It would be unfair to let Team Bush steal all the credit for the imperial collapse without a tip of the hat to the White House Dictation Office, also known as the mainstream media (MSM). Skipping right over the miniskirted hyena Ann Coulter (a risky stunt but I've got my spiked pogo shoes on), the oafish junkie Rush Limbaugh, and the assortment of one-trick performing fleas hopping mad on the AM dial, I shall ascend Mount Olympus to gaze at the brainy stars of the MSM.
Few shine more brightly than Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, the supernova of the Murdoch empire—unless red dwarf is a tighter cosmic fit for someone known to his friends and pet hamster as “Dan Quayle's brain.” The day after the 9/11 attacks, the surrogate brain seized the moment and began pounding the war drums: “There's a fair amount of evidence that Iraq had very close associations with Osama bin Laden in the past.” (33) There was not a shred of evidence. A year later, Kristol nuzzled up to The New Republic's Lawrence F. Kaplan to break into a cakewalk jig on the National Review dance floor: “Having defeated and then occupied Iraq, democratizing the country should not be too tall an order for the world's sole superpower.” (34) Brilliance of this magnitude is Kristol's trademark. Time magazine took longer than most to realize that and only this month got around to adding Kristol to its roster of columnists.
Two influential Canadians with a nasty case of empire envy, Mark Steyn and Michael Ignatieff pulpiteered the good news—one from his stool at the Chicago Sun-Times, the other from his booster seat at the Harvard Kennedy School. From Steyn we learned that “Imperialism is the answer” (35) and from Ignatieff that “The case for empire is that it has become, in a place like Iraq, the last hope for democracy and stability alike.” (2) (I don't know about you, but the dazzling acumen of the expert never fails to give me goosebumps!) Former TNR editor Andrew Sullivan, another heavy smoker of the imperialist's hookah pipe, found his knees wobbly after 9/11 and his left flank badly exposed: “The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead—and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column.” (36)
Of course, no account of MSM malfeasance would be fitting without at least a passing glance at the yapping chihuahuas. Newsweek's Howard Fineman woofed a few choice words of his own: “We had controversial wars that divided the country. This war united the country and brought the military back.” (37) Well said, Howard. His colleague Chris Matthews yaks at such vertiginous speeds that his brain emits exotic particles of synchrotronic quirkiness. One month into the war, he blurted out, “We're all neocons now.” A few weeks later, Matthews highlighted a side of war that too often gets short shrift: what great, clean fun it is! “Check it out. The women like this war! I think we like having a hero as our president.” (37) Must a TV show be pornographic just because it's called “Hardball”?
The war has given the American mainstream media a brilliant opportunity to prove its essential worthlessness. It has shown itself to be little more than a circus of entertainers and cheerleaders for whom every season is the silly season. Tragically, the media has failed in its sacred duty to keep a vigilant, skeptical, critical eye on the centers of power. Who is the American Robert Fisk, Gideon Levy, or Amira Hass? Whoever they are (and Sy Hersh proves they exist), why are their writings not filling the op-ed pages of the great American newspapers? How can the nation that produces the bulk of Nobel prize winners be stuck with such a sullen bunch of journalistic mediocrities? The sycophantic enablers of the Fourth Estate have blood on their hands.
Monday, January 3, 2011
In January, 2007, Bernard Chazelle penned this damning essay Bush the Empire Slayer. Chazelle names names in pointing out the prematurely celebratory complicity of the MSM in rabble-rousing the U.S. public to support the illegal, criminal invasion and continuing occupation of Iraq.