One of the qualifiers for being a professional commentator and "expert" on television is the capacity and willingness to talk about subjects on which you may actually have little expertise.
While watching the 24/7 news cycle panelists discussing Obama's speech on Syria, I offered a simple question on Twitter: What if every panelist or commentator had a list of qualifications, a vitae, resume, list of books, articles, or specialized training on a given subject displayed under their names?
Moreover, what if a given "expert's" affiliation with corporations or think tanks was also listed on screen? Both of the latter are directly and materially invested in policy outcomes--not for the Common Good and public interest--but rather to fatten wallets and advance private interests.
And for all of their supposed expertise, few of the approved voices in the corporate media have suggested that the powers involved in Syria (or on any other matter for the most part) may be lying to further their own strategic aims. This is a huge and critical oversight.
Once more, politics is professional wrestling. The performance and opinion leaders' ability to "sell" a narrative is more important than the substantive outcome, and a meaningful discussion of policy which will help fully educate the public.
A fully educated and engaged public is dangerous for a democracy's ruling class. However, the appearance of legitimacy can help to create stability. If the People can be engaged and motivated to support policy matters that are actually antithetical to their interests then Power's grasp and illusion of invisibility is further reinforced.
The Syria controversy is, like many other public policy matters, a story with three elements. In no particular order of importance, and certainly this list is not exhaustive, they are as follows.
One, this is a dance of experts who compete with one another to "win" over the public, their own community, and other elites, with their predictions.
Two, leaders lie. There are different types of lies. Obama, Putin, and the other leaders and decision-makers involved in the Syria controversy are lying to the global (and their own) Public in various ways, for their own purposes, and in the service of goals that may not be readily apparent to the general public at present.
Finally, war is a product that is sold to the American people.
There are tropes and scripts which have historically been used to that end with great effect.
While the "crimes against humanity" and "American leadership" script may not work for Obama to gin up public support for an intervention in Syria, there are several other ready-made narratives that he and others can use for the same end.
Do make note of the quote from the above documentary: America makes bombing other people seem like an act of kindness and altruism.
Sound familiar? And where does such twisted logic lead the American people and the world?