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Geez, go into any bookstore.

Ein gutes Beispiel für die Voreingenommenheit der deutschen Medien ist meiner Ansicht nach auch prinzipiell die Veröffentlichung von Umfragen. Wenn wir uns zwei Wochen zurück erinnern, als überall, von BBC, CNN bis stern, Spiegel bis Sueddeutsche, n-tv bis N24 über eine Umfrage von der US-Zivilverwaltung berichtet wurde, dass die Iraker die Amerikaner nicht als Befreier betrachten, sondern als Besatzer:

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/ausland/artikel/576/33543/

So weit, so gut. Sollen sie berichten, worüber sie wollen, solange damit das Weltbild ihrer Leser nicht ins Wanken gerät.

Nun gibt es noch mehr als lediglich nur diese eine Umfrage. Beispielsweise in der heutigen, ja angeblich von der Bush-Regierung unterwanderten, "Washington Post":

Iraqis Back New Leaders, Poll Says
Friday, June 25, 2004; Page A19

A large majority of Iraqis say they have confidence in the new interim government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi that is set to assume political power on Wednesday, according to a poll commissioned by U.S. officials in Iraq.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A3433-2004Jun24.html

Leider findet diese Umfrage in deutschen Medien überhaupt keine Erwähnung. Stattdessen hier und da und überall: Mehrheit der US-Bürger sehen in den Irak-Krieg einen Fehler.

http://www.n24.de/politik/ausland/index.php/a2004062512082161176

Mein persönliches Fazit: Menschen, die des Englischen nicht halbwegs mächtig sind, werden so systematisch verdummt. Kein Wunder, weshalb soviele Vorurteile kursieren, wenn nicht einmal der Ansatz dafür besteht, eine andere Perspektive einzunehmen. Wenn auf irgendeinem Ort auf der Welt Medien "gleichgeschaltet" werden, dann vor allem hier in Deutschland.

The New York Times!?! "Conformists" to the White House!?!

Listen really closely... no... concentrate...

Do you hear that bubbling sound coming from the offices of Spiegel?


Those are bongs.

Don't Germans look into any sort of media other than their own? Are they there that few bilingual people? We have more than 60 million of them here in the US.

The Timbro study has been out for more than one week now.

I have not read any reviews from any German publications. Among the issues brought up:

Because Europeans are so highly taxed, the average American has $9,000 more pocket money per year than the average European;

On both sides of the Atlantic, $25,000 per year income for a family is considered poor/lower-middle class. In the U.S., 25% of the population falls in this category. In Sweden, (It was a Swedish study), 42% of the population fall in this category. I imagine that the German % is higher.

No wonder why the German media is focused on putting down the U.S. Their Social Contract is about to sink them along with the Titanic, (or should I say Bismark?)

Joe2, I'm sure even DER SPIEGEL doesn't actually believe that the American press is dominated by "neocons" or whatever. The point is to convince the Germans that is the case. It also helps get the point across that Americans are conformists (in other words dumb, not critical thinkers like Germans?) and that Americans are too naive see the media being hijacked by right wingers.

Look for SPIEGEL to write an article about how the universities in America have become dominated by conservative professors.

Die "Süddeutsche Zeitung" hat in der Samstagsausgabe eine Anzeige von "Amnesty International" geschaltet, die sich gegen Folter richtet - präsent sind Unterzeichner wie Günter Grass, Dirk Bach oder Sandra Potente. Ich habe eine andere Bezeichnung dafür: Liste der Gutsmenschen. Es werden hier mithilfe eines Bush-Zitat exemplarisch anti-amerikanische Ressentiments bedient:

http://downer.funpic.de/amnesty.jpg

Und wo genau werden hier "anti-amerikanische Ressentiments bedient"? Ist das Zitat selbst anti-amerikanisch? Wohl kaum. Ist man anti-amerikanisch, wenn man Bush zitiert? Das wuerde mich ueberraschen. Also wo ist der Anti-Amerikanismus in dieser Anzeige. Erklaeren Sie es mir, Downer.

