Bush-whacked? Not by the media that’s for sure By William Bowles

2 February 2006

Now as regular readers maybe aware I often have a go at the Independent for its crass and often just plain inaccurate reportage but in the edition of 31/1/06 it outdoes itself in deception, myopia and dissembling regarding the Bush presidency and its significance for those of us living in the real world.

The Indie felt it necessary to do some crystal ball gazing the day before Bush delivered his state of the union address and so it gave over its front page, page two and its lead editorial to what it probably already knows is a speech that will consist of nothing but a bunch of platitudes and generalities.

So, how to do deal with a non-event as if it means something? The Independent follows the well-worn path by removing any observations of substance and reducing its ‘analysis’ to pages full of banal platitudes that hides the real state of affairs.

What I find amazing for a newspaper that is supposed to aim its content at an educated elite, is the fact that aside from the language, which has all the appearance of being written by university educated people, is the complete shallowness of its coverage. Everything is reduced to tidbits that is I suppose, meant to sum up the state of affairs for people who have given up actually thinking about events, so why not flatten out things completely, remove any misgivings, and generally ‘clean-up’ coverage so that it can be digested on a crowded tube on the way to the office.

Under the weighty title ‘The world according to George Bush’, the Indie singles out and reduces to a series of ‘bites’, the strategic issues facing the would-be empire and in doing so, guts the subject entirely.

China: Another ally in the “war on terror” and a source of potential profit for corporate America [my emph. WB]

How many major US corporations de-industrialised America by moving production to China, so why did the Indie decide to use the word “potential”? Does it think we haven’t noticed? I’m sure the hundreds of thousands of US workers who have lost their jobs did.

Latin America: A problem. Socialist candidates topped the poll in 11 elections in past year [but] the market economy is safe … Voters reject unfettered capitalism. Drugs war being stepped up.

Latin America for the Bush regime is merely a “problem” as far as the Indie is concerned in spite of overwhelming defeats on every front for neo-liberal economics. A slap in the face for the Bush gang would be a better description. Does the Indie not know that under the cover of the ‘war on drugs’, the US is propping up one of the most repressive and murderous regimes in Latin America, Colombia, the only one where “unfettered capitalism” has not been given a chance to get rejected.

Moreover, the Indie fails to mention at all the subject of its attitude toward Venezuela and the thinly veiled threats the Bush regime issues on a regular basis. It seems that the only concern that the Indie has is that Latin America continues to be ‘safe’ for US capital. Amazing tripe but designed no doubt to assuage the concerns of the ‘chattering classes’ lest their slumbers get unduly disturbed by the intrusion of the real world. This is deception on a grand scale and pretty well sums up the attitude of capitalism’s managerial class, that is, don’t rock the boat, all’s well in the land of the Nabobs.

Europe: Enlargement of EU protects friends of the US: Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states … Merkel supplanting Blair in “special relationship”. Use of European airports for “rendition flights” has damaged US.

And so too with the EU. Okay, so this is the Indie’s editorial take on the Bush regime but really, Merkel supplanting Blair? The point here is that the underlying contradictions of the relationship between the US and the EU are completely ignored and no doubt Bush is pleased that he has a ‘fellow traveller’ in Merkel but like Stalin said of the Pope ‘how many divisions does he have?’

By reducing everything to simplistic assumptions about power and avoiding the essential economic relationships, the Indie again manages to avoid having to unpack the parlous state of the planet’s fragile economic situation and the very real issues that confront the two economic blocks who are after the same markets.

Arab-Israel: US refusing to deal with Hamas until it drops terrorism and ambition to destroy Israel … Dilemma for US is whether to cut off funds to Palestinians – choking the seeds of democracy. Same problem across the Middle East.

This one has to take the biscuit! Is this the Indie talking or George Bush? But the assumptions are identical, namely that Hamas’ only objective is the destruction of Israel thus sidestepping the legitimate rights of the Palestinians (see ‘Hamas earns its turn to manage the Bantustan’) which gets no mention. The ‘dilemma’ is entirely the US’s in backing Israel and arming it to the hilt. “Choking off the seeds of democracy”? What like invading and occupying Iraq? And the Indie ends the entire quagmire that is for the US the Middle East with the dismissive “Same problem across the Middle East”. So much for incisive and informed journalism. This is deception on a grand scale. The problem for the Independent is how to turn day into night, so any fact that doesn’t fit the Independent’s worldview is just ignored. Entire swathes history are erased regardless of the fact that the Independent knows that the Bush regime has fucked up big time.

