Ed Driscoll

Shields Up, Mr. Sulu!

Via Betsy Newmark, Peter Bronson of the Cincinnati Enquirer looks at the media’s forcefield–something I observed on maximum strength last week, as I spent more time watching cable TV news (and consequently less time in the Blogosphere) at my parents’ house than I had in ages:

Superman is invulnerable. Star Trek’s Enterprise has invisible shields that stop photon torpedoes. Invisible Woman has a bulletproof force field.

But those things only exist in comic books, science fiction – and the mainstream media, where you can only tell if it’s there by the things that bounce off. For example:

Pat Robertson does not have a force field. He imploded like the Death Star in “Star Wars” for suggesting that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez should be assassinated. The shock waves from media missiles even caused collateral damage to all conservative Christians, especially President Bush – although Robertson is not even in the same galaxy.

But Chavez must have an invisible shield, because I saw nothing in the mainstream media about the way Chavez smothers dissent, worships his totalitarian mentor Fidel Castro and “celebrates, protects and does business with terrorists,” according to the Weekly Standard.

“The United States brought the attacks upon itself, for their arrogant imperialist foreign policy,” Chavez said on Sept. 12, 2001.

Assassination may be like killing moles with a Daisy Cutter, but it looks like Chavez is safe – from the press, at least.

Thousands of soldiers and their families do not have force fields. They are pounded relentlessly by media mortars targeted at the war in Iraq. Even during the week Iraq passed a constitution – moving from dictatorship to democracy faster than the American Revolution – good news was shut down like one of Scotty’s busted warp drives.

But Cindy Sheehan has powerful shields that block negative publicity. The shrill voice of the anti-war left is back in Crawford, Texas, accusing Bush of “murdering” her son who died in Iraq on a volunteer rescue mission. She says Bush is a “terrorist” and, “This country is not worth dying for” – but criticism of her just bounces off like marshmallows hitting a brick wall.

Even a protest from her family was blocked by Sheehan’s invulnerable media force-field.

“The Sheehan family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq war and we have been silently, respectfully grieving,” said Casey’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, according to the Washington Times. “We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son’s good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan family supports the troops, our country, and our president, silently, with prayer and respect.”

Not even the Pentagon budget can buy a force field to protect President Bush from the press-corps lasers. But former President Clinton is still bulletproof.

During his administration in 2000, a top-secret Pentagon project called Able Danger tracked al-Qaida terrorists, and uncovered a cell including Mohamed Atta, leader of the 9/11 hijackers, according to officers who worked on the project.

But the Clinton administration had put up a wall of rules to keep the FBI from talking to the CIA. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., said attempts to alert the FBI were blocked by Clinton lawyers. “They said, ‘He’s here legally. He’s either got a green card or he’s got a visa. So you can’t even touch him – it doesn’t matter what information you have.”’

That might be a big story – “White House kept FBI from stopping 9/11 terrorists” – but it can’t get past the invulnerable Clinton force-field.

Getting both sides of a story looks like a job for Superman.

Do his blue tights and red cape qualify as pajamas?