Americans don’t want war and politicians are shying away from armed conflict with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, but some mainstream media outlets, ranging from progressive to conservative — all of which share the common job of being a government watchdog — are being accused of pushing war.
Americans overwhelmingly don’t want the U.S. to risk war with Russia, which has threatened a nuclear response to any interference in its attack on Ukraine. A 75 percent majority of U.S. survey respondents said the “U.S. should do whatever it can to help Ukraine, without risking a direct war between the U.S. and Russia,” according to a Quinnipiac University poll, conducted March 10-14.
Politicians on both sides have become less interventionist. Instead of encouraging the U.S. to physically go in to fix the problems of foreign allies, politicians are leaning toward other means of support, such as monetary, The Huffington Post reported.
The media, however, is still clinging to its “hawkish, pro-war tendencies,” wrote Amanda Terkel, The Huffington Post Washington bureau chief, in a March 4 opinion piece.
“Some high-profile media figures have pushed bellicose and even reckless rhetoric,” Terkel wrote, “suggesting to varying degrees that America should take steps that would almost inevitably lead to war with Russia.” While some observers say mainly pro-Democrat media outlets such as CNN and MSNBC are promoting a pro-war stance, some journalists say the war thirsting is widespread among the media.
Conservative political Fox News commentator Sean Hannity questioned why the U.S. didn’t “take out” a Russian convoy entering Ukraine back in March. And the Republican-leaning New York Post published an editorial headline on March 1 that read, “West Must Consider Intervening to Stop a Slaughter in Ukraine.”
The Feb. 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine hasn’t suddenly made the media hungry to cover war. The media has a long history of covering war and being accused of promoting it.
Terkel accused the media of not being critical enough of President George W. Bush and helping him push the war in Iraq.
“In 2003, the United States launched an invasion of Iraq based on government lies, fueled by eager media personalities who were far too willing to parrot what officials were telling them,” Terkel wrote.
The media has deep ties with people who profit from war, wrote Ryan Cooper, a national correspondent for TheWeek in an opinion piece published Aug. 21, 2021.
Wars “are extremely profitable for a small group of elites with deep connections to the press. Much of the tens of billions of dollars in occupation money was gobbled up by corrupt defense contractors who turned in shoddy work or straight-up fleeced the taxpayer. These contractors have hired dozens of former military officers who then go on television without disclosing that they have a direct financial interest in the conflicts they invariably advocate prolonging,” Cooper wrote.
Cooper isn’t the only one claiming this. There have been several investigations into media connections throughout the years. One done by The Washington Post in 2020 found that news networks use retired military brass as war analysts without disclosing their defense-industry ties. The Intercept concluded the same thing in 2021.
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Now the media has been accused of pushing pro-war rhetoric again.
“Many journalists and pundits from outlets across the political spectrum have exhibited lurid curiosity about or outright longing for military confrontation with the U.S.’s former Cold War foe,” wrote Zeeshan Aleem, an MSNBC opinion columnist.
He added, “The media remains stuck in a pro-war orientation, seemingly nostalgic for the interventionist consensus.”
According to Aleem, this is a trend across the media spectrum.
“The American media landscape is varied and diverse, and there are certainly pockets of it, particularly in the left-leaning magazine world, that have shown calm in response to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. But the thrust of hard news coverage and commentary of many mainstream media outlets — from liberal to centrist to right-wing — has tilted us in a more belligerent direction,” he wrote.
Photo: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asks for help from U.S. marshals after civil rights demonstrators were attacked by white segregationists in St. Augustine, Fla., June 25, 1964. (AP Photo) / Photo: A Trident II, D-5 missile is launched from the submerged USS Tennessee submarine in the Atlantic, Dec. 4, 1989. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)