I never watch “Morning Joe” but Mr. Beale does and I happened to be in the bedroom long enough this morning to catch a truly horrible “both sides did it,” context-free, Iraq War dodge. It featured clips of prominent Democrats (John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Carl Levin) calling Saddam Hussein a “brutal, murderous dictator” who needed to be disarmed, followed by clips of those same individuals criticizing Bush’s war later. As if that proved something. As if that meant anything.
As if saying Saddam was a dangerous asshole also meant you wanted to invade his country and kill his people. As if Bush-Cheney-Rummy didn’t completely botch things in Iraq and weren’t deserving of the criticism.
Holy propaganda, MSNBC! This was the worst journalistic malfeasance since cable news started flogging fear porn at us 24-7 and made the invasion of Iraq a foregone conclusion. It’s the kind of thing that was straight out of Karl Rove’s Little Shop of Republican Talking Points; yet another reminder of why MSNBC is not the “liberal” network/Fox News counter detractors claim it to be.
When it was over — and it lasted all of three minutes, to be honest — the vapid nitwit Mika Brzezinski nodded her empty head and intoned, “good to remember.”
No, not good! If it’s good then why is my blood pressure rising?
Notably absent from this little traipse down revisionist-history lane was any mention of now-President Obama, who was against the war from the beginning (though he wasn’t in the Senate at the time of the Iraq War resolution.) Nor was there any mention — save writing us off as a mere 29% of American surveyed — of all the rest of us who were against the war from the beginning.
The entire point of the piece was so blatantly obvious: sure it was Bush’s war but everyone else is to blame, too! The whole country wanted this! C’mon you know you did!
Little surprise the media would like to marginalize the anti-war movement which they virtually ignored in the first place. That would be very convenient for them, but it’s a lie and we all know it. Did you attend one of the February 15, 2003worldwide anti-war marches, or any of the hundreds of anti-war protests that followed? I did. If you were in the media did you cover them? Did you write about the protestors who were rounded up, en masse, by police? Did you give the four counter-protestors attending as much airtime as you gave the hundreds of protestors? For that matter, did you devote as many column inches/air time/bandwidth to covering the anti-war movement as you did the Tea Party? Now, don’t lie. You know you didn’t.
The war is what got me involved and paying attention, it’s the reason I started blogging. It’s what woke a lot of us up. I was astonished at the news media’s unabashed war boosterism then, and I’m astonished at its utter lack of accountability now. The media lost all credibility with me in 2002 and it ain’t coming back. I lost my faith in you folks. When I criticize the media, which I do a lot, this is why. You will never, ever, ever be trusted again.
It was only 10 years ago. I remember the way we were. Do you?
I remember talk of smoking guns and mushroom clouds, repeated on the nightly news with no questioning or verification, just pointlessly scaring the crap out of people. I remember anyone who dared speak out against war being subjected to vicious verbal attacks. We were labeled terrorist appeasers and anti-American by the jingoistic flag-wavers who took over the microphone and shouted the rest of us down.
Prominent anti-war individuals had their patriotism questioned and their careers ruined. I remember radio stations sponsoring CD crushing parties after Natalie Maines said she was against the war and ashamed George W. Bush was from Texas.
I remember Republicans renaming French fries at the Congressional cafeteria “freedom fries.”
I remember people pouring bottles of French wine down the gutters. I remember Lawrence Lindsey getting fired for daring to estimate the cost of the Iraq War at $200 billion. Donald Rumsfeld said that was “baloney,” and Lindsey got the axe. If only.
Hey, CNN: I remember this:
NAVRATILOVA: Well, obviously, I’m not saying this is a communist system, but I think we’re having — after 9/11, there’s a big centralization of power. President Bush is having more and more power. John Ashcroft is having more and more power. Americans are losing their personal rights left and right. I mean, the ACLU is up in arms about all of the stuff that’s going on right now. . . .
CHUNG: Can I be honest with you? I can tell you that when I read this, I have to tell you that I thought it was un-American, unpatriotic. I wanted to say, go back to Czechoslovakia. You know, if you don’t like it here, this a country that gave you so much, gave you the freedom to do what you want.
NAVRATILOVA: And I’m giving it back. This is why I speak out. When I see something that I don’t like, I’m going to speak out because you can do that here. And again, I feel there are too many things happening that are taking our rights away.
CHUNG: But you know what? I think it is, OK, if you believe that, you know, t hen go ahead and think that at home. But why do you have to spill it out? You know, why do you have to talk about it as a celebrity so that people will write it down and talk about what you said?
NAVRATILOVA: I think athletes have a duty to speak out when there is something that’s not right, when they feel that perhaps social issues are not being paid attention to. As a woman, as a lesbian, as a woman athlete, there is a whole bunch of barriers that I’ve had to jump over, and we shouldn’t have to be jumping over them any more.
CHUNG: Got you. But sometimes, when you hear celebrities saying something, do you ever say to yourself, I don’t care what so and so thinks, you know. Yes, go ahead and say whatever you want to say. But you’re not a politician. You’re not in a position of government power or whatever.
NAVRATILOVA: No. And I just might do that. I may run for office one of these days and really do make a difference. But…
CHUNG: Are you kidding me?
NAVRATILOVA: No, I’m not. One of these days, hopefully. But when you say go back to Czech Republic, why are you sending me back there? I live here. I love this country. I’ve lived here 27 years. I’ve paid taxes here for 27 years. Do I not have a right to speak out? Why is that unpatriotic?
CHUNG:Well, you know the old line, love it or leave it.
Love it or leave it!
Yeah, I remember this. We were fed a steady diet of “love it or leave it” from the news media 24/7 in the run-up to the Iraq War.
The media lost all credibility when it clapped and cheered for war. Now, 10 years later, it’s determined to dodge any accountability. Morning Joe’s “well, everyone was for the war!” proves it. Joe and Mika: the media’s job was not to report on what Americans wanted to hear. It was to report on the truth. You failed us. And we won’t forget.
Yes, it’s true: Democrats did vote for the invasion. But only after the White House, Republican-led Congress, and their media lapdogs created a climate so toxic that opposition was a career-ender. Just ask Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame.
Do I wish Hillary Clinton and John Kerry hadn’t voted for the war resolution? You’re damn right. And I think that’s a big reason Obama won the 2008 nomination. I wish every Democrat had had the spine of Russ Feingold, Edward Kennedy, Barbara Boxer and the rest. They didn’t, though, and I understand why.
Back in 2004 the New York Times was forced to examine its own role in the Iraq War propaganda campaign, especially Queen Of All Iraq Judith Miller. In May they wrote,
We consider the story of Iraq’s weapons, and of the pattern of misinformation, to be unfinished business. And we fully intend to continue aggressive reporting aimed at setting the record straight.
And that was the last we heard of that.