Remembering the Gulf of Tonkin, and the Consequences of Wanting to Believe

The USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin. (photo: US Navy) “American Planes Hit North Vietnam After Second Attack on Our Destroyers; Move Taken to Halt New Aggression,” was the Washington Post headline some 53 years ago, on August 5, 1964. The front page of that day’s New York Times reported: “President Johnson has ordered…

Media’s Grim Addiction to Perseverance Porn

You’ve seen or heard or read the personal interest story a thousand times: An enterprising seven-year-old collects cans to save for college (ABC7, 2/8/17), a man with unmatched moxie walks 15 miles to his job (Today’s Show, 2/20/17), a low-wage worker buys shoes for a kid whose mother can’t afford them (Fox5, 12/14/16), an “inspiring…

Talking About a Revolution

(cc photo: South Bend Voice) It’s long been clear that if we want to avoid catastrophic climate disruption on a scale that threatens human civilization, we need to leave vast amounts of fossil fuels in the ground. Environmental writer Bill McKibben pointed out the math in a crucial 2012 article for Rolling Stone: To avoid…

Body Count Comeback

AP story on CBS‘s site (8/10/16) on how many ISIS fighters have been “taken off the battlefield.” One of the hoariest methods of modern war propaganda remains the official body count. Government or military officials decisively touting large numbers of enemies killed has long been a surefire way to get credulous or friendly press coverage,…

Media Mourn End of CIA Killing Syrians and Strengthening Al Qaeda

The US government has finally announced an end to its years-long program to arm and train Syrian rebels. The initiative, one of the CIA’s largest covert operations, with billions of dollars of funding, fueled mass killing in Syria and significantly prolonged the country’s horrific war. Widely respected experts have also acknowledged that it greatly strengthened…

How Media Spread CIA’s Sectarian, Anti-Iran ‘Mideast Cold War’ Narrative

A new Vox video (7/17/17) is the latest addition to a media onslaught that propagates numerous misleading talking points  to demonize Iran—just as the US government, under Donald Trump’s vehemently anti-Iran administration, is ratcheting up aggression against that country. The 10-minute film, titled “The Middle East’s Cold War, Explained,” is a textbook example of how…

WaPo Worships Principled, Humanitarian McCain That’s Never Existed

The Washington Post urges “Washington and the world beyond…to absorb the example that Mr. McCain sets every day.” In a fawning editorial Saturday (7/22/17), pillar of the national security establishment Washington Post fell over itself to commend a John McCain that never existed, instead lavishing praise on a well-curated PR facsimile developed over decades. After…

Reuters vs. UN Cancer Agency: Are Corporate Ties Influencing Science Coverage?

Ever since they classified the world’s most widely used herbicide as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” a team of international scientists at the World Health Organization’s cancer research group have been under withering attack by the agrichemical industry and its surrogates. In a front-page series titled “The Monsanto Papers,” the French newspaper Le Monde (6/1/17) described…

Corporate Media Largely Silent on Trump’s Civilian Death Toll in Iraq

Amnesty International’s report on the plight of civilians in Mosul, where ISIS “has systematically moved them into zones of conflict, used them as human shields and prevented them from escaping to safety,” while they “have also been subjected to relentless and unlawful attacks by Iraqi government forces and members of the US-led coalition.” Earlier this…

While Attacks in Israel Make Headlines, Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza Ignored

A Palestinian girl in Gaza looks out the window of her partially destroyed home. (photo: UNICEF) The recent acute humanitarian crisis in Gaza—on top of the routine humanitarian crisis that defines everyday existence there—has gotten sparse coverage in US media over the past three weeks. Israeli officials have cut off electricity to almost 2 million…