I was listening to The Newshour the other day, and they were asking
What struck me, during the course of the focus group interview, was a guy who said something that makes me think the Republican media machine has done a fabulous job of branding certain untruths into the collective mind of their base.
Whatâ€™s the untruth you say? Simple: The reason why weâ€™re in a war with
But hey, the administration had a war to sell in 2002! And sell it they did. The â€œgood old daysâ€ of presidential popularity and war fever were brought back to life by Bill Moyers last night on PBS. On â€œBill Moyers Journal,â€ he had a wonderfully reported, but ultimately depressing, documentary called â€œBuying the Warâ€ where he takes the press to task for failing to do their job. Despite all the mild hand-slapping Moyers did when interviewing reporters who repeated the Administrationâ€™s copy points, one thing was pretty clear: the hype machine the Bush Administration put together to convince Americans that invading Iraq was payback for 9/11 was masterfully done.
Just read this clipping from the Christian Science Monitor to see that in 2003 there were some papers highlighting the marketing campaign the Bush and Co. were unleashing on the public so they would support the invasion:
March 14, 2003 edition
The impact of Bush linking 9/11 and
American attitudes about a connection have changed, firming up the case for war. | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
In his prime-time press conference last week, which focused almost solely on
But that was only one paper â€“ and a paper that despite its high standard of journalism, doesnâ€™t really have a high readership.
During the documentary, Moyers decided to go around the horn and ask a bunch oâ€™ Beltway reporters why didnâ€™t report what folks outside the Beltway were reportingâ€¦namely, that 1. Hussein and the Iraqi government were not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. 2. Iraq had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and would use them if we didnâ€™t act. 3.
So, what was the short answer to the question why Beltway reporters didnâ€™t do their job? It was bad for business to report factual information on Iraq and easier to echo the Administrationâ€™s copy points. Why? Well, if you were a Beltway reporter who strayed from the â€œapproved script,â€ you set yourself up to be a target the right wing media smear campaign (i.e., Talk radio, Fox News, and various hosts on other 24 hour cable news channels).
The small number of reporters who did do their jobs werenâ€™t seen as too much of a threat by the administration because their readership was smaller and their ability to break through to the Establishment press like the NY Times, the Washington Post, or the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) was seen as minimal. And if you looked at the way Moyers framed this part of his feature, it was pretty clear that no one in the Establishment media was interested in a writings of say, The Christian Science Monitor, or Knight-Ridder reporters who basically got it right when it came to what was really going on in Iraq.
So much for the power of the â€œliberal media,â€ eh?
Anyway, if youâ€™re interested in the Bill Moyers program, you can watch the video online HERE.