Right-Wing Media Manipulation Is Escalating

To the Editors:

Before even firing a shot in the bowels of Afghanistan, the United States has already lost the so-called “War Against Terrorism.” And here’s why:
Political satirist Bill Maher made the accurate and truthful comment on his ABC program “Politically Incorrect” –– a show, mind, that is devoted to presenting a wide variety of political viewpoints –– that the United States in the past has launched its own “cowardly” bombings over past administrations. Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer comments that such a statement shouldn’t “be made ever.” (This is the Federal Government, mind, dictating what Americans “should” or “should not” be saying in their political discourse.) The next thing you know, Disney Chairman Michael Eisner calls Maher on the carpet, his job now in jeopardy. (Disney owns ABC, if you didn’t know.) Because of a right-wing telephone campaign, Federal Express and Sears have pulled their sponsorship. All because of one comment — a truthful, accurate comment — Maher made that ruffled the feathers of the present administration.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee has received masses of hate mail and death threats, because she voted against giving President Bush carte blanche to wage a war that has yet to categorically define its strategems, long-term objectives or even a proven enemy.
Congressman Marty Meehan has suffered a similar fate by voicing his skepticism that Air Force One was ever really a target.
Rush Limbaugh attributed a similar comment to Peter Jennings –– that allegedly, Jennings called Bush a “coward” –– a comment that Peter Jennings did not make, reports Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post. Due to right-wing pressure, ABC News is now no longer showing in Detroit, the nation’s fifth largest market.
A college professor in the Southwest has been threatened with disciplinary action for comments he made about the World Trade Center disaster, and at least two small-town journalists have lost their jobs after criticizing the president
Here is one other story, not flattering to President Bush, that the mass media are not reporting:
On Sept. 11, Governor Jeb Bush of Florida declared, by executive order, a state of Emergency in the State of Florida, which will last until the year 2003. This was rapidly on the heels of the terrorist attacks. Florida was never an apparent target of the bombings. What the “State of Emergency” does do, however, is protect the Florida government from “sunshine laws” –– their obligation to hand over government documents to the press and made available to the public. Conveniently, these documents would include documents that might incriminate the handling of the 2000 Presidential election by Florida officials.
Two war-time presidents –– Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, and Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat –– led the country by the inspiration of their words and the considered correctness of their deeds. They did not lead by seizing the moment to stifle any dissent in order to create the fragile illusion of leadership. Flags, yellow ribbons and symbolic demonstrations of patriotism are only idols and totems — it is liberty itself that wields the only true meaning, the only concept to warrant patriotic allegiance. The Pledge of Allegiance is not only said to the totem that is the flag, but also to the concepts for which it stands. We must honor those concepts themselves, and not just wallow in a feel-good conformity that offers shallow comfort in the face of 7,000 dead.
And when our liberties are taken away, by us, ourselves by our own unthinking, blind consent, no matter how many Afghan soldiers we manage to kill, the terrorists will have won.
–Robert Gross
OC ’95

October 5
October 12

site designed and maintained by jon macdonald and ben alschuler :::