A lefty tells the truth — unintentionally

I came across an interesting little article on Rob Kall’s OpEd News:

April 19, 2007 at 04:53:25

    CNN — The Most Twisted Name in News
    by Sheila Samples

    Thanks to the complete nervous breakdown of the US media, it’s been a long, hard six years for those of us who believe that journalism exists for one reason only — to hold those in power to account, and to speak truth to that power.

Well, that’s an odd definition, but, from Miss Samples, probably a truthful one.

Most professional (and even amateur) journalists would say that the purpose of journalism was to gather the news and present it to the public. It takes an ideologue, an agenda-driven ideologue, to admit that she believes that the sole purpose for journalism is to attack the people who hold political power.

    But, perhaps the most explosive news not covered this week is the announcement of Ohio Democratic Rep Dennis Kucinich that he would file articles of impeachment against Dick Cheney. Here is a copy of his letter to members of Congress that was leaked to the Washington Post’s “Slueth,” Mary Ann Akers

    April 17, 2007

    Dear Colleague:

    This week I intend to introduce Articles of Impeachment with respect to the conduct of Vice President Cheney. Please have your staff contact my office . . . if you would like to receive a confidential copy of the document prior to its introduction in the House.

    Sincerely,
    /s/
    Dennis J. Kucinich
    Member of Congress

    However, Kucinich’s action appears to have been quickly shot down, as Akers reported that, “Sources tell the Sleuth that in light of the mass killings at Virginia Tech Monday, Kucinich’s impeachment plans have been put on hold. There will be no action this week, they say.”

    Akers writes that Kucinich shouldn’t hold his breath on getting anywhere with his impeachment plan because a Democratic aide quipped, “We’ll see a Kucinich Administration before we’ll see a Cheney impeachment.”

Well, yes, that’s right. There are only 21 months left in the Bush Administration. President Bush is constitutionally barred from running for a third term, and Vice President Cheney isn’t going to run for president; his health simply precludes it. What would be the point of an impeachment of Vice President Cheney, with only a few months left in his term by the time a Senate trial could take place, especially when one considers that it would require 67 votes to remove him from office — and there are only 51 Democrats in the Senate?

    Looks like Cheney has low friends in high places, doesn’t it? Kucinich’s office had no comment…

Low friends? For telling the truth? Miss Samples believes that “journalism exists for one reason only — to hold those in power to account, and to speak truth to that power.” Is she not interested in speaking the truth to everybody else? And the truth is just as that unnamed Democratic staffer said:

We’ll see a Kucinich Administration before we’ll see a Cheney impeachment.

And we’ll never see a Kucinich Administration; as a presidential candidate, the man is a joke. You can look at the polls of the Democrats who will determine their next nominee, and see just how seriously they take Mr Kucinich’s candidacy.

    ALL media, print and electronic, are obscenely obsessed with the shooting at Virginia Tech — none more so than CNN, the most “twisted” name in news. CNN anchors are on the scene in full investigation mode, mercilessly interrogating university officials, police officials and friends of those murdered — “how did it feel?…how will this affect your life?…should someone have seen Cho Seung-Hui’s “break” coming?…Who’s responsible?…tell us — tell us how you feel…What is it like — to see your friends in the hospital?…What are you going to do next? How are you going to move on?

    CNN then went on to go down a list of victims, giving their names and airing interviews with family members who were asked how it felt to lose their children…

    Meanwhile, the 40 faceless, nameless, family-less American soldiers and marines killed last week — the 10 killed on Monday of this week — were not important enough to get CNN’s attention. The 157 (reported briefly by the NYT — or 127 reported just as briefly by the WaPo) human beings killed in Bathdad today as a result of four car bombings weren’t even a blip on CNN’s TV screen. There were also at least 150 injured in those blasts.

    Maybe CNN should ask these survivors how they “feel…”

I have criticized CNN (and MSNBC and Fox) for using so much time to cover so little news: rather than use their 24 hour a day coverage to cover a lot of stories, they cover a very few stories, and simply repeat them and repeat them and repeat them again.

But the coverage of the VPI shootings is what the people want to see. We have a (possibly morbid) fascination with this, an insatiable curiosity to find some sort of explanation for an act that was wholly irrational, thoroughly insane. That’s probably an exercise in futility, but we want to know about the case nevertheless.

So, what is Miss Samples’ complaint? That virtually nobody is covering “the most explosive news,” that Dennis Kucinich wants to file articles of impeachment against the Vice President? They received about the coverage they merited, which is virtually none, which pretty closely matches the probability that the Vice President will be impeached: virtually none.

