The recent PBS two-night offering of Frontline was utterly depressing to watch. Not for its subject matter; but for the constant reminders that PBS and Frontline, formerly the last bastion of free speech on U.S. mainstream media, has sadly become just another corporate and Bush regime mouthpiece. The documentary was little more than a Bush propaganda piece that lied, dissembled, diverted, and ignored its way through this crucial subject for the entire excruciatingly painful four and half hours.
There were more lies and half-truths in it than I could tabulate accurately (…lost count at about 40); and the information that was presented was tilted, intended to divert attention, and inaccurate to such a degree that the producer’s credit should have read “Karl Rove”. Starting with the events of 9/11; where Bush’s activities that day were not even mentioned, it went downhill from there. All through the piece there were constant and blatant attempts to move ALL the blame for every bad decision on those already given up by the White House as sacrificial lambs: Tenet, Bremmer, various Generals, Powell, and of course Rumpsfelt…. To watch this soap-opera drama one would think that there were NO decisions being made at the top, and “Daddy” and “Mommy” (Bush and Cheney) were off doing adult things, while their silly wayward children wrecked everything.
Perhaps the most amusing part was the attempt to make Secretary Rice look like the hero of the piece… Battling “Rummy” and championing a “superior” plan of action for our military in Iraq! It would be funny except that this is PBS we are talking about. Another absurd re-occurring theme was the suggestion, made at least three times, that the administration was always trying to “get us out” of Iraq, always trying but somehow being thwarted by events (…of course the story did not mention that those unfortunate events that “stopped us from withdrawing” were caused by the administration’s policies in the first place)…. Utter, inane, nonsense.
There was no serious criticism of the President, no hard look at the so-called “bad decisions” that got us into this horrible mess, no talking heads that were anything but apologetic… In fact the events were mainly presented as “inevitable” and therefore excusable... And ALWAYS the fault of people who have left the administration. This piece of naked propaganda is merely a whitewashed look at those in power, not a true piece of journalism… where we are led to believe that most of these extremely horrible decisions, such as “De-Bathe-ification,” and the dissolving of the Iraqi army, were “rogue” decisions that the White House did not even know about in advance!
Are we expected to be this stupid, to believe these vacuous lies, these absurd attempts to protect Bush and Cheney from blame? No one ever in positions of power in history could be so mis-informed, so ignorant, so at a loss… Yet we are led to believe that the path taken at every turn was not deliberately designed to widen and escalate the war, cause more and more deaths, and insure that our military presence was “required” indefinitely.
No, I do not believe we are really expected to believe it, because it doesn’t matter anyway. They have the power, the power to squash the Press and any meaningful dissent. And they are using that power. The power to take-over and control PBS… To use it as just another mouthpiece for propaganda and lies… A high-brow version of the Rush Limbaugh show. What we think doesn’t matter, because they have the microphone.
It is time that we, all of us who have donated to PBS over the years in the hope of having at least one source of decent television, decide that this is too much. At least until the political control is removed, I suggest that our funding stop dead! Then the corporate legions can just pay for it all themselves: After all, they seem to be the ones benefiting most from it now. Because to support such lying propaganda is helping our enemies; those who are the true Enemy of the People, those who control mainstream media and now PBS as well, who hide the truth and ignore the most important stories: Those who view us with distain and derision as suckers to be fed garbage instead of real information.
I never thought I would say this; my shelf is full of old coffee mugs emblazoned with the PBS logo… But this organization is obviously no longer worth our support, or our patience. When the Bush regime is given open, unapologetic propaganda on Frontline… the PBS cause is hopeless. And there can be no mistaking the message: We must rely only on ourselves; on the Internet and the foreign press for information. It is much better to give money to sites such as Op-Ed News… Send our support to independent journalists like Greg Palast and Bill Moyers… Give to the many others whose souls are not bought and sold yet; whom we can actually trust to present news and commentary honestly. For they deserve our succor, our praise, and our funds. PBS, as proved by their actions, no longer does.