Friday, December 30, 2011

Fox guarding henhouse at Thomson Reuters

Our focus here at RMEW is on the day-to-day propaganda appearing in Reuters stories on the Middle East conflict.  As our post on gatekeeping below suggests however, propaganda in journalism doesn't just happen by happenstance.  It's part and parcel of an organized and covert effort by journalists and editors, possibly managing editors, to manipulate audience opinion via systematically biased storytelling, i.e., lies, half-truths, deliberate distortions, omissions, and opinion masquerading as factual reporting.

Ultimately, responsibility for a propaganda campaign rests with senior managers and the Board of Directors for the corporation that employs the journalists who engage in the campaign.  These corporate guardians are charged, by investors and other stakeholder groups, with the task of seeing to it that employees uphold the company's standards and ethical principles.  When these guardians fail in that oversight mission, or worse, when they themselves are complicit in the propaganda campaign, it is left to the shareholders and the market to enforce ethical discipline on the company.

This leads us to an announcement by Thomson Reuters a couple of weeks ago, of the appointment of one Mark Malloch-Brown to the Board of the Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company, an entity purportedly created to safeguard the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.  From the Reuters website:
Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company was established in 1984 when Reuters became a public company. The directors of Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company have a duty to ensure, to the extent possible, that the Trust Principles are complied with.
So who is Mark Malloch-Brown?  He is a Trustee of the Shell [Oil] Foundation, former Vice President of George Soros' multibillion dollar investment vehicle, the Quantum Fund, former Vice Chairman and current Board member of the Soros-founded and funded Open Society Institute, Board member of the similarly Soros-funded International Crisis Group, and previously, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations under Kofi Annan.

Malloch-Brown, who served as Annan's deputy during the UN Oil-for-Food scandal, also managed the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 requiring the Lebanese government to disarm Hezbollah following its war with Israel in 2006, something it has utterly failed to do.  Malloch-Brown is an unabashed apologist for both Hezbollah and Iran, infamously suggesting in an interview with the Financial Times, that Hezbollah, which fired thousands of rockets targeting Israeli civilian communities during the war, not be considered a terrorist group and that, in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, Iran merely wants international "respect". 

Finally, Malloch-Brown is an anti-American polemicist, a nation he sees as standing in the way of UN-led internationalism populated by a heartland that is ignorant of the greatness of the United Nations because the country is under the influence of "Rush Limbaugh and Fox News".

This is the man that Thomson Reuters has hand-selected to be a guardian of the corporation's much-vaunted Trust Principles:
[...] That the integrity, independence and freedom from bias of Thomson Reuters shall at all times be fully preserved;
That Thomson Reuters shall supply unbiased and reliable news services to newspapers, news agencies, broadcasters and other media subscribers and to businesses governments, institutions, individuals and others with whom Thomson Reuters has or may have contracts [...]
We're sure.

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