Friday, February 13, 2015

PCG's Stephen Flurry Defending President Bush from "Biased" "Antiwar" Media (2004)

Recently PCG's featured a 2004 article by Stephen Flurry on its front page, "The Media War Against the United States". This article is essentially a defense of the Bush Administration from the supposedly unfair, biased criticism by a "left-wing" biased "antiwar" media. It was published in the March-April 2004 issue of PCG's recruitment magazine, The Philadelphia Trumpet.

Let us see what Stephen Flurry has to say on this matter.
Bias has always existed in journalism. A reporter’s personal views will often influence the stories he decides to energetically pursue—or completely ignore. It also influences the way a reporter covers a subject—what gets stressed and re-emphasized; what gets suppressed and left out. Even an article that is purely factual can be terribly misleading if those facts are not given context.
 Is Stephen Flurry projecting?
This article will examine the media’s coverage of the war against terrorism and show how its bias is actually accelerating the fulfillment of prophesied events. 
How on earth can "prophesied events" be accelerated by biased news reports? Does this mean (PCG's) God will speed up "prophetic events" because of misleading reports by left wing journalists?\


Stephen Flurry starts with asserting that most American journalists are left wing. He then, like many others, uses this fact to assume that the media will be biased towards politicians of the Democratic Party.
In 1992, even many journalists were surprised by the findings of a now-famous Roper poll. It discovered that 89 percent of Washington news bureau chiefs and correspondents voted for Bill Clinton while only 7 percent voted for George Bush. Since that study, a number of books, articles and websites have shed further light on the effect of this reality—that ideological bias does influence what gets news coverage, what is ignored and how stories are reported.
But is it really so simple as that? If Stephen Flurry ever bothered to get out of the PCG information bubble he could easily learn that many American left wingers argue that many journalists, despite how they may personally vote, actually empower the right by uncritically presenting right wing ideas without subjecting them to proper scrutiny. Even if this view is inaccurate it still suggests that it is not so simply to assume that journalists would automatically support one party just because they may decide to vote for them.


After that Stephen Flurry, as has been the habit of PCG's leaders since 1999, proceeds to launch a condemnation of NATO's intervention against rump Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) in 1999 in order to blame the news media for contributing to the escalation of that armed conflict. Stephen Flurry says that this intervention was wrong and based on inaccurate information. Stephen Flurry at least partly blames the media, including the New York Times.
But the following year, investigators only found 1,835 bodies in the remaining graves, bringing the total to just under 4,000. Sad and tragic—but shocking? Unbelievable? Humanitarian catastrophe?

Fast forward to the present. One primary reason that motivated President Bush to invade Iraq was that, according to a number of intelligence sources, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and posed a serious threat to the United States and its allies in the ongoing war against terrorism. By comparison, the primary reason President Clinton gave the American people before invading Kosovo was that Slobodan Milosevic had committed mass genocide against his own people. Of these two intelligence failures (assuming WMD will not be found), which story do you think drew the most media attention?
WMD were not found in Iraq because there was none to be found. That is far less then what was discovered in Kosovo according to Stephen Flurry's own account. The Bush Administration's search for WMD in Iraq ended in January 2005 just after Bush was inaugurated to start his second term.


After this Stephen Flurry talks about how the "biased" "antiwar" media turned against President Bush shortly after the start of war.
In the weeks that followed 9/11, America’s mainstream news media were remarkably free of ideological bias. The people inside the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and those four planes (excepting 19 of the passengers) were all innocent victims of a violent crime against humanity. The terrorists and their al-Qaeda network, on the other hand, were GUILTY of a most heinous and vile act of war—killing thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children.

But media bias soon re-emerged, once the images of those collapsing towers faded from television screens. Maybe the terrorists had a point. Maybe the U.S. government was a legitimate target. After all, hasn’t America targeted innocent civilians before? Left-wing ideas like these crept into mainstream coverage after the 9/11 shock wore off.
What is Stephen Flurry talking about? Is he talking about people trying to understand the intent behind this monstrous act of mass murder? Or is he talking about people defending this act of mass murder? Stephen Flurry is being terribly vague here so it is hard to be sure how one should respond to what he says here.

The next day, the New York Times complimented the president’s speech, but also set the antiwar tone for how the media would approach its war coverage: “[T]he country, while determined, is also understandably wary and realistic about achieving a victory over an enemy that is so diffuse and difficult to locate. … The country learned in Vietnam about the limits of a superpower’s ability to wage war against guerrilla troops in distant lands” (Sept. 21, 2001). The Times would give its support for the war on terrorism, but only to a point.
Did that New York Times article really say it would support the war on terrorism only to a point? Based on what Stephen Flurry quoted here it seems as though all this article did was mention how difficult things could get for US forces. How can pointing out how difficulties be viewed as "antiwar"? That seems a strange way to define what is "antiwar".


