Posted by: Jim | August 18, 2008

Source Paradox

 A new headline caught my eye today: “Pentagon doubts Iranian rocket test succeeded

This article helped bring my opinion on US news into focus. I did not give one whit about whether or not Iran’s missile test succeeded or failed. I found myself wondering why the Pentagon wants to tell me that Iran’s test failed. I did not wonder if they were sincere, because a) it’s entirely likely that they are not, and b) I will never know if they are and neither will you, and c) even the Pentagon doesn’t know if the missile test succeeded or failed. Once again there was the ubiquitous source: an official “who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the intelligence.”

Really? This is actual intelligence? Maybe it’s a really sensitive hunch? Maybe there was another “official” who has a hunch that Iran was only doing a very huge weenie roast. Will his name be protected by the media as well?

Why is this statement on the front page of the most trusted name in news? It is a hunch from an unnamed person, and it’s un-newsworthiness is as obvious as a man in a Gorilla suit in a beauty pageant. Maybe the Pentagon pressured CNN into delivering the message so they could reiterate this single, laughably horrifying statement:

“Senior U.S. officials had expressed concerned over the weekend about the new reported test, saying Iran could use the rocket to deliver warheads.”

Or this one:

“The Iranian development and testing of rockets is troubling and raises further questions about their intentions.”

Scary stuff … except the whole rumor mill is in dire contradiction to sanctioned government reports that belie the opposite. The whole thing is sounding suspiciously similar to how Iraq had WMDs, al qaida connections, blah blah blah.

Fool me once, shame on … (most of you know the rest.)

So it all comes down to this: we don’t know anything, and there appear to be no news organizations who care. Where are the Edward R. Murrows of today who are willing to stand up to the Pentagon (i.e. the White House) and set the record straight?

The moment I wrote that statement, I thought of one person and immediately found this.

Thank you Keith. Of course, when making these statements, his network is quick to divorce themselves from Keith, saying “Hey, this is just his opinion.”

Eureka. I have figured it out.

1. If the News Network renounces a source, the source tells the truth.
2. If the News Network “protects” the source and keeps them anonymous, the source lies.



  1. Jim, they want to tell you because they know if you don’t, you’ll blog about why they are ‘keeping’ it from you 😉

    I personally like it when anything Iran has to do with mass destruction, fails.

    Off to my four day weekend, guys and gals, lefties and, well, further lefties 😀 My weekend will be a smidge better knowing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his tinker-toy-wielding cronies have failed yet again at something we mastered decades ago.

    And for you, Chuck, because we mastered it does not mean we own it. We just know best how to use it.


  2. Todd: what would really be nice is to hear you once — just once — admit that you simply don’t know anything.

    I will admit it: I don’t know anything. I’d be willing to bet Jim would admit to it too. And Chuck, and Felix. None of us knows anything at all, because there is an overwhelming, impossible amount of information disseminated in the world, and much of it is rumor, misunderstanding, misinformation, and downright lies. Political maneuvering, military deceptions, power-posturing, religious manipulation, personal agendas, and wishful thinking rule the day everywhere, and if anything is the actual truth, it is impossible to know for sure.

    That is why intelligent people — like the ones who founded the country you (rather sadly) believe you still live in — always have a healthy dose of skepticism, especially toward ‘official’ reports. Only complete idiots trust what they hear, for example, on TV or TalkRadio or from a politician’s mouth.

    So whattaya say, Todd? Which one are you?

    * * *

  3. I don’t know a thing. Amen.

    However, I can register what I am being shown and form a view on why I might be shown such a thing.

    ie: Girl shows me some serious leg, girl might want…


    CNN broadcasts incessant negative reports on smog in Beijing, cut with footage of earthquake corpses, ends with screaming headline – “Chinese apologise for beating Pakistani journalist”. The next day, US cyclists arrive at the airport in BLACK! dust masks. The airport! Not for competition, but for the cameras.

    Conclusion – CNN wants to show me negative things about China

    This is the part that Todd struggles with. I’ll go slow. I don’t then conclude that there is NOTHING bad about China, ie: China good, me heart China. What I conclude is that the US cable news wants me to think China is bad. I consider that there may be things about China that are good, but they are not being reported.

    Likewise, Todd appears to accept at face value that Iran is exactly as depicted by US cable news and as described by The Pentagon. I form this view by virtue of the fact that Todd’s epithets about Iran conform exactly to what he has been shown.

    The point that escapes Todd is that to be critical is, by itself, to be better informed. It indicates a mistrust of information, of where it derives from, of it’s veracity, of why it is being disclosed at this particular moment, and of what purpose this disclosure is intended to serve.

    Clearly, the story in question might serve this purpose:

    1) show Iranians as bumbling fools, and by extension,

    2) make Americans feel good about themselves

    We went through it with exclusives of Al Qaida leaders burning their mitts on hot machine guns.

    However, Todd does not appear to worry about how the script is developed and why, but just drinks it down. The rest of us who don’t want to drink it down equally uncritically become lefties, cranks, goons, know-nothings, whatever…

    Well, whatever, those who don’t want to make the most of being sentient, let them go their own way…

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