Sunday, June 01, 2003

THE AMERICAN MATRIX

From Robert Parry at Consortium

“Matrix” and its sequel. “Matrix Reloaded,” offer a useful analogy for anyone trying to make sense of the chasm that has opened between what’s real and what Americans perceive is real. Like the science-fiction world of the two movies, a false reality is being pulled daily over people’s eyes, often through what they see and hear on their TV screens. Facts have lost value. Logic rarely applies. ...

...Indeed, the likes of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews used the occasion of Bush strutting about the carrier’s deck to praise Bush’s manliness in contrast to Democratic presidential candidates, including Sen. John Kerry who earned a Silver Star in Vietnam.

“Imagine Joe Lieberman in this costume, or even John Kerry,” Matthews said on MSNBC on May 1. “Nobody looks right in the role Bush has set for the presidency-commander-in-chief, medium height, medium build, looks good in a jet pilot’s costume or uniform, rather has a certain swagger, not too literary, certainly not too verbal, but a guy who speaks plainly and wins wars. I think that job definition is hard to match for the Dems.”

On the same show, when Matthews was asked about the Boston Globe article in 2000 describing gaps in Bush’s National Guard duty, Matthews swatted the question away without addressing its substance. “There’s any chance that the Boston Globe city room will ever endorse George Bush for president?” Matthews laughed. “Great reporting. But is it going to cost him a single state? They’re not going to get Massachusetts to start with.”

What the political odds in Massachusetts had to do with the factual issue of whether Bush ducked out on his military service, possibly going AWOL and getting protected by his father’s influence, was not explained. In the American Matrix after all, rational connections aren’t necessary. Like facts, logic is routinely overwhelmed by image, tone and ‘tude.


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