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By Reid Wright
The shits are starving us.

Years after the war in Iraq began and we still don’t know exactly why we invaded and what went wrong.

In his book, “Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie,” Dr. Hunter S. Thompson wrote that being unable to find out who was behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy was the failure of his generation of journalists — one that would always be looming over their heads.

Similarly, this generation of journalists will always have the failure to see through the Bush Administration’s sale of the war in Iraq.

Bush and his neo-conservative brains teamed up with the Pentagon to sell a war much the same way an eighth grade teacher sells a biology lesson: with key-terms, repetition, fear mongering, and over-simplified concepts.

When the drums of war started beating, I was just a carefree whelp of a college freshman who joined marches and protests against the war, but did so with a light heart and a smile, knowing that my government was not actually dumb enough to follow through with the military invasion of a sovereign nation in an extremely volatile region.

Imagine my dismay when sessions of Congress on C-Span turned into nightmarish episodes of “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader,” as one by one, members of congress stumbled and fell to the propaganda. But Jeff Foxworthy’s canned humor wasn’t there to take the edge off the horror.

Upon hearing the call to war, Republican hawks promptly choked down a bottle of Viagra with scotch, yanking down their pants to salute the flag and show everyone that their patriotism was bigger than the rest.

Democrat duds like John Kerry followed suit, not wanting to be out-measured. Together, they worked themselves into snarling bloodlust, nearly choking on their own saliva as they barked support for the war.

One by one, the remaining members of congress devolved into invertebrates, their eyes glazing over as they crumpled to the floor drooling – mumbling about weapons of mass destruction.

The minority of congress in opposition to the war were largely disregarded by the media in the sensationalism.

The neo-cons were confident in their ability to manipulate the U.S. media after the ‘big five’ corporate sluts (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and FOX) had unanimously agreed to a White House request during the invasion of Afghanistan to censor ‘terrorist’ footage sent in from the area (aka THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY).

The news media should have been the first and last line of defense against the lies, but sadly they were drowned in the tsunami of misinformation.

They behaved like a flock of tweaked-out parrots high on their own hairspray, as they squawked the White House and Pentagon propaganda, reverberating off each other until the airwaves were clogged with feedback.

Elite media tools like Judith Miller were already snug in bed with their neo-con sources, spooning with their greasy carcasses, cooing promises to spread whatever they were told in exchange for ‘the scoop’.

Cable news splashed the invasion across screens like it was a Michael Bay film while tens of thousands died. They knew that news networks were made from wars. Meanwhile, reporters at home continued to eagerly suckle rancid lies from the hairy man-boobs of pentagon officials.

After the invasion, the U.S. Government, led by George “Mission Accomplished” Bush patted themselves on a back for a job well done and then proceeded to completely abandon the people of Iraq, the brave men and women of the U.S. military, and what remained of the truth.

Cable news reporters hid behind the safety of the green zone blast walls and counted the incoming caskets as thousands of troops began dying and chaos filled the power vacuum left from Saddam’s vacancy. Acts of heroism went unseen by the world, and cries for help went unheard.

A few reporters did venture out into Iraq from under the wing of Pentagon protection, only to be kidnapped or killed by either side. The U.S. government collectively shrugged and rightly claimed ignorance and incompetency.

And the American public lost faith in the media.

Will journalists ever be able to re-gain the respect and trust of the people? I don’t know.
But for now, the power of the truth lies in the hands of you – the disillusioned youth of America.

As perverse as it may seem, American media is a democratic institution, and consumers have a vote. News is a business, and newsmakers painstakingly watch the numbers to see who is watching.

Every time media consumers use their remote to change the channel, every time they click a link online and every time they subscribe to a publication, they are casting a vote for the media of the of their choosing.

It is up to the consumer to not forget that they have a voice. When news sources are lazy, stupid or incompetent, they can and should be called on it. When issues important to the community are being overlooked, it should be brought to the attention of reporters. Reporters are not omnipotent and rely heavily on tips.

If reporters still fail, individuals should take up the torch. UI has a student radio station, newspaper, magazine and state-of-the-art television station that are all hungry for new talent.

Traditional media is not the only way. In the internet age, news can and should be grassroots from the ground up. Young people blog, vlog, text, podcast, network, and send pictures and video by cell phone. Airtime and publication are no longer needed to get a message out.

Norman Mailer once wrote:
“Each day a few more lies eat into the seed with which we are born, little institutional lies from the print of newspapers, the shock waves of television, and the sentimental cheats of the movie screen. Little lies, but they pipe us toward insanity as they starve our sense of the real.”

Americans are starving for understanding of what the hell is going on in a world gone mad, and the mainstream media is fumbling the answers.

It’s up to you now, go forward, gather and spread information — but do so with a critical and analytical mind.

Let us never forget the lessons of Iraq, and the consequences of losing the information war, which can be as loud as the shockwave of a car-bomb, or as silent as the grave.

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