Simplistic journalism, especially about misunderstood parts of the world and complex conflicts, can do grave harm by reinforcing biases or deepening anger. The U.S. news media has demonstrated this point with its coverage of the current Middle East unrest, writes Erin Niemela.
The neocon response toward the anger against the U.S. on the Arab and Muslim “street” is to lash out at those countries and to chastise President Obama for his early efforts at out-reach. But Middle East specialists Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett say the real problem was the lack of follow-through.
Exclusive: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s latest distortion about an attempt by the U.S. Embassy in Egypt to calm Mideast tensions is not only renewing concerns about his honesty but raising new questions about his mental stability, writes Robert Parry.
Anti-Americanism remains strong in the Muslim world, exacerbated by the kind of crude bigotry in a video that stoked the latest violence against U.S. diplomatic outposts and the killing of the American ambassador in Libya. Cool heads are needed to manage this problematic relationship, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
From the Archive: The assault by radical Islamists on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three of his aides, underscores the under-reported risk of the U.S.-backed military campaign against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, as Robert Parry noted in 2011.
The latest selling point for American warfare is “smart power” humanitarianism, dispatching the U.S. military to eliminate foreign leaders designated by pundits as evildoers taking lives and resisting freedom. Ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley warns against this latest con.
From the Archive: In 2009, when Scotland released Libyan Ali al-Megrahi after his prostate cancer was deemed terminal, U.S. and UK pols and pundits thundered against freeing the “Lockerbie bomber,” an outrage reprised this week after his death. But Megrahi’s odd conviction was not questioned, as Lisa Pease noted.
From the Archive: With the death of Ali al-Megrahi over the weekend, the Western press was again filled with references to him as the “Lockerbie bomber,” even though the New York Times finally conceded how dubious his conviction was. At Consortiumnews.com, William Blum made that point in real time.
Exclusive: Even in death, Libyan Ali al-Megrahi is dubbed “the Lockerbie bomber,” a depiction that proved useful last year in rallying public support for “regime change” in Libya. But the New York Times now concedes, belatedly, that the case against him was riddled with errors and false testimony, as Robert Parry reports.
Propaganda often involves taking the words of an adversary out of context and making them seem far worse or more dangerous than they are. When the news media joins in the distortion, the public can easily be stampeded into confrontation or war, a dilemma that ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar addresses.