For example, the real history of the US and Israel’s murky relationship to Hamas gets no mention (see ‘How Israel and the United States Helped to Bolster Hamas’ by Robert Dreyfuss), not that I expect the Indie to include an analysis but the fact that the situation is reduced to such simplistic and emotive terms reveals how the Indie wants its readership to receive events, gutted of context, history and fact.

Iraq gets the same treatment where we are told that Iraq held:

“Free elections” with a Shia majority, allied to Iran, swept to victory [and that] Iraqis [are] replacing American forces

However, the Indie feels fit to tell us that “insurgent attacks dashing hopes of withdrawal”, the assumption being of course, that the US intends to withdraw, for which there is no evidence whatsoever. In reality, the facts point conclusively to a permanent US presence in the region. The Bush view, no matter that it’s a pack of lies is that the US has failed to deliver, and this is what irks the Independent.

Iran gets the same perfunctory treatment, “Washington wants a diplomatic solution but bombing an option” and in case we don’t get the message, goes on to tell us that if threats don’t do the trick there’s always Israel held in reserve with a “reposte.”

So okay, this is US policy for dummies, so let’s take a look at the lead editorial, maybe we’ll see a more reasoned analysis but things don’t look very promising for we are told in the second para that:

If there are achievements, they are almost exclusively of a negative kind.

Eh? Run that past me again? My thesaurus tells me that achievement is another way of saying “attainment, accomplishment, success, feat, triumph and realization”.

As ever the Indie speaks with forked tongue, standing the English language on its head in order not rock the boat too much.

On Hurricane Katrina we are told that:

The administration’s tardy and half-hearted response … would have shamed any president but it was nothing short of a disgrace for a president who came to office as a compassionate conservative who pledged to “leave no child behind”

Again, the Indie seems to find it impossible to call a spade a spade, the deliberate abandonment of the poor people of New Orleans to their fate is merely the “tardy and half-hearted response” of the Bush regime. The view that the US government deliberately abandoned the people of New Orleans doesn’t even get a look in.

But not content to give Bush’s murderous government the benefit of the doubt, it tells us without a hint of irony that:

Mr Bush [can no] longer claim the moral high ground in politics.

What is this observation based upon? The editorial informs us that Bush:

…vowed to restore honour and dignity to the White House

This from a president who stole two elections and who lied to the world about the reasons for invading Iraq, of which I might add, there is no mention. But wait… there’s more from this miserable piece of newsspeak. The editorial goes on to tell us:

Mr Bush’s recent failures at home, however, seem almost trivial when placed alongside his record abroad.

At last, is the Indie going for the jugular? No way José. It’s because:

His ambition to establish friendly alliances through Central and Latin America has been thwarted as pretty much every election has brought a more left-wing government to power.

Duh—who is doing the thwarting here? The way the Indie presents it, it’s those damn Latino lefties who have been thwarting Bush, when all Bush wants to do is make friends. Engineering a coup in Venezuela, enforcing crippling economic policies have no role in the reasons why right-wing, pro-American governments are falling all over the continent.

But the Indie leaves its most appalling comments for last when it comes to its dealing with Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine and Bush’s alleged mission of “spread[ing] freedom and democracy around the world”. Thus, the rape, pillage and destruction of Iraq is summed up as follows:

In Iraq, the number of US dead passed 1,000 in 2005; killings and kidnappings are a daily occurrence.

That’s all we get. The wholesale slaughter of Iraqis simply doesn’t figure in the Independent’s thinking. The implication is clear; it’s simply that the Bush strategy has failed to deliver the goods, not that it was illegal and immoral from the getgo. The imperial mindset triumphs even as the Indie gives the appearance of condemning Bush.

And the same applies to the Indie’s treatment of Afghanistan, where the “opium economy … is once again entrenched”. Bush’s ‘achievement’ is summed up as follows:

The arc of territory from the eastern border of Israel to the western border of Pakistan may be marginally more democratic, but it is not free in the American understanding of the word, and it is decidedly not at peace.”

Global warming doesn’t even get a look-in from the Independent, I suppose because it’s been overwhelmed with the problem of presenting the Bush regime in words that don’t let the cat out of the bag.

Mind-numbing stuff from the intellectual elite of British capitalism, no wonder that people have switched off from politics when they get subjected to this kind of mindless, empty drivel that reveals nothing except a newspaper in lockstep with corporate capitalism that has the job of trying to explain the complete failure of a psychopathic ruling class to rule without letting its readers know the real truth.

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