The Enduring PR Offensive

Friday, January 16, 2009


News about Guantanamo made a huge splash this week. Obama will most likely close it. Inmates have most definitely been tortured there. But as The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg describes, the only place the news didn't seem to make an impact was at Guantanamo, where the PR offensive continues unchanged.

Comments [25]

Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

Wait--almost two YEARS or more after Baracka made one of his notorious promises (and Brooke and Bob literally RAN with a story springboarding from it), we have BREAKING news all over the Internet, to wit:

HEADLINE: First conviction unlikely to help Obama shut Gitmo
AP – Thu Nov 18, 6:10 am ET
WASHINGTON – The first court conviction of a Guantanamo Bay detainee did little to push President Barack Obama closer to shuttering the island prison, making it increasingly likely his campaign promise will remain unmet by the time his current term expires."

Well, now. I would hate to say "I told you so...", BUT.... Of course, the SAD truth with journalists, so-called media "watchdogs", and wolves - in - liberals - clothing - types like Bob and Brooke is that they rarely--or, rather virtually NEVER go back and change their personal "spin zone" report after they launched it -- which is also to say that they are hardly ever ACCURATE, let alone objective, and that they just CANNOT stop the liberal spin machine they are cogs within.... And if they did try to stop the BS, they might just end up like Juan Williams--that is an HONORABLE man CRUCIFIED by the Left and the more and more embarassing NPR organization....Enjoy!

Nov. 18 2010 09:25 AM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

And you know what is sad? The original subtext to this story by Bob Garfield and the original OTM spin on the issue talked about the "enduring PR offensive for Guantanamo Bay". The FACT of the matter is that the PR that was actually put out about Guantanamo Bay as a facility to hold the worst terrorists and military prisoners in the world was about the most ACCURATE and CONCRETE and FACTUAL information that gets put out by the U. S. government. Check you facts, Bob. Do some reserach at some point please. Own up to haw badly off-target and biased you were with another piece of journalistic spin-doctoring...the facts do not support you! In fact Guantanamo Bay as a facility is BETTER even than they say it is--and has a reputation where most of the prisoners themselves prefer it over other prisons in the U. S. Why would that be, Bob? Hmmm.... No answers....

Dec. 23 2009 12:18 PM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

Any comment Chris? Chuck? Bob Garfield? Brooke? Wow.... Well, it looks pretty much like my December 23rd post seals the deal guys. It ALSO, unfortunately shows several SERIOUS flaws that are beginning to dispel the gold aura and tarnish the gold halo of the Anointed One, Baracka.... Here is a short list:
1. Poor planning and poor understanding of how the government and politics work in Washington, D. C. A sitting President cannot really believe he can run to Illinois in the Fall of the year, shop for an empty prison, get the Feds to buy it, and retrofit it for terrorists by Christmas??!! Tell me, please, that Mr. Obama is not that...ummmm, what's the word...ill-informed, I guess, to be gracious....
2. After getting saddled with a Health Care Bill wrapped for Christmas delivery--the Democrat congress KNOWS they are carrying a Health Bill that is disapproved by anywhere from 55% to 75% (yes, some recent polls show concretely that 3 out of 4 are against the bill, including Democrats and Independents) of the voters. OUCH! And the Democrats will be saddled with bringing terrorists into the central United States as well--and all the money spent on this????? GOOD LUCK! And, t---- YOU, Bob G.! And, t---- YOU, Mr. Obama! Sorry you are so far off base Chris and Chuck....maybe next time!

