Do Not Adjust Your Memory.

1 comment June 25th, 2006at 01:14pm Posted by Eli

I just saw this scary post at American Prospect, by way of Atrios:

CNN has now picked up today’s Times‘s story saying that the top commander of forces in Iraq projects troop drawdowns through 2007 — in stark contrast to the GOP’s stay-the-course position. And guess what?

In the CNN story there is no mention whatsoever of the fact that the primary message of the Republican Party over the past week, delivered by party leaders and elected officials alike in every media forum imaginable, was that anyone calling for a timetable for withdrawal was embracing “retreat” and “surrender.”

And get this: The story doesn’t even mention at all that the GOP’s official position has been squarely against troop drawdowns, let alone mention that the Republicans relentlessly smeared anyone who was for them. The only hint of this comes at the very end of the story, where it vaguely notes that the “Senate” last week rejected calls for troop withdrawals, without specifying that this has overwhelmingly been the GOP’s position. Meanwhile, the only mention that Dems have been demanding troop drawdowns comes in the second-to-last sentence.


This is startling journalistic negligence, and it’s gonna be important to keep an eye out for more of the same. More broadly, if coverage of the evolving troop drawdown debate continues to omit crucial political context, it could enable the GOP to cynically muddy the waters on Iraq and confuse voters until they lose sight of the reality of the situation, which is that Dems overwhelmingly favor a change of course in Iraq, while Republicans simply aren’t serious about finding a way out of the catastrophic mess they made.

This speaks directly to the fundamental importance of the media, and the control thereof. It’s not just that the media controls the message and the spin of the news, but it controls the very perception of reality, and even memory itself. Think about this story for a second. Sargent is essentially saying that if the media doesn’t remind its readers and viewers that the Republican position has been staunchly anti-cut-and-run right up until this very day, that they’ll forget, or perhaps believe that they misremembered.

I’m hoping that this is not the case, and that the American people have the werewithal to say, “But wait – weren’t the Republicans just against this very thing yesterday? And why isn’t CNN mentioning that?” And I think a lot of them do. But there is a large and credulous chunk of the population (presumably the 30% who still think Bush is doing a fine job) for whom the world and all its history is born anew in its entirety each and every single day, and lovingly crafted into the Republicans’ image, and it seems like they all vote. If this sounds like alarmist hyperbole, then ask yourself why the media is able to distort history, even very recent history, all the time, without any negative repercussions or loss of credibility outside of the left-wing fever swamp. The media does whatever it can get away with in service of the Republican agenda, so to observe what they do is to observe what they can get away with.

This powerful and scary control over reality, and the American people’s complacency about it, is why it is so vitally important that the media be either fixed or discredited. I just wish I knew how.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Favorites,Iraq,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers,War

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