As Glenn Greenwald rightly points out in a recent post from his Unclaimed Territory blog, media coverage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent trip to Syria can fairly be labeled "hysteria-driven."
Taking its cues from those who should be totally discredited, and set out to pasture for misleading us into this disastrous war, major media outlets like Meet the Press, [April 8] CNN and The Washington Post ("Pratfall in Damascus," April 5) have lambasted Pelosi for her "irresponsible" trip and for her "incompetence"--instead of suggesting that maybe we have a sane political leader who, at long last, understands that we need to maintain dialogue even with those we see as our enemies or "foes."
It's to be expected that the rightwing Noise Machine would snap into action--its chieftains Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh baying, scraping and bowing to give a platform to the discredited Vice-President--who had the staggering chutzpah to chide Pelosi for her "bad behavior" in making the trip. (Don't ignore the sexism in that remark--or in much of the media coverage.) Those who would listen to a man who condoned torture accusing Speaker Pelosi of bad behavior are disgraceful mouthpieces for the Bush Administration's vilification campaigns.
But what's perhaps more discouraging and dangerous is to witness what we mistakenly call the mainstream media working overtime to discredit Pelosi--depicting her as a failure, something of a joke, and out of touch with the proverbial "mainstream" which this media wrongly claims to speak for.
Where were the clear reports that Pelosi was simply following up on the Iraq Study Group report's recommendations that the US open a diplomatic initiative towards Syria? The Bushies have refused to heed the report. Instead the Administration continues, destructively, with its foreign policy of name-calling, bellligerence and scorn for diplomacy. The Speaker--along with her bipartisan group--is to be commended for exploring alternatives to this Administration's disastrous approach to US policy in the Middle East.
What's staggering, as Greenwald in this post--The Nation week to week, and other sane media watchdogs keep telling us--is just how out of touch and trivial our mainstream media is when it comes to reporting on the substantive scandals and abuses of our time.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel is editor of The Nation.
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