Monday, July 11, 2005

In this week's U.S. News & WR, "Washington Whispers" writes about how GW & Co. are scrambling to find ways to once again have the public (blindly) back the war effort. Their latest tactic? To roll back time some 200+ years and use life then as a fair comparison:
The strategy was inspired by a simple comment made by 1776 author David McCullough in an interview with Tim Russert on CNBC, insiders say. "If [the Revolution] had been covered by the media, and the country had seen how horrible the conditions were, how badly things were being run by the officers, and what a very serious soup we were in," said this historian, "I think that would have been it."
So their solution is to further remove us from reality and to use our imagination that we're fighting a war as if it were being fought when muskets and horses were used. Forget that we in fact do have modern channels of media, that the pace of life has been increasing for decades (perhaps exponentially), that what used to take days or weeks to get to a battlefield now just takes hours. What they're really saying is simply ignore what you're reading and hearing about regarding this war -- suspend interest, don't care, and just carry on with your life. And don't renew your interest until the news becomes more favorable (assuming it ever does).

Also, don't you just love the way they strongly encouraged the media to broadcast the "shock and awe" footage of the war, but now that the occupation has grown increasingly more bloody and dire, the new strategy is to temper the coverage. It was good to play up the awesome force of our military when we were blowing up buildings left and right, but it's now bad to offer such same coverage when events have taken a turn for the worse. Also, the media came in pretty handy when they staged the toppling of Saddam's statue, and when "Mission Accomplished" was declared by a flown-in, flack-suited GW.

What's really laughable is the media is not really covering the war as much as GW & Co. make it out. Yes, we frequently read of a downed helicopter or an insurgent bombing or attack, but how often do we read of reports that puts things in perspective, that specifically states the number of dead U.S. soldiers, that wonders what the mission is at this point? That kind of reporting is really only occurring in the blogosphere -- not the mainstream media. It's more of a 20-second mention, if at all, before they're off to the latest about Tom Cruise and scientology.

It makes sense that this administration thinks the "liberal" press is to blame for the public's nosedive in support of the war. They take no responsibility for it. They never take responsibility for anything -- that's bad, anyway.

Uh, perhaps the Downing Street Memos have something to do with the public's diminishing support, or the now-obvious mismanagement of the "mission," or the lack of any coherent and reasonable strategy on what they plan to do from here, or that senior officials are contradicting each other (e.g. Cheney's "last throes" vs. Rummy's "2017"). No, instead, it's the supposed exhaustive coverage by the media -- an absolute ludicrous suggestion. In fact, I would love to see some kind of a media research project that compares the amount of media coverage for Clinton's Whitewater "scandal" or even his drawn-out impeachment hearings as compared to the coverage dedicated to this Iraq war.

Oh, and is the administration now taking policy cues from a best-selling historical author? Are you kidding me? Rove is too busy with other things these days (believable)....?

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