Eric Zuesse – How ‘News’ Media Lie and Get Away With It

Ha ha ha? You believed the New York Times? And CNN (foto

How ‘News’ Media Lie and Get Away With It

Lots of US invasions are based on blatant lies by the US Government and its stenographic ‘free press’ (which is just as controlled by America’s 600 billionaires as the Soviet Union’s press was controlled by its Communist Party), but this will discuss only one instance, which is especially well documented.

On 26 May 2004, the New York Times published an editorial headlined “The Times and Iraq, which seemed to apologize for something, but which wasn’t clear about what, specifically, was being apologized for, if this was an apology. They said that after having “studied the allegations of official gullibility and hype” regarding “the issue of Iraq’s weapons and possible Iraqi connections to international terrorists,” “we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been.” They claimed to have been deceived by a US Government that had been deceived by foreigners (they pretended that the invasion of Iraq didn’t originate in, and from, America: they were blaming foreigners, especially ones who were from Iraq, for America’s invasion of Iraq). “Administration officials now acknowledge that they sometimes fell for misinformation from these exile sources. So did many news organizations – in particular, this one” (so, they were apologizing for “many news organizations – in particular, this one,” implying that they hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary or especially worth apologizing for). They asserted that “Editors at several levels who should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism were perhaps too intent on rushing scoops into the paper.” They were pushing the blame down to their employees, the reporting staff, their own hirees – away from themselves (much less the newspaper’s owners). The earliest example they cited of this was:

On Sept. 8, 2002, the lead article of the paper was headlined “US Says Hussein Intensified Quest for A Bomb Parts.” That report concerned the aluminum tubes that the administration advertised insistently as components for the manufacture of nuclear weapons fuel. The claim came not from defectors but from the best American intelligence sources available at the time. Still, it should have been presented more cautiously. There were hints that the usefulness of the tubes in making nuclear fuel was not a sure thing, but the hints were buried deep, 1,700 words into a 3,600 word article. Administration officials were allowed to hold forth at length on why this evidence of Iraq’s nuclear intentions demanded that Saddam Hussein be dislodged from power: “The first sign of a ‘smoking gun,’ they argue, may be a mushroom cloud.”
Five days later, The Times reporters learned that the tubes were in fact a subject of debate among intelligence agencies. The misgivings appeared deep in an article on Page A13, under a headline that gave no inkling that we were revising our earlier view (“White House Lists Iraq Steps to Build Banned Weapons”). The Times gave voice to skeptics of the tubes on Jan. 9, when the key piece of evidence was challenged by the International Atomic Energy Agency. That challenge was reported on Page A10; it might well have belonged on Page A1.

George W Bush seems to have been informed, in advance, about this Times article regarding aluminum tubes; and, so, on Saturday, September 7th, of 2002, he said, while standing beside British Prime Minister Tony Blair,

We just heard the Prime Minister talk about the new report. I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied – finally denied access, a report came out of the Atomic – the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need [in order for Congress to authorize an invasion of Iraq].
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Absolutely right.

Then, as soon as the weekend was over, on Monday 9 September 2002, was issued by the IAEA the following.

Related Coverage: Director General’s statement on Iraq to the IAEA Board of Governors on 9 September 2002 [this being a republication of their notice three days earlier, on 6 Sep.].

Vienna, 06 September, 2002 – With reference to an article published today in the New York Times [which, as usual, stenographically reported the Administration’s false allegations, which the IAEA was trying to correct in a way that would minimally offend the NYT and the US President], the International Atomic Energy Agency would like to state that it has no new information on Iraq’s nuclear programme since December 1998 when its inspectors left Iraq [and verified that no Weapons of Mass Destruction remained there at that time]. Only through a resumption of inspections in accordance with Security Council Resolution 687 and other relevant resolutions can the Agency draw any conclusion with regard to Iraq’s compliance with its obligations under the above resolutions relating to its nuclear activities.

Contact: Mark Gwozdecky, Tel: (+43 1) 2600-21270, e-mail:

It even linked to the following statement from the IAEA Director General amplifying it.

Since December 1998 when our inspectors left Iraq, we have no additional information that can be directly linked without inspection to Iraq’s nuclear activities. I should emphasize that it is only through resumption of inspections that the Agency can draw any conclusion or provide any assurance regarding Iraq’s compliance with its obligations under these resolutions.

So, this was proof of the falsehood of Bush’s and Blair’s reference, on September 7th, to the IAEA, in which Bush Blair were saying that, upon the authority of the IAEA itself, there was “the new report (…) a report came out of the Atomic – the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.”

