Monday Sep 12, 201108:38 AM GMT
Media dumbs down American thinking
Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:40AM
Interview with Medea Benjamin, Co-founder of CODEPINK, Washington.
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An analyst reports that many Americans still believe the official 9/11 story; that Saddam Hussein had WMDs; that Iraq had something to do with 9/11; and that Saddam and Bin Laden were friends.

Press TV talks with Medea Benjamin, Co-founder of CODEPINK in Washington about how US media has been used as a voice piece for US foreign policy particularly after the 9/11 event to spread propaganda. Also mentioned is the sense of worth Americans have for the lives of the people victim to US bombings and invasion. Following is a transcript of the interview.

Press TV: While the vast majority of people in the UK do not accept the official story of 9/11, Americans seem to be more convinced of the overall story although there have been greater numbers starting to question a lot of the things that had taken place on 9/11. How do you gauge the overall perspective of Americans at this point concerning the 9/11 event?

Medea Benjamin: I think the American public tends to not be very questioning and in fact when you look at the justifications that the US government used after 9/11 to go to war we still have a large percentage of people in the US that think that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11; was close friends with Osama Bin Laden; and there are many Americans who still think that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and wanted to use them against the US.

So, unfortunately I don't think the media in the US helps to foster a very questioning public.

Press TV: Why is that the case especially dealing with the 9/11 situation -- that the media hasn't dug into this as investigative journalism is required to do such a thing?

Medea Benjamin: It was terrible to watch the media in the weeks and months after 9/11 because they really became a spokes piece for the US government. In fact you saw US officials including military officials more and more on the major stations coming on as analysts without being clear that these were representatives of the government giving a government point of view. And that has continued a lot to this day. I would say that there is a lot of skepticism now in the US -- not so much about what happened on 9/11, but more about the worthiness of going to war in Iraq; less so about Afghanistan.

But even so, to this day the media has become closer to the US government than in other periods in our history and I think it's to the detriment of the US public and I would say to US national security in general.

Press TV: You are an American living in the US -- There are some that may say that the American people have lost a lot since 9/11 especially looking at the constitution and how things are not being followed such as habeas corpus, and so many aspects of freedoms that Americans took granted -- How do you see it?

Medea Benjamin: Yes that's true. But I think more importantly for most Americans are the bread and butter issues; that we are going through a terrible financial crisis right now in which so many millions of Americans are losing their homes and their jobs. And what we as peace groups are trying to make clear to people is the connections between the funding of these wars -- the trillions of dollars that we are spending on the wars and then taking care of all the veterans when they return home and how much this has contributed to the financial crisis.

So if you look at every single American, we have really become victims in this war. Adding to the list of individuals who benefited (from 9/11 and external wars) -- the corporations -- when we look at the level of contracting that has been awarded to companies, we're talking about hundreds of billions of dollars. And you could pick Dick Cheney's company, Halliburton, and see how they got big contracts immediately after 9/11 and that's been going on for ten years.

So, there are many corporations that have gotten wealthy off of these wars and they are part of the problem trying to perpetuate these endless cycle of wars.

Press TV: We've witnessed a decade of a war on terror. Do you think the world is a safer place today than it was September 11, 2001?

Medea Benjamin: No, not at all. In reference to your last question though I think it's important to mourn those who died September 11th, but also mourn the deaths of all the Iraqis. I think of the hundreds of thousands if not millions of people who have died; the millions who have been displacedand their lives destroyed and it pains me very much to see what has happened to Iraq.

And I think it's important to say as you implied in your question that unfortunately for the majority of the people in the US there is not the same sense of worthiness of the lives of the Iraqi people or of the Afghan people or of the Pakistani people because now we see continual drone attacks and the CIA admits that 50 percent of the time they hit their targets and 50 percent of the time they don't.

Well that means half of the time it's civilians who are being killed and I unfortunately we don't see a lot of mourning in the US or an outcry to say stop the drone attacks; stop the killing of civilians. And we should hear that.

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