April 2, 2003
MEDIA AND THE 'INFORMATION WAR'
sides "manage information" as "another weapon"; many see
Iraq winning "the propaganda battle."
and Muslim dailies praise Al-Jazeera and other Arab channels for countering
"biased reporting" of Western media "monopoly."
praise, others deride practice of "embedding" reporters with troops.
'Information is a weapon' wielded by both
sides-- Dailies worldwide argued
that the media are playing "a central role" in the Iraq conflict, and
that "the control of information, including its manipulation, is...a key
element" in what is partly a "psychological war." Italy's center-right Il Giornale
judged that "the management of information...in the era of TV and Internet
communication" has become "even more crucial." Papers held that both sides use the mass
media as "propaganda instruments," with some giving Iraq the edge so
far: A Czech daily claimed "nothing
has been as successful...as Saddam's war propaganda." A number of papers cited that as one reason
Iraqi TV "was moved to the list of bomb targets."
Al-Jazeera provides 'credible alternative' to
Western media's 'lies'-- Papers in the Arab and
Muslim world praised Al-Jazeera and other Arab channels as "major
obstacles frustrating U.S. plans in Iraq" and presenting a "different
reality" of the war. The U.S.
"lost control of media spin with the arrival of Arab TV," crowed Algeria's
independent El Watan, while Malaysia's government-influenced Berita
Harian lauded Arab channels for exposing the "false news" offered
by Western networks. As "the most
popular channel in the Muslim world," the centrist Times of India
conceded, Al Jazeera "represents a different point of view"--one
which a Spanish daily termed "more than a stone in the shoe of the
Allies." Many Arab papers accused
the U.S. of hypocrisy for criticizing Al Jazeera for showing video of U.S. POWs
but not complaining when Western networks broadcast "images of Iraqi
prisoners and dead."
'Embedding' reporters: unparalleled access or
Pentagon manipulation?-- Some commentators
applauded the Pentagon for embedding reporters with troops, saying "never
before" have military leaders "allowed such televised
transparency." Others hailed the
innovation for providing "the most vivid and direct war reporting ever
seen" but added there was "clear evidence that reporters identify
with the troops" which could "compromise their journalistic
integrity." An embedded journalist
"could not be an objective chronicler even if he wanted to," stated
Hungary's liberal Magyar Hirlap.
A Thai daily denounced embedding as a new Pentagon "news-management
tactic" while a Zimbabwean paper disparaged the "deafening cacophony
of conformist voices" coming from embedded reporters "screeching out
the same message...about the might and invincibility" of Coalition
This analysis is based on 89 reports from 38 countries, March 26-April
1, 2003. Editorial excerpts from each
country are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "After The
The conservative Times editorialized (3/28): "Both Mr Bush and Mr Blair expressed
exasperation yesterday with many of the media pundits. The Prime Minister conceded that a
combination of sporadic but inconvenient resistance and highly adverse weather
conditions over the past few days had perhaps deprived the allies of the
perception of momentum. Now that clear
skies have returned, it should be possible to demonstrate progress in a visible
fashion, he argued."
GERMANY: "The Great
Washington correspondent P. Borchardt commented
on info radio of Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg (3/31): “The great danger for the Bush administration
is its credibility gap between the things it says and the things that are
really happening.... The credibility gap
is now beginning to open, including in the American public. And it will widen even more the long the war
takes, the more victims there will be on both sides, and the more the TV
pictures push aside the enthusiasm for war at the beginning.”
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau editorialized
(3/27): “Iraqi state television is not
known for its independence; it is a place for spreading government
propaganda. However, to believe this
justifies a missile attack requires President Bush’s way of looking at the
world. Bush believes that any action he
takes against ‘evil’ is automatically backed by law.... The missiles fired at the Baghdad TV station
have damaged the rules of international law....
Anyone who throws civilized conduct overboard while claiming to defend
civilization has no ground to stand on."
Right-of-center Thueringer Allgemeine of Erfurt took this
view (3/26): “It appears to be a classic
case of war propaganda. While the
British military vaguely alludes to an uprising in Basra, the people in the
beleaguered city appear to have no knowledge of such an event. At least that is what the pictures produced
by Al Jazeera seem to indicate. Then
again, these pictures are unreliable as well, because Al Jazeera is the only
station still allowed to film in Basra with its own team. More contradictory stories will emerge over
the next few weeks. The longer this war
takes, the more difficult it will be to win support for it and the more
tempting it will become to ‘fix’ reality.”
ITALY: "Saddam’s Final
Foreign affairs editor Marcello Foa opined in pro-government,
leading center-right daily Il Giornale (3/31): “When at war, the management of
information--and disinformation--is always important...and in the era of TV and
Internet communication has become of even more crucial importance. With respect to the war in Kosovo or the one
in Afghanistan, the new development is that unanimity among the American
strategists is missing here.... Internal
debate usually does not come out from the Pentagon’s thick walls. But this time irritation is so strong
that...some military have begun talking to the press. And to almost always tell the truth."
RUSSIA: "Iraqi War
Reports More Credible"
Maksim Yusin judged in reformist Izvestiya (3/27): "Paradoxically, of late Iraqi war
reports have sounded more credible than the American. The Pentagon has more than once been caught
spreading obviously false information.
Besides, the Allied command, apparently reluctant to acknowledge its
losses, does so too late, measuring the information it feeds to the
public.... You have to hand it to
Saddam--he has learnt his lesson and tries not to repeat the mistakes of 12
years ago. Overall, the way the Iraqis
have been acting in the week since the start of the war is quite civilized and
clever. Their propaganda is giving
Washington a hard time."
"U.S. Propaganda Clumsy"
Aleksandr Reutov commented in reformist business-oriented Kommersant
(3/27): "Against the Iraqis'
thought-out propaganda scheme, the Allies' looks unconvincing. This while the Pentagon has been using the
most influential mass media."
Edin Krehic opined in oldest Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje
(3/29): "A good question, at this
moment, is how objective are reports from Iraq.
Saddam Hussein expelled all American reporters. As expected, his TV is serving his propaganda
purposes. However, it also serves as
information provider.... On the other
hand, approximately a thousand reporters joined American troops, spending days
and nights with them on their way to Baghdad, and the question is how objective
can they be considering the circumstances....
There are independent crews as well, however, one of them was already
caught in cross-fire and got hurt.
Therefore, a certain reserve of readers, viewers and listeners has to
"Saddam’s Successful Tactics"
Pavel Tomasek wrote in the business daily Hospodarske noviny
(4/1): "So far, nothing has been as
successful in the military operation in Iraq as Saddam’s war propaganda. Bodies of killed U.S. and British soldiers
and blood-smeared Iraqi civilians are definitely shown more often than pictures
of happy Iraqis welcoming the coalition troops.
