-- Just hours after the United Nations mandated ceasefire in Lebanon, Hezbollah "aid workers" were photographed and videotaped disbursing U.S. currency to Lebanese civilians made homeless by Israeli attacks. Though questions were immediately raised about the likelihood that the bills were Iranian counterfeits, no news organization has reported, confirmed or denied the charge.
-- The same day that FOX News journalists Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig were freed from 13 days of captivity in Gaza, Reuters reported that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) fired a missile at a press vehicle, wounding two cameramen -- one from Reuters and the other from Iranian World TV. Yet, as the Jerusalem Post points out, "photographs taken of the vehicle after the purported missile attack give no indication that the car was hit by anything. There is a gash on the roof. The hood is bent out of shape. But nothing seems to have been burned. Cars hit by missiles do not look like they have just been in a nasty accident. Cars hit by missiles are destroyed." This observation escaped notice by the rest of the so-called mainstream media.
-- The 33-day Israeli military operation against Hezbollah in Lebanon is rife with examples of how disinformation has become mainstream news. One of the most egregious examples was the claim, widely circulated in the Western media, that IDF aircraft intentionally targeted a Red Cross convoy of clearly marked ambulances in Qana on July 23. Though photographs taken at the time clearly show that no such attack occurred, both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch used published accounts of the attack as evidence of Israeli "war crimes." Bloggers -- like Powerline and Zombietime -- who reported this disinformation were dismissed as "right-wing extremists."
In his comments at Fallon Air Station and subsequent remarks before the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev., Rumsfeld said, "What bothers me the most is how clever the enemy is. They are actively manipulating the media in this country. The enemy lies constantly -- almost totally without consequence. They portray our cause as a war on Islam when in fact the overwhelming majority of victims of their terrorism have been thousands and thousands of innocent Muslims -- men, women and children."
All true -- and all widely ignored by the so-called mainstream media. The Israelis may feel the effects of this propaganda war more intently -- because they are closer to the problem -- at least for now. But Rumsfeld's assessment is a dire warning to all of us: "The enemy is so much better at communicating. I wish we were better at countering that because the constant drumbeat of things they say -- all of which are not true -- is harmful. It's cumulative. It weakens people's will and lessens their determination, and raises questions in their minds as to whether the cost is worth it."
But that, of course, would require that the masters of the mainstream media acknowledge that preserving Western civilization is "worth the cost."
Oliver North is Founder and Honorary Chairman of the Freedom Alliance, a Townhall.com Gold Partner.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.