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John Cory: Your Media At Work

Your Media At Work

By John Cory
t r u t h o u t correspondent in Saudi Arabia
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Sunday 23 March 2003

Have you noticed? The media? Used and abused by Rumsfeld and still breathlessly sucking the exhaust pipe of war that left them at the starting gate. There is no need to ask how far this American corporate media will stoop because they would first have to get up off their knees.

The corporate ghouls, who bring you war and news packaged as entertainment, have and continue to twist and bend reality to fit the arena of their own stardom. And so numb are we to their antics that what should shock and awe every viewer, simply makes us shrug.

The Bush GOP war machine have used the self-centered loud-mouthed media for its own purposes. They led this media around by the nose and let it howl about the "big show" that was soon to unfold. The media sold their glorious gore and sparkling fireworks that would be unlike anything - and then the war started. It started as wars usually do, in a short violent burst far from the madding crowd.

Take a close look at what is being brought to you by the corporate media and its unrelenting and giddy "look at me" playing with soldiers. For all the new technology and "embedded" reporters and "war-cams" mounted on Humvees racing through the desert, what do we know of the war in Iraq? What clarification has been given for the invasion? What new reason and logic is provided for this war? None. This war is as much for the media and its stars as it is for the control of oil and a US foothold in the Middle East.

There are questions that spring to my mind immediately with this so-called "coverage."

How can the public know the truth from media outlets that blanket the airwaves with a cadre of retired generals, comrades of the current generals leading the war, and pals of the very administration and companies who profit from this war?

What good is the play-by-play analysis and guesswork that flood microphones with techno-jargon and sterile target-speak while ignoring the very premise of human violation?

And while smart bombs and precision weapons can strike within two meters of their programmed target, no one explains that they still explode and shower shrapnel, sometimes for up to 200 meters in all directions. Exploding buildings become shrapnel spewing weapons despite all the humanity and care that goes into target selection and trajectory routes. For all the talk of a "humane" war, war is the science and technology of death. There is no art to war. Any madman can start a war. Even a "C" student.

As our intrepid media race across the desert and prattle on about the "sore losers" of the UN and old Europe - what waits at Baghdad? What forces will raise their weapons against the troops? What weapons will be used? Did this administration know from the very beginning that Iraqi forces were so decimated from the past twelve years of sanctions and starvation that this would be a "victory" that would make America feel good about itself without facing heavy casualties? Can you sell a good war if you know the outcome in advance? Like an election?

If US intelligence can map and photograph the entire country of Iraq and intercept email and telephone conversations, did they know the conditions of the army they were about to face?

In the great psy-op campaign of misinformation, the US keeps saying that the Iraqi army and command is in disarray and confusion - why does no one ask how this can be? How can a military organization that has survived nearly 30 years of continuous warfare and tyrannical rule suddenly become undisciplined and panic-stricken?

And of course there is the topic of WMD. (Weapons of Mass Destruction) If the US knows exactly where these weapons of mass destruction are - why didn't they provide this data to the inspectors? Why are there helicopters waiting at CENCOM in Qatar to fly reporters to those exact locations? No one asks. It's war you know.

When the "big show" finally started, the superstar media kicked into high gear. As the bombs and missiles rained down on Baghdad, I heard a retired general on one network say, "I hope Kim Jung Il is watching this..." I believe the retired general's name was McIlherny (sp) or something like that. And no one challenged that comment. Not one reporter or newsreader. The chill of that statement must have been felt around the world.

This evening I caught a FOX broadcast where Tony Snow gave his patriotic and glowing editorial of war reporters, troops, and the growing success of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Toward the close of his oral essay, he gave an earnest look into the camera and reminded the folks at home that this war was serious business, not to be taken lightly. It had the ring of one of those announcements that warn kids watching television stunts: "These are professionals, don't try this at home."

Soon the dark days of war will come. Collateral damage will mount, and US and UK casualties will fill the MASH Units and the headlines. Neighborhoods in the heartland will mourn the losses of America's cherished. Children in Iraq will suffer maiming and illness and even death and their neighbors will weep at the loss. Hatred and revenge will burn on both sides.

But never fear, your media will be there to capture the horrors of war. Ever ready for the next one.

This is your media at work.


John Cory is t r u t h o u’s correspondent in Saudi Arabia

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