Fox News Dementia: Media Is Not As Hard On Obama/Syria As They Were On Bush/Iraq

On Fox News this morning there was a segment debating the media coverage of the “Crisis in Syria” (video below). On any other network this would have been a legitimate subject for debate and a fascinating topic. But leave it to Fox News to broadcast a version of history that makes Snow White’s adventures with seven diminutive forest dwellers look like a PBS documentary.

Fox’s Martha MacCallum opened the segment with a declarative motion for which she provided no factual basis: “Critics are suggesting that the media is not nearly as hard on President Obama about the potential of going into Syria, as they were on President Bush and his war that he fought in Iraq.” The reliance on a ghostly assemblage of unnamed critics is a variant of the “some say” tactic of inventing a premise with which a lazy commentator can project a dishonest argument. But it was just the lead-in that conservative guest Monica Crowley required to say this:

“Most of the media were very skeptical about any kind of military intervention in Iraq. They raised a lot of very legitimate questions. They also pounded President Bush and his team relentlessly in the run-up, during the war and of course even still to this day over that war. […] It was just the fact that it was President Bush prosecuting this war. When you look at the difference between that coverage and the coverage of President Obama…in this run-up to a possible action in Syria, it’s like night and day.”

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Indeed, it is like night and day. But not in any way meant by Crowley. Prior to the Iraq war, the media was in virtual unanimity with respect to supporting Bush and his fraudulent escapade. Even the factions of the media that are most often regard as liberal enclaves were banging the drums of war.

Recall that it was the New York Times that employed Judith Miller (now with Fox News) who was instrumental in providing cover for the Bush administration’s pro-war agenda. She was a trusty vessel for the dissemination of propaganda from Bush’s war hawks. She was the reporter most responsible for validating false intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s weapons capabilities and ambitions.

If you watched MSNBC at the time, you might recall that the top rated program was hosted by talk show legend Phil Donahue. He was a prominent skeptic of the looming U.S. invasion of Iraq. Consequently, the management of MSNBC viewed him as a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war.” His show was canceled in February of 2003, shortly before the invasion.

The media presentation of dissent was nearly non-existent. Despite the fact that millions of Americans took to the streets to protest the war, the media declined to cover the demonstrations. Contrast that with the way they slobbered over a few malcontents in a tiny and unpopular political sect known as the Tea Party, and a handful of their hollering rubes at town hall meetings ranting about their opposition to health care.

The characterization of the media as going soft on Obama with regard to Syria is also delusional in the extreme. As expected, Fox News has been harshly critical of Obama no matter what he does. Last week they hammered him for taking a unilateral stance and failing to consult Congress on a possible reprisal for Syria’s chemical weapons deployment. This week they are bashing him for wasting time with congressional consultations and weakening the presidency by seeking them. What’s more, Obama has come in for criticism by pundits on the left like Rachel Maddow and Thom Hartmann and even Jon Stewart.

The right-wing directive to refrain from criticizing a president during international hostilities is apparently only in effect when a Republican is in the White House. Critics of Bush were often called traitors when they expressed their opposition to his policies. But outraged Tea-publicans are now encouraged to disparage the Commander-in-Chief in the most vile terms. Today it is the President who is called a traitor by right-wing protesters who fancy themselves as patriots.

In light of these facts, it is incomprehensible how Crowley can take to the Fox News channel and offer a twisted version of history wherein Obama is getting a pass and Bush suffered outrageous slings and arrows. And what is even more disturbing is that so many Fox News viewers are too dimwitted to separate the Fox fallacy from reality.


7 thoughts on “Fox News Dementia: Media Is Not As Hard On Obama/Syria As They Were On Bush/Iraq

  1. You’ve nailed it. Yes I remember very well the “traitor” talk from the FoxBots (“You are with the President or you are with the terrorists” blah, blah, blah). It was shameless of them to try and make Americans feel unpatriotic for questioning Incurious George and his motives. Another crucial point is that, unlike Bush, Obama actually has proof. Even the UN inspectors didn’t think that Iraq had WMDs; so the Bush Administration tried to smear them as incompetent. But I’m sure that FNC’s “in-depth” report failed to mention that, too.

    • And so far, no one has been “Dixie Chicked” for opposing U.S. involvement in Syria.

  2. I think the coverage has been pretty well balanced – this president is NOT getting a total pass as he normally does – from some, yes, but only the Howard Deans of the world who can’t bring themselves to ever criticize a democrat president. In fact, it seems much more balanced and honest a debate than the one leading up to the Iraq war. It’s about time.

    • But then you ruin it and go off on an ‘all progressives want is total state supremacy’ and ‘Desdinova’s worse than a terrorist’ rant. Where can I get a batshit/reasonable switch installed? Can you refer me to the place you got yours?

      Cynicism and hyperbole don’t do well at reinforcing political arguments, all it shows is an unwillingness to take things seriously and maturely. I’m not dumb enough to think that you actually believe that I want ‘state supremacy’ because I’m a progressive. And if I’m wrong and you genuinely do believe that, especially when you said I was worse than a terrorist, then we have deeper issues, don’t we?

      So how bout it Steve? Are you just a troll here to vent, or are you a participant? Am I just a ‘typical lib’ out for state supremacy, or am I someone you can have a reasonable political discourse with about contemporary issues? Did we both burn all the bridges or does this country have a future that we can both call good? Do we truly believe that the posterity of the American species is at risk over every issue, or is that a manipulation that we both see through?? We gotta be able to talk without one side breaking down in anger and distrust and the other in smug superiority and disrespect. Don’t get me wrong, the us vs. them thing can be fun, but this shit just gets old, doesn’t it?

      • Des, I’m not seeing that in my comment above – I only commented on the Howard Deans of the world – that doesn’t necessarily mean what you say, but it’s true in this specific context. I don’t think I’ve called any individual worse than a terrorist – just your ideology. If I did – it wasn’t what I necessarily meant – I’m trying to separate ideology from the person – it doesn’t always come out like that – so sorry.
        And you’re right – the “us vs. them” thing is old and tiring and I really don’t want it to be that way. My thoughts on government in general is that it should be at an absolute minimum on ALL issues – I see the progressive position as maximizing government, which to me means some kind of impact on me and every other individual having some part of their lives dictated to them by some bureaucrats in DC – so I’ll always react harshly to that. The reason I say your ideology is worse than any terrorist is that I see your ideology as oppressive and totally antithetical to the idea of freedom. It’s just how I see it – and i resist almost anything or anyone in my own life who tries to “manage” my life choices – as i don’t hurt anyone and am non-violent. When we get to a good balance between society needs and the individual’s – it will be better, but as of now – we’re on totally opposite sides.

    • Only the simple minded believe that Obama got a free pass Your beloved President Bush administration should have been prosecuted for war crimes.

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