Alleine schon die Tatsache, dass Günter Grass seinen Namen zur Verfügung gestellt hat, spricht eine deutliche Sprache. Bekanntlich war Grass es, der nach dem 11. September 2001 zu jenen ersten Dissidenten gehörte, der nicht die Schuldfrage bei den Islamfaschisten sehen wollte, sondern bei Amerika und dem Westen überhaupt. Man mag zu AI stehen, wie man will, aber hier wird ganz eindeutig Populismus betrieben. Hier wird versucht, ein Bush-Zitat dafür zu instrumentalisieren, um Unterstützer für ein Projekt zu finden. Das ist an sich eine gute Sache, aber dabei muss bedacht werden, dass es sich bei den Vorfällen in Abu Ghraib keineswegs um Folter, sondern ganz klar um Missbrauch handelt. Jeder, der einmal die Foltervideos unter der Saddam-Diktatur gesehen hat, weiß, was Folter ist. Die jüngsten Vorfälle auch in demselben Definitionsschema zu bewerten, ist eine Absurdität für sich und hat mit sachlicher Analyse nichts mehr zu tun. Gutsmenschen und Institutionen, die sich angeblich um das Wohl der Menschheit besorgen, bei Konflikten aber stets im Nachhinein ihr Versagen eingestehen müssen, machen sich damit des Verdachtes schuldig, mit doppeltem Maßstab zu messen.

Downer, Ihr Guenter-Grass-Argument ist ja nun wirklich sehr weit hergeholt. Dem kann ich nicht ganz folgen.

Was die Definition des Begriffs Folter betrifft, so kann man offensichtlich unterschiedlicher Meinung sein. Nur, ob Folter oder Missbrauch, dies hat nichts mit Anti-Amerikanismus zu tun. Ich denke nicht, dass AI mit doppelten Massstaeben mist. Unter den 131 Staaten befindet sich unter Garantie auch Deutschland. Wuerden Sie die deutschen Vorfaelle demnach auch so vehement als "Missbrauch" bezeichnen? Ich denke, hier bestand zumindest in der Vergangenheit Konsens, was Folter ist (z.B. beim Fall Jakob von Metzler).

Also nochmal: wo genau werden hier "anti-amerikanische Ressentiments bedient"?

Where in "Mein Kampf" does it read that Jews ought to be gassed? Jo, you're playing a silly game.

"Ich denke, hier bestand zumindest in der Vergangenheit Konsens (...)

Ich finde, Sie sollten sich das "Ich denke" abgewöhnen. Stilistisch gesehen ist das absolut inakzeptabel. Ach ja: Habe leider keine Zeit mehr, viel Spaß noch beim Rätseln!

Kufr, so you get upset if someone compares Bush and Hitler but somehow it's OK to compare and AI ad with "Mein Kampf"?

No, I don't get upset when someone compares Bush and Hitler. It's called Freedom of Speech. Like saying jo is a jerk.

Downer, danke fuer den Tip. Sie scheinen ja ziemlich schnell keine Argumente mehr zu haben, oder haben Sie aus anderen Gruenden ein erhoehtes Interesse an meiner Stilistik? (Mit anderen Worten, sind Sie Deutschlehrer?)

Dito!

Sleepy, as you know, we (the US) is a nation divided on this issue. We can solidly say that we are thinking critically on the personal level.

The author was HOPING for confomism - with the author. It's so vulgar - he have lively - if not shouting decibel debaites over here - and the author will lie and tut-tut about people having to be quiet?

Lies. The only people who are quiet are the ones who are seeing that events are shattering their views of the world. Those are the ONLY people you will ever find who are afraid to "speak up".

I have to say that I'm am just absolutely flabbergasted at the idea that the US media is under the thumb of the Bush Admin. It seems there is a great desire among a large number of Europeans to imagine the US as the kind of totalitarian nightmare the Europeans themselves created not too long ago. Alas, it is not so. We Americans are of course just as flawed as people all over the world, but then we are descendants of people from all over the world. But despite the Leftist propagandistas, we are a nation "conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal" and so we strive ever onward against the forces of a more primitive humanity toward the ideals that always seem to be just out of reach. And somehow, as a result of the freedom we enjoy there is a creative chaos that makes life interesting, creates jobs and wealth, and offers human beings from every possible group, from every nook and cranny of the world, the opportunity to actualize their potentials. What's interesting is that the largest non-British ethnic group in America are the German-Americans (including me). In fact America as we know it would not exist without the contributions of German-Americans. There was an essay last year some time that tried to blame the actions of the Bush Admin. on the influence of America's German immigrant heritage. Which is of course completely insane. But what suprises me most is the eagerness of so many Germans to think the worst of America in Iraq when if they reflected on their own experience with the US over the past, nearly, 60 years they would realize that America has been pretty good to them and that the Iraqis could really benefit from a similar kind of experience. Well, what can you do? I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican, I am a Classical Liberal and I believe in individual liberty, dignity, and the right to be left alone to live one's life according to one's own vision of the good life and to respect other's right to the same. So, I realize I have rambled on beyond the boundaries of the topic at hand and I hope you forgive me, but freedom is alive and well in the US. Our debates and discussions on current affairs are rich and free. Come join us...

