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CNN Sold Us the War. Now It Sells Us the Heartbreak with Unctuous Consoling, "Heroic! Brave!"

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CNN Anderson Cooper's Monday evening, March 5th, heartbreaking documentary traces the lives of young American members of a 'Striker' armored car/tank unit through to their deaths at mealtime in an Army facility in Mosel, Iraq. CNN sold us on the War, and no matter how often CNN praises our dead and wounded as brave and heroic, we remember that CNN sold us the war on Iraq. It currently sells continuing the war of occupation. Soon CNN might openly begin selling us a pull back. It is slowly becoming too costly for some of the business community that has overriding prerogatives in influencing how entertainment/news is presented.

CNN, more than the other conglomerate owned TV networks or print media, is responsible for the deaths of the American soldiers of the 'Striker' group who perished when an Iraqi dressed in police uniform blew himself up in that mess tent in Mosel. Why is CNN more guilty than the other war eulogizing channels? Because viewers remember the time, back when founder Ted Turner, husband of Jane Fonda, was still its owner and president, and CNN was independent of the entertainment/news industry's united front of uncritical support for all violent U.S. foreign policy.

In a way, Ted Turner set the public up. Because now when present owner Time-Warner advertises CNN as being the most trustworthy news source, millions of viewers believe it, having the memory of a previously more honest and semi-independent Cable News Network still in mind.

Why is conglomerate owned media, and CNN in particular, guilty for our tragic war casualties and guilty for the tenfold or hundredfold more tragic loss of life and limb within the country our boys have been sent to bomb, invade and occupy?

Firstly, because in the lead up to war, CNN temporized and equivocated, misinformed and disinformed by presenting facts out of context, colored its reports with unwarranted fears, exaggerated the capacity and capability of Iraq to endanger a superpower, featured sensationalist pro war arguments uncritical of their source, blacked out any reference to the U.S. complicity with the crimes of Saddam especially during the Reagan administration, subtly cast doubt on the veracity of UN inspectors by quoting and giving undue exposure and credence to voiced suspicions and the opinions of those wanting war, presented outrageously unproven accusations as apparent possibilities, distorted the case for peaceful negotiation, ignored the findings of reputable investigative historians, and presented unsubstantiated evidence as gospel truth enabling unscrupulous war mongers and weak-minded large corporation beholden establishment politicians to successfully dupe enough of the public as to allow this nation to go forward with what is now finally recognized as an illegal war by a majority of the U.S. and world opinion.

Secondly, because CNN presented the long awaited visually spectacular pyrotechnical display of the initial night time murderous bombing of Baghdad as surgically sparing of civilian life and the Pentagon's descriptions of super amazing pin-point accuracy weaponry, hiding from American audiences the enormous Iraqi civilian casualties which much of the rest of the world WAS able to see on TV screens outside of the U.S. CNN and all media leapt to demonize the Iraqi soldiers in the Jessica Lynch false story of mistreatment promoting Pentagon 'patriotic' lore similar to the 1990 Pentagon PR planted story of Iraqi soldiers taking Kuwaiti babies out of their hospital ward incubators and letting them die.


Thirdly, because CNN repeated ad infinitum, the photo-op of the scene in the square at the tearing down of a statue of Saddam, as representative of the sentiments and feelings of all Iraqis regarding this second devastation by U.S. bombing of their beloved Baghdad, to the exclusion of coverage of any American remorse or Iraqi grief for the dead and wounded; There had to have been some gentlemen's agreement among media CEOs. Even the NY Times, which, during the Afghan invasion provided a special section "Nation at War" with lots of photos of Afghan children in hospital, had only a few innocuous photos of the massive Iraqi civilian casualties, suffered in the invasion and jittery shooting in the months following.

Fourthly, because when no weapons of mass destruction were found - as most informed Americans expected, believing as we did in the U.N. inspectors' testimonies - CNN dragged the possibility of finding them on and on, dutifully echoing the faked consternation of the president and his spokesmen. Thereafter, CNN made a smooth transition to redirecting viewers attention to the ever more horrendous crimes of Saddam, never permitting mention of President Reagan's funding and acceptance of these crimes. This Reagan-Saddam relationship was not forgotten by many outside the U.S. This consistent omitting mention of Saddam having been a tool of Reagan, especially helping and supporting his war on Iran, which caused a million deaths, is reminiscent of Nazi press blackouts of news unfavorable to Hitler's government.

