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August 22, 2006

What The Media "Cares" About

Yesterday I noted the giant Washington Post story about the Anfal campaign against the Kurds in the late eighties—and the peculiar way the Post omitted any mention of the Reagan and Bush administrations' efforts to give Saddam political cover for his genocide.

But Seth Ackerman points out the Post also left out something else: its own role. This appears on page 186 of A Problem from Hell by Samantha Powers:

U.S. officials reporting on the attacks had acquired a matter-of-fact tone, describing the harsh treatment of Kurds as routine...

The U.S. media did not press the matter. The few correspondents who cared about the region had great difficulty getting inside Iraq. The Washington Post's Jonathan Randal had visited in 1985, but he could not persuade his editors that another trip would be worth the expense, the risk, and the hassle. Once, when he tried to get the Post to publish a picture of a gassed Kurd, his editor asked, "Who will care?"

I think the answer to this question is clear: the Washington Post will, when the U.S. government needs gassed Kurds for propaganda purposes.

Posted at August 22, 2006 10:37 AM | TrackBack

The world functions as though the conspiracy theorists were correct -- but the truly frightening thing is that there is actually no one in charge.

Posted by: Adam Kotsko at August 22, 2006 01:51 PM


Doesn't it sometimes feel as though we're riding in a bus that's headed towards a cliff and everyone else is asleep?

Or maybe they are awake, and cheering.

Posted by: BRG at August 22, 2006 01:55 PM

Everyone's a Bozo on this bus
Zips and Beaners sittin next to us
are you a hostage are you a spy?
or just some beserker who's prepared to die.
This bus is off to war

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 22, 2006 03:06 PM

The PRESIDENT is driving us
and NONE of will make a fuss
this bus is off to war.

---The Fighting Clowns

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 22, 2006 04:56 PM

You can't automatically trust any medium used to convey public information; including your friends and conspiracy theory sites. Whilst some are true more often, it's the times they lie that are critical (the Associated Press is very much like this, ISTM).

But then the WP did not lie, it just chose not to tell a particular truth as there was not enough pressure or any precident to tell it. No conspiracies required.

As for disregarding all apparent truths, that is very unwise as you'll just end up believing things that are not apparent, i.e. anything but the truth.

Posted by: me at August 23, 2006 07:57 AM