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I am generally pleased when the axiom  " you are entitled to your own opinions, but you can't invoke your own facts" is played like a trump card in a heated debate.

It refreshes the mind, like a hit on the reset button, and makes paramount a very serious question.  Your opinion may very well be flying into the headwinds of the revealed facts.   At which point the educated western mind says.. speculative and/or untenable.

My mind has been nagged since the Times Square Bombing attempt first appeared. Within 24 hours I had digested narrative "facts" that were, at the very least, incongruent and more plainly, contradictory.

Tonight's episode of Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" addressed the failure of the media to get out a coherent narrative of Faisal Shahzad. And that, as is the function of the Daily Show, reminded me that I am not alone in getting queasy when "national security terror events" unfold. Are you comfy?

Why can I not get narrative established in my mind about the arrest of Faisal Shahzad?  

Because I listen to and read and watch a variety of news providers I suppose.  

Because between NPR, Cable TV news Channels, Network newscasts, PBS, BBC it is CLEAR that Faisal Shahzad was arrested:

  1. before boarding his flight
  1. as he boarded his flight
  1. after he boarded his flight but before the plane left the gate
  1. after the plane lined up on the runway
  1. before the flight left, but then the plane was ordered back to the gate because of 2 other "people of interest" who were subsequently arrested.
  1. on the plane along with the other 2 people of interest.

Take your pick.  Journalism 101.  Each of these assertions, mostly attributed to "officials"   ( yes folks, Orwell, Zamiatin, Bradbury,Huxley fans) ............. Officials.
is, in theory, supported by two or more independent sources with discernable motives.

The product is chaos as fact.  This is so complicated and involved, believe me , it's just the first draft of history, a lot of confusion, witnesses say funny things, how can you expect it make sense with all that excitement going on........

What the Fuck ?

When did we peasants grant permission to three serious and reliable outlets of the news media to tell us stories about very serious stuff that they  can't defend against contradictory claims in three other equally esteemed outlets?

What's worse?  None of those outlets takes note of, or finds any significance in the inconsistencies of these narratives.

Those who detest "conspiracy theories" will jump up now, loudly, to defend the right of several legitimate and professional journalism outlets to contradict each other on basic information that requires sourcing.

Yes, you can get sources who observed the sinking of the Titanic and saw  contradictory "facts".
But here we have an immediate access of multiple media "feeds", professional journalists close to the scene, means of accessing witnesses......

The truth should be easier to tease out of the chaos of events not harder to discern.

But we are, in fact, confounded. Less sure about what happened.
And we ought to complain about it.  Telling us what happened is the primary, singular, central, existential premise for the existence of journalism.

Journalism has failed, in my opinion, when an "over-informed" consumer/client of  "news product" remains unable to simply restate what the newsmedia has told me without feeling embarrassed and silly.

Mr Shahzad may be one of many things, including an American intelligence asset used to penetrate Pakistan's jihadists fringes, a delusional trendy guy who stumbled from a Sapphire gin and tonic into martyrdom, the embodiment of the long slow developing and growing menace of Islamic terror, an angry mortgage victim, a truly weird dude.  Some or all of the above.

There is a fog of war. But the events at JFK airport did not take place under heavy shelling pre-dawn.  The satellite trucks were 30 minutes away driving time.  The groomed correspondents.... wait.... on this story, I saw none.

I am feeling a bit too lazy to link to the CNN, AP, Times, BBC et al that I read and that triggered this essay.  If you wish to demand links I will provide at great length.

I assume that all readers of this entry have already noted.. or were reminded... that the story of Faisal Shahzad's arrest is .. pick and choose.  I wonder what you chose:


Originally posted to BWildered on Fri May 07, 2010 at 02:33 AM PDT.


Faisal Shahzad's arrest was clearly

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for just asking to be told (5+ / 0-)

    something widely agreed to be true.
    They want us to pay for good journalism as we progress through this media transition.