You are missing the point here guys. The problem that Wilson is referring to has nothing to do with "Gleichschaltung" (the ridiculous idea that the NYT et al. are somehow being stacked with Bush supporters) but with INTIMIDATION. There is an orchestrated attempt to intimidate vocal critics of the administration. The US press, in particular the TV media, did a poor job of covering the lead-up to the Iraq war. There was no real debate. I spent enough time in the US during the buildup period to see what was happening first hand. As someone who ultimately supported taking out Saddam Hussein, I nevertheless was disappointed in the shallowness of the TV news coverage back home. Fox TV was a regular cheerleader for war. I understood that so soon after 9-11 no one wanted to be seen attacking the President. But Bush & Co. squandered the sense of national unity after 9-11 with a highly partisan offensive against anyone who disagreed with them. The outing of Wilson's wife as a CIA operative as revenge for Wilson's public disagreement with the Administration was one of the most dastardly acts of intimidation coming out of the White House, and no honest effort has been made since to punish the culprits.

I challenge my conservative friends here to read the text of Al Gore's recent Georgetown speech in its entirety. (Don't worry guys, he is much easier to read than to listen to). You don't have to agree with everything he says -- I certainly have different views on Iraq -- but the man has written one of the most cogent arguments yet against the excesses of the executive branch during the Bush Administration.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2004/06/24/gore_speech/index.html

Here is an excerpt from the speech that is pertinent to this thread:

Dan Rather says that post-9/11 patriotism has stifled journalists from asking government officials "the toughest of the tough questions." Rather went so far as to compare administration efforts to intimidate the press to "necklacing" in apartheid South Africa, while acknowledging it as "an obscene comparison." "The fear is that you will be necklaced here (in the U.S.), you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck," Rather explained. It was CBS, remember, that withheld the Abu Ghraib photographs from the American people for two weeks at the request of the Bush administration.

Donald Rumsfeld has said that criticism of the administration's policy "makes it complicated and more difficult" to fight the war. CNN's Christiane Amanpour said on CNBC last September, "I think the press was muzzled and I think the press self-muzzled. I'm sorry to say but certainly television, and perhaps to a certain extent my station, was intimidated by the Administration."

The administration works closely with a network of "rapid response" digital Brown Shirts who work to pressure reporters and their editors for "undermining support for our troops." Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist, was one of the first journalists to regularly expose the president's consistent distortions of the facts. Krugman writes, "Let's not overlook the role of intimidation. After 9/11, if you were thinking of saying anything negative of the President ... you had to expect right-wing pundits and publications to do all they could to ruin your reputation".

Bush and Cheney are spreading purposeful confusion while punishing reporters who stand in the way. It is understandably difficult for reporters and journalistic institutions to resist this pressure, which, in the case of individual journalists, threatens their livelihoods, and in the case of the broadcasters can lead to other forms of economic retribution. But resist they must, because without a press able to report "without fear or favor" our democracy will disappear.

Recently, the media has engaged in some healthy self-criticism of the way it allowed the White House to mislead the public into war under false pretenses. We are dependent on the media, especially the broadcast media, to never let this happen again. We must help them resist this pressure for everyone's sake, or we risk other wrong-headed decisions based upon false and misleading impressions."

You may not like the people whom Gore is citing, but you need to listen to what they are saying. We are at the point where even self-respecting Republicans in Congress and on the Supreme Court need to be concerned about excessive executive power. I won't go as far as Gore to say that our democracy is in danger, but we really need to get a grip on our anger (a scary kind that I see among many conservative Americans, on many right-wing blogs, and that occasionally crops up at this site) and correct the excesses of the past years.

If "liberal" media such as NYT and CNN are so irrelevant to the mood on the street in America, then why do the conservatives attack them so violently?

Journalists intimidated? Who believes that? I don't.



Karl B.

I'm certainly no Republican, but Al Gore has revealed himself as a raving bottom-feeder of the worst sort.

His reliability as a source, and the reliability of his own sources, are, to say the least, highly dubious. (Why is it that the comparatively commonsensical and reasonable criticisms of the Bush administration by Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Joe Leiberman, etc., are rarely if ever referenced by anyone, while the rabid blubberings of marginalized moonbats endlessly are? It's depressing. And debases the culture of debate.)

The supposedly "false pretenses" under which the U.S. went to war in Iraq (i.e., Iraq's assumed WMDs, or suspicions about same) were held by most of the civilized world (including most journalists, via their own sources) at the time. The only argument was about the proper method of ridding the world of those supposed WMDs.

