Monthly Archives: February 2015
At a recent prayer breakfast President Obama compared the actions of the Crusaders to ISIS. He is correct except in one very important point… the last crusade ended in 1272. Now I wasn’t around in the 1200’s but word has it pretty much the entire world was engaged in savage butchery. The norm in those days was to sack a city, burn it, loot it, pillage it, put the men to the sword, rape the women, and then sell them and the children into slavery. in the old testament the Jews slaughtered half the land of Canaan, torching cities and killing the inhabitants: every man, woman, and child (according to them because Yaweh told them to.) Basically the world was starkly gruesome and without pity in those days. Jump to today. Western powers do their best to avoid civilian casualties. A population is aghast at “torture” such as waterboarding. We use super expensive Smart weapons to make sure we don’t kill the wrong people. Sometimes we let the bad people go if they are too close to good people. So while comparing the deeds in the Crusades to the deeds of ISIS today will show similar actions (sans videotaping of prisoners being put to death) at least a big chunk of the world sees those types of actions as repugnant, hence the comparison fails on a temporal basis. That public opinion acknowledged, no one will deny that civilians get killed in modern fighting, but at least the goal of the military campaign is not specifically targeted against civilians. War prisoners are sent to prison camps, not executed in a stylized barbaric fashion. One may however argue that lethal injection or hanging isn’t all that great a way to execute a prisoner, citing the execution of prisoners in the US, or the beheading of criminals in Saudi Arabia. Hmmm seems that perhaps the comparison might hold after all… perhaps attempting to draw any moral argument is fallacious from the beginning, at least from an arguable philosophical sense. Perhaps the only right… is indeed might. The victors write the history books after all.
News is about trust, and for it to be viewed as honest you need an honest news anchor. In the way that Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow formed a trusted building block of our faith in the American news media, we need this kind of trust to hold the fabric of our society together. The news used to form our national shared value system. We’d all listen to the same broadcasts on a few networks and we’d trust the distinguished men who somberly delivered the news, and just the news. Unfortunately most news has degenerated into a fragmented cacophony of sound bites that scream banally to a far right wing camp (Fox) and an ultra left wing cabal (MSNBC.) CNN is at least attempting a middle course, yet many of its reporters still show a bias. The major networks, NBC, ABC and CBS have all had their cases of obvious bias from CBS’s Dan Rather out and out lying about George W. Bush’s service record in an attempt to influence a Presidential election, to NBC’s Andrea Mitchell who is so blatantly fawnish on Obama one wonders if she has a picture of him next to her nightstand. Maybe she and Chris Matthews (MSNBC) could form a threesome with her Obama picture and they’d both get Matthews professed tingle up their legs. Now add Brian William’s war hero fantasy into the mix and we wonder if NBC stands for Neurotic Brain Condition. Have we reached the point where there is no trusted news sources anymore? I believe so. It seems all media outlets are bought and sold, and we have been willing accomplices by watching only those news shows that pander to our preconceived political beliefs. In Russia there was/is a saying “Pravda nyet Izvestia, Izvestia nyet Pravda.” Translated that is a play off of the two main Soviet era news sources Pravda (truth) and Izvestia (news), wherein Russians believed there was no truth in news and no news in truth. Have we come to that here in America? Apparently so. Although Brian Williams lie doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things, it is yet another symptom of the fact that in American media Izvestia nyet Pravda, Pravda nyet Izvestia. How did we ever sink so low?