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Media Alert: “Complicit Enablers” - Uk Media Ignore Us Whistleblowers
Saturday, 14 June 2008 23:42
by Media Lens
In April 2006, George Bush bade farewell to his outgoing White House press secretary, Scott McClellan:

“One day he and I are going to be rocking on chairs in Texas talking about the good old days and his time as press secretary."

The rocking chair plans will have been shelved for good after the publication of McClellan’s new memoir, ‘What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.’

McClellan describes how Bush relied on a "political propaganda campaign" rather than the truth to sell the Iraq war to the American public. The invasion was "unnecessary", he suggests, a "strategic blunder", with Bush having made up his mind early on to attack Saddam Hussein. (Ibid) The way Bush managed the issue "almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option."

McClellan adds:
"In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president's advantage.” (Ibid)
The claim that Bush decided early in his presidency to attack Iraq is supported by earlier exposés. The leaked minutes of a highly confidential Downing Street memo dated July 23, 2002 records the words of Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of the British intelligence service MI6. Dearlove commented on a recent visit to Washington where he had held talks with George Tenet, director of the CIA:

"Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” (Michael Smith, 'Blair planned Iraq war from start,' Sunday Times, May 1, 2005)

Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.

This was eight months before the invasion, but the decision to attack had been taken much earlier. In January 2004, former US Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill revealed that the Bush administration had come to office determined to topple Saddam Hussein:

"It was all about finding a way to do it. The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this'... From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go." (Julian Borger, 'Bush decided to remove Saddam "on day one"’, The Guardian, January 12, 2004)

O'Neill reported seeing one memorandum preparing for war dating from the first days of the administration. Another, marked "secret" was titled, "Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq.” (Ibid)

According to McClellan, Bush has little time for policy detail. He prefers to follow his gut feelings on foreign affairs, about which he knew next to nothing when he took office. Since then, he has lived in a kind of “bubble" that isolates him from the real world. As McClellan put it in a recent interview, "only as you leave the White House bubble, can you take off your partisan hat and take a clear-eyed view of things".

Squashing Dissent

McClellan has also rounded on the media, calling them "complicit enablers" in Bush’s campaign to manipulate public opinion. (Jennifer Loven, ‘White House calls McClellan's book sour grapes,’ Associated Press, May 28, 2008)

Several journalists have backed his criticisms. CBS news anchor, Katie Couric, said last month that the lack of media scepticism ahead of the war was “one of the most embarrassing chapters in American journalism.” Couric disclosed that, while working as a host of ‘Today’ on NBC, she had felt pressure from “the corporations who own where we work and from the government itself to really squash any kind of dissent or any kind of questioning of it.”

Howard Kurtz, the host of CNN's ‘Reliable Sources’ commented:

“Couric has told me that while she was at NBC... she got what she described as complaints from network executives when she challenged the Bush administration.” (Ibid)

Jessica Yellin, who worked for MSNBC in 2003 and now reports for CNN, said last month that journalists had been “under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation.”

Yellin added: “And my own experience at the White House was that, the higher the president's approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives... the more pressure I had from news executives to put on positive stories about the president.” (Ibid)

She explained that media bosses “would edit my pieces. They would push me in different directions. They would turn down stories that were more critical and try to put on pieces that were more positive, yes. That was my experience.” (Ibid)

As we reported in March, pieces critical of Bush-Blair claims on Iraq were also rejected in the British media. (See http://www.medialens.org/alerts/08/080305_flat_earth_news.php)

Phil Donahue was host of ‘Donohue’ on MSNBC from 2002-2003. Despite having the highest ratings of any show on MSNBC, the programme was cancelled on February 25, 2003. A leaked NBC memo described how the show presented a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war... He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives."

Bill Moyers interviewed Donahue in 2007:

Moyers: “You had Scott Ritter, former weapons inspector. Who was saying that if we invade, it will be a historic blunder.”

Donahue: “You didn't have him alone. He had to be there with someone else who supported the war. In other words, you couldn't have Scott Ritter alone. You could have Richard Perle alone.”

Moyers: “You could have the conservative.”

Donahue: “You could have the supporters of the President alone. And they would say why this war is important. You couldn't have a dissenter alone. Our producers were instructed to feature two conservatives for every liberal.”

Moyers: “You're kidding.”

Donahue: “No this is absolutely true.”

Moyers: “Instructed from above?”

