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Friday, September 14, 2007


Stories this week about the Iraq War policy debate sat next to others about the anniversary of September 11th. A more deliberate attempt to link the anniversary and the war came in a series of TV spots from the conservative group Freedom’s Watch. Founding member Ari Fleischer defends the controversial ads.

Comments [9]


Frank Rich, the New York Times columnist, is an effective,
outspoken critic of moral hypocrisy in our culture and
media. He was asked recently during a talk at Cornell
University why he has been silent on the American media's presentation of Israel as Victim. He responded "I am Jewish."
This candid answer is unsettling. Does Mr. Rich's
background excuse or prevent him from criticizing Israeli
policy? Yes, the Israeli government's treatment of the
Palestinian people is an inflammatory subject. However,
Jews have historically been among the leading voices of
moral conscience in America. Now I wonder if Mr. Rich's
position is shared by other influential commentators and
A recent poll reveals that a majority of Americans believe
that in the Occupied Territories, the Palestinians are the
illegal settlers. Can this be the result of news about the
Mideast being sifted and shaped with partisan intent?
Let an honest debate begin, free of knee-jerk smears of
anti-Semitism, with the recognition that moral justice
requires truth, fairness, and accountability.

Nov. 09 2007 04:03 PM
Dan Shramo from Cleveland, Ohio

Ari's attempt to marginalize an organization, whose membership has over 2.5 million American citizens, was equally laughable, frightening and incredibly sickening. In his view those that strive to promote peace are all just "throwbacks to the 60's and 70's antiwar movement". In other words those that don't want war are the problem. The label antiwar just sheds light on media labels run amuck. Who in their right mind given the choice between peace and war would be pro-war? Am I alone in my astonishment that "antiwar" is quickly becoming synonymous with anti-American?

Sep. 20 2007 09:30 PM
doug from Chicago

#6. You are correct. Brooke made her point. I mean really, what was she supposed to do? Once an interviewee has been confronted with a deceit and has simply refused to acknowledge it, repeatedly hammering away at it does no one any good.

My only criticism would be that she could have pointed out that using Pearl Harbor in an ad supporting the Iraq war is different from using 9/11 in the same ad because the fear generated by 9/11 was used by the Bush Administration to get us into the Iraq war, while Pearl Harbor was not. Fleisher's group is just repeating the same cynical manipulation.

Sep. 19 2007 10:31 PM
Kim Forbes from Chicago

I want to echo Mark's comments and thank Brooke for pressing the point that any connection made between the 9/11 attacks and Iraq is completely false. I find it irresponsible and reprehensible to connect the two. While of course it would have been more satisfying to hear her continue to press Mr. Fleischer on the point, it would have gotten her and and the public no where. Mr. Fleischer clearly was not going to give in on his belief and attacking him would only have made Brooke look like the bad guy. I think it's very important to hear arguments we don't agree with so that good journalists like Brooke can ask the tough questions and make people think.

Sep. 19 2007 10:08 AM
Terry McKenna from Dover NJ

I think we're being overly critical here. for example, Ari Fleischer was reduced to using a debating ploy - to feign laughter, at the end when he had no facts left to dispute Brooke. the only disappointment I had was with how Brooke left unchallenged the use of Democrat Party and not Democratic Party. but when nearly every complete thought is spin, its hard to know where to start the questions.

Sep. 16 2007 03:34 PM
Mark L. from Illinois

I want to congratulate Brooke Gladstone on her ability to stay with Ari Fleisher as he tried to obfuscate and deny the misleading images and ideas used in the Freedom's Watch attack ad. It's so much harder for an interviewer to pick apart a web of deceit as it is being spun, than it is to be the interviewee who is spinning the half-truths or even outright lies. So, thanks, Brooke. It is heartening for media consumers everywhere when an interviewer makes an effort to follow-up on a question or challenge a clearly inadequate response by an official or "expert".

In a broader commentary: it is sad when our media leaders essentially have to become parent figures, holding little Johnny (or Ari or whomever) accountable for his actions while he tries every trick in the book known to a 5-year-old (deny, lie, obfuscate, change the subject) in an effort to evade responsibility. The spokesman you interviewed about the Patraeus ad was just as disingenuous (or self-deluded) as Fleisher. When I look around, I see many of these so-called "leaders" in our society, and I fear for where our country is headed.

Sep. 16 2007 11:36 AM
Marc Naimark from Paris, France

Where Brooke Gladstone was shamefully deficient was in giving Fleischer a pass on the obvious lie in his ads. Rather than keep hitting on the WTC-Iraq link, she should simply have called him on the lie that pre-war Iraq launched a terrorist attack on the US. I was very disappointed in her performance in this interview.

Sep. 16 2007 04:47 AM
Mark Jeffries from Chicago, IL

I guess you didn't pay attention to the interview with the gentleman from before the interview with Fleischer.

You seem to forget that NPR is an objective news service, not a megaphone for the wackos on both the right and left. Is Amy Goodman objective?

And don't call me a wingnut--I voted for Kerry, hate Bush, Bill O'Reilly, Rush and Sean Hannity, known damn well that Saddam didn't cause 9/11 and want us out of Iraq now. What is *your* problem with the First Amendment and why don't you want to hear all sides of an issue?

Sep. 15 2007 03:24 PM
Patrick Jackson from Chapel Hill NC

OTM has joined with the rest of the discredited mainstream media in promoting war, all the time, anywhere, and you're a '60s leftist' if you want peace.

OTM gives (GIVES) Ari Fleischer is given a nice platform from which to promote war, and to label a fierce peace movement as a bunch of 60's leftists.

Of course, not that war makes money for Ari, the military industrial complex, and it seems, for NPR and OTM.

Sep. 15 2007 11:05 AM

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