As the White House “debates” its Afghan options, are we hearing a balanced media presentation on the issues? Or are many media outlets doing what they did before and during the invasion of Iraq, the details of which I documented in my books Embedded, When News Lies, and my film WMD. Have they learned anything?
The answer has to be no way.
On Friday night, there was Charlie Rose advising us that he would soon interview his “friend” Michael Moore, as friendly and supportive an interview as I have every seen. It was amusing to see Charlie concurring in an attack on Capitalism given that he is a frequent host at every major corporate meeting and “friend” to every CEO.
Only it was preceded by a half hour of let’s escalate in Afghanistan spiels by two “experts” –one an Australian counter-insurgency advisor and former aide to General Petraeus, the other a Boston-based academic/expert/war booster—who couldn’t agree with each other more than more troops were the only solution.
On Sunday morning, Meet the Press did its usual Hawkish thing—just a few days after David Gregory, all 6’ 7 inches of him schmoozed on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He offered up four guests, two ex Generals and two Senators, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, saying pretty much the same thing. We are in Afghanistan to stay, A British General was even quoted to the effect that they will there for about another 40 years, confirming Dick Cheney’s LONG WAR theory. No real critic there.
And then the New York Times, I will let Jeremy Scahill tell you about their latest crime against fairness: “The ‘paper of record’ complains that Robert Greenwald’s film is unbalanced with no ‘sympathy’ for pro-war views. Horrors!
“Perhaps more than any other major corporate news outlet, The New York Times played a central role in promoting the Bush administration’s fraudulent case for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The “reporting” of Judith Miller and Michael Gordon basically served as a front-page fiction laundering factory for Dick Cheney’s fantasy of a “mushroom cloud” threat from Saddam Hussein looming on the immediate horizon, topped off with a celebratory slice of yellowcake. More recently, the paper’s propagandists, William Broad and David Sanger, have aimed their sights on reporting dubious claims about Iran’s nuclear program.
Readers of the Times, therefore, should take with a huge grain of weaponized salt the paper’s “review” of Robert Greenwald’s new documentary, Rethink Afghanistan. With no sense of the painful irony of writing such jibberish in the Times, reviewer Andy Webster declares that the film could “use balance, something in short supply here:”
At an almost breathless pace that leaves little room for reflection, Mr. Greenwald presents a flurry of sights, voices and figures, many of them compelling but all reflecting his point of view. A historical summary is fleeting. What appears, again and again, are terrifying images of children: dead, hideously maimed or, in one instance, almost put up for sale by a frantic civilian in a refugee camp. Military engagements, it seems, are messy and claim innocent lives.
If it takes Greenwald’s “point of view” to see the human costs of the U.S. war in Afghanistan in the form of deformed, maimed and dead civilians, then his film should be required viewing for anyone purporting to support the war.
Anyone who has actually seen the film knows that a string of former top intelligence officials, perhaps most significant among them the former head of the CIA’s Counter-terrorism Center, Robert Grenier, are heard meticulously deconstructing the dominant justifications for the continued U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. What does Grenier know? Oh, he was just the CIA station chief in Islamabad, Pakistan, where he was one of the Agency’s top officials planning the U.S. invasion.”See the film on the Brave New Films website.
HIS MASTER’S VOICE: BECK OPENS FIRE ON MEDIA REFORM, BOB MCCHESNEY AND FREE PRESS
Mark Crispin Miller writes:
Here’s a little masterpiece of red-baiting, as Glenn Beck goes after Bob McChesney and Free Press (a “Marxist group”), as well as Mark Lloyd and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski–all of them, says Beck, conspiring with Obama to snuff the First
Amendment and install a communist dictatorship:
WATCH THE JOE MCCARTHY REVIVAL ANDBECK’S BROADSIDE
It would take a lot of time, and space, to deal with all the lies, half-truths and distortions in this diatribe. And why bother? No-one with half a brain buys anything that Glenn Beck says, while his rapt audience buys everything he says no matter what.
In any case, this shot at Bob McChesney and Free Press is actually good news–because it makes clear that the owners of the media cartel are scared to death of media reform; and they have every reason to be scared, because the vast majority of Americans would back a tough reformist program in a heartbeat.
Beck can slime McChesney all he wants. The fact is that whenever Bob, or Mark Lloyd,or John Nichols, or I myself, or any other activist for democratic media reform goes out and talks to living, breathing citizens about this subject, what always brings the house down is the notion that we need to cut Big Media down to size, through radical trust-busting above all. Such is the response in the Kiwanis Clubs and churches just as it is on “humanistic” college campuses.
Nobody likes Time-Warner, Disney, News Corp. or GE as such, just as nobody really likes the crap that those huge players keep churning out–as the declining sales throughout the culture industries make very clear. If Clear Channel could no longer own 900 radio stations, would there be furious protesters in the streets? Would people rally to defend the cable companies’ monopolies? Would there be any grass-roots opposition to free, nationwide wireless Internet access?
Let’s remember that, when Michael Powell, Bush/Cheney’s FCC chair, tried to make it even easier for one company to gobble up the lion’s share of TV/radio stations, cable systems, newspapers, etc., the national grass-roots “NO!” was mammoth and
ideologically diverse, including both the NRA and NOW, and Brent Bozell along with Norman Lear.
So it’s good news that Glenn Beck is trying to cast the effort to democratize our media system as a blow against the First Amendment–because it tells us that his overlords are terrified that their long death-grip on our free speech can be broken, once the people learn the truth about real media reform.