Friday, April 04, 2003

Not Our Fault! Media Watch

Peter Beinart provides his defense of the pathetic 4th estate. I can't read the whole article, not being a TNR subscriber, but Big Media Matt has the excerpt:

I still believe the war will be vindicated. But it is proving harder and uglier than expected. And, if the media, and the public, were not prepared for the hard days that may lie ahead, it has little to do with spineless, irresolute reporters. The real blame lies with us hawks, who made our political work easier by selling the country a rosy war. And, for the time being at least, we are thus justly reaping what we sowed.

It has a lot to do with spineless irresolute reporters. Mainstream America believes in nuttier conspiracy theories than anything the "Arab Street," the loony left, or the Birchers can offer up. About half of Americans supported this war (barely) going in. About half also believed that some of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqis and that Saddam Hussein was personally behind the attack. That's the media's fault.

Where were the big point headlines screaming "President Falsely Ties Saddam to Bin Laden?" Where were the big point headlines screaming "Bush lies about IAEA report?" When did the media manage to convey even the slightest possibility that not everything we were being told was true - which would've caused the public to look at this undertaking with a bit more skepticism? Never. They were busy questioning the patriotism of anti-war protesters and repeatedly inviting Janeane Garafalo on their shows so they could ask her why on Earth they should be inviting her on their shows.

While the media gingerly and quietly reported concerns of former Generals, they loudly jeered and condemned anyone else who dared question any aspect of this operation. There are some good reporters, but the media machine is thoroughly rotten to the core. They've totally abandoned any notion that the press is supposed to be skeptical of the pronouncements of politicians - these politicians, anyway.

Who knows, this may all be over tomorrow and then everyone can come scream at me for being pessimistic. But, the War Hawks have already moved the victory bar so low, with the media happily following along, that it isn't clear anymore what a victory will mean.

Onward to Syria!

UPDATE: Edited slightly for accuracy.