“The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.”
Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823. ME 15:491
“The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers… [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers.”
Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp Oct. 13, 1785. (*) ME 5:181, Papers 8:632
You probably read last week that the Dept. of Defense Inspector General, belatedly, released a report indicating that top Pentagon officials, led by Douglas Feith , (whom General Tommy Frank famously referred to as”the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth”) had manufactured “intelligence” to support Bush’s Iraqi adventure.
Feith’s “intelligence” was expectedly, dutifully reported as facts by the Murdoch and Rev. Moon owned official organs of the Bush administration, The Weekly Standard, Faux News, the New York Post and Washington Times. Not so expectedly, Feith’s nonsense was also passed along by the New York Times and Washington Post, both of which later issued criticisms of and apologies for their reporting.
Also this past week unnamed Bush administration “sources” conducted a briefing in Baghdad, for a gathering of reliable media whores, to present “unsubstantiated” evidence that Iranian manufacturered explosive devices had killed 170 “coalition” forces (which amounts, it should be noted, to less than 5% of “coalition forces killed in the criminal war.)
Stenographers for both the New York Times and the Washington Post passed on the unsourced, unsubstantiated Bush administration propaganda as actual news reports.
One may certainly expect that the administration propaganda would be dutifully passed on by the Murdoch and Moon house organs, after all Murdoch acknowledged this past week that his “news” organizations were pushing the Bush administration Iraq adventure agenda.
But how is it that the NYT and WP, after half-heartedly flailing their organizations for uncritically reporting lies about Iraqi WMDs again find themselves passing on Bush administration propaganda, and in the case of the NYT by the very same reporter who repeatedly collaborated with Judith Miller on reporting administration lies?
If either of these stenographers were, in fact, reporters they would have perhaps contacted a widely recognized authority on events in Iraq such as Juan Cole who has deduced that “It is far more likely that corrupt arms merchants are selling and smuggling these things than that there is direct government- to- militia transfer.”
Or they could have contacted the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, who has refused to endorse the administration’s propaganda.
One characteristic of fascism is the melding of the interests of the government, business, and media. Americans would do well to heed the warning of Jefferson and Cronkite and ignore the offerings of corporate owned media outlets, so as to starve them economically.