The problem, of course, is that the press only really turned on Bush when his ratings began to fall — another indication that the Fourth Estate has become more of a weathervane than a truth teller.
The final verdict is not yet in. The media has improved, without question, but it has a lot of making up to do. The structural problems — psychological, institutional, ideological — that played so big a role in its collapse have not gone away, and there is no reason to think they will. And then there's war, which reduced so much of the media to flag-waving courtiers. If the media has learned that a bugle blast can be sounded by a fool, that not every war the United States launches is wise or necessary, and that self-righteousness is not an argument, maybe something can be salvaged from this sorry chapter after all.
A good start, but Gary Kamiya offers really a tour d'horizon than what his title teases, “Iraq: Why the media failed”. You may guess our “meta critique” — the American media and Americans in general have not encountered a regime animated by and harnessing a pre-focused and self aware ideology in the Nation's political experience. A regime made fearsomely real by a unified government.
What Kamiya misses is it wasn't just Iraq or really about Iraq. And it really isn't about the media. Perhaps this sums up our impatience with the anti-war crowd. The war is the symptom, not the cause. We've noted here recently that oddly it may take something as mundane as a few U.S. attorneys and what transpired among DoJ/the White House/the RNC to make this recognizable. Maybe all those hours of Law & Order SUV -APC - MBT - IFV - MAU -CVN can be put to good use after all.
We're pretty much Imus-ed out and believe even a (deserved) punitive measure should stop at the mau mau and not de-generate into wanton cannibalism. For the sake of the children, naturally. Nonetheless, this time-line from the Wall Street Journal (no access restrictions) might be of interest putting the interpersonal tidal forces into perspective.
Tags: media, Iraq, War, Neocons, Imus