Home > Uncategorized > Final Edit-Indictment of Bush

Final Edit-Indictment of Bush

A protester stands in the hearing room as former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testifies at the start of his US Senate confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill in Washington on January 6, 2005. Photo from HRW. Copyright 2005 Reuters

According to John V Pelvic and Shawn McIntosh, the function of newspapers in modern-society is surveillance, by informing the public of important information about the processes loans, events, and other developments in society. The second function of the newspapers is correlations. This is the way that the media interprets events and issues and ascribes meanings that help individuals understand their roles within the larger society and culture. Finally, newspapers serve as a form of entertainment. There are two forms of news media; Alternative news sources and Mainstreams news sources.

pastedGraphic.pdf Human Rights Watch is a international non-governmental alternative news source that focuses on human rights activism. The company was founded in 1978 and highlighted abusive governments. Publications of human rights violations in the Soviet Union contributed to the democratic transformation of the region in the late 1980’s. The company focuses on basic human rights including capital punishment, sexual orientation discrimination, torture, military use of children, political corruption, abuses in criminal justice systems, abortion, and freedom of religion and the press. The reports are used to draw attention to the abuse and suffering that is happening in our world today. The company also gives money to to writers who are being prosecuted for their work. Playwrite Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett created the Hellman/Hammett grants that raise international awareness of activist who are being silenced for speaking out in defense of human rights.

The New York Times is a mainstream daily American news paper. The company is owned by the Ochs-Sulzberger family, and the New York Times Company and is headquartered in New York City. The NYT is also broken up into sections; News, Opinions, Business, Arts, Science, Sports, Style, and Features. The company was founded in 1851 by Henry Jarvis Raymond. The company has grown immensely since then, and is now one of the top read papers in the world. The paper is read by liberal middle to upper-class intellectual people with a very strong local base to New York City, a key part to it’s demographic. The NYT has expanded their market to by allowing access to the paper via the internet, smart phones, as well as a NYT app for iPhones and iPads.

On February 7, 2011 the two news sources reported on a preliminary indictment against George W. Bush on torture charges. Bush’s authorization of torturing terrorism suspects has caused an uprising from political groups across the world. Recently, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights filed this indictment against the former-president, stating that if Bush leaves the United States, complaints will be filed by the groups.

As compared to the New York Times article, the article written by the Human Rights Watch does a much better job legitimizing its stance on anti-torture. The main ways the HRW legitimizes the story is by using an extensive amount of details. Compared to the vague NYT article, readers will be better informed by reading the news from the alternative news source. HRW attracts its audience, in part, by exploiting the corruptness of the government. The HRW provided specific details in their report which allowed the audience to become more connected to the piece. By providing information about who the victim was and the type of torture that was used, HRW readers are able to draw the horrible picture of a man being waterboarded in their minds. These images that readers paint in their minds helps HRW gain support for human rights activism.

The second way the news source legitimizes the story is by including facts about past court cases for similar crimes. They address the idea of international treaties and “universal jurisdiction,” and how the US applied this jurisdiction when they successfully prosecuted the son of Former Liberian President Charles Taylor for torture in US Federal Court. By drawing the connection to this past case, the HRW makes it seam as if the US government is trying to protect Bush. Readers who catch on to this will most likely side with the HRW, as the government is supposed to be ethical, and clearly is acting in an unethical way according to the article.

Human Rights Watch wrote their article to draw attention to the indictment of Bush, with the goal of gaining support from readers on human rights issues like this one on torture. The NYT however, can not afford to be accused of indicting Bush. The NYT is read by millions all around the world, and the company focuses on providing the news to these people without any bias. The racy descriptive article written by the HRW did provide much more details on the case, however one may interpret this as a way for HRW to gain more supporters. The NYT’s article was much more cautious and restrained, most likely, to avoid any sort of accusations.

