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Medialens’s embarrassing archive (part 4) November 1, 2008

Posted by dissident93 in Iraq mortality, Medialens.

“There is no ‘campaign’, Bob”

Medialens have always denied running a campaign against Iraq Body Count (IBC). After several months of this “not-a-campaign”, a Medialens reader suggested it should be ended. The Medialens editors replied:

There is no “campaign”, Bob – certainly not one owned or directed by us. (Medialens editors, Medialens message board, 30 May 2006)

Then a Medialens supporter replied, with some understatement:

Editors, I’m afraid I’d have to disagree […] – it very much does seem that you’re waging some sort of campaign against IBC and their volunteer staff. (SueC, Medialens message board, 30 May 2006)

I listed (17/10/06, PoV site) some of the elements of this not-a-campaign, mostly from the Medialens message board. (Some are documented by IBC [eg p36-38]). For examples/sources of the others, please contact me):-

  • [The multiple Medialens “alerts” targeting IBC].
  • The vicious smears about IBC “aiding and abetting in war crimes”, etc.
  • The insinuations that IBC don’t “care” about the suffering of Iraqis.
  • The slurs that they “bask in the glow of war apologists”, etc.
  • The discrediting of [IBC’s John] Sloboda by digging up old pieces quoted out of context.
  • The suggestions that IBC “shut down”.
  • The insinuations that they were behaving in a “suspicious” way.
  • The claims that they were “deliberately” letting their work be “misused”.
  • The accusations of “complicity” in mass slaughter.
  • The nasty personal insults (examples available on demand).
  • The unsupported claims that IBC are “cosy with” military/intelligence.
  • The claims that IBC were “assisting the US government”.
  • The moral sermonising “the honourable thing to do…”.
  • The accusation that IBC “undermined” the work of others.
  • The insinuations about careerism (while Roberts ran for Congress).*
  • The endless parade of misinformed falsehoods and distortions.**
  • The guilt-by-association bullshit.
  • The endless stuff about “you’ve been rumbled”, etc.
  • The claims that IBC “actively endorsed” misquotes of their work.
  • The errors (admitted, too late in the day, by Les Roberts).***
  • The absurd credentialism (“he’s only a guitarist”).
  • The personal character assassinations of John Sloboda.
  • The smears about propaganda for war criminals.
  • The surreal insistence of peer-review for IBC’s defense of itself against against the above.

By April 2006, there was no doubt that we were witnessing a full-blown smear campaign – prompted, directed and encouraged by the Medialens editors. A few dissenting posts to the Medialens message board expressed it well:

Any passing martian who drops in on this board must, by now, be under the impression that IBC declared war on Iraq, invaded the country and now occupy it since more venom has been directed at [IBC’s] John Sloboda and his team than at those who are responsible for the disaster there. (SueC, Medialens message board, 9 April 2006)

And another:

…as I watch the [Medialens] editors in a thread above trying to apply the moral screws on their opponent [IBC] again, I don’t think that’s [conciliatory gestures] going to happen any time soon. (finn mccool, Medialens message board, 30 May 2006)

Others have been critical of Medialens’s campaign. Peter Beaumont of the Observer described it as “deeply vicious”. Robin Beste, of Stop The War coalition, wrote of his impression “that IBC was being excessively hounded” (in an email cc’d to me, 28/3/06).