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TV GUIDE: February 22-28, 1992
<'Dear Publishers & Agents..' Books Published & in-Progress by Ron David & Friends
How old George Bush hoodwinked the American public
into letting him attack Iraq in 1990
We could tell ourselves that we had learned that Old Bush had conned us into slaughtering Iraq after the fact, which left us helpless to stop it.
But nobody in America would be dumb enough to allow Old Bush's son (Beavis Bush) to get away with a war of unmitigated aggression---against the same people...would we?
... unless they'd forgotten about that article in TV GUIDE, the most widely circulated publication in America.
The February 22-February 28, 1992 issue of TV GUIDE, which came out almost exactly a year after we finished slaughtering Iraqis in what we grotesquely referred to as the Gulf War, featured a long article by David Lieberman titled "Fake News."
The article describes how private companies hire Public Relations firms to produce video tapes that look like "real" news reports. These self-serving Fake News clips are then made available to television news shows that carry them without mentioning the fact that they are phony! The result is that an already large and rapidly increasing percentage of what we see on the nightly news is PHONY. It's fiction, make up, scripted, rehearsed.
Lieberman calls it "fake news." A photocopy of the first page of the article appears below.
The part of the article that focuses specifically on Bush's Fake News video was the long sidebar by Morgan Strong. The complete text of the sidebar that accompanied the TV Guide article appears below.
were brought to you by…
Hill and Knowlton
By Morgan Strong
now, it is well known that some portions of the Persian Gulf war effort
were stage-managed in an effort to rally public opinion for military
action against Iraq. The two leading television newsmagazines, ABC’s 20/20
and CBS’s 60 Minutes,
devoted segments last month to the fact that an emotional appeal in 1990
before a Congressional caucus hearing, supposedly by an anonymous
Kuwaiti refugee girl called Nayirah, was, in fact, delivered by the
daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the U.S. Both stories followed a New
York Times op-ed piece that exposed Nayirah's true identity, by John
R. MacArthur, publisher of Harper's
it was revealed that the public-relations firm of Hill and Knowlton,
headed at the time by Craig Fuller, former chief of staff to George Bush
when he was Vice President, helped to package and rehearse the young
woman's appearance on behalf of their client, Citizens for a Free
Kuwait, an exile organization primarily funded by the Emir of Kuwait.
Nayirah's testimony was that Iraqi soldiers had stormed hospitals
and torn newborn babies from their incubators, leaving them to die.
Her story, which received wide network coverage—and was invoked
on numerous occasions by President Bush—had in fact been rehearsed by
video cameras by Hill and Knowlton.
But according to Kuwaiti doctors interviewed by 20/20
and 60 Minutes, no such
incident had occurred.
If this had been the only occurrence of packaged war reporting
broadcast in the
heat of war hysteria, it might be excusable. But what I found during
my long stint in Saudi Arabia (I was a consultant for both PBS's
Frontline and England's Thames Television) was a far more systematic
manipulation of news by the PR firm than is generally known:
Following the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, refugees with
stories about conditions in their country were selected and the agenda
of Hill and Knowlton’s client—were made available to news
organizations, thus limiting journalists' ability to independently
assess claims of brutality. Indeed
the PR firm’s operatives were given free rein to travel unescorted
throughout Saudi Arabia, while journalists were severely restricted.
Hill and Knowlton also was the source for a large number of the amateur
videos shot inside Kuwait and smuggled out. The videos were collected,
screened and edited at the PR firm's TV studios in the Saudi capital,
Riyedh, and in the coastal city of Dharan. The packaged videotapes were
then distributed free of charge to the networks, ostensibly by Citizens
for a Free Kuwait. In the U.S., Hill and Knowiton also distributed the
tapes to affiliated and independent stations.
A second woman who was identified as simply another Kuwaiti refugee, and
who made an appearance before a widely televised session of the UN
Security Council on Nov. 27, 1990, turned out to be a close relative of
a senior Kuwaiti official. The
woman, Fatima Fahed, came before the world body as it was debating the
use of force to oust the Iraqis from Kuwait.
She gave harrowing details of Iraqi atrocities inside her
What was not reported is that Fahed was, in fact, the wife of
Sulaiman AIMutawa, Kuwait's minister of planning, and herself a
well-known TV personality in Kuwait.
Surprised that a high-profile Kuwaiti could be labeled, and
accepted, as just another "refugee," I
asked one of the leaders of Citizens for a Free Kuwait, Fawzi
Al-Sultan, why Fahed had been chosen to speak to the UN.
"Because of her professional experience," he said,
"she is more believable."
But, like the story related by Nayirah, Fahed's testimony was not
necessarily true. In testifying to the UN, she implied that her
information was firsthand. "Such
stories...I personally have experienced," she said. But when I had
interviewed her in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, before her UN appearance, she
told me that she had no firsthand knowledge of the events she was
describing. Some weeks
later, in advance of her UN testimony, she and other witnesses were
coached—including rehearsals, wardrobe and prepared
scripts—extensively by employees of Hill and Knowlton.
A tape from inside Kuwait, supplied to journalists by the PR firm before
the U.S.-led invasion, purported to show peaceful Kuwaiti demonstrators
being fired upon by the occupying Iraqi troops.
But, on the ground in Saudi Arabia, I managed to interview a
Kuwaiti refugee present at the demonstration, whose story was quite
different. The man, a
Kuwaiti policeman, said that no demonstrators were injured, and that
gunshots captured on tape were, in fact, those of Iraqi troops firing on
nearby resistance fighters, who had fired first at the Iraqis.
When I asked him to appear on camera and tell the true
refused. "1 do not want to harm the resistance," he said.
None of this is to suggest that the Iraqis did not perpetrate
atrocities while occupying Kuwait, nor does it underestimate the
difficulties facing the media in obtaining original material under
censorship conditions. However,
these examples are but a few of the incidents of outright misinformation
that found their way onto the network news.
It is an inescapable fact that much of what Americans saw on
their news broadcasts, especially leading up to the Allied offensive
against Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, was in large measure the contrivance of a
Morgan Strong is a
freelance reporter specializing in the Middle East