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We're number one -- er, forty-seven!

The United States placed a thrilling 47th on the newly-released index of worldwide press freedom compiled by Reporters Without Borders, go team! This is 27 places worse than the previous year, owing to all the great fun cops across the nation had arresting, brutalizing and obstructing the work of journalists during the Occupy Wall Street protests. We were trying to type a bit of humor about some scandalously idiotic screaming exchange between Barack Obama and Arizona’s dingbat teabagger governor Jan Brewer that’s taking a dump all over our news feed, but then we just kept thinking to ourselves: Ha ha, maybe we will avoid this kind of thing just once, because this story — a White House pool reporter excitedly detailing a brief, meaningless spat between enemy politicians only because it deviates slightly from the usual banal protocol and then twenty other news sites repeating the account almost verbatim like it matters — is pretty much the exact kind of story that we fear being the only kind of story on our political news feed when we think about how much Michael Bloomberg wishes he could have shipped every journalist covering the police brutality against #OWS protesters to Guantanamo for a couple months/forever.

From Slate:

Last year, the United States came in 20th, sandwiched between the United Kingdom and Canada at 19th and 21st place, respectively. After 2011, however, the United States finds itself tied for 47th place with Romania and Argentina on the list, which is compiled by Reporters Without Borders, a not-for-profit advocating for press freedom around the globe.

“The crackdown on protest movements and the accompanying excesses took their toll on journalists,” the group explains in the annual report. “In the space of two months in the United States, more than 25 were subjected to arrests and beatings at the hands of police who were quick to issue indictments for inappropriate behaviour, public nuisance or even lack of accreditation.”

At least we still edged out Latvia, which came in at 48th. USA! USA! [Slate/RSF]

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  • memzilla

    47th in the world? So, for Press Freedom, the US gets a grade of "Mississippi?"

    • …The US gets to wonder how low it would rank if charging people with espionage for talking to the press counted (6, since January, 2009!).
      ~

      • bringmeanaxe

        As they say in Louisiana….thank god for Latvia, otherwise we'd be…..oh, wait.

  • USA! USA! USA!
    ~

  • iburl

    When the President said he'd close Guantamo, what he really meant is that reporters would write that he closed it, or he'd have them maced, teargassed, beaten and disappeared.

  • BarackMyWorld

    This comment has been deleted by Mayor Bloomberg.

    • PocketsTheClown

      "Nine Thumbs Way Up!"
      Fox News

      • Fare la Volpe

        "He's a food product, basically." – Fox anchor

    • iburl

      Zentrismus immer!

    • bureaucrap

      The "This comment has been deleted by…." meme has been entertaining (and I think *this* is a perfect use of it)…but I think we have about two more variations left before it joins "You know who else…" and "Needz moar…"

  • Tundra Grifter

    Why do you think the OWS protestors would actually make it to Gitmo?

    • sati_demise

      Straight to Egypt!

  • Crank_Tango

    This is good news for Putin.

  • ttommyunger

    Yeah, but our newsreaders are a lot better dressed, higher paid, and smell nicer than most of the others, so there!

  • Joshua Norton

    Just proves they should stick to what they do best. Cut and paste right wing press releases, gossip and copy the dip recipes from the back of Frito's bags.

  • Veritas78

    Please, Kirsten, we really want the face-off between Governor Brewer and President Obama. HuffPo's got it, why not Wonkette? Have your dozens of media-feed monitors gone down?

    No one cares about press freedumbz! We want the krazy kunt waving her talon at our blah prezzie, just before she gets droned!

  • Barb

    Sarah Palin has a journalism degree, or so she says. I wouldn't mind our numbers plummeting even more just to see someone kick her until she stopped screeching for a while.

    • Guppy

      From Orly Taitz U? Board certified by Rand Paul?

    • sati_demise

      Shes a Gingirich bitch now

  • Beowoof

    America 47th, but we have constitution that is all about freedumb and Fox News that is fair and balanced. Seems we also have heavily armed police forces that need to use all of their new "Homeland Security" equipment to keep peaceful protesters in line and not allow any complaints against their corporate masters.
    Shit now I am even more worried about local police forces getting drone aircraft. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/10/nation/la… Before you know it, we will be having neighborhoods wiped out in the name of crime fighting.

