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The Mainstream U.S. Press Has No Credibility After Iraq

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On March 19th, Robert Parry headlined at Consortium News, "Why WPost's Hiatt Should Be Fired," and he reviewed instance after instance in which Fred Hiatt, who runs that newspaper for its controlling Graham family, had in 2002, and for years afterward, bulldozed over his staff and pushed the entire organization to parrot Bush Administration lies, and to block anyone in his organization from hindering Bush's rush to invade Iraq. (The newspaper even ridiculed Al Gore for having publicly challenged, at the time, Bush's "preemptive war" doctrine.) Parry also provides instances, during the subsequent years, in which that newspaper refused to report the "Downing Street Memo," released by Britain in 2005, which revealed that in the lead-up to the invasion, British Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet accepted, as MI6 chief Richard Dearlove phrased it in one now-infamous memo in 2002, that, "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" of preparing the British and American publics to support an invasion of Iraq. Fred Hiatt justified his ignoring to report on these memos, because, as he asserted in the paper's lead editorial on 15 June 2005, "the memos add not a single fact to what was previously known in July 2002." But think for a moment about how odd it was for him to say such a thing in 2005: his newspaper had actually never reported, until he said it now (in three years' retrospect), that all of this "was previously known in July 2002." Wouldn't it have been nice if he had let his newspaper's readers know, back in 2002, such things as that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," instead of, say, "the policy was being fixed around the intelligence and facts," such as the Bush Administration and all of its parrots were alleging to have been the case? And, yet, this same lying Fred Hiatt still runs that same leading newspaper. Such deceivers are secure in their jobs: they please their owners -- their bosses.

The Washington Post published, just now, on March 20th, an op-ed from their former Iraq-war "reporter," David Ignatius, which was headlined "The Painful Lessons of Iraq." None of those "Lessons" was anything like "Don't deceive your readers." Instead, one such "lesson" was: "The United States didn't have the stomach for a protracted war that President George W. Bush couldn't explain and the public didn't understand." Another was that "America will never change Iraq, but Iraq will change America." Ignatius looked back with evident pride, recalling that in April 2003, "The headline on the column I wrote ... was "Bush's confusion, Baghdad's mess.'" How sad: poor confused Bush, poor messy Iraq. But what about his own, and his newspaper's, poor deceived readers -- deceived by Ignatius, and by Hiatt, and by the Graham family that hires and still retains both of them -- all of those former stenographers for Bush and his gang? Ignatius had no "lessons" learned about that, or at least none that he now shared with his victims: his misled, if not deceived, readers, both past and present.

At one of the blogs of The Washington Post, Erik Wemple headlined, more honestly, on the very same day as Ignatius's column, "The Media's Iraq War Failure," and he wrote that Jonathan Landay, of Knight-Ridder, had been just about the only honest mainstream American reporter on Iraq before the invasion, and was asked, "How did it feel ... to be the lone holdouts," and Landay answered: ""Lone holdout' is a good word because even some of our newspapers -- we work for a chain of 30 ... wouldn't print our own stories. Why? Because they say it wasn't in the Washington Post. They hadn't seen it in the New York Times. So how could we, as Knight-Ridder journalists, have gotten the same thing? So it was very lonely." Being honest journalists, instead of being mere stenographers to power, was "very lonely." So: America invaded Iraq.

Things haven't changed. The same rotten "journalists" "report" the "news," for the same aristocracy, to the same public, which is just as gulled, if not (as on Fox, etc.) perhaps even more so.

A good example nowadays is the hoax of the "State Department's" recent "study" of the impact that the construction and operation of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would have on global warming. This document wasn't actually researched or written by the State Department (it was written by a contractor of the proposed pipeline's owner, TransCanada), and it didn't actually examine the proposed pipeline's impact on global warming at all; it was therefore, really, a double-hoax. Did you know that it's a double-hoax? Have you learned about this, in the nightly network TV news, or in the Washington Post, or The New York Times, or places like that? I wrote about this double-hoax, and my report on it was published on March 19th in the super-obscure "Off the Bus" blog, which nobody reads, at the Huffington Post, on March 19th, under the headline, "State Department's Keystone XL "Study' Now Doubly Exposed as a Hoax." This news report had been turned down everywhere else. That pipeline will thus probably be built, without there ever having been any study of how many degrees its operation will likely heat the Earth's atmosphere. Think about that. The consequences could ultimately be even worse than Iraq -- we'll never know until it's too late, if no scientific study is ever done of the subject before the pipeline wins its now virtually universally-expected go-ahead.

Nothing has really changed since we invaded Iraq ten years ago. The only "Lessons" that have been "learned" have been more lies. That's what the mainstream is: lies that become policies.

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George Orwell wrote about it in his novel 1984. But now, it's no fiction. It's a story that has been running for at least ten years, with no change, except the lies -- they have changed.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of  CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .

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... by Eric Zuesse on Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 2:16:06 PM
See also this terrific commentary by Greg Mitchell... by Eric Zuesse on Monday, Mar 25, 2013 at 9:33:49 AM
If reports are right, and the Koch Brothers want a... by Mari Eliza on Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 3:23:14 PM
I never watch MSM.  I find out what the dicta... by Textynn N on Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 7:46:00 PM
Actually, the mainstream/corporate/imperialistic &... by Ed Ciaccio on Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 3:27:32 PM
In 1974, the Medical College of Virginia, funded b... by Garry Minor on Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 4:34:44 PM
The MSM has been and still is nothing more than el... by Textynn N on Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 7:14:07 PM
In time, I would hope that we don't allow ourselve... by Jim Reinhart on Saturday, Mar 23, 2013 at 7:42:16 PM
Get Bush and other leaders war criminals, to justi... by Klaudio Vinkerlić on Sunday, Mar 24, 2013 at 6:13:24 AM
On the other hand, Robert Parry refuses to look se... by Maxwell on Monday, Mar 25, 2013 at 8:27:48 AM