Robert Dreyfuss and Diana Duarte on the Media’s Role in Iraq War

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This week on CounterSpin: Corporate media’s role in the lead up to and the ongoing aftermath of the war on Iraq.

"Shock and Awe" in Iraq.

The US attack on Iraq.

Many in media were critical of Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for George W. Bush, who used the March anniversary of the  2003 US invasion of Iraq, based on what Americans were told was the imminent threat of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, as an opportunity to launch a Twitter tirade to say, “It’s a myth that Bush lied.” He and Bush “faithfully and accurately reported” intelligence community assessments, Fleischer maintained.

Media seemed concerned that Fleischer was insufficiently respectful of the toll of the Iraq War, including what the Washington Post modestly estimated as “thousands of dead Iraqis”—researchers would put that number at, minimally, half a million.

But Fleischer’s revision isn’t just wrong in emphasis or in sentiment. And we didn’t have to wait 16 years to know that. In February 2004, CounterSpin spoke with investigative journalist Robert Dreyfuss about that pre-war intelligence on Iraq, and the role of a secret and largely unaccountable organization inside the Pentagon in manufacturing and publicizing it. We’ll hear that interview today.

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The US military pulls down Saddam Hussein statue.

Also on the show: There is the way elite media gin the US public up for war, ofttimes against countries most Americans couldn’t find on a map, like Venezuela. That involves cartoonish demonization of leaders and feigned outrage at human rights concerns that are not of interest in other places. With the Iraq War, elite media were, after the fact, willing to say “mistakes were made” around evidence of weapons, but as we discussed with Diana Duarte at the war’s 10th anniversary in March 2013, there’s little ongoing curiosity about the other justifications media endorsed, including that toppling Saddam Hussein would advance human rights in Iraq, and especially the rights of women. We’ll hear that conversation again today.

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Plus Janine Jackson takes a quick look back at recent press, including the New Zealand mosque massacre and Fox News vs. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission from FAIR.