Dec. 23 2009 12:09 PM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

**NEWS FLASH from the NY TIMES** 12/23/2009
HEADLINE: Plan to Move Guantánamo Detainees Faces New Delay By CHARLIE SAVAGE
WASHINGTON — Rebuffed this month by skeptical lawmakers when it sought finances to buy a prison in rural Illinois, the Obama administration is struggling to come up with the money to replace the Guantánamo Bay prison. As a result, officials now believe that they are unlikely to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer its population of terrorism suspects... This is a setback, showing a far slower timeline for achieving one of President Obama’s signature national security policies than they had previously hinted...Mr. Obama has acknowledged that he'd miss the Jan. 22 deadline for closing the prison that he set shortly after taking office....Obama ordered officials to "move as quickly as possible" last week to acquire the Thomson Correctional Center(a nearly vacant maximum-security Illinois prison)and to retrofit it to receive Guantánamo detainees. But this week officials estimated that it would take more than 10 months to install new fencing, towers, cameras & other security upgrades before any transfers take place. Construction can't begin until the federal government buys the prison from the State of Illinois. The federal Bureau of Prisons does not have enough money to pay Illinois for the center, which would cost about $150 million. Several weeks ago, the White House approached the House Appropriations Committee & floated the idea of adding about $200 million for the project to the military spending bill for the 2010 fiscal year, according to administration & Congressional officials. Democratic leaders refused to include such a politically charged measure in the legislation. When lawmakers approved the bill on Dec. 19, it contained no financing for Thomson.

Dec. 23 2009 11:58 AM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

And WHERE are any responses or follow-ups by Bob or Brooke? Honeymoon over? What IS the deal with GITMO and the new administration's plans and ACTUAL actions when the smoke has cleared and the shine has dulled a little? Where are Chuck and Chris (from above)? Cat got their tongues? You see, this is a FUNDAMENTAL problem with the American media and the American electorate. They are fickle. They are superficial. They are shallow. They do not follow-through. They spin issues and facts faster than...well, faster than a Clinton-era administration official...or Bill himself.... You cannot make up a story about how pathetic this sort of reporting by NPR really is in the long-term....

Sep. 26 2009 09:36 AM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

But the more important "political" question is simply why? Why move them? Why take probably the biggest SUCCESS story in American prisons or prisoner of war camps and close it down--for a POLITICAL plus and because POLICIES and LAWS and TREATIES were not followed??? WOULD NOT IT MAKE MORE SENSE and be more effective and efficient and REASONABLE to change the administration and practices and procedures at the camp--not tear down a valuable resource for a policy change or a re-direction????? Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water! Closing GITMO because you do not like how the detainees were handled since 9/11 is like refusing to keep a free first class plane ticket because you don't like the stewardesses voice.... Laughable!

Sep. 26 2009 09:19 AM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

Hhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!! From the WASHINGTON bureau: "President Barack Obama looks like he will not be able to meet his stated goal of closing a highly secure and often-touted success story in terms of prisons or POW camps--the state=of-the-art Guantanamo Bay prison. He will certainly not meet the January deadline that he himself set so boldly just 10 months ago (and bragged about as President-elect and Presidential candidate before that). Welcome to Washington, so-called Democrats! Obama and his teflon-coated administration runs into extensive, daunting legal and logistical hurdles in wanting to move the relatively happy and well-kept 220-plus detainees still there at the facility that has been described as "head-and-shoulders above" most prisons that run of the mill American criminals waste away their lives within.... Senior administration officials acknowledged for the first time Friday that difficulties in completing the lengthy review of detainee files and resolving other thorny questions mean the president's promised January deadline may slip....OOOOps. Wonder how BO will behandled on this by the media versus W.... ;)

Sep. 26 2009 09:12 AM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

News flash! Read this headline for October 2009!
EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!
"AP sources say: Obama may not shut GITMO--at least by the Jan. deadline!!!

I don't want to say "I told you so..."--but read my posts when BG and OTM first "cracked up" with this story 10 months ago.... More on this below!

