Mar 01 2008

WMD Mirages

The mainstream media’s certainty that unconventional weapons would be found in Iraq led them to issue an embarrassing series of false alarms

“In our view, President Bush has built a strong case for the invasion of Iraq, a case that will be overwhelming with the inevitable discovery of the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein is hiding.” —Oregonian editorial (3/20/03) “HUGE CHEMICAL WEAPONS FACTORY FOUND IN SO IRAQ. . . . REPORTS: 30 IRAQIS SURRENDER AT CHEM WEAPONS PLANT. . . . COAL TROOPS HOLDING IRAQI IN CHARGE OF CHEM WEAPONS.” —Fox News Channel (3/23/03) “One important new discovery: U.S. officials say, up the road from Nasarijah, in a town called Najaf, they believe that they have captured a chemical weapons […]

Mar 01 2008

Saddam’s ‘Secret’

Hussein told CBS about WMDs--but CBS wasn't watching

Of all the strange stories to come out of the media’s debacle in Iraq, one of the most Orwellian is the fable in which Saddam Hussein tricked America into invading Iraq by making us believe that he had weapons of mass destruction (Extra!, 1-2/04, 5-6/04). Of all the lies, hypocrisies and half-truths of this war, this one may be the most extravagant: a falsehood whose speciousness doesn’t even require any checking–at least for anyone whose memory goes back earlier than March 2003. The latest incarnation of this story appeared in January, when CBS‘s 60 Minutes (1/27/08) aired an interview with […]

Jan 01 2008

A Million Iraqi Dead?

The U.S. press buries the evidence

The Iraq War was sold to Americans in part as an intervention that would benefit Iraqis, “liberating” them from the despotic rule of Saddam Hussein. In retrospect, after no weapons of mass destruction were found and the alleged links to Al-Qaeda were debunked, this supposed humanitarian mission became the central justification for the invasion. Today, it is a major pillar of what support remains among the U.S. public for continuing the occupation. If Americans are to make informed judgments not only about the invasion of Iraq and whether the occupation should continue, but also about future wars our government may […]

Nov 01 2007

Turning ‘Won’t’ Into ‘Can’t’

In addition to explaining why the U.S. shouldn’t end the war in Iraq, corporate media frequently tell Democrats that they can’t end the war—citing the Republicans’ ability to filibuster in the Senate and George W. Bush’s power to veto any anti-war legislation (FAIR Media Advisory, 6/1/07, 9/13/07). “As long as [Bush] can keep most of the Republicans in the Senate, in the House with him, there’s no way to overturn the policy because of the way the Constitution reads,” Newsweek’s Howard Fineman told the Chris Matthews Show (NBC, 9/2/07). “I hate to keep coming back to the Constitution. Sixty votes […]

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


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 (3/19/07). An awesome performance “We don’t want to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq, because in a few days we’re gonna […]