News & opinion on Greater China and the even Greater Beyond: by Biff Cappuccino.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Letter to AsiaTimes online: Regarding Jim Loeb's "Human Dignity, Crazy Mike and Indian Country." An interesting article, but surely "the reason Washington is having such a difficult time persuading of its good faith in his good works and its ' war on terror'" is simply because such persuasion cannot be achieved through the media. In the US, for example, with the lonely exception of, the media is not in the business of informing the public; it's in the business of being a business. It's profit motive is demonstrated by the mantra: "if it bleeds, it leads." The media prints scandal, moral combats, tragedy, gossip, and soap operas right across the board. It doesn't educate, it hypes; it doesn't provide facts, it presents rumors. That's its job, that's what the shareholders want it to do. But relying on the media for one's opinions may lead to the belief that McDonald's is a greater threat to global serenity than terrorism.

And why take George W. Bush on his word? He's a politician and an honest person never gets elected because the public won't stand for it. Two candidates give a speech: the first is honest; the second speaks about hope and striving gallantly for a better tomorrow. The second, the charlatan, wins the vote every time in every country. Politicians have to lie to get into office, to stay in office, and to get anything commendable done while they're in office. Both President Wilson and President Roosevelt had to deceive the US public to get it on board and enter the European world wars. Thus it is hardly a surprise that the incumbent president lied to the public to get it on board the war in Iraq.

I'm no fan of Robert Kaplan's books, but presumably what he's discussing here is the sad necessity of fooling the public into making decisions that are in its best interest. I'm no more fond of Kaplan's approach than Jim Loeb, but I don't have an answer for what to do with a public (including myself) that is 99% functionally ignorant of the whys and wherefores of the platforms advocated by both political parties.

Biff Cappuccino

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