Cheryl SealHow the Media is Colluding with Bush to Start War # 3Tue Feb 21, 2006 18:06
DRUM BEATS OF WAR: How the US Media is Colluding with Bush to Promote War Number Three
By Cheryl Seal
for article with embedded links see http://cherylsealreports.com/drumbeatsofwar.html
There is no doubt at all that the US media played a huge role in embroiling the US in an illegal, bloody, and unwinnable war in Iraq, a war that has now claimed nearly 40,000 Iraqi lives and over 2,100 US soldiers - not to mention the over 20,000 broken or maimed soldiers. The media not only failed to do its job – insuring the American people got the truth -- it allowed itself to become a propaganda arm of the White House. False claims were disseminated so routinely that even now a disturbing percentage of Americans still believe them. For example, nearly 40% still believe that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. At the height of the media's reign of terror, nearly 70% believed the lie. Meanwhile, few stories presented vital information that contradicted the Bush case for war, such as the total lack of evidence of WMDs.
The New York Times – which has disgraced the name of serious newspapers everywhere – not only actively promoted the lies and the war, but withheld a story of critical importance to the American people (the NSA-Bush illegal wiretapping) until well after the presidential election of 2004. As there is no question that this story was withheld to insure that Bush’s bid for the White House would be successful, the NYT’s action should be considered a federal crime.
Now the NYT and other media outlets are claiming they have learned their lesson. But in observing the headlining stories and “organized spin” being offered the public over the past few weeks, it doesn’t look like much has changed – not in terms of the big picture. And the big picture being presented, alas, is war, endless war.
There is compelling that Bush had a two-point plan in place even before he took office in 2001. The plan: Invade Iraq, then invade Iran. Initially, Bush didn’t think he’d have to invade Afghanistan – he was already schmoozing the Taliban in 2001, praising their “discipline” and the stability they lent to their country and lavishing $32 million on them as “prepayment” for their cooperation. But then the Taliban failed to cooperate as planned. But 9/11 of course, provided the excuse to for the US to invade Afghanistan. But even before plans to invade Afghanistan were finalized, Bush and his corporate-military cartel were laying plans to invade Iraq and then Iran.
The scheme was so obvious that anyone with a reasonable knowledge of world geography would have figured it out easily. But Bush and his cohorts knew that most Americans can’t find the capital of the next state on a map, let alone Afghanistan or Iraq. It you look at a map of the Middle East/Central Asia, you will see that Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan form a continuous “corridor” running from the Mediterranean Sea to Pakistan. Just above Iran are the “stans,” including Khazahkstan, which is oil-rich beyond most oil barons dreams. Iraq is also oil rich. So what the plan amounted to was a “connect the oil dots” land grab. In an oil baron’s wet dream, a massive oil pipeline would run from Kazakstan, through Iran, then all the way to the Mediterranean. From there, it is a relatively straight shot to US ports, no need to send tankers down through the Persian Gulf. Tankers moving through this area have historically been extremely vulnerable – in fact the 1984-1987 conflict between Iraq and Iran was known as “The Tanker War.”
The examples of media collusion with the White House right now are too numerous to cover in one article. But here are some examples.
First, here is the primary strategy currently being used – it was also used to whip up anti-Iraq sentiment in the run up to the 2003 war:
Disseminate an inflammatory lie that is used as a headlining story by every news outlet. As any editor/news manager knows, most people skim news, taking in only the headlines and the first few lines or paragraphs of the story. In just 24 hours, a lie will be repeated three to four times by the TV networks, every half hour or hour by radio stations, sit in print in a newspaper for 24 hours, crawl repeatedly across the bottom of CNN’s screen, flash on the mainpage of AOL or YAHOO every time a user signs on that day. That’s a helluva a lot of play. Even if the information in a story is retracted later, the lie is what will stick. As most news editors/managers also know, only a small percentage of people pay attention to retractions or story updates. Thus the damage can be done, and done oh, so easily.
To make the leader of Iran look as Saddam-like as possible, the White House and media must make him seem – just like Saddam – to be unwilling to listen to reason, leaving the US with no recourse but to bomb and invade.
So since Bush’s numbers started to plummet early last fall, the media and White House have been turning up the Iran vilification campaign. Since December, the media has, with growing frequency, referred to Iran as “a threat” and systematically painted new president President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a rabid nut case. Back in the days of Ayatollah Khomehni, who was just as much of an extremist as Ahmadinejad, if not worse in the early days, the media didn’t try to foment war-like rage against Iran, even when the nation held 80 Americans hostage.
But then, Iran wasn’t part of a Bush two-point plan then, either.
So the media is giving Ahmadinejad the Saddam treatment. He is hell bent on getting WMDs, they imply – specifically, nukes. It doesn’t matter that Ahmadinejad has denied this, just as Saddam denied having WMDs. Bush NEEDS him to threaten the world with nukes. Otherwise, how could Bush get up a new “coalition” to invade?
To help promote the new “WMD threat”, CNN led the way. Last weekend, CNN disseminated the story that Ahmadinejad had defiantly asserted that he had a “right” to have nuclear weapons. This story made all of the media rounds for over 24 hours before it was finally admitted by CNN that Ahmadinejad never made this statement. Instead, he said that Iran has the right to build nuclear power plants. Whoops, said CNN. Just a translation error. Yeah right. Not even the most thickheaded, half-deaf interpreter would have mistranslated the statement made by Ahmadinejad, considering the statements that followed: “a nation that has civilization does not need nuclear weapons….our nation does not need them."
