Investigating Why the Establishment Press Hid the Truth and Played Cheerleader for Needless War

Brian Zick

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Gilbert Cranberg, former editorial page editor of the Des Moines Register and Tribune, has proposed an "independent and thorough inquiry of pre-war press coverage" to explain "how the U.S. press helped pave the way for war." Cranberg asks a series of specific questions about the corporate news media's cheer leading complicity in deceiving the American public, as Bush launched his war, and concludes: A team of social scientists needs to be convened to design a study and probe the gate-keepers who determined what Americans were told about the lead-up to the Iraq war. The shortcomings of Iraq coverage were not an aberration. Similar failure is a recurrent problem in times of national stress. The press was shamefully silent, for instance, when American citizens were removed from their homes and incarcerated solely because of their ancestry during World War II. Many in the press were cowed during McCarthyism’s heyday in the 1950s. Nor did the press dispute the case for the fact-challenged Gulf of Tonkin resolution that led to a greatly enlarged Vietnam war. The press response to the build-up to the Iraq war simply is the latest manifestation of an underlying and ongoing reluctance to dissent from authority and prevailing opinion when emotions run high, especially on matters of war and peace, when the country most needs a questioning, vigorous press. Cranberg might add a few questions about the news media's literally Kafkaesque "he's guilty, but we're not gonna tell anybody what the crime is" accusations against Bill and Hillary Clinton regarding Whitewater. via David Corn

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