Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Art of Distraction

It appears "distraction" has become a skillfully planned endeavor, not only by the Bush Administration but by our news media. I’m beginning to wonder why we put up with it. I had considered last night adding comments about that to my blog and then this morning I read an article by an Associated Press reporter concerning the lack of coverage of the Iraq war by Cable News, with the so-called "fair and balanced" Fox News Channel devoting the least amount of time to it.

Not any surprise that Fox News does not give the war its proper coverage, and the other news outlets are not far behind. They don’t have time to fit it into the ridiculous coverage of something like Paris Hilton’s in, out, and in jail, with Fox News covering that all day and night.

According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, during the first three months of this year, Fox spent half as much time covering the Iraq war than MSNBC, and considerably less than CNN. During day time news hours, the Iraq war occupied 20 percent of CNN’s daytime news and 18 percent of MSNBC’s. And Fox, only about 6 percent of the time.

Why are we not demanding decent and honest coverage of the war, of poverty in our country, the unresolved Katrina victims’ issues, the poor education of our children, the medical insurance and pharmaceutical disaster, the too-often recall of the food we eat, the government corruption, unsafe borders and ports, the many other inefficiencies of our government, and atrocities and starvation taking place in other parts of the world?

Why do we settle for sound bites, news repeated every few minutes, less and less live coverage of news events, slanted news, confrontational interviews, and other failings of good investigative reporting? CNN’s Anderson Copper 360 seems to be about the only reporter who attempts to give us good and reasonable on- the-spot news coverage.

Why is the media ignoring the horrors of the war: 3508 of our military Dead, 104 of those in April, 126 in May, and of June 7, 29 so far, 25,830 wounded, 111 suicides? One of ten soldiers from the war have been hospitalized in Europe for mental conditions. Suicide bombings, car bombs, and roadside bombs have doubled in the last year (712 to 1476). Today a bridge bombing injured our military with unconfirmed degree of injury and number. And 65,000 plus Iraq deaths since the beginning of our invasion, with numbers climbing daily.

Do we welcome these distractions so we don’t have to think about reality? Is it easier to watch Paris Hilton’s hysteria than to take a hard look at the reality of war? Do we get a kick out of watching the reporters mob the Sheriff’s car to get a photograph of the crying Paris? Does that keep us from thinking about a car bomb at a check point in Bagdad? Does her apparent need for treatment for a nervous breakdown keep us from thinking about a soldier’s breakdown from fighting a war?

Do we enjoy seeing our smiling president telling the Pope how the U.S. is stepping up humanitarian aid to improvised countries? Or enjoy his "leader of the free world" status to the Albanians, while at the same time he threatens Iran, may be on the verge of making the cold war hot again, is unwilling to listen to the majority of Americans who believe the Iraq war was wrong and it is time get out now, and is even defiant in his steadfast stand?

I do not consider any actions of Bush and Cheney to be humanitarian. Their actions are not making this a better world. Their motives are about power, greed, and oil, and they do their best to convince us otherwise with distortions, lies, fear, and distraction. It is people like Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Oprah, Bono, Sting, Angelina Jolie, Jimmy Carter, and many others who are making the world a better place with their humanitarian actions. And thank goodness for them.

"The measure of a man is what he does with power." ~ Pittacus (650?-569? B.C.)

~ Linda


Nancy Tarver said...

Why doesn't a network like CNN start to make an announcement in the evening broadcast of the names of each soldier killed and their home town. I still think each of these soldiers deserve to have mention made of their grave injuries and photos from their funerals, showing the mourners. It's like our government is so ashamed they want to keep it all under wraps. Who says our media shouldn't be allowed to show photos of the flag draped coffins coming home? Isn't that part of our guarantee of "free speech"? *Nancy*

Anonymous said...

Oh Linda,

Your post sounds exactly like several conversations I had yesterday. Yesterday I honestly felt I had reached my limit with not only the current administration, but also with the widespread "fluff reporting" by the media. I signed online yesterday to this headline: "The world braces for Hilton's release from prison." I wanted to scream!

I wasn't thinking about Hilton; instead I was thinking about how effective and pernicious the "distraction tactic" truly is. While we're all tuned into American Idol and reading about yet another Britney Spears' wardrobe gaffe, Bush is signing us into martial law, Cheney is making vast cuts to financial aid programs, and we, as a nation, are getting more sickly, beaten down and divided.

Sometimes it feels overwhelming. I happened to find your blog today and am so happy to see that someone else is noticing. I think I need to follow suit and start keeping an online journal. There needs to be more of us putting forth the very information "they" want us to miss. I haven't met one person lately aware of the martial law issue and just how real the threat to our freedom truly is. Sorry for the long comment! Thank you so much for what you're writing!!


ps: I found you through the course website. I would LOVE to take a class with you, but like many Americans have a laid off husband, no medical insurance, and health issues galore. I need to work on healing so I am less dependent upon the health care system...hopefully soon I can raise the funds!

Linda Pendleton said...

Thank you for responding so nicely to my blog article. I very much appreciate your comments, and no, you are not alone in this thinking. I have discovered there are many of us who feel the same, and somewhat helpless in not having the ability to speak out, and blogging is one way to share thoughts.

What is happening to our country is so frustrating. I hope you come back from time to time and share with us. Thanks.

And I send you healing energy...