April 26, 2008

Notable Quote

Norman Soloman on the media in bed with the Pentagon:

Often journalists blame the government for the failure of the journalists themselves to do independent reporting. But nobody forced the major networks like CNN to do so much commentary from retired generals and admirals and all the rest of it. You had a top CNN official named Eason Jordan going on the air of his network and boasting that he had visited the Pentagon with a list of possible military commentators, and he asked officials at the Defense Department whether that was a good list of people to hire.

No kidding. In the rush to war, CNN vetted the list of retired generals to put on its payroll with the Pentagon. The media then worked out the "embedded" journalist scheme to provide more burnishing of Pentagon star and to provide the journalists a chance to make it big as war correspondents. As I noted in early March 2003:

Today as we all wait for George W Bush to roll the die, I think we all need to understand how much of his ability to do this was because of our lazy, complicit media which has actively aided and abetted him. It certainly isn't because Bush has done a great job of selling the war to the American public. Frankly, the fact that the American public is not totally sold on this war is amazing considering the jingoistic march to war that people are exposed to on the TV, radio and in the national press.

The latest blatantly pro-war stories involve how the Pentagon is sending journalists, the wannabe war reporters, to boot camp. As Jack Shafer reported, this has resulted in a flurry of first person reports about attending this camp.

The Pentagon is "embedding" more than 500 journalists--including an Al Jazeera crew--in U.S. units in hopes of countering Iraqi wartime disinformation. A week of boot camp is supposed to make these journalists "field-safe"--that is, prevent them from doing something stupid that will get them, and the soldiers they're covering, killed.

The goal is to make this set of reporters a "willing" voice for the military. But, the question is, does the military really have to try very hard to get the reporters on their side?

The editors and publishers have a vested interest in reporting on a war, largely because they can pull in a sizeable audience. But what makes the reporter so willing to go along with encouraging war? Reese Erlich points out, the reporter also has a vested interest in reporting on a war and doing it so that it fits the perspective of the editor.

Money, prestige, career options, ideological predilections -- combined with the down sides of filing stories unpopular with the government -- all cast their influence on foreign correspondents. You don't win a Pulitzer for challenging the basic assumptions of empire.

This leaves us with our media which seems to have no end of stories about how the war will be won and very few stories about the anti-war movement.

It all worked out so well, didn't it?

Posted by Mary at April 26, 2008 12:06 PM | Media | Technorati links |
Comments

Corporatism in combination with Militarism in combination with right-wing Governmentalism equals...Fascism.

That's my take on the "mothballed" retired U.S. generals going on the networks to help the Bush administration "fix the intelligence" (or what viewers were hearing) to fit the neo-con Republicans' preemptive, eternal war policy. Corporatism plus Militarism plus right-wing Governmentalism equals Fascism. Which makes me wonder if all of these retired U.S. generals were lying, as apparently everyone in the Bush administration was, when these generals swore an oath to honor and defend the U.S. constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Oh, right, windfall profits and war-profiteering are more important to these people. Creeps.

Posted by: The Oracle at April 28, 2008 04:27 AM