For Al Gore in particular to pretend otherwise at this late date is outrageous:

"They dare not admit the truth lest they look like complete fools for launching our country into a reckless, discretionary war against a nation that posed no immediate threat to us whatsoever." Al Gore - June 24, 2004

“Even if we give first priority to the destruction of terrorist networks, and even if we succeed, there are still governments that could bring us great harm. And there is a clear case that one of these governments in particular represents a virulent threat in a class by itself: Iraq. As far as I am concerned, a final reckoning with that government should be on the table." - Al Gore, Remarks To The U.S. Council On Foreign Relations, Washington, DC, February 12, 2002.

Oh. And conservatives attack CNN and the New York Times so "violently" because their reporting has become increasingly inaccurate and defamatory.

Just as liberals attack FOX NEWS and the National Review "violently" when their reporting is inaccurate and defamatory.

The U.S. is in no danger of trembling, weak-kneed, "intimidated" journalists, Karl. Honest.

And thank God for that. We have enough trouble with the hysterical and self-righteous ones.

Karl B., you're wasting too much time at the Times' op-ed pages. Go get the latest Pew study.

I'm bored, so here's some more bones for Karl B. to chew on.

"There is an orchestrated attempt to intimidate vocal critics of the administration."

You mean like in the days of the White House Sex Scandal investigations? Why is it acceptable that the liberal media orchestrates attacks on the White House on issues like Abu Ghraib then?

"The US press, in particular the TV media, did a poor job of covering the lead-up to the Iraq war."

Inasmuch as they did a poor job covering the genocide in Sudan. Sure there must be a vast right-wing conspiracy behind that, too.

"There was no real debate."

So the Bush administration is to blame when we have no debate (cf. crushing of dissent), but also to blame when we have debate (cf. dividing the nation).

"As someone who ultimately supported taking out Saddam Hussein, I nevertheless was disappointed in the shallowness of the TV news coverage back home. Fox TV was a regular cheerleader for war."

You're being disingenuous, Karl B. So attacking the POTUS 24/7 and showing us the quagmire in Iraq somehow is critical journalism, but taking sides for our troops is shallow?

"But Bush & Co. squandered the sense of national unity after 9-11 with a highly partisan offensive against anyone who disagreed with them."

And because of that the nation right now is divided in, say, roughly 50% Bush supporters and roughly 45% Kerry supporters. I remember a time when this was called election year. Also, I wonder how you'd write now if Kerry were leading by a 10% margin. "If it was not for the bravery of our journalists ..."

"The outing of Wilson's wife as a CIA operative as revenge for Wilson's public disagreement with the Administration was one of the most dastardly acts of intimidation coming out of the White House, and no honest effort has been made since to punish the culprits."

We should abandon our courts right now. Karl B. figured it out by himself, no need for any more investigations.

"I challenge my conservative friends here to read the text of Al Gore's recent Georgetown speech in its entirety."

I knew you are a Democrat. But until know I thought you were more on the side of Lieberman than the far-left lunatic fringe.

"We are at the point where even self-respecting Republicans in Congress and on the Supreme Court need to be concerned about excessive executive power."

You mean excessive executive power in the hands of Time Warner, ABC, NBC, CBS, Viacom? I'm totally with you.

"I won't go as far as Gore to say that our democracy is in danger, but ..."

Ah, the infamous "I won't say that, BUT". Very nice.

"but we really need to get a grip on our anger (a scary kind that I see among many conservative Americans, on many right-wing blogs, and that occasionally crops up at this site)"

I always wondered how you spent your time lately when not being here. Seems you made some good friends over there at Democratic Underground.

"If "liberal" media such as NYT and CNN are so irrelevant to the mood on the street in America, then why do the conservatives attack them so violently?"

If blogs such as Instapundit and David's are so untypical to the mood on the street in America and elsewhere, then why do LLL such as Al Gore (and his admirers in this blog here) attack them so violently?

Note to our German readers who might not be that familiar with the US press:

Every election year the liberal media wonder how they can help the Democrats. When the current POTUS is a Republican that task is quite tricky because New York Times, CNN and friends have been throwing mud at the administration for the past 3 years, questioning the credibility and trustworthiness of the administration no matter if it's Reagan or Bush I or II. So how to up the ante? Victimization and martyrdom is the key. They just pretend that in the past years they had been suppressed out of national security concerns and patriotism. BUT NO LONGER! Now they'll unleash their full potential and keep up to what they had to hide on page 38, like the prison abuse in Abu Ghraib.

But won't that sound overtly partisan? No, because the trick is to claim that they've been on the side of the administration, i.e. to the far right, and that now it's just fair game to re-adjust to the far left. Fair and balanced.

