HOUSTON, TX -- Traveling around America -- as I have been these past two weeks on a national book tour for my new novel, "The Assassins" -- has been great therapy. It got me away from Washington, D.C. I got to travel the length and breadth of the country in red states and blue states. I've met and talked and listened to tens of thousands of people from every walk of life. And best of all, they reaffirmed my longstanding belief that the American people are a whole lot smarter than the so-called mainstream media thinks they are.
Now I'll be the first to acknowledge that sampling public opinion by listening to the comments of people standing in line to buy my latest book is no scientific survey. But the results are nonetheless refreshing.
The Americans with whom I've spoken have been far more interested in the baseball playoffs and the upcoming World Series than they are in Judith Miller or putting Karl Rove in leg irons. They don't believe George Bush is responsible for levees bursting in New Orleans, and they think Tom Delay is getting a raw deal. They admire the young Americans serving on the frontlines of the war on terror and don't like Cindy Sheehan or her anti-military, blame-America-first friends. They believe Saddam will get a fairer trial than he deserves -- and wonder why last weekend's constitutional referendum in Iraq wasn't better covered by the potentates of the press if it was so all-fired important.
All of this begs the question as to how out of touch the media has become -- particularly in the midst of a war. The most significant indicator of media detachment is the coverage given to last weekend's constitutional referendum in Iraq. The same potentates of the press who focused for weeks on hanging chads in Florida five years ago widely ignored one of the most dramatic political events of our time. In the midst of a bloody war, politicians in an Islamic country spent seven months drafting their own constitution and then sent it to their people for ratification.
The masters of the media predicted that it wouldn't work -- but it did. They said the process was "ugly" -- but it went well. They forecast a minimal turnout -- but it was better than 63 percent -- higher than the voting ratio in our last presidential election. They scrambled to report five U.S. casualties and a handful of "irregularities" during the balloting -- but widely ignored 10 million Iraqi men and women peacefully leaving 6,000 polling places with smiles and ink-stained fingers.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.