Blair and Bush are facing a question of how many casualties the public
will be willing to put up with.... The
Americans still seem to trust their President, but much suggests that things
could turn worse."
"Arnett, You Are Fired!"
Martin Zverina commented in the center-right daily Lidove
noviny (4/1): "By firing Peter
Arnett, NBC television perhaps wanted to curry flavor with the White House;
whether it scored points with their viewers is questionable. With this approach, NBC casts doubt upon its
news coverage and provides further material for all opponents to war, in and
outside the U.S. It is paradoxical to
see a medium working hard on its ratings, viewership and credit to destroy it
voluntarily in such a way. Censorship in
the 21st century is a childish anachronism."
"War Over TVs"
Petr Masa observed in the centre-right daily Lidove noviny
(3/27): "The Pentagon has prepared
itself for the war with Saddam on all fronts including the media. However something went wrong on the
battlefield. The dictator's units don't
surrender in big numbers, and there are no crowds of welcoming Iraqis. The allies have therefore changed their plan. Iraqi TV, which was originally intended to
remain untouched in order to spread propaganda of a new pro-American
administration of the country, was moved to the list of bomb targets. The fight for freedom of speech has meaning
only in time of peace. During war, the
media becomes yet another weapon for both sides. The U.S. confessed by its attack on the TV
that it has not succeeded on this front.
Baghdad simply isn't Hollywood."
Center-right Politiken held (3/28): "It has been said so many times before,
that it hardly bears saying again: The
first casualty of war is truth. The
current war is no exception, even though the media has become more aware of
attempts to manipulate it.... Today,
Western journalists are in the war zone with American and British troops and
they have agreed only to report things which the military agree are suitable
for publication. The risks are
obvious. Quite apart from the fact that
journalists are limited professionally, it is easy for them to be drawn in to
the unit with which they are traveling.
From being impartial observers, they become a part of the war. This increases the risk of biased impression
of the war being presented--something that is intensified by the fact that only
the American and British forces are accompanied by journalists.... This [the Embed program] can, to some extent,
explain the divide between Western and Arab-country reporting. This is hardly surprising. But, we should not allow politicians and
military leaders to play games with the tenets of democracy."
Centrist Kristeligt Dagblad opined (3/27): "America did not lose the Vietnam War in
the paddy fields, but on the domestic front.
People simply could no longer stand to seeing the photographs of naked
children running away from napalm bombs....
The media have a tendency to present their reports as though they are
the [definitive] truth. But, media
reports are always an edited version of the truth."
Centrist Weekendavisen stated (3/28): "War is about more than troops, bombs
and victories. It is about [public]
opinion and that is why media coverage is so important."
Tabloid, centrist Ilta-Sanomat commented (3/29): "The worst thing about this TV war is
that even the most naive turn into cynics.
When Saddam Hussein--the man whose secret police was trained in East Germany--begins
to praise Allah...one has to ask what his motives are. The same is true about President Bush's
pathos. TV images are hiding the basic
issue of humankind: what to do about a
tyrant? To intervene or not to intervene?"
HUNGARY: "A Reality
Show From Iraq"
Pal Tamas concluded in liberal Magyar Hirlap (3/29): “CNN is full of boring reports, the assigned
media workers are busy filming the American units firing their arms and guns in
the desert. A journalist ‘embedded’ this way could not be an objective chronicler
even if he wanted to.”
The War Against Iraq"
The center-left Irish Times editorialized (3/29): "Propaganda and war are inseparable, as
we have been forcibly reminded.... The
desire to publicise and encourage public credulity led the United States and
Britain to 'embed' some 500 journalist in units fighting the war. As a result, we have had some of the most
vivid and direct war reporting ever seen, along with clear evidence that
reporters identify with the troops doing the fighting, which can compromise
their journalistic integrity.... It is
important in these circumstances that readers get an Irish perspective on the
war, from a supposedly non-aligned and neutral viewpoint, notwithstanding the
Government's agreement that the U.S. military can use Shannon airport. Only this newspaper and RTE are providing
such a perspective."
Editor-in-chief Liudvikas Gadeikis observed in
political-economical weekly Veidas (3/28): "This war is clearly showing what the
often-mentioned 'information age' really means.
We see that information is a weapon, not less powerful than the modern
military equipment. During the first war
in the Persian Gulf, information was very limited. In this war it is used as a good and
trustworthy bat. We must say that Saddam
is better at this, maybe because he has fewer real weapons."
Reminders Of Lost Wars"
Erik Sagflaat commented in the social democratic Dagsavisen
(3/30): “One of the reasons for the war
against Iraq is that it shall introduce freedom of speech in Iraq, a freedom
that these hawks in Washington now will refuse their own. The attempt at standardization of the
American mass media has the past year and a half been both conspicuous and
frightening. That the war has not gone
as easily as the Bush administration’s civilian advisors had believed, can
hopefully give them a tiny bit of badly needed sobriety.... In the neo-conservative ideological circles
that surround President George W. Bush, Iraq has just been regarded as the
first step. Iran, Libya, Syria and North
Korea stand on the candidate list of ‘bandit states’ that one wishes to take
over. That one stumbles in the beginning
can have the one good effect that belief in war gives way to other and more
civilized means to solve international problems.”
"Bombs Against The Media"
The independent Dagbladet argued (3/27): “The night before last the TV station in
Baghdad was bombed. The Americans
claimed that Iraqi broadcasting was among the targets to be attacked in order
to weaken Saddam Hussein’s control of the country.... There is no doubt that the mass media become
propaganda instruments during a war, or that the media under Saddam never has
been able to operate freely. It gives,
however, no reason to make the media a war target.... When the media become war targets, the
journalists are also defined as war participants.... Bombs against the media is a poor argument
for democracy and freedom; it is something that the Iraqis also understand, no
matter how downtrodden they are by Saddam.”
PORTUGAL: "Image of
Former PSD shadow defense minister Carlos Encarnação opined in
Porto-based center-left Jornal de Notícias (3/29): "A dictatorship can use human shields,
can hide grenades and missiles in schools, can violate conventions, can think
about and decide to use chemical weapons.
