December 5, 2008
On August 17, 2008, I published a blog that decried the reporting of the Russo-Georgian War by the American “mainstream” media. In that piece, I accused our media of disinformation, ignoring the facts and downright lying in its coverage of the conflict. Specifically, my condemnation centered on the impression our media gave that the conflict was all Russia’s fault. We were led to believe that Russia had invaded Georgia unprovoked and Georgia’s enlightened democratic president Mikhail Saakashvili was a victim of the big bad bear from the north.
Of course, I took a lot of abuse for my siding with the bad guys (Russia) in this event. It was indicative of the “you are either with us or against us” mentality that our esteemed president has instilled into our cultural norms. Some of the comments I received for that blog included, “Are you getting your news from TASS”; “I suggest that from your perch in Zambia, you need better binoculars to see the action”; and my favorite, “do cue me as to when I start playing the Russian national anthem on the violin here…” I also received hate e-mail from a woman of Georgian descent.
Now, I am a big boy and can take the abuse, even the e-mail that condemned me to eternity in hell. And as a big boy I can also boast and say I told you so. On November 26, Georgia’s former ambassador to Russia Erosi Kitsmarishvili, told a Georgian parliamentary commission that Georgian officials told him President Bush gave his blessing for such a use of force when he met the Georgian president in Washington in March.
Vindication is sweet, but I am sure that the same detractors will respond to this blog by saying Kitsmarishvili is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Or they will say he is really a Russian parading around as a Georgian ambassador. Or that he is lying because he is a communist. In any event, these detractors will probably still not face reality that their media and president have lied to them again. They will still have faith in the man who chewed on his tie in front of live TV cameras.
But, this blog is not just about saying I told you so. It is a reminder that we shouldn’t believe everything the media in America tells us. Their perspective on most things is skewed. They have been socialized by the public schools, their college professors, and the underlying persuasion in this country that the U.S. government can do little wrong. Most journalists have sold out to their corporate employers who in turn are more interested in pleasing the politicians so they can get the interview or the special favor than in doing their jobs – holding elected official accountable. With the advent of the Internet we do have more choices when it comes to media outlets. Here’s hoping more Americans will overcome their socialized belief that if ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox said it then it must be true.