Or is her complaint that the media are not taking each and every soldier’s death, and covering it in the same manner as the deaths of the VPI students? Well, to be blunt about it, we expect that, in a war, some soldiers will die; the Virginia Tech murders were completely senseless, completely irrational — and completely unexpected. That’s why they are news.

But, in an honest admission of what she believes — that journalism exists for one reason only: to hold those in power to account, and to speak truth to that power — Miss Samples is telling us that what she finds disgusting is that the media are not working full-tilt to change American policy.

Unlike Miss Samples, most Americans expect the news media to report the news, not to argue for and drive a particular policy position.

27 Comments

  1. There’s a big trend in journalism (actually, it’s been around for about the last 15 yrs) towards what is called “advocacy journalism.” That is, they don’t bother putting up the facade of objectivity; they take a side on an issue and slant coverage that way.

    There are advantages and disadvantages for readers of this sort of journalism. One big advantage is that you know up front what sort of bias will be presented and can filter that out. Of course, the big disadvantage is that they tend to play fast & loose with inconvenient facts. Unfortunately, we see quite a bit of this already.

    When I was in j-school, we were told that being balanced and objective was the highest compliment we could pay our readers; we were giving them the opportunity to make up their own minds about news. But many of today’s journalists have nothing but contempt for their audience, particularly that portion of their audience which is conservative. Sort of like a lot of lefty blogs.

  2. So, you want to know what Thomas Jefferson has to say?

    http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1600.htm

    It is beyond tragic that lying is legal in the media though. It is such a shame that seeing a booby gets higher concern than the truth being told. I wrote a letter to the FCC stating just that, the tragic consequences of misinformation allowed to be perpetuated, and I got a stock letter stating “We are doing all we can to make sure graphic images as in (gasp) boobies get shown” or some such thing. FCC money would be better spent on hearings as to what is true. You may have noted my bringing up previously, the legal case brought against FOX for misrepresenting, and THEY ACTUALLY WON (FOX did on the grounds that even misrepresentation is “free speech”. But nowadays too many journalists are too busy kissing behinds at the Republican/corporate/media collusion party. There are a few great journalists though, like Shiela Samples. I wrote to her after reading one of her great pieces, and I stated my serious concern with the incestuous relationship (a stolen phrase-often used in describing the media) with the government the MSM has.

    Too bad the only Liberal journalist on the MSM among the sea of mostly Right leaning, some moderate, the ONLY Liberal is (yay) Kieth Olbermann. I love him! You should watch him.

  3. Unlike Miss Samples, most Americans expect the news media to report the news, not to argue for and drive a particular policy position.

    What are the viewing figures for Fox News again – the news media that exists specifically to argue for and drive particular policy positions?

    See, I agree that the first task of the news media is to report the facts. But the US public is badly served in that respect – as you pointed out, Dana, the US news media has given up even trying to report the fact that about 800 000 Iraqis have likely been killed in Iraq since the US invaded.

    Or the fact – also unreported in the US news media – that once all the votes had been counted, Gore had won the 2000 election, and Bush lost.

    Where a government policy (abstinence “sex education” for example) is stupid and damaging, reporting the true facts will be an attack on that government policy.

  4. Blu wrote:

    It is beyond tragic that lying is legal in the media though.

    So, what would you do? Use the power of the government to sift through every word that is broadcast or printed, to determine whether or not it met some specific standard of truth?

  5. Well, J, perhaps the media don’t see what you claim to be the truth as being true.

    The media reports of the recount of the 2000 election indicated that under three of four different sets of counting rules, George Bush won, while under one set, Al Gore would have won by something like three votes (working from memory on that one). I know that you don’t like it, and insist that Mr Gore really won, but our media took a more responsible view, and simply reported the facts.

    And while you have insisted that the 800,000 number simply must be correct, I have diligently pointed out that there is no corroborating evidence. You insist that, because you claim the study was well-designed, it simply must be true; the media, having an actual responsibility, is more cautious, and has quietly dropped the Lancet numbers. One assumes that if corroborating evidence emerges, they’ll pick them up again.

    Are even the (serious) foreign media using the Lancet numbers, or have they dropped them?

  6. I googled up MAINSTREAM MEDIA FAILURE and came up with 1,350,000 hits.

    Also, I do think that the FCC needs to have court hearings for challenges of the truth being told, and have regular hearings. Yeah, I know it would be expensive, but there probably are things that could be omitted from their list of financial concerns.

