This column doesn�t exist
By Rosemary and Walter
Online Journal Contributing Writers
Feb 8, 2006, 16:21
George W. Bush
doesn�t like the media. He proudly tells the nation that he doesn�t read
newspapers, magazines, or books. He and his dwindling corps of sycophants, some
of whom prepare his daily briefings, believe the media don�t tell the truth --
at least their version of the truth. They are sure the lyin� liberal media
(which they believe is a redundancy) are on a conspiracy to �get him� -- or at
least expand his world beyond Oil Drip, Texas.
Of course, they�re
wrong. For most of his presidency, the media have merely channeled what he
says, preferring to confine their investigative reports to the latest Hollywood
break-ups, trysts, and scandals.
Before 9/11, the
media gave Bush an unbelievable honeymoon, seldom criticizing him for anything
except his fractured syntax. After 9/11, the media bought almost everything he
said, not unlike the disintegrating Democrats who poke their fingers into the
wind to determine that speaking the truth would be a sign of weakness and
disloyalty. And so the establishment media, long ago resigned to a lifestyle of
digesting massive heapings of press releases and then expelling them as
fertilizer to the masses, didn�t challenge his lies about the weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq, the �necessity� to suspend a few civil liberties in order
to �defeat the enemy,� and never questioned why high oil prices and destroying
the environment were in the people�s best interest. They merely saluted and
went on to the next story, reporting a mixture of facts, semi-truths, and lies,
having decided that in the aura of objectivity their role was to be
stenographers, taking �he said/she said� statements to transmit to the people.
Of course, every now
and then there�s a blip, enough for the president to lament the media just hate
him and all that he stands for. There�s an occasional story about the lack of
ethics among the Republican-dominated Congress or massive intrusion on
Americans� civil liberties and rights of privacy. But, those stories are buried
by overdoses of celebrity news and Aunt Gertie�s birthday card shower.
At the same time
Bush has attacked the media while also fashioning a message that makes people
believe he is a populist -- �I�m an outsider to government, just wanting to
help the people� -- he has used the media as his own personal voice.
What if there were
no media? What if for some ethereal reason the media all got together, decided
they really were tired, needed a sabbatical, and created a self-imposed
moratorium on news, their decision being the last story they published or
couldn�t all get together to use the media to complain about how bad the media
are. Since there are no media, there would be no one at the infrequent press
conferences. There would be no media giving up some of their journalistic
integrity to jockey for the best seats on Air Force One or at Washington
elections in November, how ever would the political parties thrust insipid
candidates spouting rickety platforms upon the masses?
There would be no
one to accept the myriad pork-barrel press releases from members of Congress
who want to show the �folks back home� they care enough about them and their
votes, and that�s why they successfully got a naval supply house in Haystacks,
Kansas, or a museum on the south side of Chicago dedicated to cow tipping.
They wouldn�t be
able to get national air time because there would be no appearances on �Oprah,�
the morning semi-news infotainment shows, the evening news, late night talk
shows, or even the far more honest and journalistically competent �Daily Show�
because they wouldn�t even exist.
There wouldn�t be
any radio to capture their distortions of reality and transmit them to an
audience that prefers to hear conservative slobbering talk-mouths and Golden
Oldies music from the Bayou.
could still spew press releases, but without media there would be no one to
print or televise them. They could distribute millions of flyers and
newsletters, but the Government Printing Office is part of the media and, thus,
would also be closed. Paid ads in newspapers, radio, and television would be
useless since those media don�t exist.
If the Hollywood
film industry, which right-wing politicians equate with Satanic verses, went on
vacation, the politicians could create their own films and documentaries. But,
that won�t happen in a media vacuum.
still show their �normal� side by jamming with rock, jazz, or accordion bands
-- except that music is all part of the mass media. Without music, the
government couldn�t even blast loud screeches known as �the Top 40� to
terrorists to make them cave in.
politicians could try putting abbreviated epithets of false promise onto
billboards but there wouldn�t be any billboards because they�re also part of
The web? Not a
chance. Politicians have been complaining about the web as a source of evil, or
at least the repository for bare breast pictures for two decades. The web, the
newest mass medium, would already be closed by ethically-challenged and
sometimes adulterous politicians who have tried scoring votes by trying to
censor Internet sites and messages.
transmissions would all cease. Politicians could text message their pleas for
money or send video clips to the ubiquitous network of cell phones -- if cell
phones weren�t confiscated as part of the mass media.
Without the media,
President Bush and every politician would become useless; they wouldn�t matter;
they would be irrelevant. People might even start talking with each other, care
about each other.
But, that�s only a
Walter Brasch�s latest book
is �Unacceptable�: The Federal
Response to Hurricane Katrina, available
from amazon.com, borders.com, and other online and �brick-and-mortar� stores.
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