Washington Post Warriors
The shortage of critical challenges from the press (and from intimidated Democrats) assisted the manipulation of public thinking. By relentless repetition, Bush and his team accomplished an audacious feat of propaganda–persuading many Americans to redirect the emotional wounds left by 9/11, their hurt and anger, away from the perpetrators to a different adversary.
According to a New York Times-CBS News survey, 42 percent now believe Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. In an ABC News poll, 55 percent believe Saddam provides direct support to Al Qaeda. The Iraqi did it, let’s go get him. As a bogus rallying cry, “Remember 9/11” ranks with “Remember the Maine” of 1898 for war with Spain or the Gulf of Tonkin resolution of 1964 for justifying the US escalation in Vietnam.
In the past month or so, however, my impression (shared by others) is that the Post’s news coverage has toughened considerably–beginning to puncture various propaganda claims and to explore contradictions that might better have been examined long ago. The editors and reporters may have been shaken by the unanticipated public outrage, including from their own readers. The newspaper’s omissions, distortions and casual disparagement of antiwar protests were prompting waves of e-mail objections. “It is tunnel-vision coverage like yours,” one message complained, “that scares off people in mainstream America who are against the war but can’t relate to the pi