    Our democracy depends on us getting the right information. In case you haven’t noticed, our Constitution has been getting trashed within these last six years. I don’t believe that it all has to do with the same old “stock excuse-security from- (gasp) terrorists”, what this administration hangs its hat on for every criminal endeavor, and power abuse they lust for, and/or achieve.

    I’ve noticed that in this phase of media info-tainment, or should I say misinfo-tainment, the strategy used to alter opinion, is to belittle, belittle those that are threatening to the agenda that those in power have, be it political power or economic power. They can often make those watching, feel inclined to side with the ones running the broadcast, which ultimately benefits the corporate/government/network back-scratchin party. They can accomplish this without actually lying too, I’ve noticed. Example: making fun of Al Gore for whatever trivial reason. Or using the old trick of belittling by calling a guy “pretty”. Why? Because he is good looking! An issue of pride is brought in, appealling by peer-pressure, the same way a gang of thugs in the street/school yard, would intimidate someone they wanted to steal lunch money from. Only the dirty trick, isn’t about taking lunch-money, it is about taking credibility from the individual. The pride factor, over rides objectivity among some.

  7. Thanks to the complete nervous breakdown of the US media, it’s been a long, hard six years for those of us who believe that journalism exists for one reason only — to hold those in power to account, and to speak truth to that power.

    That phrase “Speak truth to power” is a cliche, and usually means – Speak left wing bullshit to people we don’t like. A genuine case of “speaking truth to power” came from people like Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick. But the “Powers” that be at the time didn’t want to hear any of it.

  8. Blu wrote:

    Also, I do think that the FCC needs to have court hearings for challenges of the truth being told, and have regular hearings. Yeah, I know it would be expensive, but there probably are things that could be omitted from their list of financial concerns.

    Our democracy depends on us getting the right information. In case you haven’t noticed, our Constitution has been getting trashed within these last six years. I don’t believe that it all has to do with the same old “stock excuse-security from- (gasp) terrorists”, what this administration hangs its hat on for every criminal endeavor, and power abuse they lust for, and/or achieve.

    Alright, think about that. The Federal Communications Commission is a federal agency, made up of polutical appointees. We know that you believe that September 11th was some sort of inside job, but neither the mainstream Democrats or Republicans believe that. Even if we were to assume that your position is correct, would an FCC comprised of political appointees give your views any serious consideration as being the truth?

    Our good friend Jesurgislac believes that rhe Republicans stole both the 2000 and 2004 elections, and complained above that the media are not reporting that (at least about the 2000 election). Do you believe that an FCC comprised of political appointees is going to examine J’s complaints and decide what is the truth, in a manner that she would find acceptable?

    Heaven forfend that we have a government agency assigned to tell us what is the truth, and control the media in any way to require them to tell us what it is!

  9. Dana, I think there needs to be challenges when misinformation is out there, and possibly have juries pulled from the population, same as the traditional courts. Jury duty?

  10. Well, it moved Imus and ANS off the news. Or as a commentator here put it in an email, Imus insults a women’s college basketball team, Cho kills 32 college students and teachers. Get a perspective.

  11. Blu, as I was outside washing down the loading area of the plant, another thought occurred to me: we had an official government body to determine the truth — it was called the 9/11 Commission. It was evenly divided between Republicans (and they were, for the most part, moderate Republicans) and Democrats, and they came up with a conclusion which you do not find truthful.

  12. Blu suggested:

    Dana, I think there needs to be challenges when misinformation is out there, and possibly have juries pulled from the population, same as the traditional courts. Jury duty?

    Would that be the O J Simpson jury, telling the vast media what they can and cannot think or say?

    If there is one thing my liberal commenters like about this site, it is that nobody is censored; everyone is allowed to express his opinion. He may get hammered if he writes something with which others disagree, but hey, that’s part of freedom of speech.

    Why then, as much as you have mentioned that you dislike censorship on some other sites, would you ever want a government agency or board or even a jury which could tell you what you can think and say?

  13. Okay, Dana, we both agree that someone out there has been misinforming, otherwise we would not be arguing. Agreed. Well, what suggestions do you have for finding out who is giving out bogus “information” ?

  14. Listen to Fox News and read Common Sense Political Thought, and you’ll get the right information. Nothing else is required. :)

  15. The media reports of the recount of the 2000 election indicated that under three of four different sets of counting rules, George Bush won, while under one set, Al Gore would have won by something like three votes (working from memory on that one).

