Wednesday, May 28, 2003

How US Media Helped Bush Sell A War

When President Bush spoke to what the media described as a supportive Arab American audience in Dearborn, Michigan, the media carried the address and portrayed it uncritically. The scenario was carefully crafted for US and Arab world audiences since it was carried live around the world. The president's podium was set before a backdrop with Arabic and English writing. Behind the president were seated a small group of about 40 Iraqi Americans, some Shiites and some Chaldean. The audience was not seen, but the impression was created that it was an enthusiastic crowd representative of Michigan's 400,000 plus Arab Americans.

Cameras never focused on the audience, no one saw that the room was only one-third full - an estimated crowd of 300. The fact that the group was personally invited by the White House and was carefully screened to include Republicans and supporters of the president was not reported. Instead, the impression was created that the president was giving a victory message full of optimism and hope to his Arab American supporters. That was what the White House wanted to convey, and that was the story the media allowed them to uncritically convey.

The view from Palestine.

Speaking of stage directions - There has also been increasing attention being paid to the stage-managed toppling of Saddam's statue in Baghdad Square. The Square was surrounded by US forces and tanks and then 200-300 unknown people in Arab dress were let in. Who were these people?

End of Aid In Gaza?

International aid workers have been shut out from Gaza since Saturday 10th May. Despite the worsening humanitarian situation, the Israeli army says the exclusion could become permanent. Since January, many of us have been refused entry to Israel, cross-examined and even deported. Now aid organisations are talking about pulling out.

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