Monosyllabic Pedantry

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Propaganda


There's been a little dust up lately because it came out that the US military has a news outlet in Iraq spinning good news. The largest source of propaganda, the mainstream media, apparently doesn't like competition. That's a joke. The truth is that every moron in the MSM thinks they are Woodword and Bernstein, and they are in an epic battle against THE MAN. Somewhere along the line, they replaced the idea of being the watchdog of government to flat out hating the US and everything it does. I used to just think they are naive, useful idiots. Now I've come to believe that they really do hate this country, and would like nothing more than to see us lose the fight over Iraq. If you were to ask them, they would vehemently deny this, and believe it, but their actions say otherwise. A quick review of what gets covered and what doesn't, what gets emphasized and repeated over and over, and what gets buried on page 13, leaves little doubt.
It wasn't always so. Before Vietnam, the press was on our side. This was good. The enemy had their Tokyo Rose, we had ours. Certainly part of it was that we didn't let the press into our battle areas. Now we have embedded reporters, an albatros around the neck of whatever unit gets stuck with babysitting them. There's no question that the presence of the press has a direct relationship with the politicizing of the war. Another bad thing. But it's not just that. The press proudly exclaims that they are neutral (a despicable betrayal of your own country) and then refuses to report any good news, and there's tons of it. How about a nice story about the schools that opened, the children that love our soldiers and are learning? When you report that two marines got killed, why don't you report that we killed 57 of their guys in that battle? For God's sake, how about not putting the first free election in middle east history on page 13? I think they feel that if they report anything positive, they are the tool of THE MAN.
Back to propaganda. Anybody with a three digit IQ knows that propaganda is a useful tool in a war. (Maybe that's why the MSM doesn't get it.) I'm nostalgic for the old fashioned WWII propaganda, where the enemy was relegated to one-dimensional, pure evil characters. The germans were HUNS, the japanese were JAPS. They were frequently portrayed as blood-thirsty cannibals, committing the most horrific acts. Is it ironic that a lot of it turned out to be true? The fact is that, if you want to take a generally nice kid off the farm and make him kill another human being, you don't remind him about anything he may have in common with his enemy. You don't tell him his enemy may have two kids at home, just like him . You convince him that the enemy is a marauding horde of Satan-worshippers that is out to drink his kid's blood. You don't, as a nation, whine about finding out why the enemy hates us.
I remember watching a WWII era movie. It was about a bunch of wives that had boarded together because all their husbands were fighting the war. There were plenty of scenes of them anxiously reading letters and being terrified eveytime the doorbell rang, for fear there was an army chaplain at the door with bad news. The scene that stuck with me was this: One of the wives had gotten a jar of jam, I think on the black market, because jam was rationed. She hid that jar of jam like it was a dead baby. The guilt over it racked her until she finally got her comeuppance. All of that over a jar of jam, because it hurt the war effort. Compare that with today, where we have many of our citizens proudly giving aid and comfort to the enemy, without fear of the prosecution they deserve.
I suppose part of it is that the world has shrunk so much. We can see that there are many similarities between anyone on the globe and ourselves. Apparently not enough to keep us from killing each other. I guess the terrorists are only getting propaganda.

You can always go to Happy News

Apparently, I write one day ahead of the curve, as there's a great article at Opinionjournal about this. Here's their stats:

For the stories published or broadcast all over the world on a single average day (which happened to be Jan. 21, 2005). Here are some of the numbers that, with the help of the Google News Index, he was able to report from that one day:

2,642 stories about Condoleezza Rice's confirmation hearings, in the context of grilling she has received over the administration's Iraq policy.

1,992 stories about suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks.

887 stories about prisoner abuse by British soldiers.

216 stories about hostages currently being held in Iraq.

761 stories reporting on activities and public statements of insurgents.

357 stories about the antiwar movement and the dropping public support for involvement in Iraq.

182 stories about American servicemen killed and wounded in operations.

217 stories about concerns for fairness and validity of Iraqi election (low security, low turnout, etc.).

107 stories about civilian deaths in Iraq.

123 stories noting Vice President Cheney's admission that he had underestimated the task of reconstruction.

118 stories about complicated and strained relations between the U.S. and Europe.

121 stories discussing the possibility of an American pullout.

27 stories about sabotage of Iraqi oil infrastructure.

As against all this, the good news made a pathetic showing:

16 stories about security successes in the fight against insurgents.

7 stories about positive developments relating to elections.

73 stories about the return to Iraq of stolen antiquities.

2 Comments:

  • I agree that the dust-up over propagandizing the Iraqi news media is a non-story. Something has to be done to outflank the endless anti-US screed coming from Al-Jazeera and the Eurotrash.

    However, your assertion that we didn't let press in the battle areas during WWII is flat wrong. Ernie Pyle, one of that war's most celebrated correspondents, was cut down by Jap machine gun fire in 1945. Ernie was a favorite especially of the enlisted man. His style of reporting was to get down in the foxholes and hug the dirt with the GIs, not hang out at general's cocktail parties. One of the best examples of his writing is his classic, The Death Of Captain Waskow, which can be read here:http://www.pbs.org/weta/reportingamericaatwar/reporters/pyle/waskow.html

    By Anonymous Sarcastro, at 5:54 AM  

  • Perhaps better phrasing would have been, "we better controlled where the press went."
    We also better controlled what they reported.

    By Blogger Exador, at 6:18 AM  

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