Dennis Campbell
June 25, 2004
Seek alternatives to today's agenda-driven news media
By Dennis Campbell

Elsewhere on this page are suggestions for alternative sources of news beyond network television, other major media or your daily newspaper. This is done because it is important that if you are to be equipped to make decisions that determine the future of our country, you need more information than is provided by the aforementioned sources.

The truth is that what you read and hear from them often ranges from distortions to outright lies. Why? Unhappily, the news business in America has been corrupted, and journalists (using the word advisedly) no longer seek merely to inform but to persuade. The media today clearly have an agenda.

Now, persuasion is legitimate and admirable but should be clearly presented as opinion and must be factual. When it is said that the most interesting editorials in the New York Times are found in its news stories, the remark may be clever but is an indication of a serious ailment afflicting today's news media.

Therefore, it is important to seek alternative perspectives. One way to do that is to read material on this site. Another is to seek a multitude of perspectives contrary to those presented in most daily newspapers, national news magazines and network television news.

Here is an example of misinformation presented as fact, designed to mislead.

We were told in a recent editorial in my hometown daily that the United States engaged in "unilateral actions" in Iraq. "Unilateral" is defined as "constituting or relating to a contract or engagement by which an express obligation to do or forbear is imposed on only one party." Since we were joined by Britain, Spain, Australia, Italy, South Korea, Poland, Bulgaria and dozens more nations, how does this constitute a unilateral action?

Of course, it does not, and to say it does is to deliberately mislead with the intent to influence you to accept a certain political position.

The same editorial said, without equivocation, that there was "no direct connection [between Iraq and] bin Laden or al-Qaida, except financial support of terrorist actions against Israel and medical treatment of al-Qaida operatives...."

But what are the facts?

There are numerous reports of such connections, including at least eight meetings between Osama bin Laden and the Iraqi Special Security Organization, according to Secretary of State Colin Powell.

When Abbas Al-Janabi, aide to Sadaam Hussein's son Uday Hussein, defected, he reported direct connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

Mr. Powell has cited evidence that dozens of bin Laden associates "converged on Baghdad and established a base of operations there."

Yes, persuasion is legitimate when factual.

Another distortion of the Iraqi situation involves use of the word "imminent," as in "Iraq posed an imminent danger to the United States," and thus was cause for invasion. (Imminent: Ready to take place).

Regarding that, I quote Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Paul Greenberg: "Remember the fuss over the small but critical word 'imminent' some time back? Not too long ago everybody who was anybody in The Media or the opposition (or do I repeat myself?) was claiming that the administration had taken us to war to avert an 'imminent' threat that never really existed!

"The only problem was that the administration had never claimed the threat represented by Saddam Hussein's rogue regime was imminent more like grave and growing. Even today the occasional critic who never got the word may still throw that old canard into the election-year cauldron."

So please, seek alternative views to what you read in your daily newspaper, or hear from Dan Rather or Tom Brokaw. Remember, journalism today is not news-driven but agenda-driven, and what is passed off as fact, whether in opinion pieces or opinion pieces masquerading as news stories, often is little more than propaganda.

It is our responsibility to educate ourselves about the important issues facing America. In so doing, we all would do well to seek viewpoints contrary to those presented by the major media.

© Dennis Campbell

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

 

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