President Bush’s highest priority is fighting the War on Terror. His success or failure is more crucial to the future of our country than anything else this country has faced in the last sixty years. It may be one of the top ten most important events in the history of the United States. The probability of our victory is influenced by the fact that President Bush must fight the war on two fronts.
The first front of the war involves defeating the Islamic radicals in combat. The second front of the war is for “hearts and minds” and it is being fought in the media. President Bush has a message and the Islamic radicals have a message. Both sides are fighting for media share to shape public opinion with goal of influencing a political outcome for the war. Our enemy understands that if they can defeat us in the media, they will not have to defeat us on the battle field.
On October 6th President Bush gave a speech that reiterated our goals and identified our enemy’s goals. It outlined the big picture strategy of the enemy and explained how we are defeating them. Bush told us how and why we are winning the War. He once again explained why the war is so important. Make no mistake this speech broke new ground. What President Bush said was news.
The speech was mostly ignored by the media. What wasn’t ignored was treated with skepticism. The President was unsuccessful in his attempt to get his message out.
Five days after the speech the Administration released an intercepted letter written by al-Zawahiri intended for al-Zarqawi. This important letter between the leaders of the Islamic radicals confirms what President Bush said in his speech regarding their goals.
In one of the most interesting sentences in the letter al-Zawahiri gives his thoughts on the importance of the media. He writes:
“I say to you: that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media.”
The speech and the letter are significant developments in the War on Terror that might shape public opinion of our efforts. Both were ignored.
Two days after the release of the letter the President had a video teleconference with some Troops in Iraq. Once again President Bush attempted to convey the important message contained in his speech and our enemy’s letter.
The video teleconference got a lot of media attention. The media devoted lots of ink and blasted the air ways with news of the teleconference. The theme of the media’s coverage was that Bush staged the teleconference. The media promoted their own propaganda that President Bush nefariously used members of our military as P.R. props. The media went out of its way in an attempt to harm the President and once again ignored the important message of success we have had toward reaching our strategic goals. The fact that the enemy is losing the war was not reported.
The speech on October 6th and the captured letter released on October 11th are an important positive development in the first front on the War on Terror. The actions the media took on October 14th are an important negative development in the second front of the War on Terror. The media moved beyond ignoring President Bush’s message and they attacked it. In al-Zawahiri’s “battlefield of the media” our press detonated the equivalent of a road side bomb that can only hurt our objectives and help our enemy.
Conversely, during the month of August the media protected Cindy Sheehan’s message. They did not report on the staging of her events. There was no mention about the help she was getting from radical groups. They edited all of outrageous rhetoric Sheehan spewed. They didn’t tell us that her supposed reason for protesting–to get a meeting with the President–was a fraud because she had already had a meeting. Our media filtered and packaged the Sheehan coverage so that her anti-war message would make the greatest impact.
The Commander in Chief, the Generals, the officers, the troops, the Iraqis and the enemy all understand that the only way we can lose this war is if the people of the United States lose their will to fight it. Our media seems to be doing everything it can to slant its coverage of the war in an attempt to erode public support and hinder President Bush from reaching his well defined objectives. Islamic radicals are losing badly on the combat front of this war and are being kept in the game solely because of their powerful ally; the United States media.