by Chris Bowers, Mon Jun 28, 2004 at 10:01:33 AM EDT
"We may not have even gone into this war, had these networks done their job. I mean, it was a great disservice to the American people because we depend on people who work here and the other networks to go after those in power and say, `Hey, wait a minute. You want to send our kids off to war? We want to know where the weapons of mass destruction are. Let's see the proof. Let's see the proof Saddam Hussein had something to do with Sept. 11.' There was no proof and everybody got embedded and everybody rolled over and everybody knows that now," he says.Moore is correct on this front. The media happily banged the drum of war (because, let's face it, wars get good ratings). As a FAIR study from last year noted, In Iraq Crises, Networks are Megaphones for Official Views:Among the major findings in a two-week study (1/30/03=2/12/03) of on-camera network news sources quoted on Iraq:
- Seventy-six percent of all sources were current or former officials, leaving little room for independent and grassroots views. Similarly, 75 percent of U.S. sources (199/267) were current or former officials.
- At a time when 61 percent of U.S. respondents were telling pollsters that more time was needed for diplomacy and inspections (2/6/03), only 6 percent of U.S. sources on the four networks were skeptics regarding the need for war.
- Sources affiliated with anti-war activism were nearly non-existent. On the four networks combined, just three of 393 sources were identified as being affiliated with anti-war activism-- less than 1 percent. Just one of 267 U.S. sources was affiliated with anti-war activism-- less than half a percent.
FAIR examined the 393 on-camera sources who appeared in nightly news stories about Iraq on ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. The study began one week before and ended one week after Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 5 presentation at the U.N., a time that saw particularly intense debate about the idea of a war against Iraq on the national and international level.When faced with Moore's charge against the media, his interviewer responded with the following: Storm notes the one thing that journalists try to do is present both sides of the story and "it could be argued you did not do that in this movie." They do? The media tries to present both sides so Moore should as well? That would make this difficult to explain: TV, Newspapers and Radio Over Represent Conservative Think Tanks.
Percentage of Think Tank Citations by Ideology in Popular Media 2003 2002 Conservative 47% 47% Centrist 39% 41% Progressive 13% 12%If by both sides Strom means Conservative and Moderate, then Strom might be on to something. Moore is presenting a side of the story frequently ignored by the mainstream media. While we are making some progress in the SCLM myth, we are a long way from victory. A broader attack, including a film by Moore, could help.