Thursday, April 24, 2003

There was a remarkable story from AFP, of all places, today. It seems the anti-American demonstrations in newly liberated Iraq have fizzled.

I have a feeling CNN will not notice, though. They seem committed to the "clearly, the Iraqis don't want the Americans here" point of view. I actually heard one of the CNN embeds say that two weeks ago.

We can always count on CNN for a ferocious cross-examination of the Bush administration's point of view. A "critics charged that..." addendum is required for any story out of the White House.

And yet, the pronouncements from regimes and movements hostile to America are accepted with total credulity. There is not even the slightest speculation that anti-American demonstrations might not be as "spontaneous" as they appear, that professionals from Iran might be fomenting them. No, CNN just accepts it all at face value. "Clearly, the Iraqis don't want the Americans here." And they take this credulity to extraordinary lengths, as in last October's Iraqi "elections," the legitimacy of which they didn't question at all:

From Baghdad, correspondent Nic Robertson stressed how “Iraqi reverence for President Saddam Hussein is rarely more expressive than when their leader calls a referendum” as “students at Baghdad's fine arts school, too young to vote in the last referendum in 1995, appear eager now. 'It is my time to challenge the United States' threats against Iraq,’ says Samir. 'So I will say yes, yes, yes to President Saddam Hussein.’”

I especially loved the "fine arts school" business. In Saddam's Iraq there was no such thing as unofficial art. So every artist in the country could aspire to nothing other than to be a stooge of the regime, producing Saddam portrait after Saddam portrait, a skill which seems to be in somewhat lesser demand these days. Taking the pulse of Iraq in an arts school is on the order of gauging the popularity of Hitler at a Jungvolk meeting.

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