Anti-war types are incensed that the Administration would ever try to stage anything that would put a better spin on the war effort than what the anti-war groups perceive:
“It’s important to demonstrate the perfidy and mendacity of this administration now,” said one leading spokesman, “before it becomes fixed in the mind of the public as an American ‘victory,’ or something to be admired and emulated in the future. If we don’t set the record straight now, who knows how history will record it? For all we know, they’ll decide to put up a bronze statue in Arlington to commemorate it, or something.”
Rand Simberg’s “article” comes to us from … 1945. Let’s face it, it is in the nature of all American Administrations, indeed of any regime, to justify its actions. And it is indeed the job of an observant press to question such propaganda. But what happens when some members of the press get their own ideas? Blogress Laura Lee Donoho shares an anecdote from Somalia, from her husband’s experiences there:
My husband had the opportunity to see this odious practice for himself when he was deployed to Somalia in 1992.
One day as my husband and part of his battalion was out in a convoy he saw a CNN newscrew near a group of Somalis. The crew and the Somalis were blocking the road that my husband’s convoy was attempting to go down so my husband checked into what was going on.
What he saw upset him so much that he called me that very day the first chance he got. He was livid.
He told me that blonde haired white people who were obviously working for CNN were making and handing out signs to the poor Somali people and having them pose for the camera with the signs which said stuff like, “Go home U.S. military.”
Manipulation of the “truth” is common, and one doesn’t have to be an establishment type, whether George Bush or Dan Rather, to do so. Recall the last time you decided to tell a white lie, or fudged your retelling of events to suit the point of your story (“I once caught a fish this big!”).
Which is really worse, the President holding a scripted “unscripted” conference with the troops that nevertheless manages to get the President’s message out, or the television producer who fabricates evidence but claims that the point is “fake but accurate”, relying on sentiments that cannot be discovered because the man who supposedly held them 30 years ago is conveniently dead? Then again, it really is a difference between the mentality of teamwork with life-or-death stakes, and the quite different stakes of taking down a political opponent when your own candidate fails to conduct a convincing campaign against a vulnerable incumbent.
But, don’t take my word for it. I have it on good authority that even though all Administrations do this, the Bush flub is particularly execrable and mendacious, and that the media never gets it wrong (or, at least, is never not “accurate”) except when they’re being set up by a right wing conspiracy.
Is it, nonetheless, embarrassing for the Bushies? Absolutely. Will it blow over? Most likely. If people can’t be bothered to tune in to the news of the Iraqi Constitutional Referendum, then people won’t be bothered to follow news of something that we all know people do. In the end, the brouhaha will have less impact than some would desire.
[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]