That question has been asked in books and movies time and time again, but it has never been more relevant than today. Never in recent memory has there been a time when the press, those Ã¢â‚¬Å“seekers of truthÃ¢â‚¬Â in the fourth estate whose self-importance is trumped only by an insane desire to get a scoop (even if it requires making one up) has had their motives and actions placed on such public display.
Just look at the press. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re in a feeding frenzy, but in recent years, the Ã¢â‚¬Å“chumÃ¢â‚¬Â in the water has been not the truth, but rather not-so-hidden agendas to color the United States as the bad guy. Making the U.S. out to be the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s goon is the pet-rock of the mediaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new millennium, but for the mainstream press to get any more carried away with themselves will require pall bearers.
In recent months and years, seemingly all big exposes in the news uncovering wrongdoing have come from bloggers implicating those whose jobs it is to give us exposes uncovering wrongdoing. SomethingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wrong here.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sad enough to witness the U.S. press foam at the mouth in attempts to secure interviews with any despot du jour, like Rona Barrett waiting for Rock Hudson to exit a Hollywood restaurant. The quest to get Ã¢â‚¬Å“the other side of the storyÃ¢â‚¬Â is often, whether by design or not, only a transparent effort to humanize spiral-eyed wackos and self-avowed enemies of the United States.
Dan Rather interviewed Saddam Hussein years ago, and Mike Wallace recently interviewed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. If the government wants to find Bin Laden, they should just follow around the mainstream mediaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s boom mic and, sooner or later, a network news crew will lead them right to the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most wanted man.
Sure, reporters tried, and some succeeded, in interviewing Adolph Hitler as well,Ã‚Â but only to have a historic record of a madman at work, not to film an ad for e-Harmony.com.
Now much of the press has gone beyond the realm of laughable, lovable flirtations with enemies of the U.S. and has entered the world of fiction. Stephen King and James Patterson should sue for copyright infringement.
WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re all aware of the many examples: Dan RatherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s report on documents that turned out to be more phony than boobs on a Malibu beach; NewsweekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bogus report of a flushed Koran that caused riots overseas; Jayson BlairÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s made-up stories and plagiarism in The New York Times; Reuters photographs that were so doctored they must have been produced at the Mayo Clinic; and many, many others.
Very recently, British authorities said theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d disrupted a major terrorist plot to blow up planes in mid-flight. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security raised the terror threat level to red, or Ã¢â‚¬Å“severe,Ã¢â‚¬Â for flights coming to the U.S. originating in Europe. Michael Chertoff pointed out that, though many arrests have been carried out, they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be sure if the plot has been entirely eradicated, hence the continuing increased security precautions.
I bring this up because weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re in the same situation with the mainstream media. Though many bogus stories and photographs have been exposed, who knows how many still exist.
Think of everything weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been told in the past. What if a good portion of it is not true? ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s possible, isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t it, given the recent media track record?
What if the war in Iraq isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going so horribly? What if domestic anti-American rhetoric isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a higher form of patriotism, but just plain olÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ treason? What if prisoners at Gitmo have a much higher quality of life than theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re used to? What if Michael Moore isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fat? What if Haditha never happened? What if global warming is as real as the tooth fairy? What if Hezbollah is in fact just a bunch of terrorist thugs?
LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s keep all this in mind when considering how Ã¢â‚¬Å“the war on terrorÃ¢â‚¬Â is progressing. Given the hatred out there for Bush and anybody who allies themselves with him, some people will go to any lengths to discredit everything America does, even if that includes making stuff up and hindering our national defense.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s often said that Ã¢â‚¬Å“truth is the first casualty of war,Ã¢â‚¬Â but, these days, that phrase needs to be amended. When the press canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be trusted, Ã¢â‚¬Å“war is the first casualty of Ã¢â‚¬ËœtruthÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.Ã¢â‚¬Â
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