Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bushwhacking - Expanded

Bush whacking by anyone outside the U.S. is a matter of opinion. Anyone is entitled to his or her own, I guess.

Bush bashing by anyone inside the U.S. is somewhat self-defeating, but clearly justified. Indeed a goodly portion of the American people elected him, twice. Well once and a half really. Notwithstanding the fact that many Americans feel the electoral process has failed them in this instance, I really want to look at why I said he is “the result” and not the cause.

My friend Martin brings up a good point (see comments on previous blog).

The media and American people are at fault?

Yeah, I do believe this to be true, but not in the popular manner. Or maybe it is popular but I just haven't heard or read about it yet.

First, the people of the U.S. have a history of minding their own business. I would not qualify the mass as egotistical, not at all. But I feel there is a current of thought much like the quote from a Lord of the Rings hobbit which went something like: we should not pay mind to what goes on beyond our borders, make no trouble and no trouble will come to you.

My evidence is empirical of course, yet it is consistent since at least WW2.

Mind you, and this is the utter dichotomy that the rest of us have a hard time with. The US governments, since even before Roosevelt jumped into the fray after the attack on Pearl Harbor (note the American spelling of harbour, not a mistake on my part), have come to aid countries and foreign governments in peril. One will remember the Japanese retribution on the harbour was because they felt slighted by U.S. aid to China, declared or not.

When the cause is just, and maybe sometimes when it's not so much, the U.S. government will undertake military and economic action. And now the clincher - you see this coming right? - they actually have a history of doing this despite the people's wishes!

So what gives?

We are led to believe that the typical American wants nothing to do with the outside world, yet their gubmint has foreign policies which are, shall we say, aggressive?

The easy answer is power and money. Duh. Yeah, yeah, protecting the American way of life, blah, blah. I'll leave all that shite to Michael Moore.

The hard answer is manipulation.

This is where the media’s failure comes in, to Martin’s point.

There are spin-doctors working for the gubmint. Assuming Aaron Sorkin was even 1% correct in his depiction of the workings of gubmint on The West Wing, and I suspect he’s actually not far off the mark, the media has been fed and manipulated for at least the past 60 years.

Check out Good Night, and Good Luck for a chilling interpretation of how this can happen and is somewhat avoided. Maybe.

Sometimes the media has been well manipulated (9/11) and sometimes not so much (Vietnam). The former caused outrage – and support, at least for a while. The latter caused outrage and a national pullout movement, oops.

Now I’m not saying the gubmint manipulates all media, indeed not. Even that would be a stretch for me. But consider without video cams and instant coverage, the Twin Towers debacle would have made the front page of newspapers the next day, and ugly as it was, would have lost much of it’s potency in the process.

But “right there, in your face, all the time”? Media that is too raw and so it’s way too easy to make a statement, especially if it’s the wrong one. Editors are there for a reason. Context is there for a reason.

I remember something bizarre about 9/11. I saw on TV, I think if was that very evening, Los Angeles class sub(s) in the gulf fired some Tomahawk missiles. It only dawned on me several days later that they were shooting at targets of opportunity and not so much retribution.

The bizarre thing is that I felt strangely satisfied that revenge had been exacted.

Until I found out about the whole minor detail of the wrong target thingy. Then I just felt betrayed.

My point is that raw data in the media, may or may not work in ones favour. Sure we can then have hindsight to apply, but the initial manipulation has been done. No one can take back the terror damage done by instant footage of the Tower’s crash. That’s the very point of terrorism and terrorism needs quick media in order to work properly.

An exercise if you will.

Imagine a little bit of editing, very little in fact, on the Twin Towers aircraft crash footage. Add a voice-over or caption saying this: “Civil and military authorities are conducting experiments on building resilience after attack. What you are about to see is actual footage of test missile firings on buildings to be demolished in a few days. They and surrounding buildings have been evacuated for safety.”

These are the exact same pictures, but presented in a different context. See how easy that was?

Make this kind of editing pervasive throughout modern media and you have manipulated the entire population.

So now we are scared and irrevocably so. And have been for a good long while. (Ref. many previous posts on the subject of “Fear”.)

And we feel powerless, sometimes dejected.

Some feel outright hopelessness.

And so, maybe out of anger and need for comeuppance, we elect those that we believe will defend us nice and proper.

Bush and his ilk are… the result.

I think the solution is simple, if impossible to implement. The media does need fixing, and the editing needs to be done by men and woman of outstanding social fabric - note that I did NOT say HIGHER social fabric, I said outstanding.

My grandmother was one such person. She was intelligent and had disarming common sense, life experiences untainted by judgemental attitude, a righteous set of personal beliefs and an uncanny wherewithal to separate fact from fiction. Sure she had some strong opinions, but if you wanted the straight goods? Holy shit did this woman ever tell it like it is.

My grandma was a cotton weaver, and she was deaf.


Blogger DeathSweep said...

Am I reading this right? Are you saying that a catastrophic incidence such as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center should not have been shown for what it really was? That the US population should have been manipulated so that the feelings that the attack invoked were somehow squelched? You say that terrorism is dependant on the current media in order for it to have the effect it does; wouldn't you call that manipulation as well. I don't know about you or the rest of the United States population but I don't want to be manipulated in any way at all. I want to know facts so that I can use them to make an educated decision. As far as Bush being the result and not the cause, that may be true. Although I didn't vote for him in either election I still believe that the American population has the right to make any choice offered to them be it the right or wrong one. That's what freedom is about, freedom is not having the world edited to suit one person or another in hopes that the result will be the way you want it. on a role there...provocative blog


July 15, 2007 8:43 p.m.  
Blogger Steve said...

Thanks for your thoughts DS. Good points all.

First, no I'm not saying news should be squelched. I am saying that the terrorists used our own news system against us to perpetrate their heinous act. The media itself was manipulated, used as a weapon if you will.

Second, I believe that the news is in fact edited to suit a particular cause, be it money, special interest or gubmint, etc. The media as a whole has not seen fit to properly challenge the establishment in recent times, check and balance, as it once did.

Finally, fear mongering has become de rigeur. We are afraid of everything now, and knee jerk reaction is now the default. Hence our electoral choices reflect that very fact.

Thank all the gods that the right-to-choose has not yet been squelched.


July 15, 2007 9:19 p.m.  

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