Accuracy in Media

At the National Press Club on April 14, anti-war activists organized a well-publicized and attended event designed to create the impression that U.S. military families want to bring the troops home from Iraq now.  Fourteen television cameras were present.  Associated Press and McClatchy Newspapers covered the news conference and distributed sympathetic stories to newspapers around the country.  But here’s what they didn’t tell you.

The key organizers included Marxist agitator Leslie Cagan.  She is an official of “United for Peace and Justice” and has organized rallies against the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the U.S. war in Iraq.  She is co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, the remnant of the old Moscow-controlled and financed Communist Party USA.  The room in the National Press Club was reserved by the Institute for Policy Studies, long recognized as a center for Marxist-associated activities in Washington, D.C.

Cagan’s “United for Peace” group is behind the “International Occupation Watch Center,” which has called for “international solidarity” with the people of Iraq “as they resist attacks by U.S.-led Occupation Forces.”  The group accuses U.S. forces of trying to “terrorize entire populations of Iraqi towns and neighborhoods” and refers to “U.S.-led aggression” and a U.S. “massacre” of Iraqis.  The organization says nothing negative about those killing Americans, including the foreign terrorists in Iraq.

Instead of reporting the anti-American tone of the groups behind the event, our media glorified the news conference as patriotic.  The AP ran a sympathetic story saying, “Holding American flags and pictures of fallen loved ones, military families and veterans urged President Bush on Wednesday to end the war in Iraq.”  The McClatchy newspapers story said, “Carrying banners inscribed ‘Bring them home’ and photographs of soldiers who had died in the Iraq conflict, a group of families from across the country gathered in Washington Wednesday to urge an end to American involvement” in Iraq.

The idea that U.S. military families are opposing the war effort is a theme that surfaced in the media even before this National Press Club event.  Elisabeth Rosenthal of the New York Times ran an April 11 story headlined, “Among Military Families, Questions About Bush.”

Groups not receiving any significant media attention include Blue Star Mothers, who represent mothers who have or have had children serving in the military.  This group is strongly urging Americans to express support for our troops.  It played a role in a recent “Support Our Troops” rally in Washington, D.C.  Blue Star Mothers has denounced anti-American leftist groups for “cynically exploiting the fears and concerns of families in order to achieve their goal of undermining morale and bringing about the defeat of America in the War on Terror.”  Blue Star Mothers says the best way to bring the troops home is to give full support to the U.S. mission so that it ends up in victory.  The group says, “Anything less plays into the hands of our enemies and gives aid and comfort to those who are targeting our troops for maiming and death?”

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