Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What it means: Part 5

That’s what a reporter looks like. We all know it.

News, journalism (even the basic nature of language as a medium of communication) has taken a savage beating these last eight years. To be fair and accurate, this is not an invention of the current Bush administration, but no presidency has ever applied secrecy, spin, deception and direct lying to the extent and frequency that it has. The Bush administration acted as if the American people didn’t need to know anything it didn’t want them to know.

None of this is possible without a news industry that is complicit across all its media forms.

The office of the Press Secretary under President George W. Bush has turned into a useless propaganda outlet that wasted the time of reporters and the American public with nonsensical obstruction, and combative refusals to answer questions.

2001–2003 Ari Fleischer
2003-2006 Scott Mclellan
2006-2007 Tony Snow
2007-2009 Dana Perino


That reporters simply didn’t walk out of the room while these patsies spewed lies from their scripts, or worse, refused to answer questions, is appalling; but the public remained silent while this happened, even tacitly supportive. It appears we can’t be trusted to ask questions when we’re scared, even when it means our own future, or the lives of our family and friends. It appears we won’t stand behind reporters when they attempt to do it for us.

That’s what happened to Helen Thomas.

Every reporter should have walked out of the room the day she was sent to the back. They didn’t respect their role, their own jobs, enough to defend their integrity from a bunch of thugs posing as an administration.

Journalists are not there to entertain you or say things to make you feel better about anything. Journalists are not there to agitate you with rumor or opinion. They are not there to get along with any politician.
If they are, -they’re not doing their job.
Their responsibility is factual truth. Their job is to ask the questions we need answered.
Who, What, When, Where, Why and How
-if but one of these goes unanswered, the picture is incomplete. I can’t think of a single important event or issue regarding this Bush administration where all of these were satisfied.

Now the Bush era is effectively over. I hope it means a return to the Fourth Estate’s potential to be part of the system of checks and balances that assists in guaranteeing our freedom and safeguarding the integrity of the republic.

I hope it means “potential”.

Fox News is to news, as the WWF is to Baseball. Brit Hume (retiring soon), Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Chris Wallace and every other pretender who sat behind a desk shuffling papers and wagging pens at television audiences are the faces of news entertainment.

They are the faces of bullshit.

Regrettably, their careers as spin agents for the moneyed establishment and whatever politicians represent the Rich are not over. At least they don’t seem to be able to so easily fool the public anymore. Today the American people look at their wallets, they look at their pink slips and look at the “foreclosed” sign hanging on their homes. Today the American people look at their broken American dream, the wars, the economy and they know they’ve been lied to.

The new White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs takes office on January 20, 2009. He is a devastatingly hard campaigner straight out of Barack Obama’s election team. He aggressively pilloried Howard Dean in 2004. He is tough and knows how to frame a debate, which means he is not to be trusted. Whether you voted for Barack Obama or not, Robert Gibbs now answers to us. Whether we get any actual answers from him is up to our press. The press’s abilities and strength are up to me, you and the rest of the country.

We cannot settle for more of the same, no matter who’s up next.


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