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A Whiff of Fascism in the Bush Administration
By CARLA BINION
Online Journal, Apr. 14, 2003
"During election 2000, Bush-paid campaign operatives posing as ordinary voters shoved people and banged on doors at the Miami-Dade canvassing offices in an effort to stop the Florida vote count. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said he detected 'a whiff of fascism' in their tactics. Some people criticized Nadler for drawing the comparison, but, of course, not all forms of fascism have to equate precisely to the classic form represented by Hitler or Mussolini. Fascism doesn't have to involve mass genocidal slaughter, nor does it have to be equal in degree to the fascism practiced by members of the Axis powers. Traits of classic fascism include: strong nationalism, expansionism, belligerent militarism, meshing of big business and government with a corporate/government oligarchy, subversion of democracy and human rights, disinformation spread by constant propaganda and tight corporate/government control of the press. Today all of those conditions exist in our country to a degree."
"Let's focus on corporate/government control of the press - specifically corporate control of U.S. television news networks. According to a Mar. 24 article, 'Protests Turn Off Viewers' by Harry A. Jessell, 45 percent of Americans rely on cable channels as their primary source of news, and 22 percent get most of their news from broadcast networks' evening newscasts. Only 11 percent rely on other forms of media as their principle source of war news. Our corporate controlled T.V. networks might as well be state controlled, because they promote the war and Bush policies fairly consistently and have virtually eliminated all dissenting voices. N.B.C. fired Phil Donahue despite his good ratings, saying in an internal network memo they didn't want to air Donahue's anti-war views. Peter Arnett was fired for giving an interview to Iraqi T.V. and merely stating the obvious on a number of issues."
"According to William Shirer (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Ballantine Books, 1950), the Reich Press Law of Oct. 4, 1933 ordered editors not to publish (among other things) anything which 'tends to weaken the strength of the German Reich or offends the honor and dignity of Germany.' The Nazis forced dissenting journalists out of business and consolidated the press under party control. U.S. television news networks have been consolidated under the control of a handful of corporations. America doesn't need a 'press law' prohibiting the airing of anything which might weaken the strength of Bush's war policies, because the corporate owners of today's television networks are in total agreement with the state. It is irrefutable that corporate owners of American television networks want only pro-Bush, pro-war opinions aired, because those are virtually the only views that are in fact aired."
"In Nazi Germany: A New History (Continuum Publishing, 1995), Klaus P. Fischer says Hitler promoted 'a system of prejudices rather than a philosophy based on well-warranted premises, objective truth-testing, and logically derived conclusions. Since propaganda aims at persuasion rather than instruction, it is far more effective to appeal to the emotions than to the rational capacities of crowds.' . . . [I]nstead of providing the American public with a broad range of necessary facts and varied viewpoints about the war, the T.V. networks exploit emotions by urging the audience to focus on and identify with the day-to-day plight of individual soldiers and their families. . . . [T]he networks serve the purpose of managing the public mood rather than informing the public mind."
"In a Mar. 26 article for Editor and Publisher, 'Polls Suggest Media Failure in Pre-War Coverage,' reporter Ari Berman refers to a Knight Ridder/Princeton Research poll. This poll showed 44 percent of respondents believed 'most' or 'some' of the Sep. 11 hijackers were Iraqis. Only 17 percent gave the correct answer: none."
"In the same poll, 41 percent said they believed Iraq definitely has nuclear weapons. As Berman points out, not even the Bush administration has claimed that. Berman also refers to a Pew Research Center/Council on Foreign Relations survey showing that almost two-thirds of people polled believed U.N. weapons inspectors had 'found proof that Iraq is trying to hide weapons of mass destruction.' This claim was never made by Hans Blix or Mohammed ElBaradei. The same survey found 57 percent of those polled falsely believed Saddam Hussein assisted the 9/11 terrorists, and a Mar. 7-9 New York Times/C.B.S. News poll revealed that 45 percent of respondents believed Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks."
"In his article, 'Guess Who Will Be Calling the Shots at C.N.N.," British war correspondent Robert Fisk of London's Independent quotes a relatively new C.N.N. document (dated Jan. 27), 'Reminder of Script Approval Policy.' The policy says, 'All reporters preparing package scripts must submit the scripts for approval. Packages may not be edited until the scripts are approved. All packages originating outside Washington, L.A. or N.Y., including all international bureaus, must come to the R.O.W. [a group of script editors] in Atlanta for approval.' "
"In an interview with TomPaine.com, Janine Jackson of the media watchdog group, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (F.A.I.R.) said that the group examined two weeks of nightly television news coverage. F.A.I.R. found that 76 percent of all news sources or guests on A.B.C., N.B.C., C.B.S. and P.B.S.'s NewsHour were 'current or former government officials,' leaving little room for other diverse voices. In addition, F.A.I.R. found that only 6 percent of those sources were skeptical about the war. Jackson noted that 'on television news at night, there's virtually no debate about the need to go to war.' "