But now, all of the US media is continuing to headline stories about Iran as if this correction had never been made. For example, this ABC headline acts as if it’s a “known fact” that Iran is pursuing nuclear weaponry:
MORE TALKS WITH IRAN ABOUT NUKES DOESN’T MAKE SENSE: US and Europe Refuse to Let Iran Pursue Nuclear Weapons.
If you read this story, you will find first and foremost that the headline is highly misleading, in addition to being based on false information. Nowhere in the story is there any evidence of an alliance between the US and “Europe” on Iran. Britain, Germany, and France have joined the US to demandr an end to Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. Condi Rice met with the EU policy chief. But nothing has happened, other than an offer from Iran to resume talks. But anyone skimming the headline would get the erroneous idea that 1. Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and 2. the US and ALL of Europe have joined forces to block them, which in turn implies the EU is now backing Bush! Presenting this impression is critical to Bush’s schemes of invasion. He knows that no one in the US will back a war that is not supported by a strong coalition of allies, especially Europe.
Meanwhile, the media is again working to suppress dissent. For example, when Al Gore made his fiery speech on Martin Luther King Day in which he condemned the moral bankruptcy and dangerous dictatorial attitude of the Bush administration, AP led the anti-Gore spin charge. Completely false statements about the Clinton-Gore administration made by doughy-faced Bush mouthpiece Scott McClellan were disseminated widely by AP for the usual 24 hour “let the lie settle in” period before a statement was issued clarifying that the statements were false. By then, the lie had been widely spread – i.e., mission accomplished.
Here’s AP’s retraction (via “Think Progress”) – read, of course, by just a few: And notice how the “retraction” leads in with a repetition of the lie – complete with an unnecessary repeat of McClellan’s slam of Gore!
“McClellan said the Clinton-Gore administration had engaged in warrantless physical searches, and he cited an FBI search of the home of CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames without permission from a judge. He said Clinton’s deputy attorney general, Jamie Gorelick, had testified before Congress that the president had the inherent authority to engage in physical searches without warrants.
“I think his hypocrisy knows no bounds,” McClellan said of Gore.
“But at the time of the Ames search in 1993 and when Gorelick testified a year later, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act required warrants for electronic surveillance for intelligence purposes, but did not cover physical searches. The law was changed to cover physical searches in 1995 under legislation that Clinton supported and signed.
“Bush’s attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, made the same arguments as McClellan during interviews Monday on CNN’s “Larry King Live” and Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes.”
I’m not sure if the last paragraph in this “retraction” is a clarification – or a boast!
In the meantime, AP is giving the Iran “nuke story” maximum hype, and is trying to create an impression of urgency – a “crisis in the making!” by presenting regular numbered news releases, like this one from Jan 18:
Update 13: Europe Rejects Nuclear Talks With Iran
The actual story (to which this headline bears little resemblance) boils down to this: the US, Germany, France and England are going to refer the Iran matter to the UN Security Council, which will probably work out sanctions.
Or how about this one: UPDATE 7: World Opposed to Nuclear Iran, Rice Says
So AP implies the WHOLE WORLD is with Bush on this one!!
But, fortunately the “whole world” does not fall so easily into the same hole so easily as the US.
Writes Philip Bowring in New Zealand’s International Tribune : “By exaggerating the importance of Iran's nuclear developments, the West is showing up the waning of its power in that region, despite the presence of some 200,000 allied troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the influence of China and India rises. The situation now has three possible outcomes, none favorable to the West.
“First, after a lot of huffing and puffing, a diplomatic dance continues which makes little headway and reveals that the West has few cards it can play. Second, the United States launches an attack whose economic consequences can only be guessed at, but which does the kind of global diplomatic damage to the U.S. that the British/French Suez invasion did to those nations. Third, after effectively blocking Security Council sanctions, China, India and Russia quietly lean on Iran to stop being provocative and make just enough conciliatory noises to allow the "crisis" to subside, but not to significantly retard its nuclear program.”
But here in the U.S., watching the nightly news these days is to get a major dose of pre-Iraq war déjà vu. Efforts to spin the current war are heating up – afterall, if people are too pissed off by War #2, it will be much harder to sell War #3, even with if you do succeed in selling the Iranian president as “Saddam #2”). For example, when Bush’s attack on the village of Damadula with drone aircraft outraged the world by killing nearly two dozen civilians, including several women and children, the media did not, as a free press SHOULD HAVE, condemned the action and dug for the facts behind the case. Nope, the organized spin was “But the attack was aimed at a really big Al Qaeda target!” – as if that justified killing innocent people. When this ridiculous stance failed to quell the outrage, the CIA stepped in (it’s obvious!) and supplied a new propaganda line: Well, ya see, it’s like this – the guy we THOUGHT we hit wasn’t there, but there were four OTHER guys there that we did get!” The names and “Al Qaeda positions” of these four were supplied – but, of course, this “revelation” came the day after the media disseminated the news that it would be impossible to confirm the identity of any of those killed in the attack. Pretty neat, huh? You could claim Judge Carter and Amelia Earhardt were also killed in the attack and no one could prove otherwise!
CBS (on Jan 18’s nightly news) even pulled out the old CIA standby - a claim that one of the four guys killed tested poison gas on cute little puppies. Bob Schieffer (who should know better by now!) even showed a shot of a fuzzy little puppy. The same puppy shot I recall clearly being used in 2002 and 2003 on various occasions to pump up public outrage.
And of course, now today (Jan 19), we have the latest “Threatening New Bin Laden Tape!!” headline making the rounds. Gotta try to make wars #1 and #2 look they’ve got SOME justification before we launch war #3!!
What is incomprehensible to me is that the US media, despite all the warnings of recent past history, despite the bloodshed, death, suffering, and economic losses inflicted by Bush wars I and II, is STILL, right on cue, promoting Bush war III.
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