Friday, April 07, 2006


Yesterday afternoon I heard a talking head opine on the need for the U.S. to become as "adept" as Al Qaeda and terrorists in getting their message out in the news. Part of me agrees with that assessment; but I also am aware and can observe daily the reality of how the news--specifically regarding Iraq and the GWOT--is currently being reported by the major media outlets. These outlets have (in spite of bloggers and talk radio shows) almost a complete monopoly on what news reaches the majority of the American public.

It is simply not possible for U.S. government and military sources to get their message out because it does not conform to the leftist template that these news organizations use to interpret all events.

Let us look at the following example: When the U.S. military or U.S. government attempt to promote or place articles/video that show US operations in a positive light; or the enemies operations in a negative light in Iraqi or, the MSM becomes hysterical about the fact that it is (gasp!) propaganda and demands that it be stopped.

When Al Qaeda does exactly the same thing (i.e., videotape their atrocities for public consumption), it is seamlessly incorporated into the video and audio streams of all the major MSM outlets. It is not considered propaganda, but breaking news.

Rantingprofs notes that terrorists are no longer even bothering to rely on the hit-or-miss method of posting their propaganda online; but are using the more focused distribution system of actually emailing reporters.

Next they will call press conferences for the sympathetic press corps.

I don't suppose you remember the woman who complained to President Bush in one of his recent Q&A sessions (I believe it was in Cleveland) that her recently returned military husband had brought back from Iraq DVD's containing dozens of positive stories about our soldiers and their activities--and that he couldn't get a single news outlet interested in airing it?

Let us take another example from yesterday. The so-called authorized "leak" of classified material by President Bush as disclosed by Libby. The headlines scream as if this "leak" were somehow significant (and following in goosestep are the lefty blogs, of course--who are not so much distinct from the MSM as they are completely dependent on them to know what to think). Byron York has perhaps the best take on the subject:
I confess to being a little baffled by the excitement over the revelation, in Patrick Fitzgerald's latest filing, that Vice President Dick Cheney told Lewis Libby that President Bush had authorized Libby to discuss some parts of the National Intelligence Estimate with reporters. First of all, it should be made clear -- as it has not been in some discussions -- that Fitzgerald does not say that Bush authorized Libby to say anything about Valerie Plame. As a matter of fact, on page 27, Fitzgerald writes that as late as September 2003, "the President was unaware of the role that the Vice President's Chief of Staff and National Security Adviser had in fact played in disclosing Ms. Wilson's CIA employment..."

As for leaking portions of the National Intelligence Estimate, yes, it was classified, although it would later be declassified. But it should be remembered that when the president decides to make something public, then it can be made public. In the Plame case, there has been much discussion of the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. Would anyone argue that this disclosure was unauthorized?

But the MSM does not let a little thing like the facts get in the way of manipulating public opinion. Read the entire post by York, which discusses how the President was said to be "fingered" by Libby (a nice neutral term used by criminal investigators, right?) as if somehow he had committed a criminal act.

I realize that I am on a tear abou this issue (see here and here for example). But I am completely and totally fed up with the biased, unprofessional, histrionic and deluded MSM, whose only desire appears to be to make Bush appear in a bad light no matter what. They provide no context; they use emotion-laden terms to make sure you know who is "good" and who is "bad" (and in their warped lexicon, Bush is bad and anyone opposing him must therefore be good); and, they appear to be determined to make sure that America never thinks for a moment that we are winning -- because that would be giving aid and comfort to the real enemy --President Bush.

The battle against terrorism has its military frontlines in Iraq, and our very competent military is certainly able to cope with the realities there. Not cope perfectly, perhaps--for what war has ever been fought perfectly? And, despite the imperfections, the miscalculations, the [historically low] fatalities etc.; and no matter what you read in the MSM, we have already won the military battle. Nevertheless, there are other important battles that must be fought-- both in Iraq and here in the homeland.

In Iraq, a fierce political battle is going on right now that will determine Iraq's future stability. While we have some power to influence this battle, ultimately it is in the hands of the Iraqis themselves.

Meanwhile, the war here is being waged on the front pages of the New York Times and on the broadcasts of TV news shows. In that battle to shape public perceptions about the war, reality and truth are being deliberately distorted and manipulated so that the political agenda of the MSM wins.

Blogs and the expertise they represent in various areas can only counter the misinformation to a small extent, simply because not enough people read them yet; and the MSM remains the primary source for news.

I have received quite a bit of email from people upset that I would dare to suggest that our free press has willingly and uncritically offered itself up as a propaganda outlet for the those with whom we are at war. The phrase "speaking truth to power" seems to come up a lot.

Which brings me back to the opening premise of this piece. It is simply not possible for the government or the military to get out its message when the "power" to disseminate information is exclusively in the hands of a few media outlets who have an agenda. They, as much as the government or the military must be continually and carefully scrutinized for honesty, integrity, and balance in their presentation of what is real and what is truth.

And, who is there to do that? They have always been the trusted guardians of truth and freedom in the past. But who is there to speak the truth to the seemingly unlimited and unchecked power they now possess to distort and manipulate that truth?

UPDATE: Cliff May notes on the "leak" story:
An important point frequently misrepresented in this debate: Those intelligence analysts that did not concur did not quite disagree either. That is, they were not saying, “No! Saddam has destroyed his WMD and has not been reconstituting his nuclear programs! We know that! We have proof!” Rather, they believed there was insufficient hard data on which to base a firm conclusion either way. And they were correct. Because the CIA had no good human intelligence (why that came about is another issue), analyses were based on speculation and conjecture. Unfortunately, policy makers often have to make consequential decisions based on such sketchy information.

In other words, there is no hint of a scandal here. There is not even any news here, except that we have now learned something that Libby testified. But the fact that Bush authorized the release of secrets is about as surprising as would be a headline saying: “Police Chief Authorized Arrests.”

The way the press is presenting this story is 100% distortion on their part in order to give the misleading impression that some illegal act was committed by the President.

UPDATE: By strange coincidence (or perhaps not!) The Anchoress addressed this issue about a week ago in a most excellent piece that shares the same title ("Quis Custodiet..."). Usually I read everything she writes, but apparently I missed this one! Be sure you don't.

UPDATE II: Tom McGuire has a comprehensive update on the new "scandal" in la affaire Plame, and claims that the Times is "hopelessly compromised". No, really?

And The Anchoress has a whole host of other links with similar points about how the MSM is misleading you.

You know, I am not a big fan of protest marches and such, but wouldn't it be very pleasant if people got outraged enough at being treated like morons by the MSM and conducted a massive demonstration in front of the offices of the Times and other bastions of the media? OK...nevermind. Just keep cancelling those subscriptions.

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