President Bush's press conference on Iraq - and the muted media reaction to some of President Bush's whoppers - shows that if we want to get out of Iraq, prevent war with Iran, and put a stop to further U.S. imperial misadventures among the many things we have to do is redouble our efforts to pound the hell out of mainstream media cheerleading for war.
A very useful tool for doing this is the new documentary "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death," based on the book of the same name by media critic Norman Solomon. The film, narrated by Sean Penn, uses footage of the mainstream media coverage of war to demonstrate the following:
• The rhetoric of democracy is repeated incessantly to convince Americans that bombing other people is an act of altruism.The film is being distributed in the manner pioneered by Robert Greenwalt - what Rosa Luxemberg called "the spontaneous self-activity of the masses." All you have to do to ensure that people in your community get a chance to see this movie is go to the web site and sign up. Instead of kvetching that your perfectly pleasant town doesn't have a theater that shows hard-hitting political movies, you be the theater. Pick a time and a venue - a church basement, union hall, or your living room - and post it so your neighbors can come. It's the easiest event you'll ever organize. As an added incentive for early birds, Just Foreign Policy will rebate to you 25% of the cost of the video.
• As our government prepares for war, we are informed that war is inevitable. Neither foreign events - such as Iraq allowing weapons inspections - nor domestic opposition can stop the march to war. Resistance is futile.
• The media defers to war planners. The film shows a top CNN official bragging that he asked the Pentagon to approve a list of possible military commentators.
• Pro-war commentary is treated as objective. Anti-war commentary is treated as biased. Phil Donahue was fired for not supporting the war, even though Donahue hosted MSNBC's highest-ranked show. The channel's executives wrote privately that they did not a want an "anti-war face."