In the past this country had a media which believed in the truth. In pursuit of the truth, the media would be relentless at times to bring some accountability to the political nature of this country. Unfortunately in latter day America we see a media that begins their day in pursuit of an ideology, not the truth. The result is a skewing of the news to fit the pre-formed philosophy they are in pursuit of. The truth begins to be massaged, stretched, and outright changed to fit that ideology. Instead of having media that is looking out for our interests, we instead have a media determined to convince us that their ideology is what we should be supporting. It is there at that point, in the midst of the talking heads, fake exclusives and imaginary news, that the truth dies a horrible death.
The poster child for ideological fake news is of course the Fox News Channel. With absurd slogans like fair and balanced and we report, you decide, Fox has led the way for fake news and the pursuit of ideology over truth. Fox News starts each day with their ideology and seeks to frame the news around that ideology. They do it with a combination of fake news shows designed to mimic a debate between the left and the right in this country. The problem is the debate is fixed from the outset as conservatives dominate the show. Topics are chosen to highlight the conservative movement and trash the democrats in this country. When there is representation from the left in this country it is in the form of a moderate or a milquetoast, such as Alan Colmes. Colmes is a nice enough fellow but matching him up with the jaw-jutting pit bull that is Sean Hannity is not fair or balanced. It is indicative though of how this news organization operates. Over the past five years however, we have seen this fake news outlet evolve into a direct propaganda arm of the White House. Whenever there is a scandal or hot issue the White House cannot go to the people with the truth about, they inevitably will send someone to be interviewed by Sean Hannity in a Fox News exclusive. This is designed to give the impression that it is news, but the questions are not only softball, but they are undoubtedly scripted. What proceeds is a half hour love fest designed to prop up the administration, no difficult questions, no seeking of the truth.
What effect does this have? First, it distorts the truth. If a lie is repeated enough, eventually people will believe it. That is why a disproportionate amount of people who only watch Fox for their news actually still believe Iraq had something to do with 911. The real damage done by Fox however is not just their content because most educated people can easily see through the fake news. The real damage is that Fox makes other media appear moderate. A closer look though reveals that traditional mainstream media is also engaged in the pursuit of ideology. News shows begin to take an apologist format, covering for the administration. This is never so evident than in the coverage of the Iraq war from the beginning. Yes the administration sold us on this war based on lies, but it was the media that acted as their salespeople either by direct support or simply looking the other way when they should have been in pursuit of the truth.
Last week on MSNBC, Chris Matthews had an entire hour devoted to the impending indictments in the Plamegate case and how there have been rumblings that the Vice President may also be indicted. There was no pursuit of the truth; instead not one of the six guests explored the possibility that it may be true. What we saw were five guests, who were hard line supporters of the administration, assure us how Dick Cheney would never do anything illegal and the sixth guest was moderate at best. What we also saw though was the distortion of the truth go unchallenged. Andrea Mitchell flat out lied on multiple occasions and was never corrected.
1) In the run up to the war it was the office of the Vice President that inquired about the veracity of the Iraq-Niger yellowcake story.
2) In response to that, Joseph Wilson was sent to verify the story. He was not sent by his wife, who did not have that power.
4) In the following State of the Union address, President Bush mentioned the story as fact, despite knowing it was untrue.
5) It was this lie, along with the other WMD lies that led this country into the Iraq War. It was the express reason given to Congress and the express reason Congress allowed the president to wage this war. Without these lies, there was no war.
6) At this same time Great Britain acknowledged that President Bush had decided to fix the intelligence around his policy of invasion.
7) At this time, Judy Miller was writing several pro-war articles trumping up the WMD lies. Essentially, she sold the war to the country through the New York Times. Her sources were all from the administration, or provided by the administration. Once again, pursuing an ideology, not the truth.
8) Joseph Wilson writes an op-ed piece to clarify that he did not find any such proof on his trip to Niger.
10) Plames status was a NOC (Non-official cover), the most secret of statuses.
The issue is not only the outing of Valerie Plame but of why there were any forged documents to begin with. Why someone would want to falsify such claims, which would only lead to war? If you remember, at the time, President Bush was swearing that war would be his last option. Instead what this implies is that a campaign was underway to deceive the American people to support a war based on lies. Those lies have cost this country billions of dollars and the lives of 2,000 American soldiers and it is time the truth was set free.