January 30, 2005

Iraq Election

Just watched some news coverage about the Iraq elections. Stupidly, I watched the late local Fox news. I was watching a "Simpsons" episode and the news came on and I thought I’d see how they were covering it. Depressing, of course. It sounds like generic paranoia but it really does watch like propaganda. Everything was only about people’s joy, cut with an American saying, "That’s just the price of freedom." I’m sure you could find an Iraqi family who would say it’s not fucking worth it, especially those families who have lost children. The entire spin was positive--a brief mention of the 40 people who were killed. This is why I have vowed to not watch the news for the next four years--we are not getting even half the story. Is there anybody on earth more disingenuous than local newscasters--those people who are supposed to be telling us the true story about the world. They report every story with the same indifferent smile.

While I’m happy for those joyful Iraqi’s and hope for stability, this story is far from over. But America is wishing for a Hollywood happy ending, an instant fix. My main fear about this election is that it is like another election for George Bush. He does not need more power, in his own head or anybody else’s. It struck me like a second inauguration. I don’t know what the hell my opinion matters about this major situation but I needed to write something.


Spiral Stairs said...

The whole thing has been distasteful to me too. When I started seeing headlines touting the success of the elections -- (only a few car bombings!) -- I began having evil thoughts about what I wish would happen during their elections. (Thoughts that I feel ashamed to express in words.)

Americans, in their comfy little (big) homes, love to tell other peoples what the price of freedom is. It reminds me of the weeks after 9/11, when I was struggling to live in a normal life in New York, walking by mural-sized collages of photos of missing people, carrying the ID necessary for me to gain entry to my own neighborhood, and my family in small-town Missouri was dispensing similar platitudes about sacrifice and pain and freedom and democracy and blah, blah, blah.

The fact is, the number of people living in America who have paid any price at all for their freedom is dwindling daily, as the WWII generation passes on. The number of people elsewhere paying that price is skyrocketing.

tequilita said...

why would you watch fox news expecting the whole story? the coverage i saw seemed more cautious. i heard many different opinions expressed in the international coverage i watched, some saying that, yes the outcome is ultimately headed in the right direction, but disagreement with the means by which it was obtained, and desire to expedite and end to u.s. occupation. i found it to be responsibly covered.

Henry Baum said...

Kimberly, you’re right. Except Fox seems to be a reflection of mainstream American thought and sculpts it as well. It’s sickening in a similar way to George Bush himself. Even the AP headlines on my Yahoo homepage were like propaganda. "Iraqis dance for joy," not "Iraqis are cautiously optimistic." International coverage is something else. That’s not where the American public gets their news, and they’re the court of public opinion when we invade another axis of evil.

It’s eerie. If the election was more chaotic, this could be seen as a "sacrifice" so that Bush wouldn’t have a "mandate" to take his wars elsewhere---which could be potentially much worse than Iraq. This is just a hypothetical question of ethics, I’m not hoping for chaos.

tequilita said...

it wasn't really international news, it was nbc's international coverage. i think popular opinion of fox news is pretty much in line with what you're saying...that its sensationalistic, biased spin is hard to stomach. i am very glad the election went better than expected. now bring 'em home.

Joseph K said...

Local news is worthless. I find it unreal how they can get equally excited about snow storms as elections as natural disasters. There is a special place in hell for news producers behind in "Team 4 Storm Coverage." The anchors are plasticene and vacuous.

But, one of my favorite stories growing up was of a couple of buddies of mine hanging out with local D.C. NBC affiliate anchorman Jim Vance's son. The younger Vance had an Atari, so my buddies found him to be a very useful friend. They remember many a time walking by a coked out Vance lifting weights and muttering to himself. That is the most real Jim Vance has ever seemed.

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