Mickey Mouse Media
"The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history." George Orwell
There's been a lot a gabbing about the garbage offered up Sunday and Monday night by ABC and Disney. As far as I'm concerned, they're just the worst media offenders, not the only ones.
Yes, through an insulting and blatantly inaccurate portrayal of supposed events leading up to the terror attacks, they used "The Path to 9/11" to shift focus away from the Bush administration's culpability and responsibility. And attempted to place all the blame on the democrats and President Clinton.
Yes, the radical right wing definitely didn't want us to spend a day of commemoration and national mourning remembering how badly they themselves screwed up. And continue to do so.
And yes, ABC and Disney helped their conservative republican pals try to change the subject.
But where was the rest of the media on the 5th anniversary of 9/11? Involved in a collective orgy of self-conscious patriotism that translated into non-coverage of a momentous event. So much talking, so little said.
There was the inevitable self-congratulation, as the networks brought out their big guns to recount their own feelings and experiences. Even local stations got in the act. Our own Channel 3 anchor Larry Mendte came to us live and suitably grave from Ground Zero. Local, national and international media must have been juggling for space like crazy around the site.
CNN gave us their original footage as broadcast 9/11/01. As if we needed to relive the agony and despair of that horrible day. At least CSpan covered the entire memorial service for the families at Ground Zero, including the full four hour reading of the names of those who perished.
As far as I'm concerned, that reading was incomplete. It should have included the names of every soldier and civilian killed since George W. Bush used the 9/11 attacks as a bogus excuse to take us to war in Iraq. And someone in the media should have said so.
Anniversaries are arbitrary, artificial milestones. Yet Americans seem to revel in them. And especially when they commemorate events of wanton death and destruction, media coverage should at least offer some meaning. Strive for a greater measure of understanding. Provide a degree of perspective.
So where was the review of all that's transpired in the five years since September 11, 2001? And all that hasn't? Where were the questions about the still empty hole at Ground Zero, the continuing terrorist threats, our government's inability to find and capture Osama Bin Laden or the travesty of the war in Iraq? Where, indeed was the outrage?
For all that the Bush administration and its conservative apologists bleat endlessly about the "liberal media" undercutting and devaluing their efforts -- where was that media yesterday? Showing carefully orchestrated photo ops of George and Laura Bush having breakfast with New York firefighters near Ground Zero. Saluting the crowd at the Pentagon. Hugging survivors in Shanksville. Placing wreaths at all three locations.
What hooey. Made all the more egregious by the president's politically self-serving address to the nation, again equating 9/11 with the war in Iraq.
The 9/11 Commission has catalogued and published the grievous errors and lack of action by the federal government since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The media has covered the commission's report from every angle save one -- where the real responsibility lies.
On the 5th anniversary of 9/11, the media should focus on the victims and their families ... and on the Big Questions about our future. The last thing they should do is allow the Bush administration to use their cameras to politicize the tragedy while evading public scrutiny and accountability.
But the 21st century media unaccountably continues to let pomp and circumstance trample all over real journalism ... showing us that the elephant can stomp on the mouse.