The Democratic Hawk Flies Free

Toward the end of 2006, comedian Dennis Miller made these interesting comments regarding the upcoming 2008 presidential election:

“Let’s see, maybe it’s time for a Democratic president. Stay with me. Because the next step in the inevitable escalation in this war with radical Islam is going to involve us being appreciably more brutal and ruthless than we have been to date. And I think the left’s cronyism with the mainstream media will provide cover for someone on that side of things to up the ante.”

It was a thought-provoking statement that really caught my attention. Miller of course wasn’t endorsing a Democratic president, as some blog websites speculated at the time. He was making the point that a Democratic president would have an easier time prosecuting the War on Terror because the media would not plague the administration’s actions with the same intense scrutiny they gave to George W. Bush.

It appears that Miller is not only a brilliant political observer, but also a prophet.

By the time Bush left office, his post-9/11 foreign policy initiatives had been completely and utterly excoriated by the media. The mainstream media had invested years into building the narrative that everything Bush had done had only damaged our nation’s image and invited more violence upon our country. That theme resonated with our war-weary nation, and the Democratic candidate who most disassociated himself with those policies won the presidency.

But something interesting happened once that new president took office. Barack Obama, one of the most outspoken critics of everything Bush, continued on with many of those very same Bush policies. Even more interesting was that the media really didn’t seem to mind all that much.

The contrast in reactionary media analysis has been nothing short of remarkable.

Let’s look at some examples:

Abu Ghraib

It’s hard to think about the Iraq War without thinking about Abu Ghraib. After all, the story of prisoner abuse committed by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison in 2004 had a profound impact on our country’s mission in Iraq. The disturbing images of naked Iraqis forced into humiliating positions by smiling members of our military sparked waves of violence and served as a recruitment tool for the insurgent groups committed to keeping the country in a state of chaos.

The story of Abu Ghraib was featured more than 50 times on the front page of the New York Times. The national news networks followed suit, keeping the story in the news cycle for months while running the shocking photos over and over again for the world to see. Pundits enthusiastically pressed the notion that the soldiers’ actions weren’t acts of unsupervised insubordination, but were directly produced from the Bush administration’s prisoner detainment policies. Many called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation, and some were even suggesting that members of the Bush administration should be tried for war crimes.

One has to wonder how much better things might have turned out in Iraq had the atrocities not been so widely publicized and twisted into a representation of our presence in Iraq. One also has to wonder how the media would handle a similar story during the Obama presidency.

Well, it would probably come as a shock to most people, but a similar story actually DID take place during Obama’s administration.

In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine reported on a group of American soldiers who formulated and carried out a plan in 2010 to kill innocent civilians in Afghanistan. At least four victims were confirmed. After murdering the civilians, the soldiers posed for pictures with the corpses and even took body parts with them as souvenirs. The article alleged that the incidents were on the radar of Army senior leadership who were slow to react, and then engaged in a cover-up of the atrocities.

Now it seems to me that this should have AT LEAST been as big of a story as Abu Ghraib. After all, people were actually killed this time. But the vast majority of the American public has never heard of this. Why? The national media was largely disinterested. It was a one-day story, and not even a top story at that. This time, the press was content with simply reporting a few of the facts and letting the U.S. military deal with the situation internally. There was no media appetite to investigate and speculate further.

The Patriot Act

Does anyone else remember how controversial the Patriot Act used to be? I certainly recall Senator John Kerry and other 2004 presidential candidates repeatedly criticizing President Bush for its enactment. I also seem to remember it being critiqued regularly on the evening news. According to the Media Research Center, my memory did not fail me. The MRC reported that from 2001 to 2006, the Patriot Act was the focus of 91 network news stories on ABC, CBS, and NBC alone… and that didn’t even include their morning news broadcasts! 62% of those stories highlighted complaints or fears that the law infringed on the civil liberties of innocent Americans. New York Times columnists regularly expressed their contempt, and CBS News even ran the story of a poor Texas couple who claimed the Patriot Act ruined their marriage. Heck, I even remember the topic of The Patriot Act turning up on an episode of “The Practice”, with James Spader launching into a courtroom tirade over the gall of its existence.

When the Patriot Act came up for renewal during the Bush years, its content was routinely scrutinized by the media. Pundits would shake their heads in disgust after Bush would sign on the dotted line.

Whatever happened to the Patriot Act? Well, in May of this year, President Obama renewed it, and if you weren’t paying very close attention, you would have never known it happened. It was barely mentioned by the news media, with no critical analysis on the evening news broadcasts on ABC, CBS, and NBC.

Guantanamo Bay

Oh Gitmo… What a hot topic you once were. The Guantanamo Bay detention camp, established in 2002 by the Bush administration, took lumps from the media for years. Journalists regularly swooned to spokespeople from civil rights and human rights organizations, putting microphones in front of them, and letting them swing away with claims that the United States was breaking numerous laws as well as relinquishing our moral responsibilities and providing a recruiting tool for terrorist groups. Candidate Obama even made the closure of Gitmo one of the primary promises of his presidential campaign.

