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What the media should be in the dock for

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As we know, the media (mainly Rupert Murdoch’s media) is under enquiry for numerous misdemeanours. While it is delightful for Murdoch, described aptly by Alexander Cockburn as a ‘world scale monster’ to be told he is unfit to run his goliath of a company it does pose the question: what else should the media be under enquiry for?

What the media should be in the dock for, as well as for the hacking of people’s phones, is their shocking reporting on the ongoing wars of the 21st century.

I’m not just talking about Murdoch outlets here, whether they be The Sun, which ran with the headline ’45 MINUTES FROM DOOM’ when the notorious ‘dodgy dossier’ on Iraq was released in September 2002. Or the ring wing jingoistic Fox News, where studies show that 48% of their viewers thought that a connection had been established between Al Qaeda and Iraq and 22% believed that WMD’s HAD been found.

Even the more liberal newspapers failed us. An Observer editorial of January 19th 2003 announced its support for its hero Blair’s war, hyping up the discovery of undeclared poison gas shells (not poison gas itself) as well as stating that "War with Iraq may yet not come, but, conscious of the potentially terrifying responsibility resting with the British Government, we find ourselves supporting the current commitment to a possible use of force."

The often labelled anti-war left wing BBC was shown to be out of the terrestrial channels the most pro-war. A study by Cardiff University, as reported by the Guardian on July 4th 2003 showed the BBC placed the least emphasis on Iraqi casualties and used the highest amount of official sources. Look at this astonishing piece of propaganda by Andrew Marr, praising Tony Blair to the hills, stating that he was right whilst everyone else was wrong and that Baghdad was taken ‘without a bloodbath’.

Everywhere the British public turned they were faced with lies and distortions by the so called independent media. An honest media would have told the truth; that Saddam’s weapons capabilities had been completely eliminated by 1998. An honest media would have acknowledged that from 1990-2003 UN sanctions demanded by the US and UK led to the deaths of 1 million Iraqis who paid the price for having a noxious dictator who barely suffered in those years.

As Dan Rather told John Pilger in his documentary The War You Don’t See, if the media did its job properly in the run up to the Iraq War, there would have been a stronger chance that the war would not have happened. Instead the media acted in his words as stenographers for their respective governments, not interested in exposing the war as a crime against humanity, but of getting the juicy images of Baghdad in flames and Saddam’s statue being toppled.

The media has a long history of being a mouthpiece for its government in wartime (thanks to people like Bernays). Iraq is just another example of media collusion with power.




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