Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Media misdirection

Jerry Stratton, December 13, 2008

Bush Bashers Air America

Why does it matter that the mainstream media is biased? Because the national discourse will, by necessity, be about that bias. Because we can’t have a discussion of the issues until we know what the facts of those issues are.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had, as a nation, already gone through a discussion about hostile nations working towards nuclear weaponry? Or that we now knew the appropriate federal response in a major local emergency? Or what kind of a military we’d like to have in this new century?

But instead, we’re arguing about partisanship in mainstream media and whether the news is even true. That isn’t likely to change unless the mainstream media changes, or we simply stop listening to them.

Why don’t we know what to do about Iran?

We don’t know what to do about Iran because the media narrative is that George Bush lied when he said that Iraq had nuclear weapons when we later found out they didn’t.

But Bush never said that. What Bush actually said was:

The cause of peace requires all free nations to recognize new and undeniable realities. In the 20th century, some chose to appease murderous dictators, whose threats were allowed to grow into genocide and global war. In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth.

Now, the interesting question here is when—or even whether—we should be pre-emptively attacking other countries to keep them from acquiring nuclear weapons, or are there other effective solutions? It’s a question we would certainly have benefited from having addressed now that Iran is going nuclear as well. If we had been having a discussion over the last few years about what to do about hostile nations making serious attempts to develop nuclear weapons, we would be better prepared to evaluate our leaders and the options they present for dealing with Iran today.

Instead we’ve been wasting our time arguing the straw man about “Bush lies”: “Bush lied”, “no, he didn’t”. And this is because of deliberately inaccurate articles from the mainstream media.

George Bush is going to be gone next year. Rogue nuclear nations will be here for a lot longer, with more of them every decade.

What should the federal government’s role be in the next major disaster?

In the wake of Katrina, it seemed that nothing bad could happen without it being Bush’s fault for not forcing the Louisiana state government to accept government aid. George Bush even lied when he said no one expected the levees to break. We saw video of him talking about overtopping!

But breaking is not overtopping. Everyone knew there was a risk of overtopping. It was on CNN. The more interesting question is, what should the relationship be between federal authority and local authority during an emergency? But we aren’t going to answer that question when articles like this try to push “Bush lied” when that itself is a lie.

How will we fight our next war?

Will we fight it like we fought World War II: total destruction of the enemy? Or will we fight it like we fought Iraq: cut out the cancer? Both can succeed; both can fail. But if you followed the news reports about generals calling for Rumsfeld’s resignation, you wouldn’t even know the debate existed, and yet that’s what the complaints were about.

Before September 11, Rumsfeld thought that his tenure would be defined by his determination to shake up the Pentagon, of all organizations in the world one of the most resistant to change. He knew that many generals would bitterly resist his innovations. It is hardly a surprise that there are many officers—still serving and, especially, those who are now retired, in some cases because they didn’t fit with the new program—who bitterly resent the changes that Rumsfeld brought to the armed forces. One of the ironies is that September 11 and the ensuing war on terror have verified the correctness of Rumsfeld’s approach. The kind of army that was appropriate for defending Europe against land attack would be close to useless in the current conflict. It is, therefore, one more in a long series of sins on the part of the mainstream media that this context is almost completely absent from the media’s gleeful coverage of these disgruntled generals.

Bush addressed this indirectly at his October 25, 2006 press conference:

He is a smart, tough, capable administrator. As importantly, he understands that the best way to fight this war, whether it be in Iraq or anywhere else around the world, is to make sure our troops are ready, that morale is high, that we transform the nature of our military to meet the threats, and that we give our commanders on the ground the flexibility necessary to make the tactical changes to achieve victory.

When Rumsfeld talked about transforming the military, he meant make it smaller. This is also a prime example of Bush Derangement Syndrome, where hatred of George Bush means supporting people that the haters always opposed in the past: people who want a massive military rather than a smaller military.

It might be wrong to want a smaller military, but if so it isn’t wrong just because Bush’s team wanted it. Where’s the discussion? Lost amid a biased media and BDS sufferers suddenly siding with old-school military hawks who want a large, unwieldy military.

As we move into the Obama presidency, we need to heal ourselves of Bush Derangement Syndrome. President Bush is no Squealer; intelligent discussion requires honesty, not automatically opposing whatever “the other side” says.

  1. <- Church of Man
  2. Obama Canticle ->