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How bad can things get, how fast? Are we already at the point where
literally nothing can derail the war machine?

Let's say you have a war to sell. You have the usual public relations
tools at your disposal: highly scripted press conferences, stories
leaked by White House officials to a compliant press.

A generation ago, when I worked at the Washington Post, the
right-wing fringe occasionally referred to us as "Pravda on the
Potomac." We reporters were amused but also rankled.

War may or may not be inevitable, but a one-sided discussion of US
policy toward Iraq appears to be all but guaranteed on network
television.

On June 4, 1961, John F. Kennedy held his last meeting with Soviet
leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna.

The day before MSNBC announced that it was pulling the plug on Phil Donahue's nightly show, the man who pretty much invented talk TV was interviewing actress and author Rosie O'Donnell.

It's a fascinating scheme, "this very ambitious and aggressive embed
plan," as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Bryan
Whitman calls it.

Who's the hack? I nominate The New Yorker's Jeffrey Goldberg.
He's the new Remington, though without the artistic talent.

Poor Endy Chávez, outfielder for the Navegantes del Magallanes,
one of Venezuela's big baseball teams. Every time he comes up to bat,
the local TV sportscasters start in with the jokes.

This article is based on a report originally produced for National
Public Radio's On the Media.

Blogs

Helpfulness not guaranteed.

May 5, 2015

What Are ‘Nation’ Interns Reading the Week of 5/4/15?

May 4, 2015

The issue is the cartoons—and what they mean to ordinary French Muslims.

May 1, 2015

The police department has used social media as virtual riot gear, manufacturing the narrative of violence in the digital realm as they were escalating it on the ground.

April 30, 2015

Fox and friends are gearing up for a replay of the 1968 riots that helped bring us Richard Nixon.

April 29, 2015

What Are ‘Nation’ Interns Reading the Week of 4/26/15?

April 24, 2015

How can we judge the latest Clinton scandal when the reporting around it is so murky?

April 23, 2015

What Are ‘Nation’ Interns Reading the Week of 4/21/15?

April 21, 2015

Media fear and self-loathing are already on the campaign trail.

April 17, 2015

Doug Hughes is not a dangerous fruitcake. In fact, he is a small-d democratic idealist who went out of his way to alert the authorities in advance of his so-called “Freedom Flight.”

April 17, 2015