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Monday, October 11, 2004
Notes on the production of "reality"
It is telling that a group of rightist owned telly stations planning to air an anti-Kerry documentary is news, but the fawning coverage the mainstream media gives both Bush and Kerry is considered a given. In other words, if you had any doubts about your "real" choices are supposed to be, you should just drop them and leave.
This is only one of numerous examples of the mainstream media acting to reinforce the binary politics of the United States. In the process, they create what is widely perceived as "reality."
Team Bush is also good at creating the reality they desire, and they haven't been shrieking from this important task in recent days.
In Friday night's debate, Bush responded to a question about who he would pick for the Supreme Court with:
I really don't have -- haven't picked anybody yet. Plus, I want them all voting for me.Does Bush know what Dred Scott v. Sanford was about? Does he think the 13th Amendment was unnecessary? This should be a fairly significant story.
Here you have the prez showing great ignorance of one of the most important Supreme Court decisions ever in and making the case for a literal interpretation of the Constitution in part by criticizing a decision that was a literal reading of that document, and nobody cares. No wonder Bush was able to convince people Saddam was a "threat."
Speaking of that matter, yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Condoleezza Rice said:
...Saddam Hussein had an insatiable appetite for weapons of mass destruction. He had an unflinching hatred for the United States. He had every reason to cooperate with our enemies. This was a gathering and growing threat, and it was time to take care of it."[G]rowing threat"? "[G]rowing threat"? "[G]rowing threat"?
Bush, Rice and the rest of the crew never proved there was any threat beyond the mere possibility that anybody with Saddam's money and resources could, if they decided they really wanted to, begin to think about attacking the United States. There was no "threat," if that word is defined in a conventional manner. The fact that no "mainstream" journalist will point this out shows them to be nothing but a pitiful group of hack enablers.
What should be equally disturbing, but somehow isn't to me, is the way in which Team Bush has created ridiculously utopian goals for public consumption and yet manage to ridicule a political opponent who goes along with these goals as not supporting them.
In a Matt Bai's moderately hagiographical profile of Kerry in yesterday's New York Times Magazine, the Great John Kerry is presented as saying:
'We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' Kerry said. ''As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''This doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Terrorism exists in singularities and so as long as it exists, it will be more than a nuisance, unless of course Kerry is more wedded to the latter part of these words. (Besides, how can he ignore the myriad of ways in which prostitution and illegal gambling are destroying the very fabric of the sprit that makes America great?)
Team Bush's response to this is laughable. CNN writes:
>Bush campaign Chairman Marc Racicot, in an appearance on CNN's "Late Edition," interpreted Kerry's remarks as saying "that the war on terrorism is like a nuisance. He equated it to prostitution and gambling, a nuisance activity. You know, quite frankly, I just don't think he has the right view of the world. It's a pre-9/11 view of the world."If you can create your own reality, why bother with the commonly accepted one? It will just be full of unpleasant things that go bump in the night.
I'd criticize Team Kerry for creating their own reality, something they most certainly want to do, as well, but they are so bad at it that it isn't worth doing.