The Press as the War Machine’s Ally | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

The Press as the War Machine’s Ally

American journalists typically have portrayed themselves as the public’s "watchdogs" monitoring the behavior of elected and appointed government officials. In the foreign policy arena, the mainstream news media have failed spectacularly at their self-proclaimed mission. Indeed, such journalists have rarely even made a credible effort to perform that task. Too often, they instead have become either useful idiots for promoting an interventionist U.S. policy or even willing propagandists for government officials who push Washington’s aggressive role in world affairs.

A flagrant preference for US foreign policy activism (even outright militarism) has characterized the vast majority of press accounts over the decades. The public’s normal skepticism about the motives of officials and the truthfulness of their statements tends to evaporate whenever those leaders contend that the latest adverse development overseas portends a dire threat to the security and liberty of the American people. The most recent versions of that tactic have been to hype the threat of non-state terrorism and the "existential threat" that Russia and China supposedly pose to America’s security and liberty. Too many members of the establishment press actively assist such efforts at threat inflation. Notably, much of the news media served as an enthusiastic conduit for allegations about Saddam Hussein’s fictional weapons of mass destruction or Russia’s nonexistent "bounties" on US troops in Afghanistan.