In the wake of Cenk Uygur rejecting all endorsements for his congressional bid, and Bernie Sanders subsequently retracting his backing of the Young Turks founder’s campaign, progressive commentator David Pakman took to Twitter with some choice words for the media outlets covering the story.
“The same corporate media that cheered the Iraq war like a sporting event is telling us that @cenkuygur rating women is so immoral that CA-25 voters should do the right thing and elect someone with a terrible health care plan,” Pakman tweeted.
Uygur’s past misogynistic comments — which he has disavowed and claims to have long-since deleted — continue to haunt him and get highlighted by many media outlets as he runs to represent California’s 25th Congressional District. The 49-year-old broadcaster supports Medicare for All, free public college, and ending U.S. involvement in foreign wars. He also claims that his bid will be free from the influence of corporations, lobbyists, and special interests groups.
Fellow progressive commentator Kyle Kulinski had similar feelings on the situation as Pakman, at least in terms of the priority he believes should be placed on Uygur’s platform.
“Some people have mistaken being principled for circular firing squads,” Kulinski tweeted. “Would you rather have an Un-PC crusader for medicare for all & ending the corruption or a mild mannered puritan against any real progress? You’ve been bamboozled.”
If you think we're gonna get medicare for all, free college, living wage, GND, legalized marijuana etc with this mindset you're delusional. Cut off everybody who said bad things a decade ago and you'll be Tom Hanks with a volleyball.
— Secular Talk (@KyleKulinski) December 13, 2019
Not long after Sanders retracted his endorsement, journalist Tim Pool said that the attacks on Uygur are because of his personal bid that “challenged the machine.”
Pakman is not the only one who has criticized the media’s role in supporting the Iraq War. The phenomenon was documented by Truthout, which highlighted the media’s involvement in reporting claims that Iraq and Saddam Hussein posed an immediate threat to the United States. The piece claimed that the media “failed” the people in the lead up to the war, which it noted cost the U.S. both lives and its “standing in the world as a moral force.”
Nancy Pelosi knew George W Bush was lying about WMDs to start the Iraq War. But impeachment was off the table. pic.twitter.com/LpHSEU51UM
— In the NOW (@IntheNow_tweet) December 10, 2019
The Truthout piece outlined the many outlets that pushed talking points of George W. Bush’s administration, including the more left-leaning outlets like NPR and PBS, as well as Fox News. The piece went as far as to call Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity “shills” for the Bush administration.
In a paper in SAGE Publications, Marianne Perez noted the influence of the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security in influencing the media narrative and pushing it toward “war journalism,” and particularly focused on the prevalence of this form of journalism in coverage of the Iraq War.