6 of the Biggest Media Lies and Distortions of the Week—Matt Lauer's Suck Up to Power Edition
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It was a week filled with distortions in the corporate media, with plenty of naked attempts to suck up to powerful interests, from Matt Lauer's softball questions to GM CEO Mary Barra, to a fog of obfucscations about who's to blame for the most recent violent events in the Middle East -- Obama or the neocons from the Bush years. Here are six of the worst corporate media lies from the week.
1. The Joker Known as Ed Klein
The author of the original Obama birther book is back in the game with another book tailor-made for the foreign policy experts who get their news from Fox and the tabs. Klein’s “Blood Feud: The Obamas versus the Clintons” is chockablock with scandalous yarns about the Obamas’ marital discord sourced to servants in Martha’s Vineyard and HRC on a profanity-laced drunken tirade about Obama sourced to “friends” who partied with her in Westchester. The fact that nothing in Klein’s oeuvre is fact-checkable, let alone deemed fact-check-worthy by his publisher doesn’t even cause a blush over at the Daily Mail, New York Post, Fox, the Daily Caller, The Blaze, or the Christian Post, all of whom are polluting the Internet with Klein’s toxic fumes.
2. The Poll
The media made much of a Wall Street Journal NBC poll this week finding that just 41 percent of Americans approve of the job President Obama is doing, while their approval of his foreign policy has dropped to “an all-time low” of 37 percent. Putting this poll in context: as of last year, 68 percent of Americans believe in heaven and 42 percent believe in ghosts. Why should we ever expect that the vast majority of our fellow Americans, believing as they do in supernatural beings, would know good foreign policy if they saw it? Further context: a majority of Americans supported President Bush when he commenced the greatest military folly in our generation: the dismantling of Iraq and the de facto creation of a terrorist haven in that country.
3. Israel Bombed Syria?
There is always one Middle Eastern nation that can muster jets to drop bombs nobody hears. On Monday , Israel bombed nine Syrian military sites in retaliation for a rocket lobbed over that country’s northern border with Syria. You did not see this on the nightly news. The attack killed an Arab-Israeli teen named Mohammed Karaka, who had gone to work with his dad, a driver for an Israeli defense contractor. According to Jodi Rudoren of the Times, whose story landed on a Times backpage, “the extent of any damage or casualties [in Syria] was not clear.” Israeli General Ben-Reuven conceded that Syrian rebels were probably behind the attack, but said Israel held President Bashar al-Assad responsible and had fired at his military to “tell them: you have to control your area and stop this terror organization acting against Israel.”
The most interesting part of the story is not that Israel typically sees fit to rain hellfire on multitudes to revenge a single Israeli life, but that the single dead Israeli in this case was an Arab. It is impossible to imagine any other nation in the Middle East bombing a neighbor’s military installations without the act becoming the lead story of the day, let alone the week.
4. Reductio ad absurdum in Iraq
Accepting the imminent dismantling of Iraq depends upon seeing it as hopelessly sectarian nations reduced to their religious divisions. The American media has never been able to acknowledge the fact that these countries were historically multicultural. Talking heads revert to using Sunni-Shia in every sentence they utter to explain a very complicated social construct. Most Iraqis never identified themselves as one for the other. And when Syria is reduced to a fully failed state, Americans will again believe that a once-heterogeneous nation was destined to collapse along religious lines. Religion, opiate of the masses, is, after bombs and drones, the greatest organizing tool of imperialists in the Middle East.