Fifthly, because CNN passed on administration and pentagon propaganda through 'imbedded' reporters and journalists, as opposed to Turner's CNN in 1990 having had Peter Arnett reporting independently from Baghdad on civilian damage caused by the bombing while the Bush I administration was projecting an image of "smart bombs, surgical precision, little civilian life lost", and accusing Arnett and CNN of "unpatriotic journalism". In the present war CNN's Wolf Blitzer has been the administration's mouthpiece, conspiring to confuse the American public about the duplicity of the U.S. Director of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance Paul Bremer's role in selling off Iraq's assets and postponing elections, provoking a Shiite rebellion which cost many lives on both sides. When elections were finally allowed, CNN hyped them with an infantile hailing of the birth of a democracy, oblivious to the political trauma and U.S. policies of interference and power brokering exacerbating Iraqis without basic needs while large U.S. corporations were making a fortune unethically on creeping, slow and inept reconstruction projects as Iraq oil revenues continued to be confiscated for war debts.
When the heavy use of missiles and large bombs was costing great loss of civilian life, and the torture stories of Abu Greu, Afghanistan and Guantanamo disgusted ordinary viewers, CNN practiced damage control and managed to contain criticism and deflect it from reaching upward to President Bush or even Congressional Oversight.

Sixthly, because in covering Saddam's trial, CNN successfully smothered any idea of possible testimony on U.S. complicity in providing Saddam with weapons and gas components coming to outside public attention. Consistently, CNN sold us new excuses for staying in Iraq to replace the discredited pretexts of weapons of mass destruction, Saddam (now dead), and that of doing the Iraqis a good deed by bringing them democracy at the barrel of a gun. CNN now emphasizes al Qaida's presence as a reason for continued occupation WITHOUT emphasizing that al Qaida was NOT in Iraq BEFORE the invasion, which gave al Qaida a cause celebre to nurture and new recruiting possibilities world wide.

Seventhly, because CNN has been obfuscating all efforts of decent Americans to call a spade a spade in this whole sordid affair, purposely allowing some connection between Iraq and 9/11 to exist in the minds of the less literate sector of the population which furnishes gullible recruits courageously wishing to protect us in the wake of 9/11.

At the same time CNN has never exposed the connection between 9/11 and the Carter administration's secret funding, arming and training the fundamentalist Mujahadeen uprising against a modern, women liberating, Kabul government, in order to sucker the Soviets into intervening six months LATER, and then continuing to fund, with the Saudis, thousands of extremist Wahabi sect Islamic schools in Afghanistan, helping Osama bin Ladin and producing the fervently religious Taliban, favored by the Reagan and Bush I administrations prior to 9/11.

CNN and the other networks are continually taking us all for a ride, much in the way U.S. media did with Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, from Truman's decisions all the way through to those of Gerald Ford. CNN permits no mention of Carter, Bush I, and Reagan's relations with the Taliban - not even the truth about the condition of women's lives in Kabul BEFORE Brzezinski had Carter begin secretly aiding the arming the fundamentalist Mujahadeen attack from the hills in July of 1979, when NO Russians were in Afghanistan.

Eighthly, Ah the grand confusion, perfect for CNN Big Brother media! U.S. soldiers, marines and airmen, Pentagon 'contractors' and mercenaries, CIA operatives, Sunni insurgents, Shiiti militias, al Qaida, Shiite police and 'government' troops, Sunni police and 'government' troops, EACH and ALL having splintered off renegade groups, death and torture squads with suicide bomb volunteers ad infinitum available for all to use. How many U.S. dollars flow into whose hands and for what purpose? Divide and conquer? Keep everyone from ganging up on us? CNN currently explains how containing Iranian influence is now a higher priority than fighting al Qaida and the Bathist insurgents. Swallow as fast as one can; a new threat to American corporate interests is surfacing on CNN continually. CNN does not see itself as a threat to America or anyone else. We know now from experience that CNN is not just a threat, but agency of mortal harm and destruction.

Given all the above mentioned, what grim fairy tales do we hear from lovely CNN commentators explaining the 'news' to us, at CNN round table discussions and CNN simple minded talk shows where the obvious entertainment value is to chew everyone else's comments and opinions about this ongoing sham presentation of selected 'news' from the urban killing fields of our latest recognized mistake of a war. Never doubt that many corporations are still making good on their investments in this war, about which CNN will let us see only the tip of the iceberg.

Lastly, we have the usual CNN subterfuge of not reporting impeachment efforts throughout the nation and dissimulating instead of informing us on what is known of the lying, pretended ignorance, hypocrisy and cover-up within a media harnessed to corporate greed and the pseudo democracy of a limited two party system in which both parties supported and still support the war, one party finding itself now in a quandary, supposedly representing the larger part of the voting public which wants out, yet beholden to the same corporate influence as the other party which follows orders to stay in.

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Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles (more...)
 

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I haven't gone as far as Ann Margaret in "... by Mark Petersen on Sunday, Mar 11, 2007 at 10:33:05 AM