17 February 2004

Journalism is Dead

It has finally been said. Journalism is dead. Supposedly journalists are there to help us regular citizens understand and make better sense of the world around us. And they have failed.

The old adage, “if it bleeds, it leads” still rings true. Stories do not actually have to be news worthy to lead the program, instead it just needs to be able to hold the audiences attention. And the sorry part of this is that we as consumers of television viewing see this as normal and acceptable. We have become complacent.

Real fact finding journalism started back in the Progressive Era when many issues facing the public were not being addressed by those in charge. Over time we’ve moved away from this noble duty. We now have people who call themselves “journalists” and pander to the lowest common denominator.

During this election year, instead of actually giving the American citizens of the country a real picture of all the candidates, the media has chosen our Democratic nominee months before the actual Democratic convention. Senator John Kerry has been crowned king by journalists from almost all the news outlets.

What about Senator John Edwards? He is still running for the nomination. Why haven’t we heard anything about him over the last month? Because the media has chosen Kerry and are not interested in any other candidate. As a result, the American public has lost their chance to even ponder another option for the Democratic nomination. But don’t worry, journalists and the news media know best.

Okay, so if the news media know best, then perhaps they’ve given us some background information on Senator Kerry? Of course not. The fact that Kerry has been a senator for the last 20 years and no journalist has taken a look at his voting record is obscene. One might think that it would be important and possible essential to analyze a potential presidential candidates past record. But of course, journalists and the news media know best.

So the fact that Senator Kerry voted numerous times to cut funding to national intelligence is no big deal. In 1994 and1995 Kerry proposed bills cutting $2.5 billion from intelligence over the following five years. Both bills never made it to the floor for a vote. (S.1826,Introduced 2/3/94), S.1290, Introduced 9/29/95) That same year Kerry also voted to cut FBI funding by $80 million. (H.R. 2076, CQ Vote #480, 9/29/95.) That vote passed.

The funny part about Kerry attempting to cut intelligence funding is that after 9/11 he spoke about the weaknesses in American intelligence. “And the tragedy is, at the moment, that the single most important weapon of the United States of America is intelligence...And we are weakest, frankly, in that particular area. So it’s going to take us time to be able to build up here to do this properly.” (CBS Face the Nation 9/23/01)

While one might applaud the media for following the story about George W. Bush’s stint in the National Guard during Vietnam, the media does not bother to follow other stories that may hurt their own interests. Of course, The Washington Times confirmed Bush’s version of the story, but never mind that (The Washington Times 2/11/04 washingtontimes.com/functions/print.php?StoryID=20040211-121217-6595r). Since the media has crowned Kerry as the Democratic nominee, they have not bothered to follow a story that may interest many voters, namely an intern problem.

General Wesley Clark broke to the press that “Kerry will implode over an intern issue...” How has this not made the evening news? European newspapers have it on their front page. Even according to Craig Crawford of the Congressional Quarterly, this allegation of an affair was the reason why in 2000 Al Gore did not choose John Kerry as a running mate. (worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?Article_ID=37102) Why has the American public not heard about this? Simply because the media does not want to admit that they are wrong about Kerry. According to journalists, you would think that Kerry will the savior of the United States in 2004, against the devil incarnate Bush.

Journalists and the media are setting the agenda of the American people. We will only know what’s told to us, packaged nicely in a 30 second blurb on the evening news. And of course, don’t worry, the media knows best.

03 February 2004

Bedtime Nightmare

I don’t have any little relatives to tell bedtime stories to, but there is a bedtime story that I would tell them that has become a nightmare.

Bedtime Nightmare

Shira A. Drissman

Feb. 3, 2004

This story starts a long, long time ago, in a far away country. Imagine this country as a beautiful place, somewhere you would spend your vacation. A place full of palm trees, and beaches, and of course a never-ending sea, stretching as far as the eye can see.

The natives were a friendly bunch of people. They had everyday sort of jobs. Some were teachers, doctors, carpenters, bricklayers, business owners and some were religious leaders. These natives were happy being natives, living in their land, living their everyday lives.

Then one day, the happy natives found themselves under attack by a country from beyond the sea. The next thing the natives knew was that their holy temple which they worshipped at was destroyed and burned to the ground. Along with the temple, a million of their fellow tribesmen were massacred with their blood flowing knee high in the streets. It was a sorry time for the natives.

The natives found themselves taken to far-away places. Places they had never imagined existed. They served as slaves across the world. One would have thought that over time the pain of being separated from their land would have dulled and become non-existant. But this was not to be. The pain grew stronger in every generation. The unhappy tribe even created a prayer book to pray from three times a day to remember their special land and temple.

At first, the tribespeople were segregated and oppressed. There were even wholesale massacres. Millions of these natives would be murdered and no one would stop the slaughter. But the natives persevered, and were thankful to their god. Over the many years, the natives became members of the societies they lived in across the world, but never fully trusted. People would do business with them with a smiling face, but at home spoke about how they were cheated.

The natives didn’t like this situation. They just wanted to be accepted and be left alone. They realized that it was time to go home. So many of them put their possessions in their bags and bought a boat ticket to their promised land. They left with the visions they last saw; the palm trees, the beaches, and the never ending sea.

Finally after months, and even years of traveling, they landed and were quite disappointed. There was nothing left. No grass, no trees, no flowers, nothing there to remind them of what they had left behind. They traveled for days looking for anything they might recognize. After days and days of traveling northward, the natives saw something in the distance. Could it be? They moved faster now. Yes, it was some of their fellow tribesmen. After speaking to their kindred spirits, the natives were told that there were many more of them who were able to survive the horrible times of the past.

The natives were excited. They were home. They decided to rebuild better than before. To rebuild so that they wouldn’t have to wander the world ever again. To trust themselves and not have to depend on the world’s mercy. At first these natives depended only themselves for the building projects. However after a while, a new tribe from across the mountain range on the east came over and began helping them. This new tribe asked nothing in return, they were happy to have jobs in this new land.

The natives were happy with their progress. They now had homes, and even a new government. They even offered this new tribe citizenship in their new government. The new tribe accepted such a generous offer since they had only been there to help so recently.

But soon, something strange happened. This new tribe from across the eastern mountain range began to spread lies. To the natives surprise the new tribe started telling their brothers and cousins that the natives land was their own!

The scariest part of the story was that the brothers and cousins believed the new tribes story. The natives didn’t know what to do. The brothers and cousins started threatening the natives. “It’s time for you to move out!” they said.

This nightmare story has no ending. But is this really just a “story”? The natives are the Jews and the new tribe are the Arabs. We have yet to see a happy ending to this story and we won’t until the lies stop.