Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wag The Country
It feels a bit like I've awaken from a dream and found that, actually, everyone else was dreaming and I'm the one who's awake. That's not really true -- people know what's going on in this country. Nevertheless, the Great Reckoning that laid in wait for the Bush Administration and all those who've enabled it to pursue its crimes is upon us. Now is the season (and possibly for some months to come) when we finally drain the pus from our national sores. Scott McClellan's tell-all memoir has sparked much more "interest" in the idea that the Bush Administration put on a dog-and-pony show for the American people to hoodwink them into supporting the war in Iraq. Of course many of us have suspected and/or known that this was the case for some time. If you've ever witnessed "real" debate, the flaccid one-sided affair that took place on television before the war was obviously a farce. Slowly, over time, various news media personalities (Katie Couric, Jessica Yellin, Ashleigh Banfield, and now Scott McClellan) have stated openly what we all knew was happening. Here's a basic summary:
1.) The Bush Administration crafted and delivered a propaganda package for selling the war. This was a multi-faceted campaign that covered a pretty vast expanse of our media landscape. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox -- they were all part of it. So were the Washington Post, the New York Times, and most of the weekly magazines (like Time and Newsweek).
2.) The executives at those media concerns knowingly caved to pressure, both from the Administration and what they perceived to be happening in our culture, to cheer-lead for the war and present positive stories about Bush and his initiatives. This "caving" included editing news stories to make them sound less critical of the administration, not allowing war dissenters to be on television without being "balanced" by at least one or two war supporters (while war supporters could appear alone), and spiking stories altogether if they didn't cast a positive light on all of these proceedings. All the while they denied what was going on and tried their best to marginalize anyone who dared to suggest otherwise.
3.) The White House used all branches of the Federal Government under its control to push a Republican political agenda. This included things such as providing briefings to agency administrators on how grant money could be spent to "help" Republican candidates, providing lucrative contracts for key political contributors, and firing or demoting people who were not willing to pursue this political agenda.
The scary thing about all of this is people have come to accept it as standard operating procedure. It is not. Government doesn't and shouldn't normally run like this. We can be cynical about what's going on currently, but it's important to realize that there are laws against much of this behavior. Real laws with real consequences if they're broken. Ask Bob Ney, for instance, about the consequences of government wrongdoing. Or "Duke" Cunningham. Or numbers of other former government employees (Dusty Foggo, the number 3 in charge of the CIA, was sentenced for bribery) who're now doing serious time or defending themselves against serious charges (a-la Tom Delay, John Dolittle, Ted Stevens, etc). Thankfully, while the news media has completely dropped the ball, the Justice Department and other areas of government are alive and functioning properly. They're doing their job so our government is free from corruption.
Getting us to lose our determination to keep government both clean and accountable is one of the primary goals of the Bush Administration and its cohorts. They don't want us to find out about what's been done in our name -- torture, wide-scale domestic surveillance, cronyism, and a whole host of other ills. They will succeed if we allow ourselves to just "accept" that this is the status quo. That government is, by its nature, corrupt. The truth is, government is only as corrupt as we allow it to be. So don't be fooled.
Andrew 9:49 AM : |
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