This is a monumental week in Iraq. On the heels of the country's historic constitutional referendum, the trial of Saddam Hussein for his role in the 1982 massacre of 140 men and boys in the Shiite town of Dujail begins. For the Iraqi families of the murdered, it is a day of reckoning they never thought they'd see.
You might think this would be a moment to give the victims and their families center stage. Think again.
The victims of Saddam are being overshadowed by media reports about terror-apologizing "human rights" activists decrying the "show trial." Meanwhile, journalists are complaining about courtroom security procedures. "I'm not even allowed to take a notebook and a pen with me into the court," CBS correspondent Lara Logan told "The Early Show." And Washington Post reporter Jackie Spinner is irked by accusations of bias. "When you're the media in Iraq, (American readers) don't believe what we're telling them," Spinner told the Decatur (Ill.) Herald and Review. "They think we are distorting the picture. We are not telling the truth. They think we're against the American soldiers."
Wherever did we get that idea? Let's revisit the mainstream media brouhaha last week over President Bush's question-and-answer session with some of our soldiers in Iraq. The Associated Press, NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell and others in the Bush-bashing press corps accused the White House and 10 soldiers from the Army's 42nd Infantry Division of "staging" the event. (This is the same hypocritical media that eagerly abetted the staging of anti-war agitator Cindy Sheehan's Endless Summer tour of discontent.) Vicious anti-war activists smeared the soldiers as "stooges."
Sergeant Ron Long, an Army combat medic, was one of the participants. He gave his side of the story (which the media has chosen to ignore, of course) on his personal blog (http://278medic.blogspot.com/). "I believe that it would have been totally irresponsible for us not to prepare some ideas, facts or comments that we wanted to share with the President," Long noted. He explained further:
We practiced passing the microphone around to one another, so we wouldn't choke someone on live TV. We had an idea as to who we thought should answer what types of questions, unless President Bush called on one of us specifically.
President Bush told us, during his closing, that the American people were behind us. I know that we are fighting here, not only to preserve our own freedoms, but to establish those same freedoms for the people of Iraq. It makes my stomach ache to think that we are helping to preserve free speech in the U.S., while the media uses that freedom to try to rip down the President and our morale, as U.S. Soldiers. They seem to be enjoying the fact that they are tearing the country apart. Worthless!
Sgt. Long is dead-on. The smearing of our troops, who were accused of helping stage the capture of Saddam and now stand accused of staging their support for President Bush's goals in Iraq, is especially galling to military family members who have watched the media shamelessly manipulate and fake the news with impunity for years.
Indeed, as NBC News was indulging in its Bush-deranged feeding frenzy over the "staged" talk with the troops, one of the network's crack reporters, Michelle Kosinski, was rowing a canoe in a few inches of water in New Jersey to create the illusion of dangerous flood conditions. The illusion was comically destroyed when two men walked in front of the camera with water barely reaching their ankles.
NBC News, of course, knows all about staging events (you remember those faked GM truck crash tests). The rest of the mainstream media know whereof they speak as well -- from Cokie Roberts' faked U.S. Capitol backdrop on ABC News to CBS's manufactured National Guard memos on "60 Minutes" to the bogus reports of Jayson Blair, Mike Barnicle, Janet Cooke, Diana Griego Erwin, Mitch Albom, Stephen Glass, Eric Slater and Jack Kelley.
As they spin the Saddam trial and deride our soldiers in Iraq, the lesson is clear: These media masters of theater are incapable of delivering real drama and good news unless they control the script.
Fortunately, you control the remote.