A democracy is committed to waging a clean war, without casualties,
without collateral effects, without hitting civilian objectives. Because of this, no matter how manipulative
the images might be, there is always an opportunity to establish the
"The Images That Are Missing"
PSD Euro Parliament member José Pacheco Pereira observed in
influential moderate-left Público (3/27): "Never has any army in combat allowed
such televised transparency.... In a
conflict like the current one it is easily understandable that the majority of
journalists are against the war, and this conditions their reporting. But American political and military leaders,
who essentially created this scheme, did so totally conscious of the
risks. Maybe they think--and this is as
risky as all innovative things are--that only in this way could there be a
relegitimization of the need for military action by democracies.... If, in an ideal world, television showed the
reality of both sides, in the same way and with the same criteria, we would
understand the enormous difference in the way war is conducted by a democracy
and a dictatorship.... It is a strange
Western journalism that says that Al-Jazeera represents the 'Arab
perspective'...when it shows civilian victims and doesn't ask itself why, at
press conferences with Iraqi leaders, no one--not even those with an 'Arab
perspective'--asks the same kind of cynical and tough questions that American
journalists are used to doing at the Pentagon.... This model of antiglobalization journalism,
so lauded by our anti-Americans, is disinformation. The missing images aren't in there. Saddam's violence isn't in there."
ROMANIA: "The Press
Military analyst Cornel Codita opined in financial daily Bursa
(3/28): "The only connection
between the military’s war and the press war is pressure. The pressure created by the images
overwhelmingly broadcast by the world TV media, transformed into a sale where
the war is sold piece by piece, hour by hour, minute by minute. This pressure is put on the population and
those who decide on the politics. In a
strange way, the politics and the politicians seem forced to choose between the
military war and the press war. Not only
Saddam’s fate, but that of the world to be born, might depend on this choice,
more than on the results of the military operations which are going on.”
"Adjusting The Script"
Centrist La Vanguardia asserted (4/1): "As happened in the first Gulf War in
1991, the control of information, including its manipulation, is turning out to
be a key element of the Iraqi military conflict.... But the pressure... to undermine the BBC's
coverage of the war, or the bombing of Iraqi television in Baghdad, reveal the
existence of a immoderate desire on the part of political power to assure that
information about the war follows the official script."
"The War And The Arab World"
Conservative ABC observed (4/1): "One can't forget in this difficult
context the power acquired by the [Arab] anti-U.S. media who are doing work
that the Pentagon did not know how to measure.
In contrast to 1991, CNN is not the only reference in this war, not even
the main one. The constant broadcast of
Al-Jazeera is more than a stone in the shoe of the Allies.... If this war drags on, the front of Arab
public opinion could transform itself into a grave and unforeseen problem for
the U.S., which should now activate a solution for the Palestinians, which
seemed without hope before."
UKRAINE: "Who Is
Winning The Information War In Iraq?"
Zakhar Butyrsky of Novy Kanal national TV stated on a Hromadske
Radio talk show (3/31): "Ukraine
found itself on the anti-Iraqi coalition list...[but] at the same time it seems
that officially Ukraine is more on the U.S. side: Looking at Ukrainian TV news we can see
sufficient representation of the American position. This can be seen by comparing five reports on
U.S. military actions to one or none on what the Iraqis are doing or what
Saddam Hussein is planning. Still, the
public opinion is turning towards the Iraqi side."
Essam Kamel contended in leading opposition Al Wafd
(4/1): “American authorities complain
about the bias of Arab media.... The
largest result of America’s war on Iraq is that it completely eliminated the
myth [about American media]. For years,
Americans taught the world about free media, transparency of information, and
democratic values but now they are moving in the opposite direction. Now they are asking for help from the Arab
media. They have launched campaigns of
deceit and imposed a media blackout on the American people...and they have even
arrested hundreds opposed to the war.
The myth of democracy has been destroyed.... Baghdad demonstrated to the world that the
American empire has lost the last of her values, human rights.”
Editor-in-chief Ibrahim Nafie wrote in leading pro-government Al
Ahram (3/27): “The current war in
Iraq may be the first war of public opinion during which nations and
non-governmental organizations stress their growing role in directing political
life in the international community....
If control over the media...to control public opinion...has been part of
the past, politicians know that [this is changing]. During Desert Storm, some Arab countries
realized the importance of Arab public opinion and allocated major funds to
launch TV networks.... Some foreign
parties may have implicitly contributed to such media and may be exposed after
the war on Iraq ends, as they will launch direct messages at Arab public
opinion through these new media. Is
there a way to check this before it is too late?”
SAUDI ARABIA: "The
World's Information Minister"
The English-language Riyadh Daily published this editorial
by Abdulwahid Al-Humaid (4/1):
"America went berserk with rage when Iraq TV displayed footage of
captured American POWs and of those killed in battle. In retaliation, the U.S. bombed Iraqi TV and
poured scorn on television stations that transmitted the images of those
killed.... A few days later, Britain
reacted similarly when Al-Jazeera broadcast footage of dead British
soldiers.... But the U.S., which says
transmitting such footage is against international conventions, never hesitated
in showing pictures of Iraqi POWs on TV....
America has already become the world's policeman. Now it finds itself with a new job...that of
being the world's Minister of Information!
It is the U.S. that decides now what can be transmitted and what is not
to be broadcast on TV and, of course, everything has to be in accordance with
Riyadh’s conservative Al-Riyadh editorialized (3/31): "With the presence or absence of Saddam
Hussein, the U.S. will face a prolonged resistance.... We have to at least acknowledge that the Arab
media entered into the battle of resistance in an acceptable manner and will
strive to do better."
"Misleading With Lies"
Dr. Ahmed Al-Rubei offered his commentary in English-language Riyadh
Daily (3/30): "On many
of the Arab channels there is a complete suppression of the view and ideas of
the Iraqi opposition. On those channels,
when it comes to the Iraqi opposition, there is no credibility and viewers have
to be very careful not to fall victim to lies.
Arabs have a long experience of demagogues and today we are reaping the
harvest when people are being misled by giving them lies and hiding
"It's Time U.S. Realized Wars Are Not Video Games"
Ibtissam Al-Bassam provided his opinion in a special to English
language Arab News (3/29):
"It is sad that the media is covering the war as though it were a
video game, and not a war that daily takes the lives of people who will be
missed by their families and friends."
"Is It Acceptable To Show Iraqi Captives?"
Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid offered his 'Arab View' in English language
Arab News (3/29): "If the
portrayal of the American prisoners on TV was illegal, why then wasn't the same
thing said when images of Iraqi prisoners and dead in Umm Qasr where shown on
TV only three days earlier?... If the
Americans fear that the images of the prisoners will cause embarrassment to
their families and hurt soldiers' feelings, the situation of the Iraqi soldiers
is even more dangerous. For them it
could be a question of life or death for their families if the prisoners are
identified on screen."
