Because in life, there comes a time,
When one must fight, and one must climb,
When we must rise and take a stand,
Or leave our butt prints in the sand.
~~ author unknown
Before this obscene, gaping hole gets any deeper, it's time we convinced the
media to stop digging. As someone once said...and said...and said -- time is
not on our side. Storm clouds are gathering on the dashboard of our
democracy. We must act, sooner rather than later -- before we are faced with
sudden horror like we've never known before. I couldn't agree more, because
when you consider the media horror show of the last four years, it could get
hairy out there unless we wake up, stand up, and do something about it...
It's time we told the media it's either them -- or us. We need to pass them
by, boycott their advertisers, protest them -- shake them until their teeth
rattle. It's time we realized there is no entity more to blame for the mess
we're in nor for the needless loss of life than our shameless and treasonous
media. The media is even more obscene than Bush and the glowering, power-mad
warmongers who surround him in both his administration and in his Congress.
Face it. Bush gets away with murder for just one reason -- because the media
allows it, encourages it, and spends big bucks producing it. Bush's
is a media-orchestrated production, complete with banners, flag backdrops,
bells and whistles. In case you haven't noticed what the rest of the world
knew at the outset -- the illusion of Bush as a strong, principled leader is
also a media creation. Totally.
It is folly to think we can continue to sit on our butts and there will be
no day of reckoning for the total breakdown of fundamental journalistic
principles. I hate to keep dragging poor Walter Williams, the first
University of Missouri Journalism dean, across these pages like some old
worn-out "Weekend at Bernie's" skit, but the
Journalist's Creed Williams wrote a
century ago still applies today, and is a clear statement of journalistic
ethics. Williams fervently believed that journalists were totally -- and
only -- trustees for the public, and that anything less than accuracy and
fairness in reporting the news was betrayal. He believed that suppressing or
ignoring news that might embarrass the powerbrokers is indefensible.
Betrayal. Indefensible betrayal.
If Williams had an idealistic vision of what journalism should be, John
Swinton, former Chief of Staff at the New
York Times, was more realistic about what the business of journalism
really is. In a confession before the New York Press Club, Swinton said:
The business of the
journalist is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify;
to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell the country for his daily bread.
You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting an independent
press. We are the tools and vassals of the rich men behind the scenes. We
are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our
possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are
Corporate giants such
as Time-Warner, Disney, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, Viacom, General
Electric, and Vivendi own all media in this country; therefore, they own
everything we see, hear, feel, smell or touch. They are our sensory masters.
If it were not so, we would rise up against the racuous, political-agendae-driven,
circle-jerk speculation by paid political activists that passes for today's
It's time we woke up and realized that not everyone who "journals" is a
journalist, especially in the electronic media, and most notably on cable
TV. Can you imagine the consternation of folks like Fox's Greta Van Susteren
and CNN's Jeffery Toobin, attorneys who abandoned their law careers for the
bright lights, if each were handed a pair of scissors and a jug of glue and
told to "cut and paste" their transcripts, uh, after they pounded them out
on manual typewriters?
How long would CNN's resident brain surgeon, Dr. Sonjay Gupta, last as a
full-time "journalist" if Americans stopped dieting, refused a breakfast of
Total cereal, and boycotted Walgreen's? Thanks to CNN, Dr. Gupta will save
us a trip to the hospital -- he will come right into our homes and perform
"Mainstream media" is the mother of all oxymorons. To really appreciate
"fair and balanced" in action, see Robert Greenwald's
Aside from daily humdrum chores of cleaning up George Bush's tortured
rhetoric and rewriting quoted material to reflect what Bush
meant to say rather than what he
actually said -- aside from covering up or completely ignoring critical
matters such as a revengeful White House leak blowing the cover of a covert
CIA agent and endangering the lives of contacts throughout the world, a
stolen election, a teetering economy, the unconstitutional silencing of an
FBI translator, billions of taxpayers' dollars missing in Iraq, rampant
abuse and torture of prisoners, the cruel abandonment of veterans -- the
media continue to whoop it up in one huge journalistic Karaoke gig. There
seems to be no end to their capacity to embarrass themselves by singing
along to the propaganda track furnished them by the White House.
The entire mainstream media apparatus appears to be in "stand down" mode,
much like NORAD was on the morning of September 11, 2001. With malice
aforethought they ignore the destructive blips on their news screens,
knowing full well the majority of Americans will not venture beyond what
they are told to believe. Most Americans have no idea of what is actually
going on in the world, either at home or abroad. Most accept without
question Bush's recent pronouncement during his news conference with Russian
President Vladimir Putin:
I live in a
transparent country. I live in a country where decisions made by government
are wide open and people are able to call people to me (sic) to account,
which many out here do on a regular basis. Our laws and the reasons we have
laws on the books are perfectly explained to people," he said. "Every
decision we make is within the Constitution of the United States. We have a
constitution that we uphold.
that. Think about it while you're waiting for the media to report that
policemen across this country are "tasering" our children in classrooms to
shock them into submission -- zapping the elderly in nursing homes to keep
them docile and obedient, handcuffing students and dragging them off to jail
for wearing "anti-American" peace symbols on their T-shirts. Think about it
while you're reading the repressive Patriot Acts I and II that literally
strip the Bill of Rights from the US Constitution that Bush says he is so
proud to uphold.
You'll have time to think, and to read, if you're waiting for the media to
report that many veterans are being stripped of their pay and benefits, are
being charged for food while lying wounded in hospitals, and are being
charged a fee (tax) for their health coverage. You'll have plenty of time to
think before the media breaks the news that, just last week, Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was
hit with a lawsuit
in an Illinois federal court charging him with being directly responsible
for the torture and abuse of detainees in US military custody. The lawsuit,
far from being frivolous, was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union
and Human Rights First on behalf of eight men who were subject to such
treatment and, if there is a God, Rumsfeld will be convicted of violating
that most "quaint" of documents, the US Constitution, as well as federal
statutes and international law.
Those who don't read foreign media will never know that the International
Criminal Tribunal for Iraq (ICTI) this week found both Bush and Tony Blair
of a series of charges, and found they deserve life sentences for war crimes
and genocide in Iraq.
Kohki Abe, a professor of law at Tokyo's Kanagawa University, said Bush and
Blair should face the "maximum penalty available." He added that they should
have been tried in the International Criminal Court, but admitted that, for
"political reasons," they would not be prosecuted. Abe explained the ICTI
had been set up so that acts such as those Bush and Blair are guilty of "do
not go past without the criminals behind them being tried."
Like all thuggish bullies, George Bush, who is ever more deluded by both his
senses and his judgment, is getting so full of himself he's itching for a
new fight. Like he told a cheering crowd at the National Defense University
this week, "We will fight the enemy, we will lift the shadows of fear and
lead free nations to victory. No matter how long it takes." So, Bush is back
on the hunt, and he says ironically that he will topple "tyrants who don't
respect the rules of warfare..."
The darkness is closing around us. If ever there was a time in our history
for the media to just do the right thing -- that time is NOW. It's time the
media faced the fact that, sooner or later, Bush will pick a fight with
someone who's capable of fighting back, and then ratings and profits won't
matter. When that mushroom cloud hits the fan, it will affect us all, and it
will be too late to do anything about it.
And nothing will remain but our butt prints in the sand.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer and a former
civilian US Army Public Information Officer, and a regular contributor for a
variety of Internet sites. Contact her at:
firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2005 Sheila Samples
Other Articles by Sheila Samples
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* Blame the
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* Open Letter
* I Know
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