Self-Serving Liberal Propaganda About The Media Coverage In The Run Up To The War In Iraq

Bill Moyers is doing a special to promote a line of self-serving, liberal propaganda that has been kicking around for a couple of years: that the mainstream media wasn’t tough enough in the run up to the war in Iraq.

Here’s Tom Shales with some of the “highlights” from this claptrap,

“Perhaps the truth shall eventually set you free, but first it might make you very, very depressed. Tonight’s edition of “Bill Moyers Journal” on PBS is one of the most gripping and important pieces of broadcast journalism so far this year, but it’s as disheartening as it is compelling.

It’s always depressing to learn that you’ve been had, but incalculably more so when the deception has resulted in thousands of Americans dying in the Iraq war effort.

In this 90-minute report, called “Buying the War,” Moyers and producer Kathleen Hughes use alarming evidence and an array of respected journalists to make the case that, in the rage that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the media abandoned their role as watchdog and became a lapdog instead.”

The media has always been stridently anti-war, but in the run-up to the war, the war was very popular with the American people, Bush was popular, there was widespread agreement among Republicans, Democrats, and intelligence agencies across the world that Saddam had WMD’s and was refusing to comply with the conditions Bush had set to avoid war. If you remember, even the majority of Senate Democrats voted in favor of the war including Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Chuck Hagel, who might as well be a Democrat for all he’s done for the Republican Party of late. So, they were still watchdogs, but they weren’t as rabid as they are today, when the war isn’t popular and the Democrat Party has decided that they will benefit more from an American defeat than an American victory.

Here’s more from Shales,

Exhibit A — the first event recalled in this report — is a news conference by President Bush on March 6, 2003, which Moyers says is two weeks before Bush “will order America to war.” The press conference was a sham, with Bush calling only on “friendly” reporters who’d ask friendly questions. The corker was this scorching investigative query: “Mr. President, how is your faith guiding you?”

“At least a dozen times during this press conference,” Moyers says, Bush would “invoke 9/11 and al-Qaeda to justify a preemptive attack on a country that has not attacked America.” The link between al-Qaeda and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was never proved and had to be taken on faith, Moyers recalls, as did the administration claim that Hussein had developed, was developing, or might soon develop weapons of mass destruction.”

Let’s talk a little bit about Exhibit A, which either Shales is describing incorrectly or Moyers is lying through his teeth about. Bush most explicitly DID NOT only call on only “friendly” reporters (He even called on David Gregory) and while the Bush administration did point out, correctly I might add, that Iraq and Al-Qaeda had ties, they absolutely did not ever say that Iraq was behind 9/11.

Moreover, despite what Shales says there, a MAJORITY of questions asked at that press conference were skeptical of the war effort. Here are a few samples,

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Sir, if you haven’t already made the choice to go to war, can you tell us what you are waiting to hear or see before you do make that decision? And if I may, during the recent demonstrations, many of the protestors suggested that the U.S. was a threat to peace, which prompted you to wonder out loud why they didn’t see Saddam Hussein as a threat to peace. I wonder why you think so many people around the world take a different view of the threat that Saddam Hussein poses than you and your allies.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. How would — sir, how would you answer your critics who say that they think this is somehow personal? As Senator Kennedy put it tonight, he said your fixation with Saddam Hussein is making the world a more dangerous place. And as you prepare the American people for the possibility of military conflict, could you share with us any of the scenarios your advisors have shared with you about worse-case scenarios, in terms of the potential cost of American lives, the potential cost to the American economy, and the potential risks of retaliatory terrorist strikes here at home?

Q Mr. President, to a lot of people, it seems that war is probably inevitable, because many people doubt — most people, I would guess — that Saddam Hussein will ever do what we are demanding that he do, which is disarm. And if war is inevitable, there are a lot of people in this country — as much as half, by polling standards — who agree that he should be disarmed, who listen to you say that you have the evidence, but who feel they haven’t seen it, and who still wonder why blood has to be shed if he hasn’t attacked us.

Here’s more from Shales,

“..Dissent was deemed not only unpatriotic, Donahue recalls, but — perhaps even worse — “not good for business.” Most of Moyers’s report involves serious, respected journalists who let themselves be swept up in war fever and who were manipulated by the administration sources who had cozied up to them. Instead of investigating administration claims about al-Qaeda and WMDs and such, cable news offered up hours and hours of talking-head television.”

