Tuesday, April 26, 2016

History: The lies the press never told you.

History is just a retelling of the news.  Information is first passed onto the public, and then it becomes history.  As we saw in the last post, history is manipulated and changed to fit the writer’s point of view.
We are constantly challenged to view the world in a neutral light. This is almost impossible since the people presenting this news are not impartial; they manipulate it to present their point of view, sometimes even fabricating it.
As I stated, this was not a part of the past, it is used today. In totalitarian governments, they use weapons and violence to influence their citizens; in our so-called free society they use the news and other forms of public relations. The news we receive is not independent or impartial, it is a tool to persuade and manipulate us.
We all remember the weapons of mass destruction fiasco which led the United States to be in the current conflict in the Middle East. Some will say this was just bad intelligence that was misinterpreted, so let us examine a cold lie which caused a previous conflict in the area years before. This action would eventually lead to our current Gulf War.
I was a soldier in 1991, and was sent to be part of the Gulf War.  Much of this information that is presented below, I did not find out until after the war, but it did have an impact on my life.
After the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait, there was a congressional committee to discuss the war. One of these groups was the Congressional Human Rights Caucus held in October 1990. A 15-year-old nurse girl named Nayriah, was there to give testimony on the atrocities that the Iraqi’s soldiers did upon the Kuwaiti people.
Nayirah in tears gave a very emotional testimony told how she witnessed Iraqi soldiers removing babies from incubators in a Kuwaiti hospital, so that these incubators could be sent to Iraq.  These premature babies were tossed on the hospital floor where they died. This testimony was widely published, and President George Bush referred to it many times in arguing why the United States should go to war against Iraq.
Addition to the hearings, there was also the so called non-government Congressional Human Rights Foundation, which was headed at the time by Representative Ton Lantos and Representative John Porter. The pair also promoted and advertised the testimony by Nayriah.
Years later, after the end of the war, it was revealed that Nyairah’s last name was al-Ṣabaḥ and that she was not a nurse at the hospital as she claimed, but the daughter of Saud Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Here the testimony was arranged and organized by the Citizens for a Free Kuwait. This organization was created by the Kuwaiti government to persuade the American public to take action in the Persian Gulf War. To help with this cause, the Citizens for a Free Kuwait used the public relations firm of Hill & Knowlton.
It was also revealed the Congressional Human Rights Foundation (the group headed by Lantos and Porter), had rented space in the offices owned by Hill & Knowlton at a $3,000 reduced rate. Hill & Knowlton had also received over $12 million dollars from the Kuwaiti government for their public relations campaign.
There are so many more current examples and historical examples, where the public was persuaded by misinformation. I used the example above, because as I stated earlier, it was the foundation for the US invasion of Iraq, and it was personal to me. 
I had just become an Officer in the Army, and had given up this rank because they needed more competent sergeants than they did officers. I had done this with the promise of having the officer rank returned to me once I came back from the war. After the war ended, the officer rank was denied to me, on the basis I gave it up freely, and that resulted in the end of my 15 year military career. My bad experience is nothing compared to the men and woman of our armed services who have died in that and the following war in Iraq.
Now let us look at the fate of a group called ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). This is a community-based organization which advocated for low to moderate-income families. It dealt with social issues, health care and voter registration. Voter registration is very important because it dealt with many low-income people who normally vote Democratic; this made it a target for conservative Republicans.
In fall 2009, two conservative (James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles) reporters released a video showing ACORN personnel involved or supporting illegal activities. The most damming video showed an ACORN representative (Juan Carlos Vera) trying to assist the reporter in creating a prostitution ring made up of aliens. This ACORN rep is asking questions, appears to be wanted to help O’Keefe, and even states he will contact him when he gets some information to assist him.
The reporter (O’Keefe) went on numerous conservative talk shows, and his story was repeated (mostly on FOX Network). O’Keefe even went on this show dressed in flamboyant “Pimp” clothing, saying this was how he was dressed when he spoke to Juan Carlos Vera. Hannah Giles was dressed as a prostitute during the interviews saying this was how she was dressed.
Hearing of this and seeing the video, the U.S. Senate immediately cut the funding to ACORN. The bad press also caused a decline in its donations. The Census and IRS terminated its contracts with ACORN.
Now let us look at the real story. The video that was shown was heavily edited to display ACORN in the worse possible light. O’Keefe is actually seen in the videos not wearing a pimp outfit, but wearing a blue button-down shirt.
As for Juan Carlos Vera, he is seen asking very specific questions to O’Keefe, most of these included how he could contact him.  What is not seen, or reported, is that when O’Keefe left the office, he (Juan Carlos Vera) called the police and notified them of this visit and provided them with all the information he had gathered about O’Keefe. At the same time, the other members of ACORN isolated Hannah Giles (in her prostitute attire) and tried to convince her they could get her to a shelter and give her legal help.
ACORN was eventually cleared of all charges and allegations, but by this time it was bankrupt and dissolved. O’Keefe had received notoriety and also over $65,000 for the videos.
You may ask how lies can be told without any or little ramifications. Once a story is out there, another one soon follows, so when the truth is told, it is now old news and no longer considered interesting.  A quote often attributed to Mark Twain demonstrates this; “A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World While the Truth Is Putting On Its Shoes”.
As I mentioned in the earlier post, the people who wrote history were either hired by kings to write a favorable version, or they wrote it to discredit an enemy. Later, these historical accounts became entertainment. People earned their living telling these accounts, and when they did they elaborated the facts to make them exciting. We must remember this, and not judge them so harshly, for what they tell us is the basis of legend. In the past stories of history was entertainment, not news.  On the Jim Henson’s Storyteller show the introduction said “The closet place next to the fire is reserved for the storyteller”.
Once news is written down and documented it then becomes history. Imagine a thousand years from now, when archeologists, find videos of news programs dealing with the Nayriah or ACORN.  The majority of news articles were about the initial lie, very little attention was given about the truth that was later discovered. It would then be assumed by these historians that the untruthful allegations were accurate, and then it becomes historical dogma. The truth of these stories would never be known by future generations.
So when you look at historical facts, remember it may have been manipulated. What we perceive of facts was seen through personal filters of those who first wrote it down.
Even without considering history, do not be persuaded at current news. We must understand that there is a darker motivation behind the news, and this motivation wants to manipulate and change our opinions.
Next Week: Break out your mace and shield; we head back to a Medieval Faire.
If you have enjoyed my writings on this blog, may I ask you to please consider purchasing a copy of “Legend of the Mystic Knights”.  As many of you know my publisher is going out of business, this means my novel may not be available until sometime.  This may be your last chance to buy this novel.


