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Ask Greg Mitchell...

We'd like to thank Greg Mitchell, author of SO WRONG FOR SO LONG, for his comments below and for agreeing to answer your questions. His responses are in bold below.

Please note that the views and opinions expressed by Greg Mitchell are not necessarily the views and opinions held by Bill Moyers or BILL MOYERS JOURNAL.

From Greg Mitchell, author of SO WRONG FOR SO LONG:

So what do you feel about the latest revelations in Scott McClellan’s book and a new Senate report that the U.S. was led into war against Iraq based on false pretenses? McClellan flatly calls the administration’s case “propaganda” and accuses the media of being “complicit enablers.”

This week’s segment with Bill, which probes all of this, felt like a kind of “reunion” for me, even though I had never before met fellow guests Jonathan Landay and John Walcott. But I have been hailing their work for more than five years, going back to the “run-up” to the attack on Iraq in 2003. They were among the few to repeatedly, and accurately, probe the administration’s case for war in the most crucial period.

At the same time, I returned to the scene of my last sit-down with Bill, in April 2003, just days before the U.S. entered Baghdad. Even then, we were warning that this was only the beginning, not the end, of our stay in Iraq (less than a month later, President Bush delivered his “Mission Accomplished” speech). A transcript of that session with Bill and a lengthy tribute to his 2007 BUYING THE WAR program appear in my new book, SO WRONG FOR SO LONG: HOW THE PRESS, THE PUNDITS – AND THE PRESIDENT – FAILED ON IRAQ.

In this week's program, Landay and Walcott explore the evidence for war (or lack of) while I focus on the media sins of omission and commission. I have found appalling, if not surprising, the media’s general refusal to truly come to grips with their failures on Iraq, even after five years of war. Most in the media, in response to the McClellan charges, defended their pre-war work, which is stunning.

Actually, one of the best lines of this past week came from Stephen Colbert. He said that he couldn’t understand why McClellan was saying reporters were not doing their job in the run-up to the war. “What is McClellan complaining about?” Colbert asked. “They were doing HIS job!”

I am wondering what viewers think of all this – where the fault really lies for the U.S. getting “misled” into war, and if they think the policymakers, and the journalists, have learned any lessons.

Got a question for Greg Mitchell? Please post below.


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I've made this comment before (and in an ancient CJR piece) — but it still seems current to me: That our Washington Press Corps, esp the spinees in the WH Corresp gang, should form a WH pool crew of Helen Thomas, plus another good reporter adept at shorthand, a pair of radio audio-cordists and a pair of videographers and let them cover the White House "gaggle"in the ayem and the, what?, "real go-to?" in the pm, and get the dickens out of the press room and their grotty cubicles and onto the streets (and into the halls of the exec. departments, etc.)

When reporters have specific questions, there'll be an emailbox to send them to Helen & her gang, and they'll ask it, with appropriate establishing, medium, tight, cu and ecu, mid-forehead to mid-chin, clipped to behind the ear w/ gaze to the empty 2/3 screen (rt. or lft.) shots

Reporters are supposedly WATCH dogs, not LISTEN dogs. As I recall from my days of reading I.F. Stone's Weekly, because IFS had a hearing problem, he couldn't get anything out of press conferences that he thought worthwhile, so he pored over the Federal Register & the Congressional Record and press "clips."

If the past 7.5 years of the Cheney/Bush Administration should have taught the press ANYTHING, it is that, with Bush as our Unitary Liar-In-Chief (ULIC) and Cheney as our Acting President (APC), not one word of truth would be/has been uttered from whatever lectern either man controlled, and that the ONLY purpose to have "actuality" of this pair and the rest of their gang is to be able to use it to illuminate the contrast between what they say and what they DO.

You know, that ol' apothegm, cliché, trope or even meme: Watch what they do, not what they say. (And now with video, we actually CAN watch what they say. Even better, as Jon Stewart K. taught news organizations, one can stack up clip after clip after clip of ULIC and APC (and Rummy as well) saying the same thing — especially when they claim they didn't say it. ("I've never been a 'stay-the-course' guy." We know where they are; around Tikrit, and North and South and East and West.")

Even better, the clips can answer burning questions such as this one Stewart raised: "How does conventional wisdom get to be CW?" Then he demonstrated just how, with a dozen or so clips, starting w/ APCS (Acting President Cheney's Spouse): "They're just out of the main stream," followed by another, "not in the main stream, and another "not in the main stream, just not part of the main stream, aren't in the main stream...for 10 or so repetitions.

Ahhh, mocked Jon, NOW I get it. REPETITION! And there's a "white paper" image in the left rail entitled "Republican Talking Points." That's the first time, I recall anyway, that he used that technique, and the "MSM," those with sense, quickly copied it.

Stone certainly got his share of scoops doing that. And the very young (as seen in the rearview mirror while going 66) Globe reporter, Charlie Savage, for merely "watching" the WH website, won a Pulitzer Prize. And a new job at the NY Times, it seems. (Of course, Charlie didn't "merely watch"; he pored over the WH documents and sweated sense out of the abstruse legalese and legislative impedimenta in which the ULIC's signing vetoes were cast.

Just as a reminder: Savage was watching what they were DOING. In fact, they were illegal vetoes, quite "out of the mainstream" themselves, and certainly ultra vires and unconstitutional as to "seeing that the laws be faithfully executed" — and not by firing squad or signing pen — and as to the only four ways provided for the ULIC to handle engrossed bills from Congress: 1) sign; 2) veto & return w/ comments; 3) do nothing for 10 days (automatic enactment); and 4) Do nothing, but Congress adjourns before 10 days have elapsed (pocket veto).

I guess another point should be made here about what, IMHO, has led to the downfall (but not the dowdfall) of the practice of journalism. It is NOT just the "he said/she said," mindless conveyor belt form of non-reporting, and the use of Administration (and other organizations') lexicons of propaganda without attribution ("the surge," without quotes, or without qualifiers like "so-called 'surge' " as is the practice of the BBC and The Economist use. In the Reality Based world, adding more troops, even if they're said to be coming back home "real soon now," is "a troop escalation that the administration is calling a 'surge'."

However, those are just symptoms. The underlying sickness is that journalists have somehow imbibed the FlavorAid (it wasn't Kool-Aid, guys 'n' gals; can't you get anything right?) containing the notion that reporting can ever be "objective."

Reporting cannot EVER be objective, as long as there's a human being as reporteur. So suck it up and get over it. What reporting CAN be, though, is ACCURATE, FAIR, AN HONEST EFFORT TO ESTABLISH A SIMULACRUM OF TRUTH, A COMPREHENSIBLE TALE OF EVENTS WITH EVERY EFFORT MADE TO GET EVERY DETAIL. There's nothing shabby about an achievement like that, seems to me.

I would always much prefer the late Peter Jennings observation about the collapse of WTC Tower #2, I think it was, that "everyone knows that to take down a sky-scraper you have to get at the underpinnings of the building to take them down first--something like that, or Dan Rather noting about the collapse of WTC #7 at 5:20 p.m. or so, that the collapse looked just like those building demolitions we see too much on TV, where the charges of dynamite are carefully placed to bring down the building in its own footprint. (At the time I thought, "Dynamite? how quaint and AT--ante thermite" (I was in ordnance for my brief stint in Vietnam--and I knew about thermite and thermite grenades, but not thermate, its New and Improved offspring.) But I also thought, "That IS what it looks like, isn't it--a planned demolition! Wassup widat?!

As I watched the myriad WTC 1, 2 & 7 explosions and implosion (of 7) over and over and over again, I wondered (to this day) why it was that neither Jennings' nor Rather's accurate initial observations—taken from their experience as "trained observers" all their professional lives— were ever repeated on the air after 9/11. Any of you readers, if any there be, have any idea(s) why not?

And journalists, IMHO, will never reach even that status unless their ebiders become editors again and empower their reporters (now it's "writers," I guess, as inaccuracy and untruth have gone up-scale) to share their knowledge, their expertise, their experience, with their readers/viewers in virtually every single production. The contortions taken to avoid the 1st person pronoun are ludicrous. "This reporter was told..." If there's a byline, it's "I was told" (or to avoid a knuckle-rap from Al Siegal or Ted Bernstein before him, was it, for using the passive voice), they told "me."

Last gasp: For a while — when I was entering the profession, anyway, it seemed just a given that the press and government were adversaries. Not the secretaries, of course, at least not all the time. I knew that you always wanted to have Cerberus on your side, if you could, so you could get through the gates now and then to test the flame on the other side. I always thought that my default position on virtually every government official was, whether by malfeasance, nonfeasance or negligence, going to screw the Common Man, for whom I was the eyes and ears, the pencil, pad and Mamiyaflex C-22. That I should always ask, politely, of course, of any assertion by a government official, that he (or some shes), "Prove it." And be ready. myself, to DISprove it." Not that I was particularly successful at it. Maybe that's why I became a copy editor.

It sure doesn't seem that journalists, with very few (and very judicious) exceptions, are the natural adversaries of large organizations, particularly governments, any longer. Or that their role in society is to serve as the people's surrogates while the people get and spend.

Of the few exceptions I do see, most are from other countries--probably because they can't be so easily messed with by the FBI, IRS, NSC, WH, CIA — and soon, probably, as more pre-prison police-work is outsourced, by Sewagewater--or, to exit the RV lexicon, Blackwater. (In Recreational vehicles, there are three holding tanks, at minimum: 1) Potable water; 2) Grey water (shower and sink, soap & shampoo); and 3) Black water (sewage, with deodorant & chemicals to break it down).)

You'll never see Iraqi children being blown to smithereens or having been blown to smithereens on American TV or cable. Heck, our domestic media can't even muster the moxie to get into Dover AFB to get the pictures of our war dead, neatly packaged in patriotically draped coffins with, one presumes, at least most of their body parts in the same box.

Nor do our journalists dare to photograph our maimed and wounded, sneaked back into the country from Landstuhl to Andrews AFB and thence to the back doors of Walter Reed, all under the light of the moon, in the OD school busses w/ windows as dark-screened as the windows of a low-rider in Española, New Mexico.

Nope, our journalists rise when the ULIC mounts the podium and leans on the lectern as if he were royalty…

US Constitution, Art. I, §9, ¶8: No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

…the "framers" and "founders of the feast" had this thing about royalty, see, and…well, you probably knew that.

The real story of course, is the impeachment of the ULIC, APC and the rest of their current criminal cabal. And the biggest clue of all, the curious incident of Congress in the day-time. But, you say, Congress did nothing in the day-time? That, with apologies to AC Doyle, is the curious incident.

Namely, if you haven't gotten it yet, Congress, with its 535 members, is the dog that didn't bark, the legislators, all of whom have asked God or other higher power to help them "support and defend" the US Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and Cheney, et alii (or domestic, if you must), did not, on January 3, 2007, rise as one (or at least as 1+1+49+233) to launch a committee investigation & hearing on impeachment.

IMHO, of course.

(FWIW, there's another interesting application of "the dog that didn't bark" here. Just hows how far you can go. Not in a bad way, of course.)


Let's say, for the sake of argument, that those who favour an early exit from Iraq and those who want to stay each may wish to see a degree of stability and peace begin to be established in that unfortunate land. The former will be motivated by a humanitarian concern that any informed person would feel to end or mitigate the horror that Iraq has become. The latter may share those feelings, indeed, let's say for the sake of argument that most do. But those who also wish to remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future will claim such an outcome as a success, or even more bellicose, a "victory". For those who wish to end the occupation of Iraq by foreign troops and who know something about the forces at work in Iraq various scenarios within which peace and security could return to Iraq can be discerned. No conceivable set of circumstances could see the establishment of peace and security in Iraq without either involving Iran, intimidating Iran into accepting an unacceptable situation, or outright defeating Iran in a war. Peace and security in Iraq can surely be achieved by democratic means internally and diplomatic means by willing partners. Such a peace will not be kind to imperial ambition. Such a peace will surely be a strategic victory for Iran. It may be possible for a far-sighted leader not involved in the sophomoric calculations of the unregenerate utopian idealists who have created this situation to see that though Iran benefits from a peace that restores to those Shia of Iraq who favour close ties a measure of influence, and though there will be some who crow about the humiliation of this neighbour who devastated a generation at least of Iranians, the removal of American troops and a return to a principled multi-lateral approach to nuclear proliferation will ultimately undermine the mullahs and the forces of reaction in Iran. But to get there it is necessary to deconstruct this nightmarish logic of the so called neo-conservatives and part of that has to be acknowledging that it is not worth the destruction that would follow to prevent Iran from gaining a measure of advantage from an American withdrawal. This became inevitable when the American tanks began rolling across the Kuwaiti border with dreams of democracy and no clue what they were getting themselves into. I fear that an unwillingness to grasp the nettle here combined with a largely uncurious population not conditioned to nuance or to seeing that in this instance America's security and return to a leadership role in the community of nations must involve acceptance of the consequences of the disastrous policies since 2003. Some unflattering, even humiliating times for America must come. At the very least, the architects of this horrible disaster cannot be allowed to escape the fact that America has been placed in a circumstance where an enemy can only lose should they be attacked massively, an outcome that will surely devastate America as well even more than it has been devastated economically and morally, if not militarily,already. If this is not the height of criminal stupidity it is difficult to imagine what could be and it really doesn't matter what you call yourself politically to see it. Even McCain could see it if he decided that his best bet to get elected is to consign his predecessor to the ignominy he deserves. But to have this jingoistic nonsense to vilify Iran put forward as serious discourse while ignoring the strategic cul de sac that America has been so incompetently manoeuvred into is to render history and rationality completely mute. It has become fashionable to look back upon the agony of Neville Chamberlain as he struggled to avoid another descent into the abattoir of war with the memory of the Somme still fresh in his mind and from this safe distance to draw pious lessons about "appeasement" in his time. The challenge for the observers and statesmen of these times is to resist the easy patriotism and comfortable denial of plain facts and say that there is no "victory" to be had with respect to the Iraq adventure, that some short term advantage will likely be gained by those more odious theocrats who cling to power in Iran but that there is no imminent risk to the US and not even to Israel that would justify unleashing the dogs of war yet again with even greater peril to middle east and the world.

Bill:

What bothers me most about the rush to war in Iraq is that WE ALL KNEW IT WAS A LIE! Anyone who has witnessed the Bush family's involvement in Iran-Contra, the Savings and Loan debacle in the early 80's, etc., etc. knows these people cannot be trusted. The frightening thing is how long it takes for Congress to do anything. It doesn't make any sense unless one realizes they are all involved. Why did it take the Senate Intelligence Committee so long to figure this out? Surely the signs were blatant and unmistakable, and the whole world was against it.

Sincerely,

Ruth Roberson

I can think of two things we could do to reverse this problem and which I never hear being talked about.

1) The structure of the current US corporation was organized in the post bellum civil war period as a result of The Crédit Mobilier of America scandal of 1872. We need to reorganize the US corporation in light of the US constitution.

That is an executive branch as it exists today. It includes a bicarmal legislature. The upper chamber is at it is today, one stock, one vote. It would be represented as an upper chamber of the board of stockholders. The lower chamber would be one stockholder one vote. It would also be represented by a board of stockholders. A stockholder would be defined as the person with voting rights.

If an mutual fund purchased a million stocks on behalf of its stockholders and voted on their behalf, it would be one stockholder.

If the AFL-CIO purchased a million stocks and gave its voting rights to each of its million members, it would have a million votes. With the environmentalists doing the same things for its members, they would control the lower chamber.

As in the US Constitution, the budget must come from the lower chamber. That means the unions would control wages, not just for its members, but for management as well. We would see the end of jobs being shipped overseas. It is required that this be in the budget, and this is controled by the union.

State jobs tend to show the result of what would happen. The executives tend to be paid less than the national average, while workers tend to be paid more than the national average.

The second solution is to pass a al; distinguishing a guild from a union. A guild would be legally defined as a union which has civic and vocational standards and training in those standards. What I have in mind is the military where there is training in military of professional standards. Guilds would be by definition closed shop. The federal government would develop most of its training programs in conjuntion with the guilds. Almost all, if not all unions would quickly become guilds and the unjust so called right to work laws would be pre-empted. This would give the unions the bargaining power to recruit new members and help resolve the nation's problems from the ground up.

These are my two ideas, let me know what you think, please.

Bill,

When are you going to do a special show on drunk drivers in Maine?

A note of gratitude to the entire Moyers team for offering such an excellent conversation with Jonathan Landay, John Walcott and Greg Mitchell. Their comments of how the media helped facilitate the run-up to the Iraq War is definitely worth consideration. Moreover, it does not seem to be over. When being interviewed by Charlie Rose as recently as June 3rd and asked about possible war with Iran, political pundit and writer George Will tried to push forth the idea that the Iranian people love Americans and our real enemy was simply the Iranian regime in control, thus implying that if the U.S. did ever try again "regime change", we would face cheering throngs as our tanks rolled in.

Certainly Will has been largely discredited over the years due the previous over-confidence in his support and expected outcome in Iraq. However, it still amazes me how arrogant (or ignorant) he and others are as they try to cheer on following the same dream of a problem-free invasion in fighting terrorism.

Chiaroscuro,

Thank you for your lucid post. Well done.

I categorically reject the defense of those in the media who admit their error in believing Bush during the runup to the invasion of Iraq. The defense is usually framed as, "We couldn't have known," or "In the climate after 9/11, blah-blah-blah."

I don't have any insider sources. I don't have any special knowledge. But I distinctly remember saying to myself, during that autumn and winter, "Surely they'll show us incontrovertable proof before they go to war." And they never did. I heard wild allegations, including the unceasing ad hominem attacks: "Saddam is insane. He's a maniac. He's determined to [insert favorite atrocity here]!" And don't forget the wild stories about Saddam sending waves of drone planes over our cities to gas us. Then there was everyone's favorite, repeated over and over again: "We don't want the smoking gun to be in the form of a MUSHROOM CLOUD!"

But I never once saw or heard proof of the allegations. That's all everything was: Allegations designed to scare us all silly.

So it came down to Colin Powell's infamous U.N. slide show which would convince the world once and for all. And it was crap: Some aerial photos of trucks he claimed to be mobile chemical WMD labs. Who could tell? They could have been Good Humor trucks for all anybody knew. Then there was the testimony of anonymous Iraqi defectors and exiles - none of it verified through multiple sources but just swallowed and parrotted for the credulous and the craven.

Mitchell, Landay and the precious few others who actually did their jobs are right: The media by-and-large preferred to take the path of least resistance, to act as administration stenographers and reserve their energy for the exciting chance to "embed" with the military.

Nauseating, isn't it? Yet not one of the media's overpaid hacks has lost his or her job -- with the exception of Judith Miller. She only got canned because she got embroiled in the Scooter Libby debacle, not because her "reporting" was biased, unprofessional and mostly wrong. Friedman still craps around on the Times op-ed page, fussing and scolding and never once admitting he was wrong, wrong, wrong. The Times even compounds their offenses by hiring Bill Kristol, a neocon pundit who defines the term "dead-ender". On tv, Tim Russert and the whole parade of blow-dried bubbleheads are still feted as savvy, insightful oracles of the Beltway. And they all pat themselves on the back for doing a heckuva job.

I think journalists should live up to their calling.
Has Bill Moyers reported on any Bilderburg meeting he has attended?
Although there is a media blackout concerning these meetings, "the news media are always present," agreed Ross. He lists past attendees, "such as: Peter Jennings (BB, and Anchor & Senior Editor of ABC News, World News Tonight), Joseph C. Harsch (BB, CFR, and former Commentator for NBC, Inc.), Bill D. Moyers (BB, and Executive Director of Public Affairs TV, Inc., and former Director of the CFR), [&] William F. Buckley, Jr. (BB, CFR, and Editor-in-Chief of National Review, and host of PBS's Firing Line)."

Chapter OneModern Secret SocietiesSecrecy is the freedom zealots dream of: no watchman to
check the door, no accountant to check the books, no judge
to check the law. The secret government has no constitution.
The rules it follows are the rules it makes up.
— "Bill Moyers

Maria:

I don't know what exactly the relationship between Israel and the U.S. is, but it is obviously a powerful and strange one. In fact, Israel is strange in itself: can you imagine creating a nation where people already live because of atrocities (committed by the Nazis in Europe) having nothing to do with these people or the area that they live in? Just crazy. Perhaps the Establishment of Israel and that of the U.S. are two arms of the same entity, or perhaps the Establishment of Israel is the master... I don't know. My focus of investigation and analysis has been more on just the U.S. side of things. Alex Jones would likely have more information on the Israel-U.S. connection; he has an infowars site you might be interested in.

Ian: Ad hominem attacks will not get you very far. But I will tell you that I use EVIDENCE for what I write about and am not afraid of following where the EVIDENCE leads. Click on some of the "Investigate" links on my web page and check out some of the independent documentaries and media I link to. It might be the most important thing you have ever done for yourself. And, if anything sounds questionable, please, fact check it: seek the truth yourself, don't just take the Establishment's word for things--that has been proven wrong way too many times.

Bill,

Monday John McCain was interviewed by Brian Williams on NBC News regarding gas prices and the economy. McCain claimed that "Obama is another Jimmy Carter." A nicer compliment has never been paid!

Below is a link to Jimmy Carter's energy policy. You may be familiar with it and perhaps even covered it on your program at one time or another. It is a chilling reminder of how far off track the country veered in 1980 and subsequent years with Republicans and the return to big trucks and big engines and SUVs and, finally, the Hummer in 1992. Elections do indeed have consequences.

It's kind of a long speech. If you only have time for one line, go to President Carter's TENTH PRINCIPLE.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carter/filmmore/ps_energy.html

Thanks for everything, Bill.

Bill,

Why not run a segment on how the US could mandate all manufacturers of gasoline engine vehicles to produce dual-fuel vehicles.

For instance, if the manufacturers began selling gasoline and CNG powered vehicles, the gasoline stations would begin providing CNG along with gasoline.

The oil markets would take notice big-time, as this would signal the beginning of the end of our dependency on oil. Comsumers now would have a choice of fuels, which would drive down the cost of each.

You could also cover how easy it is to make such dual fueled vehicles (kits are already available for cars).

This would be parallel to the Manhattan project, but a lot easier to accomplish. No rocket science needed here.

agreed, the media did not do their job and I wrote to couric regarding her recent mcclellan interview where she claimed "we asked the questions". case in point: remember the recent "iranian gunboat skirmish". the reporters mantra of "who, what, where, when, why, how" wasn't answered. in particular the first reporting was promoted as a provocative iranian agression. the fundamental "where" was never pressed only to let the us military say "the location is classified". what did they fear - real questioning? if they accurately reported the iranian boats were in THEIR territorial waters - that they open to international vessels, particularly those that are not hostile AND don't insist on the right of way? would real questioning show another "gulf of tonkin", or sinking of the maine fabrication of "being attacked", or cause americans to question just how much a country can govern their own territorial waters (think great lakes, gulf of mexico, missippi etc), and who can insist on passage by way of the gun. keep in mind the straits of hormuz has another half on the uae, saudi, side and if dubain can dredge to create the palms, then why can't boat travel occur on that half? keep in mind the informed follower of gulf events (especially lebanon/israel via seymour hersch) gave a good picture of "30 days of green light bombing of lebanon". there is good evidence that washington hoped syria would be drawn in, then iran and that would be the excuse to set back their (npt legitimate) nuclear program. So it came as no surprise that washington continued to find reasons to attack iran (just like the opening iraq overflights to take out air batteries, or us plane painted un colors as a basis to retaliate). back to the skirmish, only later the "who" is answered that it was likely a "open cb channel prankster called the filipino monkey".

I had much greater respect for knight ridder/mcclatchy reporters until this recent interview. iranians are more westernized than other countries having been colonized by the uk. they are more democratic than our saudi monarchy oil partners. israel is the lawless ones who ignore un resolutions 242 and 393 and ended up being the beacon of non-democracy in denying the fair election results. the west and israel have many many more times the compensation for libya's lockerbie, for 60 years of palestinian ethnic cleansing atrocities. hizbollah is as much of lebanon's humanitarian and political composition as the west's claim of "iranian terrorists". but then again, are they any more guilty of upsetting political outcomes as the west and israel do currently (or in the past like mossedeh's overthrow, or pinochet's support, or other atrocities in latin america)?
the characterization by the interviewers sounded like more pandering than honest fairness. iran will never admit to seeking nuclear devices (in counterbalance to israel's 200, pakistan, india etc). but ask this question: in the shopping mall why do the banks and jewelry stores have guards while the borders books, mrs. fields and gap stores don't? the same nuclear deterrence the west utilized for 50 years seems most appropriate for those countries holding the black gold other foreigners covet so much. it is no accident that washington run by oilmen invade the 3rd largest deposit country when north sea supplies, mexico and saudi fields are waning. it is no surprise that the oilmen want the oil rich caspian region opened up via a pipeline through turkministan, afganistan and pakistan and this drives the tangled dance done there (and when you hear liberman asking on the hill "have iranian weapons been used to kill americans" - just contemplate if the us provided sams to the mujahdeen in afganistan could have resulted in the same questioning by the soviet body to "take the fight directly to the arms supplier").
the bottom line is democracy, freedom, womem's rights etc are all marketing tools. the real agenda of why we ignore some country's actions and chastise others, ALWAYS boils down to resource control and profits (that's why bremmer exited trying to privatize "iraqi minerals", the 400 page oil contract the us companies want signed gives them 50% of iraq's national wealth - search independent.co.uk for 20B the us is withholding from iraq to get them to sign the us' permanent stay papers. try reading kinzer's "100 years of ovethrow", or "confessions of an economic hitman" and you will understand how roman invaders, spanish plunderers etc have given way to today's modern pirate force - all in the name of "democracy". america is addicted to oil - and addicts commit crimes to feed their habits.

Mr. Moyers and guests,

I was very interested to hear on your June 6th program the number of news stories that are currently being "ignored" by the general media. I would like to, if I may, make another suggestion. Recently I have been reading alarming reports of the US Government's financial support of missionary activity in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq. The White House has said that the "prayer coin" incident was singular, but other reports indicate that support for missionary activity among soldiers runs through the highest ranks of the military. This is not only an affront to the Constitution but also severely counter-productive to increasing America's credibility. What are you thoughts?

Thank you so much for all your work and I look forward to future installments of The Journal.

-Jackie

Mr. Moyers and guests,

I was very interested to hear on your June 6th program the number of news stories that are currently being "ignored" by the general media. I would like to, if I may, make another suggestion. Recently I have been reading alarming reports of the US Government's financial support of missionary activity in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq. The White House has said that the "prayer coin" incident was singular, but other reports indicate that support for missionary activity among soldiers runs through the highest ranks of the military. This is not only an affront to the Constitution but also severely counter-productive to increasing America's credibility. What are you thoughts?

Thank you so much for all your work and I look forward to future installments of The Journal.

-Jackie

Maybe the war is not the Presidents' fault entirely, but rather are own. As I have written before: Until we teach our children never to war, the wars will never end.

=
MJA

I also want to point all of you to a column in the ever-hawkish Washington Post by its editorial and opinion chief, Fred Hiatt (this is in addition to the Ari Fleischer travesty I have already mentioned). Hiatt blames everything, in going to war in Iraq, on poor intelligence and the title for the column on the home page of the Post's web site currently reads, "The Iraq War Is Not Bush's Fault."

Thank for all the comments. I still think Hillary's casual "obliterating" Iran comment was disgraceful, whatever one thinks of her candidacy. As an antiwar college student in the late-1960s, I.F. Stone was also one of my heroes, but don't forget (as I point out in my book) his famous line, "All governments lie."

Mr. Mitchell,

Thanks for such a quick response!

I imagine Fleischer did feel some heat at the time from some of the White HOuse press corps's probing questions, because he had to keep finding new ways of blowing them off. But as you point out in your article, his blow-off responses weren't followed up with further probing, and that was often where the breakdown occurred.

He must have eventually figured out that he wasn't going to be pressed for answers. The unspoken script seemed to go something like this: "You hit us with hard questions you can feel all heroic about, then we'll body-fake, change the subject, stonewall, etc. Then you ask about something like how many Humvees we're sending to Baghdad and we'll discuss that until the cows come home."

Then the news outlets passed up many opportunities to write about the official question dodging itself.

And when skepticism was shown by the reporters, there was precious little support from their editors and producers. Why bother highlighting official stonewalling when it'll get buried or 86'ed completely by your paper or your TV newsroom?

In the end, it doesn't matter what questions the reporters asked if the papers and the TV news shows the next day simply stick the official line on the page or screen ornamented with their slick graphics and seductive ads and call it news. Fleischer had to know that any tough questions that were asked were going to die on the vine.

Do I have that about right? Is there anything I'm missing?

The media stooged for Bush, they are now stooging for Obama. How they expect someone who is already making loose cannon comments about an undivided Jerusalem to be our savior with the Moslem world is beyond me.

Obama won the nominaton because the media never challenged him on the slanderous view of Clinton's motivations that he presented. Those of us who have watched Clinton for decades were less likely to be fooled but I was appalled to see Bill Moyer's fall into the trap with his careless charge that Hillary was 'hinting' at obliterating Iran or something. His guests then spoke about the effective role of nuclear deterrence in the past -- asking why Iran could not be detered if they should turn out to have nuclear weapons. But no one connected the dots -- in the comment at issue, Hillary was asked what she would do should Iran use nuclear weapons on Israel. She said she would retaliate -- this is deterence pure and simply but Bill Moyer's was so in the tank for Obama that he had catalogued Hillary's comment not as sane policy but as another example of her alledged free-floating malice. For shame.

Long ago Todd Gitlin in The Whole World Is Watching exposed how both The New York Times and CBS News distorted coverage of the October 1967 protest march on Washington. And those were then highly regarded news sources.

About Iraq, I assume responsbility for buying the line that The New York Times presented. I ought to have known better.

When I was at university, we had I. F. Stone’s Weekly. I recall how devastating his critique was of a white paper our government used to justify our escalation in Vietnam. I referenced Stone’s critique in a teach-in we had at Westminster House at the University of Georgia when I questioned a colonel the State Department had sent to make the government’s case.

I don’t know that Mr. Stone was always are credible as I thought he was, but his work helped me ask questions. However, my first fully articulated doubts about the Vietnam war came when I answered questions on an Air Force R.O.T.C. Air Science final examination. I questioned intervening and got an A+ on the test. I think that the range of discourse can include many sources and points-of-view. For all that I know the professor, who gave me the grade, later flew missions in Vietnam.

I do expect newspapers and other media to open up the range of discussion, not shut it down. I even expect the president’s press secretary to tell the truth but I recall a spokesman for the Department of Defense during the Kennedy administration ridiculing anyone who would think that government spokesmen telling the truth.

Dear Mr. Mitchell,

Journalism was never a part of the check and balance system written into the Constitution of the Unites States. The real question is: What happened to our legislative and judicial branches of government that allowed the executive branch to lie us into a war so imbalanced and so unchecked?
I think that should be reported, don't you?

=
MJA

Craig-- If you want to really get a shocker, see Ari Fleischer's defense of the press "toughness" in the march to war -- he wrote an op-ed for yesterday's Wash Post. I have a critique up now at the E&P site, www.editorandpublisher.com.

Mr. Mitchell,

I think the media shoulder at least half the blame for having gotten us into war. Particularly broadcast and cable TV news and the papers. The NEw York Times and the Washington POst have an awful lot to answer for. I wonder how on earth "The Paper Of Record" could knowingly -- they had to know Judy Miller was up to something -- shill so shamelessly and brazenly for such bloodthirsty warmongers.

I think of journalists as the weedwhackers of democracy. It seems to me that there always has been and will always be people in positions of great economic or political power who will try to game the systems in the interest of greed and domination. Left unchecked, they grow like choking vines, but a free and diligent press keeps them trimmed down so a multitude of other plants can grow. IN the U.S., the media joined with the choking vines to kill off other voices.

Have any of them learned their lessons? I don't think any of the dominant news institutions have, but I get a feeling that certain journalists have. It makes me think of the L.A. Times journalists who recently left the paper because they don't want the Times to become the next USA Today. I wonder how many of them -- and their Wall St. Journal colleagues who walked out when the family began talking about selling to Murdoch -- are thinking about what happens in a gutted newsroom not just in a general way but also in specific terms of this horrible, immoral war and how these trends toward news-lite and away from investigation helped get us into it. A sense of conscience about the weedchacking role of journalists. I hope that's at least partly what they're thinking.

Do you think they might be?

Yes, Cynthia, Americans know little about Iran. In fact, I think most believe they are "Arabs" and have little sense of the population, history etc. The idea of bomb-bomb-bomb/bomb-bomb Iran does not have a sea of human faces at the other end.

"The focal point of all reforms should be human liberation, and the respect for human value and human rights. The free development of each individual is the basis for all social progress."

Xu Wenli

There seems to be a strange effort to turn computers into people and people into computers.
The media, education and the entertainment industries are sending the message that people should not think for themselves just accept and regurgitate what ever they are told. The amount of trash being produced is mind boggling. Malicious violence is an overriding theme to create fear, hate and discontent.

Dear Bill and Greg, it was a great pleasure to listen to your most interesting and compelling converstation tonight with Mr. Landay and Mr. Walcott. A question I would like to raise is why does the American media rarely, if ever, explain why Iran is so against the American administration? Why does it never refer to the US sponsoring of Iraq with money and weapons of every description in the Iran/Iraq conflict? Why does no one tell of the US being an ally of Iraq when Saddam bombed the Kurds? Why are Noam Chomsky and Robert Fisk never interviewed on American television, only Canadian? As a teacher,in Canada, I have been discussing US foreign policy in my high school classroom for years, in an attempt to understand it myself and to make sense to my students the effect is has on Canada I have kept current on these issues because I have read so many books on the lead up to Iraq and related matters.However, I read these years ago. I fail to understand why McClellan's book is such a bombshell, to himself apparently, and others. Isn't it all common knowledge. Perhaps not for people who choose not to know, as Mr. Walcott suggested. Of all the excellent books, the best so far has been Robert Fisk's The Great War for Civilization. It gives a marvellous sense of the geopolitical forces at work since World War One. I was also very interested to hear that you are researching the high rate of suicides in the US military. Canada's military also is losing many young people this way and it hardly ever is discussed in the mainstream media. We too are in an illegal conflict, thanks to our government submitting to the will of the current administration. Anyway, Thank you so much for your program which has and continues to teach me so much. Cheers, Cynthia Grenier

Greg, Thanks for responding. I enjoy reading you from Antiwar.com and other websites that link to your articles. I was just trying to go through the possible motivations for misleading us into Iraq. We know there weren't weapons of mass destruction. We know there was no Iraq link to Al-Qaeda or 9/11. Scott McClellan would have us believe there was a hidden agenda of bringing democracy to the Middle East. But that was probably the biggest red herring of all. So, what is left? If the war wasn't about creating an oil colony in Iraq and making the Middle East safer for Israel, then what other reasons were there?

Lee: I, too, believe that the stated reasons for the invasion of Iraq, including "spreading democracy throughout the region," were false, but I would be wary of identifying "the" real reason, such as oil, or Israel, or whatever. No doubt it was a combination, and different for different people, including for some just having a window to do something they had long wanted to do (almost, "why not?").

This is off-topic, but I don't know where else to post this so that Mr. Moyers and his staff will read it.

I just watched the videotape of Moyers addressing the Fox reporter named Porter at the media convention that's going on right now.

Mr. Moyers, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you! I have told you this before, but I feel that I can't say it enough. Thank-you so much for deciding to give up your personal retirement for our country. You are doing so much to capture our democracy back from these false conservatives who somehow have it ingrained into their brains that turning over our public institutions, including our media, to private interests is somehow best for the United States of America.

I am preparing to head to a red state five days from today as a volunteer in the Obama campaign to train for the job of working with volunteers within a community in that state to prepare them to canvas within their own communities on behalf of Sen. Obama and change. I will be spending my own scarce, hard-earned money to do this. I am leaving my husband and my 13-year-old daughter for six weeks to do so. This is an enormous sacrifice on our family for me to do this, and I want you to know that there are many, many citizens all across our nation who are doing the exact same thing. You are not alone. You are an inspiration for so many of us.

As a 55-year-old working middle-class parent, I can hardly rationalize doing this ... for myself, it makes no sense at all. But when I look at how terrible a situation we are leaving for my daughter's generation, by doing nothing to stop this conservative-driven train wreck, I feel, like you, that I must step forward and give whatever I can to get our country back on track.

Thank-you again. And I hope that Fox's Porter comes to his senses and approaches you for an employment situation, and that you find a spot for him on the team that favors democracy. Or better yet, ask him to serve his country at his own expense for a little while first. He needs to appreciate all that he has here.

There's an even greater "canard" than the one Walcott mentions in connection with Scott McClellan's book: that weapons of mass destruction were a cover for the Bush administration's real agenda of democraticizing the Middle East. Spreading democracy was just as much a deception as everything else used to justify the war. As such, McClellan gives Bush a pass by suggesting that deceiving the public was okay because the war had an altruistic purpose. And therefore, history will be forgiving to Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld because they ultimately only wanted to improve life for the benighted people of the Middle East. The real reasons for the war remain the obvious--to gain control of an oil-rich Arab country and remove a threat to Israel.

Dear Mr. Mitchell,

Good job for your reporting. I have long been a critic of the media's role in enabling the Iraq war.

However, there are some people who take this criticism too far and believe in a media "conspiracy" or that the media is "controlled" by either an "Israel lobby" or by a conspiratorial propaganda campaign to control the public. Although I do not like the media's role before the Iraq war, I do believe there still exist many good honest reporters and news broadcasts out in the media.

Could you also speak to the fact that the media is "corporate." I personally do not have any problem with a for-profit media, but what do you think the pros and cons of a corporate media are, especially in relation to the Iraq war?

Thanks again for all the comments. Some may want to know that at YouTube you can now watch Bill Moyers' address to the National Conference for Media Reform yesterday. Also, Dan Rather at the same confab also leveled a big blast at "corporate media" yesterday, which I describe elsewhere:

http://www.dailykos.com/user/GregMitch

Greg, Bill, All,

The one consistent voice against the madness is not Bill Moyers' "Now", it's Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now".

No one outside of the followers of Goodman's "War and Peace Report" seem to be aware that Bush just Nuked Saudi Arabia.

Yes, you read right, Bush is giving enriched uranium to Saudi Arabia!

What's more scary, that the media has turned a blind eye to the fact that Bush has nuclearized one of the most volatile and important regions of the world or that he did it with a freakin' M.O.U.!?!?

Bill, Greg, There's still time to break the story to the corporate media.

Mike Quinn

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/364212_amy23.html

http://pacificfreepress.com/content/view/2675/81/

http://baltimorechronicle.com/2008/052908Floyd.shtml

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hdAaIPpRLzgc3BYhZWFeAfz9EG1g

It should not come as suprise to most of us who have just the average intelligence. First of all, there's no such things as "status quo" you either getting better or worse, that said, our government as well as its players are either getting better or worse the question may be "what are they getting better or worse at?" We have an establishment in our government that most of us take for granted and our officials succeeded at making us believe that we should look at the whole government business the same way we do our football teams, in the end a win is a win and a lost is just another bad day in the office. as soon as everyone in the country and in the government start to make the separation between what's real and what's fiction, there would be a government of the people by the people in reality.

The AIPAC Presidency

And the winner is ... the Israel lobby


http://baltimore.indymedia.org/newswire/display/17401/index.php

Hi Greg and all,

I would highly recommend getting a book by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt called 'The Israel Lobby And U.S. Foreign Policy'.

But before someone starts up with any anti-semetic defense,Mearsheimer and Walt have a chapter on what they call the "new" anti-semetism,making the point that the Lobby use this as their powerful weapon if anyone questions their shady ways.

Bret Hughes:
What planet are you from. Do they have oxygen there?

You ask "where the fault really lies" and whether "lessons" have been learned by "policymakers and journalists" -- and I'm sorry, but this isn't a line of questioning I can take seriously as it applies to our corporate media. The dwindling number of journalists who still have jobs within that context are in the position of hostages to masters who serve their economic purposes by purveying lies every day. Given these circs, you can't expect a mea culpa from anybody, can you?

Bret,

Thank you very much for the eye opening information. My eyes were already open but the info helped reinforce my doubts about the media and our government. I have a question for you though. Why do you think American President hopefuls have to pander to Israel? AIPAC is the very organization that spies on the US. Why on earth would Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain pledge their loyalty to this organization? Does America take a back seat to Israel? Do we really want these folks in charge of our nation? Who's ruling who?

On Friday, CNN reported that an Israeli official had stated that an attack on Iran was "unavoidable". This is what led to an $11/barrel price jump in oil. If Israel attacks Iran, the price of a barrel of oil will become prohibitively expensive, and the economic situation of ordinary Americans will become even more dire. Do we really want Israel's aggressive policies to be our undoing? It is time we stood up for America, and NOT Israel!!!!

"But for the media to name their coverage of the 2003 invasion of Iraq the same as what the Pentagon calls it—everyday seeing 'Operation Iraqi Freedom'—you have to ask: 'If this were state controlled media, how would it be any different?'"

Amy Goodman from a Wikipedia article.

John Walcott, Greg Mitchell, Jonathan Landay--the three stooges of the media.

These guys were total appologists for the (corrupt) Establishment. They were put on to try to get the public to regain some trust in their propaganda system, the Establishment press. Don't listen to these fools.

At the same time, they were trying to build another bogus case for another war of aggression, that would make three!, against Iran. There is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, according to the UN and our own intelligence agencies. Their civilian nuclear program is legal.

Speaking about legality, a war of aggression (a war that is not directly in self-defense) is the SUPREME INTERNATIONAL CRIME as well as against U.S. law; the federal government is responsible for the million or so civilian deaths in Iraq. The penalty for authorizing a war of aggression is death by hanging. We need to round up Bush, Cheney, Rice--all those criminals. What, only the little people are supposed to pay for crimes?

To find out what is really going on in the press, look here:
http://www.ExcaliburBooks.com/RedAlert/press.html
And, to see this in context of the big picture, click on my name, below.

I just keep questioning whether Moyers is Establishment or not... I really think that he is though... He just puts on a good program once in a while to try to keep his validity up, then the public pays later with shows like this one. :(

Mr. Mitchell, I would like to send you a book on PTSD and our Young Warriors in these two new wars. Please email me or call at 505-660-7473 with a mailing address. No Charge sir!
Sincerely, Sgt. Brandi, USMC

Mr. Mitchell, I would like to send you a book on PTSD and our young Warriors in these two new wars. It may help in your efforts for our troops. Please email me or call at 505-660-7473. Respectfully, Sgt. Brandi, USMC

Well, I will give Katie this -- she was one of the few top anchors or TV reporters, after the McClellan blast, to admit real wrongdoing on the media's part in the runup to war....

The installment of Katie Couric on CBS News was the "personality" glitz approach to what used to be journalism. As an afterthought, she went to Iraq to try and shore-up her legitimate credentials, but it didn't work. The fact that no one in the major media news picked up a phone to ask nuclear scientists if those type of aluminum tubes in Iraq pre-war could be used in uranium centrifuges shows how little effort goes into "reporting" at those networks. Either that, or it wasn't allowed air-time. Either way the result is the same. Don't watch them unless you want to know what Britney is up to.

Here’s a quote from David Brooks’ analysis of McClellan’s book on the May 30, 2008 NewsHour:

"There were 20 percent of the people in that administration, in this administration, or especially in the first term, who were smart and were capable of having a debate. There were a lot of intellectual mediocrities who would never have a debate, did not have the intellectual chops to have a debate. And McClellan, frankly, is one of them.

And the blandness and clichedness of this sort of book exemplifies a lot of the clones that were walking around the White House, who never could challenge the president, never could challenge anybody, because, frankly, they didn't know anything about policy. They didn't have the intellectual smarts to make that kind of challenge."

I would posit that Brooks’ description of the members of the administration applies accurately to the public faces of the Fourth Estate. I call it the Couricization of journalism. Serious journalists, those with “chops” who know how to grind down until they get an answer, have been replaced by mediocre stand-ups who have neither the intellectual capacity, the innate curiosity, nor the commitment to objective fact-finding that once was the mark of the reporter. Their inability to be reflective (self- or otherwise) is an honest inability. Those of you who have the chops and insist on getting to the bottom of things are relegated to obscure venues (e.g. 9pm Friday night on PBS).

It is time to consistently call most "news" media what they has degenerated into - National Enquirer News. The frequency that tabloid headlines make the "top stories" list is nauseating.
But it does have a corrective ballast - people have been tuning OUT of their offering so they are losing advertising dollars. Since they provide no value, it is a fitting irony now that what once was considered a "money-loser" because of the cost of providing good investigative journalism is becoming a money-loser again as we turn them off because of their lack of value.

Yes, Dan Rather has become "rather" more like Moyers since his forced exile, but he certainly wasn't quite in that mode 5 or 6 years ago....

@jaden Dan Rather is still around and better then ever, in my opinion. He does a weekly hour long show.

http://www.hd.net/danrather.html

GREAT INTERVIEW & DISCUSSION ON THIS TOPIC!!
The complicity by the major MSM must be recognized and held accountable. the Americans who really introspected about what lead to 9/11 knew we wer being Conned almost immediately and screamed when boots were put down in Afghaistan, knowing it would be a Cluster and result in a quagmire.then we screamed when the drums began to beat towards Iraq. We were not only ignored, but maligned in the MSM. Such complicty was apparent when terms like 'Radical Left' and 'Tin hat Conspiracy theorist' were used to describe ANYONE who was trying to bring balance to the issue.
The MSM was not jus tDerelict in it's Duties but complicite with the Corrupt agenda of this Admisntration, its Inc and Foreign sponsors goals. Many who sit at the top of these media empires should be Convcted of high Crimes- most notably Treason.

Hey Greg Mitchell (Everybody),
have you heard, China's gonna be a (major) grain importer?
The old tomato farmer (Lester Brown) has spoken: Our world is on the road to increasing starvation by famine (climate change crop failure). Americans are lulled and intimidated to complacency by you news hounds Contrast us with the French who last week turned upon Capitalist chichanery and Sarcozy with "snail's pace" blockades of major routes by truckers and stoppage of airport inlets by cabbies. Where is our selfish selflessness?
My question to Greg really is:
Why don't candidates, officials and news outlets deal with really urgent substantive issues before demise is imminent?
I'm partly a tomato farmer too in N.C. where we have perpetual drought and soaring temperatures. I helplessly watched a great portion of my vegetables wither away in the heat yesterday. Moyers has dealt with hunger (briefly and superficially) foreign and domestic, but has not been honestly comprehensive about the probable forecast. If China cannot maintain harvests to feed its people (because of capitalist development as well as ecological limits) then who can? I would think soaring food prices and real hunger in our near future would be the TOP STORY.

Thanks for all of your good comments. I will continue trying to reply to as many as possible. I am a bit puzzled by the singling out of Dan Rather as someone who did tough reporting in the run-up to the war, however. If you'd provide some evidence of that, please do!

The media didn't make any mistakes. The purpose of the media is to maintain the status quo, to defend the powers that be. If their job truly was to uncover the truth and to keep their viewers informed, the world would be a far different place. We wouldn't be in Iraq or Afghanistan. Those occupations wouldn't be tolerated. Bush/Cheney would not be in office. Their fraudulent election wouldn't be tolerated. There would be no phony "war on terror" or color alerts or military checkpoints. That 9/11 was an inside job should be obvious by now. Scams like NAFTA and the WTO would be exposed by now. The Federal Reserve would not be tolerated. Absurd drug laws would not be tolerated. Enormous, almost unchecked corruption could not continue. The mass media is a joke. It is outright propaganda, nothing more. Bill Moyers is better than most, but sadly there are many issues he avoids. 9/11 is one of the most important, but there are others.

I am impressed that McClellan admitted his part in the Iraq deception.
It is necessary to have an unbiased press that searches out and publishes the truth and the facts so that wrong assumptions do not cause unnecessary death and destruction.
It was obvious that Iraq was helpless after the "Desert Storm" war. The Iraqis were sheep to the slaughter. The "Shock and Awe" preemptive war was just another slaughter.
Hopefully, we will not make the same mistake with Iran. We need good information from reliable sources before we attack Iran. Lies and mob psychology is costing us dearly.
We complain about third world countries having controlled press and now we are guilty of the same problem. Freedom is slipping through our fingers and all we do is stick our head in the sand and hope we survive.
The perpetuators of our disasterous situation go unchallanged while we play the blame game instead of rectifying the situation.

A viable argument that I never hear anywhere about dealing with terrorism and Iran is that this is a world wide problem and needs to be addressed internationally. It is not just our problem to solve. It is, in fact, an international issue. And as long as we try to deal with it as if it were only our problem to solve, the international community feels safe in not dealing with Iran and terrorism in a concrete fashion.

A good rule of thumb Ejim, ... if it's on TV, it's a corporate-friendly message. The owners of those six companies could fit comfortably in a Chevy Tahoe..I'm no expert on TV, but It seems that the exceptions are few but notable, Bill Moyers' weekly hour, Worldlink, Free speech TV, Keith Olberman is the only MSM hombre con huevos, his commentaries are breathtaking in their candor, and Amy Goodman is a national treasure and the most dogged reporter you'll ever see, or hear. Her radio show "Democracy Now" was the only voice of sanity for so many of us during that dark decent into the journalist-as-sycophant era. Attaching so much importance to whether or not they "asked the right questions" back then is silly, we remember when all of the newsroom sets were remodeled in the lead-up to the occupation, and new musical scores were written, (or borrowed from Wagner), everyone had a flag-pin and the sets were all-flag-all-day, and the talking head regulars were downright giddy at the prospect of slaughter...this wasn't a failure of journalism, but a huge sucess for the corporate heads, the profiteers.

The fault was a lack of courage and a naiveté among the main media as well as the public in large.
At the time, anyone questioning the rationale was basically labeled unpatriotic (think Dixie Chicks or "freedom fries"). Heck, even Oprah silenced opposing views thereby indirectly legitimizing action.
The only ones who could have stopped the madness would have to be a senior official (Colin Powell for instance) or a sophisticated leak from CIA or similar. In any case it would have had to be someone willing to risk there career .. or worse...

My admiration for true journalism has grown tremendously from this tragic episode and I'm convinced it is an absolutely essential part of a true democracy.

Thanks to You, Bill Moyers and others for keeping asking the hard questions and bringing it to light.

While i wholeheartedly agree with this week's guests views on the falsity of the Iraq war, once the issue turned to Iran, your trio of guests started to sound like Fox News. Why must a puny country like iran be characterized as a threat? I just don't agree with all the hostile talk towards Iran. This is nuts. Iran has not been overtly aggressive in any way. In the Iran Iraq war I believe they were by and large defending themselves against Saddam. Oh sure, there is a lot of stupid empty talk and threats between Iran and Israel, but all this seems to be running off momentum started by Bush. Iran has shown no hostile intent and has not invaded anybody. We on the other hand have invaded countries on both sides of Iran. Perhaps Iran is feeling a bit anxious, feeling a need to defend itself, for Chrissake.

But the whole nuclear weapons thing is based on a massive hypocrisy. We are allowed to intimidate other nations with our nuclear arsenal of 15000 ICBM's, but if another country tries to establish a deterrent capability, we must rush to war to stop them? I'm sorry, this is nuts. The whole non-proliferation thing seems to be some kind of trigger for aggressive action.

After watching the Moyers discussion tonight on my Oregon PBS affiliate, I was felt puzzled and left with the following opinion - It seems the only thing these gentlemen have to support their position on the current status of Iran's nuclear ambitions, intent and/or weapons capoability is this: The Administration was wrong about Iraq... so they MUST be wrong about Iran. After a few minutes of thought, I rolled my eyes and clicked the TV off with my remote.

Mr. Moyers, you said that none of the news reporters asked the tough questions and they are all still around. One of the guests said that they are stars and insinuated they could get away with it. You all are forgetting about Dan Rather. He did ask the tough questions and warned us all that we were allowing a huge mistake to go forward. He is not still around, is he? Please give credit were it is way overdue.

Greg,

Do you think the administration will be successful in launching a new war, i.e., one against Iran? Would it be carried out by the US itself or would Israel do the dirty work?

All you have written is, of course, dead-on accurate and for those who were conscious during Viet Nam, familiar. My question is this: With regard to the media, what has changed? As with history, it appears that nothing has been learned so it will be repeated with the next event - war or otherwise, nez pa?

To Jim: Thanks. Tom Brokaw was another one last week who said they asked all the tough questions and, anyway, Bush wanted war, plus "all wars are based on propaganda"-- he (of all people) even cited World War II. So what could the poor media do?

Greg,

Great to see you on the tele. Fantastic panel. I,too, am amazed and disgusted by the media's response to McClellan, who, though he was a bit behind such fine reporting as yours, still serve a purpose by outing those at the WH and the "watchdogs" who cover the Prez. You are the true watchdog. Keep up the good work.

Jim from Jacksonville

The media is far more consolidated, today, than in the year Bush entered office. Your appearance on Bill Moyers' show did little to address the problems raised. I would like to have heard about questions directed at facts that existed, but were ignored by media. One question, "Why did the 9/11 buildings fall in accordance with the laws of physics?"

That question doesn't require media to seek out policy makers.

Another question, "Why was the yellow cake scandal not exposed when it came up?" That question doesn't require media to seek out policy makers.

The list is long. None of the questions one might think of, would require media to seek out policy makers.

I'm disappointed in the show, as it appeared to deliberately avoid facts as the basis for discussion. Using a blowhard like McClellan as an indicator of the scope of discussion, rather than facts shows poor judgment on the participants, and on the credibility of the show overall. Is Bill Moyers censoring you?

My question is the same as Ejim Dike's. Please name names. Also, I found the discussion on the possibility of the administration contemplating an attack on Iran troubling and fear mongering. Think we need to remember that Congress would have a vote on any possible conflict with Iran.

Thanks for the explanation about why no one mentioned William Kristol and his errors. William Buckley once said something about enjoying reading radical and liberal journals (I think he intended The Nation) because they were so often wrong in their predictions. I feel that way about Bill Kristol. That boy has been wrong so often that I simple usually accept the reverse of what he predicts.

David Brooks amuses me, but I rarely take him seriously. A few months ago I stopped watching the evening PBS New show and substituted watching The Simpsons.

I was disappointed in what John Walcott had to say during the program. He seemed to be talking about current situations rather than how to do deeper digging and finding out more about the truth.
Greg Mitchell was right on. He should be running a newsroom. Although I wasn’t aware of McClatchy until tonight’s program, I felt that he was doing just what Greg Mitchell was espousing – not taking responsibility for not having done more fact finding in the past.

Thanks for the question. In the interview with Bill, I did cite the example of Bill Kristol, who was so wrong on Iraq and not only kept writing for The Washington Post but was then rewarded with a post at The New York Times, where he toils along with David Brooks, also "so wrong for so long" about the war. But that mention was cut out in the editing.

My question is for Greg Mitchell, Bill Moyers, and the two other guests who were just on the journal. If you are truly concerned about educating the public, why didn't you name the people in the administration who lied to the public about the invasion of Iraq? More than once, the guest criticized the press for not asking probing questions or aggressively investigating stories in the lead up to the war. One guest even said that the same people who deceived the public over Iraq are invited back by the television outlets to talk about Iran. I agree that the media did a completely inadequate job on the war in Iraq, and frankly don't trust that it will do a better job the next time. Wouldn't it be helpful if you let the public know who these people who lied are so that we exercise caution when we listen to them?

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