Because of the news media’s ignoring the IAEA’s denial of the President’s statement, the author of the IAEA’s denial, Mark Gwozdecky, spoke again nearly three weeks later, by phone, with the only journalist who was interested, Joseph Curl of the Washington Times, who headlined on 27 September 2002, “Agency Disavows Report on Iraq Arms” – perhaps that should instead have been “President Lied About ‘Saddam’s WMD’” – and Curl quoted Gwozdecky: “There’s never been a report like that [which Bush alleged] issued from this agency. (…) When we left in December 1998 we had concluded that we had neutralized their nuclear weapons program. We had confiscated their fissile material. We had destroyed all their key buildings and equipment.” Other news media failed to pick up Curl’s article. And, even in that article, there was no clear statement that the President had, in fact, lied – cooked up an IAEAreport’ that never actually existed.

Bush had simply lied, and Blair seconded it, and the ‘news’ media stenographically accepted it, and broadcasted it to the public, and continued to do so, despite the IAEA’s having denied, as early as September 6th, that they had issued any such “new report” at all. Virtually all of the alleged news media (and not only the NYT) entirely ignored the IAEA’s denial (though it was not merely one bullet, but rapidly fired on four separate occasions, into the wilderness of America’s ‘news’ media). It was actually only propaganda media, and they hid the fact that George W Bush was lying.

The day after that 7 September 2002 unquestioned lie by Bush, saying Iraq was only six months from having a nuclear weapon, and citing the IAEA as his source for that, the New York Times ran their article which was titled “THREATS AND RESPONSES: THE IRAQIS; US SAYS HUSSEIN INTENSIFIES QUEST FOR A BOMB PARTS”, and continued further there, as stenographers to the White House, by reporting that, “‘The jewel in the crown is nuclear,’ a senior administration official said. ‘The closer he gets to a nuclear capability, the more credible is his threat to use chemical or biological weapons. Nuclear weapons are his hole card.’” The fake ‘news’ – stenography from the lying Government and its chosen lying sources – came in an incessant stream, from the US Government and its ‘news’ media (such as happened also later, regarding Honduras 2009, Libya 2011, Yemen 2011-, Syria 2011-, Ukraine 2014, and Yemen 2015 – ).

Also on September 8th, which was a Sunday, the Bush Administration’s big guns were firing off against Iraq from the Sunday ‘news’ shows, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice delivered her famous “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud” statement, which was clearly building upon the lying Bush allegation of the day before, that the International Atomic Energy Agency had just come up with this ominous “Atomic” “new report.”

Then, President Bush himself, on 12 September 2002, addressed the UN General Assembly, seeking authorization to invade:

We will work with the UN Security Council for the necessary resolutions. But the purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced – the just demands of peace and security will be met – or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power.
Events can turn in one of two ways: If we fail to act in the face of danger, the people of Iraq will continue to live in brutal submission. The regime will have new power to bully and dominate and conquer its neighbors, condemning the Middle East to more years of bloodshed and fear. The regime will remain unstable – the region will remain unstable, with little hope of freedom, and isolated from the progress of our times. With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September the 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors.

Bush failed to win any authorization to invade.

The New York Times editorial lied when it said on 26 May 2004 that the false ‘facts’ had been merely errors. They were instead policy – Government policy, carrying out the demands by some Republican billionaires, who had financed politicians such as George W Bush, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, and whose firms advertised in the New York Times and other mainstream US propaganda media. The Democratic Party had its billionaires, too, and some of those likewise wanted this invasion – none of them was objecting to it. Joseph Biden and Hillary Clinton helped to lead the effort in the US Senate authorizing Bush to invade. Bernie Sanders in the House voted against it, and subsequently lost the Democratic Presidential nomination to both of them. Support by the billionaires is far more effective than honesty when running for a Party’s nomination to run as their nominee for a high federal office. The New York Times was just part of this invade Iraq crowd, every member of which was an agency for America’s billionaires – the same group of individuals whose heavy thumbs on the weights of the Parties that they finance choose each Party’s nominees and give the country its current two Party (but one aristocracy) dictatorship.

A few months after this editorial from the NYT, CNN headlined “Report: No WMD stockpiles in Iraq” and reported that,

Saddam Hussein did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time of the US invasion in March 2003 and had not begun any program to produce them, a CIA report concludes.
In fact, the long awaited report, authored by Charles Duelfer, who advises the director of central intelligence on Iraqi weapons, says Iraq’s WMD program was essentially destroyed in 1991 and Saddam ended Iraq’s nuclear program after the 1991 Gulf War.

