Journalist Mehdi Hasan has nailed exactly how the media is currently letting us down, and how it needs to improve.
Journalism is supposed to be the first draft of history. But we need to give it to you full – warts and all… Yes, we should respect the dead… but also, we should respect facts, history, what actually happened… Otherwise, the country’s screwed.
And as he said of Bush:
A lot of Iraqis died on his watch, a lot of Panamanians died on his watch, a lot of Black people saw the racist ad campaign of Willie Horton that he ran in 1988, a lot of people died in the AIDS crisis that he didn’t really pay much attention to, in the war on drugs that he ramped up. And I think it’s worth recounting all of their lives.
The mainstream media’s shameless fawning over a “war criminal”
As The Canary previously reported, many people have called Bush a “war criminal”. And indeed, he was responsible for:
- Orchestrating dirty wars and coups, mostly in Latin America.
- Very unsecretive wars in Iraq and Panama, which killed many thousands of civilians (The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recently told the US to give Panama reparations over Bush’s illegal 1989 invasion).
- A damaging free trade deal that fostered sweatshop labour and hit indigenous Mexicans particularly hard.
- A devastating ‘war on drugs‘ which destroyed lives but “did nothing to reduce drug abuse”, an incredibly racist political campaign, and a woeful performance during the AIDS crisis (as Hasan mentioned above).
- Nominating (and defending) a hard-right alleged sex offender for the Supreme Court.
- Saying “I will never apologize for the United States — I don’t care what the facts are” when the US downed an Iranian commercial flight in 1988, killing 290 civilians (including 66 children) in the process.
- Setting up a Guantánamo Bay camp for “Haitian refugees escaping the violence surrounding the 1991 coup” so there was somewhere “to hold people without allowing them on US soil under protection of US law”.
You wouldn’t see much of that in the mainstream media, though. As OffGuardian insisted, “The Guardian’s Bush obituary plumbs new depths of sycophantic hypocrisy”. And as award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald said of CNN:
As @mehdirhasan & others point out how US media acted like State TV or best friends of the Bush family at a private wake – in the process spouting full-on propaganda and distortions of history – CNN's media analsyst @wjcarter says it was the right thing to https://t.co/80ToEBK8TL
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 6, 2018
The article Greenwald refers to claimed Bush was “the kind of wholesome, uncontroversial figure most people would say they want in a national leader”, and suggested that media whitewashing was actually “a fine thing”.
Comedian Jimmy Dore, meanwhile, slammed MSNBC coverage:
— Jimmy Dore (@jimmy_dore) December 4, 2018
We deserve better
Other people were also “fed up” of the media’s failure to “respect facts, history, what actually happened” (as Hasan said):
Maybe normal people are just fed up with journalists who fetishize access and revise someone’s record to whitewash them because they were personally nice to them in line once at Wendy’s while they were waiting for a Frosty.
— Calvin (@calvinstowell) December 2, 2018
Puke inducing is what it is. Gloriously, though, people are pushing back on the establishment narrative. A lot of the public fell for the War McCain twat fest but the Papa Bush whitewash job is proving a harder sell. And the media wonders why no one believes a shill word they say
— Pam Ryan (@1liesalot) December 3, 2018
People’s anger is totally justified. Because journalism should be about telling us the whole truth – not about sucking up to the powerful. But today, that kind of journalism is in short supply – especially in the mainstream media.
We must demand better. And we must support journalists who aren’t afraid to do their job.
Featured image via screenshot
- Support independent, grassroots media.
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.