Thursday, August 23

News You Can Use

Bush Compares Iraq to Vietnam

Bush Accepts Iraq-Vietnam Comparison

Bush Gambles With Vietnam Reference

Bush Compares Iraq Departure to Vietnam Pullout

THE last one at least gets it right (it's Canadian); in fairness CNN took the same tack in print. But I sat through coverage from three separate sources yesterday that fished the same waters ABC does: "US President George W Bush has adopted the risky strategy of invoking the Vietnam war to bolster his case for why American forces need to stay in Iraq...." Twice I was informed that this reversed a long-standing policy of resisting such comparisons.

Can anyone tell me who this is being written for? People who had a bet on it? People who would read the headline and think "Omigawd, the President has turned against the Iraq War! I'd better buy this paper!"? People who still think there's a "case" to be made, or that he's the man to make it? Fer chrissakes...did he say anything remotely surprising? No. Did he move one degree off his disastrous course? No. Did he do a 180º and suddenly get an historical analogy correct? Are you kidding me? This President removed himself from the Iraq debate in 2003, assuming he was ever part of it; he's congenitally incapable of taking part in one unless the refs are paid off, anyhow. He's irrelevant, except insofar as 24% of the public still says it listens to him. When they all enlist it'll be a story. In the meantime, I understand that the President of the United States, even one as rightly vilified as this one, is news. But that does not mean that every time he says, "Ice cream!" free sundaes rain down upon the nation's children.

And this slumber-party, Meagan-told-Alysia-she-thinks-you're-a-bitch coverage is applied to our national politics, the thing the Free Press is supposed to be about. I don't know if it's what we collectively deserve, but it's what we get. I've flipped on, or past, ESPN three times recently (I still don't know where 179 of my 190 channels actually reside) to see three different anchors discussing with three different journalist/experts the pressing issue of African-American support for Michael Vick. And the consensus was Vick has die-hard fans of the African persuasion who don't care what he's done! Sheesh, Lynndie England has fans who revel in what she did, and presumably none of them has been on the receiving end of two-hundred years of courts martials targeting female soldiers. What's especially disturbing about this is not how they held on to the racial angle like, well, a starving dog, but that this should come from sports reporting, which is generally light-years ahead of the rest of journalism and big chunks of the country on matters of race. And this is why I'm not bothering to mention the two perfectly-coifed CNN news hairdos who were chattering about the case when one (didn't catch the name; they should have uniform numbers) explained that she'd now been in Atlanta for two years, and while it was a GREAT city to live in, there were still some racial problems! (though, thankfully, none of them spill over into the studio). One couldn't help but picture taking the Bug in for service, having the mechanic come out in pearls and half-unbuttoned overalls, and say, "Sorry that took so long. I didn't know the engine was in the back."


Anonymous said...

"Sorry that took so long. I didn't know the engine was in the back."

Dang! If only Scott Ritter had checked under the hood of Saddam's De Lorean, we never would've gotten into this mess!

Jesco Pernicus said...

I can see Laura, having left only Barney on his team, saying to her pouting husband backstage "You got us into this now get out there and say something"!

Anonymous said...

One thing you can say for Bush, just when you think you're at the point where you can say "Nothing he can do will shock me anymore." he manages to find a way to do it.

On the Daily Show, they had a clip of him saying, essentially "Some people argued then that pulling out of Vietnam would have no negative consequences for the South Vietnamese..."


I'm a 23-year-old with the knowledge of history one would expect from... any American, really, and I would bet real money that that's complete shit.

Nobody who didn't spend most of their time arguing with invisible men on the sidewalk would say that.

That he'd pick up this "We would've won Vietnam if we'd just stayed a little longer!" talking point doesn't surprise me, but the fact that he'd do it so clumsily... I guess that doesn't shock me either.

It's more that I have some basic human decency, so somebody lying to me that appallingly shocks me no matter how jaded I think I am.