One of Stewart’s better pieces in keeping Williams’ gaff in perspective when compared to the media’s cheerleading us into the war in Iraq. Even now, I see the same game plan with the measles/vaccine hysteria.
Here is my past blog on the media’s horrible reporting that got us into the Iraq War. Note Richard Cohen’s assertion that if you did not believe them, then you were just too stupid to understand….as we are seeing with the measles/vaccine hysteria.
This passage highlights the media’s manipulating people into war by “lone wolfing” those that oppose it:
September 27, 2002
—MSNBC‘s Hardball host Chris Matthews asks of World Bank/IMF protests in Washington, D.C.: “Those people out in the streets, do they hate America?” Conservative pundit Cliff May responds: “Yes, I’m afraid a lot of them do. They hate America. They align themselves with Saddam Hussein. They align themselves with terrorists all over the world.” Hardball correspondent David Shuster later adds that “anti-Americanism is in the air.”
September 30, 2002
—CBS Evening News correspondent Tom Fenton says that former weapons inspector and war critic Scott Ritter “is now what some would call a loose cannon.”
—A Newsweek report about widespread European opposition to the Iraq War is curiously headlined, “The Lonesome Doves of Europe.” The magazine’s columnist Fareed Zakaria refers to Germany’s opposition to the war as “bizarre actions,” and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s anti-war position amounts to “[p]andering to public opinion.”
And this is just sooo over the top:’
—Responding to a trip to Baghdad by Congressional Democrats opposed to the Iraq War (Reps. Jim McDermott and David Bonior), Washington Post columnist George Will writes that “Saddam Hussein finds American collaborators among senior congressional Democrats.”
October 7, 2002
—As noted in a FAIR Action Alert (10/10/02), CNN host Connie Chung takes Rep. Mike Thompson (D.-Calif.) to task for expressing doubts about claims made by George W. Bush about Iraq’s weapons. At one point Chung interrupts Thompson to say, “You mean you don’t believe what President Bush just said? With all due respect….you know… I mean, what…” Chung adds: “So it sounds almost as if you’re asking the American public, ‘Believe Saddam Hussein, don’t believe President Bush.'”
Note how they try to isolate those that would provide an opposing opinion. Again, they characterize them as “lone wolves” or in this case “lonesome doves” to paint them as outcasts. It’s the chilling effect that the press used to bristle against, and now they are actively participating in quieting those with opposing opinions. Bush and Cheney lied, and if Connie Chung was doing her job, she would have been asking tough questions of Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, et al., instead of intimidating those who did. Scary times, folks.
Incredibly, WBEZ in Chicago would not allow the Quakers, who don’t believe in war, to air an ad for a peace vigil:
October 25, 2002
—The Chicago Readerreports that a Quaker group attempted to buy airtime on WBEZ in Chicago to publicize a candlelight peace vigil. WBEZ told the group that their underwriting announcement could say they were “exploring issues of morality and war,” but that this so-called exploration “could not use the word[s] ‘peace,’ ‘candlelight’ or ‘vigil.’
And this is the most telling on the media’s biased and misleading reporting:
October 26, 2002
—Reporting on a massive anti-war march in Washington, D.C., NPR‘s Nancy Marshall claims that the event is “not as large as the organizers of the protest had predicted. They had said there would be 100,000 people here. I’d say there are fewer than 10,000.” The next day, the New York Times reports that “thousands” attended the protest, “fewer people attended than organizers had said they hoped for.” The report is under 500 words and appears on page 8 of the paper. The next day (10/28/02), FAIR issues an action alert challenging the reporting of the New York Times and NPR. Thousands of emails later, the Times re-reported the story (10/30/02), admitting that the protest “drew 100,000 by police estimates and 200,000 by organizers’, forming a two-mile wall around the White House.” On the same day, NPR airs a correction.
They were deliberately fudging the numbers to make it look like anti-war movement had no support.
Finally, the way Phil Donahue was treated:
February 25, 2003
—MSNBC cancels Donahue, its top-rated show and a rare oasis of war skepticism in the mainstream media. An internal NBC report surfaces (All Your TV) that describes him as “a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war.” The report worries that his show could become “a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity.”
Personally, I see Williams’ gaff on the same level as fishing stories….embellishment is to be expected. It’s not as serious as manipulating the American public into a war that was a lie.
And I leave with this: