WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The geniuses who run the Fourth Estate in American have gone nuts. This week, the commander in chief visited U.S. troops fighting a war in Afghanistan, paid a state visit to the largest democracy on earth, closed a deal on nuclear cooperation and met with the man most likely to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Big news, right? Not for the potentates of the press.
The masters of the media could have focused in-depth on one of the most important overseas trips President George W. Bush has made during his tenure. His meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf are likely to produce long-term benefits for the U.S. economy and the Global War on Terror.
Apparently the network and newsroom royalty found all of this beyond their ken. So the barons of bombast chose instead to devote countless column inches and hours of air time to the "civil war" in Iraq, recriminations over a hurricane that hit Mardi Gras city six months ago, a Playboy centerfold sashaying into the Supreme Court; Jane Fonda and Babs Streisand blathering about "impeachment," and a Hollywood flick about homosexual cowboys. And they call this stuff news?
Those who wonder why fewer and fewer Americans are buying newspapers or tuning into network "news" need only look at this week's coverage to see why. "Hard" news stories are harder to come by every day, and those events and issues that do get coverage carry more than just a "tinge" of bias, ignorance or both. A few recent examples:
The violence in the aftermath of the bombing of the Golden Mosque -- a major Shiite shrine in Samarra, Iraq -- was immediately branded as "the long-feared civil war" by major networks, newspapers and magazines. The cover of this week's TIME magazine features a gaggle of screaming Iraqi supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr with the breathless headline, "Iraq: BREAKING POINT." Despite the fact that not one Iraqi or American official in Baghdad has described the upsurge in violence as a civil war -- and pointedly refused to depict it as such -- the press has deemed it to be so.
It's the same with the flap over "Arab ownership of American ports." Every editor, publisher and broadcast news director in the country knows that Dubai Port World isn't going to "own," "operate," "control" or be responsible for "providing security" at any U.S. seaport. Yet, all of those words and phrases are still being routinely used to describe the DP World purchase of several container-handling facilities at six American ports.
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.