Of course, theyre wrong. For most of his presidency, the media have merely channeled what he says, preferring to confine their investigative reports to the latest Hollywood break-ups, trysts, and scandals.
Before 9/11, the media gave Bush an unbelievable honeymoon, seldom criticizing him for anything except his fractured syntax. After 9/11, the media bought almost everything he said, not unlike the disintegrating Democrats who poke their fingers into the wind to determine that speaking the truth would be a sign of weakness and disloyalty. And so the establishment media, long ago resigned to a lifestyle of digesting massive heapings of press releases and then expelling them as fertilizer to the masses, didnt challenge his lies about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the necessity to suspend a few civil liberties in order to defeat the enemy, and never questioned why high oil prices and destroying the environment were in the peoples best interest. They merely saluted and went on to the next story, reporting a mixture of facts, semi-truths, and lies, having decided that in the aura of objectivity their role was to be stenographers, taking he said/she said statements to transmit to the people.
Of course, every now and then theres a blip, enough for the President to lament the media just hate him and all that he stands for. Theres an occasional story about the lack of ethics among the Republican-dominated Congress or massive intrusion on Americans civil liberties and rights of privacy. But, those stories are buried by overdoses of celebrity news and Aunt Gerties birthday card shower.
What if there were no media? What if for some ethereal reason the media all got together, decided they really were tired, needed a sabbatical, and created a self-imposed moratorium on news, their decision being the last story they published or aired?
The politicians couldnt all get together to use the media to complain about how bad the media are. Since there are no media, there would be no one at the infrequent press conferences. There would be no media giving up some of their journalistic integrity to jockey for the best seats on Air Force One or at Washington black-tie parties.
There would be no one to accept the myriad pork-barrel press releases from members of Congress who want to show the folks back home they care enough about them and their votes, and thats why they successfully got a naval supply house in Haystacks, Kansas, or a museum in the south side of Chicago dedicated to cow tipping.
They wouldnt be able to get national air time because there would be no appearances on Oprah, the morning semi-news infotainment shows, the evening news, late night talk shows, or even the far more honest and journalistically competent Daily Show because they wouldnt even exist.
There wouldnt be any radio to capture their distortions of reality and transmit them to an audience that prefers to hear conservative slobbering talk-mouths and Golden Oldies music from the Bayou.
The politicians could still spew press releases, but without media there would be no one to print or televise them. They could distribute millions of flyers and newsletters, but the Government Printing Office is part of the media and, thus, would also be closed. Paid ads in newspapers, radio, and television would be useless since those media dont exist.
If the Hollywood film industry, which right-wing politicians equate with Satanic verses, went on vacation, the politicians could create their own films and documentaries. But, that wont happen in a media vacuum.
Politicians could still show their normal side by jamming with rock, jazz, or accordion bandsexcept that music is all part of the mass media. Without music, the government couldnt even blast loud screeches known as the Top 40 to terrorists to make them cave in.
Bush league politicians could try putting abbreviated epithets of false promise onto billboards but there wouldnt be any billboards because theyre also part of the media.
The web? Not a chance. Politicians have been complaining about the web as a source of evil, or at least the repository for bare breast pictures for two decades. The web, the newest mass medium, would already be closed by ethically-challenged and sometimes adulterous politicians who have tried scoring votes by trying to censor Internet sites and messages.
Satellite transmissions would all cease. Politicians could text message their pleas for money or send video clips to the ubiquitous network of cell phonesif cell phones werent confiscated as part of the mass media.