Nov 25, 2006

The White House Remains Embedded in a State of Denial. Is the Media Waking up?

Despite the White House's state of denial, the civil war has exploded in Iraq and the US is losing control day by day. Soon, we won't have any control, and, may I dare say, Iran has more control in Iraq today than the US! Like any problem to be remedied, it all starts by correctly identifying the root cause, and the greater the problem the greater the necessity to leave the state of denial. I wonder if Dickey Cheney--who as recently as last summer reaffirmed his "last throes" claim--still believes that Iraq has "turned a corner"? You know, turn a couple corners and you can be heading back... I don't think this is progress.

The media--a very important component in a democracy--has today sniffed the winds of change and is now focusing more on the destructive aspects of the US involvement in Iraq. The White House misled the American people and the Congress while the media was complicit in this crime by failing to investigate the administration's claims and ask the tough questions. I think had the media presented a more accurate picture (factually and in depth) the public would have demanded an end to this war of choice much sooner. The war was a big issue in this election, when it should have been the deciding issue in 2004. I don't know how many lives would have been saved but the last two years haven't done anything to improve the situation there.

Some "deciders" claim to have divine knowledge and they are just instruments of their God

I do think the truth was known prior to the last election but most Americans weren't paying attention on, say, the 9-11 Commission's report, and on other accounts of how we got into the war. Although the availability of the facts was not the problem in my opinion, the media failed in the dissemination of the facts. Cheney's "last throes" statements weren't only laughable but should have been the basis of totally discrediting BushCo's Iraq policy. Further, most (except those with relatives in the military) Americans have not experienced any sacrifice or their lives directly affected by this war. Stick this magnetic ribbon "Support the Troops" on the car [bumper stickers are too hard to remove later] and as usual; our leaders even suggested that consumerism was a form of good patriotism!

This situation cries for more pubic media, like NPR, PBS, and PRI, because the commercial media wants ratings regardless of how to obtain them. In addition, all commercial media is owned by big corporate interests whose priorities are how to get preferential treatment from the government not how to get to the truth. A sociologist at Penn State, Andrew Lindner, showed that embedded reporting influenced war coverage--and this was what the government wanted us to see. Reporters' movements were controlled by the military resulting in less access to the Iraqi people and eventually downplayed the effects of the war on Iraq. They developed a closer relationship with the soldiers that protected them and the stories that came out reflected this bias. The news coverage was more about human-interest stories of the Americans fighting over there. Throw in a generous amount of propaganda--like exporting democracy and liberating people--and you've got a nice package for mass consumption. Lindner found out that most Americans (and the media?) bought Bush's "Mission Accomplished"! Of course, reality often has a nasty habit of slapping you out of your state of denial, but usually not before much ill has taken place. It has and it stings. Staying the course now would be the definition of insanity--hoping the same conditions that have produced the current results will produce different, more favorable results in the future!

Update, 11/27/06: Since the election of 2004, the media has covered more stories about the killings in Iraq, Americans aren't really aware of the full picture there. CNN Iraq correspondent, John Roberts, says the media "can't fully capture the scope" of this horror. We may hear of what's going on, but daily body counts and the number of violent "incidents" only reveal part of the story. "The place is a mess. It's an absolute mess. There is nowhere you can go in the Baghdad area as a Western journalist without an escort, where you could feel safe from being kidnapped, shot at, whatever. The amount of death that's on the streets of Baghdad for U.S. forces and for the Iraqi people is at an astronomical level..." Roberts says. And, several media (including the New York Times) have been editorializing in choosing what & how to cover this conflict. Check Media Matters for more on this.

People don't just die, they are blown off, burned alive, tortured with power drills, and are killed because of their ethnic & religious affiliation. We sanitize the war, because its unpleasant reality is disturbing; it's no accident that the White House is trying to hide the extend of the death and destruction. Do people learn from history and past mistakes? It's doubtful as they repeat the same mistakes. Even the Vietnam lessons
(not exactly ancient history) have been forgotten today!