"Why do they hate us?"
Two months after the terror attacks, it's still the question of the moment, it's on every (confused) American's mind, it's the bugaboo we can no longer ignore lurking in the back of our (Third World) closet--why would anyone do this to us? Why do they hate us so much?
How could this *happen* to us?
From alternative, non-corporate media, we hear answers about blowback. Malcolm's chickens coming home to roost. Reaping what you sow. And, perhaps less dogmatically, we hear about another round of innocent Americans paying the ultimate price for their government's destructive foreign policies and corporate agenda.
From most of the mainstream corporate media, we hear more facile, jingoistic answers based on Bush II's assessment that "they hate our freedoms" (it's the freedom, stupid, and other similar themes), or we see displays like Dan Rather's teary confusion and pseudo-patriotism on The Late Show ("...how could this happen?...O Beautiful for Spacious skies..."). We hear that you are either for us or against us. It's absolute good versus absolute evil, a crusade for infinite justice against the evil of the world, the Empire Striking Back (does anyone remember that the Empire striking back was the BAD GUYS???).
Fortunately, while many Americans have indeed fallen in line with the jingoistic surface "analysis" of "pundits" like Bill O'Reilly, Paula Zhan, and Rush Limbaugh, it appears that a great many Americans have increasingly demanded real information to answer real questions they can no longer ignore. The result: Forced by the undeniable reality of 6,000 civilian American deaths to for once actually address topics other than Chandra, OJ, and Clinton's sex life, even mainstream media has jumped into the act of trying to provide Real Answers and Analysis.
Suddenly every media outlet is rushing to fill in that gap of knowledge they themselves have so carefully cultivated, and that many Americans are only now beginning to wake up to. Time, CNN, Newsweek, and all the other incestuous children of the world's six media-owning corporations are trying to formulate coherent responses to questions about "roots of the rage" and "why?" and "how?" Admittedly, some good examples of analysis and information may actually emerge from all this; but of course, it is all still within the corporate-biased context and agenda of mainstream media.
Which brings me to my own burning question of the moment: In the current situation and context, how do you counter this effort by the corporate media to fill in these gaps with their own inherently corporate-biased information? How do you respond to this extraordinary opportunity to effectively answer a question like, "Why do they hate us?" for those who are sincerely seeking information outside the corporate media?
As participants of non-corporate media, how are you dealing with this issue in the specific context of recent events? It's not so much about the particulars of information used -- most of us have spent the past few months (and indeed, years) steeped in an ocean of background analysis and argument and rhetoric, and are quite familiar with lots of good sources of information -- but what tactics/techniques are you using to share this information with those unfamiliar with or even resistant to it? What has been your experience of trying to communicate these ideas to those who may not have much experience with non-corporate sources of news and information? What's worked? What hasn't?
And what about those who may be new to or unfamiliar with non-corporate media -- what has been your experience of seeking and finding (or not finding) good information outside the standard mainstream media of CNN, Time, Newsweek, MSNBC, your local news, etc.? What has resonated with you about alternative/non-corporate media sources and those who share this kind of information with you? What has made you think? What has turned you off?
I'd like to open this forum to everyone for commentary. Give your input, and pass this link along far and wide to people from all political backgrounds and media experiences. I know my own experience has been filled with lots of blunders, but there've also been some successes as well; ultimately, I hope we can all help each other communicate and understand better.