"Keeping Credibility Silent And Promoting Sedition"
Riyadh’s moderate, Al-Jazira published a commentary by the
paper’s managing editor Jaser Al-Jaser (3/27):
"The destruction of the Iraqi TV and the building of the Iraqi
Ministry of Information...by U.S. fighters shows the extent of frustration
among the invaders of Iraq.... The Iraqi
media approach was characterized by credibility and transparency.... The Arab audience now prefers Al-Arabiya,
Abu-Dhabi, Al-Jazeerah and Iraqi satellite TVs rather than the BBC and CNN and
have put aside with great contempt Fox News, CBS and others, which have
circulated many lies provided to them by the British and American war
generals. The last one (lie) of which
was an allegation of an uprising in Basra by the Shia’a community...which
purpose was to promote sedition."
ALGERIA: "The Main
Independent El Watan, a principal French-language daily,
editorialized (3/31): “One of the major
obstacles frustrating U.S. plans in Iraq remains incontestably the media. The U.S. lost control of media spin with the
arrival of Arab TV channels competing with CNN that had complete control during
the Gulf war. The Americans have
understood that one of the weaknesses of their military strategy...remains the
inability of Anglo-Saxon networks to impose themselves and take part in the
communication and image battle in competition with the newcomers. These channels include Al-Jazira, Abu Dhabi
and also Iraqi TV, which has been fiercely attacked by the coalition.... The Iraqi leaders...have completely thrown
the leaders of the coalition who are reacting by striking Iraqi TV and the
Ministry of Information, and by hunting down correspondents of 'enemy' TV
SYRIA: "They Are Lying
To Their People!"
An unsigned editorial in government-owned Tishreen stated
(4/1): "American and British
politicians and military claim they stopped their land attack out of their
great concern to spare Iraqi civilians from harm and preserve their lives,
while TV images broadcast images of exploding bombs and missiles in the heart
of Iraqi cities.... So how can anyone
believe what these Americans and British are saying."
TUNISIA: "Massacres Of
Children And Reversal Of Values"
Editor Hedia Barakat took this view in government-owned
French-language Le Renouveau (3/28):
"Images of massacres can fool no one, even if the American
misinformation accuses the Iraqi power of 'perpetrating himself this massacre
and using civilians as human shields.'...
The whole world is convinced today that this war has nothing to do with
"The Aggression Against Iraqi TV Is A Crime"
Editor Nejmeddine Akkari reported in independent Arabic-language Ash-Shourouq
(3/27): "According to the president
of the Tunisian association of journalists (AJT), 'The aggression against the
Iraqi TV is a crime against freedom of expression and the right for information
and the opposite opinion. It is a failed
attempt to prevent journalists from doing their jobs and showing that Americans
and British forged and defaced the truth.
In its interests, America violates the principles of freedom, democracy
and international laws.'"
UAE: "Problems With
Columnist Abdulla Rasheed complained in Abu Dhabi-based
semi-government Al Ittihad (3/31):
"We receive around 60 Arab satellite channels, half are reporting
the war in Iraq for almost 24 hours day and night, but I am sure that we cannot
find two channels that agree on one point or one piece of information."
"Really Sad Satellite Channels"
Columnist Dr. Shamlan Yousef Al Eissa contended in Abu Dhabi-based
semi-government Al Ittihad (3/30):
"The really sad issue is that our Gulf satellite channels have
given over their management to Arab expatriates, who placed their benefits and
the benefit of their countries above the benefits of people of the Gulf and the
Western coalition countries that share important and complicated economical,
commercial, and security relations with Gulf countries. People of the Gulf today are committing the
same mistake the Kuwaitis did right before the second Gulf war, when the
Kuwaiti press was manned by our Arab brothers who made our press a forum for
inter-Arab conflicts at the time, without taking into consideration Kuwait's
ultimate interests and for which Kuwait paid dearly."
"Blessed Satellite Cavalry"
Ibn Al Deera wrote in Al Khaleej (3/30): "Professionalism and objectivity is
badly required in the coverage of Arab satellite channels. It is also necessary that they not succumb to
the traps laid by the psychological media war fabricated by the United
States. Victories achieved by local and
Arab satellite channels should not be obstructed or distorted by America. The aim of the American campaign against
our Arab satellite channels is to black out scenes of their miseries.... Blessings on the courageous reporters of the
Arab satellite channels: 'Abu Dhabi,' 'Sharjah,' 'Dubai,' 'Al Jazeera,' and 'Al
Arabiyya' and most of the Arab satellite channels!"
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "War On
Ground, And In The Mind"
Liberal Sydney Morning Herald editorialized (3/29): "No war has ever been the world's war in
the way this one is. The world's people
watch the conflict as it unfolds. The
information is disjointed and distorted by propaganda.... Even where coalition victory is close, as at
Umm Qasr, disharmony is souring it....
Such disagreement is small compared with what could lie ahead. But it is symbolic of a difference in aims
and approaches which could test the Anglo-American alliance in other ways, such
as military strategy, the longer the war drags on."
Of U.S. Media Giants Tarnished"
Government-influenced Malay-language daily Berita Harian
had the following to say (3/28):
"The television networks, CNN, CNBC and Fox News are guilty of
promoting false news by showing only the good side of the war in Iraq and
portraying the idea that losses are only being suffered by the other side. If there are American officers who are lying
to them, these television networks are still reporting it as the truth. This biased reporting is part of the
psychological warfare that wants to maintain the support of the American public
for the war effort.... At this time
there are a few mainstream American newspapers that have provided balanced
reports when the networks cannot do so.
(American) satellite television which views competitors such as
al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV as small time players, are having their credibility
diminished when their lies are exposed."
Former Asian Institute of Journalism chief Florangel Rosario-Braid
noted in her column in the conservative Manila Bulletin (4/1): "The most positive influence of the
media is that of mobilizing anti-war and peace groups all over the world to
call for an end to war. This network of
peace advocates should be sustained by the media even after the war has
"Propaganda In The Midst Of War"
Hern Zeñarosa commented the conservative Manila Bulletin
(4/1): "As most people may already
know, both camps in the U.S.-Iraq war are currently embroiled not only in life
and death struggle but more and more in the vicious battle for the hearts and
minds of the world. It is a dangerous
battle because as a war measure, it involves distortions of truth that could
falsify public perception of what is actually going on. I am referring to the propaganda being
whipped into frenzy by both the warring forces of George Bush and Saddam
Hussein. Instead of information on what
is really happening on the warfront, what the people get are conflicting claims
by spokesmen of the U.S.-British and Iraqi commands. As you may well know, if accurate information
is not available, rumors fill the void, ominously, as it were. And that is alarming for a world already
teetering on the brink of violent anger.
