Montana Politics

Media Bellicosity, or “Remember the Maine”!

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I know it’ a long time back, but I challenge my readers to think back to the days, weeks, and months leading up to our invasion of Iraq. Remember the media, breathlessly repeating every allegation Bush threw out about Iraq’s nefarious plans, drumming up public sentiment in favor of an unnecessary and ultimately ruinous war? And then after it turned out to be a pack of lies, half-truths and irrelevancies, the media claimed they had been duped, that like the rest of us they had been fooled.

Well, it’s happening again, but this time with a twist. Now, Obama isn’t rattling sabers or heating up the rhetoric. He has kept a pretty even keel, warning that military options are on the table but that a strike against Iran is dangerous and ill-advised. He’s walking a tightrope – trying to convince Israel that they would be fighting Iran alone if they did launch a strike, while keeping pressure on Iran. But let’s see how the American media is interpreting that –

In Interview, Obama says he is not bluffing on Iran, an AP story in the IR

Obama warns both Iran and Israel: I don’t bluff from MSNBC.

Note that they chose to emphasize our warning to Iran. Whereas, the BBC headline, discussing the same interview, is very different –

Obama warns against pre-emptive Iran strike (italics mine.)

This all makes me wonder how hard the Bush administration actually had to work to use the media to drum up support for the war. By over-emphasizing the conflict between the US and Iran, spinning Obama’s (and probably Iran’s) words and actions to ramp up the aggression, the media is making war more likley, or at least is creating the impression that war is likely or inevitable. They have already convinced Americans that Iran is our greatest enemy,despite Iran’s almost complete inability to directly harm us. This kind of reporting may sell papers, but it is irresponsible and dangerous.

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The Polish Wolf

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  • The way you take everything at face value is almost Kaileyesque. I don't know what is up but I do know that neither the media nor Israel breathe without approval from up above. The game is afoot, and we are bereft of facts, and cannot trust anyone to be tuthful, least of all the Obama people. As always in these matters, it's a house of mirrors. The recent Wikileaks dump revealed that Iran's WMD program has long been destroyed.

    I can only guess that once again it is our Achille's heel, petrodollars, and that a high-level game of chicken is being played. The idea that Obama is calling the shots is absurd, or that we have even a bare ghost of necessary information to do any more than speculate is absurd as well. Think big, much bigger than you do, and remember that public opinion is merely a thing that must be managed, and that our government considers us outsiders and meddlesome.

  • This website is not IPad friendly. That makes it hard for rich people like me to post here. I did put up a comment there, but it is either in moderation or never made the cut. I merely mentioned how little we know of what is really going on or why, what kind of games are being played. For instance, Leon Panetta saying that Israel might attack by spring is not an accident. It is scripted, but to what end? It certainly isn't to say that the US does not control Israel's actions, as it has enormous influence, being Israel's source of weaponry. It is for effect, but effect on who? Not the American public, as we can be made to support any war at any time for any reason, being the most deeply propagandized people on the planet. If there is to be a war, the American public will cheer it on. Count on that. In Iraq it was WMD's, in Libya saving 700,000 lives – there's always a hook, and Americans are like fat lazy pond fish rising to the bait.

  • This website is not IPad friendly. That makes it hard for rich people like me to post here. I did put up a comment there, but it is either in moderation or never made the cut. I merely mentioned how little we know of what is really going on or why, what kind of games are being played. For instance, Leon Panetta saying that Israel might attack by spring is not an accident. It is scripted, but to what end? It certainly isn't to say that the US does not control Israel's actions, as it has enormous influence, being Israel's source of weaponry. It is for effect, but effect on who? Not the American public, as we can be made to support any war at any time for any reason, being the most deeply propagandized people on the planet. If there is to be a war, the American public will cheer it on. Count on that. In Iraq it was WMD's, in Libya saving 700,000 lives – there's always a hook, and Americans are like fat lazy pond fish rising to the bait.

    Neither Israel nor the US mainstream press breathe without permission from on high. Your idea that the media is drumming up war noise to sell (?) newspapers is classic pretzel logic.

  • "Remember the Maine", the original gulf of tonkin. We need a manly president like Ted Roosevelt to do the manly thing here and bomb Iran.

  • Tiny nit-pick: McKinley was president during the Spanish American War; Roosevelt (without authorization) gave Dewey the orders that ended with the destruction of the Spanish fleet in Manilla. But the point is well taken – there is a certain masculinity associated with warfare, isn't there? That's why I get nervous when media figures demand that politicians 'man up'.

  • I'm gonna go with a line from Big Liebowski about a bunch of f—in amateurs. You wonder why the President continues to take more and more powers? It's because the Congress can't seem to spend more than five consecutive minutes thinking about foreign policy, and they provide constructive help on the matter every Feb. 29th. So we are left with John McCain's knee-jerk "bomb Iran" and empty platitudes from John Kerry. If we are going to continue to do hard stuff and be the big dog on the block, then let's do it and be effective. Or if we are going to be the just society who tries to make everyone play by the rules, then let's play by the rules ourselves. But instead we use half measures everywhere: we are half-way scary, we are half-way virtuous. The mullahs must be licking their chops, ready to devour us. Bibbi is going to bomb these dudes, because he has no faith in Obama. At least GW could make a decision. So once again, "they're a bunch of f—in amateurs." Blame the media all you want, that's like blaming the announcer because your football team is getting its ass kicked.

  • Roosevelt had a quote during the run up to the war that came to mind, the specifics of it escape me now but it was something along the lines of how a good old war was needed to bring out the virtuous, virile, masculine qualities of people. I think there is definitely an undercurrent of that same general feeling in the media, politicians and certain wingnuts although its not couched in quite the same terms.

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