Wednesday, March 17, 2010

FBI "Advises" News Media on How To Report the Killings in Juarez

I received a copy of the following email from the El Paso, Texas office of the FBI today. It was sent out to the news media “suggesting” or “advising” that they should report the story of the killings of the American Citizens working in the American Consulate in Juarez in a certain way. In their email the FBI says that they are disappointed that most of the media has been incorrectly reporting certain elements of this story.

This is not some kind of a hoax or a joke. This is completely real. The enforcement arm of the U.S. Government is now telling the news media how to report events, and they are indicating that they are disappointed that certain elements of the news media are not doing so.

Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, FOX News, and the other right wing fanatics can tell absolute whopper lies about what is happening in the world or about President Obama, and the FBI does absolutely nothing. Perhaps it is deliberate that they do not worry about this intentional right-wing misinformation. But for some reason the FBI is so invested in the drug war that they now have begun trying to control the news media.

I especially like the threatening tone of the last sentence: “Please do not further misrepresent the information in this investigation.” --This overt move by the FBI to control the news media seems absolutely Orwellian to me.

My question is: Exactly when did it become acceptable for the U.S. Government or the FBI to exert influence over how the news media reports? I thought that back in high school civics class we learned something about “freedom of the press” being an essential part of Democracy.
El Paso Media:
This afternoon the Associated Press in Mexico City incorrectly
reported FBI comments related to Saturday's killing of 3 people in
Juarez. After the writer recognized that her editor had incorrectly
rewritten her story, AP sent out a corrected version.

Many of the national media called to confirm this new information and
did not take the information at face value. The El Paso Times was the
only local media to fact check what another agency had reported. I'm
disappointed that so many of you didn't bother to do the same and that
you are now reporting the incorrect information.

The FBI has never said that the investigation's main or "working"
theory is a case of mistaken identity. We have no information at this
point to believe that the 3 were targeted based on their connection to
the US Consulate but we don't know that for certain. Mistaken identity
is one of many possible theories that will not be known until the
Mexican investigation is complete.

Please make this note in your newscasts and on your websites. In the
future, I hope that you will call and ask me what the FBI's response
is rather than assume that another news outlet is right. You all have
my office number and know that I return all phone calls so there is no
excuse for you not reaching out and asking. Please do not further
misrepresent the information in this investigation.

Thanks for your assistance.
Special Agent Andrea K. Simmons
El Paso FBI