Thursday, April 26, 2007

buying the war

Bill Moyers is one of the few television journalists I respect. I respect him because he does actual investigative journalism, rather than just commentary. He gives people a chance to tell their side of the story, but he doesn't mindlessly or uncritically parrot what they say. He fact-checks to find out whether or not what they've said is true. If only the rest of the mainstream media took their jobs as seriously as Moyers does.

Moyers's latest report, "Buying the War," is one of the best pieces of television journalism in many years. It explains clearly and cogently how the news media, both television and print, abandoned their duties as journalists in the wake of 9/11, in the run-up to the war in Iraq, and continuing to this day. He interviews -- or attempts to interview -- many of the important media figures who led the drumbeat for war, as well as those who failed to ask the tough questions that might have kept our country out of the Iraq war. I can't recommend this report highly enough.

The crucial point Moyers makes is that although the fraud that was manufactured by our government officials and endorsed by our media establishment is one of the great crimes of the last several decades, those who are responsible for it have not been held even vaguely accountable. Quite the contrary: their media prominence has only increased, as propagandists and warmongers such as Charles Krauthammer (now of Time and The Washington Post), Bill Kristol (now of Time), Jonah Goldberg (now of The Los Angeles Times), Peter Beinert (now of Time and The Washington Post), and Thomas Friedman (revered by media stars everywhere) have all seen their profiles enhanced over the past five years, which is precisely the opposite of what should have happened. I see these people interviewed as "experts" in matters of foreign policy every time I turn on the television.

Wouldn't it make sense to start treating as "experts" the people who were right about Saddam Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, about the nonexistent ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda, and about the consequences of invading the country, rather than conferring the status of "expert" on the people who gave us this disastrous war, who were wrong on every single issue concerning Iraq? Why aren't the people who were right -- Hans Blix, Howard Dean, Glenn Greenwald, Robert Collier, Paul Starr, Ramesh Thakur, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, and others -- taken seriously by the mainstream media?

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