    • memzilla

      But destroying neighborhoods in order to save them worked out so well for us in Vietnam.

    • SorosBot

      Hey now, my city already did that way back in the '80s!
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOVE#1985_bombing

      Yep, bombing a criminal cult makes so much sense when they are in a fucking rowhouse.

  • It's the golden rule at work, people.

    He (and it's almost always a he) who has the gold and owns the press, tells the stories.

  • MissTaken

    Would've been nice if some of the coverage of the Kardashians and their sham of a wedding was obstructed.

    • Beowoof

      Now there would be a use of a police drone aircraft I could get behind.

    • SorosBot

      But covering the Kardashians is so important, because they – um – because – wait why the fuck are those people famous again?

      • Golfing_OJ

        Because, you know, front page of Yahoo!

      • MissTaken

        I *think* they are famous because the pretty (?) one (K- something or other) had sex with someone's brother (maybe Beyonce's?) and taped it. And somehow Bruce Jenner and OJ Simpson are involved, but I don't want to know why.

        • SorosBot

          But lots of pretty women have released tapes of them having sex, and most of them didn't get rich and famous because of it. If that were the case, we'd have a lot more pretty women releasing video of them having sex, and the world would be a better place.

          • PsycWench

            I could just imagine someone's boyfriend handing her the line "C'mon baby, one little video, for PEACE!"

  • angerbear

    OK, this is good for larfs and all, but c'mon… fifteen countries scored lower than Somalia. Let that sink in. How the fuck can press freedoms get any lower than in an "area"–it can't even be called a country–where there is neither a functioning government nor any organised press beyond a handful of Somali expats blogging from Minnesota? I call shenanigans!

    • Crank_Tango

      libertarian paradises are people too, my friend

    • memzilla

      I think to get lower than Somalia, they don't just go after the journalists, they go after their families.

  • Blueb4sunrise

    Substantive thoughtful post instead of hot topic cheap shot. Woe is us.

  • JackObin

    Yes, but we led the world in whale-driven motorized scooters. Let's be positive.

    • Antispandex

      …and Corn Nuts. We invented 'em. People forget that, but it's true!

  • chascates

    And I hope neither country has Sunday talk shows filled with pompous gasbags.

  • PuckStopsHere

    What's the big deal? I'm sure we still rank #1 in the world in the "Freedom to Pack Some Heat" rankings.

    • Guppy

      Depends on your skin color.

  • bumfug

    Niger!!?!! That's where Obama's from!!!!

    • That's with another "g," dear.

      • flamingpdog

        There you are! OT, but you were looking for sweet Sara Benincasa?

        • Jeez, Sara's appearance seems somehow enhanced in that photo.

          • FraAnima

            She's got a balcony you can do Shakespeare off of.

    • arihaya

      yes, and its in the country of Africa

    • Negropolis

      I thought Obama was a Niger. I can never get my wingnut talking points right. :(

  • BaldarTFlagass

    Yeah? Well, we are still Number One where it counts, kicking every other motherfucking country's ass in War.

    • Chichikovovich

      And has El Salvador toasted any Somali pirates recently? I don't think so!

    • SorosBot

      Well, except for North Vietnam; they kicked our ass good.

      • BaldarTFlagass

        Yeah. And I guess Korea was a tie.

  • Bonzos_Bed_Time

    This is where $arah and her journalism experience would come in handy!
    Newt could appoint her to head the Department of Communications Majors.

  • rocktonsam

    they allow people to type retard in them countries?

  • PocketsTheClown

    So instead of ducking AFP reporters, should we can just rape 'em?

  • Fare la Volpe

    This comment has been deleted by the Stop Online Piracy Act.

  • There are many countries in the world so 47th isn't all that bad. If we all work hard together we might get up to 43rd next year.