    Well... show me the journalism

  •  A guy who tried to blow people up (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, padeius

    was arrested and now he's in jail.

    I'm good.

    Catholic Church: Example of Religion thats TOO BIG TO FAIL

    by Detroit Mark on Fri May 07, 2010 at 02:39:13 AM PDT

  •  With My Insomnia As Active As Ever (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Euroliberal, riverlover, buddabelly, rja

    I was trying to find something to read. I went to Salon, Slate, New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and Time. I was interested if there was any "new" news on Shahzad since I walked away from the TV/computer are around 6 PM yesterday.

    What I found was a little different then the bullets/numbered points you outlined above. Every story was almost exactly the same. Not word for word, but the narrative was exactly the same.

    Like they all had the same press release and a five minutes conference call (on background) and then wrote their stories. Erie. Strange. In all the words I read I don't think a single person went on the record and used his/her name talking about the case.

    Nobody seemed to even question, much less disagree with the "official" story.

    Heck a couple of the stories use a similar phrase, "a SUV packed with explosives." Really, is that the "new" narrative we're going to hear?

    And these papers/magazines wonder why they are losing readership ....

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Fri May 07, 2010 at 02:51:07 AM PDT

    •  I wish (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      they were More the same.  Why are so many contradictory statements still "in play"? Normally the narrative narrows around a consensus.  I cannot explain that sound bite of the pilot being asked to come back to the gate even though I am a dedicated news junkie.
      Two thirds of the news media don't have this plane leaving the gate with Shahzad aboard.

      I am primarily concerned about truth of course, but also alarmed at being expected to accept contradictory facts as if they are consistent.

  •  It is a rush to get the word out and make the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, ExStr8, The Raven

    story as juicy as possible, using a lot of heard through the grapevine 'facts'.

    Really it's about news output volume competition.

    God is good. If it isn't good. It isn't God.

    by publicv on Fri May 07, 2010 at 03:03:34 AM PDT

    •  therefore you ACCEPT (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that where journalists report things as confirmed by "officials"  are not reliable.

      I believe that is often the case. Of Course

      But my whole point here is that our acceptance of well sourced contradictions is a symptom of what's wrong with us.

      When we internalize and have no objection to it we have adopted the mentality of Soviet or Nazi "citizens".

      "I dunno... Somebody shot Kirov... Somebody burned down the Reichstag,.... I'm just glad they arrested somebody."

      There is no defence of Shahzad intended here. This is an attack on our lazy acceptance of varying "facts" as normal.  At least 200 passengers have some clearer idea. Why can't we?

    •  confusion of the public is generally (0+ / 0-)

      justified given that journalism is conducted in a competitive capitalist market where ethical professional standards ought not to thwart sales.

      I love it.

      •  No that's not it. Not it at all. What one does (0+ / 0-)

        and what is accepted that one does are two different things.  Many people know the drill by now with the 24/7 news cycle.  Many people know there is a kernel of something there.  Just not if it's fully popped.  In the case of this news story, no matter how much news comes out per second, we still know it takes time to get the whole story.  Just because they keep rushing a story, the same story, doesn't mean the facts are settled about it.  Many people know this.  We wait and see.

        God is good. If it isn't good. It isn't God.

        by publicv on Fri May 07, 2010 at 05:25:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I Continue to plumb the quandry. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But I like this.

    who really is Shahzad?

    •  New York times (0+ / 0-)

      dodges the issue....

      The man, Faisal Shahzad, 30, was arrested as he tried to flee the country in a Dubai-bound jet late Monday.

      •  Eileen Sullivan of AP (0+ / 0-)

        Faisal Shahzad had boarded a jetliner bound for the United Arab Emirates Monday night before federal authorities pulled him back. Although under surveillance since mid-afternoon, he had managed to elude investigators and head to the airport.

        Ohhhhhhhh no Holder!

