• 21 April 2008
  • Posted By Shadee Malaklou
  • 6 Comments
  • US-Iran War

How the media duped Americans: Iraq(n)

In many ways, the American public was duped in the days leading up to the war in Iraq. Specifically, we were duped into believing that the threat posed by Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” was so grave that it warranted a preemptive attack.

Sound familiar? It should. In recent months, the Bush administration has used a similar argument to pressure Americans into supporting a US-Iran war.

Sunday’s New York Times exposè, Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand, informed the American public of a covert effort by retired military officers turned “analysts” and the US government to shower American news stations with “favorable coverage” of the Iraq war.

The article has enraged many Americans—and rightfully so—who were shocked to learn of the government’s well-oiled propaganda machine and its many takers: retired Col. Ken Allard, retired Gen. Wayne Downing, and retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, to name just a few.

“Analysts have been wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior military leaders, including officials with significant influence over contracting and budget matters, records show,” the article reported. “In turn, members of this group [analysts] have echoed administration talking points, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated.”

As sad as it was for me to read about our government’s covert efforts, even at the highest levels, as a journalist, I was sadder to learn of the media’s involvement.

It’s a long laundry list. The analysts interviewed in the article have been featured on NBC, Fox News, CBS, ABC, and CNN on some of the most prestigious news shows, including Tim Russertt’s “Meet the Press.”

The records found by the New York Times “reveal a symbiotic relationship where the usual dividing lines between government and journalism have been obliterated.”

As talk of the war in Iraq turns into pressure for a war with Iran on our airways, it is important for Americans to remember that you can’t always believe what you hear, especially now. Let’s not allow the media, an institution so obviously a mouthpiece for the Bush administration, blindly dupe Americans into another war.

Posted By Shadee Malaklou

    6 Responses to “How the media duped Americans: Iraq(n)”

  1. Babak Talebi says:

    I wonder if these media outlets will pick up Admiral Fallon as a military analyst now that he is retired… after all, he is an Iran expert.

    http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2008/03/12/fallons-retirement-has-unclear-implications-for-us-iran-war/

    I won’t hold my breath.

  2. Ressentiment says:

    Americans are really gullible. I know because it takes one to know one.

  3. […] niacINsight wrote an interesting post today on How the media duped Americans: Iraq(n)Here’s a quick excerptAs talk of the war in Iraq turns into pressure for a war with Iran on our airways, it is important for Americans to remember that you can’t…In recent months, the Bush administration has used a similar argument to pressure Americans into supporting a US-Iran war…. […]

  4. […] Shadee Malaklou wrote an interesting post today on How the media duped Americans: Iraq(n)Here’s a quick excerptIn many ways, the American public was duped in the days leading up to the war in Iraq. Specifically, we were duped into believing that the threat posed by Iraq’s chemical weapons was so grave that it warranted a preemptive attack. … […]

  5. Here is my letter to the editor entitled “War With Iran Would Be Completely Unacceptable” –

    http://media.www.michigandaily.com/media/storage/paper851/news/2007/09/28/LettersToTheEditor/Letters.To.The.Editor-2999252.shtml

    Also click on my name for the solution to the media problem.

  6. Mehdi says:

    The amount of unethical behavior in business in the US is reaching a disgusting level. Marketing and lobbying is allowed to sell anything to people, including wars! Incredible!

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Sign the Petition

 

7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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