    • Callyson

      The number 43 has been permanently destroyed by W. I say we get ambitious and go for 42nd.

  • Radiotherapy

    The failed liberal media's of France, Canada and England are no match of our reporting; people come here from all over the world to get their news here. We have the best media in the world — and that's why we pay three times what the rest of the world pays for their news. Of course, the feigning elite, state controlled media of Obama must be destroyed, otherwise you are going to see an enormous rise in journalistic tourism.

  • HarryButtle

    That was depressing enough to be a Layne post, Kristen! Kudos!

    If only it weren't also absolutely true…'scuse me, I'll be in the tub with the razor blades and a toaster.

    • Take me with you.

      • bagofmice

        This needs to be read in a Morgan Freeman kind of voice.

        "Hey baby. I know times are hard and you can't always get what you want, like that pepperspray in your eyes, but let's work on that. I've got a tub over here filled with water, and while it may be cold now, I've got this toaster over here to fix that."

  • We American's are exceptional in our opposition to the press learning about police brutality.

  • Worse than El Salvador, home to the death squads, extra-judicial murder and the bodies of nosy reporters left in the streets?

    That is pretty bad.

    • Chichikovovich

      I may be wrong, but I have the impression that death squad activity isn't a serious problem any more. That was mostly an issue back when Reagan was promoting democracy there.

      • You're correct. My El Salvadorean friends have been taking trips home for some years now, visiting relatives and such — something they hadn't dared to think about in the Reagan years.

        • Anthony Bourdain went there to eat so it's probably pretty safe now.

      • Negropolis

        Yeah, they traded the vicious death squads for equally vicious drug gangs.

  • SexySmurf

    Niger? Please. If the US really was 47th, do you think HuffingPaint would have been allowed to publish their scathing exposé of Miley Cyrus going braless in West Hollywood?

    • flamingpdog

      Thanks Sexy, I needed that. But I did have to pretend it was just some woman that nobody had ever heard of.

    • SudsMcKenzie

      Do you know she's worth an estimated 120 million? that's half a Mitt Romney.

    • Golfing_OJ

      My favorite thing about HuffPo is watching the little intern-minions trying to make Arianna feel good about being an old hag AND divorced, like "old and sagging" is the new "young and hot," and "epic relationship fail" is the new "monogamy," with compelling stories like:
      "DIVORCE GENERATES NATURAL VITAMINS AND STUFF!"
      "COUPLEDOM IS FRIGGIN STUPID, HERE'S WHY"
      "LAURIE DAVID DOING 5 GUYS AT ONCE, NSFW!"

  • HarryButtle

    ps also…who could possibly have imagined that somebody could earn a worse rating in this category than George W? And that somebody would be Hopey?

    Oops, never mind. Just looked it up and Dubya has worse ratings.

  • AlterNewt

    It seems we're #1 at CIRCLING THE DRAIN.

  • MissTaken

    WE'RE 47! WE'RE 47! WE'RE 47!

    America, Fuck Yeah!

  • Just like when a kid comes in 47th in a race in middle school, I still think America is SPECIAL and deserves BIG, BIG HUGGGS!!!!

  • And BTW, Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose, so look on the bright side – this means we still have lots of stuff.

  • Well if you look at the top 12 or so, they are all Communistic countries! It appears that the Freer the press is, the more Communistic you are! Say no to Communism.

    • Obviously the list was made by the Commie-Nazi-Mooslim Axis of Evil

    • It's just like Santorum said about colleges. They just turn young people away from dog. And that is WRONG.

  • coolhandnuke

    $arah can see Niger and El Salvador from the porch of her new third estate from the fourth estate money she earned at Fox News.

  • shrillharpy

    Another fine example of American exceptionalism, right der! Wooo hooo! Exseptionalliny idiotic.

  • Naked_Bunny

    So how widely can we expect the media to be covering this story?

    • Callyson

      None of 'em, Katie
      :-(

  • The only thing I can make of this is that the less religiosity the freer the press.

    • Or the less massive multinational corporations involved – the free-er the press…..

