Mar 30, 2006

Not just Fox News: Mainstream media are agents of ignorance | By Jerry Meldon | published in The Tufts Daily March 30, 2006

Americans know that President Bush bilked them into supporting his war of aggression in Iraq with false claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and support for Al Qaeda. They know the President’s policies on Iraq and Israel and the Palestinians have weakened national security. They realize he has squandered the sympathy and good will towards the United States that were evoked by the events of Sept. 11. But they can’t understand why anti-Americanism has become so pervasive.

In part, that’s because they don’t know realize that anti-Americanism was widespread even pre-G.W. Bush – and it wasn’t only due to propaganda. The main reason they’re in the dark is that the media has failed to do its job.

Bigoted, warmongering, right wing talk radio is one of the culprits. But primary responsibility for American ignorance of how the rest of the world experiences U.S. might lies with the mainstream media – not only Fox and CNN, but the New York Times, the Washington Post and, sorry to say, the Boston Globe.

Editorial page hyping of the buildup to the War in Iraq simply reprised media support for the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson administrations as each waded deeper into the Vietnamese quagmire. It was only after relentless nationwide student-and-faculty-led demonstrations, strikes, sit-ins and marches that the mainstream media joined the anti-war bandwagon.

Thanks to media self-censorship and the generally hands-off attitude of academics, most Americans are unaware that throughout the Cold War, Washington consistently supported, in the name of anti-communism, with billions in military aid and/or American blood, anti-democratic forces including, in Latin America in particular, brutal right-wing military dictators. Most Americans are unaware of:

– U.S. intelligence recruitment of major German and Japanese war criminals in the aftermath of World War II.

– CIA bankrolling of, and reliance for information on postwar Russia and Eastern Europe, and on the KGB-infiltrated intelligence network run by Gen. Reinhard Gehlen, who had similarly served Hitler.

– CIA collaboration with the heroin-trafficking Marseilles underworld in the late ’40s and early ’50s to break the back of a French left widely revered for its wartime service in the anti-Nazi underground;

– CIA collaboration with heroin-trafficking generals and dictators against communist-led revolutionaries in Vietnam in the ’60s and ’70s;

– CIA collaboration with Osama bin Laden and heroin-trafficking local warlords to oust the Russian Army from Afghanistan in the ’80s;

– CIA collaboration with

cocaine-trafficking Latin American mafiosi and generals in support of the hospital-bombing contras – whom then-President Ronald Reagan called “freedom fighters” – in Nicaragua in the ’80s;

– The CIA-engineered overthrow of elected left-leaning governments in Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Brazil, Chile and numerous other parts of the “Free World.”

If they knew more about these skeletons in Uncle Sam’s closet, Americans might better understand the depth of anti-Americanism worldwide. They might even become critical of U.S. foreign policy.

At 3 p.m. Friday in Pearson 104, Long Island University political science Professor J. Patrice McSherry and journalist Robert Parry will discuss U.S.-backed state terrorism in Latin America in the ’70s and ’80s, and U.S. media self-censorship on this and many of the above subjects.

It’s a great opportunity for a crash course on “Why They Hate Us and You Don’t Know Why.”