The pews were packed last week at the First United Methodist Church of Ferndale. That's not exactly headline news, except that the overflow crowd of more than 500 showed up on a Saturday, and they were there for matters political rather than spiritual.
The event's featured speakers were Middle East arms expert Scott Ritter and media critic Jeff Cohen.
Ritter reiterated his contention that the United States is highly likely to attack Iran before George Bush leaves office — you can read all about that online in the in-depth Q&A we recently did with the former Marine intelligence officer and U.N. arms inspector ("Bombs away?" MT, Nov 28, 2007).
For his part, Cohen tore into the mainstream media's utter failure to provide accurate reporting during the lead-up to the Iraq war and, with apologies to the Who, warned that "We will be fooled again" if we rely on the same mainstream to provide meaningful insight regarding the situation in Iran.
The good news, according to Cohen — formerly a senior producer for the Donahue show that aired on MSNBC before it was yanked — is that, unlike the days when he founded the watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting in the late 1980s, we now have access to all sorts of alternative media that will help us find our way through the fog of propaganda. Go online and visit TruthOut and Alternet and Common Dreams. Listen to Amy Goodman's Democracy Now program on public radio. Watch Robert Greenwald's excellent documentaries Outfoxed about (Rupert Murdoch's archly conservative media empire) and Iraq for Sale (about the perverted role private contractors are playing in the war). See the Center for Public Integrity's recent online tally of 935 false statements by top U.S. officials that set the stage for the Iraq war.
"This is an exciting time for independent journalists," said Cohen.
And then once you learn the facts and become suitably outraged, take that anger and put it into action. A good way to start is by joining the group that helped spread the gospel according to Jeff and Scott by sponsoring their visit here: the Huntington Woods Peace, Citizenship & Education Project, which was formed to help bring about an end to the fiasco in Iraq. They can be reached at 248-546-6834 or firstname.lastname@example.org.News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact the column at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com