The Bad News Looks Good, But It Is Too Little Too Late
The love affair that traditional media has had with Bush appears to be on the rocks. For almost six years there has been plenty of bad news, but if you get your news from the television or mainstream newspapers, you wouldn’t have known it. According to most of traditional media, Bush won two elections fair and square, he invaded Iraq to protect us from terrorism and that war has been going swimmingly even if a few Democrats are spreading lies that the violence is escalating and that civil war is imminent.
We watched as the New York Times sat on a story that would have exposed Bush’s illegal wiretapping program before the ’04 election, and then when they did run it a year later, they let the story drop with a thud. Most Americans still haven’t heard of The Downing Street Memos and anyone that challenges the Bush administration is quickly deemed a conspiracy theorist by the press. There are simply too many examples of a complicit press to cite (although Eric Boehlert gives it a good shot in his book Lapdogs, How The Press Rolled Over For Bush). Needless to say, the fourth estate has been vacant for six years.
That traditional media appears ready to pick up the ball now, in my mind, is too little too late. Piling on now that Bush’s poll numbers are steadily in the low 30s is easy, but where were they when we really needed them to be the watchdogs of our democracy? I can’t help but think that if most Americans were forced to read and hear about all of the things many of us had to seek out through alternative news sites and blogs, Bush would have been impeached years ago. It’s a little too convenient that traditional media is talking about Bush being a leper in his own party, his lack of intellectual prowess and his disastrous policies that have been executed with a staggering level of incompetence now, when an impeachment trial is all but guaranteed not to happen. The Democrats, even if they do take over both houses of Congress have shown an unwillingness to appear “divisive” and even if they could get over that psychological hump, they simply aren’t organized enough to pull off an impeachment in the amount of time Bush has left in office. I mean really, it’s been three years since Mission Accomplished and the Democrats still can’t find a unified voice on the disaster that is the Iraq occupation.
Unlike Bill Clinton who gave a rousing partisan speech here a few weeks ago, I don’t think that Democrats are the answer (even if they are better), but I do think that the few individuals that can be part of the solution are most definitely not going to be Republicans. What this country needs is a radical transformation of the face of power. We all know that the GOP is corrupt beyond redemption and that the Democrats we now have representing us in D.C. are not far behind. We know that corporations have more of a say in legislation that passes through the people’s house than ordinary Americans, and we know that democracy is a tenuous thing that requires active participation by those being governed. I firmly believe that the reason we are so close to losing our democratic republic, is because the press abandoned its responsibility to inform and instead became paid cheerleaders for their corporate bosses that had much to gain from propping up Bush.
So I’m happy to see that traditional media is now covering stories that the blogs were covering months (and sometimes years) ago and it’s great that they are finally willing to question this president, his policies and his ability to lead his Party, let alone this country, but if I didn’t trust them last month, what have they really done to earn my trust this month. Their paychecks are still signed by the same corporations, their interests are still the same and their failures in the recent past haven’t been acknowledged, even in the most cursory way. For me to trust that what they are reporting now is any more valid than what they reported before, simply because I like what they’re saying, would make me as stupid as their corporate bosses are hoping I am. I’ll be thrilled if traditional media actually looks into the crimes of this administration, but I will still keep in mind that they will have reasons for doing so that don’t involve what’s best for the public.
The answer to the problem of inadequate, corporate owned representation in D.C. is active participation by average Americans. If we don’t like the corporate candidates we have to choose from, we must buy some of our own. When we read news about what our government is doing, we must question the motives of those passing that news along. Sure, we are working harder for less money every year and the economic outlook isn’t good leaving little time to actively search for relevant and accurate news, but if we don’t, we will surely be working harder for less money next year. The only way to stop the slide is to take some responsibility, take some action and invest in our own future. It may seem daunting, but the alternative is so much worse.