Saturday, 24 January 2009

The George W Bush Presidency and the Collaboration of Washington's Political and Media Establishments

Why did the nation – after the 9/11 attacks – so willingly follow Bush into a radical divergence from traditional US foreign policy and into violations of longstanding national principles of inalienable rights and the rule of law?

Why did the institutions designed to protect US constitutional liberties, including the press and Congress, crumble so readily, allowing Bush to seize so much power that he could entangle the United States in an aggressive – and costly – war in Iraq with few questions asked?

Perceptions of Reality

Part of the answer to this historical mystery can be found in the complex relationship between the American people and mass media. The multi-billion-dollar stakes involved in selling commercial products to the world’s richest market also made the American people the most analyzed population on earth.

Controlling their perceptions of reality and eliciting their emotions became more than just art forms; they were economic imperatives.
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The major US news media, which either cheered Bush on or looked the other way, has changed little. Indeed, in the days before the Inauguration, President-elect Obama made a point of courting the favor of right-wing columnists, such as Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, and of the mainstream press, like the Washington Post’s editorial board.

Obama also has reassured the Washington Establishment that he doesn’t intend to shake things up too much. He’s kept on one of the insiders' favorites, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and has appointed other officials to manage foreign and economic policy who have had a hand in many of the dubious decisions implemented by the Bush administration.

The incoming President also has been paying heed to Establishment voices urging him not to hold Bush and his subordinates accountable for the many crimes they committed. Don’t listen to those American citizens who are demanding that the nation’s laws be enforced against high-ranking officials, Obama is being counseled.

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=29879

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, January 24th, 2009.]

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