The Public Suffers Whiplash As The Media Turns On A Dime
I’ve been having a hard time getting my bearings lately, partially due to the shift in the public debate that has been so sharp as to leave me reeling. A mere month ago, the debate about Iraq was simplified by traditional media as “stay the course” versus “cut and run” with the Democrats playing the coward to Bush’s war hero. What a difference a month makes. Now, suddenly there is frank discussion by traditional media and the American people are finally being presented with the truth of just how bad things are in Iraq. It must be a shock to those who don’t regularly get their news online, those of us that do have been aware of the scope of the disaster for some time. For years, traditional media has all but ignored the reality of this Presidents failure in Iraq in favor of playing up the Bush administration’s false rosy picture of their democracy spreading. When did it become the media’s job to insulate politicians from the effects of world events and the fallout from their own bad decisions?
It’s infuriating that honesty in reporting is dependent on where we are in the election cycle. In the weeks leading up to the election, the violence in Iraq was attributed to terrorists, but in the weeks after the election, it is due to an escalating civil war. Did the reality on the ground in Iraq change so dramatically over those weeks as to radically shift the debate, or was it simply that the corporate owned media held off on revealing the truth in an attempt to help the GOP, sorry, I mean not influence the outcome of the election? Again, when did it become the job of the media to hold off bad news so as not to “influence” an election?
Aren’t we supposed to have access to accurate and reliable information so that we can make an educated decision when it comes to choosing our leaders? Isn’t the press supposed to be the conduit for that information? That we are seeing a more honest discussion about Iraq on television and in our newspapers now, after the election, just highlights the lack of an honest debate beforehand. While I’m glad to see a more accurate picture of Iraq being presented to more people, I’m angry that so many were left out of the discussion, simply because they still trust that corporate “news” is an accurate, unbiased source of information. Traditional media may provide that service sometimes, but that they don’t at critical times (arguably when it matters most), makes them unreliable and manipulative at best. At worst, traditional media is simply a tool for powerful interests that have a dog in the fight, which leaves us to play the sheep. If that’s the case, I’d almost prefer Fox News, at least they don’t bother with the sheep’s clothing. I’d rather be driven off the cliff by a wolf than a wolf pretending to be one of us.