Saturday, January 10, 2004

The Year of the Fake: "This was the year when fakeness ruled: fake rationales for war, a fake President dressed as a fake soldier declaring a fake end to combat and then holding up a fake turkey. An action movie star became governor and the government started making its own action movies, casting real soldiers like Jessica Lynch as fake combat heroes and dressing up embedded journalists as fake soldiers. Saddam Hussein even got a part in the big show: He played himself being captured by American troops. This is the fake of the year, if you believe the Sunday Herald in Scotland, as well as several other news agencies, which reported that he was actually captured by a Kurdish special forces unit."

""Her main aim is to meet as many Nigerians as she can," the Queen's press secretary, Penny Russell, said of the monarch's December trip to Nigeria... Instead of the planned visit to an African village, the Queen toured the set of a BBC soap opera in New Karu, constructed to look like an authentic African market. During the "fake walkabout," as the Sunday Telegraph called it, the Queen chatted with paid actors playing regular villagers, while actual villagers watched the event on a large-screen TV outside the security perimeter."

"While truth did not pay in 2003, lying certainly did. Just ask Rupert Murdoch. According to an October study conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, when it comes to the war in Iraq, regular watchers of Murdoch's Fox News are the most misinformed people in America. Eighty percent of Fox News watchers believed either that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, that there is evidence of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link or that world opinion supported the war--or they believed all three of these untruths."

"I'm no longer convinced that America can be set free by the truth alone. In many cases, fake versions of events have prevailed even when the truth was readily available. The real Jessica Lynch--who told Diane Sawyer that "no one beat me, no one slapped me, no one, nothing"--has proven no match for her media-military created doppelganger, shown being slapped around by her cruel captors in NBC's movie Saving Jessica Lynch. Rather than being toppled for his adversarial relationship to both the most important truths and the most basic facts, Bush is actively remaking America in the image of his own ignorance and duplicity. Not only is it OK to be misinformed, but as the almanac warning shows, knowing stuff is fast becoming a crime."

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