keep your eye on the press, but read the web

This is what the "major" media will make this war look like.

Included in Robert Fisk's prediction:

Weasel words to watch for

'Inevitable revenge' – for the executions of Saddam's Baath party officials which no one actually said were inevitable.

'Stubborn' or 'suicidal' – to be used when Iraqi forces fight rather than retreat.

'Allegedly' – for all carnage caused by Western forces.

'At last, the damning evidence' – used when reporters enter old torture chambers.

'Officials here are not giving us much access' – a clear sign that reporters in Baghdad are confined to their hotels.

'Life goes on' – for any pictures of Iraq's poor making tea.

'Remnants' – allegedly 'diehard' Iraqi troops still shooting at the Americans but actually the first signs of a resistance movement dedicated to the 'liberation' of Iraq from its new western occupiers.

'Newly liberated' – for territory and cities newly occupied by the Americans or British.

'What went wrong?' – to accompany pictures illustrating the growing anarchy in Iraq as if it were not predicted.

But we won't be fooled. The real war will be on the web.
A glance at US television makes it obvious why people are seeking an alternative. On Fox and CNN, reporters extol the hi-tech weapons in the US arsenal. Former generals lead the pundits, and anchors talk routinely of the ease with which the troops will sweep through Iraq. In the back rooms, executives rub their hands at the improved ratings that war (with pictures channelled from the front by the Pentagon) will bring. Network TV is little better: ABC showcased its latest reality TV series, Profiles From the Frontline, which looked like an hour-long recruitment ad for the US military.

. . . .

Not just geeks are logging on. A poll by the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) showed that more than 70 per cent of Americans regularly use the internet and regard it as their most important information source. "Incredible as it may seem, for the vast majority of America that uses online technology, the internet has surpassed all other major information sources in importance after only about eight years as a generally available communications tool," said Jeffrey Cole, the director of the UCLA Center for Communication Policy.

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Published on March 18, 2003 12:15 PM.

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