Friday, February 23, 2007

Drumbeat for War Without End: Triumphalist TV Media Cheerlead War Agenda

[Note: This article is cross-posted at Raising Kaine.]

You can see the powerful graphics, the fear-inducing ticker on our television screens.  You can hear the familiar drumbeat, triumphant music swells, and rising anthems to Vulcan escapades.  There's music to warm an embedded journalist's heart and thrill a Vice-President's ear.  There's even a show on CNN entitled: "This Week at War."  Reporters at CBS, ABC, CNN, FOX each falsely Note: This article is cross-poclaimed a "smoking gun" justifying war against Iran.  The so-called mainstream media's television wing cavalierly cheer-lead.  They feign their subject is no more serious or monumental than Monday night football.  We should "be true to our school," I mean country, as if love of country involved nothing more than mindless rah-rah.  All of us here know that that is not love of country at all, but rather a caricature of it.

At the same time as the "war networks" promote unending war, they also force-feed a nauseating pablum: Mindless bimbos, self-destructing for others' sadistic consumption.  Following the death of "Anna Nichole," one study found 37% of stories on cable "news" concerned the icon, famous only for being famous.  As Jon Stewart lamented, one station went 90 minutes on the story  without commercial interruption.  "Anna Nichole" and Britney Spears' bald head took over much of the remaining time on cable news, networks again failed to give citizens the information they need. And that's just how George W. Bush likes it.

According to the BBC earlier this week, elaborate "contingency" plans are on the drawing board for a large-scale war against Iran. Read it here.

Here at RK, Lowell today posted the IAEA findings.  And the Guardian UK illustrates how the IAEA report and US "intelligence" do not equate.  How many people will read or hear about what the report says?  How many will know the real extent to which Iran is, and/or is not, a threat to us? 

UN action to both monitor and police nuclear proliferation is essential.  However, unilateral preemptive US action is not.  Because a dedicated, informed citizenry is essential to defending against corrupt and dangerous pre-emptionists, we are more vulnerable to manipulation than ever.  We're at the mercy of those who pitch democracy at every turn, but fail to deliver it to US citizens, much less the countries they purports to "liberate."

By their many deceptions, lip-services, and manipulations the so-called MSM, especially televised "news" and talk-shows, are guilty, just as surely as are the "Vulcans," of sacrificing our soldiers, killing an estimated 600,000 civilians (according to the British journal Lancet), destroying a country, wasting our treasury, neglecting whole devastated states at home, neglecting our crumbling infrastructure, privatizing public assets(both here and in Iraq), and eliminating human services.

The propaganda effort is multi-pronged.  First, it creates a hostile environment for critics.  Recently, Rupert Murdoch made the astonishing admission that he intentionally used FOX to set the agenda for war (Olbermann's Countdown, Feb. 7th 2007).  It's happening again. Today, the same relentless pit-bulls savage John Murtha.  And the NY Daily News labels a non-binding resolution "treason." Documented by Josh elsewhere on RK's front page, is evidence of the savaging of Barack Obama by Murdoch's henchmen.

Second, the propaganda machine reassures with iterative airings of Bush's claims that he's kept us safe.  Ironically, Bush also used the SOTU last month to assure Americans of his protective abilities.   But as Dave Swanson and Keith Olbermann ably documented, Bush made up the episodes of his supposed saves from terrorism.  Not one of them was true.

Third, the propaganda machine presents an exaggerated or even false threat.  Here's the story the television media should have told.  Says the AP, "President Bush's tough new stance on Iran and his military buildup in the Persian Gulf recall some of the drumbeats that preceded the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003."  There's more.

Media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, has an excellent summary of the media dereliction in the Iran controversy.  Notable is that, even while the BBC registered British concern about Iran, it at least clearly stated there was "no smoking gun" concerning Iran's alleged role in Iraq. Not so in the US.  Among the US Media, NBC Nightly News (a bit late) and Keith Olbermann's Countdown did reality-check the claims.  On NBC we learned that the basis for assuming weapons came from Iran was that they were "sophisticated." The administration and numerous outlets first suggested that serial numbers gave conclusive proof that Iran was killing our soldiers.  But, seeming to back peddle, the administration later equivocated, twice delaying its report on the "evidence."  But if history is any test, the administration will recycle the same claims, true or not. Bush is playing a dangerous game of what one writer called "Liar's Poker".  To put the allegations in perspective, read this report from the Congressional Research Service

Also on MSNBC, security expert Roger Cressey said that  about 90% of insurgents are from within Iraq.  The remainder are from various countries and include Al Qaeda members infiltrating Iraq since the US invasion.  The Congressional Research Service also reports that Iran shares America's goal of fighting Bin Laden and fighting terrorism in general.  But it doesn't want permanent US bases in Iraq. Read more about the threat posed by Iran here.

The National Intelligence Estimate shows Iran poses little threat to the US (read more here.) Newsweek found that the evidence of Iranian influence and meddling in Iraq was ambiguous .  See also stories by the Los Angeles Times here and here. And here's an AP article on the same subject.

Meanwhile, we've learned belatedly that last fall, the then-GOP-led Congress slipped into a defense bill a mechanism for George W. Bush to declare martial law almost at will.  And the NY Times finally opined about it Sunday.  Why didn't the Times or others report it sooner?  Read about it here.
The media silence on this subject is, as they say, deafening.  With a few exceptions, the media keeps singing the same old White House tune.  And the dereliction of duty continues...