March Madness comes once a year. Media Madness is year-round. What the mass media choose to cover and feature try to turn the priorities of any sane society upside down.
People of vice, war, money, spectator sports and business receive media attention – oftentimes ad nausem. People of virtue, peace, civics, health, labor and community engagement have to beg for media attention. Which of these two groups represents the most basic values of a civilized society that would restrain the excesses of the other group? You can guess!
In March 1999, NATO forces launched an 11-week nonstop aerial attack upon Yugoslavia that violated the UN charter, NATO’s own charter, the U.S. Constitution, and the War Powers Act. Yugoslavia had invaded no UN or NATO member. The Congress had made no declaration of war. No matter. The “moral imperatives” and humanitarian concerns were heralded as being so overwhelming that legalities would have to be brushed aside. Here were mass atrocities perpetrated by the demonic Serbs and their fiendish leader, Slobodan Milosevic not seen since the Nazis rampaged across Europe; something had to be done-so we were told.
It was one of America’s most humiliating episodes during the past 50 years, ranking along with the hurried retreat from Saigon in 1975 and the Bay of Pigs fiasco off Cuba in 1961 – the US embassy siege in Tehran when 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days in Iran.