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June 19, 2006

The Specific People For Whom Accuracy Is An Unaffordable "Luxury"

It's rare that America's premier propagandists come straight out and say that, in these dangerous times, factual accuracy is a "luxury" we can't afford. But as I noted below, Eleana Benador of the PR firm Benador Associates did just that in an interview with the Nation:

Benador, who said her client [Amir Taheri] was "traveling in the Middle East," was impatient with dissections of his work. Terming accuracy with regard to Iran "a luxury," she said, "My major concern is the large picture. Is Taheri writing one or two details that are not accurate? This is a guy who is putting his life at stake." She noted that "the Iranian government has killed its opponents." Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "says he wants to destroy Israel. He says the Holocaust never happened.... As much as being accurate is important, in the end it's important to side with what's right. What's wrong is siding with the terrorists."

Benador Associates, of course, represents many of the those who were most strident in calling for war with Iraq. Now their clientele is extremely strident in calling for war with Iran.

Do the factual standards Eleana Benador espouses apply to her clients besides Taheri? It seems fair to assume so, given their extremely impressive track record of lying. (For one example, involving Benador client Richard Spertzel, see here. If anyone feels like conducting a research project, I guarantee there are literally hundreds more.)

So who are these people for whom accuracy is a luxury? Here are a few of the most prominent, taken from the Benador website. No one who's spent any time awake since 1993 will be surprised:

David Gelernter
Alexander M. Haig, Jr.
Victor Davis Hanson
Charles Krauthammer
Michael A. Ledeen
Laurie Mylroie
Richard Perle
Richard O. Spertzel
Amir Taheri
James Woolsey
Meyrav Wurmser

(Note that Judith Miller, while no longer listed, is a former client.)

The entire list is below.

Ali Al-Ahmed
Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Nir Boms
Arnaud de Borchgrave
Ismail Cem
Leon Charney
Ariel Cohen
Saad Eddin Ibrahim
Rachel Ehrenfeld
John Eibner
Hillel Fradkin
Ilana Freedman
David Gelernter
Dr. Stephen Gullo
Michel Gurfinkiel
Alexander M. Haig, Jr.
Victor Davis Hanson
Fereydoun Hoveyda
Mansoor Ijaz
Raphael Israeli
Charles Jacobs
George Jonas
Stanley H. Kaplan
Efraim Karsh
Charles Krauthammer
Herbert I. London
Lord Lamont of Lerwick
Michael A. Ledeen
Kanan Makiya
Paul Marshall
Andrew C. McCarthy
Michael Meyer
Hassan Mneimneh
Laurie Mylroie
Ayman Nour
John O'Sullivan
Yossi Olmert
Salameh Nematt
Richard Perle
Walid Phares
Richard Pipes
Dennis Prager
David Pryce-Jones
Tom Rose
A.M. Rosenthal
Jano Rosebiani
Tashbih Sayyed
Natan Sharansky
Michael Shrimpton
Richard O. Spertzel
Amir Taheri
Paul Vallely
Ruth Wedgwood
James Woolsey
Meyrav Wurmser

Posted at June 19, 2006 10:58 AM | TrackBack

Many people are putting their lives at stake. The peasants, the drug runners, the warlords, Al Qaeda, the soldiers and the peace keepers. The guy delivering milk on his donkey is putting his life at stake. Gee, let's all hail the dumb bastard lying journalist who is there for the sake of having credibility heaped on his bullshit, because he's willing to make it look to North Americans like his life is at stake; after all, he's within ten miles of a flying bullet.

This is the sort of journalistic "integrity" that makes me retch, honestly. Its a kind of blood brotherhood which journalists pay homage to, the same that made Mike Wallace an American icon while acting as a shill for CBS. Nevermind that he was little more than a cliche-spewing head. He was in VIET NAM, man!

Me, I prefer accuracy to heroics. There's nothing 'luxurious' about creeping about in underground rooms reading 40 year old material printed on mimeographs. Seems to me the 'luxury' is in running a big PR firm, padding your expense account by sticking up for your client.

