Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The State of the Modern Media

From a CNN column on potentially attacking Iran,
Author George Santayana famously said, "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Somehow I doubt we will hear that line of reasoning brought up by Romney, Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum when they talk about what the United States should do about Israel and Iran.

We also won't hear how Iran is not in violation of international law or that U.S. presidents don't control gas prices.

All we'll hear is that this president is weak and that we need to bomb the hell out of Iran.

And maybe that's true, I don't know.
Then, dare I ask, why is he writing about the issue?
I do know it is hard for voters to separate the wheat from the chaff, because before Obama even voices his position on an issue, his opponents are prepared with a rebuttal.
Not a rebuttal - demagoguery, often predicated upon misrepresentation or outright falsehood, is not a rebuttal. But alas, the author would have to be somewhat familiar with the issues to know that - and he admits that he knows nothing about the issues.

A lot of people attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff by tuning in to news sources, such as CNN. It seems fair to say that news sources such as CNN should do better than shrug and, in effect, tell people that they need to find the answers somewhere else.
That's no way to hold a healthy national discussion on something that's inconsequential, let alone foreign policy.
Agreed, but this column reflects why it is possible to hold a national discussion in this manner. Given the opportunity to separate the wheat from the chaff, the author chose not to do any investigation, and thus the column is nothing but a criticism of form without any helpful information of substance. If "in our sound-bite driven culture, it is an effective way to win an election" it's in no small part because lazy media figures don't require that candidates substantiate their sound bites.

In fairness the author does note that Mitt Romney "essentially lied" when he said "(Obama) failed to communicate that military options are on the table and in fact in our hand, and that it's unacceptable to America for Iran to have a nuclear weapon," but that's pretty tepid given the nature of the rhetoric and pervasiveness of the mendacity (or in some cases, appalling ignorance, or both) of leading candidates such as Romney, Gingrich and Santorum. Besides, there's no "essentially" about it.

Why qualify the assertion with "essentially" - Romney either lied or he didn't. I expect Romney's response would be that... he didn't believe Obama so that frees him to argue that, whatever the President's words, they failed to convey the necessary conviction that he would act." And I expect that even if the media attempted to challenge Romney on his statement, which they probably won't, they'll allow his mealy-mouthed rationalization of his mendacity to stand.

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