Hey, remember this? This U.S. soldier was rubbing it in Saddam's face, moments before his statue was toppled as Baghdad fell. It happened exactly 10 years ago today, My Daily News editors -- the target audience, in hindsight -- asked me to write a front-page story that they headlined "Up His!" Heh, indeedy:
Except that it was mostly bull----, and the media played a big part in it.
There were a lot of good articles exposing the hard work of propaganda that went into creating these images, but a long piece by the prominent journalist Peter Maass that ran in the New Yorker and on ProPublica a couple of years ago was probably the best. He asks the question:
The 2004 documentary film "Control Room" featured Al Jazeera journalists who argued that the toppling of Saddam's statue was merely "a show ... a very clever idea," and that Iraqis had been brought to the square like actors delivered to the stage. Skeptics have also questioned whether the crowd was as large or as representative of popular sentiment as U.S. officials suggested. Might it have been just a small group of Iraqis whose numbers and enthusiasm were exaggerated by the cameras? Did the media, which had, with few exceptions, accepted the Bush administration's prewar claims about weapons of mass destruction, err again by portraying a pseudo-event as real? And were lives lost as a result of this error?
Read the whole thing, and ask yourself...up whose?
Blogger's note: Working on an honest-to-gosh newspaper story today, so blogging is light.