Let's take a look at one of yesterday's headlines:
"RNC demands networks yank McCain ad"
The Associated Press (April 28, 2008)
"MIAMI (AP) — The Republican National Committee demanded Monday that television networks stop running a television ad by the Democratic Party that falsely suggests John McCain wants a 100-year war in Iraq.
"The ad says President Bush has talked about staying in Iraq for 50 years, then plays a clip of McCain saying, 'Maybe 100. That'd be fine with me.' "
Wait a minute! That's a tiff over an advertisement, not news.True. However, that ad isn't all that different from news coverage of McCain's 'well-known' willingness to fight a 100 year war in Iraq:
- "Behind the Scenes: Watch for political fallout from pope's visit"
CNN April 16, (2008.)
"Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, appeals to many Catholics because he's pro-life and has a moderate stance on immigration. Yet his willingness to remain in Iraq for '100 years' is at odds with the church's opposition to the war."
- "McCain, Iraq, And 100 Years"
CBS News (April 29, 2008)
"...And in 2008, McCain reversed course yet again, deciding that we should be prepared to leave troops in Iraq, even if it means 100 years or more."
- "THE '100-YEAR' WAR CONTINUES..."
msnbc (April 8, 2008)
"From NBC's Mark Murray
"Once again, the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee are making it crystal clear that they will pounce on any kind of "100-year" iteration by Obama that they think distorts what the Arizona senator originally said. The latest example comes after Obama's appearance on TODAY this morning." 1
- "McCain's '100 Year' Remark Hands Ammo to War Critics"
ABC News (March 31, 2008)
"... Back and forth it went until the man started to ask another question. 'President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years --'
"Handing Ammo to War Critics
"McCain interrupted with words that have haunted him ever since.
"He said either "Maybe a 100," or "Make it 100.'
"McCain continued: 'We've been in South Korea, we've been in Japan for 60 years. We've been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That'd be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. Then it's fine with me. I would hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where Al Qaeda is training, recruiting, equipping and motivating people every single day.' "
(Kudos to ABC, for including the context of McCain's remark.)
'Everyone Knows' Isn't Always TrueHowever, I do think I see a preference for believing what 'everyone knows,' rather than going to the trouble of finding and reporting facts.
As the ABC News item indicates (almost), McCain's "100 year war" was a recognition that America will probably continue to be involved in international affairs for another century. He didn't point out, as I have, that America is still 'occupying' Germany, over a half-century after the end of WWII. Does that mean that America should have pulled out, after the D-Day disaster? 2
But, by virtue of hearing it over and over on the news, my guess is that quite a few Americans, politically active or not, really believe that McCain wants a 100-year war.
Previous posts on this general topic:
- "War, Peace, Truth, and the Pope"
(April 17, 2008)
- "An Endless War in Iraq: Reality Check"
(April 2, 2008)
1 I can't make out whether this post is on either side. I get the impression that Mark Murray views the parties involved much as Mercutio viewed the Capulets and Montagues: after receiving a pointed response to his peacemaking efforts.
2 By some contemporary standards, D-Day was a disaster. An estimated 4,500 American and Allied soldiers were killed. Worse, there was an 'inexcusable' lack of record-keeping (or was it a cover-up?!) which makes an exact count impossible. To say nothing of the environmental impact!
I don't see it that way, but my attitudes aren't the same as many of the self-described best and brightest in today's America.
Related posts, on censorship, propaganda, and freedom of speech.