August 4, 2003
The American media is shocked, SHOCKED that President Bush apparently
accidentally mislead us about Iraq's nuclear capability. Whoever would
have thunk it.
Of course, no one in the corporate media dares consider that it was a deliberate lie -- presidents lie only about sex. Nor is anyone concerned that it was part of a pattern of lies designed to gather support for a war on Iraq -- the lies about weapons of mass destruction, lies about the non-existent al-Qaeda/Iraq ties, lies about the UN inspection process...
Bush is a liar, but don't expect to see that simple truth reflected in the corporate news.
The most the corporate media will say is that the poor man was misled by incompetent staff and thus misspoke those infamous 16 words. There is no effort to look for the pattern of lies; no effort to examine the continuing stream of lies, as for example when he told reporters on July 14, "We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in," a patently absurd statement as inspectors were working until the US invasion made it impossible. Yet no one bothered to point that out.
His latest press conference, only the ninth of his presidency, came as his poll ratings are sagging, budget deficits increasing, jobs vanishing, American soldiers still dying in Iraq, and not one of Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction has turned up. But thanks to gutless reporters Bush breezed through it.
Reporters did not follow up each other's questions. At one point Bush was asked about Saddam's supposed weapons and launched into an answer about how much better the world was without him. When the reporter pressed him he cut him off, calling for the next question, which was totally unrelated.
And so it goes. The media keeps giving Bush a free ride.
The purported popularity of this president is mostly an illusion, fostered in the main by a toadying media. If criticism is muted or non-existent, then the average citizen will be baffled and tell pollsters what they think is the proper response: they support the president.
To someone who was a newsman before the media became owned by a half dozen giant corporations, the role of the media in creating the myth of a wildly popular president is appalling. I can't imagine it happening 25 years ago when there was still some diversity in the media.
The role of the media in the present situation can't be ignored. The lies of this administration, particularly on Iraq, were evident to anyone in the media with an IQ higher than 80. The weapons of mass destruction? Nonsense! The idea that Iraq had weapons that could be hidden from the UN inspectors was ludicrous. Yet the media treated the administration's lies as though they were revealed truth.
The fact that any nuclear program would require a sophisticated delivery system which could not be hidden was ignored.
The existence of drone planes that could attack American cities was absurd; yet the media solemnly carried the speculation.
The connection with al Qaeda? Nonexistent, as any half-way competent reporter could have determined with just a little digging.
Worse, the media treated the idea that we had the right to attack a nation for what it might possibly do someday as though it were unremarkable, rather than a dangerous and loony departure from established norms.
Lies about Iraq, lies about the 'Coalition,' lies about the tax cut, lies about 9/11, lies about several environmental policies, lies about...lies, lies, lies!
The corporate media for the most part has ignored the stolen election, the assaults on the Bill of Rights, the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo, the anti-war protests, the postwar attacks on civilians in Iraq, the assaults on reporters, the staging of the Saddam's statue toppling, the rescue of Pvt. Jessica, the kidnapping of the family of a wanted man in Iraq to get him to surrender, the story of Iraqi casualties, military and civilian -- and the fact that God told Bush to invade Iraq. On and on and on and on.
The media is controlled by a few corporations who think Bush is doing little wrong. They like the idea of an American empire and have little compunction about supporting that idea with their news coverage. Besides, acting as a conduit for official pronouncements is so much cheaper than independent reporting...
But this poses a grave danger, for without a truly free, diverse, independent media -- and an informed citizenry -- how can democracy survive?
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Iraq on Swans
Main Media & Propaganda on Swans
Deck Deckert has spent nearly two decades as copy editor, wire editor and news editor at several metropolitan newspapers, including the Miami Herald and Miami News, before becoming a freelance writer. His articles and stories on everything from alligator farming to UFOs have appeared in numerous U.S. publications. He has written two young adult novels under a pen name, and co-authored a novel about the NATO war on Yugoslavia, Letters from the Fire, with Alma Hromic.
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