After Terrorist Bombing, Spanish Election Defeat of Bush Ally Sends Shock Waves Through Washington
Interview with Jeff Cohen, columnist and media critic, conducted by Scott Harris
The world reacted in horror at the carnage inflicted in Madrid after terrorists bombed four commuter railroad trains, killing 200 people and injuring 1,500 just three days before Spain's national elections. The government of the ruling conservative Popular Party conducted an investigation into who was responsible for the bombings, and initially implicated the Basque separatist group ETA. But it quickly became clear that contrary to official statements, the evidence gathered by the government pointed toward al-Qaeda , not ETA.
The Spanish election turned on the widely held perception that the government had attempted to manipulate public opinion by falsely disconnecting the bombing from Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's policy of backing the Bush administration's war on Iraq -- a war that 90 percent of Spain's people opposed.
The shock waves of the Socialist party victory in Spain were felt around the world and especially in Washington, where the Bush administration lost a valuable ally in their war and occupation of Iraq. The Socialists, led by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, had pledged long before the election to withdraw Spain's 1,300 troops from Iraq if the U.N. doesn't replace Washington as the interim power in Baghdad by June 30. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with columnist and media critic Jeff Cohen, who looks at the results of the Spanish election, the media and the lessons it may hold for other governments who lie to their people to justify war.
Jeff Cohen is the founder of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. Read Jeff Cohen's article, "Liars Lose: The Lessons of Regime Change in Spain," by clicking here.
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) at www.fair.org
Bush Loses an Election," editorial by the Madison Capital Times (Wisconsin), March 16, 2004
"Madrid's Effects: The War on Terror is at Risk," editorial by the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Minnesota), March 16, 2004
"Dear W, Your Father Knew Best," by Robert Scheer, the Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2004
"Australian PM Admits He Could Face Same Voter Backlash as Spanish Leader," Agence France Presse, March 16, 2004
"Madrid: UN's Credibility Critically Wounded," by Ritt Goldstein, The Asia Times, March 16, 2004
"New Spanish P.M. Promises Iraq Withdrawal," The Guardian/UK, March 15, 2004
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