The president's secret Thanksgiving trip to Iraq prompted predictable gushing from major media. As we head toward a presidential election, mainstream media and their pundits are telling us Bush will be difficult to beat. What mass media don't discuss much is their own role in public opinion and public ignorance, two measures that run hand in hand.
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That half or more Americans think Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attack -- perhaps the most media-covered event in our history -- stands as a horrific indictment of U.S. media today. Such levels of ignorance can't be found in other countries.
Americans who are fundamentally misinformed about 9/11 provide the bulk of those tallied in polls as supporting Bush and the Iraq war. Subtract them from polls and Bush is an unpopular president -- widely seen as having accomplished a bait and switch, redirecting U.S.
anger and vengeance toward a country that did not attack us.
The run-up to the Iraq war offers a case study in news bias: how mainstream media, especially television, were incapable of getting the truth out in the face of administration lies and innuendo about Iraq's 9/11 role and weapons of mass destruction.
Among experts internationally, there had been much debate and many doubts about Iraq being an imminent WMD threat. But there was little debate among the handpicked weapons "experts" who dominated U.S. television coverage in the build up to war -- and most of what they told us has turned out to be wrong. A media furor erupted over fictionalization in news accounts by New York Times reporter Jayson Blair, but not about the more momentous reporting -- illusory and scarily overstated -- by Times star Judith Miller on...