Thursday, March 03, 2005

BuzzFlash is offering Danny Schechter's excellent film as a BuzzFlash premium

Dallas: Monday, Danny Schechter's WMD was highlighted and I appreciate that because I was meaning to buy it when you first mentioned it but paychecks . . . There might be another member who was thinking about buying it. And Danny's a voice that really speaks to me so I was wondering if you could highlight the DVD of WMD one more time?

No problem, WMD as a BuzzFlash premium -- what does that mean?

That means by buying it at BuzzFlash, you're not just showing your support for WMD, you're also supporting independent media.

Our first two links here were Democracy Now! and BuzzFlash, so obviously, I'm a big supporter of BuzzFlash and have many things that I've purchased from them. WMD is a great movie as any member who's seen it can attest.

We'll also highlight BuzzFlash's interview with Danny Schechter again:

BuzzFlash: One of the grossest examples was the twisted logic in the buildup to the war when Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, Cheney, and Bush were asked how Iraq could be considered a threat since the U.N. inspectors couldn't find any WMDs. And the administration's response was, "Well, the fact that we can't find the WMDs proves Iraq has them, and that they're hiding them." It was so transparent and yet the media swallowed this ridiculous line of reasoning.

Danny Schechter: And the logic was even more bizarre -- Osama bin Laden speaks Arabic, hates America. Saddam Hussein speaks Arabic, hates America. Therefore, Saddam Hussein is Osama bin Laden. If they share ideology, then they also might share weapons to destroy America. This hysteria and litany of "what ifs" was just a simplistic message point: you're either with us or you're against us. These are the evildoers and we're the good guys in the world.
Our news system used to rely on information and informing people. There would be facts that would be debated. These guys today have moved into a storytelling mode -- a Hollywood narrative technique has invaded the realm of news and information. So what we're presenting now is not necessarily information designed to inform people or deepen their understanding of how institutions work or what the choices are in the world, but rather to convey a story line.
And that story line is the Jessica Lynch story -- damsel in distress. The idea of the war being presented like a sporting event -- a sports metaphor -- where generals are diagramming how we marched into Baghdad so it looked like a Super Bowl play.
These techniques of the merger of show biz and news biz reduced the war to an entertainment event, and everybody played their part in it. And there was a lot of high drama. What's going to happen? Are we at risk? Our boys are in the field. And so, you basically shift the public's identification from thinking about the reasons that we're there -- whether or not we should be there -- to what’s happening to our soldiers in the field. Your loyalties go to the soldiers and you forget about the politics and the policies that led to the war. That's why I felt we had two issues here that were in tandem with each other. One was the weapons of mass destruction and the other was "Weapons of Mass Deception" -- the way in which our media became a weapons systems targeted at us. Usually in war propaganda you try and confuse the enemy. In our case, this propaganda infiltrated very skillfully back into American and global public opinion, and it was done with the help of Hollywood producers, and corporate PR people brought in to help out at the Pentagon.

BuzzFlash: Many Americans may find this shocking, but good journalism -- professional journalism -- means that reporters shouldn't be rooting for your side to win a war. It's not a journalist's job to support the troops, it's the journalist's job to tell the story truthfully and accurately.

Danny Schechter: When journalists start talking about "we" -- expressing an identification with the policy or with the invasion, even with the soldiers, they’ve lost critical distance, which is essential to journalism. Secondly, jingoism and a lot of flag waving is not journalism, and we saw this after 9/11, with all the anchormen wearing American flags on their lapels rallying the country.