    And under yet another set – if all the legal votes had been counted – Gore won by several thousand votes. (I did find a US news media site that reported this, in November 2001, but I see the general media just didn’t pick up on it, and continued to irresponsibly publish only the carefully selected facts that made it look like Bush had won the election.)

    And while you have insisted that the 800,000 number simply must be correct, I have diligently pointed out that there is no corroborating evidence.

    No: you have repeatedly (moronically) tried to claim, like any holocaust denier, that just because the data is there that about 800 000 Iraqis have been killed since the US invaded, you don’t want to believe it.

    And since the media is owned by people who either don’t want to upset people like you, or who don’t want to upset the major sponsors, you don’t see the facts reported in the US media. You are badly served by it.

  16. And under yet another set – if all the legal votes had been counted – Gore won by several thousand votes.

    More baloney from Sir Lie-A-Lot.

  17. J wrote:

    I see the general media just didn’t pick up on it, and continued to irresponsibly publish only the carefully selected facts that made it look like Bush had won the election.

    Well, it’s been several years since Presiednt Bush’s 88% approval ratings around November of 2001 — yet no responsible media outlet has revisited such information, despite the fact that most of the major dailies oppose the President, and opposed him in 2004, despite the fact that CBS was willing to use forged documents to try to help Senator Kerry — yet none of these media are telling us what you claim to be the truth, a thruth that you, sitting in front of a computer, were so easily able to discern.

    Surely the people at The Philadelphia Inquirer have as many resources as you do; why haven’t the editors been on that story? CBS has certainly demonstrated an aggressiveness in going after the President; why won’t they tell a story you claim to be true, and is easily accessible enough that you have been able to get hold of it?

    Do you think that maybe, just maybe, what you say is true is unreliable information?

  18. Dana, your idea of “responisible” means that the corprorate interests that got Bush into office are the same ones that married to the media. “Responible” ??? Yeah…right (not)

    Eric, so, I suppose the side you are on is the Starship Enterprise. Well, beam down, you are lost in the ethers, pal. By choice of course.

  19. Hi, Dana…just went to the “common sense” site and read the comments. It’s heartening to see those who have different beliefs/ideologies debate in such a good-natured way. There should be more discussions on this level. But — a couple of comments to those who assert that I believe “the sole purpose for journalism is to attack the people who hold political power”…

    The sole purpose of the Fourth Estate is to serve as a “watchdog” on those in power, not as an “attack dog.” Speaking “truth” to power does not necessarily mean exposing the underbelly of the Republicans, although for (far too) many years now, they are the ones who have been in power. Clinton did much damage to this nation with his NAFTA “highway,” and the media — albeit not very truthfully — did cover it. There was never a time for the media to speak truth to power than during the time Clinton was ramming NAFTA down our throats. They also covered the FBI files his administration collected, the Whitewater non-scandal, the fact that he was a draft-dodger, and his blowjob in the oval office, down to describing at great length (no pun intended) the unusual shape of his penis as described by Paula Jones. Some republicans who were huffing and puffing for impeachment even suggested that the duly elected (twice) President of the United States should expose himself on national TV, or furnish a photo — to prove that Jones wasn’t lying. Talk about respect…

    So, how have they covered Bush in comparison? The lies and deceit that took us into an illegal war of occupation…violating international law by torture and rendition of captives…keeping prisoners behind bars for years with no due process, no attorneys, no hope…violating the Geneva Conventions by using depleted uranium, white phosphorous and napalm (Google Fallajuh), killing, capturing, raping civilians…showing disdain for the US Constitution by using more than 750 “signing statements” to defy laws passed by Congress…leaking classified information, exposing a covert CIA operative…claiming “unitary executive privilege” to negate the Bill of Rights and Habeas Corpus…failing Katrina residents and victims…

    Yeah. I wish…

    The media will tell you very quickly that Bush, unlike Clinton, is not a draft-dodger. What they fail to tell you is that Bush is a damn deserter, who abandoned his military post in a time of war. He’s a busy little bee, buzzing around in a murderous frenzy.

    Hey, if Jeff Gannon’s busy these days, somebody out there needs to do their patriotic duty and give this guy a blowjob. Hell, I’ll even pay for it..

    Sheila

    The above was sent to me by the article author, Sheila Samples, as e-mail rather than a posted comment. I am reproducing it here, after having secured her permission to do so. — Dana

  20. Eric, so, I suppose the side you are on is the Starship Enterprise. Well, beam down, you are lost in the ethers, pal.

    I’m not the one who gets all their information from Internet kooks, who might just as well be Klingons as far as their credibility goes.

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