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Prison Abuse a la FOX: The Military Perspective Only

Reported by Ellen - December 2, 2004

The 11/30/04 video report entitled "Prison Abuse" on FOXNews.com took so long to get around to the prison abuse part, that I was nearly certain that an error on the web page had substituted a different story.

First, reporter Bret Baier got us in the mood for revenge by showing numerous attacks, car bombs and wounded civilians in Iraq. He then reminded us that November was the deadliest month for US troops so far, that a hidden terrorist threat remains in Fallujah but just so we know all that death and destruction has been worth it, the next-door town of Ramadi has quieted down thanks to the "Fallujah effect."

After all that bad news, followed by a bit of encouragement about the effort, Baier finally got to the NY Times story which reported that the Red Cross has found that the US has inflicted psychological and physical co-ercion on the Guantanamo Bay detainees that is "tantamount to torture."

Comment: Why did Baier precede this news about Guantanamo Bay detainees with news about Iraq, half a world away? I can only conclude it's to drum up our sympathy for our troops and drum up our hatred for the "enemy," even if it's a different enemy.

Baier then ran through a series of denials by the Pentagon and General Myers, head of the Joint Chiefs. Video of US soldiers providing meals to prisoners, gently walking prisoners to cells, etc. went along with the denials that there have been "no credible instances of abuse" and "all detainees are being treated properly."

You can always tell what FOX wants you to take away from their news stories by looking at the beginnings and endings. Just as this one began with a lot of sympathy for our troops, it ended by telling us we should not feel too sorry for the detainees who are supposedly not being mistreated. Baier concluded, "While emphasizing that all detainees are being treated humanely, General Myers said not to forget what kind of people are being detained at Gitmo saying, 'These are people that don't know any moral boundaries.' The ICRC would neither confirm nor deny the leaked NY Times document."

Comment: The only people quoted in this story were from the US military and, unless you count the above sentence about the ICRC and the quote from the NY Times, there was no effort to cover the other side, not even the fact that the US has admitted that many of the detainees at Gitmo were wrongly held.

Imagine if FOX covered only the defense side of the Scott Peterson trial. Would THAT be an outrage?

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