Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

'Normal' is killing us.

Donald Trump is out of the White House. COVID-19 is fading, at least in wealthier nations. The world, they say, is returning to “normal.” That’s the narrative that the corporate media is selling. But there’s a problem: “normal” is destroying our planet, threatening our democracies, concentrating massive wealth in a tiny elite, and leaving billions of people without access to life-saving vaccines amid a deadly pandemic. Here at Common Dreams, we refuse to accept any of this as “normal.” Common Dreams just launched our Mid-Year Campaign to make sure we have the funding we need to keep the progressive, independent journalism of Common Dreams alive. Whatever you can afford—no amount is too large or too small—please donate today to support our nonprofit, people-powered journalism and help us meet our goal.

Please select a donation method:

MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi contemplates President Donald Trump's best military options during a news segment on Wednesday. The options presented ranged from a "small strike" to "more damaging strikes" to "strikes on Russian and Iranian bases" inside Syria, but never considered this option for his viewers: no strikes at all. (Photo: MSNBC/Screenshot)

Showing They 'Learned Nothing' From Iraq, Corporate Media Help Beat War Drums for Trump Attack on Syria

"Pundits and the media are making John Bolton’s wildest dreams come true: in his first week on the job, everyone is calling for a new war."

With America's major corporate cable outlets—particularly so-called liberal networks like MSNBC—continuing to uncritically provide generals and lawmakers a massive platform to beat the drums of war as President Donald Trump inches closer to launching a military attack on Syria, critics have concluded that the U.S. media has clearly learned nothing from the crucial role it played in cheerleading for the Bush administration's catastrophic invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"It's incredible how readily the cable news channels have politicians on pushing for war in Syria with almost no questions asked about how disastrous it might be or the so-called evidence."
—Cenk Uyger, The Young Turks

"The push for escalation on TV is overwhelming," Cenk Uyger, host of The Young Turks, observed in a tweet on Wednesday, reacting to the numerous instances this week of television hosts opining on Trump's "military options" with the likes of Iraq War supporter and retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey while refusing to question the underlying rationale for or legality of unilateral military action.

"It's incredible how readily the cable news channels have politicians on pushing for war in Syria with almost no questions asked about how disastrous it might be or the so-called evidence," Uyger added. "They pretended to learn lessons from Iraq but have actually learned nothing."

As media critic Simon Maloy lamented in a column at Media Matters, the behavior of much of the corporate media "indicates how alarmingly comfortable much of the mainstream press is with the idea that the president can just up and decide to initiate military hostilities whenever, wherever, and for whatever reason—even when there is no actual reason at all."

Almost entirely absent from the prevailing discussion of Syria on America's cable networks in recent days—which one journalist described as "a parade of one war hawk after another"—has been any mention of the alternatives to military action.

Exemplifying this total exclusion of peaceful options was a segment on Wednesday by MSNBC's Ali Velshi, who provided his viewers with a quick rundown of the possible actions the president could take in Syria—from "small strike" to "more damaging strikes" to "strikes on Russian and Iranian bases"—without ever mentioning one major choice: no airstrikes at all.

Watch:

Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, argued on Twitter that the corporate media's relentless elevation of pro-war voices since the Assad regime was accused of carrying out a chemical attack on Sunday is "making John Bolton's wildest dreams come true."

As Common Dreams reported, Bolton officially took over as Trump's national security adviser on Monday as the White House weighed whether to strike Syria militarily.

"In his first week on the job, everyone is calling for a new war," Timm noted.

With outlets like CNN and MSNBC leaving a massive vacuum by refusing to raise even the most basic questions about the Trump administration's push for military action in Syria, Tucker Carlson of Fox News has been one of the few cable hosts to criticize the rationale for war and offer a platform to an anti-war voice.

In an appearance on Carlson's primetime show Tuesday night, The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald argued that it is the "standard tactic" of the corporate media to smear opponents of U.S. wars in an effort to shut down legitimate questions about the rush toward military action.

"This climate arises that you're just supposed to cheer when it comes time to drop bombs on other countries, not ask whether there's evidence to justify it, not ask whether it will do any good, not ask whether it will kill any civilians," Greenwald said. "And if you do ask one of those questions it means you're on the side of America's enemies. It's an incredibly authoritarian tactic that gets used to suppress debate."

Watch:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Support progressive journalism.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

US and Israel Vote 'No' as 184 Nations Condemn American Blockade of Cuba

"The U.N. vote... on Cuba was a chance for President Biden to show global leadership," said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. "He failed miserably."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


With Planet's Future at Stake, Biden Told to Be Bold With Pick for Top Energy Post

"It's time to treat climate change like the emergency it is, and stop approving new fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure, reads a letter signed by over 300 climate-focused groups.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


SCOTUS Solidifies Students' Free Speech Protections, Upholding Right to Say 'F**k Cheer'

"The message from this ruling is clear—free speech is for everyone, and that includes public school students."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Rules Union Organizing on Farms Violates Landowners' Rights

The Supreme Court "fails to balance a farmer's property rights with a farm worker's human rights," said United Farm Workers of America.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·


Lawmakers Tell Biden US Has 'Moral Obligation' to Ban Landmines

"If the United States takes these steps it will be welcomed around the world."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·