Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Support the Tropes

By Alan McLeod, MROnline

riginally published: FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) (April 9, 2021)   | 
In an earlier piece (, 3/3/21), we explored some country case study examples of how the press helps to manufacture consent for regime change and other U.S. actions abroad among left-leaning audiences, a traditionally conflict-skeptical group.

Some level of buy-in, or at least a hesitancy to resist, among the United States’ more left-leaning half is necessary to ensure that U.S. interventions are carried out with a minimum of domestic opposition. To this end, corporate media invoke the language of human rights and humanitarianism to convince those to the left of center to accept, if not support, U.S. actions abroad—a treatment of sorts for the country’s 50-year-long Vietnam syndrome.

What follows are some of the common tropes used by establishment outlets to convince skeptical leftists that this time, things might be different, selling a progressive intervention everyone can get behind.

Think of the women!

The vast majority of the world was against the U.S. attack on Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks in 2001. However, the idea had overwhelming support from the U.S. public, including from Democrats. In fact, when Gallup (Brookings, 1/9/20) asked about the occupation in 2019, there was slightly more support for maintaining troops there among Democrats than Republicans—38% vs. 34%—and slightly less support for withdrawing troops (21% vs. 23%).


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