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Clay Haswell Speaks (or not) on Associated Press Priorities in San Francisco
The Associated Press contacted SF Indymedia to find out about this kid who killed a cop in Red Bluff. But I had some questions of my own about the blood on AP's hands.
A man suspected of fatally shooting a police officer in Red Bluff last week has apparently published some form of explanation at San Francisco Indymedia. According to the post from "Andrew McCrae" on SF-IMC, he shot the police officer in protest of "war abroad and a police state at home." The article goes on to suggest that he should receive immunity for his crimes because he first incorporated himself as "Proud and Insolent Youth Incorporated," and corporations always get away with murder.
Colleen Valles of the Associated Press sent SF Indymedia an email this morning, asking for further information about the post. As an SF-IMC volunteer, I returned her call and explained that SF-IMC is an anonymous open publishing website, and that we can't verify or validate any information.
I also told her that I wanted to "trade" questions. If AP gets to ask us about this, we should get to ask them about something in return.
Unfortunately, the Associated Press wasn't as forthcoming as we were. Colleen couldn't comment because she isn't a spokesperson for AP, so she sent me to Clay Haswell, who is Bureau Chief of the San Francisco Bureau of the Associated Press. Using the logic of the "Proud and Insolent Youth" incorporation, I asked Mr. Haswell why it seems like murders, abductions and other crimes are enthusiastically reported by the Associated Press -- except when a corporation is behind it. Mr. Haswell's only response? "The Associated Press reports on events all over the world."
Since this is not really an answer to my question, I decided to go into specifics. For instance, the Associated Press Managing Editors receives funding from the Ford Foundation to operate their "Credibility Roundtables." And there certainly are Associated Press resources spent on covering the Ford Foundation -- for example, a privacy study they funded. But nowhere can I find any Associated Press resources dedicated to uncovering exactly what the Ford Foundation's role was during the "Dirty War" in Argentina and throughout South America. Nor can I find any articles by the Associated Press about what Ford Foundation's role is today in funding media projects. Mr. Haswell had no answer besides he thought it was up for debate whether the "Managing Editors" could really be considered part of the Associated Press.
Concerned that this example was too obscure, I decided to ask about San Francisco-based Bechtel. The Associated Press has come under fire because the AP correspondent in Bolivia, Peter McFarren, has routinely regurgitated the Bechtel line on water privatization uprisings in Bolivia (that they are the work of "narcotraffickers," not Bolivian people who want to control their own natural resources). In fact, Mr. McFarren simultaneously reported on the water uprisings while lobbying the Bolivian Congress for a $78 million water export project. Now, this is a San Francisco story about clear corporate criminality as well as a clear conflict-of-interest for the AP -- and yet Mr. Haswell could only continue to repeat that the "AP has reporters all over the world."
I kept trying to ask specifics, but Mr. Haswell kept backpedaling away from specifics. I even gave him an easy one -- the Associated Press's complicity in the embarrassing corporate media propagandizing when the first coup attempt against Hugo Chavez happened recently in Venezuela. I thought that certainly a Bureau Chief of a major metropolitan area would have an inkling of an opinion on this now-famous corporate media blunder. But still, no answer -- only that the "AP reports on events all over the world."
Finally, we are left with no answers, vague denials, and dismissals. Mr. Haswell is either a Bureau Chief that knows almost nothing about important current events, or he is a Bureau Chief that covers up the mis-doings of his own corporate master.
When will the corporate media start reporting on the murders and crimes of corporations just as much as they report on the crimes of individuals? The answer is probably never, which is why there are now hundreds of independent media centers around the world, co-ordinating coverage from thousands of independent media producers.