The truth plain and simple is not something that is in doubt. You can argue the facts of any situation, but the truth is not open to debate. Why then do the major cable news network spend so much time arguing about the truth. There are no death panels in the health care legislation. That is the truth. How many times have we heard "debates" over the past couple of months about this very thing? President Obama was born in the United States. That is the fact and yet lunatics, including members of Congress, get to go on TV and argue this very point on a regular basis.
Do you know what wasn't the truth? Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and yet there was very little debate about that point when the President said it, even though it was later proved to be absolutely false. Are we now seeing a backlash from the press against its negligence to question what was coming out of the White House during the Bush administration? Is the press trying to make up for being asleep at the wheel?
Roman Polanski plead guilty to a charge of having sex with a minor which was the least serious of the six initial charges that arose from his drugging and then raping a thirteen year old girl (consensual or not, having sex with a drugged and drunk 13 year old is rape by definition). He served 45 days under psychiatric observation and then was to return to court for additional sentencing as deemed necessary by the court. Apparently under his plea deal, he was not supposed to serve any additional time. The Judge in the case, who undoubtedly committed some major misconduct decided that he didn't want to go by the agreed upon plea deal and so Roman Polanski fled the country after being released from psychiatric observation, but before appearing before the court again. He is therefore a fugitive from justice. That is the truth. He is a convicted felon who decided to flee the country when faced with more possible jail time. Yet the networks have committed air time to having people try and debate this issue. There is no issue. He pleaded guilty to a crime and then ran away before facing sentencing. Period. It does not matter that the now adult woman (who received a very handsome settlement from Polanski) wants the case dropped. It does not matter that those in Hollywood decided to give him an Academy Award for his direction of the movie "The Pianist". It does not matter that he made "Chinatown". It does not matter. The truth is that he is a fugitive from justice. Period. There is no debate about that, so why would you put two people on a major news network to debate the point.
When the news networks give equal weight to both the truth and whatever made up nonsense can be spewed against the truth, they play a major role in undermining that truth. When they make fun of the crackpots (like the insane woman who keeps on coming up with Kenyan birth certificates for Obama), they legitimize them by giving them air time and allowing their message to be heard by millions of others. It would be the same as if Chris Matthews were to allow a serious debate to take place between the people who believe the earth is flat and those who know that it is round. The argument is ridiculous on its face, but by giving them equal time you legitimize the ridiculous.
It is unfortunate indeed that the news organizations didn't do a better job of questioning the Bush administration when they had a chance, but to turn that mistake into a free for all maybe even more damaging to the American public. Isn't there someone in the morning production meetings of those major cable news networks who will stand up for the truth? I understand that the 24 hour news cycle forces each network to search for stories to cover, but there are so many worthy stories. The networks are not only guilty of laziness, they are guilty of trying to appeal tot he lowest common denominator. How many follow up stories have been done about the murders that took place during Hurricane Katrina that went unpunished. How many stories have been done about the fact that our public education system is falling apart? How many stories have been done about the fact that our Constitutional rights are under constant attack? I don't have any specific numbers but the answer is too damn few!
There are a hundred legitimate topics that the news organizations can point their cameras at and yet they chose to show us debates about the truth and present that as real news. When will this stop? When will our news organizations once again try to give us the news as news and not as entertainment. There are lots of network shows that I can watch or hell I can even rent a movie if I want to watch something for the sake of entertainment. I watch news networks because I want the news, not so that it can compete with the latest blockbuster from Steven Spielberg. Let's focus here people. The times demand more than we are being given. The stakes are too high for our only real inside view of the politicians, that are going to decide the fate of this country, to be looked upon as just another chance to entertain the lowest common denominator.