Study Reveals: Corporate Media Is Horny for War

If the United States media has learned one thing, it’s how not to have an informative discussion that deeply scrutinizes America’s military crusades in the Middle East.


A study published last month by FAIR, the media watchdog group, found that in the moments leading up to the Obama administration’s decision to launch an air offensive against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, cable news shows presented almost no debate about whether such an action was a good idea.

The study evaluated televised debate segments and discussions that took place from September 7- 21, from the first ISIS beheading video to the first US air strikes in Syria, and found that out of 205 sources who appeared on those programs, only six guests, or 3 percent, voiced opposition to military intervention against ISIS.

The study notes:

The question of whether to launch an attack seemed almost not worth talking about. As MSNBC host Chris Matthews (9/9/14) put it, “When it comes to down to how we fight this, everybody seems to be for air attacks, airstrikes. Everybody is for drone attacks.” If by “everyone,” he meant the lawmakers who appear on the talkshow circuit, he was virtually correct. The most vocal critics of the Obama plan were the hawkish lawmakers who found it insufficient or strategically incoherent.

The FAIR study analyzed guests appearing on Sunday talk shows, the PBS NewsHour and several cable news programs. The guests were sorted based on occupation, partisan affiliation and whether they supported military intervention in Iraq, Syria or both.

On the Sunday talk shows, the study reported that only one guest out of 89 could be considered anti-war. Democrats outnumbered Republicans on the programs, 53-36, due to presence of many Obama officials advocating for White House policy.

Out of all the guests, 44 percent were from political or military backgrounds. Meanwhile, 46 percent of sources were journalists in the form of pundits, columnists and correspondents who appeared on the shows to discuss war policies.

The study highlights several discussions in which the debate centered around how much military force to use or whether the president needed congressional approval to engage ISIS, rather than a debate about whether the United States should go to war at all.

“This led to discussions that had the appearance of a debate, but were really just about the mechanics of warmaking,” the study said.

Uneven portrayals of US war policy are not limited to cable news. A 2004 study by Howard Friel and Richard Falk found that the New York Times ignored international law when discussing the leadup to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. 

“No space was accorded to the broad array of international law and world-order arguments opposing the war,” Friel and Falk observed. 

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