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The Media Were "Cheerleaders" for the Iraq War?


By Bob Ellis

Dakota Voice


Some people may have trouble accepting my assertion that Bill Moyers' upcoming propaganda piece on the media's activities leading up to the Iraq War is a bunch of bunk.   I understand that the contentions of liberals thrive best in environments of uncertainty where the facts aren't convenient for immediate recall, and given that those pre-war days were four long years ago, maybe Moyers thinks, "Now is the time."  

Moyer's revisionist program asserts the media just didn't do it's job, that it "enabl[ed] the Bush Administration to go to war," that they just didn't dig deep enough. They were too busy being "cheerleaders for the war" during the 7-month long "rush to war."

In fact, the mainstream media were not "cheerleaders for the war" as Moyers asserts. Far from it, they were busy about the usual appeasement role they have played for the past 50 years, with the possible exception of the Afghanistan invasion in the days shortly after 911.

As I considered how I might best illustrate Moyers' revisionism, I recalled that the Media Research Center's job is monitoring and cataloguing media bias, so I took a little trip down memory lane as I perused their files.

Examine with me this list of examples of pre-war media coverage from MRC...and keep in mind that MRC admits they don't catch all the bias that's going on out there. 


These examples start in March of 2003, right before the invasion was launched, and go all the way back to August of 2002 when President Bush began to press in earnest for disarmament verification and compliance from Saddam Hussein.

Klein Complains Bush is Causing France to be “Humiliated”

Jane Hall Scolds MRC for “Demonizing” Those Against War (but I thought the media was "cheerleading for the war?"

CBS Skips Over Poll Showing Backing of Military Action on Iraq

GMA Duo Marvel: Iraqis “Love” Hussein Who Earned 100% Vote

NBC's Typical Iraqi: “America is a Terrorist Country”

Jennings Argues to Powell that Inspections are Working

Bush's Brain Author Says Iraq “Distracts” from Bush Failures

Moran's Question Encapsulates ABC's Blame Bush Attitude

Jennings Laments Bush Unmoved by Views of Allies or Blix

Helen Thomas: Why Does Bush Want to “Bomb Iraqi People?”

ABC and CBS Treat Pro-Saddam March in Baghdad as Newsworthy

Chris Matthews Goes on a Tear Against “Kid” Bush on Iraq

Today's Town Meeting: Iraqi Disarmament Undercuts Bush Case

NBC: Missile Destruction “Too Painful for People Here to See”

Bush “a Pro-War Zealot” Who is “Changing the Rules” on Iraq

Moran Tells Fleischer Iraq's Disarmament is “Substantive”

ABC: Bush's “Hard Line” Complicating the UN's Peace Efforts

Dan Rather Too Nice to Hussein Even for Bill Maher

Bush Marching to War “Even As” Iraq Pledges to Disarm

ABC Emphasizes How U.S. Will Kill Babies and Kids in Iraq

Ramsey Clark Helps Rather Land Hussein Who “Respects” Americans

Terry Moran: Blame Rumsfeld and Powell for France's Ire

Bush Admin. Imperiling Friends “To Get Its Way About Iraq”

Koppel More Suspicious of Bush Motives Than is Ex-Clinton Aide

Fleischer: Does ABC News “Acknowledge Hussein Has WMD?”

Jennings Focuses on Iraqis in Phoenix Against U.S. Policy

Impugning the Worst of Motives to Why Alert Status Raised

Jennings Again Delivers Most Anti-Bush Spin of the Night

Mary McGrory Knows “Nobody” Who Favors War on Iraq

Thomas Berates Fleischer About U.S. “Divvying Up” Iraqi Oil

U.S. Convinced by Powell, So Jennings Looks Overseas for Ire

ABC Goes to Baghdad for Reaction: U.S. Wants to “Enslave Iraq”

Rather Elevates Anger & Threats of Gun-Toting Iraqi Citizens

Everyone Against Bush on Iraq, But Jordan's King Says...

Trumpeting Lack of “Smoking Gun” to Justify Iraq War

Blaming Bush for Making North Korea Feel Threatened

Jennings Stresses Unfavorable Parts of Pro-Bush Iraq Poll

60 Minutes Dismissed, But Iraq Was “Tantalizingly Close” to Nuke

Another Anti-Bush Iraq Policy Twist From Peter Jennings

CNN Suggests Iraq Showing Its “Goodwill”

Bush “Goading” Iraq Into War Precipitously? Arabs Against War

Jennings: Bush Assumed “Iraq Would Not Cooperate”

CBS’s Simon Hopes Bush Iraq Threats a Ruse

Bush Wants War to Avenge Threat to Dad

Bush Inconsistent on Iraq, North Korea

Iraq War Bad for the Stock Market

No Blood for Oil

Bush Being Hard on Iraq Encourages Terrorism

Overseas concerns about attacking Iraq

Undermining Bush's reason for war

Economy over war

Bush is bought and paid for by Big Oil

Arrogant American imperialism which will just sow the seeds for more terrorism

After being called on their bias, ABC pretends they get it

Highlighting Gore's dissent

Bush administration is a bully

Skepticism runs deep

MSNBC gobbles up, regurgitates Iraqi propaganda

Conditions Iraqis put on inspections weren't really conditions

NBC Mouthpiece for the Enemy

Bush too preoccupied with Iraq

Peter Jennings disappointed there's not more opposition to Iraq policy

Bush has "argument" not "evidence"

Iraq is Bush's fault

Does Bush have any evidence?

Bush Administration is warmongering

CIA could be wrong

And these examples are beside the fact that the U.S. had overwhelming reason to invade Iraq; these merely examine the facts in light of Moyers' claim of pre-war media behavior.


Whether you buy any of the mainstream media spin in these examples or not, I think the case has been made beyond the point of ridiculousness whether the media was playing "cheerleader" for the Iraq war.

So, does this look to you like the media was "cheerleading for war" in Iraq? 


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