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dw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 09:55 PM
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Monbiot: Our lies led us into war
Our lies led us into war
by George Monbiot in The Guardian, Tuesday July 20, 2004

... snip

All journalists make mistakes. When deadlines are short and subjects are complicated, we are bound to get some things wrong. But the falsehoods reproduced by the media before the invasion of Iraq were massive and consequential: it is hard to see how Britain could have gone to war if the press had done its job. If the newspapers have any interest in putting the record straight, they should surely each be commissioning an inquiry of their own. Unlike the government's, it should be independent, consisting perhaps of a lawyer, a media analyst and an intelligence analyst. Its task would be to assess the paper's coverage of Iraq, decide what it got right and what it got wrong, discover why the mistakes were made and what should be done to prevent their repetition. Its report should be published in full by the paper.

No British newspaper is likely to emerge unharmed from such an inquiry. The Independent, the Independent on Sunday and the Guardian, which were the most sceptical about the claims made by the government and intelligence agencies, still got some important things wrong. Much of the problem here is that certain falsehoods have slipped into the political language. The Guardian, for example, has claimed on nine occasions that the weapons inspectors were expelled from Iraq in 1998. Embarrassingly, one of these claims was contained in an article called Iraq: the myth and the reality. Even John Pilger, who could scarcely be accused of dancing to the government's tune, made this mistake when writing for the paper in 2000. It's not that the Guardian believes this to be the case: it has published plenty of reports showing that the inspectors were withdrawn by the UN, after the US insisted that they should leave Iraq for their own safety. But the lie is repeated so often by the government that it seems almost impossible to kill.

The Observer, I think, would do less well. It commissioned some brilliant investigative reporting, which exposed many of the falsehoods reproduced elsewhere in the media. But it also carried several reports that were simply wrong. It published five articles claiming that there were "direct Iraqi links with the US hijackers" who destroyed the World Trade Centre in 2001. One suggested that "Iraqi training, intelligence and logistics were hidden behind an Islamist facade". Iraq, it claimed, "ran a terrorist camp for foreign Islamists, where it taught them how to hijack planes with boxcutters".

Three reports suggested that the anthrax attacks in the United States in October 2001 had "an ultimate Iraqi origin". Other articles maintained that "Iraq is developing a long-range ballistic missile system that could carry weapons of mass destruction up to 700 miles"; that it had developed "mobile factories of mass destruction"; and that it "has tried to buy thousands of ... aluminium tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium". All these stories turn out to have been based on false information supplied by the Iraqi National Congress and US or British intelligence agencies.

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LittleApple81 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 09:57 PM
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1. Do you think any AMERICAN media will admit to anything close to
this.... hmmmm ... I don't think so.
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:00 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. introspection and self-doubt are not the "Amerikan" way
and this rabidly destructive beast of corporate crap will never look itself in the mirror.
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Miss Authoritiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:44 PM
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3. Makes me wonder how the media in Germany, France, and Russia
handled their coverage of the pre-Iraq War con-athon.
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CHIMO Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 12:22 AM
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4. So who will hold the newspapers to account?
So who will hold the newspapers to account? It seems that the only possible answer is you. You, the readers, must take us to task if we mislead you. Pressure groups should be bombarding us with calls and emails - you'd be amazed by the difference it makes.,5673,1264...
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