Donahue: “Yes. I was counted as two liberals.” (Ibid)

Senior journalists very rarely admit that their employers pressure them to follow a political line; it is a pressure that is supposed not to exist. And yet there has been only one mention of Yellin’s comment (in the Independent), and none of Couric’s, in the entire UK press.

Smearing the Whistleblower - It's All Cisterns Go!

As was the case with Paul O’Neill before him, references to McClellan’s whistleblowing have tended to focus on abuse directed at him by critics, mostly former colleagues. Tom Baldwin of The Times, for example, published a classic smear:

“Scott McClellan sought yesterday to justify writing a excoriating tell-tale account of his time as one of President Bush’s closest aides, saying that he had been guided by a ‘higher loyalty‘.

“Critics, including close colleagues and friends, have accused the former White House press secretary of betraying Mr Bush. Others have described his book as ‘pathetic’ or a desperate effort to make some money having become virtually unemployable since leaving his post.”

Trent Duffy, who worked as McClellan's deputy, was quoted:

"Here's a man who owes his whole career to George W. Bush, and here he's stabbing him in the back. He appears to be dancing on his political grave for cash."

Baldwin could have quoted any number of anti-war commentators who would have been happy to praise McClellan for his honesty. Media Channel’s Danny Schechter, for example, wrote:

“It’s easy to put McClellan down... but, at least, he had the courage, these many years later, to confirm what I and others have been saying for years.”

Not one comment of this kind has been cited anywhere in the UK press praising McClellan. The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, for example, also focused solely on critics heaping opprobrium on McClellan. Christopher Hitchens wrote in the Sunday Express:

“When President Bush's Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill defected from the Cabinet in 2002... Michael Kinsley observed that the President deserved all he got from the book. Anyone dumb enough to hire a fool like O'Neill in the first place ought to have known what to expect.

“So it goes with the ludicrous figure of Scott McClellan, the former White House press secretary. I used to watch this mooncalf blunder his way through press conferences and think: ‘Exactly where do we find such men?

“’For the job of swabbing out the White House stables, yes. But for any task involving the weighing of words? Hah!’" (Hitchens, ‘Bush is brought to book,’ Sunday Express, June 8, 2008)

In discussing the story, the Guardian, the Independent, the Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Mirror, the Evening Standard and the Sunday Express all failed to mention McClellan’s key reference to the media as “complicit enablers”.

This silence links to one of the great pillars of modern thought control: namely, that the media’s claim to impartiality must not be subject to serious discussion. The public is to understand that the media offer neutral windows on the world. The idea that these windows might all be framed, structured and oriented to present essentially the same view of the world favouring the same powerful interests is a thought too far.

The "fact" of totalitarian levels of thought control in our society is clear - the precise mechanism by which that control is achieved in an ostensibly free society, is complex and interesting, but of secondary importance.


The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others. If you do write to journalists, we strongly urge you to maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone.

Write to Simon Kelner, editor of the Independent
Email: s.kelner@independent.co.uk

Write to Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian
Email: alan.rusbridger@guardian.co.uk

Please send a copy of your emails to us
Email: editor@medialens.org

The Media Lens book ‘Guardians of Power: The Myth Of The Liberal Media’ by David Edwards and David Cromwell (Pluto Books, London) was published in 2006. John Pilger described it as: “The most important book about journalism I can remember.” For further details, including reviews, interviews and extracts, please click here.

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Comments (2)add comment

apna_nam said:

BRitish media were the prime enabler of american aggresion in the world.-all to further english race's interest
it is high time that engish spies in american establishment be eliminated..

it is high time that these english spies in usa are taken care of .

