Thursday, August 23, 2007
"23/08/2007 Senator Sanders of Vermont is backing a campaign to warn Americans that Fox News is using jingoistic programming to push the nation into a military attack on Iran. Mr. Sanders, a self-described socialist who caucuses with the Democrats, joined with a liberal filmmaker yesterday to denounce the popular cable channel for leading a drumbeat in favor of a military strike against Tehran. "The leader of that effort is Fox News, which, in many ways, is a propaganda machine," Mr. Sanders said during a conference call with reporters and bloggers. He said the network was echoing "increased rumblings" from President Bush and Vice President Cheney about the prospect of an attack on Iran.
"We have got to put pressure on the mass media not to play the same craven role that they played in Iraq, where they essentially collapsed and became a megaphone for Bush's policies," the senator said. The call was arranged by Robert Greenwald, who skewered Fox for conservative bias in his 2004 film, "Outfoxed." He released a Web video yesterday juxtaposing stark warnings the network offered recently about Iran with similar clips about Iraq before and after the American-led invasion in 2003.
"Fox wants war with Iran," Mr. Greenwald said. "It's about fear. A... Several of us were struck by the fact that we have heard all these words before." A spokeswoman for Fox News did not respond to three messages seeking comment for this article. A Democratic presidential debate scheduled to take place on Fox last week was canceled after liberal activists denounced the network as a Republican propaganda outlet and urged candidates to boycott.
The new 3 1/2-minute montage, "Fox Attacks! Iran," marries recent video of Fox reporters and guests claiming that Iran has ties to Al Qaeda with older clips of talk about Iraq's links to the terrorist group. It also draws parallels between claims about Iran's nuclear program and assertions that proved incorrect about Iraq's work on weapons of mass destruction. The video features Fox sound bites from Senator Lieberman of Connecticut and a former American ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton. "It seems like he has his own show on the air, practically," Mr. Greenwald said. While Mr. Greenwald suggested that information about Iran's nuclear program was being distorted and exaggerated, Mr. Sanders acknowledged that Iran poses a serious threat. However, asked yesterday whether he had a plan to rein in the Islamic regime in Tehran, the senator said, "Do I have one right here in front of me? No, I don't." The filmmaker said Fox does not present voices opposed to a military strike on Iran, though the tightly edited clips on his Web site strip the snippets of nearly all context that could be used to assess that claim."