Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Charles Gibson - Propagandist

Did you happen to see ABC World News last night? Charles Gibson introduced a segment of film showing Iranian swift boats confronting our naval ships in the Persian Gulf, and he went on to report that Bush called the incident an "act of provocation." Gibson should have stopped there and let the film roll, instead he went on to say "provocation was an understatement," as the film would show. (I couldn't find a transcript or video of that clip. I'll keep trying.)

The minute those words left Charlie's mouth my husband and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Iran was trying to provoke the US Navy and we were completely innocent? I don't think so.

Neither does David Lindorff, investigative reporter, who asked, What Is This ‘Iranian Provocation’ BS?
Not one news story about this week’s latest chapter in the administration’s ongoing effort to gin up a crazy war with Iran–the so-called “provocation” caused by Iranian naval speedboats approaching within 200 meters of a US destroyer–mentioned that the US, which sits some 7500 miles away from Iran, has sent a whole fully-armed armada into the Persian Gulf just off Iran’s coast.

Or that the Vice President actually flew out to an aircraft carrier that was part of that US armada, and threatened, from the flight deck, to have the US massively attack Iran.

Just who is provoking whom where?
See my point? Now consider this:
Imagine, for a moment, that Iran had sent its navy to patrol in the Gulf of Mexico, in international waters just off of the coasts of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, and that its leader flew out to one of those ships and threatened to take out America’s oil infrastructure.

How do you think the US government would react? How do you think the American people would react?

Do you think the US would send naval vessels out to provokingly sail close to Iranian ships? Do you think the US might do more than that and maybe sink those ships? (Especially if at that very moment Iranian special forces were operating inside the US, creating havoc and supporting subversive elements, as US special forces are already doing in Iran.)
I'm pretty certain we'd bomb them into oblivion (that's been our MO in the past), but here's the part that Charles Gibson might care to consider:
I’m not saying that Iran’s decision to move aggressively to challenge US naval power off their shores is necessarily the wisest move, but at least American journalists and editors ought to have the decency and ethics to point out to readers and viewers that it is the US, not the Iranians, that are provoking things here. [emphasis added]
That's the same point Ron Paul futilely tried to make during the ABC News New Hampshire Debate last weekend. Ironically, Charles Gibson moderated that night and allowed the debate to turn into a free for all. It was like watching a panel of guests on Fox News beat up on each other the way the Republican candidates shouted over Ron Paul and refused to let him talk. This is what Paul tried to say that night:
PAUL: I'm as concerned about the nature of the threat of terrorism as anybody, if not more so. But they don't attack us because we're free and prosperous.

And there all radicals in all elements, in all religions that will resort to violence. But if we don't understand that the reaction is, is because we invade their countries and occupy their countries, we have bases in their country -- and we haven't done it just since 9/11, but we have done that a long time.

I mean, it was the Air Force base in Saudi Arabia before 9/11 that was given as the excuse.

If we don't understand that, we can't win this war against terrorism.
I'm no fan of Ron Paul, but I agree with him on this point, and it bothers me to no end that the media willingly portrays the U.S. as an innocent victim. I've also lost all respect for anchors like Gibson because, as Lindorff summed it up, "our domestic news organizations are playing the willing propagandists here as willingly as did Pravda or TASS in the old Soviet Union." I thought our country and the people who represent us were better than that.

(Cross-posted at BFM)


Lew Scannon said...

I agree with Ron Paul on a lot of his foreign policy stance; next week, I may even cast a vote for him (since Edwards and Obama won't be on the ballot) just to screw with Republican party. He really is their best candidate.
As for the incident with Iran, we are trying to provoke them into some sort of action, since we will not be able to use the "they're building nuclear weapons" angle anymore since the release of the NIE.

abi said...

Yes, the other candidates really jumped on Paul when he made that statement, but he's absolutely right about it.

I don't know what really happened in the Persian Gulf, but it defies logic that a few Iranian speedboats would or could threaten a US destroyer. But I'm sure lots of us were thinking Gulf of Tonkin when we heard it.

Anonymous said...

What did you expect from a Republican ass kissing news organization and news anchor?

Kathy said...

Lew, I agree 100%. The Bush administration is just itching for some excuse to start another war. His profiteering friends need the money.

Abi, logic? What's that? Bush has been in office so long that I've forgotten what it means!