Our leaders are able to get away with what they get away with, be it torture or the looting the public treasury, because of a glitch in the American psyche known as the media mind.
The symptom of such a mind is its inability to focus on more than one lead story at a time during any 24-hour news cycle. A secondary characteristic is its tendency to become bored with any lead story that lasts more than seven consecutive news cycles, unless it involves a celebrity murder or big boobs. (Lead stories tend to be upsetting, which is why they must be neutralized by trivia and non-homicidal celebrity gossip.)
There is a very telling quote from William Pfaff that illustrates such a mind at work:
President Obama’s unwillingness to see his first term dominated by the crimes of the Bush administration is comprehensible.
Of course it is, because mounting an investigation into the multiple war crimes of the Bush administration would dominate the news and put a major hurting on Obama’s ability to use it to forward his agenda.
And this brings us back to the media mind that can only handle one lead story at a time. This mindset is so pervasive that both those who produce media and those who consume it are unaware of its influence.
Even though the Beltway is a hotbed of multitasking, the media mind assumes that should Obama begin an investigation in to the Bush war crimes, everything else would grind to a screeching halt as all three branches of government focused on the investigation 24/7.
Obama says he wants to move forward instead of dredging up the past. An unwillingness to dredge up the past is the fervent wish of every criminal who has ever stood before a judge and jury. “Gosh, you honor! So I cut up my girlfriend and sent her body ‘cross the River Jordan in sixteen garbage bags. Shouldn’t we concentrate on the future instead of obsessing on the past?”
The media mind thrives because it has no past; it has only “Today.” To speak of “Today in history” is meaningless since there is no history in “Today.” There is only “Today,” that pin-prick laser of the”Now” that keeps the past buried in the shadows where the crimes of the powerful are concealed.