Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

December-19-01

Casualty of War - Part I

Two weeks before the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan, an unnamed military officer involved in the planning offered the Washington Post some chilling insight into the Bush administration’s media strategy: “This is the most information-intensive war you can imagine,” the source said. “We’re going to lie about things.”

If you expected the press to summon up some outrage at the prospect of a deliberate disinformation campaign—to maybe start asking, “Was that a lie? No? How about that?” at White House news briefings—you were probably disappointed. Not one major U.S. paper bothered to reprint the quote. (Salon.com did.)

A free, independent, and critical press is never more crucial than in wartime, when millions of lives and the course of history can turn on small bits of information. But since the September 11 attacks, corporate media outlets have been busy doing what News Corp owner Rupert Murdoch called their “patriotic duty”: waving the flag, toeing the government’s line, and ceding their major editorial judgment calls to Condoleezza Rice and other administration bigwigs. These insiders have pressured news executives to suppress information ranging from Al Qaeda statements and security details to public health data available under the Freedom of Information Act.

Rather than challenge government censorship, the press seemed willing propagandizers: the U.S. war should be “media-driven,” a Forbes writer said. On network broadcasts, news analysts and pundits currently or formerly affiliated with the White House, Pentagon, CIA, and FBI portrayed military retaliation as inevitable. While such insiders are valid sources, it’s unsurprising that they provided little historical context regarding the CIA’s prior role in aiding Osama bin Laden and the mujahideen in Afghanistan’s battle with the Soviets. And though they argued that the Taliban should be overthrown partly for their violent misogyny, these mostly male hawks didn’t mention that for years, the United States largely ignored feminists’ pleas on behalf of brutalized Afghan women.

In contrast, international peace and justice experts who could offer non-military response options were virtually invisible in a debate rarely broader than “How Wide a War?,” as PBS’s News Hour framed it. Some journalists, like Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, answered that question by advocating the starvation of civilians; others, like former New York Times Executive Editor A.M. Rosenthal, answered the question by proposing the complete destruction of the civic infrastructures of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, and Sudan—war crimes that would surely kill millions of innocent people.

Other influential reporters, while not as bloodthirsty, saw themselves as proud partners of the politicians they cover. On David Letterman’s Late Show, CBS anchor Dan Rather announced, “George Bush is the president. Continued

Media Resources:


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

6/29/2015 The Supreme Court Just Saved Texas Abortion Clinics - The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 today to put a temporary hold on a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that would have closed all but 9 of the state's abortion clinics in Texas. The order from the Supreme Court comes in response to an emergency request filed by women's health care providers on the behalf of Texas women earlier this month asking the Court to stay House Bill 2, which would have taken effect as law on Wednesday. . . .
 
6/26/2015 Supreme Court Declares Marriage Equality a Constitutional Right - In a 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Anthony Kennedy this morning, the Supreme Court of the United States declared that same-sex couples fundamentally have equal protections under the Constitution. The Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all 50 states to both license a marriage and recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex. . . .
 
6/26/2015 President Obama Delivers Moving Eulogy in Charleston - The nation is remembering the nine victims of the Emanuel AME Church mass shooting this week, as President Obama gave an unforgettable eulogy for State Senate Reverend Clementa Pinckney. President Obama knew Reverend Pinckney personally, meeting him during his 2008 election campaign. . . .