Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Cult of the Victim

Thomas Sowell notices a very interesting point that I don't believe has been mentioned before about the way the media treat our soldiers as victims:

The unrelenting quest for stories depicting American troops as victims -- including even front-page stories about the financial problems of some National Guardsmen called to active duty -- has created a virtual reality in the media that has no place for heroes.

Senator John Kerry has called the activation of reservists and National Guardsmen "a backdoor draft," as if joining the reserves or the National Guard is supposed to mean an exemption from ever having to fight. The theme of troops as victims has been a steady drumbeat in the media, because of the way the media have chosen to filter the news, filtering out heroes, among other things.

This virtual reality can become more important than any facts. Even a young lady interviewer on Fox News Channel -- of all places -- recently asked a guest how long the American people will be able to continue supporting the war in Iraq with all the casualties.

All the American deaths in Iraq since the war began are not even half of the deaths of U.S. Marines taking the one island of Iwo Jima in a couple of months of fighting. And Iwo Jima was just one battle in a war that was raging on other fronts around the world simultaneously and continuing for nearly four long years.

It is not the casualties which are unprecedented but the media filtering and the gullibility of those who accept the virtual reality created by the media.

I admit that I have not thought of this perspective, but Sowell is absolutely correct. Victimhood in all its glory and neverending ability to attract readers, has been the overarching theme of Leftist media for many years. It is not surprising that they now apply the same tried and true formula to the American troops.

This is why they can say with a straight face that they "support the troops" --because they view them as poor, helpless victims of the evil and warlike Bush Administration. This is the only way the media, as exemplified by the NYT, can rationalize support for the troops--if they cast them in the same role as all other "oppressed" minorites. They have forgotten that the U.S. military of the present is made up of dedicated professionals--not high school kids snatched from their poor mama's arms by the devil draft.

This appears to be the only way the press can conceptualize military service. Following the socialist template that servicemen and women must be either victims or oppressors (or both depending on the point trying to be made). The result is that we Americans have been subjected to is a steady diet of both themes on the front pages of the print media and on TV and radio.

The somber photos of soldiers in coffins; the exploitations of grieving families--even angry mothers who behave as if their grown children were incapable of making choices in their life and were forced into military service; simultaneously shown next to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. In this worldview there is no room--or need for heroes.

On the contrary, the MSM reserves that role for themselves alone. They see a reprise of their dirty and despicable behavior during Vietnam, where they helped to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and the Left sanctified them as heroes. They desperately desire a reprise of those glorious days.

The real heroes are fighting a war that is just and honorable. The real heroes are every day risking their lives for freedom and democracy. The real heroes are proud and courageous men and women of integrity, who have freely chosen to serve their country and defend liberty.

Contrast real-live heroes with the hypocritical high priests and priestesses of the cult of victimhood who possess neither honor nor integrity.

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