Jewish World Review July 17, 2006 / 21 Tamuz 5766

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The Great American Media War | So here's the question of the hour: Who is really looking out for you, the very secret Bush administration or the anti-Bush media? Let's examine both positions.

The president says he is fighting an effective war against worldwide terror and points to the roundup and destruction of many top al Qaeda people as well as the fact that the homeland has not been attacked since 9/11. Bush asserts that his aggressive and clandestine policies have put the terrorists on the defensive and that the war in Iraq has kept them bottled up where the American military can kill them.

The anti-Bush press, led by The New York Times, believes the Bush administration violates human rights, is overly secretive and is dismantling civil liberties. The Times and other committed left-wing journalists justify exposing national security programs because the Bush administration, they say, cannot be trusted.

For the everyday American, the debate is filled with fog. Is the Bush administration really compromising the nation's integrity in the terror war? Does the anti-Bush media really want the USA to lose the war in Iraq? The answers to both those questions are complicated.

Recently, the deans of four leading journalism schools and the director of Harvard's Shorenstein Center wrote a piece for the magazine "Editor and Publisher" that stated: "In the aftermath of 9/11, a new climate of caution was a sensible response to a sophisticated terrorist foe. But Bush's reaction — declaring a 'war on terror' — and claiming the Constitution grants almost limitless powers to the president in a time of war — is excessive."

The men who wrote this piece are all committed liberals. These guys love The New York Times. One of them, Harvard's Alex Jones, used to work there. Thus their analysis of the war on terror is viewed through an ideological prism, the same problem that exists at the Times itself, where publisher Arthur Sulzberger is liberal in the extreme and generally hires people who agree with him.


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So what we have here, to quote the film "Cool Hand Luke," is "failure to communicate," at least honestly. Liberal people do not generally approve of armed conflict and certainly do not like coerced interrogation, wiretaps, internment camps, and just about every other anti-terror measure the Bush administration has come up with. So with all due respect to the journalism heads, what does the left propose be done to diminish the threat of terror? I haven't heard one concrete suggestion. I have heard all kinds of theoretical gibberish that must send Osama into gales of laughter.

The problem for the regular folks is that the Bush administration is secretive. The president does believe he has the authority to institute anti-terror strategy without strict oversight. Mr. Bush well understands that any and all secret programs will be publicly outed by people who don't like him. And there are a few of those.

In the end it comes down to this: I believe there will be more blood in American streets if the government eases up on aggressively pursuing the terror killers. But the anti-Bush media doesn't believe that, and some are putting forth that the president's policies are the primary threat to this country, not the killers themselves.

I think that's downright dangerous. I'll also tell you a secret: Fighting a two-front war on terror, with the second front being the media controversy here at home, has weakened the USA substantially.

On that point, there's nothing left to say.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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