Facts Trump Falsehoods in Miniter's Dazzling Disinformation

Intellectual Fraud

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Ron Brown

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By Jack Cashill

©Courtesy of the Cashill Newsletter
December 3, 2005

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In the world’s newsrooms truth is particularly vulnerable in times of war. Indeed, it is often said to be the first casualty. Historically, the media have deceived their audience on behalf of their own side, an unfortunate trend perhaps, but an understandable one.

In a pattern that started in Vietnam, however, American media have all too often used deceit to undermine America’s own efforts, a trend that is as unprecedented as it is insidious. As Richard Miniter shows in his startling new book, Disinformation: 22 Media Myths That Undermine the War on Terror, this pattern has dramatically re-established itself in the war on terror, especially in regards to Iraq.

Some of the myths that Miniter dispels have festered not because of any ill intent on the part of the media but through sheer laziness and the lack of logic. No, Usama bin Laden (UBL) is not on dialysis. No, he was not accumulating vast sums of wealth through his legitimate business enterprises in Sudan. Anyone who even thought about the dynamics of the Sudanese economy should have dismissed this latter contention out of hand. In reality, as one Australian intelligence agent said of UBL and al Qaeda, “They are on struggle street.”

What makes Miniter’s book so valuable, however, is that he probes in depth the serious and often purposeful disinformation campaigns that have slowed the war on terror and seriously damaged America’s standing in the world. Although some of these campaigns are unlikely to cause long term damage, like the one that placed Halliburton’s profits at the center of strategic planning, others are potentially destabilizing.

There are two chapters that every American needs to read. One exposes the myth that “there is no connection between Iraq and al Qaeda.” And the second is that “there is no evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.” Miniter’s analysis is particularly credible because he did not gather it sitting in a D.C. cubicle. He has ranged the world himself and verified his information on the ground in some of the world’s seamiest ports of call.

Of the 22 myths dispelled, be aware, two or three you may now hold dear. The other eighteen or nineteen, however, will confirm you in your beliefs and remind that you are not alone in your right thinking. The book is lucid, straightforward, and tightly argued. It is best read with a yellow highlighter in hand. You’ll want to go back to it. Of the 50-100 books I have read on the subject of terror and the Mideast, this one is the most necessary.


December 3, 2005


Posted: July 8, 2005
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Editor's note: For a more complete account of this phenomenon, read Jack Cashill's amazing new book, "Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture.


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