The Journal of Deception
How Opinion Makers Use Spin to Manipulate Truth
By Roberto Diego
Copyright 2004 by Roberto Diego. All rights reserved. The reader is allowed to print, distribute and publish this page on their web site, provided the copyright notation and Mr. Diego's web site address are visible on the front page. http://www.insmkt.com/myhome.htm.
Example 1 – January 2004
Spin in the World of Bible Studies
I was shocked to find this example in the magazine Bible Review. I have always been a student of the history of religion and have enjoyed reading this magazine for several years. Most often, the scholarship is excellent, but not on October, 2003.
“Truth is the first casualty in war. We have seen this recently, in the bizarre and often hilarious lies of the Iraqi Minister of Information during the war in Iraq. Now there are Web sites devoted to the sayings of "Baghdad Bob," along with T-shirts and other memorabilia. It also seems that the Bush administration lied to us about the nuclear threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime, relying on a report that the CIA knew was forged. This is disappointing, but perhaps not surprising. Lies in wartime are nothing new, though we often expect better.”
Painting with a Broad Brush
The statement that truth is the first casualty in war enables the individual to paint with a broad brush and to pick and choose whatever he wants to take as lies. The statement implies that everyone in war will lie and this is extended toward the Bush Administration that actually may not be lying.
As I understand what happened (and understanding anything going on in government is almost impossible), the CIA (whoever that is) knew no such thing. The information that Iraq had an active program to obtain nuclear materials, which was supposedly provided by British Intelligence, has not been disavowed by that agency. Only an American husband of a former CIA agent said that the former Iraqi government had not attempted to buy nuclear materials from a specific African government, Niger. This person (apparently no friend of the Bush Administration) is certainly not capable of knowing this because he got this information from government officials of the government in question - they are not likely to tell the truth to someone purporting to represent the American government. “A former US Ambassador, Joseph Wilson, went public in the United States, saying how he discovered that the claims that Iraq was buying nuclear material in Africa were wrong.” Last time I heard, having a non- agent of the CIA interview officials of African governments is not the best way for the CIA to gather intelligence or to learn that alleged intelligence of the British government is wrong. The best that should happen in such a case is to say that we may not want to put stock in a particular line of intelligence because one individual has made a statement that a particular report is wrong. “This does not necessarily invalidate all information in this line of intelligence gathering but, to be safe, let’s not use this.” In fact, this is what happened and unfortunately for Bush, someone dropped the ball and didn’t communicate to him that the reference to this intelligence should be removed. However, that Iraq made an effort to obtain nuclear materials from African and other governments is a well known fact.
The idea that there was supposedly a forged document in the investigation of Saddam’s nuclear activities does not invalidate that he had an active program to acquire nuclear materials. The trick here is to assume that one forged document means that the CIA and the president knew that there was no program and therefore lied about Saddam’s nuclear threat. “It's now clear there was no evidence that Iraq had nuclear weapons, and claims that nuclear material was secured in Niger were bogus.” This statement was made because Wilson said the document about Niger was forged. But does his statement mean there was no program to acquire nuclear materials? And further, does it mean we had no reason to depose Saddam?
“Iraq has admitted that it received many offers of stolen nuclear materials for its nuclear weapons program: one senior Iraqi official told inspectors in 1996 that Iraq had received over 200 offers of everything from red mercury to fissile material for its nuclear weapons program over the preceding decade. Iraq insists that it turned down all of these offers of assistance – a claim that strains credulity. Khidir Hamza, a senior figure in Iraq's nuclear weapons program before the Gulf War, tells a rather different story. Hamza reports that when arms dealers from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe with whom Iraq had an ongoing relationship made offers of plutonium or highly enriched uranium, Iraqi authorities told them they were interested, and gave them cash to acquire samples – but in every case of which Hamza was aware, the samples turned out to be radioactive trash, not plutonium or HEU. As a result of these experiences, and of fear of being caught by a Western sting operation, the part of Iraq's nuclear weapons program with which Hamza was associated began rejecting such offers – though Hamza believes that Iraqi military intelligence continued to pursue them. Hamza acknowledges that had any of the samples proved to be genuine weapons-usable nuclear material, Iraq would have been eager to purchase as much as was available – though Iraq's principal focus was on indigenous production, because what it sought was not a single bomb, but an arsenal of nuclear weapons to use as a deterrent against the United States or other countries interfering with Iraq's regional ambitions.”
The tactic of the liberals here is to make conjecture into fact:
Point 1: “Someone said the African nation did not sell nuclear materials to Iraq.”
Then turn that into a fact when there is no factual basis for it:
Point 2: “The Iraqis did not attempt to buy nuclear materials.”
Then turn the purported fact into something the Bush Administration knew to be true:
Point 3: “An American “official” interviewed the African government and told the Bush Administration it was not true and the document was forged.”
Then turn this purported “knowledge” into:
Point 4: “The Bush Administration knew that the Iraqis had not tried to buy nuclear materials from an African government.”
