Monday, June 16, 2008

The Third Falsehood

First came Iraq. A lost cause; the sooner we’re out, the better. Now with its cover saying, “Iraq starts to fix itself,” the Economist, which had proclaimed the U.S. effort in Iraq a “debacle,” sits itself down to a meal of crow. Of course the article is full of qualifiers, but the Economist is ahead of the American media in owning up to the current positive picture in Iraq. In the U.S., as the Economist notes, the media have dealt with Iraq’s turn for the better by ignoring it--airtime that in 2007 went 22% for Iraq news is now down to 4% and falling.

Iraq is the media’s #1 reason for voting Obama this fall. But reason #2 is the second falsehood, the poor state of our economy. Where is that recession, anyway? Though he overstates his point, Anatole Kaletsky, in The Times (London), says flatly: “If there were going to be a US recession in response to the credit crisis, it would have started by now. So let me stick my neck out and say without qualification - the US economy is out of the woods.”

Given their success with Iraq and the economy, the media are now working on their third falsehood designed to deliver the election to Obama: McCain is Bush, or McBush. Democrats want to tie McCain to Bush because of the president’s high negatives, and the media are gleefully going along. McCain is Bush because he favors victory in Iraq. Never mind that McCain called for Rumsfeld to be fired and blasted Rummy’s strategy, never mind McCain called for a troop surge three years ago, and never mind McCain’s strategy turned out to be right. McCain is Bush because he wants to keep taxes down, and supports free trade. Never mind that raising taxes and curbing free trade are disastrous policies McCain would be wrong to favor. And of course McCain opposes abortion and supports a strict constructionist Supreme Court.

But McCain isn’t Bush. He’s a maverick who denounces overpaid CEOs including oil men, favors campaign finance reform, strictly opposes enhanced interrogation techniques, supports cap-and-trade and other policies to curb global warming, won’t drill in ANWAR, opposes pork barrel spending Bush went along with, criticized Bush for Katrina screw-ups, and believes in getting along with the media by being open and honest with them. The media, having succeeded in falsely making Iraq and the economy issues that work against McCain, will now falsely paint McCain as Bush #3. They will do so because given their slipping power, they want to be seen as so biased in favor of Obama that they will be blamed for (actually credited with) Barack’s win.

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