Archive for the Fourth Estate

While Your Media Was Sleeping. . .

Posted in media failure, politics, war with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2008 by vagabondsaint

Ah, the Fourth Estate. Envisioned by our founding fathers as a means of keeping tabs on the government, on bringing the truth to the people via the free press should ever the government attempt to lie to and manipulate the American people. . .

Where did it all go wrong?

Oh yeah. . .government deregulation in the 80s allowed corporations to buy up media outlets at a fantastic rate and thereby control their output. That’‘s where it went wrong.

So now our fabulous news media has become, by and large, a corporate shill that seems sometimes designed more to keep the truth away from the American people, thereby depriving them of the information needed to make informed choices about their government and corporations.

Cases in point: these three news stories went almost completely ignored by the media in the past few weeks:

1. Senate Select Committee On Iraq War Intelligence Releases Their Report – This happened June 5, and this report had been eagerly awaited for three years. . .and yet, when it came out, it went almost completely unnoticed. Why? Maybe because the report found that the Bush Administration had manipulated information, suppressed facts, and outright lied to the American people in order to make the case for war. Not only that, but the report also documents “inappropriate” intelligence-gathering activity by the “DoD’s Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, without the knowledge of the Intelligence Community or the State Department.” And exactly how much media coverage did this congressional condemnation of the Bush Administration’s war-hawking receive?

I can’t comment on small presses or even newspapers, as I don’t read every paper in the country. I barely read the local ones. But what I did see of the national coverage amount to this: a 20-second blurb on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Katie Couric of CBS had time for a story on gossip being spread over the internet, but not enough time for this report. The 24-hour news channels? Nothing. CNN (which I did watch) had stories on bird-poop facials and kids on YouTube, but nothing about this report. Fox News. . .well, we all know they’re just conservative mouthpieces, so let’s not even talk about what they had on.

So how did I know this report came out? No, I didn’t watch the NBC news. I watch The Daily Show, which did have a story about the report and another one about the media’s lack of coverage of this important story. Sorry kids, but when I get better, more relevant news from a “fake” news show than I do the “real” news, something is fucked up.

By the way, click here if you want to read the report. And click here to watch that episode of The Daily Show.

2. John McCain’s Callous Treatment of His First WifeI’ve been following McCain’s career since the 2000 campaign and I had no clue he even had a first wife, let alone that he was such a dick to her. And with being the presumptive Presidential candidate for the “Family Values” party, you’d think this would get some media attention.

Well, it did. . .from British news paper The Daily Mail, who interviewed McCain’s first wife, Carol. Read the article here. It is, of course, getting media coverage now, since The Daily Mail broke the story (and thanks to The Huffington Post for bringing it to my attention and the friend who brought The Huffington Post to my attention). But the big question here is this: Do we need to start reading British newspapers to find out what’s really going on in America?

(By the way, John McCain, a veteran and POW, also does not support Senator Jim Webb’s new GI BIll, which would cover the expenses of American soldiers who wish to attend any state-run university in their area. When you consider that John McCain has been in the military and in Congress for most of his life, it’s rather interesting that he would deny others access to the taxpayer-money teat he’s been sucking for so long. Just saying, is all.) (This is also covered on that episode of The Daily Show.)

3. Darcy Burner’s Responsible Plan For Ending The Iraq WarI read about this in local Seattle weekly The Stranger last week. For those that don’t read it, I’ll fill you in:

Darcy Burner, a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully in the 2006 elections for the US House of Representatives seat currently held by Republican Dave Reichert. (If his name sounds familiar to you, you’re like me and you’ve spent way too much time studying criminology; as a King County Sherriff’s Department detective in the 80s, Reichert was head of the task force assigned to finding the Green River Killer, and had even arrested Gary Ridgeway but had to let him go for lack of evidence. In 2002, as King County Sherriff, Reichert finally arrested and convicted Ridgeway, who confessed to more than 40 murders as the Green River Killer.) Darcy is running for the same seat again this year, two years wiser and with a secret weapon: she knows how to end the Iraq war.

Burner worked with national security experts and retired generals to come up with her plan, called A Responsible Plan , for ending the war on Iraq. By all accounts, this plan will work and it’s been endorsed by congressional candidates across the country. But national media attention? None. If it hadn’t been for the story in The Stranger, I wouldn’t have known about it (then again, if it weren’t for The Stranger, I would never have known that there are transvestite/transsexual “escorts” in this city, let alone what “santorum”* means. . .you gotta take the good with the bad, is my point here).

It’s also worth noting that no one actually holding a Congressional seat has endorsed this plan. By and large, the endorsers are Democratic challengers for Republican-held Congressional seats. It is also worth noting that this name appears on the list of endorsees: “Brigadier General John Johns (U.S. Army ret.)specialist in counterinsurgency and nation-building”. If the guy specialized in nation-building, and he endorses this plan, why the hell isn’t the media paying attention? For that matter, why wasn’t he part of post-war planning for Iraq? Or even planning for fighting the insurgency?


I’ve ranted too much, and now I have outrage fatigue.

Major media news outlets, do your fucking job.

VS – 6.11.08

* = you don’t want to know.