  • CapnFatback

    Whatsamatter? Ain't you heard of the freedom to oppress?

  • Swampgas_Man

    But — but if we were REALLY this bad, surely the Media would be TELLING us, right?

    • SorosBot

      It's an election year;the media needs to dissect every bit of minutia about the horse race (while completely ignoring policy), and no other news can be covered, except the two most important things, sports and celebrity gossip.

  • CapnFatback

    You think you got it bad, Mr. Village Voice cub reporter, consider Superman. As a defender of law and order, he's required beat that no-goodnik Clark Kent's ass whenever a story breaks, and there's nary a phone booth around these days!

  • Chichikovovich

    Look, this is bullshit. If you measure by things like "number of journalists beaten bloody with nightsticks and pepper sprayed for observing a protest" then sure, the US might slip a little. But did these so-called "Reporters without Borders"* take into account just how many US journalists are invited to black tie dinners with real news makers and people who really shape policy, dinners at the best and most exclusive restaurants, with entertainment by the Capitol Steps? No, I think they did not take that into account.

    Finland number one, eh? And how many of their journalists were at the White House correspondents dinner? [Not to mention that their finest snarkeur lives in Paris, for heaven's sake] Did any Estonian journalist get the kind of inside, exclusive information straight from the lips of the policy makers that you found in Judith Miller's reporting on WMD in Iraq? Do Norwegian journalists have the professionalism needed to present both sides of issues like the science of global warming?

    Priorities, people.

    * OK, look, I miss them too. But stop whining – you can still order books from Amazon instead, or go to Barnes and Noble.

  • ShaveTheWhales

    Hey, only slightly worse than South Africa! And better than Italy!!

  • sati_demise

    Good job, Homeland Security!

  • Newspapers will come back to assume their former honored status as soon as they figure out how to print each day's lead stories on a big pair of titties.

    • CapnFatback

      Headlines on every set of headlights!

  • fuflans

    this is why we can't have nice things.

  • fuflans

    of course i linked to the 'crazy lady from arizona' story and lo, i see politico is styling itself as a living diary of the obama presidency'.

    gross.

    • NewtsChicknNeck

      I too can't get enough of the train-wreck that is arizona's governor…so much stuff there. A few:
      1. The Fox caption is classic fox with some gentle race-baiting (reference to the President's skin). Of course, no mention of Brewer's leather-skinned-ness.
      2. Brewer's phenomenal lack of self-awareness in statements claiming Arizona "was upside down" (from a woman who sold the capitol and other government buildings as a stop-gap measure to fill a budget shortfall).
      3. The batshit crazy move of animated confrontation with the leader of the free world on a tarmac in some backwater shithole–a play straight out of the Rick Perry Winning Moves playbook.
      4. The deft combo of self-importance and paranoia. "He thinks he can humor me and get rid of me." Sounds like the ravings someone who lives under a bridge. And, yes. He can humor you and get rid of you.
      5. Jan Brewer wrote a fucking book? I can't believe she even has the capacity to have one ghost-written for her.

  • fuflans

    the fuck you people have against latvia?

  • ShaveTheWhales

    OT, the recallcam has been moved and changed its view.

    Of course, there's nobody there right now.

  • littlebigdaddy

    As long as we on Wonkette can make jokes about the buttsechs effluvia of prominent politicians, I think we are ok.

  • We're Number …

    WUT?

    • If we were #1, it would kill our dreams.

    • Radiotherapy

      9-9-9

  • Antispandex

    Yeah, 47th…but with a BULLET!

    • ShaveTheWhales

      Surveyor's Mark, pleeeze.

    • Radiotherapy

      John or Michael Bolton?

  • fuflans

    hey you guys! bbc is saying they make an invisibility cloak!!

    can jetpacs be far behind???

  • Callyson

    El Salvador beat us? Time for the Spanish equivalent of an organization whose demo my mom attended back in the Raygun days:
    Comité de Solidaridad con el pueblo de los Estados Unidos
    Porque la democracia exige la libertad de prensa

  • DrOzarkZ.Hellbender

    If these protesters are so "peaceful," then why do the cops always end up having to pepper spray them and beat them with nightsticks all the time, huh?

