What Would Jack Bauer Do?
I've never been one to be on the bleeding edge of TV programming -especially from the non-cable networks e.g. ABC, NBC, FOX, WB, et al. (Mrs. Tuff would argue that I've never been on the bleeding edge of anything besides a steak, but that's another story.) A few years ago it was suggested that I watch Fox's 24. I didn't. I heard more buzz about it. I still didn't watch it. Yet for whatever reason, earlier this year I sat down on a Monday evening with a martini (yes, I drink on school nights), tuned into FOX, and have been living in Bauerville ever since.
Apparently I'm not alone. If I'm reading this data right, 24 is immensely popular according to Nielsen ratings, taking a close number 2 consistently in it's time slot.
There are also blogs dedicated to the show, such as http://blogs4bauer.blogspot.com/ which follows the trail of cadavers and empty shell casings each week and adds its own 'unique' take on the program.
The show is well written, suspenseful and it sprinkles in enough - ahem, scenery from time to time, to keep things interesting. Yes, you do have to take some of it with a grain of salt when you realize that Jack Bauer can get from LAX to any location in greater Los Angeles in 15 minutes or less. Despite this, 24 seems to have developed a cult following that borders on addiction. A couple weeks ago, I think I figured out why.
Jack Bauer was interrogating a bad guy played by Peter Weller, a.k.a. RoboCop, who knew information that would help locate massive amounts of a lethal nerve agent about to be unleashed by terrorists on metro LA. With his quarry handcuffed on a couch and time running out, Jack points his semiauto at RoboCop's knee and tells him to start singing. However, RoboCop is unphased and tells Jack to go ahead and shoot - that he won't divulge any secrets. Realizing that crippling this perp won't get him what he needs, Jack points his gun at RoboCop's innocent wife and pulls the trigger, shattering her femur to get the conversation back on track.
What did this represent? A damn the 'torpedoes of protocol' approach to getting the job done. A situation where the end clearly justifies the means. A character willing to do the ugly, nasty things needed to advance the greater good - in this case, saving countless lives.
(Note to self: next time our 17 year old forgets to clean her room, Mrs. Tuff gets it.)
These concepts, which seemingly appeal to working and tax-paying Americans, appear to have been lost on the majority of todays Lamestream Media. But I guess that happens when your sole focus is bringing down a president you didn't vote for. Just ask John Green, an exec from ABC, who sent this message from his blackberry after a Bush Kerry debate in 2004:
Are you watching this? Bush makes me sick. If he uses the "mixed messages" line one more time, I'm going to puke.
Hmmm. I guess there's no liberal bias in that newsroom.
Anyway, back to that means/end thing. The NY Times, in their fervor to keep flogging the Abu Ghiraib dead horse, ran a story about an alleged iconic figure from the prison. They also ran an "oh yea" story about the torture of Tom Fox. Who's he? Funny you would ask that:
Tom Fox, a member of the anti-American Christian Peacekeeper Teams, has been murdered by terrorists in Iraq who held him hostage for more than three months, the New York Times reported on Saturday. On Sunday, the paper carried a follow-up report that Fox "had apparently been tortured by his captors before being shot multiple times in the head and dumped on a trash heap next to a railway line in western Baghdad."
The story of Fox's death ran on page A8; the story of his torture, on page A10. So what made the Times' front page on Saturday? Yet another story about Abu Ghraib.
So when a westerner gets tortured and executed by Jihadists (and for what reason?), the story gets buried, even if he doesn't. But when there is a chance to rehash an old story about how the US military tries to extract intel that may save a serviceman's life, that gets top billing. Oh, and the subject of the NY Times front page story? Ooops!:
In an e-mail interview, a spokesman for CID confirmed that investigators had concluded the photograph shown on the front page of the Times was not Qaissi. "We have had several detainees claim they were the person depicted in the photograph in question," the CID spokesman told Salon. "Our investigation indicates that the person you have cited from the NY Times is not the detainee who was depicted in the photograph."
Looks like the NY Times editorial staff went back to the Dan Bin Rather school of fact-checking for a graduate degree.
I don't know that many people in my social circles who would object to the "torture" of Jihadists, especially if it was done for the purpose of saving the lives of our overseas servicemen. I know for a fact that Jack Bauer wouldn't care. Yet the NY Times and other news media outlets just won't let this story go even long after the rest of America (again of the working and tax-paying variety) puts whatever objection to these actions they might have had behind them.
Another example of the Bauerism of America is the public reaction to the NSA wiretaps, and the divergent media frothing over the issue.
WASHINGTON - President Bush's monthlong campaign to convince the public that the government's eavesdropping program is an essential anti-terrorism tool appears to have made an impact, a new AP-Ipsos poll suggests.
Some 48 percent now support the administration's program to monitor - without a court warrant - some U.S.-based calls with suspected links to terrorists. That's up from 42 percent last month. Half now say the administration should have to get a warrant, down from 56 percent one month ago.
Personally I have no problem with the US government listening to my next phone call with Jihadists aiming to destroy America. But apparently, some students at Georgetown University, and the press that covered this story, do. Earlier this year several GU students interrupted a speech by AG Gonzales, holding up a banner that read:
"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither" Ben Franklin
However, Ben Franklin's quote was:
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
The version that appears on the Statue of Liberty's pedestal reads:
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Hmmm, back to the books, kids. Funny how the press didn't correct these young prodigies. I have to believe that the hijacking of airplanes and the deaths of 3,000 innocent people rises above the level of a "little safety", temporary or otherwise.
So amid a flood of whining, defeatist comments from the press about "illegal wiretaps" and the fury of captured Jihadists being "tortured" or "humiliated" by scantily clad female interrogators, is it hard to believe that a Jack Bauer character appeals to Joe Six-Pack? I don't think so. While the banal anti-US vexation continues to spew from the NY Times and their idiot cronies bemoaning the horror of captured Jihadists forced to listen to Christina Aguilara, countless households across the US are cheering Jack Bauer as he shoots, stabs and chokes his way through a littany of terrorists. At least I can think of one American household where that is happening anyway. Meanwhile, NY Times editors are queuing up their Tivos for the next episodes of Project Runway and Oprah.
So is the Times making another disconnect with the American public? Could be - or maybe they are still too busy going over the exit polls from the 2004 election. I could go on with more examples of their defeatist liberal bias, but it's Monday and my new favorite show is on soon.