Northern Valley Beacon

Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains----- E-Mail: Enter 'Beacon' in subject box. Send to: Minnekota@Referencedesk.org

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

 

When Baghdad Bob became Emperor of America (or it must be the water)

In 2003, when our troops invaded Iraq and moved relentlessly into Baghdad, our nation was fairly complacent because we had few casualties. And we had Baghdad Bob to provide the comic relief. Remember him? He is the Saddam public relations man who kept insisting that the Iraqi army was winning and that western press accounts of the advancing invasion were fabricated and false.

It turns out he became the consultant to the U.S. regime. First, we had the President and Vice President insisting that there were weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam Hussein was in league with Al Qaida. Then when it became apparent that our invasion had inspired an insurgency, military commanders insisted that there was no guerilla war taking place. As the death count ineluctably mounted toward the figure of 3,000 U.S. soldiers dead--which number we will most likely reach before year's end--and no evidence that Iraq's puppet democracy could exist without us pulling the strings, the administration insisted we were winning the war. And despite tens of thousands killed between the Sunnis and Shiites, and a million displaced, we have the insistence that there is no civil war in Iraq.

Baghdad Bob may have been a lousy minister of propaganda, but he sure was a good teacher. And Bush, Cheney and their skulking minions were sure good students. For a time, our nation lived a lie.

Baghdad Bob seems to have found work in South Dakota. Or he has imported some bottled Baghdad water here. The Three-Ds have infested South Dakota. They are Denial, Denigration, and Delusion. Along with flouride, the Three-Ds are additives to water, and the political portion of the South Dakota blogosphere, as they like to call themselves, are imbibing mightily.

They keep recycling news stories from the media about Sen. Johnson's health, and then crow and chortle over how superior they are performing compared with the media. I have checked the major news organizations for updates and found them timely, accurate, and, of course, free of the self-preening posturing. But the blogosquare keeps insisting that it is doing something the media is not.

There is a bonus. One blog posted a speculation by a man on one of the national dingbat blogs who claimed to be a neurologist or something of the kind. He suggested that the positive prognoses about Sen. Johnson may be wishful thinking and he provided a more dire prognosis. In the name of truth and accuracy. And in violation of the ethical rule adhered to by most physicians that it is okay to provide general background information on a medical condition, but one never speculates and never provides an expert diagnosis without having seen the patient, seen the patient's charts, examined the imaging of the portion of the body in question, and without obtaining the family's permission. But some blogs, as they are wont to do, circulated the dire prognosis with the usual self-acclaim for outperforming the press. And, of course, they all sent their best wishes to Sen. Johnson and his family. In these reports, they seem to have departed from Baghdad Bob's teachings. He always accentuated the positive--despite risking absurdity.

And then we have the poliblogs chortling with orgasmic glee over the fact that they have outperformed the press. Some even presume to offer a press review. For example, one criticized David Kranz's Argus Leader column for not rehashing the details of an e-mail that Sen. Klouchek sent to newspapers. Apparently, Baghdad Bob does not teach the distinction between a column and a news story. But that might be lost on polibloggers, anyway. And he certainly pays little heed to every journalism text that warns that certain factual accusations made in a quotation can still leave the medium liable for a lawsuit, even if the information is contained in a verified quotation. Some poliblogs do indeed outperform the press in certains acts of ignorance and self-stroking.

We are very critical of the press. We have participated in reviews that assert that South Dakota contains some of the worst news organizations in the nation and that they could not be worse. But when we said that, we hadn't experienced the poliblogs.

In our house, we are boiling all the water. And I swear I just saw Baghdad Bob ringing a bell outside of Wal-Mart.

Comments:
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