Political systems across the world thrive in instilling propaganda to the citizenry. American politics is deceit-driven as politicians misinform the public to drive certain political agendas that suit their self-interests. Politicians have mastered their craft so well that majority of the citizens hold inaccurate information about certain political stands to an extent that they express their political opinion confidently without a doubt. Hochschild and Einstein (2015), describes political misinformation as dangerous to the nation since it is associated with grave economic and socio-political consequences for the current and future generations. For decades, the U.S government has continuously promoted propaganda campaigns to gain support and in turn influence certain policies that favor the political class. For instance, the U.S government used the 2001, September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center to justify war in Iraq. Most of governments use propaganda and media outlets as vital tools to advance their self-interests.
During the September 11 attacks, the media was used to spread lies to the audience. The U.S government used communication channels as a tool to spread false misinformation that lacked concrete evidence to warrant war against Iraq. The U.S under the Bush administration provided a false rationale for invading the Islamic nation stating that Saddam Hussein’s government was responsible for the terror attacks. Furthermore, President George W Bush pinpointed that Hussein’s regime harbored weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) denied earlier assumptions that Iraq concealed deadly artillery (United Nations, 2003). A leading sociologist at Arizona State University, David Altheide, researching the relationship between mass media and misinformation examines the way governments and the political class used terror to spread fear not only to U.S citizens but also globally.
The decision to attack Iraq is based on a cynical viewpoint as the politicians under Bush’s administration portrayed Muslims negatively. The September 11 strike, had far-reaching implications on Muslim nations specifically suspected to have support Hussein’s regime as they were categorized as terrorist sympathizers. Muslim Americans traveling abroad were subjected to discriminatory scrutiny in various airports. Similarly, previous U.S presidents advocated for invasion in Iraq to foil alleged terrorist network threats (Altheide, 2009). The raid was arguably attributed to historical warfare between the two nations. The U.S political class framed the Iraqi to stage war and settle past military confrontations. Thus, the U.S assault was rooted in self-defense assumption.
State-owned media stations globally continue to advance the goals of their governments. For example, the Iranian media falsified that Israel and the U.S jointly orchestrated the assassination of a prominent physicist Masoud Ali-Mohammadi in 2010. In utter contrast to Iran’s media portraying Professor Masoud as a patriot, while the current government described him as a critic and pointed that Israel and the U.S as the main perpetrators (Hecker & Milani, 2015). Although no evidence showed that the distinguished academician supported the Iranian nuclear program. The Iranian government’s agenda was to depict the two nations negatively and earn sympathy from their electorates.
Government-led misinformation scheme succeeded following observations from opinion polls and impromptu discussions with the public cemented mistrust and fear against the perceived enemy-foreigners. A significant percentage of the citizens supported military action over diplomatic mediations. It was viewed as the most appropriate cause of action for America. Thus, the narrative shifted from investigating the accuracy of the government’s public statements to defending people legislating terror policies that would sustain peace and security in the U.S and across the world.
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Altheide, D. L. (2009). Terror post 9/11 and the media (Vol. 4). Peter Lang.
Hecker, S. S., & Milani, A. (2015). Ending the assassination and oppression of Iranian nuclear scientists. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 71(1), 46-52.
Hochschild, J. L., & Einstein, K. L. (2015). Do facts matter?: Information and misinformation in American politics (Vol. 13). University of Oklahoma Press.
United Nations. (2003, June 5). UN inspectors found no evidence of prohibited weapons programmes as of 18 March withdrawal, Hans Blix tells Security Council | Meetings coverage and press releases. United Nations. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.un.org/press/en/2003/sc7777.doc.htm.