During a recent public relations speech in West Virginia, a woman in the carefully screened audience commented to President Bush that the media do not report the good things the Bush administration does.
In her mind, I suppose, hearing stories about violence in Iraq, the New Orleans fiasco, and presidential misconduct shows the Bush administration in a bad light. She wishes the media would report more good stories.
That’s it! We need more happy stories! We do not need an independent media that reports the truth, holds politicians accountable, and lets the political chips fall where they may. We do not need stories showing the gruesome reality of the Iraq war or showing fallen soldiers coming home in coffins. We do not need to know that, as a result of Bush’s war, tens of thousands of Iraqis have died, including innocent men, women and children. We do not need to hear evidence that shows the president has lied repeatedly to the American people and to Congress. We do not need to know about Bush’s war on dissent and his approval of the unconstitutional wiretapping of American citizens. We do not need to know about the administration’s plan to produce -- and use -- a new generation of nuclear weapons.
As if the media do not have enough built-in filters that toe the administration line and keep citizens ignorant, now we need stories with big, fat smiley faces to show that they meet the goodness test! The war is going just fine and the troops are exited to be promoting American democracy in Iraq! The economy is strong because Bush’s tax cuts to the wealthy are creating new jobs! These are the happy stories that show the Bush administration in a positive light. Never mind that growing numbers of demoralized Iraq veterans are joining antiwar protests. Never mind that the new jobs being created are low paid service jobs that do not provide benefits. The administration knows that if you repeat your message and catch phrases often enough for gullible Americans, they will believe anything. According to Hermann Goering, Hitler's designated successor in the Third Reich, "the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
So, to the West Virginia woman who wants big, fat smiley faces masking the truth, I would say that the world is in a far more dangerous position after George W. Bush used the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to launch a vague war on a tactic and then decided to use preemptive warfare in Iraq. There are no smiley faces big enough to hide his crimes against humanity.