Ten years ago, on this day, Baghdad fell to coalition forces.
As U.S. troops were closing in on the city, Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Saha (M.S.S.) had the job of keeping the Iraqi people “informed” of how the war was going. M.S.S.’s boss, Saddam Hussein, didn’t want the Iraqi people to know just how badly the war was going for the regime, so M.S.S.’s press conferences consisted of half-truths, distortions, and blatant lies.
As the war continued to go badly for the regime, the press conferences became more laughable, earning M.S.S. the nicknames of “Baghdad Bob” and “Comical Ali”. He was captured after the war and now lives in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
We haven’t heard much from Baghdad Bob in the past ten years, but studies have shown own supposedly “free” press was little better in the lead up to the Iraq War. The media largely followed a pro-war storyline, even when the facts didn’t match what the Bush Administration was saying.
In the leadup to the Iraq War, the press was more interested in telling a story than in reporting facts. But this isn’t journalism, this is propaganda.
Today, we are seeing the same “selective reporting” in stories about abortion. Members of the media largely support legalized abortion, and this is reflected in the stories they chose to cover and those they choose to ignore. Stories that make people more sympathetic to liberal abortion laws are promoted, such as the unfortunate death of Savita Halappanavar, while stories that make people more supportive of abortion restrictions, such as the trial of Kermit Gosnell for the death of multiple newborn babies and a woman, Karnamay Mongar.
Some of the coverage would make Baghdad Bob proud. This from the Huffington Post:
In court Monday, Gosnell defied that crude image, appearing poised, elegantly dressed and oddly relaxed. He warmly greeted a local TV reporter by name, as he has done in the past.
Gosnell, the only child of a gas station operator and government clerk, had been a top student at the city’s prestigious Central High School. He became an early proponent of abortion rights in the 1960s and `70s, and returned from a stint in New York City to open up a clinic in the impoverished Mantua neighborhood, near the working-class black neighborhood where he grew up.
His Women’s Medical Center treated the poor, immigrants, teens and others without regard for their ability to pay, Gosnell has said.
I’ll spare you the gruesome details of the trial, but Google is your friend. Tip: Don’t read while eating.
Blogger Ace of Spades has an insightful take on all of this.
Unlike in Iraq, the government isn’t forcing the media to cover the story a certain way. Nor do we have, like in Britain, an unashamedly partisan press. (Everyone in the UK knows The Guardian is left-leaning and The Daily Telegraph is right-leaning.)
Instead, Ace hypothesizes that the media manipulates its coverage for what they believe is the greater good. They see themselves as educated and enlightened, and the rest of us, especially in the Deep South or the Central Time Zone, as a bunch of dangerously uneducated savages.
You see, we can’t know about the Gosnell trial, because that might make us think abortion is bad, and such thinking Is Not Allowed. On the other hand, we must know about Savita and we must know that the Catholic Church is to blame (even though neither Irish Law nor Catholic teaching would have prevented her from getting the care she needed) so that we will know that abortion is necessary and good and that those crazy Catholics have no business in medicine or politics in a “civilized” society.
Or as Ace of Spades put it:
By deliberately misleading the public, you see, they’re protecting the world.
They have taken the exact opposite side of the proposition this nation was founded upon. Far from a well-informed citizenry being necessary for a free democracy, they’ve decided a well-informed citizenry is a deadly threat to it.
Don’t worry, though. They’re working their level-best to end that threat.
Truth does not control information. Truth is liberating. Truth is unbiased. Truth answers the questions instead of silencing the debate.
But those only concerned with their own power find truth a threat or an inconvenience. In a world without truth, all that is left is power.
Or as one famous politician put it: “Truth. What is the truth?”