I’m in Cambridge/Boston today…oh so close to the ivory tower and to book-learning culture. I rarely blog about politics here except maybe to point out how absurd it is that rave collectives are telling me how to vote, but after discussion with two of my most politically astute and “wicked” smart friends Ray and Kristen, I decided I did need to blog about the newest blemish on the Bush Adminstration, which came out earlier this week but was overshadowed by Pennsylvania primary media madness. Last Sunday, The New York Times reported that most of the war commentators on television have actually been primed by the Pentagon to promote the agenda of the adminstration. This elite group of men have been coached by Cheney and collective on what to say on tv, which is then masked as their “analysis”:
“Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.
The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.
Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration’s war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized.
Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks.” NYTimes, April 20, 2008
Five years ago this would have made a much bigger splash. Today, though, we’re so desensitized that it is just one more bad/evil/unethical thing to add to list. During this administration, seemingly objective experts–usually former generals, i.e. old white men wearing L.L. Bean–are not actually objective at all but are being paid off to lie. Cha-ching!!!! A personal tour to Guantanamo with Bush’s advisors? Objective? I think not. While they aren’t being paid by the media to talk, their “other” jobs are often working for corporations that are profiting from our war on terror. This is not uncommon for people with an investment on a subject to go on air and talk about it. However, the fact that these commentators have been covering up the degree to which they are tied to the Iraq war, hiding behind a false veneer of neutrality, that’s questionable journalism. Often networks were not even aware of the close ties their guests have to the Pentagon. Surprising considering the track record of the last 8 years? No. Audacious, upsetting, disgusting and wrong? Yes.
If y’all weren’t convinced that the Bush administration is the closest thing to fascism we’ve experienced in this nation since the 80’s (even then, my god, it was certainly done with a great deal more nuance!), well, here’s just one more example. Continually Bush, Cheney, etc. have sought to not only enforce their war agenda on the world stage, but also in our media coverage. It’s not a new scenario, but the shameless “We can do whatever we want, we are the Gods of War” audacity of this administration has reached a point that Americans have seldom seen before.
On the cusp of a new administration–one which, to put my two cents in, could easily go Democrat if the party can manage to not splinter themselves to destruction–it’s easy to put this behind us, to simply say “good riddance” and let ourselves roll with the “audacity of hope” and start anew. However, the tragedy of this administration cannot and should not be lost amidst a media obsessing over Clinton versus Obama, gaffe versus gaffe, sexism versus “is he a Muslim?” We are already in the realm of forgetting and the perpetrators haven’t even left office! Forgetting (Ollie North much? Oh wait, where is North? On Fox! Of course!) is how we ended up back in the war game in the first place. Let us not forgive the Bush Doctrine and its crimes.
If we forget, neoconservatism is gonna once again bite us in the ass.