The pathetic and predictable response from U.S. lawmakers and the corporate media to Trump’s Syria airstrike.
I wish I were surprised by the number of U.S. lawmakers that supported President Trump’s airstrike on an air base in Syria, but I am not. While I wasn’t surprised that virtually all GOP lawmakers and most of the Democrats supported the strike I was disappointed that Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont wasn’t on the right side. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii, on the other hand, is becoming my new Capitol Hill hero.
What most definitely was not a surprise was how the corporate media gleefully played along with the action. During the strike, we got to learn about how cool Tomahawk missiles are and how “presidential” our bigoted president can be by launching nearly sixty missiles into a war-torn area, and how this aggressive action can actually improve his image among the corporate media. And what the fuck! Did Brian Williams actually quote Leonard Cohen? Jesus! Do any of these schmucks ever step back from their bullshit and ask any of the serious questions? Mind you, I am not surprised at this, just tired of it. Perhaps because I am a student of journalism, I can see the lack of analysis. Still, one would hope Prime Time Poet Brian Williams or Russian Conspiracy Theorist Rachel Maddow would be learned in the ways of the Inverted Pyramid. Wishful thinking, I suppose. Another thing I won’t be surprised about is when the fog of war lifts and the damage is assessed, the corporate media will report on the deception as if it had no responsibility for it.
I follow alternative media sources because, in times of conflict and national security events, the corporate media almost always follows the Official Line and that has helped shape public opinion which has kept us in foreign wars and prevented us from thinking outside the proverbial box for political solutions. It is the corporate media that keeps people like Obama, the Clintons, the Bushs, and even Trump in power and marginalizes alternative voices like Bernie Sanders. A recent example of how the corporate media–often mistakenly referred to as the “liberal media”–acted to keep us insulated from thought outside the established boundaries occurred when “Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI) got shelled by the corporate media for her criticism of the missile strike. How dare the Congresswomen offer a different narrative than the one we are spoon fed from the military industrial complex, its generals, lawmakers, and media! She also received some flak when she (along with Dennis Kucinich) visited Assad back in January 2017.
As we’ve seen time and again throughout the history of U.S. wars the public is often not presented with evidence, not to mention solid evident, that what those in power–the Administration, other powerful individuals–are alleging is actually true or that it’s the full truth. As journalists, our job is to hold those in power accountable–whether Democrats, Republicans, or some other iteration. And part of that means demanding evidence. Particularly when it means war or military strikes–when people are going to die not just U.S. soldiers, but also innocent people on the other end of our missiles and our bombs and guns. Everyone knows the old adage “trust but verify.” For journalists that shouldn’t be the policy–it should be “distrust and verify.” The great I.F. Stone put it best, “All governments lie.” And they lie to justify wars and aggression.