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Fox Uses Pathetic Informational Chyrons to Lie About the Run-Up to the Iraq War

Reported by Melanie - March 19, 2006

Saturday night (March 18, 2006) on Heartland w/John Kasich, Kasich hosted two veterans in a discussion about whether we should leave Iraq. The title of the segment was "Iraq Veterans on War Three Years Later." The segment was just like those we've all seen a hundred times - one veteran thought we should leave (I refuse to use the now-loaded word "withdraw," which has come to mean a cowardly retreat) and the other thought we should stay.

The interesting thing about the segment was the video Fox aired during Kasich's introduction, and the chyrons Fox used to "educate" its viewers about the history of the war.

During Kasich's introduction, Fox aired full-screen, presumably 2003 video of nighttime bombings in Baghdad, however, the date on the screen read "March 3" (no year). The war didn't start until March 19, 2003, and the U.S. didn't reach Baghdad until early April, yet Kasich said, "This is what the skies looked like over Baghdad three years ago." Were there massive bombings of Baghdad on March 3, 2004, or 2005? I don't know where Fox or Kasich got the "March 3" date. (But who cares about facts, right?)

During the discussion between the two veterans, Fox aired the following chyrons, in this order:

- "8/2/90: Iraq Invaded Kuwait."

- "1/16/91: Iraq refused to leave Kuwait."

- "1/16/91: Coalition Forces Launched Air attack on Iraq."

- "8/6/90: U.N. Imposed Economic Sanctions on Iraq."

- "3/17/03: Pres. Bush Delivered Ultimatum to Saddam Hussein."

- "3/19/03: U.S. Launched Operation Iraqi Freedom."

- "7/13/03: Saddam Hussein Was Captured in Kirkrit."

Comment: Missing from this list, which I presume highlights what Fox would like us to believe were the pivotal events in the run-up to the invasion, are those big things that we're all supposed to forget. The big things that, in my opinion, were what made the war possible, like Condoleezza Rice's September, 2002 statement:

"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

And George Bush's speech "to the American people" in October, 2002:

...America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

Imagining scenes like this, the American people were scared to death and willing to do anything to protect themselves, yet what has since gone up in a big mushroom cloud is the administration's basis for the invasion in the first place. Since what we were told back then has proven to be false, Fox had little to work with as chyron material, as is obvious in the pathetic "informational" ones it used last night.

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