April 9, 2017

On C&L and many other places, the mainstream media has been roundly criticized for waxing poetic over Trump's ordering of a very limited missile strike on a Syrian airfield after seeing images that disturbed him.

The air strike did not even disable the air field that was targeted, but facts like that don't seem to matter at all to the news networks.

On CNN's Reliable Sources this morning, host Brian Stelter had on Lara Setrakian and Jeremy Scahill to discuss how the media and their editorial boards use war images from Syria, like the ones that supposedly influenced Trump to authorize the strike.

Setrakian was very critical of the overall news coverage of the conflict in Syria, saying there "is no coverage until there is a momentarily obsession, whether chemical weapons - or something we think speaks to an American news appetite."

She also questioned all the facts of the chemical attacks by saying they hadn't been confirmed yet and questioned the images the media had shown since they came from activists and the U.S. military.

Stelter then turned to Scahill, "What is your view of the coverage?

Scahill reminded everyone that the US and Trump has been involved in the Syrian conflict and he's upped the destruction of Yemen.

And then he set his sights on the fawning and ludicrous coverage of the air strikes by the media and the military analysts that cable news hires.

Scahill said, "CNN needs to immediately withdraw all retired generals and colonels from its airwaves. You know, Fareed Zakaria, if that guy could have sex with this cruise missile attack, I think he would do it."

"Brian Williams seemed to just be in true love with the cruise missile strike in a despicable way, invoking Leonard Cohen's name." he added.

"The media coverage has been atrocious particularly and this is across the board on every network, particularly when the strike is happening. It's like they are in awe of the cruise missiles..."

Stelter tried to defend his colleague Zakaria by saying the rest of his statement was critical of Trump, but Fareed lauded Trump again today.

Scahill also called for more transparency from these former generals and ex-military men, who populate our airwaves either directly before, during or after a military action has taken place, since many have financial ties to sectors profiting off of these strikes.

This is a point which I've made too many times to count over the years.

In 2008, Howard Kurtz hosted an excellent segment on the NY Times blockbuster story "Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand," which reported:

To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

ALLARD: Look back at the election of 2004, what was not discussed. Things like manpower, things like, was the war a good idea? Should we continue to fight? If so, for how long?

Things which we're talking about now were not even talked about back then. We couldn't even get on -- we couldn't get on, on a bet (ph).

KURTZ: I talked to retired Colonel Bill Cowan, who was a Fox military analyst. He said that three years ago, after he criticized the war effort on "The O'Reilly Factor," he was booted off the group, was never invited to another briefing, never got another telephone call, never got another e-mail.

Here's the full transcript of the Kurtz video.

It is a must-see video and debate at this time.

And as Margaret Sullivan rightly states in her Washington Post article, "The media loved Trump’s show of military might. Are we really doing this again?

Apparently. we are.

Read it all because it's a great piece and she wraps it up with this:

Missile strikes may seem thrilling, and retaliation righteous. But journalists and commentators ought to remember the duller virtues, too, like skepticism, depth and context. And keep their eyes fixed firmly there, not on the spectacular images in the sky.

As the Syria air strike commenced, the media has been acting like a dry drunk, whose life had been destroyed by alcoholism before, but after viewing the majestic smokey plumes trailing the Tomahawks, picks up that bottle again and is immediately consumed by it as if they never stopped drinking at all.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.