When Republican National Committee Chairman, Michael Steele, recently said that Afghanistan is “a war of Obama's choosing” that is prone to fail according to “1,000 years of history,” the warfare state's usual apologists promptly responded by attacking him. Amid their superficial displays of political axe-grinding, they accused him of committing a “factual error” and a “gaffe.”*
Coming from neocons and others who are politically and financially vested in U.S. foreign policy, and who therefore openly support imperial U.S. aggression, such a reaction is predictable. Yet, in this case, it wasn't Max Boot who thus inverted reality in reacting to Steele's comments, but rather the “world's largest and most trusted source of independent news and information”: The Associated Press.
Take a look at the AP report on the subject. Although Steele's strongest argument is that previous imperial attempts to conquer Afghanistan have failed, The AP editor found no space in the lengthy report to either challenge or confirm this historical fact. Nothing appears about the grim assessments and the current crescendo of U.S. and Afghan casualties and financial debt incurred unto Americans. Nothing of substance about the moral, legal, or practical opposition to the policy. Far from an honest attempt at getting to the truth of the matter, the AP report is a thinly veiled exercise in state-worship.
Surprised? You shouldn't be: it's typical AP fare.
Following are some other things that should make you wonder from what The AP is “independent” and by whom The AP is “trusted.”
- The AP boasts over 240 bureaus in over 95 countries; the U.S. Pentagon runs an empire over 700 military bases in over 130 countries. Where do those bases and bureaus locally overlap, and what would happen to The AP's international operations should the U.S. empire be scaled back considerably? What if there were no wars and military occupations?
- Is it just a coincidence that The AP and the U.S. government always agree on whether and how the economy is recovering, and what the unemployment rate is? Or that there is nothing notably immoral, illicit, or insane about deficit spending, borrowing, and printing funny money? Or that there is nothing immoral or unconstitutional about forcing individuals to purchase health insurance for themselves and strangers? Why are pro-policy “experts” — many of whom having been thoroughly discredited — relied upon almost exclusively for testimonials?
- Why is The AP's political vernacular almost identical to that of the U.S. State Department? (Foreign and domestic foes are anti-U.S., radical, quixotic, fringe, state-owned, gunmen, extremists, insurgents, militants, terrorists, threats, violent, they tend to exaggerate, they have no motives, their motives are second-guessed, or they don't exist; meanwhile, the U.S. government and its pals are moderate, optimistic, pro-U.S., soldiers, experts, embattled, independent, troubled, compromising, peace-seeking, disappointed, their government-linked status is omitted, their motives are face-valued, or they don't exist.) Is this consistent with being “unbiased” or “fair”?
- While The AP won't let you forget that the U.S. State Department and its foreign partners consider Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to be terrorist organizations, why is there never even a hint that vice versa is true?
- Next to the word Islamic, the word resistance (to Israeli occupation) is the heart of the Arabic acronym HAMAS. Why does The AP, instead, only refer to Hamas as the “militant Islamic group”? Why not refer to the Israeli government as the “aggressive occupying regime”? Why are the scales zeroed out at U.S. and Israeli sentiments?
- In AP reports concerning Hamas, there seemingly always appears a version of this apology for Israeli barbarism: “Hamas is sworn to Israel's destruction and has killed hundreds of Israelis.” No such narrative about Israel ever appears. Yet, has the Israeli state not stolen and destroyed Palestinian property, and killed not hundreds but thousands of Palestinians? Who is dedicated to the destruction of whom?
- If The AP is not acting as media organ for the Israeli government, then how to explain this? Why have they not reported this? (Perhaps the answer generally lies here, or specifically here.)
- If The AP is “independent” and “impartial,” then why is its website adorned with a flattering image of U.S. occupation soldiers carrying U.S. and Iraqi flags? Why do its annual luncheons have U.S.-NATO generals and foreign heads of U.S.-allied states as guest speakers? Are they there to question the morality, legality, or practicality of the policies they are devising and executing?
- In its periodic reports titled “Iraq: Key figures since the war began,” The AP continues to list the estimated number of deaths of U.S. military personnel and civilian government contractors, yet no longer lists the estimates of the deaths of Iraqi civilians. Why not? And why rely almost exclusively on official sources for those estimates? Who has a greater incentive to lie about (minimize) those figures?
To be sure, The AP is not the only outlet guilty of empire-coddling; it is simply the largest and most prolific of all. And considering its reputation for being the “most trusted” and “independent” news source, The AP's body of work also is the most insidious and damaging to the cause of liberty.
In referencing other news outlets in less-free countries like North Korea and Iran, The AP uses terms like state-owned, state-run, state-controlled, official, and semi-official, which carry a negative connotation, implying an inherent lack of objectivity and credibility in those outlets.
But at least with North Korean and Iranian news media, which are openly state-connected, even a half-wit won't easily be duped into believing claims of independence. How should a shrewd observer refer to the status of The AP upon careful consideration of its coverage?
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* As Eric Garris so well puts it, gaffe is “a technical term signifying that a politician has spoken the truth.”