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July, 2003

"What Fools These Mortals Be," W. Shakespeare
By Jeanette Pontacq
 

   NBC is producing a movie-of-the week on the Jessica Lynch Story. Remember her? She was the heroic American soldier who was "rescued" by a team of other American soldiers with much daring do, etc. At least that's the official Pentagon story. BBC fact-finders, however, have shown that the daring do part of the rescue is a crock, and she was not shot as reported. The truth has now come out...that the Pentagon embellished the story...but NBC seems poised to present their audience with the original fabrication, mostly because they believe the public doesn't want the truth, just feel-good tear jerkers and jingoistic reinforcement that they live in the Good Empire, blessed by God. 
   A very large and fluid percentage of Americans will continue to believe the original fabrication of the Jessica Lynch episode....after all, they still believe Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were pals and that bad-boy Saddam had lots of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). They believe all this because the Administration seems to have 1) deliberately put out mis-information (i.e. lies) to have their war, or, 2) had bad intelligence they fell for hook, line and sinker. Critical thinking is in very short supply in America these days. 
   The Administration is trying to offset the foreign journalists hammering out the truth, and the few local media people doing the same, by propagandizing that we should still be happy with the war because we "freed" the Iraqis from Saddam. The public seems to have no ability to do the math of what that "freeing" thing will cost them now and in the future, and how many more American soldiers will die from the fall-out. So the public continues to wave their flags and believe the propaganda being fed them.
   The recent FCC deregulation of the media by Michael Powell, which will further consolidate and water down the news, is the death knell for any possibility that the mass voting public will figure out what is being done to them by a wrapped-in-the-flag administration. Past administrations have also lied to us, but the level has risen to scary levels that endanger both the Constitution and the very definition of the United States. Even real conservatives (not the neo-conservatives now holding the White House) are complaining about the attack on democracy this represents.
   Just as the Nazis used the Spanish Civil War as a proving ground for their new weaponry, the Republicans used the Clinton Administration as a proving ground for their ability to manipulate and control the media and make Americans believe things that were patently false. Sidney Blumenthal's newest book, The Clinton Wars, is a must read. It documents very carefully and professionally how the right wing manufactured issue after issue and how they were able to get the American public to develop a mob attitude toward Clinton. Yes, Monika was true, which opened the door to the already-engaged propagandists to stick the knife in further. In other words, there actually was a conspiracy to destroy the Clinton presidency, and Clinton himself gave them a terrific piece of ammunition by not being able to keep his pants zipped (like many other presidents). But beyond Monika, it was all lies. All of it.
   So what to do? Be very wary of what you hear or read from the American media, especially TV and talk radio. Use the internet or the international magazine/newspaper rack at Borders to access the foreign press on any issue (The London Guardian is at www.guardian.co.uk and the London Times is at www.timesonline.co.uk). One is immediately struck at how much less jingoistic and more detailed, realistic/truthful and professional much of the European press seems than our own media. Search for the truth...it's out there even in the US if one digs in the print media. Compare information from different sources. 
   Above all, be engaged. If not now, when?

 

 

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