Wednesday, April 25, 2007

PBS Bill Moyers "Buying The War" TRANSCRIPT

APRIL 25, 2007: "Buying the War"

BILL MOYERS: Four years ago this spring the Bush administration took leave of reality and plunged our country into a war so poorly planned it soon turned into a disaster. The story of how high officials misled the country has been told. But they couldn't have done it on their own; they needed a compliant press, to pass on their propaganda as news and cheer them on.

Since then thousands of people have died, and many are dying to this day. Yet the story of how the media bought what the White House was selling has not been told in depth on television. As the war rages into its fifth year, we look back at those months leading up to the invasion, when our press largely surrendered its independence and skepticism to join with our government in marching to war.

Our report was produced and directed by Kathleen Hughes and edited by Alison Amron.

ANNOUNCER (March 6, 2003): Ladies and Gentlemen: the President of the United States

PRESIDENT BUSH: Good evening, I'm pleased to take your questions tonight.

BILL MOYERS: Two weeks before he will order America to war, President Bush calls a press conference to make the case for disarming Haddam Hussein.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Iraq is a part of the war on terror. It's a country that trains terrorists, it's a country that could arm terrorists. Saddam Hussein and his weapons are a direct threat to this country.

BILL MOYERS: For months now, his administration has been determined to link Iraq to 9/11.

PRESIDENT BUSH: September the 11th should say to the American people that we're now a battle field.

BILL MOYERS: At least a dozen times during this press conference he will invoke 9/11 and Al Qaeda to justify a preemptive attack on a country that has not attacked America.

REPORTER: Mr. President, if you decideÂ…

BILL MOYERS: But the White House press corps will ask no hard questions tonight about those claims. Listen to what the President says:

PRESIDENT BUSH: This is a scriptedÂ…(laughter)

REPORTER: Thank you Mr. President--

BILL MOYERS: Scripted. Sure enough, the President's staff has given him a list of reporters to call on.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Let's see hereÂ… ElizabethÂ… GregoryÂ… AprilÂ…Did you have a question or did I call upon you cold?

APRIL: No, I have a question (laughter)

PRESIDENT BUSH: Okay. I'm sure you do have a question

ERIC BOEHLERT: He sort of giggled and laughed. And, the reporters sort of laughed. And, I don't know if it was out of embarrassment for him or embarrassment for them because they still continued to play along. After his question was done. They all shot up their hands and pretended they had a chance of being called on.

APRIL: How is your faith guiding you?

PRESIDENT BUSH: My faith sustains me because I pray daily. I pray for guidance.

ERIC BOEHLERT: I think it just crystallized what was wrong with the press coverage during the run up to the warÂ…I think they felt like the war was gonna happen. And, they-- the best thing for them to do was to get out of the way.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you for your questions.

BILL MOYERS: Our story begins with the horror of 9/11Â…. ......


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