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IRAQ and the media



From Paris, Carmen Negrin sends "this piece of news, this has been circulating in Europe for some days now but it seems to be new in the US." : "It was one of those daring escapades that define a war in the public's mind: On April 2, a band of U.S Navy SEALs boldly swept into an Iraqi hospital to rescue teenage soldier Pfc. Jessica Lynch from hellish captivity, an act of heroism captured in dramatic fashion by the raiders' video cameras. But, according to foreign news reports, it now appears that the Defense Department's account of the storming of the Nasiriya hospital was grossly inaccurate and heavily dramatized by the Pentagon's savvy propaganda experts. As John Kampfner, who hosted a BBC exposť on the raid, wrote in the Guardian,"[Lynch's] rescue will go down as one of the most stunning pieces of news management yet conceived. It provides a remarkable insight into the real influence of Hollywood producers on the Pentagon's media managers, and has produced a template from which America hopes to present its future wars." But if the foreign press has revealed the official version of the Lynch "rescue" to be a patriotic fairy tale, the media at home has been loath to let go of the thrilling yarn that they eagerly sold to the American people. And NBC is still at work on a TV movie about the saving of Pfc. Lynch that the network hopes will further captivate the public". RH: I have o information as to whether the rescue was a faked television stunt.

Rob Gaudet discusses the "I want my BBC" article: "This article criticizes US coverage of the war. I wonder how British media covered the major wars led by Britain in the past. I suspect the media were more sympathetic to the soldiers at that time. It seems to me that there are no mandatory ethical standards in the field of journalism. So, it is nothing more than a commercial enterprise parading in the guise of objectivity. It should not surprise us, then, when the media outlets cater to their consumers". RH: I think this criticism is much too harsh. Admittedly newspapers select and slant the news according to the politics of their readers, but, if one reads the whole gamut of the press, almost any story will turn up- However, my expose of the Bay of Pigs operation was picked up at first only by a small newspaper, where it caught the eye of the New York Times, which then boasted that it had made the discovery, which was o course a lie. I have not seen the Guardian story in the US press. Was it suppressed or dismissed as untrue?

Ronald Hilton - 5/16/03


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