How the war was sold is the topic of Bill Moyers’ first Journal. It is also the subject of Frank Rich’s book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold (a wonderful book that hasn’t gotten its due, in my opinion). We would have never gone to war if the president, the vice president and WHIG didn’t start a coordinated effort to confuse and fake out the public.
In this episode of the Bill Moyers Journal, the journalist looks at the press. He clearly points to some of the great reporting during that time that has been overlooked. He also points to some of the pressures that major networks were under. The pressure came from the right. It came from sponsors. It came from the public. The unwritten rule was not to really confront the president. Everyone was expected to be ultra-patriotic. The pressure that came from Fox News must have been unreal. Fox News more than any other network waved the red, white and blue and then wrapped themselves in the flag. They were ultra-patriotic and everyone else was not even close. (The Neocons during this time made Fox their home.) If you were “unpatriotic,” Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and the patriotic police would call you out and highlight you and your network. The Neocons and the rest of the right wing war machine would be calling you out soon after that. They would be followed by the radio noise machine. Soon you were out. Ask Phil Donahue, who was basically kicked out of a job for not being “patriotic enough.”
The relatively small Knight-Rider outfit consistently got it right, while the Washington Post and the NY Times got it wrong. Moyers does a very good job at pointing this out.
This is a GREAT initial episode. I will be posting it in five parts. Here are the first two.
Update: I originally posted this back in 2007. My blog has been updated many times since then. I have no idea where the original video that accompanies this post is. Fortunately, I found the original program and I have embedded it below.
So, here’s my question. Could this happen again? Could we, the American people, be pushed into another war of convenience?