A Review of Eric Boehlerts Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush
"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."
George W. Bush
"Propaganda must not serve the truth, especially insofar as it might bring out something favorable for the opponent."
Jesus said, "Damn the Pharisees! They are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger: the dog neither eats nor [lets] the cattle eat."The Gospel of Thomas:102
Damn Pharaohs pharisaic press. They wont tell the truth nor will they let anybody else. Get too close to Dubya, the golden boy Pharaoh, and the lapdogs morph into attack dogs. All the time theyre barking that theyre the watchdogs of democracy. But the mainstream media (MSM) acts more like desperate doggies driveling all over their masters boots. How bad does it get? Heres an excerpt from Eric Boehlerts new book, Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush. The setting is the 2004 Radio and Television Correspondents Association annual banquet. This is where reporters and the president are supposed to be lighthearted and make fun, although not as much as Steven Colbert. Heres how Boehlert describes the banquet:
Then Bush turned to the White House Election-Year Album, as photos flashed on the screen behind his podium. One showed Bush gazing out an oval office window as he provided the narration: Those weapons of mass destruction must be somewhere! The audience [of reporters] laughed. Then came a picture of Bush on his hands and knees peering under White House furniture. Nope, no weapons over there! The MSM audience laughed harder. And then came a snapshot of Bush searching behind the drapes.Maybe under here? The audience roared in approval - Bush couldnt find the WMDs!
Such is your press corps, my fellow Americans. The MSM didnt bark at all the red herrings thrown out as Dubyas reasons for going to war. They didnt even whimper as Dubya told the same lies and myths over and over and over again, until they got catapulted deep into the hardest of heads. Actually, the MSM did bark. They barked like blood-hungry hounds wanting to lead the chase on a baited fox hunt. But the MSM whelped even louder at any unpatriotic pacificist challenging Dubyas divine dictate to root out evil wherever it might burrow down.
Boehlert expertly shows American MSM has acted a lot more imperial than impartial the last several years. American MSM has acted liked archaeologists in reverse. Instead of digging for the truth, they have been covering it over. Theyve treated the truth like a precious bone to be buried as deep as they could dig.
As Boehlert shows, part of the problem has been that the press has been chickenshit of the chickenhawks. Fear of the stick is very real and works very well in training a press corps to fetch. Doggie biscuits work well also, especially in the form of favorable federal legislation. Media moguls have got the message. As Sumner Redstone said when he announced that he was voting for Bush, the election of a Republican administration is a better deal. Redstone is the chairman of Viacom, which owns CBS news, where the anchor, Bob Schieffer, has a brother who made millions off a modest business investment he made from his partner cashing in on the family name. Schieffers brothers business partner was George W. Bush. But dont let that surprise you. Boehlert points out many media lapdogs who are covered in fleas from lying with the big dogs.
But, you protest, CBS is a biased liberal network. Thats why Dan Rather was fired. He ran those forged documents about Bushs service in the National Guard. Boehlert does a superb job of demonstrating how the press served Dubyas interest once again. Almost immediately the MSM attacked the credibility of a few documents and was able to shift the entire attention away from the very valid allegations otherwise made in the infamous 60 Minutes II feature about Dubyas lack of service. What the MSM media generally failed to tell you the response of the secretary who allegedly typed the documents. Marian Carr Knox didnt remember specifically typing the documents in question but she said that the content accurately reflected the truth about Dubya. She also said regarding the disputed memos that "The information in here was correct, but it was picked up from the real ones. I probably typed the information and somebody picked up the information some way or another."
Once again the MSM had buried the truth about Dubyas dubious tour of duty in Alabama. During 2000 only three major media sources had run a story about his military record and Dubyas bogus claims. Yet, according to Boehlert, in 2000 there were more than 4800 MSM reports that referenced investigation of the allegation that Al Gore had claimed to have invented the internet. Do you want to know how many reports there were about Clinton being a draft dodger?
Turn to the 2004 campaign and see how the MSM treated the scandalous allegations made by the Swift Boats Veterans. Whereas the MSM almost immediately attacked the questionable memos about Dubya, the MSM was incredibly slow in questioning the Swift Ethics Partisans. As the executive editor of the Washington Post said: We are not judging the credibility of Kerry or the (Swift Boat) Veterans, we just print the facts. Oh, if right-wingers make outrageous claims then they are to be presented as facts and let the readers decide for themselves. But if an allegedly liberal reporter like Dan Rather offers memos then the media is supposed to chomp down and see if any blood is drawn. Interestingly enough, the MSM failed to give much media attention to Texans for Truth, an advocacy group challenging Dubyas military record.
Lapdogs is a very readable reference as much as a history. Fortunately Boehlert writes concisely and smoothly as there is so much valuable information to chew on. Then again, there has been so much buried over by Mammons lapdogs and like a good bloodhound Boehlert has done a wonderful public service by uncovering it.