We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Most of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Wartime Lies: A Consumer's Guide to the Bombing

by Paul Bass, New Haven Advocate Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2001 at 2:16 PM

Some tips on how to cut through the corporate media lies that proliferate during every war. Some examples of past obfuscations are offered. His last point is the most powerful.

Wartime Lies: A Consumer's Guide to the Bombing

Paul Bass, New Haven Advocate

October 8, 2001

"George Bush is the president, he makes the decisions, and, you know, as just one American, he wants me to line up, just tell me where."

-- CBS News anchor Dan Rather, after the Sept. 11 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center

Here come "surgical strikes"! Check out that "laser-guided" "pinpoint precision."

"Collateral damage"? Hardly any.

It's a glorious war, a noble cause, the only solution to a world crisis....

So we heard in the Gulf War.

So we hear at the onset of the Afghan war. Many of the same characters who ran and propagandized the last war -- Colin Powell and Dan Rather, for instance -- have returned to our living rooms.

Last time, it turned out there was more to the story. In the first days of CNN-fueled war hysteria, we couldn't know the truth about whom we bombed, or to what end. It's the same this week as our bombs began raining on Afghanistan. It's hard to know the truth about what's happening -- and therefore impossible to judge whether the action is justified.

We can assume only this: Right or wrong, the government is lying to us. And the media is repeating and magnifying those lies in order to convince us to put our brains on hold and yell for blood behind a waving pennant of the stars and stripes.

They did it last time.

Last Time's Lies

Consider ABC News' Sam Donaldson. He helped convince the nation that Star Wars works, through his live coverage of the Persian Gulf War.

On Jan. 22, 1991, ABC showed a bright object flashing through the sky. Another bright object raced toward it. Donaldson told viewers that one of Saddam Hussein's Scud missiles was heading toward Saudi Arabia. But here came a good old U.S.-made Patriot missile to the rescue.

"Bull's-eye!" Donaldson proclaimed. "No more Scud!"

Such media accounts -- and parroting of government claims that Patriot missiles hit almost every Scud they aimed at -- led to a public celebration of the Patriot missile. We weren't powerless. America was strong! We could stop enemy weapons. That November, Congress boosted the budget for the "Star Wars" anti-missile shield from .1 billion to .15 billion.

The following year, as Columbia Journalism Review would report ("Patriot Games," July/August 1992), that film clip showed up at a Congressional hearing concerning inflated military claims. Pointing to the same clip Donaldson had narrated, a former nuclear weapons analyst pointed out that the Scud passed through whatever explosion appeared on the screen -- and that Patriots were a "total failure" in the Gulf War.

Some other examples of Gulf War lies (courtesy of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting):

- After the war, The New York Times retracted a story, repeated by other major news outlets, that Iraqi soldiers had killed 300 premature babies by removing them from incubators.

- 60 Minutes featured an interview with "Captain Karim," a supposed former Saddam bodyguard, spinning fearful tales about the Iraqi dictator. Karim turned out to be a fraud.

- The Times, CNN, Time and others supported then-President Bush's attacks on Iraqi radio by reporting that a broadcaster named "Baghdad Betty" had told U.S. troops to return home because "Robert Redford is dating your girlfiend ... Bart Simpson is making love to your wife." In fact, the media was repeating a Johnny Carson Tonight Show gag. (Or

misquoting. Johnny said Homer, not Bart.)

What to Watch Out For

While we rely on government and CNN, CBS, et al for our first torrent of war news, history gives us some advice in filtering the noise:

- Don't assume any fact to be true. Especially about the success and human toll of our military actions.

- Watch the videotape. Just because they say something blew something else up, judge for yourself.

- Read next-day or on-line full transcripts of speeches. For instance, some national media characterized Osama bin Laden's first statement as in effect acknowledging he authorized the Sept. 11 attack. It didn't. Also, some accounts played up bin Laden's threat that peace must "reign in Palestine" before Americans have peace -- but left out his next statement that "the army of infidels [must] depart the land of Muhammad," historically his primary gripe.

- Don't take depictions of "allies" at face value. Remember that we helped put the Taliban in power (to destabilize the old Soviet Union), along with Saddam Hussein. Remember that Pakistan's government and Afghanistan's Northern Alliance have horrid human rights records.

- Pay attention to questions on which the media or officials remain silent. So counsels Normon Solomon, a media watchdog and syndicated columnist: "Newsday after the Gulf War quoted somebody in the Pentagon saying, 'We lie by not telling you things.' The starvation issue, for instance: Bush was talking about [our airlifting] 37,000 kits of food and medicine. This is in contrast to several million people who are on the verge of going into starvation [because of U.S. military action]. This fact that serves as a lie is window dressing. A crime against humanity is dressed up as humanitarian action."

- Read and listen to the alternative press! But don't necessarily just believe us, either.

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Wartime Lies: A Consumer's Guide to the Bomb Renee Austin Sunday, Oct. 14, 2001 at 12:42 AM

Local News

Woolsey Fire: Worst News of 2018? J01 12:18AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 4:03AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 3:58AM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Presents Night for Hope O30 5:38PM

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

FARCELONA 8.17.2017 J17 3:23PM



PR Debt Cancel, Judge Reviews Cofina Debt J16 9:04PM

Réseautage, fragmentation du capital J16 4:20PM

Paraphysique de manipulation mentale et sociale J15 9:51AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

Markets as a Fetish, Globalization, and Dissent Management J14 1:03PM

State Debts - The Primal German Fear J13 5:09PM

Sans liberté, sans égalité, sans fraternité J13 8:09AM

From Progressive Neoliberalism to Trump - and Beyond J12 9:22PM

Copper Cures Cancer J11 1:42PM

Steven Taylor, Investor who Evicts J11 9:24AM

Du sectarisme, des sectes, des clans J11 8:10AM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen J10 6:34PM

Patrick Kilpatrick discusses and signs Dying for Living J09 11:51PM

SexActs vs Sexuality USA 2018 Invitations to Power Marriages without Affection J09 8:36PM

Changer de mentalité, changer de société J09 9:17AM

Teacher Strike? Time for Labor Studies J09 6:26AM

December 2018 Honduras Coup Update J08 10:12PM

Paraphysique de la désespérance J07 9:38AM

The Unification Church with Rev Moon is in La and Orange Counnties J07 9:07AM

Time to Start Imagineering a Post-Ayatollah Iran J05 10:00PM

L'écomorphisme, du culturel et du temporel J05 10:33AM

Sexual Harassment Charges of Men Suing Women who are accused of Harassing Men are now 10% J05 4:08AM

Stases psychiques et stases sexuelles J04 11:34AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy