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Sunday, May 09, 2004

Scream 'Til Daddy Stops the Car

Right wing pundits such as Rush Limbaugh excuse the abuse in Iraq in much the same way they excused the Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam. Back then, they would argue that a sensationalist, activist media was working against the war effort by projecting gruesome images into the homes of Mr.& Mrs. Middle America.

Investigative journalist Jeff Cohen, writing for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (F.A.I.R.) shoots this fallacy out of the water. He writes:

It wasn't the mainstream media that turned the public against the war. Quite the contrary: it was the public -- especially the ever-growing anti-war movement fortified by Vietnam veterans who spoke out against the war -- that prodded mainstream media toward more skeptical coverage.

In February 1968, the Boston Globe surveyed the editorial positions of 39 leading U.S. dailies with a combined circulation of 22 million and found that not one advocated withdrawal from Vietnam. But that was the position of millions of Americans who'd educated themselves about the war -- not through the nightly news or Time magazine -- but via alternative media or attending protests or talking to returning vets. Campus teach-ins on Vietnam began in 1965.

Read Mr. Cohen's Excellent Article.

Who can forget the way the press operated as unoffical cheerleaders for the war at its inception? Now, after thousands of innocent lives have been lost, they're starting to get a little backbone. Why? Because we forced them to!

If we want the country to move in the right direction, it starts with us. The media will cover Michael Jackson or Bennifer, or some kid trapped in a well--anything except what really matters. Corporate media consolidation makes the tendency even more pronounced in our time.

If we want better coverage of what's going on, we have to fight for it. Get in touch with your inner child--not the sensitive one--the brat that screams until daddy stops the car at the DQ.

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