This past Wednesday, President George W. Bush, blaming the media for lopsided coverage of the ongoing struggle in Iraq, brought up the blogosphere as an alternative to the mainstream. At a recent speech, President George W. Bush stated:
“One of the things that we have to value is that that we do have a media… there’s blogs, there’s Internet, there’s all kinds of way to communicate which is literally changing the way people get their information and so if you’re concerned I would suggest that you reach out to some of the groups that are supporting the troops, that got internet sites and just keep the word moving."
Until the day of his speech yesterday, Bush seemed contemptuous of all media - acknowledging no long ago that he didn't watch the news, follow polls or read newspapers.
Obviously Bush and his communication team have failed to do their homework. A quick scan of the blogosphere by Dark Matter Politics indicates the “public sentiment” for this administration and decision to invade Iraq is not a positive or even neutral. When searching Google’s Blog Search the first ten results associated with the term “George W. Bush” provide harsh criticism of his policies, mainly focused on his foreign policy. The same situation occurs when searching under the term “Iraq war”.
When searching the blog indexes for Feedster.com a major blog index site, the search “George W. Bush” results in a large majority of highly critical blogs and sites. Interestingly enough, the top sponsored listing (a listing that is paid for - usually on a cost per click basis - placed on the top of the results pages page) is for the donation site of the Republican National Committee.
The Bush administration and its supporters have created Blogsforbush.com, a collection of blogs that discuss and support the policies and actions of the president. Dark Matter Politics supports the development of blogs covering all points of view and perspectives; however it is increasingly concerned by the increased reliance of the Bush administration on the “support the troops” slogan. It is obviously an easy way for the administration to strip down the discussion on the Iraq War and try to control the public discourse. Support for the well being of the troops stationed in Iraq (which is a very strong sentiment in the United States and Britain even after three years since the invasion and occupation of Iraq) does not equate to support of the invasion. Support for the troops stationed in Iraq is not solely based on their direct actions during the invasion but among many reasons: 1) their safe return to their respective homes and families and 2) their adherence to basic principles of engagement outlined by the Geneva Convention.
The best way for a country to support its troops is to send them into conflict only when necessary and when provided with full majority moral, material and strategic support by their fellow citizens and the larger global community. Under those conditions, the large number of troops sent and still stationed in Iraq is a serious case of Dark Matter Politics.
An anonymous blog by a young woman in war-torn Iraq has been for the first time shortlisted for the prestigious BBC Four's Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction. The blog can be found at http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/.
If the Bush administration is serious about the blogosphere and its real measurement of the positive public sentiment for the invasion, it should start an open blog allowing the troops stationed in Iraq to provide their perspective...