Please go read Digby on media culpability, Republican worship, and the whole jingoistic circus:
After eight long years of being fed the juiciest tabloid lies from a masterful Republican disinformation campaign and a group of friendly GOP special prosecutors, the media became joined with the republican establishment and took on its cheap ethics and ruthless attitudes. They began to identify with them. They helped them destroy Bill Clinton's reputation and piled-on to keep Al Gore from the presidency with a puerile smear campaign which they admitted to waging just because they found it amusing. And when George W. Bush became president, their condescending refrain to the majority of the country who didn't vote for him was "get over it."
That cozy relationship among the purveyors of Republican cant led directly into an unquestioning acceptance of administration lies after 9/11. The country would have rallied temprorarily regardless of the media's complicity in GOP messaging during that time, but the previous 10 years of confederacy between the hungry media and the Republican noise machine established a system in which it was possible to perpetrate one of the most outrageous frauds in history --- the Iraq war. The culture that marginalized dissent, that mocked anything other than manufactured beltway conventional wisdom and that normalized character assassination as "fair game" created a jingoistic circus that can be best illustrated with the allegedly liberal icon Dan Rather, saying: "I would willingly die for my country at a moment's notice and on the command of my president…."