See this article in FAZ:

http://www.faz.net/s/Rub8A25A66CA9514B9892E0074EDE4E5AFA/Doc~E9D75F410DCAB45D3B18DF7D149C2E8FC~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html

It's fucking ridiculous. Every reader who's only slightly familiar with the US press knows that they've been questioning the administration's claims about WMD from Day 1 on. Excect more articles of that kind in the German media anytime soon.

I read this about CNN: CNN is greatly financed by Saudi money. Is this true?

Hey Karl,

I don't mean to jump on you, but I have to respectfully disagree with you on a few points:

"The outing of Wilson's wife as a CIA operative as revenge for Wilson's public disagreement with the Administration was one of the most dastardly acts of intimidation coming out of the White House, and no honest effort has been made since to punish the culprits."

I don't believe that the administration has been found guilty of exposing Wilson's wife yet and therefore it is premature to assume that it was an act of intimidation perpetrated by the White House. As far as I know, the matter is being investigated, and both Bush and Cheney have been interviewed on the matter and pledged their full cooperation to the investigation. The President, like all others, is innocent until proven guilty.

As to Gore's speech, Krugman, Rather and Amanpour are hardly known as being objective, middle-of-the-road journalists politically. In fact, I could have hardly chosen three more biased left-wingers myself. Let's get serious, every administration exerts pressure and attempts to influence the media, that doesn't mean it is automatically "intimidation." Simply the sheer mass of Bush critical material out there is proof that, if in fact there is a concerted attempt by the Bush administration to intimidate (and not just influence) the media, then it is failing miserably.

And let's take a look at CNN for a moment, the network is run by TED TURNER, the same man who was married to Jane Fonda for so long and the same man who donated 1 billion dollars to the UN and a known left-winger. It is hard for me to believe that such a network is doing the bidding of the Bush administration.

"The US press, in particular the TV media, did a poor job of covering the lead-up to the Iraq war. There was no real debate."

I'd like to know what you mean by this Karl, as far as I could tell the matter was discussed very heavily. Sometimes I have the feeling that a "debate" has to reach a tone and a pitch that is so high and hysterical that it turns everyone against war (as just or unjust as that war might be) to convince those on the left that there has indeed been a "debate."

It's only a debate when (1) the current POTUS is a Democrat, and (2) in the end everyone agrees with the Democrat party line. So let's try out all permutations, topic of choice: ending civil war in a foreign country.

(1) POTUS is Democrat, (2) no one agrees: Voters are too ignorant to understand what's at stake. The USA will be held responsible for the death of millions in the centuries thereafter.
(1) POTUS is Democrat, (2) everyone agrees: A true debate in which the superior arguments finally succeeded and people realize that it's the USA that must lead the world.
(1) POTUS is Republican, (2) no one agrees: This Presidency squandered the goodwill at home and abroad for an illegal war which cost the life of millions.
(1) POTUS is Republican, (2) everyone agrees: A vast right-wing conspiracy crushed dissent with the help of the PATRIOT Act, suppressing free speech and intimidating the media.

I love how Al-Gore refers to the people that carry out this supposed intimidation as "Brown Shirts". Very nice, slick way to get that Nazi jab in there. You gotta hand it to him.

Hitler Image Used in Bush Campaign Web Ad

1 hour, 32 minutes ago

By JENNIFER C. KERR, Associated Press Writer

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040627/ap_on_el_pr/bush_ad&cid=694&ncid=2043


I hope this wave won't reach Germany.


More about Moore:

"In an interview with a Japanese newspaper, Moore helped citizens of that country understand why the United States went to war in Iraq: "The motivation for war is simple. The U.S. government started the war with Iraq in order to make it easy for U.S. corporations to do business in other countries. They intend to use cheap labor in those countries, which will make Americans rich."

But venality doesn't come up when he writes about those who are killing Americans in Iraq: "The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not `insurgents' or `terrorists' or `The Enemy.' They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win." Until then, few social observers had made the connection between Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Paul Revere."

And this:

June 26, 2004
OP-ED COLUMNIST
All Hail Moore
By DAVID BROOKS

"In years past, American liberals have had to settle for intellectual and moral leadership from the likes of John Dewey, Reinhold Niebuhr and Martin Luther King Jr. But now, a grander beacon has appeared on the mountaintop, and from sea to shining sea, tens of thousands have joined in the adulation."

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/26/opinion/26BROO.html

I knew citing Gore, Rather, Krugman and Amanpour all in one post at this site would open up a hornet's nest. Thanks anyway for the measured responses. Gore's speech is still worth reading because of the balance of power issues that he raises. As I said, I disagree with him on the Iraq war issue. I've never been a big fan of Dan Rather, but Krugman and Amanpour, even if they obviously are on the left, have a certain gravitas that makes them worth listening to. Note that Amanpour says that self-censorship also was probably involved. (There are also market factors at play here that need to be considered in all fairness.)