  1. William - it's true that much of the news is manipulated. A recent example is conservatives selecting editing a secret video they made of a conversation between Planned Parenthood executives that made it appear the organization was selling fetuses. The video was later discredited but not before Congress tried to cut off all funding and succeeded in cutting Planned Parenthood's 2016 budget.

  2. I think we are probably even more susceptible to this type of misinformation than we were in the past. Social media gives all sorts of groups an unfiltered publishing outlet. And the traditional media, beaten down by declining revenue and staff reductions, has joined the world of desperately chasing clicks. And that may mean repeating a good story without instituting all the checks and verifications that should be a part of good journalism.

  3. It is for this same reason that I do not watch and read the news daily. Firstly it is downright depressing and secondly it is presented in such a way to influence our perception.

    There are so many who believe everything they read in the papers. Tabloids such as The Sun and Daily Mail (or Daily Fail) as some may call it, use shock tactics to draw in readers.

    How inhumane that babies in Kuwait were left to die. Did their lives mean less than the babies in Iraq? It certainly looks so.

    Thank you for sharing this sad information. People need to know.

    1. The baby story never happened, it was fabricated by Nayriah and others to get the US to go to war with Iraq.

  4. I don't like (who does?) all the manipulations by the press and try to dig beneath the top story to figure out what the real truth may be. It's extremely difficult to do this most of the time. I'm sorry to hear about the way your military career ended, William. Fifteen years is a long time to put into it.

  5. William, this is so true and we have experienced it more here in Canada over the past year then ever before. We had an election last fall and the entire campaign was manipulated by the media. We used to call the CBC, supposedly our National News Centre as the Liberal Marketing Firm. The Liberals could do no wrong while the Conservatives and NDP could do no right. It was an experience in media manipulation, bar none.

  6. I never heard these stories before. But I do believe that the news media has a lot to do with what we hear and don't hear. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I always go back to George Orwell, a brilliant man. "Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
    Thanks for another excellent post.

  8. Have worked with almost all the major newspapers in the world and know first hand how it works, William. Believe me you are, without knowing it, manipulated ty corporate America and various lobby groups in the US. And it will never change. But it would be benieficial if your country did something about how corporate America rules the US and, to some extent, the world. Iraq was, for instance, invaded because they wanted to get their hands on Iraqi oil.

  9. Depressing, but sadly not all that surprising. As a researcher I bump up against this every single day. The media just loves to quote research studies - the more controversial the better. The problem is that most of these studies are ultimately proven to be faulty if not outright baloney. And yet, as you've illustrated, once it's out there it becomes the truth. Makes it pretty challenging to have an "informed" opinion, huh? Thanks for the education William.

  10. History has always been manipulated. History taught at schools is also manipulated. e.g History taught in India and Africa was a lot different to what was taught in UK. It just depends on who is telling the story and who wants to look like a hero. It's so sad that now with social media stories get reported and changed within minutes. When flicking through news channels, you can see how differently the same news gets reported. In some countries, they don't even report foreign news!!

  11. Great post and a topic that needs more attention. It's also quite discerning how there are so few news outlets that control all of the world's media. We think we have access to so much, but still so much is spoon fed to us.

  12. The Nayirah story echoes the also-contrived Gulf of Tonkin incident(s) that Lyndon Johnson used to escalate American involvement in Vietnam. In both cases, a government determined to wage war far from American shores played fast and loose with the truth in order to get what it wanted, the people be damned. When next will it happen again?

    If you haven't seen it, check out George Carlin's "We Like War" performance - the second half of it is somewhat silly but the first 3:25 is quite good:

  13. The news has always been manipulated and with the popularity of social media stories get reported and changed within seconds. I have never heard these stories before. Thank you for this post