      •  NY Times...sorry commits to (0+ / 0-)

        He had boarded the plane but was taken off before it taxied away.

        •  Times Online London (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bustacap, rja

          He was arrested on a commercial flight bound for Dubai as it pulled away from the gate at John F. Kennedy airport just before midnight on Monday


          I Like this best.  The agents of justice and peace are on board, yet the sealed doors and progress toward take off proceed.


          •  HUFFPO (0+ / 0-)

            Dubai-based Emirates airline said three passengers were pulled from Flight EK202, which was delayed for about seven hours. The airline did not identify Shahzad by name or identify the other two passengers.

            •  NY Daily News (0+ / 0-)

              By the time investigators made the link, the suspect had already cleared ticketing and airport security - and taken his seat on the international flight, the sources said.

              And yet you didn't hear that audio clip of the tower telling the plane to return to the gate? I did.

              •  AP as told at Huffpo (0+ / 0-)

                Faisal Shahzad was on board a Dubai-bound flight that was taxiing away from the gate at Kennedy Airport when the plane was stopped and FBI agents and New York Police Department detectives took him into custody late Monday, law enforcement officials said.

                •  Curious Vicki at Frugal Cafe (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Some news reports have stated he was arrested "as he attempted to board." No. He had successfully boarded, and was likely pretty pleased with what appeared to be a clean getaway and was settling back in his seat. Until law enforcement swooped in at the last minute.

                  Staking a claim !

                  •  NY Times fucks with that audio of the call back (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    to the gate..

                    and minutes later, with the jet still at the gate, its door was ...

                    •  seriously ! NY Times (0+ / 0-)

                      They sounded the alarm, and minutes later, with the jet still at the gate, its door was opened and agents came aboard and took Mr. Shahzad into custody, officials said. The airliner then pulled away from the gate but was called back.

                      OK... Shahzad at the gate... Two others on the recall.

                      There was a recall right?

                      There were two others, right?

                      It's getting clearer and clearer the more I research it.

                      Some reporters are wrong. There sources are wrong.
                      So which ones are right?

  •  OMG (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, rja

    That new law about flight delays just went into effect, and then,

    Flight EK202, which was delayed for about seven hours

    News confused to defuse the lawsuit?

  •  Shouldn't use those words together... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, BWildered

    professional and journalists. Very few of those around anymore.

    Home of the Free. Little pink houses for you and me!

    by northsongs on Fri May 07, 2010 at 04:46:11 AM PDT

  •  CBS takes a wider view (0+ / 0-)

    Faisal Shahzad was on board a Dubai-bound flight that was taxiing away from the gate at Kennedy Airport when the plane was stopped and FBI agents and New York Police Department detectives took him into custody late Monday, law enforcement officials said. One official said he claimed to have acted alone.

    So the plane returns to the gate with an unarrested Shahzad in his seat. Yes?

  •  San Francisco Sentinal sounding (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    like NPR...

    Mr. Shahzad was arrested while the Dubai-bound Emirates flight was still at the gate. After it left the gate, the flight was recalled and two other passengers were taken off the flight for questioning. They were later cleared and permitted to reboard the airliner.

  •  34 Comments... (0+ / 0-)

    and only 3 of them AREN'T YOURS.

    Dude that's just .... tsk ...... well.  

    Catholic Church: Example of Religion thats TOO BIG TO FAIL

    by Detroit Mark on Fri May 07, 2010 at 05:10:02 AM PDT

    •  sad. (0+ / 0-)

      Reports say 30-year-old Shahzad’s plane had left the gate and was taxiing down the runway before it was raided by the authorities.Audio of air traffic controllers ordering Shahzad’s plane back to the terminal were released today. The pilot of the Emirates flight is told: "Go back to the gate immediately so make the left turn when able. I don’t know exactly why but you can call your company for the reason."