Ray, D. I'm not accusing Bush of being directly involved in the Wilson affair. It appears, however, from all I've read, to have come from somewhere in the White House staff. The affair, however, goes well beyond the kinds of subtle pressure being put on journalists to blatant intimidation. "If you cross us (i.e. disagree with us) we will destroy you if we can." One can extrapolate from this incident to get a feel for the current atmosphere in the Bush administration. Cheney telling a member of the Senate to "F*** off" (or words to that effect) on the Senate floor is another indication of what kinds of folks we are dealing with. This adds a certain credibility to what Rather et al. are saying or at least makes me willing to listen to them.

I spent the better part of three months in the US between October 2002 and March 2003 and watched a lot of news TV during that period. The domestic CNN is a tame animal compared to CNN International. As early as October 2002 basically ALL the TV new programs, CNN included, were reporting a "countdown" to war, not a debate over whether America should go to war. Certainly there were debates and contrary opinions were heard, but the overwhelming majority of coverage was tame and uncritical of the Bush administration's claims. I understand very well the mood in the US after 9-11 (I know of too many people who were affected directly or indirectly by the attacks) and understand that people were and are reluctant to appear to be opposing the head of state and leader of the military in the war on terror.

These kinds of things happen during wartime. I just read an interesting article in the new Encyclopedia of WWI (German) about some of the drastic measures taken in America to shut people up during the war. (Trivia item: they even renamed Frankfurters as Freedom Sausages -- shades of the recent "French Fry Rebellion".) Our job as freedom-loving people is to make sure that these kinds of (natural) tendencies don't get out of hand and to recognize the point when we need to let up -- our great joy in banging each other over the head over partisan issues aside.

As for Abu Ghraib, it certainly is much more than a liberal distraction. It goes to the root of how we are going to handle the war on terror and our reputation in the world. I give Andrew Sullivan a great deal of credit for recognizing this.

I'll part today with the following thought from Tom Friedman's current op-ed piece in the NYT.

I realize that we have enemies and they need to be confronted. But I do not want this to be all that America is about in the world anymore, and that is what has happened under this administration. I don't want the rest of my career to be about an America that exports fear, not hope, and ends up importing everyone else's fears as a result. I don't want it to be about explaining to young Chinese why my government can't give them student visas anymore. I don't want it to be about visiting U.S. Embassies around the world and finding them so isolated behind barbed wire, they might as well not be there at all. Defeating "them" has begun to define "us" in too many ways.

America is so much more than just "Anti-Al-Qaeda Inc." — but our whole identity in the world, and too many aspects of our way of life, are getting contorted around that mission. If we're really having a relevant presidential campaign, I'll come back and find the candidates debating, not who is the "toughest" guy — the jungle is full of them — but who can be the toughest guy while preserving the best of what we had and the best of who we are.

Look, I can quote, too, from the New York Times op-ed pages:

The Era of Distortion
By DAVID BROOKS

Published: January 6, 2004

Do you ever get the sense the whole world is becoming unhinged from reality? I started feeling that way awhile ago, when I was still working for The Weekly Standard and all these articles began appearing about how Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Doug Feith, Bill Kristol and a bunch of "neoconservatives" at the magazine had taken over U.S. foreign policy.

Theories about the tightly knit neocon cabal came in waves. One day you read that neocons were pushing plans to finish off Iraq and move into Syria. Web sites appeared detailing neocon conspiracies; my favorite described a neocon outing organized by Dick Cheney to hunt for humans. The Asian press had the most lurid stories; the European press the most thorough. Every day, it seemed, Le Monde or some deep-thinking German paper would have an exposé on the neocon cabal, complete with charts connecting all the conspirators.

The full-mooners fixated on a think tank called the Project for the New American Century, which has a staff of five and issues memos on foreign policy. To hear these people describe it, PNAC is sort of a Yiddish Trilateral Commission, the nexus of the sprawling neocon tentacles.

We'd sit around the magazine guffawing at the ludicrous stories that kept sprouting, but belief in shadowy neocon influence has now hardened into common knowledge. Wesley Clark, among others, cannot go a week without bringing it up.

In truth, the people labeled neocons (con is short for "conservative" and neo is short for "Jewish") travel in widely different circles and don't actually have much contact with one another. The ones outside government have almost no contact with President Bush. There have been hundreds of references, for example, to Richard Perle's insidious power over administration policy, but I've been told by senior administration officials that he has had no significant meetings with Bush or Cheney since they assumed office. If he's shaping their decisions, he must be microwaving his ideas into their fillings.

