The element that is still missing is the necessary balance or objectivity in commercial American media. Though this dearth of trustable information may be causing people to slowly change their sources of news and information, the networks, newspapers and their adjunct entertainment arms still maintain the majority of the influence on the greatest number of Americans.
With this, President Bush has actually hired publicity firms to promote his troop surge. With the public opposing the plan, and few in the government or military backing it, he is doing what he has always done - spending our tax dollars to put a pretty face on his policies. As always, Bush favors media manipulation over any tangible accomplishments and as usual, Madison Avenue shows how effective they can be when paid to sell positions and opinions.
We already tried a troop surge in Iraq in 2006 when there were earlier outcries for progress. Not only did it not improve the situation, there has been a sustained increase in violence ever since. The same thing will happen now and even John McCain has commented Bush's current surge is going to be killing people just for show.
In the next few days, Rep. Dennis Kucinich will be calling for a plan for Iraq including defunding the war, immediate withdrawal, rebuilding and reparations, regional conferences and international security troops consisting of a preponderance of Muslims.
Though it may not have enough support, I predict it will be the eventual blueprint for the region, after another 6 months or a year more of death, destruction and debt. Bush hurriedly reshuffling his generals and cabinet has created a pathetic outlook for success. A majority of the troops themselves now oppose the occupation according to the latest Military Times survey.
With the public, the military, Congress, the Iraq Study Group, and the Iraqis themselves all agreeing there is no military solution in Iraq, Bush's surge is not just another exercise in futility, it's adding gas to a fire. Bush cannot fantasize in his wildest dreams the tides will suddenly turn with a short term surge of 20,000 troops. This is a political scheme designed to extend the war until 2008 when someone else will preside over a disgraceful pullout.
Polls demonstrate just how anti-war public sentiment is underportayed in the media. Formerly hard hitting political correspondents have been toothless for years now, showing an utter lack of confrontation, skepticism and balance in reporting on Bush.
Why? The largest media conglomerations in the country have a great stake in the outcome of government regulation, such as laws controlling broadcast standards, media ownership regulations, licensing and merger approvals. The government's influence over media may amount to blackmail, bribery or the same government-corporate complicity we see in so many other areas.
The network news robotically accepts Bush's ever increasing and laughable incompetence, but what's worse is the talk radio "surge" pushed onto the people in so many major markets. If the pro-war position represents only 20-30% of the public, why is Rush Limbaugh the number one syndicated radio show? Why are the stations that carry his show, Sean Hannity's show, Laura Ingraham's show, Mark Levin's show promoted so heavily in the absence of any substantial progressive programming?
I suspect it is because the shows serve a purpose, as daily informercials shilling for the GOP and corporate interests, the powerful media giants that control the airwaves in so many markets are in no hurry to promote any message that doesn't benefit their corporate advertisers.
So the next time you call or email your Senator or Representative, consider also contacting your local radio station or TV network affiliate as well. Let them know you miss basic objective journalism, a balanced discussion and sane hosts -- and that if you are not better represented, you will boycott their shows and advertisiers and blog about them!