President Bush often stated in public appearances that his desire was to close Guantanamo Bay as well, but explained that there was no better alternative for dealing with such detainees. Besides, many of the prisoners’ home countries refused to take them into custody after they were captured on the battlefield, and other countries vowed to have the prisoners killed if returned to them. The media soundly rejected Bush’s logic.

Once elected, President Obama immediately announced plans to close Gitmo, but three years later it’s still open and serving the same purpose as it did during the Bush administration. Yet, we no longer hear media claims that the facility is a propaganda tool for terrorists. We no longer hear media concerns of prisoner abuse at Gitmo. The Obama administration is rarely even asked about the facility anymore.

Others

When president Bush used unmanned drone missile attacks during his presidency, the media was critical of the collateral damage they caused. These days, the media largely loves the tactic, and regularly hails the Obama administration for its increased usage.

Remember how the media pressed the point for years that Saddam Hussein was not a threat to our nation, thus we should have never started a war in Iraq? Was Muammar Gaddafi a threat to our nation?

Compare media concern over the physical and psychological treatment of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed with media concern over the actual killing of Osama Bin Laden and Anwar Al-Awlaki. Tell me if you notice anything interesting.

Why doesn’t the media follow Cindy Sheehan anymore? And when’s the last time you saw someone from Code Pink being interviewed? We’re still at war, aren’t we? Why doesn’t the anti-war movement get any coverage these days?

Remember the NSA warrantless wire-tapping controversy? Why is it no longer a controversy? The NSA is still conducting warrantless wire-tapping after all.

Yep, Dennis Miller really hit the nail on the head that night. When media analysts and representatives from the Democratic party are asked to identify President Obama’s accomplishments during his first term, they all tend to point to his national security and foreign policies first. That just goes to show how instrumental the news media is in framing the national debate in this country. If you’re a Republican president, hawkish policies are a failure. If you’re a Democratic president, those same policies are at worst, not notable… and at best, worthy of praise.

And without media scrutiny to shape public perception, the president has the political capital to pursue those policies until they succeed.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • Dick Van Eldik, M.D.

    The most interesting example of the mainstream media bias incvolves the possible scandal involving Jon Corzide. The biAS usually is quite suble, I surfed NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN all refering to Corzide as former governor of New Jersey, former senator, and former CEO of MF Gloal. None referred to him as “Democrat” Jon Corzide. If a Republlican were simiarly involved the media would make certain that every mention of the invoved person would be so labelled.

    Dick Van Eldik, M.D.

  • Shirl

    Excellent article, John. All the hipocracies of the liberal lame stream media and this despot administration. All the specifics definitely need alot more exposure and attention for the American people to understand what’s really going on and the dangers it poses for our country. Keep ringing that bell.

  • EddieD_Boston

    So Mr. Daly, you are saying the mainstrean media is dishonest, corrupt and carrying the water for the democrats and Obama?

    That’s what I thought.

  • BARBF

    And what about sodomizing a wounded prisoner of war with a knife? Does this make your friend Mr. O’Reilly proud of Obama, Hillary and the US and NATO? Afterall, no US military were killed..only a reported 33,000 Libyan civilians died…men, women and children as of April 2011…as a result the NATO/US invasion of Libya.

    http://blackagendareport.com/print/content/butchering-gaddafi-america%E2%80%99s-crime

    The Butchering of Gaddafi Is America’s Crime

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    “Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton appeared like ghoulish despots at a Roman Coliseum, reveling in their Libyan gladiators’ butchery.”

    Last week the whole world saw, and every decent soul recoiled, at the true face of NATO’s answer to the Arab Spring. An elderly, helpless prisoner struggled to maintain his dignity in a screaming swirl of savages, one of whom thrusts a knife [4] up his rectum. These are Europe and America’s jihadis in the flesh. In a few minutes of joyously recorded bestiality, the rabid pack undid every carefully packaged image of NATO’s “humanitarian” project in North Africa – a horror and revelation indelibly imprinted on the global consciousness by the brutes’ own cell phones.

    Nearly eight months of incessant bombing by the air forces of nations that account for 70 percent of the world’s weapons spending, all culminating in the gang-bang slaughter of Moammar Gaddafi, his son Mutassim and his military chief of staff, outside Sirte. The NATO-armed bands then displayed the battered corpses for days in Misurata – the city that had earlier made good on its vow to “purge Black skin” through the massacre and dispersal of 30,000 darker residents of nearby Tawurgha – before disposing of the bodies in an unknown location.

    (snip)

    “In a few minutes of joyously recorded bestiality, the rabid pack undid every carefully packaged image of NATO’s ’humanitarian’ project in North Africa.”

