Quantcast
Connect with us

How the media is already Trump’s willing accomplice as the drumbeat for war with Iran grows louder

Published

on

If there were any lingering hopes that the corporate media learned from its role in perpetuating the lies that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and would never again help start a Middle East war on the basis of false or flimsy evidence, the headlines that blared across the front pages of major U.S. news websites Thursday night indicated that such hopes were badly misplaced.

ADVERTISEMENT

The U.S. military late Thursday released blurry, black-and-white video footage that it claimed—without any underlying analysis or further details—showed an Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded limpet mine from the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, one of the oil tankers damaged in attacks in the Gulf of Oman.

Here’s how CNN presented the U.S. military’s video:

Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks, and Yutaka Katada—the owner of the Kokuka Courageous—contradicted the Trump administration’s account during a press conference on Friday.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Our crew said that the ship was attacked by a flying object,” Katada said. “I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship.”

Independent critics were quick to call for extreme skepticism in the face of U.S. government claims, given the quality of the “evidence” and the warmongering track records of those presenting it.

A serial liar is President.

A warmonger and a serial fabricator who helped get us into the disastrous Iraq war and who has sabotaged numerous attempts at diplomacy is the NatSec Advisor.

But go ahead, Media, treat Pompeo’s accusations as “evidence”…#OilTanker #GulfOfOman

— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) June 13, 2019

ADVERTISEMENT

But the media displayed no such caution.

Just taking a random sample of screenshots after the news broke Thursday night, major outlets largely did the Pentagon’s dirty work by posting uncritical headlines that took the claims at face value.

The Washington Post used the word “purported” in its headline, but erroneously reported that the video was taken “before” the explosion on the vessel, not after. The headline was later changed, but was made no more critical of the military’s claim:

ADVERTISEMENT

The U.K.-based Guardian also offered a simple “U.S. says” headline construction:

ADVERTISEMENT

In the New York Times rendition—which appeared prominently on their homepage—the claim of what the U.S. military intelligence “believed” the video to show was framed with the more objective-sounding and vague phrase “what analysts believed”:

Like the Guardian, Politico made no attempt to go beyond the “U.S. says” framework:

ADVERTISEMENT

Fox News, of course, went further than most by characterizing the Pentagon video as a “major clue” to who was behind the alleged attack:

CNN, meanwhile—specifically in the subhead of the headline story that appeared at the top of their page late Thursday night—took the military’s claim of what the video showed as actual fact:

ADVERTISEMENT

The Hill‘s version, similar to the error made by the Post, reported that the video was taken before the explosion—a detail likely to leave readers much more suspicious of Iran’s involvement than if one of its vessels had approached the ship in the wake of the incident:

Though no single headline could be construed as explicit pro-Pentagon propaganda on its own, the uncritical nature of the coverage and ensuing echo chamber effect—or what is sometimes referred to as “propaganda reinforcement”—is one of the ways that the U.S. government and its intelligence agencies are empowered to turn a flimsy claim into a pervasive and widely-accepted fact.

Classic BBC propaganda reinforcement:

‘The footage released by the US on Thursday is rather more convincing…’

And ascribe doubts *solely* to the accused ‘Bad Guys’:

‘There will likely be doubts in Tehran as to whether this video is genuine.’ https://t.co/aXZVSS3XJL

— Media Lens (@medialens) June 14, 2019

In a blog post on Friday, historian and Middle East expert Juan Cole wrote that the Trump administration’s narrative that Iranians were removing an unexploded mine from the damaged oil tanker “doesn’t make any sense at all” and said the video footage released by the U.S. “needs to be carefully analyzed” before any conclusions are drawn.

ADVERTISEMENT

“[Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo alleged that only the Iranians had the expertise to deploy these mines,” Cole wrote. “We heard this crock for 8.5 years in Iraq—all shaped charges had to be Iran-backed, even those of al-Qaeda, because Iraqis didn’t have the expertise…. Sure. Had to be Iran, helping those hyper-Sunni al-Qaeda. Very likely story.”

On Twitter, Sina Toossi, research associate at the National Iranian American Council, echoed Cole’s call for skepticism and an investigation.

“What we need is an impartial investigation,” Toossi wrote, “and to be highly skeptical of claims and intel assessments from Bolton/Pompeo.”

Head of the tanker says two drones caused the damaged, contradicting this “dozen men on a boat” narrative.

What we need is an impartial investigation & to be highly skeptical of claims & intel assessments from Bolton/Pompeo. https://t.co/i0s3Nnsiwm

— Sina Toossi (@SinaToossi) June 14, 2019

ADVERTISEMENT

In a column published last month as the U.S. aggressively escalated military tensions with Iran and pushed the two nations to the brink of all-out war, The Intercept‘s Mehdi Hasan asked a straightforward question that remains relevant in the present: “Do U.S. reporters, anchors, and editors really want more Middle Eastern blood on their hands?”

“If not,” Hasan wrote, “they need to fix their rather credulous and increasingly hawkish coverage of Iran and the Trump administration—and fix it fast.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Mulvaney’s ‘astonishing public act of legal self-destruction’ can be used against Trump: ex-prosecutor

Published

on

In the opening segment on CNN's "New Day," former prosecutor Elie Honig claimed he was stunned by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's press conference on Thursday, saying he just handed prosecutors all they need to go after President Donald Trump.

Speaking with hosts Alisyn Camerota and John Berman, the former prosecutor  could only describe Mulvaney's presser, where he admitted that the administration was indulging in quid pro quo negotiations with foreign governments to get dirt on political opponents, as an "astonishing public act of legal and strategic self-destruction."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Why key Senate Republicans should be terrified as Trump drags the party down

Published

on

Incumbent Republican senators in swing states and blue states find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, criticizing President Donald Trump can result in a burdensome GOP primary battle; on the other hand, being perceived as pro-Trump can be the kiss of death in places where Trump is unpopular. And according to a report by Eli Yokley for Morning Consult’s website, things aren’t getting any better for incumbent GOP senators who are considered vulnerable in the 2020 election.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

‘It was nutso’: Devin Nunes reportedly made himself look ridiculous by obsessing over the Steele Dossier in Ukraine hearing

Published

on

devin nunes defeat

While the House Intelligence Committee is spearheading impeachment with its investigation into President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal, it seems Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California can’t stop obsessing about the Steele Dossier.

According to the Daily Beast, the ranking member of the committee launched into an exchange during the closed impeachment inquiry hearings about the dossier on Thursday with Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union who is at the center of the Ukraine scandal. He was a point person in Trump’s efforts to get the Ukrainians to announce an investigation into the 2016 election as well as former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for favorable treatment from the White House.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image