The HRW provides three key details that the NYT leaves out. These details provide further understand to the reader. HRW addresses the type of torturing Bush is being accused of. The NYT’s leaves neglects to address the type of torturing. HRW presents this information by informing readers that the US government has prosecuted waterboarding as a war crime for over 100 years. The HRW considers Bush’s authorization to waterboard the victom illegal, and uses the US’s past history of prosecuting waterboarding to back up their claim. HRW also identifies the victim of the alleged crime. According the the article, two Guantanamo detainees suffered beatings, shackling in stress positions, prolonged food and sleep deprivation, and extremes of heat and cold while in US custody. HRW also addresses why the US is obligated to prosecute Bush. The article draws attention to the US’s membership to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, inhuman or Degrading treatment or Punishment. Because of this membership, the US is obligated to bring cases of alleged torture before the US court for prosecution whenever a suspected offender is in their territory, or extradite the accused to another jurisdiction where he will be prosecuted.

The Hufington Post verifies the stories from both the NYTs and the HRW. In an article published on November 11, 2010, and later updated on January 11, 2011. Journalists describe the process of investigating whether former president George W. Bush violated federal statures prohibiting torture, and the impact it has had on his new book tour. In his book, Decision Points, Bush admitted to giving CIA director George Tenet permission to waterboard al Qaeda mastermind Khalif Sheik Mohammed.

Earlier coverage of the topic is consistent with the more current article. An article published by the Human Rights Watch in December, 2010, reveals other accounts of torture, as well as the torture lead by the Bush administration. They also draw on Obama neglect for prosecuting such crimes. Obama has made it clear that his administration will not prosecute CIA agents who committed abuses authorized by Bush’s top justice department lawyers. Because of this, it is highly unlikely that Bush will be prosecuted. Obama’s neglect is discussed in both this article and the latter, however the second article provides evidence with foreign nations prosecuting Bush if he leaves the country.

Whether or not Bush is actually prosecuted is up to the Obama administration. As the story continues to expand in the future, both news sources will continue to keep the public updated, however it is in the publics best interest to understand where their news is coming from.  The news from the NYT will be less biased compared to the news from the HRW that writes with the goal of gaining supporters.












Converging Media: A New Introduction to Mass Communication

John.V.Pavlik-Shawn McIntosh-Oxford University Press-2011</a>

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  1. philhedrick
    February 24, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    I thought the comparison of the 2 different news sources was done clearly and effectively. I received a general understanding HRW, a news source I have never heard of. It is interesting how vague the NYT can be and how much detail that can be found in other sources. All the topics were covered and the paper flowed well.

  2. February 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I think that this is a really important and relevant issue. There are a few minor spelling errors that could be changed ((February 7, 20111, “the New York Times is (a) mainstream daily American newspaper))

    I did not know that Bush’s fate was in the hands of the Obama administration.

    Really interesting article

  3. February 26, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Great use of sources to provide insight into the different articles and how they complement one another. Your discussion of the history of the two media outlets is terrific.

    I would like a little more detail to support your argument about how they frame this story differently, however (in addition to correcting typos & grammar errors as one commenter noted – e.g., “whether” rather than “weather,” “biased” rather than “bias”). Rather than identifying one news source as more “biased” than the other, can you identify how one might legitimize its position when compared with the other by describing the way in which HRW presents its many details and the frame that NYT seems to employ (which seems more cautious and restrained, perhaps reluctant to be accused of indicting Bush)?

    Can you rewrite this sentence so that it’s clearer?: “The story in the eyes of the HRW is clearly bias, as the companies main goal is to exploit this type of torture.” Do you mean to say that HRW highlights the nature of the torture (waterboarding as something that’s been prosecuted “for 100 years”) as a means of garnering support for its position, which opposes the use of torture? Which is the “company” and what is the evidence that this is their “main goal?” Tell us a little more about HRW’s word choice, focus, and organization so that we can better understand its framing.

    Good start.

  4. March 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Very nice rewrite. Thorough, clear, and well-supported arguments. Good work!

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