Monday, July 02, 2007

No Fear? You aren't watching enough Tee-Vee

Another Update about staying current:

I have noticed that CNN is offering "wall to wall" coverage of the "bombings" in Scotland (the first car was smoking when they found it, the second car was towed for being illegally parked, and the third car needed all the help it could get just to burn.) As former Scotland Yard detective John O'Connor told CNN, it was a bonfire, not an explosion. You have to watch that clip to hear how uninterested the CNN anchor is in any narrative that doesn't include "Fear! Fire! Foes! Awake!" It reminds me of the coverage of Hurricane Rita 2 years ago, when local meterologists were determined to top themselves with how scary the hurricane was going to be. Just recently I saw a local news show advertising that its weathermen would not be scary, but would calmly and rationally report the weather. Yes, that is now so unique it's worth advertising. But it is not, apparently, a national trend, as one of Josh Marshall's readers points out:

BBC was quite careful not to ascribe any specific Al-Quaeda membership, and seemed to be more comfortable describing the attackers as "influenced by other Al-Quaeda types". CNN created the image of a major world crisis, while BBC presented an isolated but obviously troubling event.

I would respectfully posit that such coverage by most of our American Mainstream Media is why the Bush Administration has been able to so easily play with the fears and emotions of Americans.
And Michael Chertoff has assured us we are safe (but I thought we were fighting the terrorists 'over there' so we wouldn't have to fight them 'over here.' Isn't England still 'over there'?) Except, of course, we are safe because we continue to be afraid:

"We are safe, but we are safe because we continue to pay attention and we continue to add security measures," Chertoff said as the Fourth of July holiday approaches.
CNN couldn't have said it better; or done more to promote the fear this Administration thrives on.

I've been thinking much about that joke that the French government is afraid of the people, and the American people are afraid of the government. Given the history of revolution in France, there's more than a grain of reason and history in the observation. Given that the US started its revolt out of fear of the monarchy of England (it is, at least, remembered that way), the joke becomes even more pointedly true. We never, you know, escape culture, and we change it only very slowly. So even if we are not terrorized by events nearly 1/4 of a world away, CNN (and other media?) clearly think we should be; or we want to be; or we will be, if they just show us the picture of that burning car often enough.

Unless we are afraid of the government, how can it protect us?

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