Even before an explosion killed 13 U.S. servicemen on Thursday, the word “Afghanistan” appeared in every headline “above the fold” of the digital edition of the New York Times. The Biden campaign must be in shock at this abrupt reversal, after receiving approximately 18 months of free public relations advertising from the legacy media. Not so long ago, Biden could expect a pass from taking any questions or nod approvingly as reporters asked him to agree with sympathetic talking points. Now he’s forced to turn his back on questions about stranded Americans, ignored warnings, and complaining allies. It’s an awful look. After the chief executive fumbles and stutters through scripted addresses, he next pretends not to hear the questions.
And it’s no wonder. There’s absolutely no acceptable explanation for withdrawing American troops before completing an orderly extraction of American noncombatants. Further, the sudden implosion of the Afghan military unequivocally demonstrates that the United States wasted every nickel spent on its training and equipment.
So why has the media apparently turned its back on the Biden Administration? Has it suddenly transformed into an ethical and objective force for democracy? Please. These whores sold their souls to the get-Trump corporate alliance. They pushed the Russia collusion hoax, the Ukraine farce (which never even made sense in the first place), they covered up the Cuomo COVID nursing home corpses, they continue to bury stories of FBI and intelligence community malfeasance, and they shill for China.
I have five possible explanations, some combination of which is probably the right explanation.
1) The get-Trump coalition can’t survive a silenced Trump.
We all know that Twitter silenced Trump after the January 6 Capitol incident on the grounds that he “incited violence.” Setting aside the fact that this was a transparent effort to silence a potential source of dissent against Biden, the social media ban has made it almost impossible to continue fuelling the coalition with daily doses of Trump’s “outrageous” tweets. That’s over for now and it’s getting harder to keep people focused on “Orange man bad” stories.
2) The intelligence community, the military, and the media itself need a fall guy to distract from their two decades of complicity.
Many have speculated that the U.S. intelligence community has found ways to influence and even capture most of the legacy media. There are various theories on the mechanics of this influence but the outcome is virtually undeniable. The legacy media seems to work for the public relations department of the national security bureaucracy. This explains why the media provided little or no critical coverage of the war over its two decades.
Afghanistan, above all else, is a stunning intelligence scandal. The Taliban conquered the entire country with Toyota trucks and captured infantry rifles in little more than a long weekend. This only could have happened so quickly if the forces near all the major centers of power were pre-positioned. Our national security experts missed these preparations—perhaps because they are consumed with standing up a new “white supremacy” hoax now that the Russia collusion farce has run its course.
3) Is corporate media toying with switching sides?
It wasn’t that long ago that the rich felt allied with Republicans. It began switching sides when Trump proposed turning off the flow of cheap gray-market labor that kept wages low for the kinds of occupations rich people depend upon. Gardners, housekeepers, nannies, beauticians, retail workers, and low-skill construction workers all suffered stagnant or declining real wages as the government unofficially welcomed illegal immigrants. But Biden’s open border policy has taken that idea to its extreme. Crime, homelessness, declining education, and a new rich-hating egalitarian radical element in the Democratic Party should be causing concern among our elites. The wealthy don’t want to bunker behind their gates forever. The incompetence of the politically corrupt administration on display in Afghanistan may be the final straw.
4) Utopian journalists are legitimately outraged.
Sometimes the simplest explanation is the right one. Imagine spending two decades reporting on the social progress in Afghanistan. In just five days, the Taliban smashed all of that progress into dust—programs such as educating, employing, and advancing the women of Afghanistan. All of those women and girls will return to their burkas and forced marriages with illiterate Taliban soldiers. Those reporters still control the Afghanistan desks at all of the major legacy news outlets. They aren’t buying the “blame Trump” party line. They know better and they want a pound of flesh from the man they hold responsible, the current president.
5) Ratings are terrible.
Since Biden took office, legacy media ratings have crashed. The withdrawal from Afghanistan is an irresistible high-stakes story. Americans rightfully want to stay informed. Likely, readers aren’t clicking on stories spinning the catastrophe as a Republican or bipartisan debacle. The media may have discovered that it can’t survive as a propaganda arm for the Biden Administration. Attempts to ignore or paper over the bad news remind us of “Bagdad Bob,” the Iraqi government spokesman who told CNN viewers that Iraq was on the verge of defeating the United States as American bombs exploded around him.
It’s impossible to overstate the significance of the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle. It’s not going away anytime soon, certainly not before it influences elections in 2021 and 2022. Now that the spell has been broken, Biden will never again enjoy the robotically positive coverage the media gave him in order to combat Trump. But for those of us who suffered under five years of partisan lies masquerading as journalism, it’s going to take a lot more than a sudden attack of Biden skepticism for us to trust the media again.