Friday, December 09, 2011

The costs of media's concocted political 'wars'

When historians write about the incivility of American politics in the early 21st Century, they need look no farther than this nation’s media.

Indeed they need look no farther the relatively staid Oregonian. Today’s front page will do. Here's the headline on a major story there:

ad wars
your TV

Cornilles and Bonamici
fire a fusillade of 1st
District commercials for
the holiday season

Here’s the story's lead, “The ad wars have started in Oregonian’s special congressional election, with plenty of hard-hitting political commercials in store for Portland-area voters over the holiday season.”

Sure, things may get nasty on your living room screen, but war? Targets? Fusillades?

Once again, the mainstream media roll out their tired old “war” metaphor to describe politics in this country.


On the front page, the story to the immediate right of this one tells of real war.

More Oregon soldiers home for Christmas
The Guard’s Mideast presence nears a 10-year low as Iraq War ends

Welcome home, the paper seems to be saying. Welcome home to another war. The one we at The Oregonian have created to tell the story of American politics. Perhaps you, soldier, would like to end this one too.

My advice is this: It’s easy. Just stop reading the newspaper...and watching TV.

Stay away from the message that democracy American style is as bad as war.

Perhaps we all should declare peace and have nothing to do with the "democratic" fighting. Funny thing is that most of the voting age population does just that.


Could it have to do with the desire for peace and civic sanity?

The problem is that if those who value peace and sanity turn their backs on democracy, who ends up running the country?

Answer: those who are infatuated by or profit from war. Those who control the media. Those whose being is defined by conflict, inflated egos and a distorted sense of patriotic superiority.

Meanwhile, the Occupy Movement, dedicated to non-violence, gets trashed by the politicians, the ones whom the media tell us are waging “war” with each other to get elected.

Mixed in with the Occupy crowds are the cast-off veterans of real wars, those life-destroying conflicts declared by the ruling class with its insatiable need for oil, power and third homes in the Bahamas.

Do I roam too widely here? Perhaps; perhaps not. I hope these thoughts and my anger take you beyond the headlines of this morning’s newspaper.

If only we could change the story line and the metaphors of tomorrow’s reporting and headlines.

Would someone in management at The Oregonian at least send around a memo to the headline writers. “Lighten up! We are talking about an election, not a bloody war.”

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