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Present Government And Bush Essay

978 words - 4 pages

The president's secret Thanksgiving trip to Iraq prompted predictable gushing from major media. As we head toward a presidential election, mainstream media and their pundits are telling us Bush will be difficult to beat. What mass media don't discuss much is their own role in public opinion and public ignorance, two measures that run hand in hand.Looking for the Bill Moyers Keynote Address to the National Conference on Media Reform?click hereThat half or more Americans think Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attack -- perhaps the most media-covered event in our history -- stands as a horrific indictment of U.S. media today. Such levels of ignorance can't be found in other countries.Americans who are fundamentally misinformed about 9/11 provide the bulk of those tallied in polls as supporting Bush and the Iraq war. Subtract them from polls and Bush is an unpopular president -- widely seen as having accomplished a bait and switch, redirecting U.S. anger and vengeance toward a country that did not attack us.The run-up to the Iraq war offers a case study in news bias: how mainstream media, especially television, were incapable of getting the truth out in the face of administration lies and innuendo about Iraq's 9/11 role and weapons of mass destruction.Among experts internationally, there had been much debate and many doubts about Iraq being an imminent WMD threat. But there was little debate among the handpicked weapons "experts" who dominated U.S. television coverage in the build up to war -- and most of what they told us has turned out to be wrong. A media furor erupted over fictionalization in news accounts by New York Times reporter Jayson Blair, but not about the more momentous reporting -- illusory and scarily overstated -- by Times star Judith Miller on WMDs, both before and after the Iraq invasion.News outlets ideologically allied with Bush have been happy to assist in confusing the public about who had attacked us on 9/11 and in morphing our enemy from Al-Qaeda to Iraq. The Fox News Channel runs its "War on Terror" banner whether discussing Afghanistan or Iraq. Other outlets promoted the Saddam/911 confusion less out of ideology than ineptitude -- during a live, pre-war news conference at which the chief of Homeland Security described new terrorist threats from Al-Qaeda, MSNBC ran its banner: "Showdown with Saddam."While most of us who pay attention know who was and who wasn't behind 9/11, others get their news on the fly -- basically headlines and banners. But even Americans who say they're paying attention, at least to TV, are highly misinformed. A massive University of Maryland study found that most who get their news from commercial TV held at least one of three fundamental "misperceptions": that Iraq had been directly linked to 9/11, that WMDs had been found in Iraq or that world opinion supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq.Not unexpectedly, Fox News viewers were the most misled. But strong...

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