Nov
01
2007

Vietnam's Lessons?

The disastrous end to the Vietnam War served as a historical reference point for many pundits urging Democrats to forget pulling out of Iraq. But the history lesson was shaky. Presenting the congressional fight over war funding as indicative of “what will likely become post-Iraq politics in America,” ABC World News (4/26/07) reported that Republicans were standing tough with an unpopular White House, while Democrats were more or less following majority opinion against the war. This, the report noted, was a problem—for Democrats. “Democrats know they must be careful,” explained reporter Terry Moran. “The shadow of the Vietnam War looms […]

Oct
19
2007

Dahr Jamail on Iraq reporting, Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Bill Cosby

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: One of the most valuable reporters working inside Iraq wasn't living out his life's ambition to be a war correspondent. In fact Dahr Jamail went to Iraq in large part because of how badly he thought the media were doing covering the war. He's collected his experience in a new book 'Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From An Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq.' He'll join us to tell us about it. Also on CounterSpin today, Bill Cosby's latest book, "Come On People," is an extended brow-beating of African American communities for their plight, which […]

Sep
13
2007

Media Misrepresent Dems' Options on Iraq War

Confusing 'can't' and 'won't'

Following a pattern set when Congress passed supplemental funding for the Iraq War last May (FAIR Media Advisory, 6/1/07), major media outlets continued to "explain" the politics of the war in incomplete and misleading ways. The point made by these media outlets again and again is that the Democrats have little power to affect policy in Iraq because it would be difficult to pass legislation over a potential Republican filibuster, and even harder to pass a bill over a presidential veto. This sentiment is also voiced by many Democratic politicians, many of whom consider themselves opponents of the war. But […]

May
01
2007

Transmission Accomplished

Propagandizing the short-lived Iraq War ‘victory’

While much has been written about how credulous reporting about the Bush administration’s bogus weapons claims paved the way for the Iraq War, it’s important to remember that media cheerleading for the war only intensified once the bombs started falling—a dismal performance documented here with examples from the first celebration of “shock and awe” to the swooning over George W. Bush’s declaration of “Mission Accomplished.” These quotes are excerpted from “Iraq and the Media: A Critical Timeline,” published on FAIR.org (3/19/07). An awesome performance “We don’t want to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq, because in a few days we’re gonna […]

Mar
19
2007

Iraq and the Media

A Critical Timeline

Bush speaks about Iraq invasion--Photo Credit: War Made Easy/Media Education Foundation

It's hardly controversial to suggest that the mainstream media's performance in the lead-up to the Iraq War was a disaster. In retrospect, many journalists and pundits wish they had been more skeptical of the White House's claims about Iraq, particularly its allegations about weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, though, media apologists suggest that the press could not have done much better, since "everyone" was in agreement on the intelligence regarding Iraq's weapons threat. This was never the case. Critical journalists and analysts raised serious questions at the time about what the White House was saying. Often, however, […]

Feb
01
2007

Justifying a Lynching After the Fact

Prominent legal observers and human rights groups have voiced strong criticisms of the trial and hasty execution of Saddam Hussein. NBC’s Tim Russert summed up the complaints about the trial by noting that “some people think that it could have gone longer and so forth” (Imus in the Morning, 1/3/07), though critics actually pointed to far more serious problems, like the fact that three of Hussein’s lawyers were assassinated during the proceedings (Washington Post, 6/21/06). A January 9 New York Times article by John Burns, though, seemed to be an attempt to justify the handling of Hussein’s case. Reporting on […]

Apr
01
2006

Now It's a Chemical Weapon, Now It's Not

White phosphorus and the siege of Fallujah

U.S. Air Force dropping white phosphorus on NLF guerrillas in Vietnam, 1966. (photo: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force)

  Gearing up for an invasion of Iraq in 2002, U.S. media vividly evoked the cruel effects of unconventional weapons. Washington Post foreign affairs columnist Jim Hoagland referred repeatedly to Saddam Hussein’s imagined stockpiles of “horror weapons” and “weapons of horror,” and later to the “horrors” of Saddam’s past use of chemical weapons (7/11/02, 10/25/02, 9/24/03). Leading outlets had their correspondents produce feature stories on former Iranian soldiers and Kurds still suffering from Iraqi mustard gas and other agents used in the 1980s. “We came under heavy bombardment, but there was no shrapnel,” Newsweek (3/19/03) quoted an Iranian veteran. “Then […]

Nov
16
2004

New York Times Rewrites Fallujah History

(NOTE: Please read the update to this alert.) In three recent reports about the military invasion of the Iraqi city of Fallujah, the New York Times has misreported the facts about the April 2004 invasion of the city and the toll it took on Iraqi civilians. On November 8, the Times reported: In April, American troops were closing in on the city center when popular uprisings broke out in cities across Iraq. The outrage, fed by mostly unconfirmed reports of large civilian casualties, forced the Americans to withdraw. American commanders regarded the reports as inflated, but it was impossible to […]