Jul 30, 2007

"War Made Easy"


From a review of Norman Solomon's new documentary film, "War Made Easy":

While analysing the George W. Bush administration's lead-up to the Iraq invasion, Solomon plays a news clip of Eason Jordan, a CNN News chief executive who, in an interview with CNN, boasts of the network's cadre of professional "military experts". In fact, CNN's retired military generals turned war analysts were so good, Eason said, that they had all been vetted and approved by the U.S. government.

"I went to the Pentagon myself several times before the war started and met with important people," he said. "We got a big thumbs up on all of [the generals]." ...

(T)he relationship between the press and government in the U.S. during times of war is changing. In Solomon's film, it is just one example of the collusion between the government and the mainstream news media. ...

"War Made Easy" does not dispute the idea that the press is self-correcting, is willing to investigate its own reporting lapses (as the New York Times did after the Judith Miller WMD scandal), and issue apologies and retractions. But it warns against the ostensible collusion between press and government. In Solomon's view, the U.S. mainstream news media is cast as part and parcel of the Bush administration's war apparatus, an echo chamber that packages, builds support for, and, through the vehicle of "leaked misinformation," sells the war to the U.S. public.

For example, in the lead-up to "Operation Iraqi Freedom," CNN chairman Walter Isaacson sent a memo to his anchors and reporters asking them to "remind viewers why they are watching the war." As video of the clean-up at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan rolls across the screen, one can't help but thinking about Sep. 11.

Solomon also labors over the parallels between U.S. government propaganda and how the rhetoric is now filtered into a more sophisticated media campaign, yet for all intents and purposes, fulfills the same goal. In short, it is more insidious than ever.

In one scene, he describes how a Hollywood set designer was hired to build a news set (with polished backdrop and sleek high-definition televisions) for the public relations arm of the U.S. military during the Iraq war. Presentations by military commanders and officials resemble news broadcasts. There is no discussion of the facts, and what the government says is accepted without question.

None of these revelations are exactly new, but the historical parallels between Vietnam and the Iraq war are becoming increasingly clear as the U.S. remains for a fifth year in Iraq. "War Made Easy" offers a timely criticism of the media, and portends an ominous future for the U.S. news viewing public should they sit back and accept without question the pronouncements of political leaders and evening news anchors.

2 comments:

theBhc said...

I just got my own copy of this film. Excellent. Some of the archival footage of LBJ saying "we won't cut and run" is astounding.

Meatball One said...

Even tax subsidized BS and misadventures is cyclical in nature, non? The history of F-ups - Monday every morning.