Many people claim that the mainstream media have done nothing to contribute to the war effort. But that is not true. They have contorted themselves into a veritable journalistic Kama Sutra of uncomfortable positions, exposed themselves to grand juries, and sacrificed more of their already waning audience all to further the cause of victory in war. The only problem is that it is not the War on Terror they are so committed to. It is the War on George W. Bush.
To see what I mean, just look at the coverage of last week’s ridiculous Supreme Court decision overturning the planned military tribunals for the terrorists held at Guantanamo. This decision has profound implications for the status of these prisoners, affording them protections legitimately due only to uniformed military personnel captured while in the service of a recognized national government and conducting themselves in accordance with the established rules of war.
It also represents yet another power grab by the court, which claims it made its decision in order to strengthen the hand of Congress in defining the status of these illegal combatants. This is a curious assertion given that the Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act just seven months ago, declaring in unusually clear language that “no court, justice, or judge” has the authority to hear habeas corpus petitions filed by detainees.
But for the media, such national and immediate consequences were secondary at best, as the headlines and stories declared gleefully what they saw as the real news:
- “In a major defeat for the Bush administration, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday…” “…the decision was a stinging blow for the administration…” (Reuters)
- “The Supreme Court today delivered a sweeping rebuke to the Bush administration…” “The decision was such a sweeping and categorical defeat for the Bush administration…” (New York Times)
- “Supreme Court Blocks Bush…” “5 to 3 Ruling Curbs President’s Claim Of Wartime Power.” “…emphatically rejecting a signature Bush anti-terrorism measure and the broad assertion of executive power upon which the president had based it.” (Washington Post)
- “In a blow to President Bush’s strategy…” (Los Angeles Times)
The New York Times even continued into a delusional Watergate flashback, so frenzied was it’s joy at the decision: “The courtroom was, surprisingly, not full, but among those in attendance, there was no doubt that they were witnessing a historic event, a definitional moment in the ever-shifting balance of power among the branches of government that ranked with the court’s order to President Nixon in 1974 to turn over the Watergate tapes or with the court’s rejection of President Truman’s seizure of the nation’s steel mills, a 1952 landmark decision from which Justice Kennedy quoted at length.”
If any major media source made a serious reference to whether or not the decision would help or hinder the nation’s fight against terrorism, I missed it. No, the news and analysis was all about George W. Bush, his image, his popularity, his effectiveness, and his defeat.
This myopic obsession with the political consequences of all actions in the War on Terror neatly explains every seemingly inexplicable action taken by members of the elite media over the last five years. While America fights the War on Terror, the media are fighting the War on Bush, in which the terror war is just one more battlefield in a far-ranging domestic rebellion.
If the U.S. must lose the War on Terror so that the media can finally show people just what a bad, bad man Bush is, then so be it. As a matter of fact, losing the War on Terror might demonstrate what a failure Bush is better than any other possibility.
The New York Times doesn’t expose national secrets for profit as some have claimed. It does so for ideology.
To their mind, it is better that 10 guilty terrorists (or even 100) go free than that George W. Bush remain President, possess a successful legacy or pass his political capital onto the next Republican nominee for the presidency.
In pursuit of the War on Bush, the old media have:
- Revealed covert wiretapping programs aimed at foreign terrorists trying to contact collaborators within the United States.
- Revealed CIA transportation infrastructure, right down to the tail numbers on individual airplanes.
- Revealed covert banking investigations designed to find the donors and money launderers that make terrorist mass murder feasible.
- Focused on the rare abuses, rapes, murders, civilian casualties, and friendly fire incidents that offer to discredit the entire military while it is under Bush’s command. While at the same time, ignoring any individual act of heroism, medal ceremony, or inspirational tales of valor, charity, humanity or honor among our troops in combat.
- Revealed covert detention facilities and the foreign allies that have helped us to capture and detain those in them, threatening these alliances and exposing these allies to terrorist retribution.
- Taken up the cause of the brutal prisoners at Guantanamo as if they were child-like victims of Bush, human rights martyrs unrelated to the war they began.
- Tracked each new death among our military personnel in Iraq as if it were the countdown to the end of Bush’s life, the political equivalent to the flashing crystals from Logan’s Run. Normally, highlighting our casualties would be a job for enemy propaganda. But since the casualty clock helps in the war the media really believes in — the War on Bush — they dutifully report every tick, tick, tick, even exaggerating the numbers by including those who spontaneously die of natural causes and traffic accidents as far away as Kuwait. Likewise, they have claimed that the lower-than-civilian suicide rate among our troops is an epidemic caused by the “cracking” of morale.
In short, the elite media have functioned as the intelligence services and the propaganda publishers of our enemies, solely because they share with them a hatred of George W. Bush. If the enemy of one’s enemy really is one’s friend, then the terrorists have certainly found friends in America’s newsrooms.