Stephen Flurry then minimizes Bush's responsibility for invading Iraq in 2003 by saying that President Clinton "wanted to invade Iraq before September 11" and says that whatever wrongs Bush did was also done by Clinton and the news media during the Clinton Administration.
On February 9 [2004], the New York Times opinion page accused President Bush of wanting to invade Iraq “even before September 11.” It then said voters this fall would have to determine whether Bush “manipulated the intelligence reports to frighten Congress and the public into supporting the idea.” In truth, if anyone wanted to invade Iraq before September 11, it was President Clinton. And if Mr. Bush is guilty of manipulating intelligence reports, then so too was President Clinton, not to mention the New York Times, as we will see later.
The problem with this argument is that, whatever President Clinton said, he never sent US soldiers to invade Iraq, but Bush did.


Stephen Flurry then castigates the media for moaning and complaining about problems in the execution of the invasion to topple Baathist Iraq and ignoring how well everything went.
In Baghdad, we were led to believe, Iraqis would be much less likely to welcome U.S. forces like they did in the south. And Saddam’s special forces were digging in. With their backs against the wall, scattered in a sprawling city of 5 million, Saddam loyalists could pick off American soldiers one by one. A Somalia-like street war would clearly favor the Iraqis. American casualties would be high.

Again, what actually happened proved these predictions of doom to be completely false. U.S. troops made it to Baghdad in three weeks, met little resistance and were greeted by throngs of Iraqis as liberating heroes. American forces conquered Baghdad in half the time and with half the troops it took in 1991 to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

“Forget the easy victories of the last 20 years,” Ted Koppel gravely warned just two weeks before U.S. soldiers pulled down Saddam’s statue. “This war is more like the ones we knew before.” He was dead wrong, even though imbedded in the front line of the U.S. invasion.
As seen above Stephen Flurry seems to view how the initial phase of the war occurred in a very rosy way, as a gloriously swift and decisive victory. This seems to be a greatly oversimplified view of those events.

To get a more detailed view of those events Stephen Flurry should have watched a film such as This is War: Memories of Iraq which was released in 2007. (Be warned: This documentary contains graphic footage of what happens in war.)

This harrowing documentary uses footage of the initial phase of the war as filmed by a soldier at the time. One particularly haunting scene showed how destructive the invasion was. He is driving on a vehicle and he films as he goes past (Can one believe this? But it's true.) many bodies lying on the side of the road. No doubt not a few insurgents were relatives or friends of those deceased persons. While not many US soldiers died more Iraqis died. If things had taken a better course maybe further negative developments could have been avoided but in the later tragic sequence of events the deaths of those Iraqis later motivated insurgents to take up arms unleashing the dreaded specter of guerrilla warfare upon Iraq.

Also Stephen Flurry makes little attempt to understand how the Iraqi people themselves viewed the intervention in 2003. One account of how the Iraqi people of Baghdad themselves viewed the battle in Baghdad in 2003 may be seen in the following blog post from Riverbend, an Iraqi women who lived in Baghdad at the time. (See post entitled National Day).

Here Riverband is criticizing a proposal to make April 9 a national holiday to celebrate the fall of Baghdad in 2003 by recounting what it was like for those who feared to be caught in the crossfire.
April 9 was a day of harried neighbors banging on the door, faces so contorted with anxiety they were almost beyond recognition. "Do we leave? Do we evacuate?! They sound so close..."

It was a day of shocked, horrified relatives, with dilated pupils and trembling lips, dragging duffel bags, spouses and terrified children needing shelter. All of us needing comfort that no one could give. ...

It was a day of stray dogs howling in the streets with fear, flocks of birds flying chaotically in the sky- trying to escape the horrible noises and smoke.

It was a day of charred bodies in blackened vehicles.

It was a grayish-yellow day that burns red in my memory... a day that easily rises to the surface when I contemplate the most horrible days of my life.

That was the 'National Day' for me. From most accounts, it was the same for millions of others. (Source, see post entitled "National Day".)
(Some of Riverbend's blog posts were later compiled into two books, Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq and Baghdad Burning II. Or one may read Riverbend's blog.)

Clearly Stephen Flurry has no idea of how bad things were at the time nor did he have any idea about how bad things would be soon afterwards.


Stephen Flurry then continues to condemn how the mainstream media (supposedly) were utterly unable to foresee how well the war went in Iraq from his perspective.
That the media is not held accountable for such errors shows just how powerful and arrogant they are. Even though most of the media got it wrong on the war, you would never know it judging by their own post-war coverage. They continued searching for any way possible to put a negative spin on what was happening in Iraq. The U.S. won the war, but can it now bring peace? Does it even have an exit strategy? Is U.S. “occupation” really that much better than Saddam’s dictatorship? Why haven’t we yet found Saddam? American casualties are on the rise. Didn’t Mr. Bush say the war was over? Why are we still there? There’s no link between Saddam and al-Qaeda. There are no WMD. This whole war, it now turns out, was completely unnecessary.

