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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 1/22/20

Selling the Brands of War

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War bird
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The news media has always served the prowar agenda of the military-industrial complex. Their subservience to governmental war hawks and their obedient suppression of stories damaging to that agenda has been analyzed, documented and exposed by many over the years, "Manufacturing Consent" by Noam Chompsky being only one of many examples.

The lies that led us into Iraq have been the subject of many books and documentaries. Yet, like an unrepentant sinner the media continues its brazen lies in its support of the pro-war agenda.

The myth of "right vs left" in the media when it comes to war is easily exposed as nothing more than a well-coordinated effort to get as many different political factions on board as possible, using different flavors or brands of propaganda carefully tailored to the individual psychological profiles of their particular viewing audience. Our use of social media, the analysis of our our tweets, shares, likes and memes leaving us naked and exposed, laid out by our own data for the autopsy of our own minds. The dissection of our biases and fears, our resentments and our anger, what we love and what we hate; these tools are in the hands of those great designers of propaganda - or as it is more commonly called these days - targeted marketing.

The psychological assault on the American public, conducted on right-wing networks like Fox, sells war using a brand that showcases hyper-patriotism and machismo. Inundating their viewers with imagery of waving flags and charging tanks, images that play into age-old gender bias of powerful brave males rushing to the call of duty, like the newest version of some Marvel superhero.

Their claims of being "forced to engage the enemy" and being "called to defend America" are flimsy and are quickly crushed under the weight of the obvious desire to instill rage, to glorify battle and to tap into the dehumanizing racism most vital to the rationalizing of killing "the enemy". If you feel I'm being too dramatic, let me refer you to just one piece on Fox published March 26, 2003, selling the shock and awe-style invasion of Iraq:

The article was titled "B-2 Bombers Lead 'Shock and Awe'."

The article opens by saying the bombing campaign has been ongoing now for a week, which is itself hard enough to imagine. 9/11 involved one day and a handful of attacks and as horrible as it was, it looks like a hiccup compared to the solid week of shock and awe in Iraq, as we bombed as many as 200 targets. The article uses phrases like "lead the fight" and "force open the defenses" followed up by comparing the violent campaign to a "tightly integrated ballet". The quotes attributed to an anonymous commander named "GQ" (perhaps a subliminal nod to the popular men's magazine that showcases sexy strong men and scantily clad babes on its cover) and a pilot code-named "Tiger".

The sale continues with a giddy description of U.S. weaponry in a manner that brings "Tim the ToolMan Taylor" to mind, groaning and grunting with pride over his tools.

Descriptions of the speed and power of weaponry play to a sense of machismo that his shockingly immature and terribly transparent.

Then the article moves towards the actual bombing. The images described are dramatic but easy to digest and inspire the low-level tension of a well-made TV drama.

"We could see part of the shock and awe -- we could see the flash of weapons ... there was smoke over the city," said one pilot who flew a bomber in the first wave of attacks on Baghdad. "It was definitely hunker-down time."

No talk of the human impact, the terror of Iraqi civilians. No descriptions of the carnage that, in contrast, was showcased in vivid color through interviews with New York victims after 9/11. Our news media was there, following limping victims with dust-covered faces, streaked with tears and blood. But for Iraqis, no empathetic human connection was mentioned; no shared trauma with the viewer like those the media facilitated with victims of terror here at home.

Superiority of our forces and the desire to create terror in "the enemy" were praised.

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Michele Goddard Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter Page       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I was born in 1970 in Wheeling, WV and have lived here all my life. I come from mostly Irish Catholic coal miners and railroad workers. My original academic interest was in teaching foreign languages studying both French and Spanish in High (more...)

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