That the independent international media organizations become unwitting
tools of such canard is deplorable but they, too, may be helpless under the
"Bush Gets A Propaganda Beating"
Jesus Sison wrote in the anti-administration Malaya
(4/1): "U.S. President George W.
Bush is getting a severe bashing from anti-war demonstrators. Bush is being portrayed in the protest
marches as the villain and, consequently, Iraq President Saddam Hussein as the
underdog and martyr. Somehow, this is very
strange. The heroes are supposed to be
the U.S.-led coalition forces because they are supposed free the Iraqi people
from Saddam.... It seems that the
Americans and the British are lagging in the propaganda war."
"Troops Will Behave"
Dodi Limcaoco wrote in the independent Manila Standard
(3/31): "They made the right
decision [to embed reporters].... They
trust the media. The media has...shown
itself worthy of its trust.... They
trust the public. They saw the world as
a mature audience.... They trust their
own troops. It's one thing to say that
the troops will behave...and another to prove it...by allowing every action to
be seen live around the world.... They
trust the war's...final outcome.... So
confident of victory is the coalition that they are willing to give the world a
ringside seat in their crusade."
"Guarantor For Restraint"
Gary Olivar asserted in the independent Philippine Star
(3/31): "In fact, the casualties
have been surprisingly light.... The
guarantor for this unprecedented restraint has been the pervasive presence of
the media at all levels of the conflict....
The phenomenon of 24-hour news coverage is forcing everyone--even
Saddam--to try to behave in a civilized way."
"Winning The Propaganda"
Teodoro Benigno took this view in the independent Philippine
Star (3/31): "It has become a
psychological war. And here media plays
a central role.... Saddam Hussein and
his generals were winning the propaganda and psychological war. Al Jazeera...zoomed on children, mothers, old
people, dead or dying, dismembered, agonizing in hospitals. The question many asked was this: How can America...wantonly kill, decapitate
the very people it seeks to liberate?"
"Battle For Hearts And Minds"
Sonny Coloma wrote in leading business newspaper BusinessWorld
(3/28): "As the war in Iraq rages
on...it is becoming less and less a battle of weapons and technology--and more
and more a battle for hearts and minds.
Aware that he is being demonized by the U.S., Saddam Hussein claims his
own daily share of airtime and unleashes his own unique brand of psychological
warfare on an adversary that is so confident of ultimate victory."
Rod Dula judged in the anti-administration Malaya
(3/28): "They bombed Iraqi TV? Then the Western network crews that have been
shamelessly singing their praises and peddling their lies round the clock
deserve no mercy from the enemy either.
All right, perhaps not the BBC whose reporting thus far has been
balanced. But the others have only themselves
to blame for having become fair game."
Versus Reality In The Iraq Media War"
Jeerawat Na Talang commented in independent, English language The
Nation (3/29): "Saddam won
another critical battle in war of images when prisoners of war were paraded on
a tape broadcast via al-Jazeera. The
trembling American POWs facing the camera in the video gave Saddam an edge,
raising questions around the globe about the justification of sending these young
men and women to Iraq. The U.S. and the
British have come out to denounce this unfair treatment of the POWs as
violating the Geneva Convention. Yet the
harsh reality is that Saddam enjoys supremacy over CNN and BBC.... Bush and Blair announced recently that the
allied forces have now made steady progress.
Eventually, the allied forces may capture Baghdad and declare
victory. That will be one reality of
this war. But one more long-lasting
image might be those of tearful toddlers with bandaged heads, tired soldiers
and frightened prisoners. Which one is
more ‘real’ is open to debate.”
"Be Warned: This Is An 'Embedded' War Report"
Suthichai Yoon commented in independent, English-language The
Nation (3/27): “If the ongoing Iraq
war isn’t like any other war with its extensive ‘shock and awe’ tactics, then
the current reporting from the war front isn’t like any other in the history of
journalism either. You get an eerie kind
of feeling when a journalist who ‘embeds’ himself with the soldiers starts talking
like a military spokesman.... This is a
war not only of military confrontation.
It’s a propaganda war in its crudest form on both sides. The Pentagon looked at how public opinion
back home brought about defeat in the Vietnam war and decided that history
wasn’t going to repeat itself.... This
time around, Washington’s huge propaganda machine devised a new news-management
tactic: up-close media coverage, but on their terms.... The military and political planners at the
White House and U.S. Department of Defense obviously wanted the reports from
the ‘embeds’ to hit two main targets: public opinion at home and the minds of
the Iraqi commanders. News management
was their priority. But for journalists,
public trust and editorial independence might just fall victim to the
overwhelming, defeating bombardment in the war zone. George W. Bush, in the wake of world-wide
anti-war demonstrations, thinks he can use dramatic TV pictures as part of his
modern-day arsenal too.”
"Gulf War Reports: A One-Sided Story"
Pravit Rojanaphruk commented in independent, English language The
Nation (3/27): "However, CNN
has not bothered to embed journalists with the global anti-war protesters. All these millions of people around the world
deserve is brief sound bites and pictures lasting a few seconds without any
in-depth argument. They are reduced to
passive numbers, like the numbers of those killed or injured.... Most hypocritical is that...CNN refused to
air footage of the POWs and allies killed because they claimed it was
‘disturbing’. Just two hours later, CNN
suddenly began broadcasting parts of the pictures which is in violation of the
Geneva convention. And, what can be said
about the ‘non-prisoners of war’ at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba?”
VIETNAM: "Shock To
Thanh commented in the Ho Chi Minh City's Labor Federation daily Nguoi Lao
Dong (3/30): "Images of dead
U.S. and British soldiers on the television screen as well as information of
heavy resistance from Iraqi military while the Iraqi government still controls
the situation are really a shock to war planners in Washington and London. A political and military game of risk is
waiting for Bush and Blair."
INDIA: "Noose On
Pro-BJP right-of-center The Pioneer held (3/31): "It must be a matter of concern to
Western media establishments, CNN and BBC in particular, that anti-war
protesters across the world have not only been demanding an immediate end to
the conflict but also to biased reporting....
The dilemma has been caused by a series of reports in recent days that
have turned out to be highly exaggerated or even outrightly false. The much-touted civil uprising in Basra, the
alleged swift occupation of Nasiriya, and the purported discovery of a chemical
factory near Najaf rank among the more spectacular goof-ups. Clearly, the news managers of Western media
organizations seem to be under some pressure to tailor news to the expectations
aroused among the people before the conflict commenced.... In this age of fierce competition, people can
easily choose between various media platforms; as the present war shows, Arabs
are turning in droves to Al-Jazeera and other Gulf-based channels. It would be preposterous to suggest that
these channels are any more objective than their Western counterparts. In fact, concern for objectivity or ethics
probably bothers them less. But, once
news is perceived to have a high dose of subjective content, it becomes an
issue of my bias versus yours."