And on and on it goes.

After this Stephen Flurry discusses Dr. David Kay who resigned from the Iraq Survey Group saying that Saddam Hussein's regime did not have weapons of mass destruction. Stephen Flurry then quotes other words by Dr. Kay to say that he believed that Saddam Hussein was a greater thrreat than was realized. That those words of Dr. Kay's were not given as much prominence as his statement that there likely were no weapons of mass destruction is cited by Stephen Flurry as evidence of the media's "antiwar" bias.
Let those words sink in. Based on the evidence uncovered by Kay, Saddam was even more dangerous than we thought. Yet, these findings were muted by the same thunderous message echoing out of newsrooms from coast to coast—there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq! The war may have been unnecessary. President Bush might have manipulated U.S. intelligence and lied to the American people!

Sorry. It’s the media that exaggerated and manipulated information.
There actually were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. Media bias has nothing to do with that. If one should develop negative views about the invasion because of that development media bias cannot be blamed for that in this particular topic.

On February 13, in a front-page article, the Washington Post reported, “A majority of Americans believe President Bush either lied or deliberately exaggerated evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction in order to justify war.” That majority opinion was shaped solely by dishonest journalism. That’s how powerful media bias is.
Or maybe they remembered what was said before the war started and simply concluded that something was very wrong considering that there were no weapons of mass destruction as was asserted before the war.


Stephen Flurry then proceeds to mock Reuters by insinuating they are no better then Al Jazeera.
Compare Jennings’ remarks with what Al Jazeera reported the next day: “Joy at the capture of Saddam Hussein gave way to resentment toward Washington Monday, as Iraqis confronted afresh the bloodshed, shortages and soaring prices of life under U.S. occupation.” Oops! That report actually came from Reuters. It continued by quoting one Iraqi who compared life under Saddam with life after liberation: “The only difference is that Saddam would kill you in private, where the Americans will kill you in public.”
Reading this I cannot help but wonder if Stephen Flurry was aware that an Al Jazeera journalist,  Tareq Ayyoub, was killed in Baghdad on April 8, 2003. Sad to say he was killed by US gunfire during the Battle of Baghdad. While Al Jazeera reporters went through this agony Stephen Flurry mocks them as somehow hopelessly biased.

It is also worth noting that no one from Al Jazeera is cited in this article. They are left silenced, regarded as unworthy of serious consideration.


Then Stephen Flurry insists that things are not so bad in Iraq.
To be sure, there was widespread looting and chaos right after Iraq was liberated—and the U.S. military could have done more to prevent it. But how would the liberal media have reacted to the sight of U.S. forces overwhelming “ordinary Iraqis” with a show of brute force to help prevent stealing and looting?

Crime rates in Iraq are still very high—but how about some perspective? They are not yet as high as in New York—mainstream media’s OWN BACKYARD. We did lose more than 500 American soldiers during the war last year—about the same number of Americans murdered in Los Angeles. Where’s the media outcry about that?

Maybe one Iraqi car salesman is finding business more difficult than it was under Saddam. But what about the 220,000 teachers in Iraq who are now making 12 times more money than they were under Saddam? Or doctors’ salaries, which are eight times higher? Or the multiple millions of metric tons of food sent to Iraq by the World Food Program? Or the $20 billion pumped into the Iraqi economy by, of all countries, the United States of America?

Of course there are still criminals and terrorists on the run in Iraq, lashing out in desperate attempts to slow America’s progress. And there have been a number of terrorist attacks in Iraq. The media have reported all this—and rightly so. But why hasn’t it been weighed against the remarkable good the United States has done for that nation?
Clearly Stephen Flurry did not know that things were about to get a whole lot worse in Iraq. PCG's leaders claim they can see the future by properly understanding the Bible but they could not see that things were about to get a whole lot worse in Iraq in early 2004.


Stephen Flurry then complains that the media ignored the good things America was doing in Iraq. He cites a report by the White House released in December 2003 which, according to Stephen Flurry, some in the White House felt had been ignored by the mainstream media. Stephen Flurry views this assertion as further evidence of his assertion that the media was biased against the Bush Administration to the detriment of America.
Why were all the big media voices muted when the White House released its report? Why didn’t the Times and the Post feature a story? Why did the big networks ignore it? Because the situation in Iraq is not supposed to be good. That’s the story. And if the facts don’t fit within those parameters, they’re not reported.
The situation in Iraq later became extremely bad.


