AEI's Karl Zinsmeister has done it again: report facts and context on the war in Iraq that completely puts the lie to the notion that the for-profit corporate MSM are doing the job for the American people. Zins' earlier books and essays for AEI have been excellent. Like the Civil War-era reporter pictured at left, Zins has come back to tell what he's found. Check out Zins's Q&A from his last Iraq trip. (HT: IP) Terrific. Retired Army strategist and incorrigable staff pain-in-the-neck, Ralph Peters, continues to do his duty. This time his cover story in WS is provocative, and should cause the Pentagon planners and their commanders to go through a few more rewrites on future military strategy. Quillnews has long believed that a delusional social science cult has emerged to grip the news and production assignment desks of the major newspapers, magazines and broadcast news outlets. In my view, MSM editing judgment has bordered on sedition. Peters' focus on the dangers of the secular bias of the anti-faith global media is what I find so telling. Choice quotes:
- A paradox of our time is that the overwhelmingly secular global media--a collection of natural-born religion-haters--have become the crucial accomplices of the suicide bomber fueled by rabid faith. Mass murderers are lionized as freedom fighters, while our own troops are attacked by the press they protect for the least waywardness or error. One begins to wonder if the bomber's suicidal impulse isn't matched by a deep death wish affecting the West's cultural froth... Both the suicide bomber and the "world intellectual" with his reflexive hatred of America exist in emotional realms that our rational models of analysis cannot explain. The modern age's methods for interpreting humanity are played out. We live in a new age of superstition and bloodthirsty gods, of collective madness. Its icons are the suicide bomber, the veil, and the video camera.
- Many of us have struggled to grasp the unreasonable, even fanatical anti-Americanism in the global media--including the hostility in many news outlets and entertainment forums here at home. How can educated men and women, whether they speak Arabic, Spanish, French, or English, condemn America's every move, while glossing over the abuses of dictators and the savagery of terrorists? Why is America blamed even when American involvement is minimal or even nonexistent? How has the most beneficial great power in history been transformed by the international media into a villain of relentless malevolence? There's a straightforward answer: In their secular way, the world's media elites are as unable to accept the reality confronting them as are Islamist fundamentalists. They hate the world in which they are forced to live, and America has shaped that world.
- It isn't that the American-wrought world is so very bad for the global intelligentsia: The freedom they exploit to condemn the United States has been won, preserved, and expanded by American sacrifices and America's example. The problem is that they wanted a different world, the utopia promised by socialist and Marxist theorists, an impossible heaven on earth that captured their imagination as surely as visions of paradise enrapture suicide bombers. The global media may skew secular, but that doesn't protect them against alternative forms of faith.
- We have reached the point (as evidenced by the first battle of Falluja) where the global media can overturn the verdict of the battlefield. We will not be defeated by suicide bombers in Iraq, but a chance remains that the international media may defeat us. Engaged with enemies to our front, we try to ignore the enemies at our back--enemies at whom we cannot return fire. Indeed, if anything must be profoundly reevaluated, it's our handling of the media in wartime. We have no obligation to open our accounts to proven enemies, yet we allow ourselves to be paralyzed by platitudes. This doesn't mean that all of the media are evil or dishonest. It means we need to have the common sense and courage to discriminate between media outlets that attempt to report fairly (and don't compromise wartime secrets) and those whose track records demonstrate their hostility to our national purposes or their outright support for terrorists.
- We got it right in World War II, but today we cannot count on patriotism among journalists, let alone their acceptance of censorship boards. Our own reporters pretend to be "citizens of the world" with "higher loyalties," and many view patriotism as decidedly down-market. Obsessed with defending their privileges, they refuse to accept that they also have responsibilities as citizens. But after journalistic irresponsibility kills a sufficient number of Americans, reality will force us to question the media's claim that "the public has a right to know" every secret our government holds in wartime. The media may constitute the decisive element in the global counterrevolution in military affairs, and the video camera--that insatiable accomplice of the terrorist--the cheap negation of our military technology.
Quillnews pal Debra Burlingame again has brought common sense back to the debate about the media bias during the post Sept 11 war. Her recent column in the WSJ nails it. Michael Barone also has his interpretation about the narrative bias that has dominated the news judgment today. CIA chief Peter Goss's assessment of the "very severe" damage done by the disclosure in the NYT of the NSA al-Qaeda snoop program. (Powerline, Yahoo) Arguments in support of the NSA program are made but get short shrift in the NYT. (Hayden Powerline, Gonzalez Powerline, NYT Powerline) Finally, some serious legal talent is getting into the conversation arguing that the NYT's irresponsible story and anti-Bush campaign committed the crimes by violating the espionage laws during war time. (Commentary, WS, Powerline) Now we're talking! Jail 'em.
Quillnews assessment: Don't dispair. I'm convinced that the media rules of the New Battlefield for the post Sept 11 War are changing -- for the better. James Taranto of the WSJ's Opinion Journal optimistically argues that despite the perfidy, incompetence and outright sedition shown by the elite MSM during the post Sept 11 War, the American people are in good hands: their own! Free information, new technology, new voices and the collapse of the MSM hegemony on the pubic agenda ensures that the anti-military, pro-scandal, for-profit gossip peddlars will fail. The corrupt social science cult that has come to grip the professional journalists community in this era will be exposed for the delusional political hacks they are. Check out Taranto's assessment of Newsweek's Howard Fineman's column on what Fineman called the American Mainstream Media Party:
Howard Fineman of Newsweek got at it in a provocative essay he wrote in January 2005, after CBS News released the findings of its independent investigation of the phony "60 Minutes" story about President Bush's National Guard service. Mr. Fineman argued that the journalistic establishment had, in effect, transformed itself into a political party; he called it the American Mainstream Media Party, or AMMP. Mr. Fineman wrote, "The notion of a neutral, non-partisan mainstream press, (was) pretty much dead... The seeds of its demise were sown with the best of intentions in the late 1960s, when the AMMP was founded . . . (ironically enough) by CBS. Old folks may remember the moment: Walter Cronkite stepped from behind the podium of presumed objectivity to become an outright foe of the war in Vietnam. Later, he and CBS's star White House reporter, Dan Rather, went to painstaking lengths to make Watergate understandable to viewers, which helped seal Richard Nixon's fate as the first president to resign. The crusades of Vietnam and Watergate seemed like a good idea at the time, even a noble one, not only to the press but perhaps to a majority of Americans. The problem was that, once the AMMP declared its existence by taking sides, there was no going back. A party was born."
Now in the post Sept 11 War, I believe we all are watching the demise of the AMMP, and its manipulators who seek to dominate the Democratic Party. It is messy, ugly, and upsetting to those who grew up confident in the world they could see by reading newspapers and watching the daily 30 minute nightly news casts. Today our way to interpretating the world through our trusted newspapers and anchorman are gone. Like believers who watched the Great Schism when the Orthodox and Romans split, or the faithful who witnessed the post-Luther reformation, free people all are struggling to find our feet in this new media world. The demise of the great newspapers as trusted outlets for community conversations, and the collapse of judgment and committment to balance at the major broadcast nets has been heartbreaking. But a cleansing of our communications institutions is necessary so that free people can triumph in the New Battlefield. Stay tuned...