      His flight details said his final destination was Pakistan. Shahzad was one of three people taken off the plane.
      US law enforcement sources claim Shahzad has said he was working alone. Reports say the two other passengers were later released. US Attorney General

    •  Would you perfer a title changed to "UPDATE X31"? (0+ / 0-)
  •  PBS NewsHour had multiple stories, too. (0+ / 0-)

    May 4, 2010 - PBS NewsHour - Mark Hosenball, Newsweek

    Times Square Bomb Plot 'Aimed at Murdering Americans,' Holder Says

    JEFFREY BROWN: And for more, we turn first to Mark Hosenball, investigative correspondent for Newsweek magazine. He joins us from New York.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now, you did learn, I guess, more today about how the government tracked him down. Tell us what you have learned.

    MARK HOSENBALL: Well, you know, the government found -- somebody tried to delete or obliterate the vehicle identification number on the SUV that he rigged up with the bomb, but the government examined all the parts of the SUV, and they found this VIN, unique identifier for the vehicle and its parts, on the engine block.

    Through that, they traced the last registered owner of the vehicle. Through the registered owner of the vehicle, they were -- managed to identify Shahzad as a potential suspect. They ran him down. They did some searches. They found that he had actually taken some precautions to hide his tracks.

    He paid for the vehicle in cash. He used, to call Pakistan, a throwaway cell phone that he apparently bought, and also to ring the fireworks store in Pennsylvania where he bought some of the detonating materials for the bomb.

    He -- when he bought the vehicle, it apparently didn't have blacked-out windows, but, by the time it was planted in Times Square, it did have blacked-out windows. So he took some precautions to cover his tracks and to conceal the bomb.

    But the bomb itself was made ridiculously incompetently. As I -- it's unclear to me to what extent they were tracking him. As I understand it, he was placed on a no-fly list. And then, when he arrived at the airport, they noticed his name on a passenger list for this plane, and they actually grabbed him before he got on the plane, not -- not afterwards.

    And the reason why they pulled the plane back to the gate after it had taxied away was because they wanted -- the FBI wanted to interview two other people on the plane. Shahzad was already in custody, according to the latest account that I have heard.

    Not all of that makes complete sense to me, but it's still interesting.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now, what -- what -- while a lot of things still -- still to be worked out here, but what do we know from the complaint that you were -- that was put out in court?

    At least, they mention that it doesn't make sense yet, and a lot of things are still to be worked out.

    The next day, they have a different version, and do not acknowledge the previous one.

    Airline Security Scrutinized Again After Arrest of NYC Terror Suspect

    JEFFREY BROWN: With the manhunt on, Shahzad was placed on the federal no-fly list. Still, he managed to purchase a ticket for cash on a flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport bound for Dubai. He was already on board when U.S. customs officials spotted his name on the passenger list, and then took him off the plane.

    MAN: There was no skirmish. There was no incident of that nature.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In fact, reports today said Shahzad told the arresting agents: "I was expecting you. Are you NYPD or FBI?"

    As for how he managed to get on the plane, it turned out that Emirates Airlines was only required to check the no-fly list every 24 hours. But today in Washington, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that rule has now changed.

    ROBERT GIBBS, White House press secretary: The suspect's name was entered a little after noon, I believe, on Monday. Therefore, this -- though on the no-fly list, the airline didn't have to check necessarily at that point. The new rules require that that happen at a two-hour interval if airlines are notified that somebody's been added as a risk to the no-fly list.

  •  Check out my diary from Monday of this Week (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Washington Post Develops Time Travel

    You are absolutely right.  Our media is beyond the suck and into the realm of "someone is trying to make stuff up in order to stop us from looking at something else like the gulf spill tinfoil hat time.

    My leader is Barack Hussein Obama the finest President this country has ever elected. Face Front and Respect

    by Adept2u on Fri May 07, 2010 at 06:30:21 AM PDT

  •  Rachel was great on this last night. (0+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Fri May 07, 2010 at 07:35:14 AM PDT

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