Sunday, February 25, 2007

Free Association: Serving Their President

By Sheldon Richman

The news media pride themselves on their objective detachment from the stories they cover, but when the chips are down they are apologists for the state's worst crimes. They carry this off in many subtle ways. Example: television reporters frequently characterize what the U.S. troops are doing in Iraq as "serving their country." Fighting in Iraq can be service to the country only if the war is good for the country. But the allegedly detached media can't say the war is good (or bad) for the country without losing their detachment. So how can they say that Americans fighting the war are serving their country -- assuming that phrase has any meaning at all?

The troops are serving something, but it's not their country. They're serving the dull zealous aspiring autocrat who calls himself President of the United States and the agenda of the Empire lobby. That's what going to war amounts to: serving whatever hack politician happens to occupy the White House.

If Paddy Chayefsky was right when he had protagonist in The Americanization of Emily say, "We ... perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices," then the news media helps to perpetuate war.

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