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Dragging the 

Media Down Downing Street

*

By David Swanson, AfterDowningStreet.org 


 
The 

U.S.

 corporate media has begun to awaken to the fact that top Bush 

adviser Karl Rove exposed an undercover CIA agent's identity and then 

lied about it. But reporters, editors, and producers remain slow to pick up 

on the heart of the story, namely that this was part of an extensive 

campaign to deceive the media, the public, and the Congress about the 

justifications for an unjustifiable war. 


 
The media has also given coverage to the recent bombings in 

London

, but 

in very few instances has communicated the fact that the Bush and Blair 

administrations took their focus off Al Qaeda in order to launch a war 

against a sovereign state with no ties to the 9-11 attacks, and that 

this was done on the basis of intentionally false claims about weapons of 

mass destruction and ties to those attacks. There is a danger that Blair and 

Bush will try to misuse the recent tragedy as they have done that of four 

years ago, that the media will allow them to do so, and that the result will 

be still more attacks. 


 
One way to break this cycle would be to provide the appropriate public 

discussion and congressional investigation of the lies that launched 

the war on 

Iraq

. 


 
On May 26, there had been virtually no 

U.S.

 media coverage of the 


Downing Street
 Minutes. On that day a coalition of veterans groups, peace 

groups, political activist groups, and blogs launched a campaign at 

www.AfterDowningStreet.org <http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/> to 

demand media coverage and congressional action. This survey of media coverage 

as of May 31st shows that results were not immediate: 

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/16 


 
But by the time Prime Minister Blair visited the White House on June 7, 

a coalition of hundreds of blogs called the Big Brass Alliance, and the 

work of dozens of progressive radio shows around the country had begun to 

pay off. By June 16, when 35 Congress Members held an unofficial hearing at 

the Capitol, Congressman John Conyers delivered a letter with 560,000 

signatures and 123 congressional signatures to the White House, and the After 

Downing Street coalition held a rally in 

Lafayette
 
Square
 
Park

, the Downing 

Street Minutes had become news. Pundits had begun talking about how the 

blogosphere now served as a court of appeals when the media blacked out a story -- 

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/605 -- , but it's hard to 

overstate the impact that new progressive radio and progressive print 

publications had as well. 


 
In any event, the door had been opened. Letters to the editor had been 

joined by op-eds and editorials and even news stories. The White House 

press corps had raised the issue twice at press briefings: 

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/241 . The cable news pundits 

had acknowledged the story and yelled at each other about it. If there were 

serious reporters waiting for a timely hook that would persuade their 

editors to allow them to do their jobs, now was the moment. Alas, 

either there were no reporters or the editorial wall was still standing. Even 

news stories about how there were no news stories stopped seeming 

interesting to editors unwilling to do actual journalism. No polls have been 
done, but it seems likely that many Americans still don't know what the Downing 

Street Minutes say. 


 
In recent weeks, a FOIA request from 52 Congress Members has gone 

uncovered by the media. A letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee from 10 

Senators has passed unnoticed. A Resolution of Inquiry is expected to soon be 

introduced in the House, thus far unremarked upon. And the three-year 

anniversary of the meeting on 
Downing Street
 that gave us the minutes 

is rapidly approaching, without comment. Many media outlets in the United 

States have done one or two stories about the 
Downing Street
 minutes. 

Some have done none. None have created the endless echo chamber that's so 

badly needed, but which is apparently reserved for celebrities and sex. 


 
So, AfterDowningStreet.org <http://AfterDowningStreet.org> has decided 

to organize events all over the country on that three-year anniversary, 

Saturday, July 23, in an effort to create a public discussion, as well 

as to gather yet more signatures on Congressman Conyers' letter, promote 

support for the Resolution of Inquiry and the Senate Intelligence Committee 

investigation, and to spread the word about an investigative trip to 



London

 that Congressman Conyers is planning for next month. 


 
*Over 150 public forums, town-hall meetings, dramatic recreations of 

the Downing Street Minutes, house parties, and study circles have been 

planned for July 23rd. See this site: 

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/526 


 
Now is the time to request a meeting with your local newspaper's 

editorial board and ask them to write in favor of an investigation. Here are 

talking points: *

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/612 


 
Here's another good clip to share: 

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/472 


 
Ask them to do at least as well as the editorials compiled here: 

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/735 


 
Ask them also to run op-eds and columns as good as the ones in this 

collection: 

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/736 


 
And now is the time to demand that news operations report the news. Ask 

them politely, and then protest noisily, until they do at least as well as 

the articles and broadcast stories collected here: 

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/737 


 
And  above all  now is the time to hammer unremittingly at the 

corporate wall of those worst offenders among the media outlets. No media 
outlet has given this story the level of coverage awarded to, say, the Michael 



Jackson

 trial. But some have completely or virtually blocked it out. Others 

have covered it dishonestly. 


 
Those that have imposed a complete or nearly complete blackout include: 

CBS (I know of no coverage); 

ABC (there may be no more than this one interview: 

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/337 ); 

NBC (there has been at least one report, which can be found in the 

collection above, but little or no follow up); 

PBS (Jim Lehrer did one interview that touched on this; NPR has done 

several substantive stories);

Many major newspapers not found in the collection above. 


 
*TELL THE BROADCAST NETWORKS WHAT YOU THINK: *

Remember that they all gave Bush 30 minutes of prime time to repeat his 

false claims in a speech on June 28

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/310 


 
Those media outlets that have covered the Downing Street Minutes 

dishonestly include these: 

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/738 


 
Clearly any major media outlet that at this point does not have at 

least one investigative journalist in 
London
 and one in 

Washington
, 
D.C.

 
working on this, is in the entertainment business. Let them know we are not 

entertained! 


 
*CONTACT YOUR LOCAL MEDIA OUTLETS:*

http://capwiz.com/pdamerica/issues/alert/?alertid=7656046&type=ME 


 
<http://AfterDowningStreet.org>