The centrist Times of India contended (3/31): "Today, like it or not, Al Jazeera is
the most popular channel in the Muslim world.
It represents a different point of view from the Western media. By shutting it out, the so-called dispensers
of democracy cannot hope to understand the aspirations of the millions of
people whom it hopes to engage with in the future."
"War Room Rumblings"
The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (3/31): "The 'public affairs' component of the
'effects-based campaign' strategy had counted on a synergy of aims between the
military and the media. This may not
have worked to the desired degree partly on account of the presence of an
Arabic station like Al Jazeera which claims to cover 'both sides of the
war.'... BBC news chiefs have met
recently to discuss the increasing problem of 'misinformation coming out of
Iraq', and underlined that their correspondents should clearly attribute
information to the military in the interest of balanced coverage."
The centrist Times of India held (3/28): "The first internationally televised
war, brought to you courtesy the Pentagon...has a bit of everything.... Breathless correspondents in flak jackets
'embedded' in various army units, spectacular pyrotechnics over the Baghdad
skyline, impressive heavy armament on the move.... Among the very few reports that have cared to
touch on the human element of this war, the most notable have been on-the-spot
despatches from Robert Fisk, whose vivid accounts of Iraqi casualties chronicle
a war untold. As Fisk says, 'The reality
of war is ultimately not about military victory and defeat.... War...is primarily about suffering.'"
Jug Suraiya contended in the Times of India (3/28): "It would be funny if it weren't so
tragic. Where have all the real heroes
gone? Whatever warts history later
discovered, there once were heroes.
Roosevelt...Churchill...our own Nehru.... TV's in-your-face voyeurism strips heroism of
its mystique, its sepia ambiguity. In
action replay the hero can be seen to fumble, contradict himself, pick his
nose. War is often seen--erroneously so,
say those who have been in one--as the ultimate crucible of heroism.... But there appears to be an unforeseen
glitch. The conquering hero needs to be
hailed by those in whose name he has performed his acts, shown grace under
fire: The grainy documentaries of World War II showed liberated civilian
populations.... This has yet to happen
in Iraq. Much though they might hate and
fear Saddam, the local populace seems even more fearful of its self-styled
And The American Aggression"
Faisal Bodi penned this op-ed in the Peshawar-based daily The
Statesman (3/29): "I do not
mean to brag--people are turning to us simply because the Western media
coverage has been so poor.... Of all the
major global networks, al-Jazeera has been alone in proceeding from the premise
that this war should be viewed as an illegal enterprise. It has broadcast the horror of the bombing
campaign, the blown-out brains, the blood-spattered pavements, the screaming
infants and the corpses. Its team of
on-the-ground, unembedded correspondents has provided a corrective to the
official line that the campaign is, barring occasional resistance, going to
Peshawar-based independent Frontier Post editorialized
(3/29): "This assault against the
Arab and Iraqi TV and radio channels flies in the face of the unabashed manner
in which Western and U.S. channels are conducting their war coverage.... Of course, no sane person can condone the
presentation of pictures of bodies of troops killed in the war. But at the same time, no one can appreciate
the sights of infamy perpetrated by the U.S.-led juggernaut on the Iraqi
civilians as well as presentation of condemnable pictures of handcuffed Iraqi
prisoners and those apparently surrendering to the invading forces. When a thoroughly unjustified, unlawful and
illegitimate war is launched to subjugate the people of a sovereign state, the
invaders do not have any moral ground to propound the issue of fair play or
adherence to law. Be that as it may, it
is however expected that the international media covering this war will comply
with the norms of journalism and refrain from becoming a partisan party."
"Politics of Control"
The centrist national daily The News had this view
(3/28): "There is clearly much more
to this war then the noble intentions of liberating Iraqi people from a brutal
dictator.... But, the good thing is that
this issue has become so much a focus of media attention, that U.S. might have
to be a bit careful about it if it wants to prove to anyone in the world that
the only reason for this war was to help Iraqi people and prevent a terrorist
threat to the U.S.... Al-Jazeera indeed
has provided an impressive challenge both to the western media as well as the
U.S. government. If one was to rely on
the U.S. media channels alone, then by now most of us will be convinced that
the allied forces are so careful about civilian lives that hardly any
causalities are taking place, there are rising rebellions against Saddam, and
that it is turning out to be a very quick and clean war. But, Al-Jazeera coverage is showing that war
is never bloodless. And blood of many
Iraqi civilians is spilling for sure."
"Battle For The Airwaves"
Karachi-based independent national daily Dawn editorialized
(3/28): "The U.S. is particularly
irked by coverage of the Iraq war by the independent Qatar-based Al Jazeera channel,
which is emerging as a credible alternative to the monopoly of the western
media.... However, footage of civilian
Iraqi casualties and of dead American soldiers directly clash with the
sanitized picture of the war that the U.S. media tend to depict.... The growing sensitivity of the U.S. military
to the other side was evident from the bombing of the Baghdad TV
station.... The truth of the matter is
that wars today are increasingly being fought under the glare of the media,
making it much more difficult to effectively manage war news. Given this change, it is difficult to see why
the expression of a multiplicity of views on the media should pose such a
threat to the U.S.'
SOUTH AFRICA: "Enemies
Liberal weekly Mail & Guardian editorialized
(3/28): "War is war and no amount
of perfumery will remove its stink. This
war...has a particularly pungent stench about it. Whereas the Pentagon strategists had hoped to
use the immediacy of live television to score psychological victories it has,
instead, increased the anger of all decent human beings."
ZIMBABWE: "U. S., UK
Seek To Silence Iraqis"
Tafataona Mahoso judged in government-controlled weekly The
Sunday Mail (3/30): “On March 26,
the U. S. and the UK authorized, carried out and tried to justify the bombing
of the Iraqi television system. This act
followed a similar one...when NATO forces bombed and destroyed Serbian
television studios in Belgrade...killing at least 20 journalists.... These two cases indicate that, when it suits
them, the imperialist powers will not hesitate to trash their own usual slogans
about free flow of information, free flow of ideas, freedom of conscience,
freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
For in these two cases the imperialist powers demonstrated that they do
not believe in fighting ideas with ideas, fighting information (or
disinformation) with information or even allowing good information and truth to
compete in ‘the free market of ideas’ against bad information and against
lies. They had to silence the people of
Yugoslavia and Iraq in order to prevent ‘bad ideas’ from being heard around the
"View From America"
Patricia McFadden argued in the pro-government weekly The
Sunday Mirror (3/30): “The majority
of U.S. journalists reporting on the war in Iraq at the present time are
‘embedded’ within the structures of the U.S. army...showing only what the U.S.
military will allow them to show (so for example we do not see any Iraqi
casualties even after a week of persistent bombing and destruction with
hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs and cruise missiles); and television
stations that have dared to show pictures that ‘undermine’ U. S.
interests--such as El Jezira (sic), have had their journalists expelled from
certain media sites in the U.S. All one
gets is a deafening cacophony of conformist voices, screeching out the same
message over and over about the might and invincibility of the ‘coalition’
forces, and the inevitability of the fall of Baghdad. It’s like playing 'cowboys and Indians’--with
the foreknowledge that the cowboys must win, and there simply cannot be any
other outcome to this infamy."
