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|The Media's Plan of Attack||04/22/2004|
Another salvo was launched this week in the war against the Bush administration. CBS's news magazine program 60 Minutes spent the better part of an hour painting shadowy pictures of Bush as ignorant, arrogant, dishonest and deluded.
Senator John Kerry quickly latched on to the charge that Bush had plotted with Saudi Arabia to drop oil prices just before the election. "If it is true that gas supplies and prices in America are tied to the American election, tied to a secret White House deal, that is outrageous and unacceptable to the American people," Kerry said at a rally in Florida, perhaps the biggest battleground state in this year's election.
Headlines quickly followed: "Kerry assails Bush on oil deal report", "Kerry disgusted by alleged gas price deal", "Kerry attacks alleged Bush oil deal"...and on and on in newspapers from Michigan to Moscow.
Never mind that none of it is true. The Bush administration quickly denied any "deal," Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia immediately refuted it, and even Bob Woodward made efforts to clarify the misrepresentation on the part of Mike Wallace and 60 Minutes.
"I don't say [in my new book, Plan of Attack] there's a secret deal or any collaboration on this," Woodward told Larry King on CNN within 24 hours of the CBS report.
So why would the media promote a lie, allow the President's political rivals to publicly react to the lie, then report their reactions as more news? When did such perpetuations of falsehoods become an excuse for legitimate journalism?
It has been pointed out that Viacom, the same company that owns CBS, also owns Simon & Schuster, the company that published Woodward's book (as well as the highly promoted hatchet job written by Richard Clarke). But it would be far too simplistic to suggest that these assaults from the press are strictly designed to sell more books, increase ratings and pad their bottom line. There is something much more significant at work here.
Certainly, partisan preferences can drive even the most respected news anchors and journalists to abandon their professionalism in an attempt to influence the electorate. We've witnessed this time and time again over the last couple of decades. But with President Bush there seems to be hatred beyond visceral from many of those in the media and on the left. It is more than an attack on Bush's faith; it is an attack on all faith in God and the founding fathers' belief that it is important to seek guidance from "Divine Providence."
Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh pegged it when he summarized misrepresentations resulting from Woodward's book by stating the critics' attitude as, "We [liberals] learn that God talks to President Bush; we learn that Bush talks to God; and we learn that Bush listens when God talks to him. And we also learn that President Bush is an idiot who disdains the truly smart people of the world."
But don't take Rush's word for it. David Corn, the Washington editor of The Nation and author of The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception, wrote a widespread article titled "George Bush, Self-deluded Messiah." In it, he builds a case to conclude, "Bush believes he is on a mission from God."
He goes on to debunk any real Divine connection by saying, "That might scare some, but it would not be so problematic if Bush also believed that God expects him to engage in self-examination and critical and honest discourse before mounting an action that claims thousands of lives, and if Bush took into this heart the fact that God (assuming God exists) created intellectuals, experts, skeptics and critics as well as cowboys, oil rig workers, and truck drivers…"
This is only the beginning of an all-out assault on the faith and character of President Bush. To many in the media, a President praying to God is worse than a President preying on interns. They will try to make him appear as though he's a "Christian Ayatollah," potentially as dangerous as the radical Islamic extremists.
In the months up to the election, many in the media will mislead, misinterpret and misinform the public, then report leaders' reactions to these false accusations as news in and of itself.
We must continually remind ourselves of the things that we know to be true. We know that evil exists and seeks to destroy innocent life. We know that bad people seek to suppress freedom and oppress people. We know that America has a long history of liberating people from such oppression and encouraging responsible self-rule and democracy.
As the barrage of misinformation and manipulation hits the airwaves, we must remember these truths. In November, the voters must make a decision at the ballot box based on who will stand up for freedom and truth -- even if he does ask God for wisdom and guidance.