Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Little Boy Who Cried WMD

There once was a pampered Bully Boy who was bored and had the war lust as he sat in the oval office. To amuse himself and start an illegal war, he cried "WMD! WMD! Mushroom cloud!"
The villagers trembled and tossed aside their own better natures.

But when troops were sent overseas, they found no WMD.
The Bully Boy laughed in front of the press corps, making jokes about how "Those WMDs have to be around here somewhere."

The press laughed along as well, always quick to play their parts as useless stenographers.
The villagers began to notice no WMDs and notice no 'win' for the illegal war either.
Some of the press swore the Bully Boy would never again pursue war with lies.
Congress told him they would not support it.

On January 10th, there was proof that nothing's changed as Bully Boy declared, "A captured al Qaeda document describes the terrorists' plan to infiltrate and seize control of the [Al-Anbar] province." It takes a lot of gall after lying a nation into war to think that your word ranks any higher than shit at this point.

But fortunately for Bully Boy, the press was, as usual, napping. It was a tedious and much hyped speech, so possibly some will forgive them for falling asleep after the fourth paragraph.

That's what must have happened to watch, read or listen to the mainstream press coverage which all zoomed in on ten words: "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me."

That sop was enough to placate the same press that more closely resembled a village mob when they needed Bill Clinton to spell out the exact nature of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Sex is 'fun.' It allows for easy moralizing and clutch-the-pearls journalism.

Lying a nation into war, fostering a civil war in Iraq, being responsible for the deaths of over 655,000 Iraqis and over 3,000 Americans, that doesn't get the press corps all itchy in the crotch in the same manner.

Which is why ten words of sop were treated as a mea culpa (even The New York Times managed more than ten words when issuing their mini-culpa, kind-of-culpa on their own pre-war reporting). There was no discussion of "where mistakes have been made" -- just the hand claps over the fact that Bully Boy admitted, nearly four years after his war of choice, that mistakes had been made.

The ten words rang hollow but the press pumped them up for all they worth. Those who'd avoided the speech might have even thought that they missed something monumental if they followed the breathless coverage of "Bully Boy Admits Mistakes Were Made!"

The Little Boy Who Cried WMD is still treated as a man of honesty and, after all this time, that may be the strongest indictment of the mainstream press.

As the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf is told at the end of that children's story, "Nobody believes a liar . . . even when he's telling the truth." We think the story needs to be ammended so that the final line reads: "Nobody but the press believes a liar . . . even when he's telling the truth."
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