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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
A Critical Timeline
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, [...]
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 [...]
(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 [...]
CNN's Dobbs attacks Annan for calling Iraq War "illegal"
When U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan declared that he thought the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was illegal (BBC, 9/15/04), CNN's Lou Dobbs was outraged, calling it "another incredible outburst by Kofi Annan" (9/16/04). But Dobbs and his CNN reporters neglected to pursue the most important aspect of the story: Was Annan right? Annan told the BBC that the war was "not in conformity with the Security Council, with the U.N. Charter." When asked, "It was illegal?," Annan replied: "Yes, if you wish," adding: "I have indicated it is not in conformity with the U.N. Charter; from our point of view [...]
The July 3 L.A. Times finally put to some sort of definitive rest the notion that it was ebullient Iraqis who pulled down the Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad’s Firdos Square in April of last year. The statue pulldown is described in an internal Army study, the Times reported, as one of many psychological operations maneuvers employed by the military. It was a Marine colonel who decided to topple the statue, and “it was a quick thinking Army psychological operations team that made it appear to be a spontaneous Iraqi undertaking.” Today, the elite media strategy appears to be to [...]