The 60 Minutes interview of the Bush Administration’s top “terrorist advisor”, Richard Clarke, and his damning testimony about President Bush, should be analyzed in a way that is consistent with what we already know about the media.
We’ve been down this road before.
Clarke just follows in a long line of insurgents who have broken ranks with the administration, and made their case against the President. That list now includes General Zinni, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, Intelligence Analyst Greg Theilman and Ex-Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill.
Clarke’s contribution is more of the same; “The President ignored warnings of an impending attack; he’s made American’s less safe; the war in Iraq was based on deception.” We’ve heard the litany before.
His testimony will generate the perfunctory “ooohs and ahhhs,” after which, the story will be consigned to the circular receptacle in the corner of the room.
This is how the media operates.
If they are forced to cover an “unpleasant” story that discredits the “great leader”, then, cover it they will. After all, the mask of credibility is what sells newsprint.
But, be serious, a story like this doesn’t change hearts and minds unless it is driven home every day for weeks in a front page story. That’s just how public opinion is shaped, and the media executives know it.
Look at the way Clinton was drawn and quartered. The media took a minor indiscretion, of no consequence to the security of the country, and they banged it up on the front page of every paper in the country for months on end until he looked like a latter-day Bluebeard. It was a well orchestrated witch hunt that overturned the popular mandate, and rendered Clinton’s Presidency null and void.
When the media decides its checkout time, you might as well pack your bags, as Clinton discovered.
Similarly, during the Iran hostage fiasco, when American’s were held prisoner in retaliation for US support of the murderous Shah, newspapers across the country chronicled the humiliation by counting off the days in the headlines; DAY 64; NO HOSTAGES! It became the daily mantra that left the Carter Presidency in a shambles. It proved beyond a doubt that a president can be effectively deposed without ever leaving the Oval Office.
Will this happen with Bush?
It’s absurd to even consider it. The corporate press is more aligned with this President than any of his predecessors. He’s their guy.
The list of crimes perpetrated by this administration would fill volumes and, yet, the media discreetly looks away.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone.
The media operates on a “bottom line” strategy, not in the public interest. Their goal is to make money and create a corporate friendly environment for selling widgets to the American people. They’re not looking altruistically to bring the unvarnished truth to the “unwashed.” That’s the parson’s job.
Hubris has descended like a dark cloud over America’s media giants. They’ve just hoodwinked their fellow countrymen into invading and occupying a defenseless third world country on the shabbiest of pretenses. So, dressing up George Bush to look like Winston Churchill should be no big task.
No, Bush will not get the pasting he so richly deserves. America’s public narrative is reliably controlled by an elite corps who are well adept at turning a “sow’s ear” into “Bush at War.”
Look for the dust to settle over the Clarke flap in about two weeks when Boy-George is modeling some new military jumpsuit for an adoring camera crew.
MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: [email protected]