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War Made Easy

Posted on Jul 11, 2007

Check out the trailer for “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death,” the chilling outcome of acclaimed author and columnist Norman Solomon’s collaboration with the Media Education Foundation. (At right, Bill O’Reilly, one of those in the movie.) The documentary is based on Solomon’s book of the same name and uses archival footage to map the rhetoric of war since the 1960s.  An interview with Solomon is also featured on the jump.

Watch the video here


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By atheo, July 16, 2007 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

War for Israel Aspect to be Apparently Discussed on CNN Tonight
Subject: Cindy Sheehan on CNN again tonight

CNN just mentioned that Cindy is going to be on tonight at 7 PM on the west coast and at 10 PM on the east coast (the Jewish former mayor of New York - Ed Koch - is going to be on talking about the war for Israel aspect in his new book..). Will smoke screen the issue, I would assume.. These Israel first types have been rattled by the Mearsheimer/Walt paper and are really worried about the Mearsheimer/Walt book coming out this September, so they are apparently trying pre-emptive strike action against it before it comes out..

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By BobZ, July 15, 2007 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

The media has been culpable in feeding us propaganda for years, but Bush/Cheney/Rove have outdone even the Nazi’s in managing the news to their benefit. None in the media have dared to say “the emperor has no clothes”. None in the media challenged the Gulf of Tonkin incident just as they gave Bush a free pass on Iraq and the bogus WMD’s. Michael Moore’s anger the other night on Wolf Blitzer’s show was spot on about the fourth estate.  It is sad the way the Bush administration has turned American’s against each other by using the worst possible rhetoric to describe opponents of the Iraq war. The ray of hope is that this ongoing nightmare will start to come to and end in November 2008.

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By Pacrat, July 14, 2007 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment
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Journalists make Bush war seem okay!

Could Bush invade a country that has not attacked the US without journalist support? Of course not! While we blame Cheney and Bush - and they deserve it - it is time to put an almost equal share of the blame on journalism that no longer sees its role as defending truth and protecting the constitution. I am not referring to the Fox News station that is the White House PR channel, I refer to all journalists who compliantly serve as PR agents for the White House.  Is there anyone other than Keith Olbermann with courage?

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By cyrena, July 11, 2007 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

Comment#86091 by atheo on 7/11 at 6:03 pm


THIS list is a keeper. You hit them all. Very helpful. I’m gonna use it as a cheat sheet.

Although, I honestly do believe, that it finally has caught up with them, before they could “get away”. I think they just really went so far overboard this time, that there’s just no rescue.

Meantime, I sure am glad that Joe Wilsom was able to get this into the congressional record. Sounds like a small victory, but future scholars will be glad for it. I am.

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By cann4ing, July 11, 2007 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

“Why, of course, the ‘people’ don’t want war.  Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece?  Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany.  That is understood.  But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is in a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship….[T]he people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.  That is easy.  All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.  It works the same way in any country.”
—Hermann Goering, quoted in “Nuremberg Diary” 1947.

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By atheo, July 11, 2007 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment

And when the lies come back to haunt them:

When the government lacks an effective, fact-based defense, other techniques must be employed. The success of these techniques depends heavily upon a cooperative, compliant press and a mere token opposition party.

1) Dummy up. If it’s not reported, if it’s not news, it didn’t happen.

2) Wax indignant. This is also known as the “How dare you?” gambit.

3) Characterize the charges as “rumors” or, better yet, “wild rumors.” If, in spite of the news blackout, the public is still able to learn about the suspicious facts, it can only be through “rumors.” 

4) Knock down straw men. Deal only with the weakest aspects of the weakest charges. Even better, create your own straw men. Make up wild rumors (or plant false stories) and give them lead play when you appear to debunk all the charges, real and fanciful alike.

5) Call the skeptics names like “conspiracy theorist,” “nutcase,” “ranter,” “kook,” “crackpot,” and, of course, “rumor monger.” Be sure, too, to use heavily loaded verbs and adjectives when characterizing their charges and defending the “more reasonable” government and its defenders. You must then carefully avoid fair and open debate with any of the people you have thus maligned. For insurance, set up your own “skeptics” to shoot down.

6) Impugn motives. Attempt to marginalize the critics by suggesting strongly that they are not really interested in the truth but are simply pursuing a partisan political agenda or are out to make money.

7) Invoke authority. Here the controlled press and the sham opposition can be very useful.

8) Dismiss the charges as “old news.”

9) Come half-clean. This is also known as “confession and avoidance” or “taking the limited hangout route.” This way, you create the impression of candor and honesty while you admit only to relatively harmless, less-than-criminal “mistakes.” This stratagem often requires the embrace of a fall-back position quite different from the one originally taken. With effective damage control, the fall-back position need only be peddled by stooge skeptics to carefully limited markets.

10) Characterize the crimes as impossibly complex and the truth as ultimately unknowable.

11) Reason backward, using the deductive method with a vengeance. With thoroughly rigorous deduction, troublesome evidence is irrelevant. E.g. We have a completely free press. If evidence exists that the Vince Foster “suicide” note was forged, they would have reported it. They haven’t reported it so there is no such evidence.

12) Require the skeptics to solve the crime completely. E.g. If Foster was murdered, who did it and why?

13) Change the subject. This technique includes creating and/or publicizing distractions.

14) Lightly report incriminating facts, and then make nothing of them. This is sometimes referred to as “bump and run” reporting.

15) Baldly and brazenly lie. A favorite way of doing this is to attribute the “facts” furnished the public to a plausible-sounding, but anonymous, source.

16) Expanding further on numbers 4 and 5, have your own stooges “expose” scandals and champion popular causes. Their job is to pre-empt real opponents and to play 99-yard football. A variation is to pay rich people for the job who will pretend to spend their own money.

17) Flood the Internet with agents.

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By cann4ing, July 11, 2007 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

I’ve read the book, but somehow the video is more powerful, more poignant.

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