Monday, September 08, 2008


By Ivan G. Goldman

Major U.S. news outlets present the same puzzle that boxing officials present fans when we see particularly inept decisions by judges and referees. Are these guys corrupt? Or are they just that stupid?

Example: Sarah Palin, who proclaims herself ready to be the Number Two steward of the U.S. economy, gives an acceptance speech at the convention that fails to mention the banking and foreclosure crises that have already dragged down millions of American families and may just swallow the entire economy. These are man-made crises caused by the Republican insistence on deregulation so their corporate pals can work their swindling voodoo without government interference. Remember how they told us to get government off the backs of thrifts and we ended up with a savings and loan meltdown that cost taxpayers $300 billion? This new one apparently will cost us much more.

All Palin has to say about the economy is that John McCain will see to it that American companies sell all kinds of stuff all over the world, creating great jobs for everybody. And Obama won't. No word on how McCain will bring about this great turnaround in an economy entirely dependent on the cheap Chinese junk that has taken over our retail stores like alien spores.

Moments after Palin concludes her ignorant, xenophobic diatribe about why soccer moms make great statespersons, I hear CNN’s Wolf Blitzer describe the speech as “great.” Amazed, I flip the channel to MSNBC, where seconds later I hear Keith Olbermann, a self-proclaimed prince of the liberal media, describe the speech with the same word –-- “great.” I spare myself the horror of hearing the Republican propaganda machine's interpretation straight from the bowls of Fox News. Instead I turn off the TV altogether.

When I raised these points with a friend later, she wondered whether Blitzer and Olbermann meant that the delivery was great. That may be a good guess. Another reason Palin might get a pass is because when a book-burning, anti-intellectual nut job can appear almost normal, she's surpassed expectations. When thoughtful, articulate Barack Obama does a great job, they figure so what? He cheated by already being thoughtful and articulate. But can’t these TV guys explain just what they mean by "great" in precise English? Or is that too much to expect from big-cheese, network interpreters paid millions per year to speak their thoughts?As it stands, we're left with the same puzzle. Are they corrupt? Or are they really that stupid?

Okay, Olbermann and Blitzer may get confused from time to time, and life is hard, their hours stink, and they need help once in a while. So here's help --- questions to ask their interview subjects. Olbermann, whose MSNBC network is owned by General Electric, chief contractor in charge of building the Star Wars anti-missile network, might consider a query to Secretary of State Condi Rice and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden. Why is it so necessary to re-ignite the Cold War by placing these G.E.-built contraptions that have only a marginal interception rate anyway inside Poland? Isn’t this precisely the sort of corruption of American policy by the military-industrial complex that Ike warned us about in his farewell address? Weren't we better off when we were helping the Russians dispose of their old Soviet-era warheads?

Second question I have is for Wolf Blitzer. Just him. I don't want to confuse Olbermann with too many issues at once. Blitzer should keep posing this query to administration higher-ups until he gets an answer. Republican icon Alan Greenspan, who knows a thing or two about why people in this administration do things, said in his book that the Iraq War is clearly about petroleum. For a moment let’s skip over the more than four thousand U.S. war dead, the uncounted hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead, the millions who are displaced, homeless, jobless, or permanently maimed. Let’s just look at the $10 billion check signed each month by U.S. taxpayers to pay for this nightmare. Now bear in mind that the oil companies don’t give us a price break on the petroleum they plan to extract from Iraq with these new drilling and exploration contracts of theirs. They always charge Americans the same world price they charge everyone else. In fact, they’re not even American corporations anymore. They’re global corporations. Why don’t we tell them to put up the monthly ten billion smackers themselves?

And here’s a question for big U.S. media. Instead of wasting our time with the kind of crap you routinely present as news, why don’t you pose truly pertinent questions? Are you corrupt? Or just stupid?

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