And then when Bush repeated what British Intelligence had reported, the spin tactic becomes:
Point 5: Bush lied to the American people.
To further complicate matters, the idea that there was an allegedly forged report, the nature of which report is ambiguous to say the least, makes it look like someone pulled a fast one on the incompetent Bush boys.
Judging from the fact that Professor Hendel decided to repeat the spin almost verbatim from the mouths of liberal spin meisters and repeating it as fact, I doubt that he was “disappointed” as he says. True, lies in wartime are nothing new, and I, for one, expect better of a Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish studies than to repeat one. As for the subject of his article, whether the Jerusalem Temple ever existed – even more wasted ink. I think we all know that it did – really we do.
To Comment on this blog, Click Here
Example #2 - Emphasis in the Media
When a particular proposition is emphasized time and again to the detriment of the truth, it is the fallacy of emphasis. Assume that you have one instance of cruelty by the American military and ten thousand instances of kindness. Is it fair to assume that the cruelty is the norm? This is what has been happening lately in the media regarding the Iraqi "abuse" scandal. The American media would be acting fairly if they were to explain to the American people that the events of this "scandal" are only an aberration. As a person who has been in the military, I know that when you have that many people, as you do in the military, you are always going to have crimes take place. Imagine if every single crime that took place in the American military were blown up into a global scandal. Would it even be possible for the military to protect the United States? Imagine if every instance of a drunk GI who killed a citizen of a foreign country were emphasized by the media as proof that the President of the United States had set a bad tone. Would that be fair?
It is my view that in this climate of media control of information, it is impossible right now to get information from the mainstream media. Since the media is our window on the world, it is impossible for us to know what is really going on anywhere. At the present time, the media seems to see itself as charged with defeating George Bush and, by means of the fallacy of emphasis, and through an unprecedented propaganda campaign, they are selecting stories that will embarrass him, intermingling those stories about cooking in the kitchen and how much they all love their mothers.
The Iraqi abuse scandal is a media created scandal. Based upon information from Tim Russert on his show, Meet the Press, a father of an American military person who had been charged with a crime, has been lobbying the military for months to have his son's charges dropped. Since he was not able to interfere with the military justice system, and since he believes he is the judge and jury in his son's case, he decided to reveal the existence of the photos to CBS. CBS knew they had a chance to be fair, in other words to practice their profession with high standards of fairness, and they must certainly have known that the father's efforts to interfere in military justice were not proper, but they chose to run the story and the pictures anyway, in my view, to embarrass George Bush.
As of today, it is my opinion that the media will not drop this scandal until they have thoroughly destroyed our ability to wage the war in Iraq. It appears that our efforts to establish Democracy in Iraq are over. We will not be able to operate there and accomplish our goals. Al Queda will probably do everything they can to create more trouble there and our soldiers there are in serious danger, more than they were before. President Bush is not now able to run the war and even run this country. It is extremely unlikely that he will be able to fight off the media attempt to destroy him because, unfortunately, he still thinks that he will be treated fairly once the election gets fully under way. He is wrong about this. The media top brass hates him and they are engaged in a concerted effort to destroy him, no matter how much emphasis they have to engage. Why do they hate him? Because he is a man of principle that does what he says. For now, he is not now able to make the case for staying in Iraq nor is he able to make the case for his Presidency. He has been completely discredited as a leader by the media and their use of the fallacy of emphasis. Unfortunately, most of the American public does not realize it is being duped and that the future of our nation and the future of freedom are now at serious risk. We may soon be living in a dictatorship with a media created President, one who will not receive the same scrutiny as George Bush is receiving and who will use the media to turn over the tables of freedom. Al Queda could not have hoped for this windfall - that the media would hate George Bush more than Al Queda is incredible to believe.
To Comment on this blog, Click Here
Spin in The No Spin Zone
After hearing Bill O'Reilly side with 8 Kerry supporters who said they had received hostile fire during a Kerry medal winning incident questioned by Swift Boat Vets for Truth
As a Viet era Vet, I find your coverage to be decidedly pro-Kerry on the Swift Boat Vet issue. To that extent you are helping Kerry deceive the nation and you are doing a disservice to the real heroes in that war. Surely you know that a common tactic of politicians is to offer people jobs if they support a candidate in a certain way, and certainly you cannot be a proponent of the idea that Kerry would just "honestly" ask someone to be "honest" and tell the 'truth." His actions in other areas belie that possibility and you certainly know that.
To Comment on this blog, Click Here
 Was There a Temple in Jerusalem? By Ronald S. Hendel, Bible Review, October 2003
Return to Mr. Diego's Main Page
New Century Publishing Catalog and Order Form
Brand New Release: Man in Denial
Click on each item to learn about:
The Poetry of Roberto Diego
Read about Mr. Diego's book, A PRIMER AGAINST RACISM
New: Individualism by Roberto Diego
New: Dacau and Berlin in 1990