Accuracy in Media

The Washington Post reports that L. Paul Bremer, the civil administrator in Iraq, has issued guidelines for Iraqi media, forbidding them from inciting violence, promoting hatred or circulating false information “calculated to promote opposition” to the new governing authority. But the Bush administration seems to be doing nothing about American reporters in Iraq serving as propaganda mouthpieces for foreign terrorists killing U.S. military personnel. The stories produced by these reporters undermine the war effort.

The latest example is an August 18 Newsweek story, “Inside An Enemy Cell,” which refers to the terrorists killing American troops as “resistance fighters.” Newsweek interviewed members of the “Army of Mohammed,” who insisted that they don’t favor Saddam’s return and enjoy support from the Iraqi people. Newsweek reported that the group says that, “The Americans have occupied our land under a false pretext, and without any international authorization.” That sounds like the typical liberal Democratic Party complaint about failing to get U.N. approval before going to war and then allegedly misleading the people about the reasons for the war. The “Army of Mohammed” is using well-tested propaganda themes to win sympathizers in the West.

The Newsweek story, written by Scott Johnson, followed a July 21 CBS Evening News story by David Hawkins, who also provided a flattering portrait of the killers of Americans. In an interview arranged by a gun-runner, Hawkins offered the views of “three men who claim to have participated in several recent and deadly attacks on U.S. soldiers” and who “say they’re not doing it for love of Saddam?but instead for God and their country.” One of the terrorists, referring to American troops, told Hawkins, “We advise them that they have to leave Iraq before they die here.”

This report was then followed by an interview by CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston of several Iraqis awaiting orders to become “martyrs” against U.S. forces. “Hassan,” a volunteer “martyr” speaking on camera to CBS News through a translator, said, “I will fasten a bomb to my body and explode myself in front of an American tank.”

What a change from the days when American reporters were embedded with U.S. troops as they fought Iraqi troops. At this rate, it may not be long before American reporters are embedded with the Iraqi terrorists as they actually kill Americans. These stories serve no purpose other than to demoralize our troops, their families and supporters of the war back in the U.S.

CBS News went further, airing a story on July 19 charging that U.S. troops may have committed torture. Amnesty International, which is looking into those charges, has since garnered press attention with a report on alleged U.S. military mistreatment of terror suspects held at the military camps at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Bagram air base in Afghanistan. The recent shooting death of a Reuters cameraman by U.S. troops in Iraq is sure to generate more negative press. Some journalists are already charging that the accidental shooting was deliberate.

Here, a group called “Bring Them Home Now” is urging an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Although the group claims to represent military families, it promotes an “Occupation Watch” website highlighting “abuses” allegedly committed by U.S. troops. They officially launched their campaign on August 13 with a nationally televised press conference carried by C-SPAN.

“Occupation Watch” is actually run by United for Peace and Justice, a so-called “anti-war” group whose co-founder is a Marxist named Leslie Cagan. Advisory board members include Walden Bello, a former member of the Communist Party of the Philippines who has written that a U.S. failure to create a new political order in Iraq could lead to undermining of the U.S. position internationally. He hails rising “global resistance” to the U.S. and claims “massive ideological gains” for Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. Clearly, these forces want to inflict a defeat on the U.S. more humiliating than the Vietnam withdrawal.

There is a real possibility that efforts such as those of “Bring Them Home Now,” egged on by the major media, could produce a U.S. defeat. The foreign terrorists flooding into Iraq to kill Americans are certainly counting on breaking the will of the American people to resist and persevere.

Liberals on Capitol Hill ridiculed Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz for stating the obvious?that “Iraq is now the central battle in the war on terrorism.” The bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad has further demonstrated the truth of his statement. But it will be difficult to win this war when the terrorists are getting better press in the U.S. media than our own troops.

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