Poet Wilfred Owen warned against telling children “the old lie” that it’s “sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”
Isn’t the old lie as insidious today as it’s ever been? When we “support the troops,” don’t we promulgate the lie? And what about the “warriors?” If they’re heroes, what does that make the people they’re trying to kill? I’m just sayin’.
The documentary “War Made Easy” focuses on the media watchdog’s traditional role as lapdog to the military machine. Consider, for example, Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly’s observation that anybody who can’t support the war effort should “shut up.”
Journalist Robert Fisk argues that mainstream media shields us from the realities of war, distilling glory from gore and making it that much easier for our government to sell us on the notion that war is a necessary evil. He tells the story of an Al Jazeera news crew trying to upload graphic footage of the aftermath of a suicide bombing, but being rebuffed by a London-based news service that considered the footage “pornographic” and lacking “respect for the dead.” Some might argue that war is both pornographic and profoundly disrespectful of the living. But they’d be traitors, I suppose.