If you subscribe to the State Department press lists, an e-mail would have popped into your inbox on Sunday attributed to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The text was a message from the Secretary congratulating the Iraqi people on finishing the draft of their new constitution. If you also read the Sunday papers, or perused the news on the internet, you would have probably already read that the “finished” constitution had been presented to parliament over the objection of the Sunnis, and the likelihood of its rejection in a referendum planned for October was now rather high. But in the surreal world of the Bush administration, even bad news is now good news (once, at least, the administration only complained about the lack of media attention to the good news out of Iraq; not that bad news was actually good).
Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a dictatorship’s manipulation of the news (or watched too much of the Fox News Channel) would find the Bush administration propaganda on Iraq, and in particular Secretary Rice’s statement, uncomfortably close to the kind that totalitarian states employ. In totalitarian states, the people often assume that the government always lies and that its statements are not to be trusted. In America, where we tend to want to believe our government, we rely on the free press (or late night comedians) to expose government lies; a job the mainstream media seems to be finally warming up to. I wonder how much ridicule the Secretary of State will be exposed to in the coming week.