also during and after the gulf war(first iraq war) the british were taking full creidit for insitagating bush 1 to start and persue war agasint iraq. the reason war criminal blair diidnto take full creidt for iraq war 2 was because that went sour(failure has no fathers claming thiers). itis a fact that merciless war done by america has benen perpetauted by the british agents inside america( and not some indepdnet israli agents as claimed-it jsut so happend that only know israli interest happend to coinside with those of english parasites -that is why war on and for behalf of england is being waged by america the world over.
By the way in IN '88 when Dalai lama, at the height of Tibetan disturbances, visited west, the then british prime minister refused to meet Him. Later on with the demise of Russia and usefulness of China gone and with manipulation to keep power in Hong Kong somehow intact, the same british media and government ,like dog, started barking at China. It is interesting that amnesty international selectively targets those very countries( as it did china after cold war) who are out of favour (because they would not be a british stooge) of the british media and govt. This is not surprising as amnesty international is the creation of british govt, and british media. england with the most appalling record of human rights in last 200 years of her evil rule, needed some organisation to keep the others from charging england off her past and current evil practices. In other words it went for aggressive posture in propaganda war so that others can be demoralized and stopped from pointing out the real evil which is england. That is why amnesty international is one armour of the british lies to exploit the rest of the world. Amnesty international must be ignored and an independent human watchdog (which england will simply ignore) created. One purpose of amnesty international is to create an atmosphere for hatred towards the would be victims of british exploitation so that a victim could be blamed to have deserved the consequences. That is why ,now amnesty international sometimes threatens China, sometimes India and etc.

these protestant baptists((and so callled religious fundamentalists and evnagalicals bastards)) are the agents of england inside america and have always been.
thse baptists are the ones who created civil war for the benefit of british to reconquer america and during attack of britian in 1812 these baptists were acting as enemy agents inside amaerica.
these baptisat are called patrioit--now what a shame? the southern flag is sympbol of american patriotism when it was really an instrument of treachery to the american independence.

" I am afraid the meddling small minded, fearful white boy is indicative of a large group of the amerikan types who still support a corrupt regieme of neo-con syncopants. He and those like him live in suspicion and fear of anyone different from themselves.
He was once a settler who cut down and burned the forest of New England because he was afraid of the wildlife. He was once a trader who passed out smallpox blankets to the Indians. Then later a buffalo hunter who decimated entire herds and left them to rot on the plains. His grandfather herded Japanese into camps, his father was at MyLai. His brothers are at Abu Graib and Gitmo. Where will he be tommorrow?"

" but all non-WASP got (and still get) their time as scapegoat-du-jour: Native, Black, Chinese, Irish, Italian, Jew, Japanese, Catholic, Latino, and now Middle-Eastern, just to name a few. Along with the scapegoating goes the profiling, which is little more than prejudice and stereotypes made legal."

The recent director of Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights, Michael Ignatieff, proposed in the New York Times in May 2004 that we should give U.S. presidents the authority to preventively detain U.S. citizens and to engage in “coercive interrogations” should the United States experience another terrorist attack like 9/11. Ignatieff argued that “defeating terror requires violence” and “might also require coercion, secrecy, deception, even violation of rights.” “Sticking too firmly to the rule of law simply allows terrorists too much leeway to exploit our freedoms,” he said.[1]

In addition to Harvard’s top human rights academic arguing on behalf of “torture lite,” Harvard Law School’s Alan Dershowitz supports “torture warrants” so that U.S. presidents can torture detainees in so-called “ticking bomb” cases.
June 15, 2008
Votes: +0

Project Humanbeingsfirst.org said:

Response to 'Media Alert: “Complicit Enablers”'

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
Date: Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 8:09 PM
Subject: Response to 'Media Alert: “Complicit Enablers”'
To: editor@medialens.org

Dear Editor, Media Lens,

In your article about Mr. Scott McClellan's dim coverage in the newsmedia under the rubric of how the mainstream news has been so ubiquitously complicit with the aims of "imperial mobilization" of the United States, you chose to use Mr. McClellan as an example to illustrate your very valid points about media collusion. However, in the view of Project Humanbeingsfirst, the choice of Mr. McClellan to make your otherwise valid points is ill advised. For your kind reference, please see the following Press Release:

Scott McClellan: Confessionals and Legal Covers




As you indicate in your Suggested Action section: "The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others." Perhaps one can rationally start with compassion and respect for the long suffering devastated victims of "imperial mobilization" and their habitats? Whatever is left in the "compassion and respect bucket" after it has been fairly and mercifully distributed among the Iraqis and Afghanis and Palestinians and Lebanese, followed of course by distribution among the victims of natural disasters and those suffering from deliberately botched rescue and rehabilitation for higher agendas such as the Katerina victims, can surely be spent on the West's war criminals in their confessional games seeking Christian compassion and mercy - but only after war crimes tribunals have issued just and fair verdicts in trials conducted by their victims as one accorded to Eichmann at Jerusalem.

Kind Regards,

Zahir Ebrahim
Project Humanbeingsfirst.org

June 17, 2008
Votes: +0

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