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News Media Last Updated: Apr 4th, 2006 - 14:38:49

Iraq redux
By Dom Stasi
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Apr 4, 2006, 14:36

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�When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.� --George Bernard Shaw

We are a people who observe anniversaries. Some are grand and celebratory recollections, events we embrace with family, friends, glee. Others are hardly more than obligatory nods to some arbitrary date. Others still, are those from which we cower.

March 19 marked one of the latter.

It marked an anniversary that we, as free, intelligent, caring men and women can only face with horror. March 19 marked the third anniversary of our invasion of Iraq. It also marked the third anniversary of our toleration of atrocity carried out in our name.

We are now in our fourth year of occupation there. It is our fourth year of stomping the life from a defenseless people and a sovereign state, neither of which intended us harm. We are in our fourth year of demonstrably senseless and often indiscriminate slaughter of strangers in a strange land. It is a slaughter carried out by an unholy alliance of the most and the least powerful of our countrymen. It is an atrocity inspired by the richest Americans, prosecuted by the poorest, and funded by neither. The war makers� shield is the worn fa�ade of a once proud America.

Simply stated, we are in our fourth year of the American democracy�s abject failure.

The tragedy is compounded by an apparent willingness on the part of so many of our countrymen and their �leaders� to simply ignore or defend the litany of American atrocities rather than admit to them. Their attitudes and actions diminish us all. They diminish America.

But even as our countrymen kill without reason, steal without recourse, proceed without plans, still another atrocity -- an entirely new one -- must be endured by thinking and reasoning Americans. We must now, it seems, endure the nauseatingly predictable platitudes of the very same hypocrites who cheered us into this bloody, oily, sorrowful, costly mess. By that I mean the talking heads of TV and the equally useful idiots of the press. I mean those who�ve spent the years since 9/11 growing rich or famous or just saving their jobs as propagandists by exploiting the gullible, the easily spooked, and the bloodthirsty among us. They�ve done so with their words, with their sensational if irrelevant reportage, and with their bankrupt philosophies of fear and loathing, all of it screamed from their pulpits on high.

Those of us who think, are condemned to watch along with those who it seems do not.

We�re condemned to eavesdrop as those who still purport to be journalists and experts, yet have proven themselves little more than accessories to grand theft and murder, weasel out of the lies they�ve spewed since that September morn three years ago. We must listen, unwillingly, as their lies impinge upon our ears, our eyes, our psyche, unrelenting, unwanted, Orwellian. We must look at and we must listen to the liars as they climb from the mire of their absolute professional failings and personal cowardice, neither humbled nor repentant.

We must watch because it is no longer enough to just change the channel. No. The liars are everywhere now. We are force fed their images by TV screens that have become an irritating part of airport waiting rooms. We must listen to them on taxicab radios. And we must read, involuntarily, their glaring, monosyllabic headlines as we walk quickly past the newsstand where we once happily paused each day.

In short, if we are to be in the American scene at all, we must endure the calculated assault on our senses that today characterizes a ubiquitous popular media.

Undaunted by their unbroken string of errors, the practitioners of pulp continue to regale us with their dueling quotes disguised as insight, their neuroses disguised as toughness, their White House press releases disguised as analyses, their incorrect opinions disguised incredibly as wisdom. In the words of the old Billy Joel song, we cannot avoid �their pointless points of view.� It is brainwashing, plain and by no means simple. And it works.

Otherwise, how can it be that after five years of this crap, they�ve not run out their credibility string, these know-nothing experts of the corporate media?

I had a willing hand in building this media. Today, I find so much of it insufferable.

Perhaps it�s because I have proximity. I can see what�s crawling in the darkness beneath the rocks. Perhaps that�s why I see signs that they are finally sounding and behaving like the uninformed talking heads, or the outright liars they surely are. Perhaps it�s why I see the fantasy of balanced perception these hucksters so proudly hail, as slowly shifting its underlying but mandatory bias.

Even outside the media�s ivory towers, much of the public is starting to sense that the pundits seem to be suddenly, if dimly, aware that they might have missed something lo these past few dismally retrogressive years.

Small wonder. Because the something they�ve missed has been roughly as apparent to the rest of us as would be an enormous, stinking, bellowing, rampaging, bull elephant living in our underwear. That something is of course the pop press�s long overdue recognition that this federal administration, this gaggle of knaves upon whom the ladies and gentlemen of the information mass media have spent the last five years doting, is a bunch of crooks, traitors, killers, and just plain knuckleheads.

