BILL MOYERS: Four years ago this spring the Bush administration took leave of reality and plunged our country into a war so poorly planned it soon turned into a disaster. The story of how high officials misled the country has been told. But they couldn't have done it on their own; they needed a compliant press, to pass on their propaganda as news and cheer them on.
Since then thousands of people have died, and many are dying to this day. Yet the story of how the media bought what the White House was selling has not been told in depth on television. As the war rages into its fifth year, we look back at those months leading up to the invasion, when our press largely surrendered its independence and skepticism to join with our government in marching to war.
BILL MOYERS: As the WASHINGTON POST'S veteran reporter Walter Pincus would later report, the propaganda machine was run by the president's inner circle — officials who called themselves the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG.....
You wrote that WHIG included Karl Rove, the chief of staff, Andrew Card, Mary Matalin, Condi Rice, Steven Hadley, Lewis Libby and they were in charge of selling the war.
WALTER PINCUS: Selling the war. Yeah.
PRESIDENT BUSH (9/11/02): Good evening. A long year has passed since enemies attacked our country.
BILL MOYERS: Their chief salesman had the best props at his disposal [spoken over a clip of Bush with the Statue of Liberty behind him on the 1st anniversary of 9/11/01]
PRESIDENT BUSH (9/11/02): …and we will not allow any terrorist or tyrant to threaten civilization with weapons of mass murder.
WALTER PINCUS: They created that link.
BILL MOYERS: The marketing group?
WALTER PINCUS: The marketing group. And the link was a twofold link. One, he had weapons of mass destruction. And two, he supported terrorists. And they repeated it everyday. anybody who watches-- television these days knows you sell a product, not just by saying it once, by saying it over and over again with new spokesmen two, three times a day and it sinks into the public.
BILL MOYERS: But is there anything unusual about an administration marketing its policy?
WALTER PINCUS: It's, I think each administration has learned from the other, and with this group is just the cleverest I've ever seen-- and took it to new heights.
NORM SOLOMON: The TV, radio, print, other media outlets are as crucial to going to war as the bombs and the bullets and the planes. They're part of the arsenal, the propaganda weaponry, if you will. And that's totally understood across the board, at the Pentagon, the White House, the State Department.
COLIN POWELL (9/26/02): A proven menace like Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction
PRESIDENT BUSH (Discussion with Congressional Leaders, 9/26/02): The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons
DONALD RUMSFELD (DOD Press Briefing 9/26/02): We do have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members.
PRESIDENT BUSH: The regime has long standing and continuing ties to terrorist organizations.
BOB SIMON: Just repeat it and repeat it and repeat it. Repeat Al Qaeda, Iraq. Al Qaeda, Iraq. Al Qaeda, Iraq. Just keep it going. Keep that drum beat going.
And it was effective because long after it was well established that there was no link between Al Qaeda and the government of Iraq and the Saddam regime, the polls showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans believed that Al Qaeda-- that Iraq was responsible for September 11th.
BILL MOYERS: Knight Ridder's early skepticism was a rarity inside the beltway bubble…..
JOHN WALCOTT: A decision to go to war, even against an eighth-rate power such as Iraq, is the most serious decision that a government can ever make. And it deserves the most serious kind of scrutiny that we in the media can give it. Is this really necessary? Is it necessary to send our young men and women to go kill somebody else's young men and women?
"The idea is simple: take your TV, your DVD player, your video iPod, your XBOX 360, your laptop, your PSP, and say goodbye to them all for seven days. Simple, but not at all easy. Like millions of others before you, you’ll be shocked at just how difficult – yet also how life-changing – a week spent unplugged can really be." --Adbusters.org
I MET a traveller from an antique land
Who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
According to the results of free non-scientific online tests, TBL found that he was "Existentialist", "Communist", and "A Grammar God," i.e., if he were a short wall-eyed Frenchman rather than a 6'3" blond American, he would be constantly mistaken for Jean-Paul Sartre!