Friday, January 19, 2007

Mr. Belligerent ~ No F*** ing Wonder

Another infamous recent quote has it that America just needs the "stomach" to escalate the war in Iraq, else bin Laden's personal plan to force us out of Iraq will have succeeded, as Cheney famously told the only news organization (I use that term charitably) he ever deigns to speak to voluntarily, Fox News, last week.

Apparently he's not very concerned about maintaining the appearance of consistency, nor is George.

What is it with the dastardly duo dictating to us what we will or won't do, anyway? Never mind the way they constantly change the story-line. And can they really be surprised when their provocative, arrogant behavior meets resistance from the rest of us?

An interesting theory about how, exactly, George & Darth Cheney have been getting away with it comes to us in this item worth a read (title bar), explaining how "meta-framing" has worked to the Neocons' advantage in selling us a war the vast majority of us really don't want to fight.

"For example, the Bush administration conflated the Iraq War with the war on terror, until the mainstream media (as Media Matters for America pointed out), labeled their Iraq War coverage as 'war on terror' coverage. The administration bolstered that conflation by insinuating, in every way possible, that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 - then denied that they ever made the connection. It worked brilliantly: in 2003, 70% of the American public believed there was a link.

"And now, Cheney continues to blur distinctions, by conflating the responsibility for executing wars (i.e., the role of Commander in Chief), with the decision to wage war (the job of Congress). The reference to 'war by committee' is a cynical manipulation; a thinly veiled swipe at the whole idea of democracy.

"Once such conflations are accepted by the mainstream media, they become seen as simple common sense. They form what social cognition theorists (a branch of social psychology) refer to as 'schemas,' or organized understandings about something or someone. (A stereotype is a kind of schema; another kind of schema are 'scripts' we hold in our heads - like the sequence of events we expect when we go to a restaurant.) If our 'war on terror' schema forms in a way that includes Iraq, after a while it becomes automatic, and we stop thinking about it.

"Years later, when all the facts get out, we may look back in disbelief at how easily we accepted the distortion; e.g., how we accepted the claim of Saddam's complicity in 9/11. Nevertheless, one of the early social cognition findings on schemas was that once they are formed, people tend to resist remembering information that doesn't fit into them. It's one of our brains' mechanisms for avoiding information overload.

"Falling into the conflation trap might be difficult to resist. Bringing it into the public's awareness could help. The profession of journalism has a unique opportunity - and obligation - to play a role in that consciousness-raising process."

Amen. And, it goes without saying, whatever Fox broadcasts qualifies less as news than propaganda & spin. That would be why, DP guesses, it's the only "news" Cheney watches.

And in other news, the recent revelation that it was Cheney who, in 2003, rebuffed Iranian overtures to negotiate & actual offers of concessions we have since deemed beneficial & helpful to the entire messed-up situation in the Mideast. Cheney nixed that ("we don't negotiate with 'evil.'"

And look where it's got us now ~ in a worse predicament.

Cheney apparently needs to develop the "stomach" of a true statesman & stop imposing his truly bizarre ideas of absolute arrogant dominance upon every issue he declares himself competent to remark upon or handle. It's painfully plain to most of us that he's not.


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