As the circulation and ratings of news media dwindle, a growing number of the media�s practitioners seem suddenly less willing to blindly kiss up and ask softball questions at White House press briefings in an effort to get -- albeit incorrect -- information from a vindictive and stonewalling White House communications office. They seem no longer completely blinded -- not completely blinded -- by the Bush administration�s staged, if non-existent heroics. In fact, we are starting to actually hear and read about this administration�s serial incompetence. The irony is that we�re getting it from another bunch of proven incompetents: the mainstream press, the cable TV pundits, and the oh-so-serious �Sabbath Gasbags,� as columnist Calvin Trillin has correctly labeled the Alibi Ikes who appear on the Sunday morning TV �news� shows.

Could it be that the mainstream media have actually noticed in our �leaders� an absence of both ethics and abilities that the �alternative� press and so-called �fake news� had somehow recognized and have been reporting on contiguously since the 2000 campaign?

But instead of coming clean, the talking heads of electronic and the stenographers of print journalism are visibly struggling to cover those deadly mistakes now.

Unfortunately, and in the finest tradition of the paranoid corporate hacks they so obviously are, the blabbers and scribblers are not admitting their deadly mistakes. Instead, they are squirming in the light and heat of accountability. The disciples of �stay the course� are suddenly drifting to port. I say drifting because they are following the current, not leading, not navigating, not forecasting, not doing what training and ethics would mandate.

No. They are drifting -- less wrong today than yesterday perhaps, but not more right. They are hoping to hide their post 9/11, unbroken record of wrongness, and wrongness, and more wrongness yet, and doing it the only way they know how, behind a facade of righteous indignation and feigned outrage.

Will their public, their readers and viewers and listeners, those who�ve hung on their every word and gesture while themselves cowering too deeply in fear to find the truth on their own, be willingly fooled again? Perhaps. Because when it comes to punditry, angry commentary is usually enough. Sprinkle it with a smattering of arcane words their fans don�t recognize and it�ll sound downright brilliant. In fact, if the commentary is delivered by a bulimic Barbie doll, or a guy wearing googley eyeglasses and a bowtie some might think it worthy of a Pulitzer!

To validate this, one need only stop for a moment and consider the childlike, credulous, and hopelessly biased fan base the conservative pundits have built. Look at the growing ratio (60 to 1) of right-wing versus progessively formatted radio talk shows that have emerged in the past 15 years. Compare that to the declining circulation of newspapers among informed and critical readers and the ever-more tabloid editorial formats that will drive many of us further away still. Consider that each of them has closed its foreign bureau or reduced it to but a single correspondent, most covering an entire continent. Consider this in the light of its rationale: a self-defeating hope of gaining a foothold among the uncritical, the true believers, the semi-literate -- or more simply put: the easily sold.

Consider these things and you�ll understand why the pundits think that they can fool their faithful base yet again and get away with it. Do that, and you�ll see why perhaps this time, after all this time, the pundits might actually be right about something.

Could it be that those who remain faithful to these so called journalists who�ve gotten it wrong from the start, will believe much on faith? Need it only come from a pulpit of authority? I, for one, think so.

That pulpit might be a podium emblazoned with a fancy emblem, such as that behind which the president stands when he lies to us. Or it might be a newspaper masthead, a radio tower, a TV satellite in space. It matters but little. It�s an authority icon, and they -- the faithful -- are childlike. They�ll believe what they�re told, wholly unaware that when examined in context, faith and knowledge can coexist only in inverse proportion.

Sooner or later, when claim after claim goes unproven and unfounded, all but the most completely credulous humans lose their faith in authority. Critical thinkers eventually demand evidence. Since 9/11 the authority peddlers have shown us much of the former and none of the latter.

So, as we the people reflect upon a sad anniversary, a period spent in mass demonstrations, or in quiet and somber contemplation of that which our countrymen have wrought with their fear and ignorance, we mustn�t forget the travesty of truth spewn forth by the vulgar, manipulative swine of the right-wing and mainstream media who fed that fear and ignorance. We should be less than willing to forgive these killers of the innocents whose words are their weapons -- these creatures whose putrid mouths and poison pens now feign a righteous outrage as if this debacle of blood and death and heartbreak and robbery, this avoidable human tragedy, unfolded sans their complicity.

So, while they endeavor to convince themselves and persuade their followers that it would all have happened with or without their encouragement, the rest of us just won�t buy it anymore.

But lest we do forget, and as we watch them slowly squirm and change their childish stories, hoping their murderous lies of the recent past will fall into the great American memory hole, as they probably will if the rest of us remain silent, please allow me to remind us all how very obvious was the criminal manipulation of our innocent, frightened, gullible, or just simple-minded American brethren who believed the lies of the corporate press and right-wing media and the White House communications office.

Copyright � 2006 Dom Stasi

Dom Stasi is a technology executive in the television and motion picture industry in Hollywood. Mr. Stasi also flew aerial reconnaissance during the Cold War and, after an honorable discharge, worked as a flight test engineer whose specialty was the flight test and certification of advanced military aerial reconnaissance systems. He may be reached at

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