Monday, October 24, 2011

Non-Corporate Media Stumble

Okay, see how this looks to you:
The Obama administration has announced plans to withdraw nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year after failing to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government. The United States had discussed keeping thousands of troops in Iraq, but had insisted their immunity be extended as a pre-condition. After the Iraqi government refused, the administration said Friday it would withdraw all its forces except for around 150 troops to guard U.S. sites. At the White House, President Obama said the withdrawal will mark the end of the Iraq war.
If you didn't know that the US had agreed in 2008 to remove all our troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, and if you didn't know that President Obama had been pressuring the Iraqi government to allow American forces to remain there since he took office, would you have gotten that impression from the paragraph above? Or would you think that the US position was that "If the Iraqi government wants us to stay we will stay"?

The second sentence especially: it doesn't explicitly say that it was the US who wanted to stay and Iraq who wanted us to leave, but it is exactly the kind of thing I've been hearing and reading in the corporate media. Same for "failing to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government": it's literally true, but it still sounds to me like the US was negotiating in good faith, which wasn't happening.

And those paragraphs came not from CNN or the New York Times but from the left-liberal Democracy Now. Listening to Amy Goodman read them on the radio brought me up short. To give credit where it's due, she went on to describe the ongoing US mercenary presence in Iraq and
In addition to maintaining a large private force in Iraq, Obama administration officials have also floated the possibility of maintaining a large military deployment in neighboring countries such as Kuwait. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the United States will negotiate a new agreement with Iraq over military training and assistance.
You know -- we'll come back if they ask us nicely, and grant our forces carte-blanche to commit more atrocities. It's probably naive and foolish of us, but that's how America is: we keep giving and giving no matter how little appreciation we get from those ungrateful wogs.

I'm still listening to the same installment of Democracy Now. Goodman's talking to her guests Cornel West and Michael Moore. West annoys me intensely with his gaseous religiosity ("let me just first say I’m blessed to be here") and both of them annoy me with their dishonesty.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, you both supported President Obama.

CORNEL WEST: It was critical support, I think, we both had—

MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, yeah.

CORNEL WEST: —because we looked at, of course, the right wing, and the right-wing takeover would have been even more atrocious. But I think both of us knew that he tended to move too much toward the center.
I don't remember either of them having been critical of Obama on principle during the campaign, and since then Moore has been giving Obama the benefit of every doubt, while West has been indulging in creepy ad hominems against Obama like accusing him of "a certain fear of free black men…" rather than substance. Even today Moore hopes that Obama "can either go down as a historic president, who becomes the FDR of this century," as if that were any interest of Obama's.  Obama wants to be the Ronald Reagan of this century, and he's well on his way.

And then Goodman -- who knows better -- says:
AMY GOODMAN: And [Obama] won by many, many people giving very little money each. Now going for a billion dollars, he is going to massive fundraisers throughout this country—what, $38,000-a-plate, etc., fundraisers—continuing through all of this period.
Obama's been going to such fundraisers all through his term, this one last September for example, and the small donors to his presidential campaign were outweighed by big donors from the insurance industry, the oil industry, Wall Street, and corporate America generally. He also voted for Bush's bank bailout. And he's doing even better with Wall Street this time around, which no doubt will mean lots more cozy golf outings with the corporate elite (I got this one from Democracy Now, in fact).

Look, Amy and Michael and all the rest of you: I know you're in a codependent relationship with Obama, but you mustn't go on being his enablers. Break the cycle of abuse now!

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