It's true that both Bush and the people labeled neocons agree that Saddam Hussein represented a unique threat to world peace. But correlation does not mean causation. All evidence suggests that Bush formed his conclusions independently. Besides, if he wanted to follow the neocon line, Bush wouldn't know where to turn because while the neocons agree on Saddam, they disagree vituperatively on just about everything else. (If you ever read a sentence that starts with "Neocons believe," there is a 99.44 percent chance everything else in that sentence will be untrue.)

Still, there are apparently millions of people who cling to the notion that the world is controlled by well-organized and malevolent forces. And for a subset of these people, Jews are a handy explanation for everything.

There's something else going on, too. The proliferation of media outlets and the segmentation of society have meant that it's much easier for people to hive themselves off into like-minded cliques. Some people live in towns where nobody likes President Bush. Others listen to radio networks where nobody likes Bill Clinton.

In these communities, half-truths get circulated and exaggerated. Dark accusations are believed because it is delicious to believe them. Vince Foster was murdered. The Saudis warned the Bush administration before Sept. 11.

You get to choose your own reality. You get to believe what makes you feel good. You can ignore inconvenient facts so rigorously that your picture of the world is one big distortion.

And if you can give your foes a collective name — liberals, fundamentalists or neocons — you can rob them of their individual humanity. All inhibitions are removed. You can say anything about them. You get to feed off their villainy and luxuriate in your own contrasting virtue. You will find books, blowhards and candidates playing to your delusions, and you can emigrate to your own version of Planet Chomsky. You can live there unburdened by ambiguity.

Improvements in information technology have not made public debate more realistic. On the contrary, anti-Semitism is resurgent. Conspiracy theories are prevalent. Partisanship has left many people unhinged.

Welcome to election year, 2004.

BTW, Karl, I found it remarkably ironic that you didn't quite from one of Krugman's diatribes. Everyone familiar with the Times' pundits knows the reason why. Krugman and Dowd are the great dividers of our nation, not this administration. Since Krugman started moonlighting for the paper he never wrote one piece of opinion which was evenly bipartisan. Equally, he never placed one single correction beneath his smears. Compare that to the writings of Friedman (moderate slash liberal), Safire (conservative) and Brooks (moderate slash conservative). But Al Gore chose not Friedman but Krugman to attack his opponents. So I stand to my points above. Martyrdom and victimhood are prevalent among the LLL's in this nation. Under the guise of "but someone has to criticize the administration" Krugman and Dowd constantly aim for the lowest targets, perusing every issue to turn it against the administration, but cry havoc once critics dare to refute their false claims.

Just one more remark, Karl. No, a reminder that it was you who brought up the issue of "The Democrats are better than the Republicans!" in here. So I sincerely hope you won't try to mix up cause and effect.

Didn't Al Gore help bring Air America to life? The radio station no one tunes into? Probably just another conspiracy that jammed radio receivers.

Joe Wilson's name is about to be Mud in America - via Instapundit.

Seems there's 3 separate confirmations on Niger-Yellowcake-Iraq.

The Financial Times has the story, "...It, reportedly, wasn't just Iraq.

For good measure, throw in China, NoKo, Libya, and Iran too...."


Last 2 paragraphs: "But Mr Wilson also stated in his account of the visit that Mohamed Sayeed al-Sahaf, Iraq's former information minister, was identified to him by a Niger official as having sought to discuss trade with Niger.

As Niger's other main export is goats, some intelligence officials have surmised uranium was what Mr Sahaf was referring to."


http://www.belgraviadispatch.com/archives/001447.html

Move along, nothing to see here and take those goal posts with you.

And I'm going to jump into Plame.

Here's a tidbit that came out when she was "outed."

It was a well-known secret in DC as to who she worked for.

Also, they really don't know whether or not she was outed by Hanssen or Ames back in the mid-90s when she moved from one section to another, they might have been pulling her in.

For those of you who don't know or don't remember, they are convicted spies and as far as I'm concerned TRAITORS and should have been shot, just like Pollard also should have. One of them has blood literally on his hands cos he handed the commies names of double agents and they were killed, I think around 13 of them.

I wouldn't be siding w/Wilson at this point in time, his Niger work will be discredited and if they can tie the "outing" to before this, much less to the spies, he'll be popular w/a very small group of true believers.

"I spent the better part of three months in the US between October 2002 and March 2003 and watched a lot of news TV during that period. The domestic CNN is a tame animal compared to CNN International. As early as October 2002 basically ALL the TV new programs, CNN included, were reporting a "countdown" to war, not a debate over whether America should go to war. Certainly there were debates and contrary opinions were heard, but the overwhelming majority of coverage was tame and uncritical of the Bush administration's claims."

