The US Media - Saddam's Last and Best Hope
The U.S. Media -- Saddam's Last and Best Hope
By Michael Reagan
"The United States is winning. Big!" writes Deal Hudson, but you'd never know it if the media was your only source of war news.
Hudson, the savvy editor of Crisis magazine, cites as an example of big media's war coverage several page one headlines in one issue of the rabidly anti-Bush New York Times: "Resistance by Militia Is Delaying Baghdad Battle"; "Troops Endure Blowing Sands and Mud Rain"; "Baghdad Empties of People, But it Fills With Foreboding"; "Even Some of Hussein's Arab Foes Take a Certain Pride in His Fight."
He adds that only after a search of page one did he find a smaller headline that read, "Heavy Iraqi Losses Seen in Big Battle," and notes that the "big battle" -- a fight "near Najaf that has been called the biggest confrontation in the war so far. Estimated number of soldiers lost? Iraq: 150-450. US: none."
This is how a lot of the media is reporting the war to the American people, stressing the death of civilians killed in Baghdad allegedly by U.S. bombs when their deaths could just as easily been the result of misdirected Iraqi anti-aircraft ordnance -- a fact the media ignores.
Their coverage bears an eerie resemblance to the media's coverage of the Vietnam war, when the media emphasis was on the bad news, the casualties, the suffering of the Vietnamese people, the deaths of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire, the alleged ability of the communists to outlast the U.S., which they charged was involved in a civil war that did not concern America, and the hopelessness of ever achieving victory.
We saw a similar scenario played out in Somalia where the media seemed to take delight in showing dead G.I. s being dragged through the streets and emphasizing the humiliation the U.S. suffered there.
In both cases, the other side won because the public, misinformed by a barrage of media disinformation, accepted the idea that the U.S. cause was hopeless. And in both cases, the other side crowed that their victories over the mighty U.S. were won with the help of the media, or the wimpiness of President Clinton who cut and ran without a single word of condemnation of the Clinton-worshipping media.
Saddam Hussein and his friends may be murderous thugs, but they aren't stupid. They know that if they can drag this war out long enough, the media's constant drumfire of bad news will discourage the American people and open the way for a shameless withdrawal.
There are two wars going on: the shooting war and the propaganda war. Saddam Hussein knows that he cannot win the shooting war -- he realizes that - but he also knows that with the help of the media around the world, especially here in America, there is a very good possibility that he can win the propaganda war.
If he can make the war last past the election, he feels that he has a chance to win, and with this media, he might be right.
The Iraqi media is not neutral -- they are pro-Saddam to a man. The U.S. media, in trying to be so neutral, ends up looking like they're pro-Saddam. How can any decent American remain neutral when the U.S. is under attack and the enemies we face are monsters who ruthlessly slaughter their own people to remain in power?
Yet many in the mainstream media are criticizing their colleagues who are embedded with the troops for showing pride and sympathy for the men with whom they are sharing foxholes and with whom they face the possibility of death? They want these good Americans to report the news without drawing any distinctions between our side and the enemy's.
That sort of "neutrality" used to be seen for what it is: treason.
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