“One of the most astounding and brazen acts by the MAVM (American Mass Audio-Visual Media) – which, as far as I know, remains unchallenged – has been their overt support of lies by the Bush administration, which claimed that it was attacking Iraq in order to destroy Sadaam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction”,” notes filmmaker Peter Watkins in part one of his massive analytical essay The Media Crisis.
“The Bush administration has now more or less admitted that it had fabricated this threat. As far as I know, no such admittance has been made by the American audiovisual media, which pumped out this misinformation to the American people, night after night. There has been no retraction by the American MAVM of this false premise for going to war … It’s as if the lie never existed.”
Well it’s a bit trickier than that. In the face of the obvious, that Saddam Hussein had no “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” it switched to a fallback position — that the CIA, then led by George (“It’s a slam dunk!”) Tenet had supplied BushCo with “faulty intelligence.” That the administration actively encouraged such “faulty intelligence” was clear from former ambassador Joseph Wilson’s report on alleged Iraqi dealing with Niger. His disinclination to follow the BushCo script, in which “yellowcake” uranium was sought by Saddam, led to the administration’s “outing” of Wilson’s wife, Valarie Plame, who was, until her exposure by columnist Robert Novak, employed as an undercover CIA agent.
As the secret information Novak made public was known to a wide variety of journalists and their editors as well — in that the administration “shopped it around” with considerable alacrity — special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has been requesting testimony from a great number of individuals. To date only the NYT’s Judy Miller has stood in “contempt of court,” refusing to testify. And Miller and th NYT have done everythign in their considerable public relations power to transform this contempt into heroism, today’s “Free Judy Miller” editorial being typical.
Yep, it’s dismal alright.
That the proudly neo-fascist B-H L, the “Born Again” Wenders, and the congenitally clueless Almodovar have rushed to Judy’s side is no surprise. But until now I wasn’t under the impresion that Gunter Grass had his head up his ass.
You can read the whole story at (no surprise) Free Republic. Just look at this list of Judy fans:
Don’t see Harold Pinter there do you? Didn’t think so.
And so we get respective 11 O’Clock Numbers from the NYT:
and “Reporters Without Borders”
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
What’s really going on here is best explained by Watkins masterpiece La Commune (de Paris, 1871), a nearly six-hour long recreation/analysis of both a historical event and the MAVM that no thinking individual should miss whenever it plays your way. Vast in scope, thrilling in intellectaul precision, it’s the fastest six-hours you’ve ever spent at the movies.
His essay, “The Media Crisis,” is a continued exploration of several of its aspects. To whit –
“In a word, the American MAVM now hold precisely the same position regarding Washington, as Dr. Goebbel’s propaganda machinery held vis-a-vis the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, and the Nazi Party. They have become nothing less than the propaganda arm of the state. Thus we saw ‘embedded’ journalists from CNN, Fox Network, ABC-TV, etc., reporting directly from Iraq, wearing their ‘objective’ USA combat uniforms – and having precisely the same role as the German Wehrmacht cameramen who stormed across Poland, bringing newsreel images of the blitzkrieg to non-critical and manipulated audiences throughout the Third Reich.”
In light of the facts, this not an extreme statement. Watkins goes on –
“Notable in the manipulation of grief by the American media was the way in which every single person connected with the events of September 11 became an instant hero. The people who died were heroes, their surviving families were heroes. The heroes became TV icons, and the living were besieged by media cameras: the American MAVM transformed the event into a prolonged and cruel soap-opera, in which the families of victims were repeatedly prodded to tell how much they missed their dead son/daughter/brother/mother – accompanied by endless dissolves between their crying faces, and portraits of their deceased family members
On one occasion (I believe an Oprah Winfrey show), a grief sequence included a small group of September 11 widows. They were asked to watch a monitor showing a montage of photos of their dead relatives – in this case mostly husbands. The Oprah Winfrey producers constantly dissolved the cameras between the edited photos and the crying widows. Some minutes into this traumatic material, the faces had changed, and I slowly realized that I was watching a commercial for Paxil, a drug for generalized anxiety disorder. So adroit was this change, that I wasn’t sure if the people were now talking about their ‘ailments’ – or about their fear of the next terrorist attack.
Notable in this drawn-out process of grief manipulation, was the role of anchor-people and presenters: “How do you FEEL?”, “Where do you get the COURAGE from?”, “Do you MISS him/her?”. Constantly probing, prying, intruding, suggesting – and always, always dripping with sincerity. Throughout this disingenuous process, one knew that as long as the hapless families mourned their loved ones, or even participated in anecdotes (the dog waiting for his master beneath the bed), all was hunky-dory, for this was the collective image that TV – and government officials – wanted and needed: it conformed to the ideals of the Hollywood narrative, and tied in perfectly with the increasingly paranoid victim-role into which America was being immersed (and which was crucial for the military end-game). “
And thus we see the problem created by the otherwise admirable Cindy Sheehan. Insofar as she remained a “suffering victim,” she was an acceptable televisual subject. When she spoke out and fought back she lost that teleprivileged status.
She is now an enemy of the state.
Meanwhile elsewhere in the MAVM, it has been revealed that a journalist for a student newspaper, The Daily Egyptian manufactured a story detailing emotional parting between father about to serve in Iraq and his young daughter. Neither father nor daughter exist.
No surprise then to discover, in another publication, a story in which students claim to find Public Relations preferable to journalism, the former apparently regarded as a more honest undertaking.
That said students can actually tell journalism and PR apart gives one hope.
But not as much hope as Peter Watkins.