April 27, 2003
Bush's World[For an appropriate antidote to the Brokaw-Bush show, check out Check out Bush's World.]
NBC played its exclusive interview of Bush by Tom Brokaw and it was brilliant. It was so convincing I was ready to go register as a Republican when it was over, and go into a deep hypnotic sleep.
Bush looked great. His makeup was perfect. His suit, as always, was absolutely impeccable. His manner for the camera was excellent. He was smooth, relaxed, confident.
For Bush he was extremely articulate. His delivery is improving. He does slur a lot. He says "Unah stase" for United States; "nukyuler" for nuclear; "tear" for terror. But people get used to that. It's just part of his wild west tough guy manner. It appeals to the anti-intellectualism strain in American culture. The Joe Sixpack sector of the population Bush's personna is designed to appeal to wouldn't dare enunciate every syllable for fear someone will think they "talk lahk a dayam fag."
The whole production was so smooth that when he talked about "democracy" you could almost believe that he really cared about it, that he was really trying to establish it in Iraq, even though if you read you can see that he has taken aggressive steps to centralize all power into a totalitarian state. His very ascendancy to power was a slap in the face of democracy. But in this little TV world, none of that exists.
When Brokaw brought up the Dixie Chicks and said they had been given a hard time because of their views, Bush dismissed it entirely, scoffing, "I don't think so. They can say anything they want. That's what's great about America." He went on to say, "They shouldn't feel bad if someone doesn't want to buy their records. Democracy is a two-way street." And it sounded entirely believable. But as always it's what is left out that makes the lie sound truthful. And what is left out is more complex and not as easily packaged as his simplifications.
It wasn't just that people didn't want to buy their records. There was a massive campaign organized to make them an example of what happens to anyone who speaks out. And the campaign was able to bring to bear a media monopoly that owns over 1200 radio stations as part of an entertainment empire that can make or break many show business careers effortlessly. And that media company, Clear Channel, is owned by a close ally of George W. Bush. And it owes its right to monopolize that industry to the repeal of regulations of the media that were put in place to prevent just that monopolization, to maintain competition in that market, to keep the public airways democratic and to maintain a free press. All that fell beyond the margins of this broadcast. And without it, what Bush said made sense.
Bush's claims could be taken apart one by one. But who is going to do it? Who is going to see it if someone does? It certainly won't get the play of the Bush-Brokaw show. It was an extremely powerful production, though the all-American-apple-pie reality it portrayed was no more real than "Leave it to Beaver" or Spiderman.
But at this point, with this kind of sophisticated propaganda campaign in progress, it's hard to imagine anything stopping the Bush juggernaut. It looks like the machine will probably win another four years, and by that time they will have had time to vastly transform American life, and into something that doesn't resemble the fantasy Bush portrays so skillfully. If Patriot II passes, Bush will have absolute power over his subjects. If Republican efforts to repeal the two-term limit on the presidency are successful, we may have a lifetime president, like Fidel Castro.
I'm praying that reality starts to sink in with the American people.