"He got away with using a stunt turkey as the photo-op centerpiece during his surprise Thanksgiving 2003 visit to the troops in Iraq," writes Frank Rich of the NYT, trotting out the hoary Bush-bashing "fake-but-accurate" plastic-turkey story for one more swing around the dance floor. We emailed Tim Blair at once, of course. Dan Rather, call your office. Meanwhile, poor Rich unwittingly stumbles onto something close to the truth, marking Orson Welles' fake-but-accurate "War of the Worlds" broadcast of a Martian invasion -- three years before the tooth-and-claw surprise attack on Pearl Harbor -- as a watershed moment for what Rich calls the introduction of "fake reality" into the national consciousness. In perhaps one of its last sensible editorials in the modern era, the Times at the time chided Welles for his puerile antics:
Two days later, in an editorial titled "Terror by Radio," The Times darkly observed that "what began as 'entertainment' might readily have ended in disaster" and warned radio officials to mind their "adult responsibilities" and think twice before again mingling "news technique with fiction so terrifying.
Rich may see no irony in acknowledging that Welles -- golden boy of the intellectual left -- "unwittingly set us on the path toward the utter destabilization of reality," but, then, he has smaller fish to fry. Staying on message, he reminds us that all the evils of the world are Bush's Fault™:
The administration can keep boasting of the Iraqi military's progress in taking over for Americans and keep maintaining that, as Dick Cheney put it, the insurgency is in its "last throes" [but] the Bush administration has lost the public opinion war . . . When even the conservative Republican congressman who pushed the House cafeteria to rename French fries "freedom fries" . . . argues for withdrawal, it's fruitless. Once a story line becomes incredible, it's hard to get the audience to fall for it again.
As the coiner of "freedom fries" goes, so goes not only the nation, but the world? Who knew? Can we talk turkey here, Mr. Rich? We're in awe of your confidence that the public-opinion war has been lost, of course, based as it is upon a lot of fake-but-accurate MSM Gitmo hysteria, not to mention the latest poll numbers/entrails showing, as you put it, that
Most Americans tell pollsters the war isn't "worth it," and the top reasons they cite, said USA Today, include "fraudulent claims and no weapons of mass destruction found" and "the belief that Iraq posed no threat to the United States."
Cosmic convergence or cause and effect that the polls just happen to perfectly reflect the latest MSM Vietnam-lite, anti-war narrative?