Forever Under Construction

The Empire of Fear & the Media

Posted in Books, Iraq, Jihad, Media, Society, USA by homeyra on March 25, 2007

Robert Fisk wrote: “… a bejewelled lady on Fox TV telling American viewers that if “we” left Iraq, the “jihadists” would come after us. “They want a Caliphate that will take over the world,” she shrieked about a report that two children had deliberately been placed in an Iraqi car bomb which then exploded. She ranted on about how Muslim “jihadists” had been doing this “since the 1970s in Lebanon”. It was tosh, of course. Children were never locked into car bombs in Beirut – and there weren’t any “jihadists” around in the Lebanese civil war of the 1970s. But fear had been sown … fear seems to drip off the trees in America.

Dr Michael Noll’s students at Valdosta … packed into the same lecture I had given in Egypt and seemed to share a lot of the same fears about Iraq. But a sullen seminar that same morning was a miserable affair in which a young woman seemed to break down in anger. If “we” left Iraq, she said in a quavering voice, the jihadists, the “terrorists”, could come here to America. They would attack us right here.

I sighed with frustration. I was listening to her voice but it was also the voice of the woman on Fox TV, the repeated, hopeless fantasy of Bush and Blair: that if we fail in Iraq, “they”, the monstrous enemy, will arrive on our shores. Every day in the American papers now, I read the same “fear” transformed into irrationality … And I realise that the girl in Dr Noll’s seminar isn’t spouting this stuff about “jihadists” travelling from Iraq to America because she supports Bush. She is just frightened. She is genuinely afraid of all the “terror” warnings, the supposed “jihadists” threats, the red “terror” alerts and the purple alerts and all the other colour-coded instruments of fear. She believes her president, and her president has done Osama bin Laden’s job for him: he has crushed this young woman’s spirit and courage.

But America is not at war. There are no electricity cuts on Valdosta’s warm green campus … There is no food rationing. There are no air-raid shelters or bombs or “jihadists” stalking these God-fearing folk. It is the US military that is at war, engaged in an Iraqi conflict that is doing damage of a far more subtle kind to America’s social fabric.” read the article

The Independent: The crushing fear that stalks America
The Story before the Story

guardians_of_power_cover_medium.gif

… Can the BBC tell the truth about UK government crimes in Iraq when its senior managers are appointed by the government? … Why did the British and American mass media fail to challenge even the most obvious government lies on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction before the invasion in March 2003? Why did the media ignore the claims of UN weapons inspectors that Iraq had been 90-95 per cent “fundamentally disarmed” as early as 1998?
Guardians of Power, the myth of liberal media
Media Lens

Update: Sophia‘s comment led me to a very interesting interview in 2003 with Barry Glassner, professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, the author of the 1999 bestseller “The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things”.

3 Responses

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  1. sophia said, on March 25, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    Homeyra,
    I don’t know if you have seem Michael Moore’s ‘Bowling for Columbine’. I am not a Moore fan but this one was a success. In it, there is a short episode of the cartoons Sout Park where they explain how fear, since long, is ingrained in the US society. This fear stems from the maltreatement of the dominant white class of indigenous people and balck Afro-American slaves. The white dominant class did not achieve in the US the melting down of races and there is always this orrational fear about the other, the different one. Basically, it is a non resolved racist prejugé. How do yopu live among people you hate and you think they are different from you when you despise them and when they outnumber you ? You live in fear, fear of loosing your privileges. The Iraq war and the instability in the ME follows the same irrational paradigm in north American minds.
    It is US internal policy applied as foreign policy. It is of course a disaster for which the children and the citizens of Palestine, lebanon and Iraq are paying everyday so that bejeweled lady can express her fear on Fox news and support her government in its terrible foreign policy ! It is an international shame…

  2. homeyra said, on March 25, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    I haven’t seen this movie. But the more you read the current news and some of its history, the more you are astonished by a total lack of let’s say humanitarian concerns in the discourse, the presentation or the reasoning.
    I guess as you wrote “fear” is a main component of this attitude. Also indifference? Les malades qui nous gouvernent?
    Negating the very elementary rights of the other, is the easiest way to handle this fear? … an that starts to sound – unfortunately – familiar!!
    Is there a therapist in the plane?
    PS: This movie has an interesting page in wiki: Bowling for Columbine
    In this article a parallel is made between domestic and institutionalized violence, also a paragraph on the climate of fear.
    And this is the movies homepage.
    And here is a relevant book: The Culture of Fear by Barry Glassner, and an interview

    Thank you Sophia! Your comment will keep me busy for the next few days🙂

  3. […] Relevant links: The Empire of Fear & the Media […]


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