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MEDIA COMPLICITY ARTICLE 1A

Right Wing Media Should Be Ashamed

By: Donna Marsh O'Connor

Only a week and a half before the general election of 2004, with baseball on the minds of many Americans, in a flippant, tongue-in-cheek rhetorical move, one of the grand masters (I must be delusional) of the contemporary American mainstream press finally addressed the concerns of millions. Millions who have been flooding reputable internet sites and even the mainstream print media with the following concern: the press is not doing its job. The press is allowing the Bush administration to 1) lie and 2) fail to answer for conflicts of interest that serve to undermine the
interests of the populace. But it is baseball season and the Boston Red Sox have changed our public discourse so Greenfield , I guess, felt liberated enough by the magic to take up this concern.

Here is how he did it: He made an analogy between the fan (noting the term derives from fanatic) up in the stands and partisan, claiming to have a better view of the pitch than the umpire (in this case the unbiased journalist) who is six inches away. In other words, liberals (like the Yankee fans, I assume) question all calls from the stands. Non-partisan, expert journalists like Greenfield (would he include Koppel, King, Kagan, Brown, Blitzer?) see clearly because they are in close proximity. In close proximity to what?

If they are seeing anything up close it is the reflection of their faces in the camera lens.

Let me tell you what I see closely:

--an administration who has never had to answer for conflict of interest charges leveled at them by those closest to the events of September 11th, 2001. Precisely, the benefits to this administrationís priorities after the events that caused the deaths of nearly 3,000 people just that day and, letís not forget, the injuries to life and limb that this administration ignored after the fallout. I am addressing here the negative environmental impact at Ground Zero on those who rushed in to volunteer help and those who depended on their efforts to put food on their tables. We are six inches away, Jeff.

--the extraordinary elevation of the prices of gas and heating fuel and the food that we feed our families that in no way was mitigated by the small tax cuts we received. We are six inches away, Jeff.

--an elevation in the tension between those voting for Bush and those not (and I note in my life this is not the difference between Republican and Democrat because I know more Republicans who will vote this time for Kerry than Bush).

--no WMDs in Iraq, but thousands of deaths of US service people and many Iraqi civilians, without a free press willing to guess at how many, by now, Hussein would have killed, no comparative studies on just how much good Bush did for those dead or wounded Iraqi civilians now or in the future.

--no exploration of vote tampering for US servicemen in Iraq, in the failure of this government to provide in a timely fashion absentee ballots to service people who were told to download ballots off of the internet.

--no, I mean none, nada, nothing, exploration of why this administration sent bin Ladenís family home when I and other Americans, desperate to see our families, could not fly over American airspace.

--no, I mean none, nada, nothing exploration of the injustices based on racial prejudice in FloridaĎs  2000 election.

--the under reporting of the differences between John Kerryís version on No Child Left Behind and George W. Bushís (I can see these clearly, but Jeff Greenfield canít).

--the under reporting of government cuts to the Veteranís Administration and to cuts in paychecks of military personnel serving in Iraq as they argue how much they value our military personnel.

--the seeming lack of desire to capture bin Laden and the possible reasons why that might be so (I can think of some, but Jeff Greenfield canít).

--no clear explanation of how and why Halliburton, Halliburton, Halliburton. Not that corporation, per se, but what that corporate greed reveals about Bush/Cheney.

Six inches, Jeff? I donít think so. You are out in la-la land, watching a baseball game for pleasure, but even as you do you seek ways to explain your own complicity in what has happened to us. Baseball is America ís pastime. Thatís a clich√©. The habits of mind that lead us to root for one team over another should be rigorously separated from the habits of mind of making significant
choice as regards the future of our lives and liberties. A journalist should know this.

And if you think you are even so effective as an umpire in a game where all that is at stake is negotiated first by talent and physics, we are all in deep trouble. Because even at that, you are not understanding your job. Remember, Jeff, the umpire calls the balls and strikes. Wouldnít that be us, the American citizens? Arenít you the bystander? But your unconscious mistake reveals the truth: our free American press is comprised of fanatics.

Bush must go. So must you. You should be ashamed.