Readers of the Oregonian have done an awful lot of whining about the paper ignoring the “Downing Street Memos.” These are the high-pitched cries and complaints of the humorless, the ignorant, and the uninformed. Enough.
They think they see the Oregonian’s total submission to power, as long as it promotes the interests of US capital, but this is actually an ultra-leftist, anti-capitalist arrogance.
The Oregonian parodies the stereotypical “corporate media,” which works with the government to spread its lies and get public opinion on its side-the media the government uses in what the diplomats call the “preparation of public opinion.”
It didn’t report on the original memo until forced by popular pressure because it assumes an intelligent, informed readership will catch its lies and omissions: that we read broadly, we pick up the Oregonian, we read it, and we laugh. For the complainers, let this be another revelation of the “Downing Street Memo.”
The memo, whose contents should be well known by now, is actually the minutes of a July 23, 2002, top-secret meeting between Tony Blair and senior minister and advisers. A member of British intelligence reported on his talks in Washington where George Bush had already decided to go to war and needed to shape the intelligence to justify it. Blair and his government agreed to tag along and find some way to carry out Washington’s plans.
Six weeks after the Oregonian ignored the original “Downing Street Memo,” it ignored six more. These memos, from Jack Straw and other British officials, show that the US and UK governments knew there was “no justification for action against Iraq based on action in self-defense” and “no recent evidence of Iraq complicity with international terrorism.” Regime change by itself was useless because it “has no basis in international law” and “sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam.”
The memos criticize the “US scrambling to establish a link between” Iraq and al-Qaida, which was as “frankly unconvincing” as Bush’s Iraq, Iran, and North Korea “Axis of Evil.”
This required “a media campaign to prepare public opinion.” This propaganda campaign, which they called “sensitizing the public,” is where the media the Oregonian parodies serves its purpose.
Like a proper propaganda organ, the Oregonian either ignores information damaging to the US government, or shapes its coverage to make damaging information less so.
Rather than report facts and seek truth, it presents a sparring match and restricts debate to Republicans, the right, and Democrats, the center-right, and pretends all truth falls somewhere in between.
The Democrats, who use different methods to serve the same interests as the Republicans, act as a false foil for them. If they don’t challenge the Republicans’ lies, those lies go unquestioned and become the truth.
But the media should not need secret documents to decide that Bush was lying. That was obvious. It was obvious not only to the British government, but to very large majorities of most countries in the world, and their governments, too.
When the American people need information to make informed decisions, or to form opinions opposed to those of the policy-makers, there are thousands of other examples, not just a handful of overlooked or disregarded memos.
What the Oregonian doesn’t tell us could fill a room, one the size of a genuine newsroom. With this knowledge the whiners and complainers, the ignorant and ill-informed, can join the rest of us and read the Oregonian as it was meant to be read.
The Oregonian is a joke. Now we get it.