The Media: Stenographers To Power

Yesterday, the President gave what the White House called, “a major speech,” and all of the national broadcast networks chose to carry it. Despite the fact that the speech was given at Ft. Bragg, before a military audience, with a manufactured backdrop, and only other Republican partisans present, the media concluded that this was not actually a rally to promote the President’s agenda.

What was the message that qualified this speech as a major event?

Let’s take a look at what he said:

“My greatest responsibility as President is to protect the American people. And that’s your calling, as well. I thank you for your service, your courage and your sacrifice.”
That’s certainly not new. Everyone’s praising the courage and sacrifice of our military. It would be nice if the president exercised his responsibility to protect the American people from global warming, Social Security and pension default, absence of healthcare, and offshoring of jobs.

“The terrorists who attacked us — and the terrorists we face — murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent.”
This is just the president condemning the evil of our enemies and falsely linking 9/11 to Iraq. He does that all the time. He also hates freedom (flag burning amendment), rejects tolerance (10 commandments monument), and despises all dissent (expelling dissidents from tax-payer funded public appearances).

“The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent…”
He just borrowed this from Focus on the Family and other extremist Christian fundamentalists who describe the U.S. in these terms. Again, nothing newsworthy.

“Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: “This Third World War is raging” in Iraq. “The whole world is watching this war.” He says it will end in “victory and glory, or misery and humiliation.”
It might be considered news that the President is adopting Osama Bin Laden’s view of geo-political conflict, but Bin Laden is not being particularly original here either. He’s merely saying that the war that Bush started is going to be won or lost, and that will be either good or bad, depending on where you stand.

Here’s the part that the President himself considers newsworthy:
“To further prepare Iraqi forces to fight the enemy on their own, we are taking three new steps:”

First, we are partnering coalition units with Iraqi units…Second, we are embedding coalition “transition teams” inside Iraqi units…Third, we’re working with the Iraqi Ministries of Interior and Defense to improve their capabilities to coordinate anti-terrorist operations.
If these are indeed new steps, we are in bigger trouble than I thought. These ought to have been steps taken the day after he declared “Mission Accomplished” from the deck of the aircraft carrier. In fact, the administration has been telling us for months that they have been working hard to get Iraqis ready to take on their own security. What’s newsworthy here is the incompetence and neglect of this president and his team who now announce these as new measures.

“…they are waging a campaign of murder and destruction. And there is no limit to the innocent lives they are willing to take.”
There is also no limit to the hypocracy of an administration that is reponsible for the deaths of up to 100,000 innocent Iraqis, many times more that the insurgency can, or ever will, be able to claim.

“In this time of testing, our troops can know: The American people are behind you.”
Except the liberals who, according to Karl Rove, want to put, “…America’s men and women in uniform in greater danger.”

The substance of this speech offered nothing even remotely newsworthy. The President told us that our military is good and that our enemies are bad. He told us that we can beat up any kid on the block because we’re #1. He repeated the lies connecting Iraq with 9/11. What he didn’t do is provide any coherent explanation for why we are there to a populace that now believes going there was a mistake. He didn’t provide any details on what our goals are or how we recognize success. He left us exactly where we were before the speech: In an open-ended, directionless, adventure in imperialism.

It could not be more obvious that the whole of this speech had a single purpose: To prop up the President as the public’s support for his illegal war plummets and takes down his approval ratings as well. But, sadly, it does need to be more obvious to the national media who scurried to preempt regular programming so that this PR puff piece could be broadcast live. The media has again reinforced its reputation as stenographers to power. They’ve shown neither journalistic discretion nor integrity as they seek only to promote the elites of the leadership and corporatist classes. In their role as flacks for the president, they have proven, once more, that the media is dead.


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