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article imageOp-Ed: CNN drone drivel drones on

By Ken Hanly     Jul 24, 2012 in World
Islamabad - CIA drone attacks continue in Pakistani tribal areas in spite of several resolutions in the Pakistani parliament demanding they stop. CNN reports on drones continue to call the attacks "suspected" drone attacks and use anonymous officials as sources.
CNN, The Cable News Network, is a large U.S. based media outlet. CNN is in turn owned by giant Time Warner. Time Warner is an American multinational media corporation headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City..As of mid-2010, it was the world's second largest media and entertainment conglomerate in terms of revenue (behind Disney), as well as the world's largest media conglomerate.
Even with these impressive credentials CNN does not fear to sound ridiculous as it joins the media parade of drone drivel. Recently in a headline CNN reports:Suspected drone attack kills 12 in Pakistan
Everyone knows that it was a drone attack and that it was directed by the CIA on behalf of the U.S. The CNN however feels duty bound to follow the position of the U.S. that to officially admit that this program exists or does not exist would endanger U.S. security. CNN is just carrying out its patriotic duty.
CNN is much more patriotic than President Obama or Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who have not only talked about the program but defended and boasted about it. The body of the CNN report notes that their information comes from two unidentified Pakistani intelligence officers. The officers cannot be identified since they were not authorized to talk to CNN. A suspected U.S. drone strike killed 12 militants Monday evening in Pakistan's tribal region bordering Afghanistan, two Pakistani intelligence officials told CNN.
Note that CNN, even when reporting what the two Pakistani intelligence officials told them, put in the term "suspected" before "U.S. drone strike". Were the Pakistani intelligence officers really so cautious? The targets are now clearly identified as militants but only through the testimony of the anonymous Pakistani officials. There is no independent verification.
Not all sources are as careful as CNN. simply says straight out.US Drone Strike Kills 13 in North Waziristan The site does not go on to label those killed as suspected militants but instead remarks:None of the people killed in the attack have been identified, but all were predictably labeled suspects by officials. Most reports list targets as militants or suspected militants. However there are reports of attacks that are different but they are rare.
The Muslim News in the UK reports on a drone attack in Afghanistan: Afghanistan: US drone attack kills young girl and 5 others This headline contrasts with the constant refrain of militants or suspected militants being killed common in most mass media reports on the strikes. Of course this headline is propaganda too. Propaganda however can be true. It is the spin and the function that make the reports propaganda.
The Muslim News report actually says in the body of the report that four of those killed were Taliban commanders according to officials.Four Taliban commanders and two civilians were killed in a drone attack carried out by the international troops in eastern Nuristan province on Monday, officials said. Unlike the mass media professionals in the mainstream press this source actually names officials rather than citing anonymous official sources.
The incident took place at around 12:30 pm in Want Waigal district, when the individuals were travelling on a passenger vehicle to the district centre, Governor Tamim Nuristani, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Police chief, Col. Ghulamullah Nuristani, identified the dead rebel commanders as Habibullah alias Dadullah, Mullah Yahiya Rakiti, Younus and Haroon.
In contrast the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) media office confirmed the attack but provided no details. While the Muslim News does try to evoke sympathy for some victims in their headline compared to CNN their overall report is much more specific and better sourced.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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