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.)