If You Love This Planet, Dr. Helen Caldicott

Jeff Cohen on the U.S. media’s role in orchestrating vs. opposing war


Jeff CohenJeff Cohen is a media critic and founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College in New York. The Park Center has recently established a new award for journalists, this year presented to radio host Amy Goodman and blogger Glenn Greenwald.

Cohen has been a TV commentator on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, and was senior producer of Phil Donahue’s primetime show until it was terminated three weeks before the Iraq invasion - for political reasons. Cohen founded the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).

In this riveting and highly educational interview with Dr. Caldicott, Cohen describes the highly controlled, pro-war and pro-Bush media environment that existed in 2002 and 2003 leading up to and during the current Iraq conflict. Cohen and Dr. Caldicott explore why the mainstream U.S. media, including the highly influential New York Times, is so censored when it comes to war and peace issues, and who controls the voices that are heard.

Dr. Caldicott relates her experience as a guest on the Phil Donahue and Oprah Winfrey shows in 2002 and early 2003, when she wanted to warn the public about the casualties that a second Iraq War would produce, and the possibility the U.S. would use nuclear weapons. Oprah’s program featured two pro-Iraq-war male guests in the studio for the full hour, with Dr. Caldicott’s pre-recorded 30-minute interview cut down to a three-minute sound bite that together with a few other anti-war sound bites was denounced and derided by Oprah’s guests.

Cohen and Dr. Caldicott cover how the U.S. media fully orchestrated the Iraq war and subsequent occupation, and the influence of neoconservatives at the Project for The New American Century, which lasted from 1997 to 2006. The Project’s 2000 document “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” a blueprint for the George W. Bush administration, calls for U.S. world domination and “full-spectrum dominance.” The report says a “new Pearl Harbor” or “gateway event” would create the perfect impetus for continuous U.S. wars of aggression. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle were members or signatories of the Project. Neocons are now regrouping under the guise of a new organization.

Cohen says he “never drank the Obama Kool-Aid” and is skeptical of President Obama’s appointments, whom he says largely replicate the ideology of the George W. Bush administration. He recommends an article by Jeremy Scahill, “Obama’s Kettle of Hawks.” This interview also addresses the fate of American newspapers. Read about the 10 major daily newspapers that are most in jeopardy.

Cohen explains how independent journalists and internet bloggers have become major players in today’s multimedia landscape. Blogs, Cohen says, are the leading edge now of investigative journalism, and were able to report the false premises for the invasion of Iraq while mainstream media continued to perpetuate lies and propaganda. Read about the present influence of the Huffington Post. Cohen talks about a new non-profit business model that might help daily newspapers remain objective and financially sound. Read about the success of the non-profit Mother Jones magazine and Web site.

This episode concludes with a look at the influence and phenomenon of Rush Limbaugh, and why his ability to persuade gullible listeners and dictate right-wing policies may be in jeopardy.

One Response to “Jeff Cohen on the U.S. media’s role in orchestrating vs. opposing war”

  1. Matthew Schwartz Says:

    I listened to this program re-broadcast last night in Los Angeles. Fanastic and riveting.