Well, I've been in the US during the entire period before and after the war and the assertion that there was not a debate here is completely and totally wrong. Believe it or not you have to do more than watch the major broadcast and cable networks. Did you watch CSPAN (three cable channels and a radio channel)? What about the Nation, the New Republic, Atlantic Monthly, New Yorker, Weekly Standard, National Review, Harper's, Reason? How about Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy? What about the editorial pages of the NYT, WP, LAT, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and newspapers all over the US? And if you are savvy enough to find this weblog then you should have been able to find vast number of blogs on every conceivable opinion not to mention the websites of the many think tanks where you can read policy papers and op-eds from every political perspective. And you ignore the fact that there were conservatives, libertarians and liberals who opposed the war and there were conservatives, libertarians and liberals who supported the war. There has been a very good debate on the Iraq war. There is no stifling of the freedom of the press or speech here in the US. As a tour guide, I drive by the White House every day. We have had anti-war protests here in DC and I have seen plenty of anti-Bush and anti-war bumper stickers in the city and i my neighborhood in the Maryland suburbs, along with bumper stickers supporting the war and Bush. These accusations are completely false.

Oh and by the way, CNN's Eason Jordon admitted in an op-ed in the New York Times shortly after the war began that CNN had been fudging its coverage from Baghdad during the Saddam years in favor of Saddam so they could maintain a bureau there. That means that all of CNN's coverage of Iraq is completely suspect. And given their willingness to abandon journalistic standards it is hard to ever really trust them again. So your claim that CNN was somehow lenient on the Bush Admin. goes against the facts.

Now, Karl, I do have a request, I would appreciate it if you could name the country that has a freer and more objective press than the US. If you could lead me to the source of the richest and most diverse source of opinions and ideas on Iraq I would greatly appreciate it, I mean obviously you have sources that the rest of us have not yet discovered, enlighten us...

Phil, as many conservative pundits like to point out here, "no one", i.e. only the "elite", watches/watch CSPAN or read(s) the NYT and other "obscur" print media. From my experience, the average American watches the TV news and, maybe, reads his local paper to stay informed. Looking at those sources, the coverage was pretty tame. Hell, even the NYT admits that it failed to adequately investigate the administration's claims on Iraq. I'll stand by my statement.

As a regular reader of Salon, Reason Online, Andrew Sullivan, and other web publications that are all over the political spectrum, you don't need to convince me that there is a free press in America.

Given all the rabid anti-american coverage in the European media, I do occasionally find myself wondering whether my country has changed in some fundamental way. In the Fall of 2002 I visited New York, worried about what sort of mood I'd find. The hole in South Manhattan had barely been excavated, and the surrounding buildings were still unusable, but well-dressed high school students were out pamphleteering on the West Side against the coming war. Take that Spiegel Online.

Speaking of further signs of health back home, the Supreme Court issued three cases yesterday that helped re-balance the balance of power. Someone owes me a beer: either my conservative lawyer friend who never thought the Supreme Court would intervene against executive wartime powers or my disillusioned foreign friend who had given up hope in our system's ability to correct itself. The wheels of the machine grind slowly, but its design belongs in the Museum of Modern Art.

Dear Kerry B.,

I just thought you might find this interesting to read:

http://www.dummocrats.com/archives/000220.html

"(...) First of all, when and where is anyone disagreeing with government policy "immediately" called unpatriotic? That's a liberal fantasy. Second, who is calling them unpatriotic? Is the government saying that, or are ordinary citizens expressing their own 1st Amendment rights to criticize the media? Finally, when someone says, for example, "I'm sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe -- just maybe -- God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end.", is it really a stretch, really inaccurate to call them unpatriotic? I don't think so. (...) I'm sick of (...) politicians like Al Gore trying to demonize any criticism of the press. They whine night and day about being labeled "unpatriotic" while at the same time they label their critics as fascists bent on crushing their noble dissent. (...)"

Yours truly,
Digital Brownshirt

More proof that US media is gleichgeschaltet and dissenters are frequently silenced is bubbling up. (And certainly proof that all those posters in here who note a convergence of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are just freakin' paranoid).

On Tuesday, as broadcast on the American cable network C-Span, independent presidential candidate and environmental crusader Ralph Nader said the following:

'What has been happening over the years is a predictable routine of foreign visitation from the head of the Israeli government. The Israeli puppeteer travels to Washington. The Israeli puppeteer meets with the puppet in the White House, and then moves down Pennsylvania Avenue, and meets with the puppets in Congress. And then takes back billions of taxpayer dollars. It is time for the Washington puppet show to be replaced by the Washington peace show.'

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