The whole “dissent” is “unpatriotic” line is and always has been piffle that liberals try to use to shield themselves from criticism and as far as investigating WMDs and Al-Qaeda goes, when has the press ever been good at that? The press has worked overtime to bury the fact that we found 500+ pre-Gulf War WMDS in Iraq, so much so that you actually still have liberal bloggers claiming we haven’t found any WMDs without fear of being contradicted by the MSM. Additionally, although the MSM has revealed US intelligence programs to the world, what have they ever managed to reveal of use about Al-Qaeda’s plans or strategies? Nothing. The whole idea that they should have “debunked” the idea that Saddam had WMD’s when our intelligence agencies and intelligence agencies around the world thought Saddam had them is ridiculous. If the CIA and Mossad couldn’t figure it out, what makes anyone think that the New York Times and Washington Post could have?

On with Shales drek…

“Tim Russert, of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” looks intimidated by Moyers and somewhat unnerved by his questions, but at least he agreed to be interviewed. Among those who declined — and thus became a part of the story more than they already were — are Judith Miller of the New York Times, a reporter who became a relentless drumbeater for war; Times pundit William Safire, who’d predicted that Iraqis would welcome Americans as liberators when they marched into Baghdad; columnist Charles Krauthammer, another hawkish columnist who’s usually anything but camera-shy; and Fox boss Roger Ailes.”

I’m excerpting this for a single reason, to point out that Iraqis DID WELCOME AMERICANS as liberators when we invaded. Let me give you some quotes from RWN on March 24, 2003,

Marines driving deep into southern Iraq were greeted by Iraqi civilians yesterday who waved and gave the advancing force a “thumbs-up.”

…Lewis was one of hundreds of Marines in the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment who poked their heads out of their armored vehicles, offering smiles, peace signs and thumbs up to Iraqi villagers. A few Marines tossed down ready-to-eat military meal packets, cigarettes and cash. Other Marines pulled out cameras to record the moment.

Elderly Iraqi men and women dressed in long white and black robes countered by blowing kisses to the Marines. Young men put their fingers to their lips as if they were smoking, asking for cigarettes. Children ran alongside the dusty convoy stretching out their hands, begging the visitors for more of anything they could offer.

…”Ajami Saadoun Khlis, whose son and brother were executed under the Saddam regime, sobbed like a child on the shoulder of the Guardian’s Egyptian translator. He mopped the tears but they kept coming.

You just arrived,” he said. “You’re late. What took you so long? God help you become victorious. I want to say hello to Bush, to shake his hand. We came out of the grave.”

…The driver’s most emphatic statement was: “All Iraqi people want this war.” He seemed convinced that civilian casualties would be small; he had such enormous faith in the American war machine to follow through on its promises. Certainly more faith than any of us had.

From RWN on April 03, 2003,

“A crowd of about 500 Iraqis cheered on Wednesday after Britain’s Desert Rats unit demolished a five-metre high, five-ton bronze statue of President Saddam Hussein.

…As American troops moved through this holy city Wednesday, thousands of Iraqis lined the streets and greeted them with smiles, chants and advice about the whereabouts of Iraqi forces.

…”It was like the liberation of Paris,” said Army Lt. Col. Chris Hughes, 42, of Red Oak, Iowa, after returning from a meeting with representatives of the city’s leading Islamic cleric. “It was incredible.”

There’s plenty more examples that I could have listed, but, yes, our troops got a very warm greeting from the Iraqi people when they first arrived. However, anyone who’s not a fool understands that not all the Iraqis were happy to see us and that gratitude doesn’t last forever. Incidentally, liberals like Shales don’t seem to understand those two things. Draw your own conclusions about what that means.

Here’s the reality: the old media has done a terrible job of covering the war. They’ve built up the terrorists and run down the American forces to the point where they’re actually part of Al-Qaeda’s strategy. They seldom explain the context of what’s happening to the American people (For example, when was the last time you saw a paper explaining what the consequences of the Democrats cut and run strategy was after Harry Reid or John Murtha called for us to surrender), and as a general rule, the embedded new media writers like Michael Yon, Michael Totten, and Michael Fumento have done a far better job of covering the war in the country than anyone who works for the MSM.

But, instead of dealing with that, which would take real work and confronting the ideological biases of the mainstream media, they’re coming back with, “Oh, well, the real problem is that we weren’t tough enough on Bush, the war, and Republicans.” So, this “journalistic soul searching” is really nothing more than an excuse for liberals to be more liberal in their coverage.

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