered anywhere but the brief (and frightening) blurb I'd caught online:
I just saw this article.....
remember the press conference where Bush refused to talk about Israel/Syria and an episode.
Whispers of War
by avahome on Sun Sep 23, 2007 at 05:06:31 PM EST
And then there's Cheney, lurking behind
...and trying to get Israel to provoke Iran in order to justify a war.
Does that sound familiar, hmmmm?
by GreyHawk on Sun Sep 23, 2007 at 09:14:39 PM EST
The "Does that sound familiar" part of my comment refers to my own ongoing and oft-stated belief that something like that is a valid and active option that BushCheney are trying to use to trigger the illegal Iran aggression, in order to provide themselves more cover and an air of justification. Kinda like the Downing Street Memos1 revealed about their efforts to illegally entrap Saddam and Iraq.
Let's try to come up with something to enable us to verify translations and eliminate this particularly insidious misuse of wordplay from our public stage, inasmuch as it is possible. That way, we'll be sure to know the difference when we have to decide whether the Administration is serving us a nice steamed carp or a steaming pile of crap.
Thanks for listening. Now I'm going back to bed, so my week teaching a technical class on a software suite won't be too unintelligible...I'll check for any comments and reply before I hit the road in the morning.
1. And a good place to followup the DSM site with is After Downing Street.