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Mass Media, Mass Propaganda: Understanding the News in the 'War on Terror'

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  • Posted September 21, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Fine study of US war propaganda

    This thoroughly-researched book studies the US media’s coverage of the ‘war on terror’, especially of the war on Iraq. The US government famously claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and the media managed to ignore the actual inspectors’ findings. Scott Ritter, a UN arms inspector in Iraq throughout the 1990s, reported, “Since 1998, Iraq has been fundamentally disarmed.” Hans Blix, who led the 2002-03 UN Iraq weapons inspection, reported that “UNMOVIC [United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission] had not found any such weapons.” The US government and media claimed that the resistance in Iraq were foreign terrorists who targeted only civilians. But the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that between September 2003 and October 2004 only 4.1 per cent of resistance attacks were directed against civilians, while 75 per cent were against coalition forces. Only the Los Angeles Times reported that “of the more than 1,000 men between the ages of fifteen and fifty-five who were captured … just fifteen are confirmed foreign fighters.” NATO forces killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, targeting and destroying whole cities, like Fallujah. ‘After Leveling City, U.S. Tries to Build Trust’, was the Los Angeles Times headline of 7 January 2005. The media called insurgents terrorists when they killed civilians while targeting US forces. But they did not call US forces terrorists when they killed civilians while targeting insurgents. The British media were slightly better than the US media. Lancet reported that 100,000 Iraqi civilians died in the 18 months after the 2003 NATO invasion and that about 650,000 Iraqis died through 2006 due to the rise in violence after the invasion. The Sunday Times reported on 26 March 2006 that US troops had executed eleven civilians in the village of Abu Sifa, ‘Iraqis killed by US troops ‘on rampage’: “Women and children were blindfolded and hands bound.”

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