Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Iran: Here We Go Again, Mainstream Media and All

In case you hadn't noticed, we're being manipulated toward another war. The run-up to an attack on Iran is in full swing, and the justification for it is shifting as fast as the justification for invading Iraq did. And it appears that the media is being as compliant in echoing the Bush administration's message on Iran as it was in supporting their Iraq propaganda.

Thanks to Steven D of Booman Tribune for calling our attention to this scintillating piece of propaganda from a CNN report posted on Wednesday:
Iranian-U.S. tensions have been ratcheted up recently, with two U.S. officials theorizing about the possibility that Iran was involved in a January 20 attack that killed five U.S. soldiers.

Two officials from separate U.S. government agencies said Tuesday the Pentagon is investigating whether the attack on a military compound in Karbala was carried out by Iranians or Iranian-trained operatives.

"People are looking at it seriously," one of the officials said, adding that the Iranian connection was a leading theory in the investigation.

The second official said: "We believe it's possible the executors of the attack were Iranian or Iranian-trained."

We've become so inured to hearing from "unnamed sources" that we hardly question any more why the sources are left unidentified or how credible they are, or what their motivations in talking to the media might be.

One thing we can be fairly certain of is that the "two officials" cited in this story are not whistle blowers. Whistle blowers don't make statements that support administration policies, nor do they couch their language in disclaimers. Notice how every allegation of Iranian involvement in the Karbala attacks is accompanied with modifying language: the Pentagon is investigating, people are looking at it seriously, we believe it's possible…

The CNN article later states that "Some Iraqis speculate that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps carried out the attack in retaliation for the January 11 capture by U.S. forces of five of its members in Irbil."

Who would those "some Iraqis" be, and who told the author of this article that they speculate Iran's Revolutionary Guard carried out the Karbala attack? For that matter, why doesn't the author's name appear in a byline? Yes, big news agencies often publish stories without crediting their staff writers, but this story contains serious political content attributable to no virtually no one. The only person it specifically cites is Mr. Bush, and that was in a specific reference to a statement he made in a Monday interview with National Public Radio. It's kind of hard to quote a public statement the president of the United States and hide the source of the statement.

"I Believe"

Masters of manipulation who use misinformation, disinformation, false propaganda and other rhetorical means of mass mind control know how to both exploit the abstraction aspects of the communication process and couch their language in a way that covers the territory above their fetlocks.

They know that as a message works its way through the echo chamber, the qualifying language will fade below the noise threshold while the "message" will continue to reverberate loudly and clearly. They know that "We believe it's possible the executors of the attack were Iranian or Iranian-trained" will eventually be rebroadcast as "The executors of the attack were Iranian or Iranian-trained."

But by having included the disclaimers in their original statements, they can always disavow culpability for having deliberately misled the public. Keep that in mind when you hear the likes of Messrs. Bush and Cheney say they firmly "think" or "believe" something to be true about Iraq, Iran or any other "factual" information they use to justify their foreign policy decisions.

Were irony alive and with us, it would roll its eyes at the mainstream media's willingness to echo the administration's pro-Iranian war propaganda even as Judith Miller, the former New York Times reporter now testifying in the I. Lewis Libby trial, tries to defend her role in the Bush administration's media manipulation that led to the Iraq invasion.

MSNBC just ran a piece by notably unreliable source Jim Miklashevski that talked about claims that Iran is behind all the recent violence in Iraq. After Micklashevski's segment, the pretty talking head admitted than nothing Mick had said had been proven, but I doubt anybody heard what she said.


Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.


  1. Anonymous3:57 PM

    Jeff, I'm glad you commented on this- last night when I first heard the "breaking news" I hoped you would. What is interesting to me about this is it was reported as breaking news at 9pm on msnbc and the drudge report had a blurb about it at the top of their page, then today it isn't covered at all.

    I think the whole thing is bogus, just falsified information to justify bombing Iran and I hope Congress steps up on this one.

    Also thought you might like this, from last nights countdown with Keith Olbermann

  2. Interesting take on the attack here: Time on Target.

  3. I hear the Drums getting louder.

    Jeff, did you get my last comment, thread below?


  4. Thanks for the reads and comments, gang. Human, yes, got your comment, sorry I didn't have time to respond yesterday.



  5. Wow. I found my way to your site through Human's "Carbon Paper"

    Thank you for your honest, educated, adn insightful comments.

    I just watched "Good Night and Good Luck"

    I think Edward R Murrow was amazing ...and he words ring true today for this country that is currently having the wool forced over its eyes.

    He said, "The Senator asked, "Upon what meat does this, our Caesar, feed?" Had he looked three lines earlier in Shakespeare's Caesar, he would have found this line, which is not altogether inappropriate: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."

    No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one...

    ...We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men -- not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.

    ...We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

    ...Cassius was right. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."

  6. Sue,

    Thanks for stopping by and giving us the quotes.



  7. There is reportedly some backstairs quibbling in the WH about details of the upcoming Iran adventure. I'm betting one bone of contention is whether to go conventional or nuclear. I predict those using the N-word will win out.

  8. We shall see, Sam. We shall see.