Walter Russel Mead lays it out:
…The news from Afghanistan is grim. With the latest round of deaths, we pass a milestone: 2,000 US combatants have died in what is now the longest war in American history. The milestone has been reached just as the surge in troops has come to an end without achieving the goals of pacifying the country or even launching peace talks with the Taliban. Our Afghan “allies” remain as corrupt and ineffectual as ever, with the added wrinkle that the most dangerous place in Afghanistan for US troops these days seems to be the neighborhood of US-armed and trained Afghan forces, who are shooting and blowing up their nominal allies faster than the Taliban can do it.
This is all bad news and very disturbing, but there is a crumb of comfort to be had. Because these failures happened on President Obama’s watch, the mainstream press isn’t particularly interested in relentless, non-stop scrutiny of the unpleasant news. If George W. Bush were president now, and had ordered the surge and was responsible for the strategic decisions taken and not taken in Afghanistan over the last four years, the mainstream press would be rubbing our noses in his miserable failures and inexcusable blunders 24/7…
And every last one of you reading this – especially your liberals – knows this is true. You can say all you want that the war started on Bush’s watch; you can say this, that and the other thing to excuse Obama – but you all know darn well that if a Republican were President right now, the stories about the collapse in Afghanistan would lead the news day after day after day. Just think for a moment what it would be like if McCain had won in 2008 and Obama was just now taking his second shot at the Presidency. The MSM would never let this pass, not for a second…and we’d have days of news reports marking the 2,000th American death in Afghanistan.
I really do think I have to retire the title of this post – as you can see, its been going on for a long time. But a more correct title these days would be “What Venal and Corrupt Press?”. Because this has gone beyond bias. This is far more than just a willingness to soften the blows for liberals and turn up the heat on conservatives – this is a disgusting failure to do the very basics of journalism: at least attempt to bring the truth to the people.
This isn’t the first time that a national press has become corrupt and venal. It happened in Russia several times. It happened in France and England in the 1930s. It happens when the proprietors of news organizations decide that it is in their interests to curry favor with the government. The why of it is rather irrelevant – it can be done out of greed or fear or a combination of things: but when it happens, you get a press which will deliberately lie to the people in order to serve the interests of government. That is what we have in the majority of our news media in 2012: a fervent desire to curry favor with the government which translates in to a nauseating bout of lies designed to cover up government errors and slander those who oppose the government.
It is our great good fortune that just as this turn to venality has completed itself that the New Media has grown to a level of maturity. Still not as ubiquitous as the MSM but its reach is ever broadening. And a tremendous irony about this is the fact that it was liberals – the like of whom mostly control the MSM – who did a lot of development of the technology which has allowed the New Media to flourish. There is a sense of humor in the universe, it would seem. The long term good news is that we are rapidly developing the replacement for the venal and corrupt MSM – the only thing which could stop it is a general curtailment of the freedom of speech. And that brings us to the worrisome development that there are voices in the MSM calling for an end to free speech – the lie that Benghazi was caused by a video being the trigger, as it were, for the MSM to start sounding off on the “limits of free speech” (limits, naturally, which will only apply to those not currying favor with government).
We are poised on a knife edge here – our liberties are truly at stake. Which will prove the stronger on November 6th – the corrupt MSM or the honest New Media? Time will tell.