Sep. 26 2009 09:03 AM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

The lead for the original piece was, "Everything changes at Gitmo except the PR...." Well, the PR is making a comeback! Maybe very little has actually changed, BUT don't spin it that way for YOUR audience, Bob & Brooke! (Spin is amazing, isn't it?) Here's the latest flip-flops/non-changes by Obama! I quote the MEDIA: "WASHINGTON –President Obama will restart military tribunals for Guantanamo detainees, reviving a Bush-era trial system he once assailed as flawed....Military trials remain frozen for another four months as Obama 'adjusts' the legal system....Obama may seek additional changes to the law in the next 120 days, but it wasn't immediately clear Thursday what they could include....The tribunal system has been repeatedly challenged from human rights & legal organizations as it denied defendants many of the rights they'd be granted in a civilian courtroom(?)" Some Republicans applauded the President's actions; most saw it as charade & can't fathom how Obama sees LESS suitable/friendly detentions to be a BETTER place for detainees. Changing technical details & partial policies is one thing...."Yet the move by Obama is certain to face criticism from liberal groups, already stung by his flip-flop in blocking court-ordered release of photos where U.S.troops abusing prisoners in Iraq/Afghanistan. flip-flop/reversal of his earlier stand on making the photos public. "It's disappointing that Obama is seeking to REVIVE rather than end this failed experiment," said Jonathan Hafetz, national security ACLU attorney.... "Even with the proposed modifications, this won't cure the commissions or provide them with legitimacy. This perpetuates Bush misguided detention policy." Critics of the Gitmo commissions(INCLUDING Obama as a senator in 2006)called them a violation of U.S. law because of the limits on detainees' legal rights." HUH!?!? So, President Obama is hedging & opposing and waffling on items that SENATOR Obama SUPPORTED???!!! WOW! Talk about your flip-flops...

May. 15 2009 07:44 AM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

The 60-day mark. Guantanamo is still not changed, never mind closed. Many legal observers comment that it is quite difficult to see the difference between the new Administration and the Bush Administration, legally and practically speaking. And we now know that the Guantanamo prisoners themselves PREFER Guantanamo to any alternate prison facility--it is one of the best or the best in the world when it comes to the quality of the facility. Wow. So, I guess the "PR Offensive" was....ummmmm....not PR or propaganda after all--but...accurate.... Oh well, NPR/OTM. You can't get them right all the time....

Mar. 21 2009 08:58 AM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

**NEWS FLASH** From WASHINGTON, D. C. – "The Pentagon says the Guantanamo Bay prison meets the standard for humane treatment laid out in the Geneva Conventions, according to a report being delivered to President Barack Obama, who has ordered the terrorist detention center closed--hopefully within a year.
The report recommended some minor changes, including an increase in group recreation for some of the camp's more dangerous or less compliant prisoners, according to a government official familiar with the study. The report also suggested allowing those prisoners to gather in groups of three or more, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the report has not officially been released.
Some of the hard-core prisoners are not currently allowed to meet with other prisoners for prayer or socialization and are kept in their cells for 23 hours a day. Alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed is among the prisoners who could be affected by the change. Prolonged social isolation has been known to harm mental health among prisoners.
The 85-page report by Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, the Navy's second in command, was written in response to Obama's Jan. 22 executive order..."

WELL! So much for "CHANGE in the White House"...well, I guess except for VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY slow and imperceptible change.... :) And so much for OTM's lead-in to this article about "everything changes except the PR", huh? And I guess that OTM just sort of "forgot" to do the research as to how Guantanamo actually stacks up in the "global economy" to such sorts of detention centers around the world, huh? 'Nuff said.

Feb. 20 2009 07:33 PM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

The truth about "no change" hurts, Chuck. But, I understand. Guantanamo has not been changed. The United States Administration's legal tactics with regard to terrorists has not changed. The success of the recent Iraq elections and the success in Iraq is due to the previous Administration. The policy in Iraq, in fact has not changed and is made POSSIBLE by Iraqi political viability and success. The economy will grow worse over the next year or two. It hurts, does.... :)

Feb. 20 2009 02:45 PM
chuck thompson from Anchorage

Talk about a man on a crusade.

After reading his seven (or eight . . . or nine . . . or, soon, ten?) comments here, I think this story title should now be re-labeled "The Enduring Bryan Fitzgerald Offensive."

Emphasis: 'Offensive'

Feb. 16 2009 02:42 AM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York


1. Anecdotal evidence keeps postponing the actual likely date of the totally "symbolic" closing of Guantanamo Bay.

2. Significantly, a legal defender for one of the detainees has accused the Obama Administration of being "absolutely no different" than the Bush Administration when it comes to legal positions and actions against some current detainees. In the very first legal action that the Obama Administration took against any Guantanamo detainee, the incoming Administration's approach was indistinguishable from the Bush Administration.

