Friday, June 08, 2007

We learned everything we know about elections in high school

Reporters and editors for the corporate media apparently learned everything they felt they needed to know about covering election campaigns in high school. In high school elections the only basis on which to choose between candidates are personality, appearance, poise, confidence, speaking style and (less often) debating skill. High school teachers and administrators invariably say that the experience of deciding for whom to vote in a school election should be used as training for participating in our national democracy as adults.

This message, that when choosing a president or Congressperson we should make the decision on the basis of the image the candidate’s campaign has presented, is apparently one that the reporters and editors for the main-stream corporate media have taken to heart. Besides, it is much easier to simply report what the candidates are saying, how they appear and speak and the image that the campaigns are presenting than to do investigative reporting. Actually doing some research and reporting whether what the candidates are claiming is true or not is a lot of work, Besides, investigative reporters who take their journalistic responsibilities seriously are often criticized as being biased by the supporters of the candidates whose lies they have exposed.

For example, in the Republican candidates debate last Tuesday, asked whether we should have invaded Iraq, Mitt Romney said that war could only have been avoided if Saddam “had opened up his country to I.A.E.A. inspectors, and they’d come in and they’d found that there were no weapons of mass destruction.” He dismissed this as an “unreasonable hypothetical.”

That, of course, is not how it happened at all. Saddam Hussein did allow the inspectors in. Remember Hans Blix? Remember how he did not find any weapons of mass destruction and was asking for more time to complete his inspections. President Bush was the one who ordered the inspectors out so that we could invade. You can look it up. If you did you would be a better journalist than most of the people who covered the debate. I could not find any report in the main-stream media that provided any fact-checking for any of the candidates’ statements, including Mitt Romney’s revisionist history.


Stella and Connie said...

Way to go David! There should be more people picking up on the lies given to gullible Americans.
I'm proud of you!

Anonymous said...

Dave, great points. I bet Romney was confusing Feb 2003 with Feb 1998 when the inspectors were expelled from Iraq.

It wouldn't take much creativity to come up with at least a dozen ways we could have avoided a full scale invasion of Iraq. We were already engaged in a limited war (Operation Southern Watch), and we had the advantage of being able to pick and choose specific targets from afar. Now, just as Colin Powell warned, we "own it."

It's crystal clear to me that the invasion of Iraq was a foregone conclusion months before 9/11. The only application of energy was spent building the "excuse matrix" to invade. There was zero creativity in planning the application of force, and a complete lack of planning for the application of other elements of national power.

I'd rather have my high school class president running the show today.

Dave Barrett said...

Connie and Huck, thank you for your supportive comments.

Even only knowing what we knew at the time it was clear to anyone who was paying attention that the decision had already been made months before we actually invaded -- during the time when the Bush Administration was pretending that military action would not be necessary if Iraq complied with our demands. Now we know that Bush was wanting to invade Iraq before 9/11 and possibly before he was elected.

Indeed, Huck, there is a good chance that your high school class president could have done a better job than Bush.

What has happened to our meritocracy?