The mainstream American media is launching a classic tantrum over President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. We have the hastily assembled pieces telling the story of what happened in elaborate detail, ‘hard-hitting’ interviews, thousands of editorials, and media coverage so haunting and breathless that even MSNBC barely interrupted Coverage of Afghanistan to mention that a terrorist supporting Trump with an apparent truck bomb was threatens to blow up the Capitol bbuilding Thursday. (Conservative white terrorists don’t really matter, it seems.)
In a white house press conference friday, reporters pressed Biden with very unusual aggressiveness. The mainstream American press, especially its television stations, simply cannot stop the Eternal War.
As Judd Legum writes To Popular information, the mainstream media have turned almost exclusively to criticism of the withdrawal from Afghanistan in their coverage, and in virtually all cases, to those who supported the invasion and occupation. A public relations specialist said Popular information that the TV bookers flatly refused to have someone to support the decision to withdraw. Indeed, as Eric Alterman writes To The American Perspective, many people now receiving an op-ed for Hector Biden about his supposed failures were not only directly involved in the catastrophically failed occupation, but were revealed in The Washington Post‘s “Documents from Afghanistan“to blatantly lied to the public about how everything was going. To post himself is not innocent either – a recent editorial by David Ignatius compared Biden’s team end a war of the infamous “the best and the brightest” of the Vietnam era which begin a.
It goes without saying that until this crisis of hysteria, the mainstream media had almost completely ignored Afghanistan over the past decade. No one except a handful of intemperate critics have read the dozens of reports from the Special Inspector General for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan (SIGAR) showing the occupation to be a cataclysmic disaster from start to finish. end. Major evening news broadcasts on television spent in total five minutes combined over the country in 2020, and even before the pandemic little more than that. As Jim Lobe writes to Responsible government spirit, “The three networks have spent a total of only 362 minutes in Afghanistan over the previous five years, or just two hours of coverage per network, or an average of just 24 minutes per network per year.”
It seems the media thinks it’s okay to throw billions of dollars down the toilet and kill hundreds of thousands in a spectacularly doomed occupation, as long as the brutality is relatively easy to ignore.
What explains such an extreme and generalized bias is not immediately obvious. A number of factors are probably to blame. There is a typical imperial chauvinism – the belief in American exceptionalism not only by thinking that it is the best country on Earth, but also that it has the right and the capacity to meddle in the affairs of other countries when it is. wants.
Then there is the fact that a large part of the supposedly “neutral” journalists have decided to present themselves as hysterically pro-Troop – a trend which was greatly strengthened after September 11. Every Veterans Day and Remembrance Day, you see plenty of normally buttoned journalists posting tearful Twitter threads or Facebook messages appreciating American soldiers for their heroic sacrifice. (A recurring joke on Twitter on the left is to get these people to retweet pictures of non-soldiers – like Chapo Trap House co-host Felix Biederman – Where war criminals.) Some reporters are so immersed in the instinctive cult of the troops that they may question basic principles of democracy such as civilian control of the military, apparently without even noticing it. Here is CNN’s chief national security correspondent:
Then there is the instinctive desire to appear “neutral”. The mainstream media were extremely uncomfortable that, during the Trump presidency, just reporting the news meant criticizing Republicans virtually non-stop. Therefore, whenever a Democrat does something that even seems mildly reprehensible, they will cry out in indignation in order to demonstrate their non-partisan good faith.
Finally, there is the fact that wars are extremely profitable for a small group of elites with close ties to the press. Much of the tens of billions of dollars in occupation money has been swallowed up by corrupt defense contractors who did poor-quality work or outright defrauded the taxpayer. These contractors have hired dozens of former military personnel who are then shown on television without revealing that they have a vested financial interest in the conflicts they invariably advocate prolonging. In 2008, David Barstow at The New York Times found dozens of examples of this; Laura Bassett at The HuffPost found the same in 2010; Public Accountability Initiative found the same thing in 2013; Lee Fang at The nation found the same thing in 2014; Paul Farhi at The Washington Post found the same thing in 2020; and Interception found the same thing again over the past few days. The cult of the troops means that corrupt former generals can ignore basic journalistic ethics.
Fortunately, there are signs that the American people are more or less sympathetic to President Biden’s argument that the pullout was a painful necessity. Despite an entire week of chauvinist propaganda on all channels, a recent poll have consistently found that 62 percent of Americans think war is not worth fighting. I suspect that if Biden continues to defend his position, most voters will conclude that he did what he needed to do.
It is a terrible situation, and although some refugees are leaving Afghanistan, it is not enough (at least not yet, evacuations are still ongoing). Things can always be better. But ignore the media connivance of people with vested interests or who appear to have passed out five minutes ago. It turns out that one of the reasons to think twice before starting a war is that they often don’t end well.