'Nuff said.

Feb. 12 2009 05:14 PM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

WAIT!!! :) Hold the presses! I just picked up my (MAJOR) morning daily paper to read this headline on Page One:

"Obama bid to suspend Gitmo proceedings hits snag"

Oooops. I guess not only are all the above problems (that were outlined in the several posts above) accurate still, but now even the court has a problem with the 120-day suspension--and hence, the closing timetable. So, unfortunate that basic human rights and legal rights and the good old court system are interfering with the President's (largely symbolic and superficial and misguided) attempts to "protect or improve protections on human rights". Let's hope that such TRUTHS are not starting to tarnish or hamper the new President already [sic]. :) 'Nuff said.

Jan. 30 2009 08:27 AM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

UPDATE ON Guantanamo: After doing quite a bit of research on the Gitmo issue, I've discovered some additional interesting facts on the issue:
1. Guantanamo's detention center is one of the nicest--if not THE nicest--prisons in the entire world. The prisoners themselves actually would prefer to stay in Guantanamo rather than be moved to(for instance)a U. S. prison. All aspects of the Guantanamo facility are better than any U.S. prison facility.
2. Most typical Islamic militants & terrorists are NOT covered under Geneva Convention's four criteria for determining who is protected by the Geneva Convention. So, unless you are going to argue that terrorists attacking your country are doing LEGAL and POSITIVE acts, you CANNOT have grounds to question their detention/treatment (except for the policies covering torture, of course--with a human rights argument). However, the argument using the Geneva Convention is INVALID because it does NOT cover terrorists.
3. Excepting the FEW prisoners at Guantanamo that were tortured, transferring any other prisoners to ANY U.S. prison is LUDICROUS--they would be worst off (in addition to being murdered or "tortured" by other prisoners if they were transferred). At least at Gitmo the other prisoners cannot torture them! Most U.S. prisons have practices OR unavoidable occurrences (such as isolation, rape, and beatings) that are OUTLAWED by even the Geneva Convention!!! Got that? American prisons have prisoners being officially/unofficially subjected to practices that are OUTLAWED by the Geneva Convention! Soooooo....WHY close Gitmo again? Why not just change the policies (if you want to do something productive on it, that is)???!!! It's ONLY a symbolic move by the new President because it does not stand up to analysis & scrutiny. (Got that Chris?) 'Nuff said now, for sure! Bottom line: Obama is ALREADY wrong and acting in "political symbolism"--closing Guantanamo makes no sense and the terrorists are even against it!

Jan. 25 2009 03:19 PM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

But, hey, take your own media's word on (in fact) the lack of a change here anytime soon:

For the news analysis article called "Six signs that Gitmo situation might not be changing anytime soon", co to this address:

Jan. 23 2009 08:03 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Ding dong! The order has been given, now only time will tell.

Jan. 22 2009 10:16 PM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

Guantanamo Naval Base is the oldest overseas U. S. Naval Base that exists. It was begun as a Navy base in 1903. The base has multiple functions, only one of which is a detention camp. If the base is closed it could take up to a year. Four months is being allowed for a legal review. Most experts and media think it is an over-simplification (and it would be a challenge) to literally close the base even in one year. Many experts and military people also claim that even if the base is closed, it will remain to be seen what the long-term significance and implications of such a closing will be because the function of the base does not only consist of a detention camp with a core of 60 detainees whose political and logistical re-location presents a host of problems. Many of the most important detainees have voiced their opinion that they are AGAINST the new administration halting their legal procedure and wish their executions to proceed. So, we will see where this process leads our country, but more importantly our military operations in defense of our national security.

Jan. 22 2009 08:11 AM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York


It is almost Day 2 and there is a "draft" of an Executive Order (not an order, but a draft of an order) "floating around" that will MAYBE close Guantanamo within a year. (It remains to be seen if the order will actually be given and when.) But this will be proof positive that Guantanamo will not be closed in one day, or one week, or one month, or maybe even four months. And it could take a year or more. So much for all the hyperbole and exaggerations from OTM.