    • SorosBot

      It almost makes you think the cops' real job is just to protect the interest of the monied elite, and not to enforce the law.

  • Reporters Without Borders, meet Country Without Brains!

    Also, Barry should've bitten Ol' Leatherface's finger off and shoved it down her wrinkly piehole.

  • MilwaukeeKent

    I forget, when did we stop even trying? This is Exceptional.

  • flamingpdog

    OK, we're #47. But at least we have two penises, although they're both flaccid.

    • We do? Florida and … what's the other one?

      • flamingpdog

        Nah, it was a reference to the chart shown on the first linkie above. Check the right-hand column of the chart.

  • C_R_Eature

    #47? We can do Better Worse than that! We're America!

    Also, Fuck that Dessicated Desert-Dwelling Dipshit.

  • Here's your CNN Political Analysis of the day – comparing Romney and Newt to fishing poles:
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/26/politics/north-flor

  • We remain #1 in claiming press freedom, though.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Quote, unquote.

    • SorosBot

      Now it says that Congress shall make no law; it doesn't say anything about the police beating the shit out of the press, for shits and giggles.

      • Ah, okay, just so long as it's not statutory, or at the federal level, it's cool. So, say, a Mayor or Governor or Police Chief can abridge all he/she/it likes. And it's okay for Congress to take no position on press-infringment; they just can't make a law requiring it.

        This would all be clearer if they inserted the word "technically" or "specifically" into the First Amendment wording. Or if the Founding Fathers/Mothers/Co-Parents had their fingers crossed behind their backs at the time.

    • NewtsChicknNeck

      we're also No. 1 in claiming solvency, "exceptionalism," and making unjustified claims. We're No. 1!! We're No. 1!! We're No. 1!!

  • SaintRond

    Nonsense. The Daily Beast had a wonderful article yesterday with the first several paragraphs being about the new head of the IMF warning that the world was in danger of descending into a Great Depression, before getting to the really important stuff – her love of jewelry, her really great fashion sense and some shit about post feminism.

  • Bluestatelibel

    I take it the revolution really won't be televised?

    • Negropolis

      Unless it can sell Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Ford Ram Pick-up, and/or Boner Pillz, it ain't gonna be televised. Now, you bring in a few Kardashians, or a Baldwin or two, and they may consider giving it a test slot after primetime.

  • BTWBFDIMHO

    No wonder Reporters Without Borders knows about press freedom. Soon we'll have Reporters Without Barnes & Nobles and it'll be no press freedom at all.

  • Negropolis

    Damn elitist reporters. What, with asking questions to get the facts and whatnot. Just read the Bible, you commies. Everything you need to know is in the Bible, you paper-pushing journalists. Jeeze.

    • Santorum Slams Amalekites

      Sackcloth and Ashes: Who Wore It Best?

      Abraham on Sarah's Baby Bump: Too Old for Pregnancy?

      Top Five Commandments

  • Negropolis

    You know who else beats the shit outta reporters? Actually, don't answer that. Apparently, the answer is Latvia. Latvia, folks.

  • ThundercatHo

    Re: Pic of Gov. Brewer sticking her craggy finger in Barry's face.

    I'd like to see her try that shit with FLOTUS. *Begin fantasy of "angry black woman" being released, speed of light ninja moves and Jan finds her finger snapped off and shoved up her saggy ass.*

  • ThundercatHo

    On second thought, she could probably just give her a "mom" look. It's amazing what you can accomplish with one of those.

  • bureaucrap

    As for me, I look forward to the day when our top NYT story is "10 year old boy from Nebraska excels in math despite broken elbow".

    Oh wait, that was yesterday.

  • owhatever

    Damn. We've got to try harder, officers. America must become Number One! Now get out there and sweep the streets clean of liberal medias.

  • DahBoner

    I think more Left Wing Death Squads here in America to take down Fox News and Limbaugh should bring us up to the level of the San Salvador freedom of press…

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