Filtration by the US media?

In this latest scrimmage by the Bush administration to defend its Iraq policy, the word du jour is filtration. The message being delivered from the White House is that Americans are getting their news from the media filtered, so that negative news predominates and much of the United States’ success in Iraq is not being told.

Listening to that message one would think that the subject matter merits debate; that is, if the message was not so utterly laughable- as if a prison guard was claiming mistreatment at the hands of the inmates. Yet, such rhetoric seems to be well received not only by the politically faithful but others as well in need of reassurances that everything is going well in Mes(s)opotamia.

But if we honor the truth, both printed and broadcast media could hardly have exercised any more self-restraint in their dealings with this administration in general, and the post-war occupation of Iraq in particular. One need only to witness what is being broadcast and printed in the foreign media to realize the level of self-censure that exists in the US.

And we are only acknowledging the self-censure of the mainstream media… and not the homophony coming from the disinformation media of the far right, most prominently displayed in the news and commentary coming out of the fair and balanced empire.

Should Americans be expected to go outside of their proverbial cocoon, the mainstream media, to get news with the unadulterated truth? Well, they may not be expected to, but may have no choice in the matter if truth is to prevail. It would be a sad day if that came to pass, but orwellian prophecies are no longer that farfetched.

Bush is right when he states that the news is being filtered, but with an about-face reason. Many would argue that the filtering taking place, whether by chance or design, portrays the administration in a better light than it should. Americans may not be getting trivial good news about Iraq from the media, but what is truly important, much of the bad news that should be reported is either omitted or minimized. The same goes for a host of other issues, such as the 9/11 investigation (pre-knowledge), the Ambassador Wilson Affair (leaks), the campaign of lies to promote the invasion of Iraq, and the current problem with the military (suicides, AWOL/desertions, and low morale).

We are not quite ready to declare a sub Rosa conspiracy of the media… but, why the self-censure? Is it intimidation by the government in one or multiple forms? Is it a pseudo-patriotic response to 9/11 and then to the pro-war sentiment created by the administration? Is it better for the media in these times of consumerism to keep away from controversy and perhaps American auto-criticism? Is it all of the above?

Right now the foreign press seems to be having a field day with the cartoon-like figure of one lieutenant general in our military, William Boykin, super-patriot and 21st Century crusader. They are not so much ridiculing him, as they are deriding how the government, the media and the American public are coping with this revelation. All seem to be dumbfounded as to why “the powers” are requiring the need of an inspector general to state the obvious.

And this little problem surfaces at the heels of the United States exercising a veto in the Security Council to a declaration denouncing Israel for building its infamous fence. Of course, Ambassador Negroponte put the accent to the anti-fence fiasco in the 144-4 vote in the U.N. General Assembly, where Israel and the United States were joined by two coalition members: Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. US against the world!

News should not be a qualitative state of events, good or bad. News is simply news… and nothing else. As to what news merit telling… that’s a matter subjective at best. Obviously, political news which reflect on or give answers to the most incisive questions of the day should be at the forefront. But US media, for whatever legitimate or illegitimate reasons, seem to be missing the boat.

Now that the Bush administration has insulted our intelligence once again with these outrageous charges of how good news is being filtered by the media, watch the president’s approval ratings go up another 2 or 3 points. Go figure!