One of the reasons for the “news” media’s disconnect from reality is a subtle, but powerful factor that is not often noted—the almost universal assumption that what we’re seeing is part of the normal political process.
For example, if you watch “Washington Week” on PBS, or Lehrer’s “News Hour” (sources widely considered more intelligent than the news from the commercial networks), you will see pundits discussing in all earnestness the goings-on in our government just as if the politics and issues involved were part of an unbroken continuum with those of the past. Most importantly, the President is the President, and so all discussions about his doings and statements take place in the conventional tone of business as usual.
It would be unthinkable for the media to discuss the Bush government as a criminal operation. This possibility probably doesn’t come to mind for a pundit or newscaster, not even subliminally, for that would disturb business as usual, and require a response too risky to contemplate.
I maintain that in order to understand what has happened for the last six years, one must realize that the Bush administration is a criminal outfit. Not just criminal in the pejorative sense that one could apply to any administration since the dawn of the Cold War, but literally—criminals have usurped the political process and have actively subverted and continue to subvert our laws, deliberately breaking the law for their own gain, both home and abroad. Leaving aside the theft of elections (as if such a shameful violation of our basic right of suffrage could be actually left aside), even a cursory glance at White House actions since the 9/11 atrocities reveal a conscious and consistent pattern of lawlessness. An illegal war, suppression of civil liberties in the name of security, disappearances and torture, the outing of a
If the Mafia managed to elect someone to the White House, he would then be “the President” to all the media, with the aura of prestige that has come to be attached to that title. This is precisely the danger—the paradigm of “business as usual” paralyzes the mainstream discourse. Knowing this, the President can openly advocate crime, as he is doing now in his attempts to validate the torture and the NSA spying “program” through legislation, after the fact.
To fight back effectively, we need to let go of the “business as usual” paradigm and realize that we have an illegitimate criminal regime in the