Posted by: Alexis S at June 19, 2006 02:37 PM

Back when the Taheris smear was under discussion, I got into a small back-and-forth about the Benador client list with a center-right poster at American Footprints. I referred to it as neocon central; he maintained that that's AEI, which I acknowledge. The Benador clients are more properly thought of as the mad 'entertainment wing' of the tendency.

Seriously, it alarms and grieves me to see Saad Ibrahim in this company.

Posted by: Nell at June 19, 2006 04:52 PM

Let me just say that I would rather be known for trying peacefully to avoid war and failing than be known as trying war to get peace and failing.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce at June 19, 2006 05:28 PM

Your column "What We Think About When We Think About Iraq" is a great read. It always makes me wince when I hear that worn out old work horse of a phrase the liberal news media. I remember having a conversation on that topic with a friend who insisted the news media was in fact liberal because there were many liberal columnists and that reporters themselves were liberal. I became so exasperated by the conversation I went home and drowned my goldfish, shot my cat, kicked the couch and created several new windows and doorways with my head. After a painful and long recovery I was released from the insane asylum and am as you see me today, a perfectly rational individual.

I took a look at the Benador website, "A cadre of inspiring, knowledgeable speakers who are available to address your group or broadcast audience." And they are "Highly qualified" as well, but they neglected to say what they were high on but I would hazard a guess that they are not high on life.

Krauthhammer is inspiring? He is reminds me more of Boris Karlof in his starring role as "The Mummy" except Boris Karlof was much better looking.

You can see the resemblance here, (not for the faint of heart)

Posted by: rob payne at June 19, 2006 07:27 PM

The passive tense: the warmonger's friend.

Posted by: Cal at June 20, 2006 12:44 AM

I think Laurie Mylroie should change her name to Laurie My-Loroie. Then her books would really sell, and CNN would say she's right about everything. It worked for Max Power. There's the right way, the wrong way, and the American Way.

Posted by: Josiah Bounderby at June 20, 2006 03:32 AM

I think the point about Sam the Eagle is one that does have a lot of relevance to the news media and how it frames what we perceive. It really does take quite a bit of time to stay on top of everything that is going on in the news. Josh Marshall does an excellent job of covering the corruption both on his own site and at his other Muckraker site where Justin Rood and Paul Kiel both do outstanding work. Even with all of the coverage concentrated on these two sites a person could spend hours reading what these people say not to mention all the articles they link too. And still it tends to boggle the mind with this intricate trail of corruption with all of the connections between congress and lobbyists and what have you. You have to have a good memory to just comprehend the tangled web weaved by the bad players.

Then there is all the other domestic stuff much of which can fall to the wayside. You have the victims of Katrina and what is happening with those people, there is still the topics of pollution, global warming, there is also poverty, the economy, the silliness of changing the constitution concerning flag burning which opens a whole other can of worms of how we are bamboozled constantly by wedge issues and then somehow you can actually follow all of this back to the corruption in congress which is kind of like following all the tributaries back to the main river or head waters. Then there is the international scene with Iraq, Iran, China, Russia and North Korea and on and on.

Now some people may have the time and if they do they could spend an entire day reading about this stuff at blogging websites and news websites including online magazines and newspapers not to mention watch groups like FAIR and others like it. But what about the average person who works is raising kids and all the rest? Most times these people get their news from television which is really and truly an awful source for news. I think a valid argument could be made that the news on television is far more misleading than newspapers who actually sometimes print some pretty good articles and have much more content than the televised version which is exasperated with the ridiculous plethora of talking heads that constantly parade before the viewers confusing all of the information with lousy and often just plain dishonest analysis.

I think this is a huge problem.

Posted by: rob payne at June 20, 2006 05:02 AM

It's so very much like Orwell's 1984. Does this all mean that democracy (or at least this form of democracy) is, in fact, a wicked political system? Seriously, I wonder. So easy to manipulate and the strings are invisible; you have nobody to blame but your neighbors, or maybe your spouse, your parents, your children, yourself.

Posted by: abb1 at June 20, 2006 05:56 AM

Andrew C. McCarthy

wow. i guess the 80s live on for Benador, huh?

also, Woolsey? that makes so much sense!

Posted by: almostinfamous at June 20, 2006 11:06 AM