The Subversive Media?
One has to be pretty far on the left not to see the media as biased against freeing Iraqi from tyranny. The bad news is generally highlighted, and the good news ignored; U.S. killed is the headline of the day, while the hundreds of terrorist eliminated for once and for all seems to never happen. Obviously, this is an attempt to repeat the glory days of the Vietnam War when the media turned military victory into defeat, and was the Democrat’s backbone in forcing a cowardly withdrawal, leaving millions of South Vietnamese and Cambodians to their own Holocaust.
But, what to do? When Americans are being shot at and killed in the line of duty; when they knowingly put themselves at risk to free a people from tyranny; when the country is at war; and when in the long run ALL Americans are at risk from biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons terrorists and their state supporters might use against us; we cannot afford to have the media freely providing aid and comfort to the enemy. The stakes are too high.
Often, it as though the media does not know which side it is on. They argue that they are “objectively reporting the news” and therefore should not be for one side or another. Thus, you read not about “terrorists” cutting off heads of their hostages, blowing up innocent civilians (and violating the most fundamental clauses of the Geneva Conventions), but “insurgents,” “radicals,” or the latest, “militants” killing hostages. “Killing,” not murdering. Killing is what enemy soldiers do to each other in battle. Murder is the intentional killing of an unarmed civilian. But, have you ever read of the terrorists murdering someone? Not strange that you do not. Why, this would be partisan reporting.
This is war. If the media has its way and we withdraw immediately from Iraq, or even begin staged withdrawals now with a timetable, the terrorists win. With the support of Syria, this is assured. Then, the resulting democide by the victorious terrorists may well come close to that in South Vietnam after we withdrew. And, so heartened by our lack of will, the terrorists throughout the world could only get more state support, including even possible help on nukes from North Korea or China (somehow, it has been forgotten that China is still ruled by its Communist Party, and our enemy). ~R.J. Rummel, Democratic Peace blog
Mr. Rummel, once known for his tabulation of the numbers slaughtered by centralised states in his book, Death by Government, has now descended into the nether regions of the perpetual war crowd. Leave it to someone who once understood the horrifying coercive and destructive power of government to call for such solidarity with the monster state as to demand news censorship, even as it throttles a foreign nation and bombards it into freedom.
Naturally, the comparisons with the world wars are ludicrous and not worth commenting on, except to say that these wars coincided with some of the most tyrannical periods of American history. Why anyone who supposedly values liberty (one must be profoundly skeptical of anyone who calls himself a 'freedomist' as being a real friend of liberty) would want to imitate such ugly periods is really beyond me. It is a safe bet that almost anytime someone attaches the suffix -ist to any concept or name, or when he creates something ending in -ism, his ideas bear very little relation either to those principles he purportedly values most highly and they also bear little relation to the real world.
But Mr. Rummel does not simply err in his demands for state control of information (put in those terms, it doesn't sound very pleasant, does it?), which would be shameful enough on its own, but manages to work in the unchanging whine of the corrupt and decadent 'conservative' media that "the media" has been yearning for American defeat in Iraq and elsewhere. Evidently, Mr. Rummel must be referring to an entirely different set of media outlets than those represented by the regular daily newspapers, television networks, cable news channels and even NPR, as all of these have shown a cowardice and lack of integrity in challenging official government accounts of events that would have shamed real journalists.
If the media were truly subversive in the way that Mr. Rummel supposes, they would not have breathlessly anticipated the Iraqi election with any kind of slant. It would have received no coverage whatever, and columnists prattling on about "purple fingers" would have been barred from publication. Instead, we have experienced just the opposite--the supposedly skeptical media once again increasingly jumping on the government's bandwagon, gushing about the wonders of the election and scrutinising the poll results as if they meant anything.
Whatever the measly, pathetic skepticism and critical inquiry that have managed to creep into the newsrooms of these institutions, it has only been a very recent phenomenon and hardly one that merits the fanatic response of state censorship. (Where was all this subversion during 2002 and 2003? Would that it had existed in some small measure!) The genius of most of these corporate media stations and papers is that they already know perfectly well what to broadcast and print, and they abase themselves before the government so much more efficiently without anything as bulky as a Ministry of Information hassling them.
If newspapers and broadcasts imagine that Americans are more concerned with American casualties than the fate of any and all Iraqis, they are correct, and this is the very simple reason why these losses take precedence in the reporting. Violent death always leads news stories, because it is a dramatic event especially suited to the weak-minded audience cultivated by mass media. For the relatively small band of people who desire elaborate and extensive analysis of institution-building or reconstruction projects (however few they may be), or what-have-you, there are resources for them on the margins. If Mr. Rummel finds modern media practices abhorrent, he should look to his beloved demos--it is they who endorse and devour the semi-literate regurgitations of government press releases that constitute news reporting in this country today. It would be hard to imagine a media more compliant and more of an echo chamber for the establishment than the American media. Actual censorship and government directives might force more 'mainstream' journalists to find their consciences and their spines, which is surely the last thing Mr. Rummel wants.
Daniel Larison | February 09, 2005
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