"The Battle Of Hearts And Minds In Baghdad"
The Sunday Mirror carried Tendai Chari’s opinion piece
(3/30): “The war in Iraq is being fought
in two fronts, the battlefield and in the minds of the people via
propaganda. It is worrisome that the
media are at this stage obsessed with capturing events in the battlefield as if
the whole world is now agreed that the war against Iraq is justified.... Military control of the media is immoral and
a transgression of journalistic ethics.
At the end of the day the news that we get is contaminated with the
military’s points of view. Manipulation
of the media by the invading forces poses the gravest threat to media freedom
"Al Jazeera And The War In Iraq"
Pro-government weekly The Sunday Mirror stated (3/30): "The UK/U.S. propaganda war strategy has
suffered a major setback with Al Jazeera’s prominent and competing coverage of
the war in Iraq. While the U.S. has
bludgeoned virtually everyone with high-sounding claims of its avowed support
for media freedom, events currently unfolding do not exactly manifest Uncle
Sam’s love for press freedom. On March
24, Al Jazeera launched an English-language Web site that almost immediately
fell victim to hackers.... All this
because Al Jazeera has broken the U.S./UK propaganda monopoly.... While the U.S. and its allies were absolutely
unchallenged on the propaganda battlefront in the 1991 Gulf War, this time
round the world can be assured of an alternative view on the ongoing war.”
"Humanitarian Disaster In Iraq"
Pro-government The Daily Mirror held (3/27): "The stories and reports of U.S. and Britain
carpet bombing Baghdad and other Iraq cities...are graphically compelling. With ‘live’ television coverage of the war
from the ‘embedded’ reporters and cameramen and women, the media have
apparently forgotten to tell us the grim realities of the other side of the
story--the immense suffering of civilian men, women and children during the
course of this war."
TV critic Nelson de Sa commented in liberal Folha de S. Paulo
(4/1): "It does not matter to CNN
and Fox News whether the U.S.-UK press information they disseminate is true or
not. A few days ago, Fox announced the
discovery of chemical weapons. A denial
issued by a general at the Pentagon was not reported. Based on British sources, CNN played up the
capture of an Iraqi general. A denial
issued by the UK's secretary of defense was not reported either. The chain of half-truths and worse has no
end.... Dissonant media voices have been
shut down by patriotic criticism. Peter
Arnett made a mistake by saying what he thought in an interview and was
fired.... The interview was broadcast
several times, like a witch hunt. There
is no longer any separation between television and the government in American
coverage. News channels are engaged in
what has already been called 'Foxification.'"
University professors Regina Madalozzo and Marcelo Moura commented
in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (3/31):
"The USG is conducting the war based on [U.S.] public opinion. However, the American people have been much
less informed about this war than the French, for instance. The U.S. media is not publishing much news
about international protests and prisoners."
"The Victim In The News War"
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo political columnist Clovis Rossi
wrote (3/30): "U.S. journalism is
losing the war. What makes this defeat
particularly serious is the fact that the U.S. media is seen as a model around
the world, especially in Brazil. It is a
model that became respected during the Vietnam War, when independence and
criticism were exercised in extremely delicate circumstances.... Currently, we cannot say the same. In the case of the bombing of a market in
Baghdad on Wednesday, BBC's coverage was much more appropriate and informative
[than that of the U.S. media]."
"The First Victim"
Columnist Miriam Leitão argued in right-of-center O Globo
(3/29): "It's frightening all
that's occurring in the relation between the press and war: Al-Jazeera's being ousted from the New York
stock market, the attempts to intimidate artists, the press' monochord tone and
its submission to the Pentagon censorship, all this shakes up values bravely
defended at more critical moments. It's
good to remember that this submissive press is the same one that has made
Pentagon papers public, giving the world a lesson on the difference between the
interests of the country and those the government at that moment."
MEXICO: "Arab TV: The Other Battle"
Monica Gutierrez asserted in independent El Norte
(3/31): “The media, in particular,
television, turn to objectivity and truth as a pretext to broadcast footage
that attack the dignity of any human being....
War is not only won in the battlefields and the media plays a very
important role in the management of public opinion. Unfortunately, reality is very different from
what is presented through the television newscast and we will only know it when
this war has concluded.”
"Television: War Coverage"
Academic Fernando Esquivel observed in independent
El Norte (3/30): “For patriotism
or censorship, the largest U.S. television networks could be sowing an
information war, whose harvest...is the...lack of credibility.”
Sergio Sarmiento contended in independent Reforma
(3/28): “Has this war turned into an
immoral spectacle for the media? Has
constant and intense coverage of this war generated a lack of feeling toward
what people are suffering in Iraq? The
greatest risk is not that the media will continue to cover the war with the
same degree of intensity, but that they will stop doing so. The next time we are horrified by an image on
our television screens or by a photos in the newspapers, let’s remember that it
is precisely this type of information that enables us to react with sensitivity
to the tragedy of war.”
"Bush The Hacker"
Left-of-center La Jornada editorialized (3/28): "(The USG) has been closing the
informative limits and it has re-established implicitly or explicitly
agreements with the consortia owners of the media, in order to manipulate all
the coverage of war--made by the American media and journalists of other
countries.... Washington has begun an
outrageous and shameful campaign against the broadcasting station Al Jazeera,
distinguished by its professionalism, its sense of journalism pertinence and
its independence to the face of public authorities and rival factions.... This broadcasting station has suffered, in
recent days, all kind of informative attacks like the illegal blocking of its
servers by hackers at the service of Bush, the denial of American business to
provide them internet connection and finally the expulsion of its
correspondents from the New York Stock Market.... This illegal persecution against an
informative media reveals up to what point
the Bush administration and its
warlike adventure in Iraq have become vulnerable to the diffusion of truth in
"U.S. Press: Back To The Past?"