But America’s billionaires, by then, already had what they wanted. None of them even so much as threatened any of the politicians whom they funded, and announced “I’ll stop funding you unless you never do this again.” And, so, the billionaires, and their ‘news’ media, and the US President, and the members of Congress who voted to invade, just continued on with the invasion and occupation, and with the destruction, of Iraq. As if this was even within America’s right to do. The UN didn’t authorize it. And none of of the international war criminal invading heads of state (Bush and Blair especially) was hanged for it, like the Nazis were at Nuremberg, who were hanged for “aggressive war” – the same thing that the US and its allies now do routinely. None has even apologized for it. And, furthermore, the US military still manages to get all of the volunteers it wants for the US military to perpetrate invasions and destructions of countries such as of Iraq, and of Libya, and of Syria, and of Iran – all without UN authorization, and all being obviously invasions against countries that had never invaded the invading country (these definitely were not defensive, but purely aggressive, invasions), and thus all of these invasions constitute international war crimes (“aggressive war” – the chief crime which was being prosecuted at Nuremberg).

On 10 January 2003, which still was more than two months before we invaded Iraq, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer bannered “Search for the ’smoking gun’, and he wrote:

Last September 8, I interviewed President Bush’s National Security Adviser, Dr Condoleezza Rice. I was pressing her on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s nuclear capabilities.
We know that he has the infrastructure, nuclear scientists to make a nuclear weapon,” she told me. “And we know that when the inspectors assessed this after the Gulf War, he was far, far closer to a crude nuclear device than anybody thought – maybe six months from a crude nuclear device.”
Dr Rice then said something that was ominous and made headlines around the world.
“The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
I thought of those comments this week following the statement from the chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, acknowledging that no “smoking gun” has been found yet since the resumption of the weapons inspections.

On 17 March 2003, “Bush told journalists and weapons inspectors to leave Iraq immediately.” Blix complied, his team left, and the invasion started on March 20th. Bush’s March 17th speech stated that “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” Bush said that “The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.” He addressed the people of Iraq, and promised them, “We will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free.” America spent many trillions of dollars on the resulting invasion and military occupation of Iraq (and on the post traumatic stress syndrome or “PTSD,” artificial limbs, and the many other medical problems, of America’s troops who survived the invasion). But the really catastrophic harms were done not to America, but to the people of Iraq. Iraq had never threatened to invade the United States, but America nonetheless boldly invaded and destroyed it. Was Bush just a better liar than Adolf Hitler, or was the Nuremberg Tribunal just victors’ ‘justice’?

Why hasn’t George W. Bush been hanged?

Why hasn’t Dick Cheney been hanged?

Why hasn’t Condoleezza Rice been hanged?

This country didn’t learn a thing from the Nuremberg Tribunals. We know it now, because this country has, in fact, become the Nazi Germany of today.

And they all get away with it.

The YouGov polling firm reports that George W Bush is the second most popular living Republican political figure in America, at a net approval (approve minus disapprove) of +10%. For comparisons: Donald Trump is -13%. Hillary Clinton is -10%. Barack Obama is +24%. Bernie Sanders is +7%. Bill Clinton is +5%. Joe Biden is +2%. In other words: George W Bush is the second-most liked Republican after Arnold Schwarzenegger (the most popular living politician of either Party), at +39%. There is no justice in America. Ever since 9/11, America has had international war criminals occupy the White House, and none of them has even been charged with any crime, at all. They’ve gotten away with mass murder in (and with starving economic sanctions blockades against) foreign countries that never even had threatened the United States, in any way. What does that fact say about this country, a country which pontificates against all of its victim nations, and offers no restitution to any of them, for so many enormous harms it caused there?

The slimy New York Times has plenty of company, and it’s all bad. It’s 100% bad. And yet none of them even loses subscribers over that. People still pay to be deceived.

The situation is so bad that when the New York Times, and Washington Post, and CNN, and MSNBC, et cetera., are now all saying (or implying) that Russia offered Taliban linked fighters bounties to kill US and UK troops who are occupying Afghanistan, I, personally, am more inclined to believe Russia’s assertion that the allegation is a lie (regardless of whether Afghans ought to kill all invaders, who are military occupiers of their country), than that it is true. America’s mainstream ‘news’ media are deceivers on so many levels, the truth in any particular instance is only a drop into an ocean of lies. Especially in international ‘news’-reporting, lying is routine, in America. But, regardless of that, today’s Russia isn’t much like the Soviet Union was, and yet today’s America is terribly much like what Nazi Germany was. And that fact simply can’t be published in America – not even for debate. Because it is too true. Indeed: is any nation more of a militarized and police state than the US is today?

Nothing was learned from the deceit of America about Iraq in 2002 and 2003, not even after 18 years. It’s as if nobody even cares. Not only no apology, and no restitution, but no concern. It is outright psychopathic. And this is a national psychopath that pontificates to the rest of the world. Victors’ ‘justice’ has produced this. Only real justice can replace it.


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