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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Dissing Dissent

Mark Vonnegut, in a Dec. 27 column in the Boston Globe: "The outcome in Iraq will not depend on what we believe and how hard we believe it." Vonnegut, a pediatrician in Massachusetts, was writing in defense of his dad, novelist Kurt Vonnegut, who has been criticized as pro-terrorist for saying on national TV that suicide bombers are not crazy people but rather people willing to die for a cause.

The pro-war crowd has been consistently ironic in its denuciation of any dissent as anti-American and pro-terrorist -- ironic because these same people claim we are fighting this "war" to preserve our freedoms, which one can assume includes the First Amendment's freedom of speech and freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Connecting "anti-war" with "anti-American" is wrong, of course, but it serves a useful purpose for the pro-war propagandist. And we all know that this tactic has been largely successful, considering how the media so compliantly repeated, without independent investigation, all of the administration's assertions about Saddam's threat to the US.

The problem is corporate control of the media and the consequential focus on profit over reporting. These media companies are so worried about their bottom lines that they aren't about to rock the boat. Hell, much of the mainstream media is owned by companies that profit from war. For a network to be called anti-American simply means the possible loss of customers for some of the network's advertisers. So they do what needs to be done to prove their support for the war.

Sure, now that the invasion has become such a horrible mess that only gets worse, the media is starting to contest the president, somewhat, but Bush can still drop the "9-1-1" nuke-lar bomb of justifications whenever he wants without any protest from the media.

Robert Fisk, a British journalist who probably knows more about Middle East politics and history than any reporter, had some interesting comments about the use of propaganda here. I suggest you read it. He gives interesting insight into how the media can be twisted over time into abusing language to serve a political agenda. Understanding how this works is the one of the most important things any of us can do in these odd times.

I Just Lost My Lunch

I'd like to see Larry Flynt being interviewed about this.