03 Jul

Profiles in Timing

For those of you who really want commentary worthy of the issues of the day, the choices are clear – Stewart, Colbert, or Olberman.  The “mainstream” media outlets have fallen so far off the charts, that we are left with the (considerable) talents of comedians and former sports anchors pretending to be the media news.  Yet, they do a better job.  Routinely.

Look no further than Sen. Richard Lugar’s (R-IN) recent break from the Bush White House on Iraq.  Most of the media played it up, directly or indirectly, as a moral stand of some significance, something approaching a watershed moment.  A moderate-ish Republican breaking ranks.  Here is a sampling of the print media’s coverage:

The New York Times:   Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee and a steadfast supporter of the president, has conspicuously broken ranks with him on the Iraq war, warning that the United States’ standing in the world could be irreparably eroded if the White House does not change strategy soon…For months, Mr. Lugar has kept his skepticism about the president’s Iraq policy largely to himself, seldom offering anything beyond a hopeful wait-and-see statement. A soft-spoken cardinal of foreign policy, Mr. Lugar is known to his colleagues as anything but a bitter partisan, which made his remarks all the more stinging…

The Washington Post:  …Lugar’s spokesman Andy Fisher said the senator wanted to express his concerns publicly before Bush reviews his Iraq strategy in September.  “They’ve known his position on this for quite a while,” Fisher said of the White House…

Bravo, Sen. Lugar, right?  Well, not really, as Steven Colbert points out.  Go to to see just how courageous this actually was.  Yet, Lugar will be lauded and he’ll get his little parades on the Sunday morning shows.  Timmeh and Schieffer and Stephanopolous will fawn and play the game.  But will anyone poke him with a stick like Colbert?  No, because if the Libby trial showed us anything, the media is much a part of the game as are the politicians.

Lugar is neither courageous nor honest in his actions, but will be treated as such by the media because they need him.  The media is neither responsible nor honest in their coverage of him, but we will watch and listen because we need the media.  We are neither responsbile nor courageous in our diligence, but Lugar will pacify our anger at the war by seeming reasonable.  So who is left as the voice of reason and courage in King Bush’s court?  The jesters, but we kid ourselves into thinking that they are only jesting.


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