Monday, April 27, 2009

Cutting Through the Media Distortions on the Torture Issue

Photo: Performing Monkey, 1900 - George Eastman House Collection

 did a great job posting a diary on Daily Kos that gives us the results  from the newly released Gallup poll that I mentioned in an earlier post. Please visit his diary to get his analysis of this poll. He's more optimistic than I am and hopefully he's right and I'm wrong.


According to Gallup 51% of the American people want to see an investigation into the use of "harsh" interrogation techniques and 42% do not (as Buhdydharma notes they do not use the word "torture" in their survey).  On the surface this appears to be good news because there are more Americans in favor of investigations than those who are against. But the poll also tells us that the more the American people follow this story in the "media" the more inclined they are to not favor an investigation  - 40% favor and 58% oppose.  This is dire news for anyone who wants our country to follow the rule of law and hold accountable those who are responsible for these crimes. 

This poll also troubles me because in their last poll Gallup's results showed that 62% of Americans wanted investigations with 39% of those 62% wanting criminal investigations and 24% wanting an independent panel. So the number of Americans wanting investigations has actually decreased according to Gallup, going from 62% to only 51% in only 2 months time.

The graphic below about another question in the poll also illustrates the troubling reality of having a media that refuses to truthfully cover this story (here, here, here here, & here and countless other examples)


Like many others on the web I've published numerous blog posts where I document how our establishment media is not telling the truth on this issue and are in fact, deliberately distorting the information that the public receives about this issue. Unfortunately my readership and the combined readership of other bloggers does not come close to the readership/viewership that our establishment media has at their disposal. As a consequence, we are losing the argument on this issue through trickery.

I think the only way for us to get out the truth on this issue is to either have someone in the Obama administration lead the charge for investigations (Obama or Eric Holder) or we must find another way to force the media to cover the truth on this issue. 

I don't think there is anyone in the Obama administration that will get out in front on this issue so I think we need to develop a new strategy.  I think part of that strategy requires finding a group of well known public figures ,who represent all views on the political spectrum, who would be willing to lead the charge on this issue. We need these people to start writing op-ed pieces and to start appearing as guests on cable TV so that the people don't get such a one sided view. In addition, I think we need to get out in our own neighborhoods and creatively get a non-partisan message out to our fellow citizens so that we can cut through the media filter.

We know from past experience that it's very rare for our government to do the right thing unless they are forced to do so by the people. With our chattering class running a propaganda campaign to change perceptions about this issue, in order to do the bidding of their masters, we are losing the ability to force action on this issue. We must, therefore, in my opinion brainstorm to come up with ideas like I stated above to fight the establishment campaign that seeks to get rid of this issue. If we don't, the next time Gallup does their poll the numbers will be even worse. And once those polls show that the majority of Americans do not want investigations our establishment media will broadcast that information day and night and our politicians will no longer feel any need to address this issue.

I know that soon we will have more information released that may make it impossible for the media to control this issue but I don't think we should count on that happening. I think we must begin putting together a strategy on this asap.

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