Following just one day after the announced by Dennis Kucinich that he is putting forth Articles of Impeachment against Dick Cheney for Lying to us into a War - Tonight at 9pm, PBS is airing the new Bill Moyers documentary "Buying the War", a film which analyzes just how much the mainstream media helped to manipulate the American Public into believing the need for our attack and occupation of Iraq.
The Washington Post’s Tom Shales calls it "one of the most gripping and important pieces of broadcast journalism so far this year, but it’s as disheartening as it is compelling." From Thinkprogress:
Moyers and producer Kathleen Hughes use alarming evidence and an array of respected journalists to make the case that, in the rage that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the media abandoned their role as watchdog and became a lapdog instead.
Bush and Cheney may have been the primary purveyor of the lies, but the mainsteam media were his willing cheerleaders in the march to war...
Watch Preview Video from Thinkprogress:
Exhibit A — the first event recalled in this report — is a news conference by President Bush on March 6, 2003, which Moyers says is two weeks before Bush "will order America to war." The press conference was a sham, with Bush calling only on "friendly" reporters who’d ask friendly questions. The corker was this scorching investigative query: "Mr. President, how is your faith guiding you?"
"At least a dozen times during [March 6th] press conference," Moyers says, Bush would "invoke 9/11 and al-Qaeda to justify a preemptive attack on a country that has not attacked America." The link between al-Qaeda and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was never proved and had to be taken on faith, Moyers recalls, as did the administration claim that Hussein had developed, was developing, or might soon develop weapons of mass destruction.
Moyers' documentary recounts how overseas reporters were far more skeptical of claims linking Saddam to Al Qaeda unlike Beltway-Punditocracy who were too far "inside the bubble".
Bob Simon of 60 Minutes: Saddam was a dictator, a control-freak. To introduce a wild-card group like Al-Qaeda is just something he wouldn't do, so I didn't believe it for an instant.
It also talks to reporters from Knight-Ridder who were skeptical of the claims of Iraq who found that some of their papers would instead be replaced by more administation friendly reports from the New York Times (by Judith Miller) or the Washington Post.
It wasn't clear to us we were hearing so much about Iraq, when the [9-11] attack clearly had al-Qaeda written all over it.
More from Shales...
Pressures subtle and blatant were brought to bear. Phil Donahue's nightly MSNBC talk show was virtually the only program of its type that gave antiwar voices a chance to be heard. Donahue was canceled 22 days before the invasion of Iraq, Moyers says. The reason was supposedly low ratings, but the New York Times intercepted an in-house memo in which a network executive complained: "Donahue represents a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war. At the same time, our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."
Wave the flag and cheer the march for war and you stay on the air - criticize the administration for it's lies and you get cancelled or simply won't have your reports run in the local papers.
Way back in 1992, Tim Robbins directed and starred in a film about a manipulative machevelian neo-con named Bob Roberts, who used his folk-singer charm and deep deception to dazzle the conservative faithful into a rabid cult-like following - while Bugs Raplin (Giancarlo Esposito) one lone reporter for a struggling left leaning magazine called Trouble Times attempts to expose the truth. Bugs is eventually framed for a faked attempt on Robert's life and lynched by supporters of Roberts, but he leaves behind a rant like recording which modern day reporters could use a few screening of...
We must remain Vigilant in order to preserve our democracy from curruption!
Fifteen years ago Raplin's words seem paranoid and delusion (even though he was correct), today they appear nothing less than prophetic.
We - here on Kos, at TPMMuckracker, DU, Media Matters and others sites that seek to shine a spotlight on the cockroaches that have taken over our nation's government have become Bugs Raplin. And at this particular moment, so has Bill Moyers.