Released last week, the FAIR study reports that "official voices" — U.S. government and military, past and present — dominated TV newscasts, "squelching dissent'' and crowding out alternative viewpoints, including foreign perspectives.
American television viewers "were more than six times as likely to see a pro-war source as one who was anti-war; with U.S. guests alone, the ratio increases to 25 to 1,'' the study's authors, Steve Rendell and Tara Broughel, report in the May/June edition of FAIR's magazine Extra!
They looked at 1,617 talking heads and other on-camera sources, coding them by name, occupation, nationality, position on the war and the network on which they appeared. (In CNN's case, they targeted Wolf Blitzer Reports.) Turns out that, not only did Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld take over Iraq for the U.S., he also scored a clear victory over the media.
Indeed, military types got twice as much face time as civilians did. They were reinforced by the Pentagon's slickest marketing move of all time, the embedding of hundreds of journalists with the troops.
Obviously, the anti-war brigade didn't get much attention, even if its members were with the government or military. FAIR found a mere 3 per cent of U.S. sources "represented or expressed opposition to the war,'' and that includes senators and members of Congress."