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MEDIA CAN FOSTER TRUE DEMOCRACY
News & Record (Greensboro, NC)
BY KATHE LATHAM
I was stunned yet again by the media's coverage of the president's speech on the war in Iraq and wondered anew just how far we have wandered from practicing true democracy. In a democratic society, our communication systems should reflect a diverse participation and representation in the framing and articulation of major issues that so deeply effect us all. Recent polls show that more than 51 percent of the American people now believe this war is wrong. We are now clear that most of what we were told to be the reasons for rushing to war, against world opinion, are now false. There were no weapons of mass destruction, no depleted uranium, and there is no connection between Sept. 11 and the war in Iraq. The recent Downing Street memo confirms our worst suspicions - that the administration wanted to go to war so badly in Iraq that the intelligence was fixed to fit the policy.
With so much evidence and support against the war, the major networks just spent several hours presenting the president's plea for support and an almost exclusively pro-war analysis by others. The president continues to mislead us by connecting Sept. 11 and Saddam Hussein, while the real perpetrator continues to recruit and expand his forces. Why don't we hear more about the complexity of the issues? Why no mention of the people in the streets in Fayetteville, including members of military families, deeply opposed to the war?
Yes, we heard another point of view, not much different from the president's, from Democratic Party representatives. The American people are so much more than simply Democrats and Republicans. We're mothers, sisters, brothers, black, white and brown, from diverse economic circumstances, regions, ages and political persuasions, many opposed to this war. Why not include our stories in your coverage of this issue?
We are being fed primarily a pro-war stance with a multitude of sound bites and pictures of soldiers kissing their wives and babies, rather than also hearing from a growing majority of people, including military families who are deeply opposed to this war. This issue is dear to the hearts of the American people. We will not achieve peace by killing each other's children. With a more open and democratic media, the possibilities of an honest exchange of information and opinion could provide for the flourishing of true democracy and a far greater understanding of what is needed to achieve peace for all.
The writer lives in Greensboro.