It is part of the most important story of our times. And in this specific context, the mainstream media is nowhere to be seen. Again. Leave it to HBO to display at least a portion of the reality of what it’s like to be a medical provider or soldier in Iraq, especially a wounded one.

“Baghdad ER” which airs on HBO this (May 21) Sunday (8pm ET/PT), “chronicles life in the emergency room of the 86th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad’s Green Zone during a two-month period last year. It examines the daily lives of doctors, nurses, chaplains and soldiers.” This quote is direct from the Democracy Now! web site.

Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman interviewed Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill, the two primary individuals behind the making of this documentary, today as part of the DN! show.
Interestingly, the DN! web site also contains this quote from Shelia Nevins, President of HBO’s documentary unit, to the Washington Post, “Maybe people at the Pentagon feel the truth will discourage people from backing the war. The film certainly tells you what could happen in a war, but it’s also about the heroism, courage and dedication of our troops.” This is especially relevant as the previously enthusiastic Army is now backing away from supporting the film, withdrawing offered support to show the documentary at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Ah yes, hearts and minds–gotta have ’em regardless of reality and truth. The military needs replenishing and “Baghdad ER” is not the type of publicity to produce gung-ho civilians lining up at recruiting stations.The now well-worn line from the Jack Nicholson character in “A Few Good Men” seems ever so applicable (although he expressed it in a far different context): “You can’t handle the truth!” The military certainly cannot..

It’s curious how the American public ‘handled’ truth during Vietnam–once the reality was displayed nationwide. The majority realized what a folly Vietnam truly was. They ‘handled’ it by withdrawing support from the devious politicians.

But is  “you can’t handle the truth” also the mantra of the mainstream media nowadays? Compare the Vietrnam War coverage to today’s fighting in Iraq. Yes, the military has instituted far greater restrictions on the press today (with very few media complaints) but we also have so-called news channels beamed at us 24/7–something far different from that of the one half hour per day of network news during the Vietnam era. Yet this far, far greater allotment of ‘news’ time brings us less knowledge about the reality of and in Iraq than we received during Vietnam.

Do not tell me the vast majority of the corporate media in this country is doing its job. Show me. I can handle that truth.

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