Thursday, May 20, 2004

MEDIA CONSPIRACIES EXPOSED! In the manner of wolves instinctively amplifying one another's baleful howls, more wingnuts have joined Professor Reynolds in alerting America to the dangers of a free press. In the New York Post, General Ralph "Blood 'n' Guts" Peters lays full blame for our military's late, unprepossessing outcome in Fallujah on the goldurned media:
The media weren't reporting. They were taking sides. With our enemies. And our enemies won. Because, under media assault, we lost our will to fight on.
Old Blood 'n' Guts' explanation of this very serious charge is weak from the outset. He refers glancingly to "Al-Jazeera and the BBC," then describes some typical incendiary Al-Jazeera coverage, but says nothing of the BBC version. Seasoned analysts of propaganda will recognize that Peters invoked the Beeb simply to get it associated in the minds of feeble-minded readers (clearly a majority, this being the Post) with the ravings of the rogue Middle Eastern network. (The General also alludes to Al-Jazeera as "the Arab CNN," probably hoping that his readers will remember only that CNN was, in some manner, involved in this treason).

The General goes on:
The media is often referred to off-handedly as a strategic factor. But we still don't fully appreciate its fatal power. Conditioned by the relative objectivity and ultimate respect for facts of the U.S. media, we fail to understand that, even in Europe, the media has become little more than a tool of propaganda.

That propaganda is increasingly, viciously, mindlessly anti-American. When our forces engage in tactical combat, dishonest media reporting immediately creates a drag on the chain of command all the way up to the president.
A nice head-pat for the U.S. media, BTW, but I'm sure the General knows, as does his omnivorous publisher, that these days all media is global, and the charges he hurls at Paris today will soon find their way home.

The main issue, though, is: the media "creates a drag on the chain of command all the way up to the president" how? The General does not describe the means, which I'm sure we'd all find most interesting. By what magical effect did Dan Rather freeze George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld in their tracks? Did the sight of a wrecked convoy in the Hearld-Tribine actually cause the leaders and troops whom Peters has been journalistically tongue-bathing since the war began to suddenly shudder and throw down their arms?

Perhaps the General actually means that the perfidious networks physically used radio waves, in the manner of mad scientists in old horror movies, to disorient our troops. Imagine our fighting men clutching their helmets as curved lines of force radiate across the screen: "Foreign policy feeling... weak..." gasps the GI. "Feel... sudden compulsion to... negotiate a settlement..." While off behind a nearby sandhill, Bin Laden and Ted Turner cackle fiendishly and rub their hands.

I marvel that Peters, an ardent militarist who describes our soldiers in almost godlike terms, and our leaders, reflexively, as neo-Churchills, believes they can be hobbled, much less defeated, by the pictures on the TV.

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