THE MEDIA AT WAR


 
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PostSubject: I'm American   Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:40 am

After Saddam Hussein statue fell in Baghdad, television anchor Dan Rather appeared on the CNN programme Larry King Live and emphasized his professional allegiance. “Look, I’m an American.” In this spirit, US mainstream media were indeed prejudiced about the war on Iraq in spring 2003. Only less than 1 per cent of the US sources were anti-war on Dan Ruther’s flagship programme, the CBS Evening News, during the war’s first three weeks.


For the most part, major US networks sanitized their war coverage which was wall to wall on cable. As always, the enthusiasm for war was rabid on Fox News Channel. After a pre-war makeover, the fashion was the same for MSNBC. At the other end of the narrow cable-news spectrum, CNN cranked up its own militaristic fervour. In wartime, mainstream news outlets were more eager than ever to limit the range of discourse


This sort of point was pretty much taboo in Us mass media coverage, which sometimes included vehement tactical arguments about the Bush administration’s war – but not about the prerogatives of Washington to intervene militarily around the world

On 19 May 2003, President George W. Bush denounced “killers who can’t stand peace”. He had become fond of denouncing “killers” and “terrorist”- using those words righteously and interchangeably – the same terminology could be applied to him and other top officials in Washington. What mainstream media will be the last to tell us is that news coverage of terrorism is routinely subjective, even arbitrary. Those with the power to use and not to use the “terrorism” label in mass media are glad to do so as they please. Endeavouring to put post-9/11 media fixations on terrorism in perspective, Dyer wrote like that:

“There are several agendas running in the Bush adminiatration and the one on top at the moment is the hyper-ambitious Cheney- Rumsfeld project that uses the terrorist threat as a pretext for creating a global “pax American” based on the unilateral use of American military power. But the project of the Islamic terrorists is still running too, and this strategy is playing straight into their hands”


The propaganda necessity it to portray one’s side attacks as righteous and the other’s evil. Right now, it’s fair to say, each side is committed to large-scale killing. By a two-to-one margin, Ameicans “use positive words in their description of the president”, a polling outfit reported in early May of 2003. The Pew Research Center concluded that “there is little doubt. The war in Iraq has improved the president’s image in the United States.”


After the 2003 invasion of Iraq ended, meticulous researchers at FAIR pointed out that US news outlets “ have been quick to declare the US war against Iraq a success, but in-depth investigative reporting about the war’s likely health and environmental consequences has been scarce”.

Propaganda systems gain strength from offering bogus alternatives, and the limited spectrum of mass media in the United States is no exception. Millions of Americans tune into NPR News. During the war, that public radio network carried the reporting of correspondent Anne Garrels, who provided some outstanding eyewitness accounts from Baghdad.

However, During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the avoidance certainly extended to NPR News. For example, Using a Nexis search to find out how often the word “ Nuremberg” had been mentioned on NPR from 1 January through 30 April, the word came up a total of four times, Despite such deafening media silences, the judgments at Nuremberg and precepts of international law forbid launching an aggressive war.

When a country- particularly a democracy” goes to war, the passive consent of the governed lubricates the machinery of slaughter. Silence is key form of co-operation, but the war-making system does not insist on quietude or agreement.
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