Jorge Fernandez Menendez commented in
nationalist Milenio (3/28):
"It is very sad what is happening with the American media in the
coverage of the war in Iraq. The New
York Times gave the tone when it published in its institutional
editorial--on the day that the bombing of Baghdad began--that the controversies
with the USG concerning the war (had finished) and now it should join to the
USG and to the soldiers who would fight in Iraq. Almost all American media said pretty much
the same. Those media failed in two
things: they subordinated their opinions and independence to a false
patriotism, from this moment the have made many mistakes in the coverage of war
in Iraq.... What we have in American
media is the result of two mistakes: a false patriotism measured by the
popularity indexes of the military intervention combined with the ambition of
heading the coverage of the military advance at the cost of their editorial
independence.... The most obvious case
is CNN. We expected it (the lack of
independence) from other media like Fox because it has been always marked by
its tendentious information, clearly conservative and sensationalist."
"The First Week"
Left-of-center La Jornada editorialized (3/27): “Today, the credibility of the American mass
media has fallen in the face of world public opinion. They have spread false information like the
capture of cities, they have made up non-existent revolts, in brief they have
knocked down truth and informative independence in a way that reminds us the
performance of Soviet Union official newspapers in Stalin’s times, and also the
disinformation campaigns organized by Nazi Germany.”
"The End Of Freedom"
Sergio Sarmiento wrote in independent Reforma (3/27): "One of the great strengths of the USA
has always been its tradition of free expression. Now, however, this freedom is deteriorating
as a consequence of the war in Iraq. The
majority of U.S. media outlets have begun to transmit propaganda. It is true that censorship is worse in Iraq
than in the United States. Despite
attempts to silence him, filmmaker Michael Moore was able to publicly insult
President Bush at the Oscars…[while] a critic of Saddam Hussein on Iraqi television
surely would have been shot. But the
current situation, in which Americans must turn to the foreign media to learn
what is happening in the war, is a severe blow for a nation that had the
greatest freedom of expression in the world for a long time."
"The Other Wars"
Bruno Ferrari asserted in independent El Norte (3/27): “Once again it becomes urgent to develop a
critical sense for those of us who are recipients of information from the media
that later is presented as news.... It
is important that every one of us fight their own war, a war in search of the
truth, a war whose main weapons are the understanding of men, dialogue and the
search of peace. The enemy will always
be indifference, lies and manipulation.”
"War And The Media"
Independent Vanguardia observed
(3/27): "Information becomes an
element that directly influences the mood of the citizens (in favor or against
war), its management gains a strategic characteristic, in particular, the way
it is presented and the space given....
In the last days, several analysts...have expressed serious doubts if
the actions of the main news networks have not become militant (actions). If this was really occurring, we would need
to know if it’s a decision of their own or the response to a government
request.... The media have the responsibility
to prevent freedom of expression from becoming one of the victims of this war.”
"In Support Of The Right To Accurate Information"
Victor Mañana contended in establishment, pro-business, lead
morning daily, Listin Diario (3/28):
“Newscasters show themselves on TV with more pride than the soldiers
risking their lives in the war....
Evidently [their] news was biased, prejudiced, one-sided.... I urge new journalists...to take advantage of
the immense experience the Iraq war can afford them...for, in a war, despite
wishes and ideologies, there is reality, which is that the dead leave behind
mourners in any language, not only in English.... And that does not mean we sympathize with
Saddam or his regime, with his crimes and abuses against the Kurds or his own
people, but we defend the right to information that all people have in a war
that is not a cartoon but a serious scenario that could be the source of a
bigger conflict.... That is why we
insist on the right to unbiased information, to what people deserve, a
journalistic ethic without atrocious images to condemn some and screen others
from complicity to protect others.”
GUATEMALA: "War And
Freedom Of The Press"
Columnist Haroldo Shetemul commented in moderate, leading
Guatemala City daily Prensa Libre (3/31): "Americans are far from knowing the
truth about the war.... Is there freedom
of the press in the freest country in the world?.... A single datum is enough: the 500 journalists
embedded with the troops in Iraq are subject to 12 pages of rules imposed by
the Pentagon for covering the conflict....
CNN and FOX have an editorial policy hewing to the White House war rules. Of course, both channels have every right to
make public what they consider relevant....
However, they should not sell us as information what is really war
propaganda.... If the war drags out for
months, the million-dollar questions is, what will the Pentagon do to hold back
the truth about the war and avoid Vietnam syndrome among the American
"The Press And The War"
Gonzalo de Villa argued in influential morning
daily El Periodico (3/28):
"In all wars the weight of the media has been great and journalism
becomes the source of information, as well as propaganda for a specific
cause.... The control of information is
important in all wars and freedom of the press suffers significantly. Some accept this in the name of patriotism;
others resign themselves because they have no alternatives. In any case, the media and journalists in
different war fronts...experience the risks of war, although evidently they may
also obtain important benefits.”
"The Two Wars"
Business-oriented Asuncion daily La Nacion
stated (3/30): "What's more, the
Pentagon wants to bomb Iraqi television and a general edits the news of CNN, so
that they can only show what is politically correct. The war in Iraq is carried out on two
fronts.... The truth must be fought
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: "Strike Against Saddam"
Robert Clarke wrote in the conservative Trinidad Guardian
(3/27): "Whichever way war goes,
and we all know which way that will be, Saddam, in a sense, will have
won.... Because what we are seeing in
this televised war is not a dictator's torturous ways but something better
known in local parlance as advantage....
Alongside the war of bullets, being fought live on cable news, is a secondary
war of propaganda. It is a war of
justification and support for an aggressive U.S. regime, which, seemingly
unbeknownst to network news channels, is betrayed by the very violence it
presents. But that secondary war is
being lost because stories are seeping out--of little girls with shrapnel in
their spines. And not even the
complicity of the cable news media can stop the hemorrhage."
Tony Fraser opined in the conservative Trinidad Guardian
(3/27): "The propaganda war against
Iraq is being waged as ferociously as the bombing of Baghdad.... A snapshot examination of this propaganda war
should be interesting, even entertaining at times. 'Skilful and courageous' soldiers are opposed
to 'fanatics'... Then there was this
righteous 'war' to be fought by the 'coalition' forces--what war; when the U.S.
and British possess truly 'weapons of mass destruction' that have been
decimating the infrastructure of Baghdad, and for all we know killing hundreds
of innocent Iraqis? Can that be described
as 'war'?... Guerrilla warfare is
referred to disparagingly, because according to the script, the Iraqi soldiers
were supposed to surrender or be annihilated by the bombs. I leave this possibility to hang for the
moment: can Bush and Blair be laying the ground for large segments of humanity
to be separated into hostile Islamic and Christian camps?"