In this seminar, Xavier Giró spoke about the media and their involvement in conflict situations.  Although he commented on various aspects of this topic, I would like to focus on one that I find most interesting: criticism of the media in situations of conflict.

Many people still believe that a plurality of media sources exist in the mainstream, in competition with each other, with diverse perspectives and political opinions. Of course, quite the opposite is true. The concentration of media ownership has brought about the death of variety.  The narratives pushed by these mainstream media outlets are more or less the same with marginal degrees of differences in the political and economic discourse.

Furthermore, the mainstream media plays a vital role in manufacturing consent for wars.  Today the media is conditioning the US public for a war with Iran.  the mainstream media excludes antiwar voices and, in fact, even contributes to war.  The example of the role the media played in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are a perfect example of the media supporting war.

When it was discovered that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks, the press quickly framed the discussion around the question “Why do they hate us?”  They usually implied Muslims in general.  Without allowing for a rational debate or response, the media fell behind Whitehouse officials in promoting the absurd government line that they hate freedom, democracy, and the American way of life. Although it may be partially true, it ignores the dark history of western powers in the Middle East, fails to mention the United States support of brutal dictators, the Mujahedeen, the overthrow of democratically elected leaders, and so on. Those who challenged this assumption made by the media were frequently accused of being anti-American, sympathetic to the enemy, or out of touch with reality. This was done with the aim of discrediting their answers. The country rallied around the flag in a way I had never seen before. The Whitehouse took full advantage of this spectacle of patriotic arrogance, using jingoistic language, and George W. Bush declared, “You‟re either with us or against us in the fight against terror”.  Therefore, anyone who spoke out against the war was a potential enemy of the United States.

In short, the media contribute to conflict in many ways.  In the United States the mainstream media sacrifices it’s journalistic duty to question authority and power by establishing cozy relationships with the Whitehouse and Congress in order to gain media access.