Jan. 21 2009 04:56 PM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

OK. So, at almost Day 2, we have another development:

1. A 120-day review has been granted by the judge. So, we have a good indication that Guantanamo will not be closed physically or even procedurally for up to 120 days--or at least until a decision is rendered.

2. By my math, that is 4 months, perhaps. Therefore, we are getting closer to my prediction of a year or more on Gitmo. 'Nuff said. Sort of makes much of the discussion by BG and company in this item sound a little exaggerated and "over-spun" and even ridiculous--but is that anything new with BG?

Jan. 21 2009 12:31 PM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

So, let's see....what is reasonable to say here:

Day 1/2

+ Guantanamo is still quite open as a military base.

+ President Obama's representative filed "a request" with the military court of jurisdiction that legal proceedings be "suspended" for 120 days.

Day 1 and 1/2

+ The military court of jurisdiction may look at the request to suspend legal proceedings for 120 days (in order to give the Obama administration time to look over the situation at the Guantanamo base.

Let's see what Day 2 and 1/2 will bring. There are some things clear already:
1. The Obama administration will NOT close Guantanamo on Day 1/2 or Day 1 or Day 2. It MIGHT not even be closed by Day 120--we will see.
2. REASONABLE people--even some few reasonable media analysts--KNEW that this would in fact be the case.

So much for all the hyperbole and vague editorial commentary in another Bob Garfield piece! And so much for the lack of reasonable insight or comment by Chris Gray. (Who the heck is Chris Gray, anyhow???) 'Nuff said.

Jan. 21 2009 08:04 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven

Now, Bryan Fitzgerald wasn't one of the reasonable conservative voices I mentioned in my comment on Bob's commentary. "Nuff said on that.

Jan. 18 2009 09:00 PM
Bryan Fitzgerald from New York

Thanks, Julia! So nicely put. I'm not as "nice" as you, however. Here’s an "OTM" prediction, a comment on the Guantanamo item, & a follow-up on OTM/NPR listenership. Comment: Once again, Bob Garfield illustrates shallowness in some of his concepts & the transparency of his biases. He & the interviewee take for granted that a President can close a major military base in one day--even if Obama genuinely wants to. In reality, that’s simply not true--even for the "Commander-in-Chief". Not even possible, simply on physical logistics and the very legal processes & human rights and comfort aspects. But, to be polite to the President-elect, let's wait & see what happens: give him a day--heck, give him a year! One thing you can take from Bob's radio coverage: it is an implicitly unfair & unreasonable portrayal of a Naval officer "doing their job" in the face of change or elimination of a base or program--like they have a choice along that line. Would NPR (or Bob)EVER portray a laid-off worker or closed business in a similar light & perspective when their "function" was facing elimination? I doubt it. Prediction: We'll never hear OTM follow-up & criticize/correct their own faulty coverage in this piece when the President-elect does NOT close Guantanamo in one day or one month or ever.... NPR listenership: As a (former)regular public radio & public TV supporter through contributions: These days I listen to NPR for music, lack of commercials, depth of the coverage at times (highly biased though it is), & to sharpen my mind to the ongoing bias & faulty arguments being presented by media. But due to the bias, the lack of objectivity, & the disservice done by outlets like OTM to the original function & ideal need for the media in this country, I can no longer financially contribute to them in good conscience. I feel sad about that.... Thanks, Bob...

Jan. 17 2009 10:13 AM
Julia A. Henry

As I have listened to NPR since the election, there has been more coverage of a president elect before his inauguration than of any other in over 20 years.

It is my sense that everyone at NPR can see only the negative in our current president. Of course the policies in place under one administration will remain in place unless changed by that administration. This is surely no different that any other past transition.

I am proud to have Obama to be our new president, but I am equally proud that G. W. Bush has been president for the past 8 years.

When there are two opposing views in any situation, they are exactly that; opposing.

I disagree with many of the perspectives of NPR. Usually I am able to listen, glean valuable information, and hear more than one side of a story. But, sadly, that usual experience has become less than usual.

As we move to a new administration, I hope NPR will settle, become more objective and allow that intelligent individuals to can come to educated conclusions.

Sincerely, Julia Henry

Jan. 17 2009 08:20 AM

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