Tuesday, May 1, 2007

More on the Moyers documentary

(NOTE: This post from last week has been bumped up to give prominence to the exchanges in the comments section, the last few contributions to which were made today. -- The Rascal)

Before you click on this link for a good little essay by Glenn Greenwald about last night's edition of "Bill Moyers Journal" on PBS, wherein the media were skewered for swallowing the Bush administration's crapola in the months just prior to the war in Iraq, The Rascal has one observation to share:

One of the best things about Moyers' documentary is that it puts the lie to a popular myth among conservatives about the so-called liberal media. That myth holds that the media, controlled by a snobbishly liberal elite, is inherently inclined to oppose almost anything arising from a conservative Republican presidency.

The truth, as Moyers made clear, is that The New York Times, the Washington Post, the TV networks and the rest of the establishment media were more than eager four and five years ago to support this Republican president in his plans for military adventure in the Middle East. They were more than eager to marginalize, if not denounce, anybody who dared express skepticism about the matter. They were more than eager to play an indispensible role in the administration's calculated efforts to curry public favor for the policy. They were willing, in short, to be played like so many violins.

The lesson to be learned from this is that liberals have no more reason than conservatives to trust the mainstream media. That's why so many of the liberals in the blogosphere, unbeknownst to the conservatives who don't read such stuff, tend to be distrustful of (and sometimes hostile to) the establishment media.

UPDATE: Mark Knoller of CBS News takes issue today with Moyers' characterization of the White House press corps as lapdogs. The comments at the bottom of the piece rightly put Knoller in his place.


Mr. Baseball said...

Sorry I'm so late in posting this.
I did see the Moyers program and thought it was excellent. I distinctly remember at the time that there was almost nothing in the media challenging the President's assertions. It now seems like a replay of Vietnam, where the media and public at first didn't question anything our government told us. As the Iraq War drags on, the similarities to Vietnam are frightening. Didn't we learn anything?

mike s. said...

"Didn't we learn anything?"

Yeah, like what happens to the civilian population when we withdraw?

Mr. Baseball said...

You're right. The civilian population is doing so well right now.

Mike S. said...

If you really feel that they would be better off without U.S. troops there then you are right in thinking we should withdraw.

However, everything I've read written by Iraqis and others in theater points to a long term bloodbath if we were to leave.

Of course, that never happened in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos after we left and would never happen in Iraq. There are no terrorists in Iraq, just freedom fighters. Once we leave they'll all be happy to let a stable government develop, even if they aren't included in the power structure.

I hope that this time the people who were for withdrawal are at least brave enough to publicly take responsibility for the consequences. I'll be waiting for the apologies in the editorial section.

The Rascal said...

Mike: Several things: 1) What's this crap about "freedom fighters" in Iraq. That's not a term that critics of the war have applied to insurgents or sectarian goons. 2)You point to writings by Iraqis and "others in theater." Apparently that doesn't include writings by former U.S. military brass (including some with experience in Iraq) who say this war is a tragic blunder. 3)You refer to a "longterm bloodbath" in Iraq if U.S. forces leave. The bloodbath is now, in case you haven't noticed. 4) You seem also not to have noticed that most Iraqis want us the hell out of their country. 5) Your most outrageous assertion is that "the people who were for withdrawal" should be "brave enough to publicly take responsibility for the consequences." That's rich. The people who were against this stupid war are responsible for its consequences. Nice try, pal. The people with the blood on their hands are the Bushes, Cheneys, Rumsfelds and the pseudo-patriots who blindly swallowed their lies and their not-so-subtle implications that the Iraqis were involved in 9/11. Try your stuff over at FreeRepublic.com. It ain't gonna sell here.

Mr. Baseball said...

Amen, Rascal. Isn't it ironic that those who supported this mess now say the reason we have to stay is because it will be worse if we leave. This guy would still have us in Vietnam.

mike s. said...

It's fine to say the war is someone else's fault, but the decisions made now have to be based on the current situation. Everything previous is a "sunk cost", it should not be a part of the current decision making process. To put it in terms you can understand, "Get over it dude."

I believe that if the United States stays in Iraq and helps the Iraqi's they can achieve a stable government, and that if we leave that will not happen and that there will be a bloodbath, as happened in S.E. Asia. What's happening in Iraq now is not a civil war, it's a bunch of terrorist, mostly non Iraqi Al Quaeda in Iraq, blowing innocents up in an attempt to start a civil war. When we leave that war will start.

I would hope that we, as a nation, would be intelligent enough to learn from history. I'm sure that people though what the Khmer Rouge were doing in Cambodia in 1968 was a "bloodbath", until they saw what the Khmer started doing in 1975.

Hey, if you're right great, everyone goes home happy. But if you're wrong you won't have youth and ignorance as an excuse. Iraq may fall from the news after the U.S. leaves, but the stories will still hit the internet. You, and everyone else, will know what the results of our retreat were. If you are comfortable with that, fine.

By the way, I've never heard of FreeRepublic.com before. I know you think that everyone that sounds like me is a right wing wacko, but I'm a lot more mainstream than you seem to think. I think that those of us who came of age after the sixties probably have a different perspective than you.