Hans Blix, Dennis Kucinich and the Dixie Chicks are in very different lines of work — but they’re in the same line of fire from big media for the sin of strongly challenging the president’s war agenda.
Let’s start with Blix, who can get respectful coverage in American media — unless he’s criticizing the
But presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer retorted: “I think it’s unfortunate if Hans Blix would in any way criticize the
So, on the April 22 edition of CNN’s “Moneyline” program, host Lou Dobbs (with an American flag pin in his lapel) summed up a news report this way: “Blix appearing for all the world to look like a petulant U.N. bureaucrat about a month to go before his retirement.”
Dennis Kucinich does. The four-term
A few weeks before President Bush launched an undeclared war on
Cohen claimed to be shocked shocked shocked. The first word of his column was “liar.” From there, the Post columnist peppered his piece with references to Kucinich as an “indomitable demagogue” and a “fool” who was “repeating a lie.” But Cohen would have done well to re-read a front page of his own newspaper.
Five months earlier, on Sept. 15, a page-one Post report carried the headline “In Iraqi War Scenario, Oil Is Key Issue; U.S. Drillers Eye Huge Petroleum Pool.” In the article, Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of the U.S.-backed Iraqi National Congress, said that he favored the creation of a U.S.-led consortium to develop oil fields in a post-Saddam
The same Post article quoted former CIA Director James Woolsey — a Chalabi supporter who, according to a Legal Times story, has been on the payroll of Chalabi’s group. Woolsey said: “
As many business pages have long highlighted, it’s actually quite reasonable to identify oil as key to
Similar media gendarmes are on patrol over the airwaves. The giant corporate owner of more than 1,200 radio stations, Clear Channel, syndicates talk radio host Glenn Beck to scores of stations nationwide — and Beck is enraged about Kucinich. Days before the all-out war on
Beck has been a chief on-air organizer of de facto pro-war rallies promoted by Clear Channel, a monopolistic corporation with close ties to President Bush. Those rallies included vilification of the Dixie Chicks, a country music group that earned the wrath of hyper-patriots several weeks ago when lead singer Natalie Maines, a Texan, said she was ashamed to be from the same state as Bush.
While the controversy did not do much harm to sales of their music, the Dixie Chicks have suffered a sharp drop in air play. Most fans don’t seem to mind the anti-war sentiment, but some radio industry executives sure do. “What’s clear is that in these days of highly concentrated media ownership,” says the
In a new statement that voiced support for the Dixie Chicks as “terrific American artists expressing American values by using their American right to free speech,” rocker Bruce Springsteen condemned “the pressure coming from the government and big business to enforce conformity of thought concerning the war and politics.”
Being a dissenter from conventional wisdom has always involved risks — but rarely have major media powerhouses in the
Norman Solomon is co-author of “Target