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Media-Manufactured Controversies: 2005 Year in Review



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So apparently Bush authorized the NSA to listen in on phone calls to and from numbers with known terrorists ties. Great. It was about time.

Why is this controversial? I come home and the Democrats and the press are acting like Bush declared himself dictator-for-life and had Alan Dershowitz publicly executed.

This episode got me thinking, and in the spirit of the year-in-review round-ups everyone likes to do in December, I would like to present: Media Manufactured Scandals — the Year that Was:

January:
The press whips up a frenzy over the $40-million cost of Bush’s inauguration. The AP runs a story that asks, “With that kind of money, what could you buy?” and answers:

200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq.

Vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami.

A down payment on the nation’s deficit, which hit a record-breaking $412 billion last year.

400,000 pairs of tennis shoes for the indigenous fisherfolk of Barangay Wawa! Prescription drugs for diabetic elderly transgenders in border communities! All the wood a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood!

The Washington Times put an end to this fun when it reported that “a review of the cost for past inaugurations shows Mr. Bush’s will cost less than President Clinton’s second inauguration in 1997, which cost about $42 million. When the cost is adjusted for inflation, Mr. Clinton’s second-term celebration exceeds Mr. Bush’s by about 25 percent.”

February:
The press goes to war against President Bush’s pitch for Social Security reform, declaring in story after story that the goal of the plan is to return America to the Great Depression. The AARP portrays Bush as an uncaring man who thinks America’s seniors should live on catfood, although they have a hard time articulating this message with their mouths full of Medicare-subsidized antihypertensives and viagra.

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