Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Round and Round

Glenn Greenwald and others have documented the mass media's aversion to Democratic investigations of administrative misconduct and the resulting tendency for media personalities to ascribe to the masses of American people their own views; that is, inside the beltway media stars believe and openly assert, without any empirical evidence of any kind, that the American people share their own views. Perhaps the media elite believe this because they assume their ruminations are witnessed and uncritically consumed by their audience.

Another feature of today's media is the practice of government stenography, whereby reporters and other news personalities faithfully transcribe information from their trusted government sources and then just as faithfully and uncritically, pass that government information, virtually verbatim, down to us, via newspaper article, editorial pages, or cable teevee screens. The most recent example of this was the capture/kidnapping by Iran of British agents/navy sailors in Iranian waters.

One particular manifestation of media stenography has been the practice of recycling administrative claims from Iraq every few months or so without the media seemingly aware of its own amnesia. Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog has noted two examples of this in just the last few weeks.

The first example concerns reports that Iraqi citizens and perhaps captured insurgents are providing our occupying force with valuable "tips" on insurgent activities and that these tips are increasing. Consider, if you would, this timeline. In the case of "tips" the timeline starts with an October 2003 byline and is most recently regurgitated just over two weeks ago.

A second example concerns reports that Iraqi opposition, whether of the Al Qaeda in Iraq, Sunni Baathist insurgents, or insider Shiite militias in some cases, is fragmenting. Again, consider this timeline.

And of course we've seen this kind of thing with various killings/capturings of Al Qaeda in Iraq's mythical "number two" and other like-minded "turning the corner" events.

So, while the media continues to carry the administration's water in the case of allegations of wrongdoing and investigations by Congress, it likewise has enabled the administration's campaign of misinformation by uncritically recycling old claims that promise a corner or corners are NOW being turned in Iraq because one or many of the obstacles to "victory" have been or are being overcome.

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