Friday, May 30, 2003

The Pfc. Lynch Propaganda Wars

Robert Scheer -- Last week, this column reported the findings of a British Broadcasting Corp. special report that accused the U.S. military and media of inaccurately and manipulatively hyping the story of U.S. Pvt. Jessica Lynch and her rescue from an Iraq hospital. The column was also informed by similar and independently reported articles and statements in the Toronto Star, the Washington Post and other reputable publications.

Expected — and received — was a hysterical belch of outrage from the right-wing media, led by Rupert Murdoch's Fox empire, which has already committed a huge book advance to the telling of this mythic tale. A fiery and disingenuous response from the Pentagon, however, was quite a bit more sobering.

He goes on to note the Pentagon response refutes no facts but instead questions the patriotism of everyone bringing up the story.

Perhaps [General] Clarke is frustrated that in the days since the BBC report, several major publications such as the Chicago Tribune and the London Daily Mail have independently verified much of the BBC's disturbing account of what the broadcasting corporation called "one of the most stunning pieces of news management ever conceived."

What is particularly sad in all of this is that a wonderfully hopeful story was available to the Pentagon to sell to the eager media: one in which besieged Iraqi doctors and nurses bravely cared for — and supplied their own blood to — a similarly brave young American woman in a time of madness and violence. Instead, eager to turn the war into a morality play between good and evil, the military used — if not abused — Lynch to put a heroic spin on an otherwise sorry tale of unjustified invasion.

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