Stephen Flurry then cites a letter by Zarqawi in which he moans in a letter sent to Osama bin Laden that he is suffocating in the situation in which he finds himself utterly impotent to wage war in Iraq.
In the letter to al-Qaeda, Zarqawi pleaded for help to incite civil war in Iraq before America left. He lamented his inability to recruit extremists inside Iraq to fight against Americans. And because Iraq was not mountainous, it made life more difficult for terrorists living on the run (especially, he could have added, for those with one leg). The American enemy was growing stronger by the day, Zarqawi said. “THIS IS SUFFOCATION!” he exclaimed.

That from one of the world’s leading terrorists.

Doesn’t this show that President Bush, while he has made mistakes, has also had a good deal of success in the war on terrorism? The Taliban is out of power—no longer providing safe havens for terrorist organizations in Afghanistan. Terrorists still in that country are on the run. Saddam’s regime is gone and will never come back in power, as President Bush assured the Iraqi people. The terrorist network inside Iraq, according to Zarqawi, is suffocating. And whether inspectors find large or small amounts of WMD in Iraq, indeed we now know the Iraqi threat won’t develop into an imminent one.
Stephen Flurry also boasts of how Gaddafi decided to be more cooperative towards the West following the invasion of Iraq.

Clearly Stephen Flurry had no idea that, despite these initial difficulties, alas, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would later indeed lead his minions to commit all kinds of monstrous mayhem within Iraq in order to gain power for themselves. Although that hateful murderer was killed off by a bombing attack in 2006, alas, his minions continued to spread chaos and warfare within Iraq. Even today his blood stained successors under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have continued to exploit the turbulent situation to seize power for themselves and even spread the big lie that the only true Muslims are those affiliated with themselves, which is complete nonsense considering that the vast majority of their victims are other Muslims.


Stephen Flurry then ends his article insisting that PCG has accurately predicted that Iran will emerge as the dominant power in the Middle East.
During the early to mid-1990s, while President Clinton and the establishment media were concerned about the WMD build-up in Iraq, the Trumpet kept pointing to the rising threat of radical Islam spearheaded by Iran. (The Bible calls this end-time power the “king of the south.”) As early as July 1992, we prophesied, “It looks very much like the end-time king of the south will rule the radical Islamists! … Much of the world is unaware of what a powerful and dangerous force the Islamic camp is becoming.”

In July 1993, we again prophesied, “Islamic extremism is almost certainly going to be the king of the south.” Forget about Iraq, we kept saying—focus on Islamic extremism and its number-one state sponsor: IRAN. On 9/11, Americans awakened to the reality of Islamist terror. 
It was not until 1994 that Gerald Flurry dogmatically proclaimed Iran to be the King of the South.


Stephen Flurry ends the article with these words.
The war on terrorism has revealed just how powerful and widespread anti-American forces are around the world—not just in terrorist camps and caves—but in liberal newsrooms within America and Britain. Together, these forces are working to accelerate the downfall of the United States.
And so Stephen Flurry's article comes to an end.


Now he asserted that the news media were too negative regarding the prospects of going to war with Iraq. But is that really true. As time went on many people excoriated the mainstream media, not for being too negative about the war, but for uncritically accepting what the Bush Administration said in the days leading up to war. One example of this train of thought may be seen in the 2007 PBS documentary Buying the War.

Also many were discouraged to learn about the severe deficiency regarding reports by New York Times correspondent, Judith Miller.

It seems fair to say that many disagree with Stephen Flurry's view regarding the media supposedly opposing the Bush Administration's decision to go to war as may be seen in this article.

And so we see how severely flawed this horribly dated defense of the Bush Administration against the supposedly "biased" and "antiwar" news media is. Clearly Stephen Flurry, he who is being prepared to succeed his father Gerald Flurry, has no power to see the future as PCG's leaders so often claim to be ale to do.

1 comment:

  1. Well, we have an all-volunteer military at this point in history. The reason why the anti-war movement had been so effective in the 1960s is that everyone had a friend, neighbor, or family member who had been conscripted, and the ones who did manage to make it back were totally changed in ways that required decades of treatment and therapy so that they could continue to exist.

    By the time Reagan began to utilize the military, the fire had been removed from the anti-war movement's belly. The people who were being sent overseas were volunteer soldiers. The big stick was largely gone. Still, they voiced the objections of those opposed to war on moral grounds, moral grounds based on the fact that war kills people.

    The problem with the Armstrongites is that they do not believe in free speech, they do not believe that public opinion should influence public policy, and they do not see discussion of issues with all points of view obtaining expression as part of the greater system of checks and balances upon our representative republic. They believe in government from the top down, by someone with absolute authority, and that it is practically a treasonable offense to speak out against the policies of any White Republican president.