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Fox Business Show Using 'Black Hat' Theory on Iran, Venezuela

Reported by Judy - March 31, 2007 -

A Fox News business show worked hard Saturday (March 31, 2007) to drum up support for war against Iran, using the public relations technique of putting a "black hat" on its leader. Some panelists on "Bulls and Bears" disagreed with the premise of the segment, but Fox News resorted to its usual bag of tricks to keep its message dominant. With video.

Brenda Buttner, host of "Bulls and Bears," used the stand-off between Great Britain and Iran over the 15 British sailors being held by Iran for being in or near Iranian waters to push the claim that the U.S. economy is endangered by "madmen with oil" -- specifically Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and President Ahmadinejad of Iran.

Buttner used the "madmen with oil" line at least three times during the segment, as well as tying them to terrorism.

Her terminology was a sign of the "black hat" technique of American propaganda in which efforts are made to demonize leaders of another country so that the public will more easily accept military action against all the people of that country.

Buttner had a willing accomplice on her business panel in the form of Gary B. Smith, of Exemplar Capital, who referred to Chavez and Admadinejad as "whack jobs" who would cut off oil to the U.S. for some unexplained reason.

Cooler heads, such as Tobin Smith of changewaveresearch.com, attempted to reassure viewers that "Ahmadinejad is way too smart for that" because he knows his country depends on oil revenues and that cutting off oil shipments would plunge the world into recession and cut demand for oil. "They're all talk and no action," he said.

Yet the message getting through to viewers was skewed, as Fox News displayed a chyron reading, "The Madmen with Oil Threat."

Accusing Fox News of trying to gin up support for military action against Iran is not too far-fetched, given Rupert Murdoch's recent admission that the news channel tried to promote the invasion of Iraq.

Somebody needs to do a "Madman with Cable News Channel" segment. Now that's scary.