Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Big Lies of The Times

The Big Lies of The Times
Anthony Lappe

Just when you thought news organizations like The New York Times coverage of the administration couldn't get any worse check out today's A1 headline: "Democracy in the Arab World, a U.S. Goal, Falters."

Demcracy in the Middle East a U.S. goal? Oh, really? It's just this kind of not-so-subtle reinforcement of the administration's central Big Lie -- that we're fighting for "freedom and democracy" in Iraq and around the world, and not our own vested interests -- that underscores why the mainstream media is hopeless. No matter how many reports the Times runs about how bad it is it's going in Iraq, when the front page of the Paper of Record takes the greatest spin job of the last half century at face value without any sense of critical detachment it makes it impossible for anyone to create space to question the official line anywhere else. "Our goal is democracy" becomes the frame by which all of the administration's actions are discussed in. They may be bunglers, but their intentions are pure. Remember, most Americans consider the Times a "left wing" news organization. It makes you want to bang your head against a wall.

The "democracy as goal" story comes as the Washington Post is reporting that the Times and other papers were fed propaganda from a secret military psy-ops program over the last couple of years conflating the role of Abu Masab al-Zarqawi in the Iraqi insurgency. The Post reports, "[A] 'selective leak' about Zarqawi was made to Dexter Filkins, a New York Times reporter based in Baghdad. Filkins's resulting article, about a letter supposedly written by Zarqawi and boasting of suicide attacks in Iraq, ran on the Times front page on Feb. 9, 2004. Leaks to reporters from U.S. officials in Iraq are common, but official evidence of a propaganda operation using an American reporter is rare."

It's rare because it's illegal. The Pentagon isn't supposed to target domestic news outlets. They are only officially allowed to spread lies to foreigners -- you know, the people we're delivering democracy to.