In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, not one single mainstream newspaper or TV news network in Britain actively opposed it. That’s pretty amazing don’t you think in a supposed democracy? Despite no evidence that Hussein had anything to do with 9-11 or that he had any Weapons of Mass Destruction, the media went along with Bush and Blair, terrified of seriously criticising them. It was only afterwards, when it was clear what a sham it had all been, that some of them started to gingerly question it. However, even to this day, virtually none of them will go the whole hog and face the fact that the atrocities Hussein committed were done with Western weapons and both government and media support i.e. silence.
Neil Clarke’s blog highlights an excellent piece by Peter Wilby in The Guardian’s Comment is Free section (incidentally one of the best bits of the paper which is not available in the newsstand copies) about how exactly the same thing is happening as regards invasion of Iran. He was writing after attending a conference of 250 media professionals who came to the same conclusion. Wilby points out how the mainstream media is now so entrenched in the Public Relations industry, that it cannot possibly hope to tell the truth.
I have a lot of respect for Wilby because I actually worked at The New Statesman during the month he stepped-down as editor in May 2005. Wilby was very supportive and encouraging of the ideas and suggestions I made. Unfortunately, he disappeared before any of them were taken further and John Kampfner took over who understandably at that time, had enough on his plate without dealing with me. Wilby is credited with moving The New Statesman back to the left after it lost its way a bit although a series of controversial cover stories and a fall-out with a Deputy Editor seem to have caused some problems. However, it’s still not clear to this day why Wilby resigned – I remember many of the staff were shocked that day and some found out first on the internet where the story had been leaked.
Anyway, it’s good to see that he still has not lost his critical eye even if he must be taking it a bit easier nowadays.