    The United Nations Human Rights Office and Amnesty International found themselves compelled to ask for investigations [5] into Gaddafi’s death – as if the immediate circumstances were not excruciatingly apparent to anyone with eyes and ears. Although the same U.S. domination of the UN that enabled NATO’s regime-change operation will ensure that the neocolonial powers escape legal liability for the results, the world still sees the executioners, correctly, as monsters in league with Washington, Paris, London and Riyadh. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who gave a snarling thumbs down to Gaddafi just days before his death, appeared like ghoulish despots at a Roman Coliseum, reveling in their Libyan gladiators’ butchery. Their hands and gums ooze blood – a lasting impression on decent world opinion.

    BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

  • Maureen

    Very insightful article about the influence of the national media. Unfortunately the media is offensive to me since they only report what they feel like reporting. I mainly discount them as true sources.

  • Joseph Maloney

    This entire Obama administrstion has turned hawkish! You have Hillary calling out Assad and Salah as illegitimate. Using NATO to carry out Samantha Powers “Responsibility to Protect” to carry out regime change. Even Defense Secretary Panetta has gotten into the act with tough talk with North Korea.
    The democrate doves, Code Pink and the MSM are all on board. What a bunch of phonys!

  • Mehootie

    Most people think it was all LBJ who got us into Nam, but it was actually JFK who started it all before he was killed…I had friends that were there in 1963 and 1964…
    They stayed for at least a year, and were given pot on the front lines to help them cope with what was happening..These guys came home with a drug habit and nightmares they would never get over..
    Dems have always loved wars, they thought it made our economy better…Lots of jobs…
    What a Crock !!!!
    I lost friends there, and watched friends come home very different from how they were when they left..
    Bush did what he thought was right, BHO has no idea of what is right or wrong..

  • Gavreil

    Just a small question. “How often do those of us really get the above message out, so J Q Public actually learns the truth?” Just thought I would ask. Actually, I’m going to begin emailing this info out so more people become actually aware of the double standard the news media and the democrats actually use. No doubt I may loose a few friends, but at my age, that really don’t bother me.

  • Paul Courtney

    Excellent article, John Daly. Could have included a paragraph on Valerie Plame coverage vs actual slips by Obama admin. of actual CIA undercover action and agents, but doesn’t detract from fine piece.

    • John Daly

      Argh! You’re so right Paul. I can’t believe I forgot about that one!

  • Gena Taylor

    So unfortunatly true!!

  • LarryInIowa

    Like a friend of mine told me. He was a teenager in 1964 and his neighbor was a rabid Democrat. The neighbor told his dad “If you vote for Goldwater your son will be drafted to fight in a land war in Asia that we can never win.” The man must of been a prophet because his father voted for Goldwater and that’s exactly what happened!

    I’m amazed when I hear Democrats still complain about the policies of the Bush administration considering that the ones they hate the most are now the policies of the Obama administration.

  • Idahoser

    I have a hard time understanding how Americans can think the Patriot act is a good thing.

    • EddieD_Boston

      Wow. It’s simple. The Patriot Act helps us catch the bad guys and helps save the lives of innocent people.

      Does that help you to understand?

      Seriously, was your post a joke or do you really not get it?

  • Vin Bickler

    On a weekly basis, Miller presents great political and social insight on the O’Reilly Factor. He is the real star of that show.

    • Vince Ricardo

      I completely agree with you. Plus, he’s just damned hilarious. Really, he’s about the only reason I’ll tune into O’Reilly anymore.

      • John Daly

        What about Bernie? ;)

        • Vince Ricardo

          I don’t have to watch Bernie on O’Reilly. His weekly appearance there matches the weekly columns he writes here almost word for word. ;-)

  • samantha

    wow.good work.brilliant article.keep on xposing how horrible these democrats are,keep on reminding da american ppl to vote for a republican president nxt yr…

  • Bob Weber

    The Patriot Act renewal was passed without debate in spite of warnings of abuse by Senators Wyden and Udall, members of the Senate Intelligence committee. It was so urgent that the Patriot Act not lapse, that it couldn’t wait for President Obama to come home from Europe to sign it. He used the autopen to sign it from Paris.

  • Glen Stambaugh

    ..and I thought the media were sincere in their principled objections to GW Bush’s war on terror. If not, they sure didn’t lack for passion! I wonder if those who did object on true principle feel used here?

  • therealguyfaux

    The first Presidential campaign I remember from my childhood was that of Lyndon B. Johnson v. Barry Goldwater. My father told me that Johnson was recoiling in horror about how Goldwater wanted to take us into a full-blown war in Asia, complete with nukes if necessary, and how such a man couldn’t be trusted as commander-in-chief. Dad said, “LBJ will say anything right now, but you mark my words, he’ll turn right around when he wins his full term. There’ll be a war, bet on it. All these politicians point at the other guy’s ‘terrible’ policies and as soon as they’re in, they steal half of ‘em!” What is it Twain said about if history doesn’t repeat itself, it sure does rhyme?