Bill Grigsby: What Almost Rhymes With Iraqi? Happy
What almost rhymes with Iraqi? Happy!
By Bill Grigsby
In case you haven’t been following the news of the news lately, President Bush recently finished a PR/campaign fundraising tour, courtesy of the American Taxpayers, in which he complained in key red and swing state radio and TV markets that he wasn’t getting a fair shake from the big media news outlets on the Iraqi, ahem, reconstruction. It seems that Big Media wants to focus on ‘bad’ things, negativity, a few bad apple car bombers, body bags of soldiers killed in action, the occasional soldier caught on camera whose gas-induced grimace is portrayed as a sign of low troop morale, a dead-on postwar strategy twisted by bitter partisanship into a geopolitical version of group acid freakout.
BushCo, through its spokesman George W. Bush, sticking hard to its instincts, has responded by trying to manufacture news. This happened to his father at the same point in his term. Remember ‘kinder, gentler?’ Now Son of Bush has given us a Glass Half Full policy in Iraq. The same corporate press that ignored (and still is ignoring) the pre-election theft in Florida, ignored prewar inconsistencies, and reported the Mission Accomplished Video as news, is ignoring just how good things are going in Iraq, as has been clearly demonstrated by On-Message republican members of Congress who in recent weeks have been chauffeured into Iraq in fighter jets from their hotels in Kuwait.
No, the media have instead chosen to focus on over 230 U.S. soldiers dead in combat since the Mission Accomplished Video. On popular protests in Iraq against American occupation. On the corporate carpetbaggers like Halliburton cashing in on their $36 million investment in Dick Cheney. On the near unanimous rebuke of BushCo’s backhanded groveling for money and/or troops from Old Europe and other irrelevant UN members. On the Weapons of misdirection (remember? ‘ some of the most lethal weapons ever devised’), the sales pitch for which was delivered on a world stage by amateur liars and treated like an Herbalife Convention by the corporate media, and which is currently the target of a half billion dollar hunt—once again, courtesy of the American taxpayers. On the felonious leaking of the identity of a White House whistleblower’s spouse, a CIA operative. On reportedly low troop morale and a possible re-enlistment crisis. On the army’s mass mailing of heartwarming form letters-to-editors, signed in many cases by real GIs. On the arch villains still on the loose—Osama, Mullah Omar, Saddam. On the trashing of Iraqi museums, looting of antiquities and arsenals and nuclear power plants while ‘Coalition’ Forces religiously guarded oil wells. On the reconstruction of all the physical things American bombs blew up (the American taxpayers are fronting the first $30 billion or so until the massive oil export revenue starts kicking in, which should be any day now, just as soon as people quit shooting at us long enough to do several billion in repairs and upgrades).
BushCo, however, on the advice of its subsidiary KDK (Karl, Dick and Karen), has chosen the positive, the inspiring, re-election affirming, live-media-avoiding, campaign-fundraising-stump-speech route. No, I take that back. Dick probably pushed for precision nucular war against those who would give succor to the evildoers—you know, traitors. The President’s enemies. I mean critics. Karl seems like he’s a little more sensitive to public opinion than the Vice President. In the way an alligator is sensitive to the feelings of a lame chicken flailing on the bank.
Perhaps this Glass Half Full approach is the coming out party for BushCo’s Compassionate Conservative agenda. Perhaps it’s just the Bush Administration pulling off at a rest stop on the 2004 campaign publicity and fundraising trail. But the way they’re spinning Iraqmire ‘round the clock, you’d think things were going exactly as planned. Especially if you weren’t really paying much attention. If we just look at the full half of the glass instead of the empty half, we’d understand. The world is a better place without Saddam as president of Iraq. Wherever he is. That traitor Ambassador Wilson is a liberal democrat with ties to Hillary Clinton (insert gasp here). And his wife worked for the CIA, which hamstrung Secretary Rumsfeld in his selfless efforts to create more supportive intelligence findings from the Pentagon.
But there’s more. According to a mass form letter signing campaign, U.S. troop morale has never been higher, and no liberated populace more appreciative. Sniper fire? Just a little overexuberant celebration by freedom-lovin’ folks of their soon-to-be second amendment rights! The Iraqis have been liberated from the clutches of the Supreme Evildoer, and—oh, did I mention that already? The economy’s looking up—jobs for American companies. In Baghdad. Courtesy of fast-track non-competitive bidding and the Bush Administration’s Campaign Donation Accountability Initiative. And did you see the last quarter economic statistics?? That half trillion we’ve borrowed (so far) is paying off! In addition, a deadly vial of botulinum was discovered, after months of fruitless searches for the WMD smoking gun, cleverly concealed in a scientist’s refrigerator, and authorities already want to know: how could he afford a refrigerator anyway? What more proof of a biological weapons program do you need than a vial of Botox? Case closed! Can I have my midterm approval numbers back now? What we thought was chaos and mass looting of ancient human artifacts turned out to be a mild case of adolescent untidiness, the giddiness of a nation on the verge of American-Style™ democracy. And here’s a bonus for Fox News (suggested motto: we insult, you watch) patrons: The phony baloney Saddam-9/11 connection has become self-fulfilling prophecy! BushCo has managed to attract evildoers from all over the world to Iraq soze we can kill ‘em all in one place and keep them off of your neighborhood’s streets (I think they even discovered a list with your phone number on it, so make sure and vote for the Patriot Act when you get the chance).
Yet there’s more good news. The UN resolution passed, and we received pledges in excess of $52,378.64 from Old Europe (it looks like more when you convert it into Euros). Also, we’re getting to the bottom of the White House leak, because the American people demand accountability, and John Ashcroft is just the kind of zealot to deliver. These things take time, however, and lots of money—we’ll let you know when we find something. Remind us occasionally.
You’ll also be pleased to know that the car bombings in Iraq are a good sign. They mean our policies are working, and the enemies of democracy are getting more desperate by the 30-second spot. Oh, you want to blame the President for the state of the economy, high unemployment, breathtaking economic inequality, public and private corruption, horrendous budget cuts trickling down to states and municipalities? Well, just imagine how bad things would have been without two massive tax cuts for potential campaign donors! Didn’t think o’ that, did you??
So anyway, it’s a travesty that a president can’t get a fair shake from the media and instead has to spend his time on publicity tours criticizing them, and talking straight at honest hard-working folks (not actually to them, unless they can afford the $2000-a-plate cover charge). Especially since the big networks played such a pivotal role in putting him in high office and keeping his approval ratings out of the Recall Zone. The corporate media were doing such a bang-up job before the war began. In fact all the way back to the pre-election fraud in Florida that unfortunately couldn’t penetrate Bill O’Reilly’s no-spin zone, or any other major network or newspaper. No, American taxpayers won’t stand for this sort of distortion on the part of the liberal media giants—you know, like the ones that caved to boycott threats on the Reagan miniseries. This media savaging forced our president to leave world leaders on hold for several days, tour the Heartland, castigate the nattering nabobs of media negativity, preach to the NeoCon Faithful, and reluctantly accept large campaign donations from supporters who are simply shocked that a sitting president would have to go to such lengths to tell such a heartwarming story. He even held an early morning impromptu press conference—that makes ten in 3 years now—and should be an indication of just how bad things have gotten. What has America come to?
Cancel your subscriptions, phone your minister, call your children in. The liberal media is back.
Grigsby, 2003. Assistant Professor of Sociology Eastern