Time for a little reminder after Martin Bashir’s firing from a post I wrote not too long ago.
We can be angry. We can be saddened. But what we mustn’t be is surprised.
One can argue that there never was a “liberal media”. But it’s safe to say that there used to be a more balanced media, one in which factual reporting and accurate analysis were the linchpins of the industry. If the reporting on Vietnam was rosy at first, by the end of the war its full horrors were being reported on honestly.
But that was also in an era when media ownership was far more diffuse. NBC and MSNBC are owned by Comcast, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. ABC is owned by Disney Corporation. Fox News is owned by News Corporation. CNN is owned by Time Warner. CBS has remained “independent”; but it too is a large multinational.
Corporations may be many things. They may be the most efficient means to organize economic activity. They may give their employees a somewhat remunerative working environment. But one thing for which they can never be mistaken are altruistic institutions acting for the public good.
Chat away and keep on fighting. It’s the only way anything has ever changed.
The previous President, after the attacks of 9/11, engineered a war with a state which, though abysmal to its own people, had had no direct or indirect link with any terror attack on the United States. It was, if anything, a mortal enemy of the group which carried out the attacks, as that group saw the ruling regime as corrupt and un-Islamic. As the history of that war is being written, the regime sought to stave off war, willing to give the previous President anything he wanted, save for the regime’s destruction. Of course, the regime as it existed stood in the way of the grand plan to remake the Middle East; its destruction, not its containment, was the goal. Anything short of political—and literal—suicide would not suit the ultimate purpose. So the country and the world were lied into a war, which cost nearly 5,000 American lives, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths; a war which was supposed to last a few weeks and pay for itself instead dragged on for nearly a decade, costing over $1 trillion. And the Middle East, far from being remade into a collection of benevolent American satrapies, teetered on the edge of all-out war for the eight years of the George W. Bush administration.
That President, however, was never asked to apologize for the disaster he had wrought. And if ever he had been asked to apologize in a face-to-face interview, he never offered one: no apology for the countless dead, for the treasure wasted, for the lives destroyed. It’s just not the done thing.