Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bill Moyers' "Buying the War" A Scathing Indictment of Today's Beltway Journalism

Tonight while scanning channels, I landed on a Bill Moyers special on PBS called "Buying the War." I highly recommend that you look for it to air again -- and see it when it does.

It's a scathing indictment against beltway journalism as practiced by today's journalists and cable and network folks. It seems that only Knight-Ridder journalists did the digging necessary after 9/11 to find out that the war in Iraq was touted on trumped-up charges that the people in the White House knew were false. The problem was that Knight-Ridder is a mostly midwestern newspaper chain and, as such, is not considered of major "syndication" importance -- so the digging their reporters did usually ended up on page 18 of the larger, more well-known newspapers -- newspapers that were listening to and reporting the "official line" from Washington DC, and going with the flow that the White House and Pentagon were espousing.

It pains me to learn that even Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were in on the scam; that they knowingly appeared before the American people and Congress to "prove" that WMD were part and parcel of Saddam Hussein's intent to join with Al Qaeda and "take us out."

During the program, each layer of the stinking onion is peeled back, to show how the Administration carefully orchestrated the means to "convince" (with evidence they knew was false and misleading) Congress and the American people to buy into the idea of war with Iraq, even though the masterminds of 9/11 were in Afghanistan. Hussein would no more share power with al Qaeda (or anyone else) than he would fly to the moon. Nor would he "hide" biological weapons underneath his palace, as was reported. The man was a tyrant; he wasn't stupid!

It's just an appalling indictment, because we rely on news reporters not to simply parrot what they hear, but to check out the facts to the extent they can and to be skeptical unless they have at least two sources to corroborate what they learn. (It turns out that the "two witnesses" idea was well understood by the Administration, so they fed the same mis-information to disparate folks -- at the Pentagon, and elsewhere -- so that when reporters inquired, sure enough, it looked as though they were receiving independent stories from more than one source.)

I know it will disgust you to learn the truth, but we can't remain free if we don't learn the lessons from this past Administration's cold, calculated aim to misrepresent what were in our actual best interests. And those who call themselves "reporters" need to wake up and realize that we rely on them to be skeptical of the stuff that any Administration or public official tells them. They need to look for the holes in the logic, the lack of evidence, and realize the agendas of those in power. If they don't, we can't know the truth until it's much too late to do anything about it.

"Buying the War" is just about the most disappointing thing I have ever learned about America (after slavery, lynching, and the way we treated Native Americans and Japanese-Americans). And to think it happened during my lifetime and that the people responsible are most likely going to get away with it scott-free just sickens me. In fact, I hope they won't get away with it. I think Bush and his people should pay for the way they have treated us, the Iraqi people, and the world. (And they're still at it, working feverishly before Bush's term runs out to parcel out favors to the timber and oil industries, to convince us that offshore drilling is a "mandatory" idea, etc. I don't believe anything Bush says anymore and if he wants to do something, my inclination is to support the opposite of what he wants to do. I do not trust the man, his people, or his so-called "Christian" heart. I think it's all been a sham and that he has taken us all for a ride down a long, dark road which will be deemed one of the worst spans of time in American history, when all the facts are known.)

After seeing "Buying the War," you'll feel what I feel. But avoid it only at America's risk. Everyone should see "Buying the War" and realize what happens when the beltway journalists hop lazily into bed with a corrupt administration and don't do the jobs we think we're paying them to do by buying newspapers, magazines, radios, and television sets.

If we don't wake up and demand better, we're going to lose America.

We went into Iraq under false, misleading pretenses. The entire world knows that. The sooner we get out of there, the better. You don't continue a fight that never should have been ours in the first place. The Iraq government wants us out. Bush, Cheney and McCain want us in.

It's Afghanistan that could use a good house-cleaning. Obama gets that. He always has. He voted against going into Iraq (one of very few who did), citing not enough certifiable evidence. (As a Chicagoan, perhaps he had access to Knight-Ridder investigative journalists, something most of the rest of us didn't.)

Facts vs spin. I'm sick of spin. Spin can lose us our freedom and our standing in the world.

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