Siegelman and the Servile Press
Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of culture and communications at New York University, says the press is doing a dismal job of informing the public about important governmental issues. Miller, the author of None Dare Call it Stolen: Ohio, the Election, and America's Servile Press, is particularly alarmed that the press continues to ignore signs that recent national elections have involved fraud. And he says the press intentionally ignores wrongdoing in the name of reportorial "balance."
"A friend of mine at ABC has told me that the newsfolk there are strongly disinclined" to look into possible wrongdoing by politicians," Miller says in an interview with Scott Horton, of Harper's.org. "Doing so, they fear, would open them to charges of a party bias (which no doubt means 'liberal bias'). If that's the case, it means that our Free Press has failed disastrously to do its constitutional duty as a watchdog on the actions of the government, which evidently can jail anyone it wants, and as improperly or groundlessly as it sees fit, and the reporters will just sit there.
"Whatever they may tell themselves at ABC or any other network, what we have here is a corporate press that kowtows to the right, and does it mainly by adhering to the noxious paradigm of 'balance,' which requires going blind to any crime or wrong that can't be said to have been perpetrated on both sides."
Miller cites the case of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman as an example. "The fact that Siegelman clearly has been the victim of a punitive Republican cabal is not a fact that our reporters will report, as there is nothing on the Democratic side remotely comparable to the machine that has been persecuting him (and several other Democrats); nor is there any case of a Republican being treated by the opposition in that way. Thus unable to deplore bipartisan malfeasance, the journalists simply look the other way."
A Little Balance from The Birmingham News?
Glynn Wilson, of Locust Fork World News, presents a detailed analysis of The Birmingham News' most recent coverage of the Don Siegelman/Richard Scrushy case.
Wilson concludes that the News is unusually balanced in its reporting on the case. In fact, he wonders why the story ran in Saturday's edition instead of being held for a prime spot on the Sunday front page.
But that's not to say the story is without serious flaws. Wilson notes that the News continues to pretty much ignore the issue of alleged juror misconduct. And perhaps most importantly, the paper has done no serious reporting on the improper "dynamite charge" from U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller when the jury appeared to be hopelessly deadlocked.
Both of these issues indicate that Fuller was determined there would be no mistrial in the case, justice be damned.
Should Democrats Be More Aggressive on Impeachment?
The answer is a resounding yes, according to David Swanson, writing at afterdowningstreet.org.
Swanson is referring to possible impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney. He supports his argument with some compelling history-based reasoning. "For 230 years, the party that brings impeachment wins, and the party that fails to do so when it's called for loses. (John) Conyers was there when the Democrats moved to impeach Nixon and then won big. He was there when they refused to impeach Reagan and then lost. And most of the current committee was there when the Republicans impeached Clinton against the will of the public for a non-impeachable offense and still won both houses of Congress and the White House. . . .
"Parties that seek to impeach are not punished at the next election. In fact, they frequently improve their positions--as evidenced by the Democrats in 1974, Republicans in 1952, and all the way back to the Whigs of the last century."
Why is the GOP Pro Life?
Have you ever wondered why the Republican Party goes to such great pains to proclaim itself "pro life" and "pro family?"
I think I've figured it out. The more children people have, and the bigger families they have, the more likely they are to be too distracted to notice that Republican leaders are lying to them--and probably robbing them blind, in the process.
This thought came to mind upon reading about a recent study showing the Bush Administration made more than 900 false statements regarding national security in the two years leading up the war in Iraq.
E-Mail Woes Plague the GOP
If distracting the public doesn't work, you can always try deleting e-mails. The latest Republican to develop an e-mail problem is Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, who stunned observers by saying he would quit his re-election campaign. No specific event prompted him to make this announcement, Blunt said, with a straight face. Right, right. And a recent lawsuit alleging destruction of state e-mails had nothing to do with it.
Are Teens the Only Bad Drivers?
Alabama is considering a number of bills that are designed to enhance the safety of teen drivers. One proposal would ban the use of cell phones by drivers younger than 18.
Does anyone seriously think that teens are the only ones who shouldn't be talking on cell phones while they drive? I can't count the number of times I've almost been run off the road by adults who are too busy blabbing on cell phones to pay attention while they drive. Why don't we address that problem while we're at it? Oh, the cell-phone lobby doesn't want us to address that problem, does it?
Ever wonder why we can't come to grips with difficult problems like national health-care insurance and global warming? It's because we can't even get the easy problems solved. Research has conclusively shown that driving while talking on a cell phone is the equivalent of driving while drunk. And yet we still allow it to go on.
Are Hispanics the Only Bad Drivers?
Alabama formed a commission last year to study immigration, and a recent public hearing in Hoover drew a boisterous crowd that supported a crackdown on illegal immigration.
One participant said an illegal immigrant from Honduras crashed into his car last year, causing back injuries that forced him to miss months of work.
I'm sympathetic to anyone who has been injured in a car crash. But I think we need to address bad driving across the board and not focus only on illegal immigrants.
The biggest threats I see on the road are white suburban men and women driving SUVs while talking on cell phones, weaving in and out of lanes, violating speed limits, and tailgating--all, quite often, while sporting a "pro life" bumper sticker.