Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Not Lost in Translation

Protests, Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton, and how the mainstream media bobbles it all

“I look at the TV, your America’s doing well. I look out the window, my America’s catching hell" - from the song Which Way to America by Living Colour.

Those who accept as absolute truth what they're told by the Bush Administration and Mainstream Media are indeed ignorant fools.

There is a saying here in Texas that says, “Don’t piss on my boots and tell me it’s rainin’!” George W. Bush has been urinating on everyone’s feet and the media has been reporting rain with more showers in the forecast.

For those pulling out their umbrellas, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I've got for sale. Make me an offer. I’ll even throw in some beachfront property in Arizona for a few dollars more. Ignorant people can be forgiven – if just a little – for believing what they are spoon fed by Bush and his mainstream media. Educated people have absolutely no excuse for 1) ignoring the many glaring facts that prove Bush to be a liar and hypocrite, and 2) being able to live with themselves knowing full well that had this been President Clinton, they would have called for impeachment.

How moral is it to excuse and ignore dishonesty, corruption, and incompetence?

While channel-surfing one evening, I stopped on the local CBS affiliate in Houston (KHOU) because they were reporting on the recent protest outside the Haliburton Shareholders’ meeting last month. I wanted to see how it was being reported on by the local mainstream media.

The event was described as “the recent violent protest…” accompanied by footage of the “violence.” The only violence I saw was that on the part of the Houston Police Department (HPD) against the protestors. The jack-booted boys-in-blue were pushing and dragging protestors who, at least from the footage I saw, were not resisting other than to question why they were being brutalized. Needless to say, I was not surprised by this "objective" journalism in the heart of Bush Country.

This isn't the first time. In 1990, during the Republican National Convention, HPD was even more brutal with protestors. Luckily for the Houston Police, there weren’t as many cameras focusing on the carnage. My wife was there as an observer for the ACLU. She witnessed the most brutality towards the GLBT contingent of protestors and was the victim of some brutality herself when she and others tried to point out that they were protesting legally. This, of course, was long before Bush Jr. implemented "free-speech zones".

In both of the above instances the media made it sound as if the protestors were in the wrong for expressing their constitutionally-given right to protest.

In another instance of the media's fawning over itself to appease Republicans, a recent AP article brazenly attempted to marginalize Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean for his recent critical comments about Republicans. Dean said the Republican Party is “not very friendly to different kinds of people, they are a pretty monolithic party ... it's pretty much a white, Christian party.”

Dean’s crime was telling it like it is. Kind of like comments made by Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder several years ago about how African-Americans’ prominence in sports was in part due to the “breeding” slave owners conducted to produce bigger and stronger laborers. As an African-American, I was hardly offended by the comment because it was true, in my opinion.

To further curry right-wing favor, the AP article about Dean all but apologized for Tom DeLay with the following excerpt:

“The one-time presidential candidate also said that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, who has not been accused of any crime, ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence.”

Of course, the italicized text is accurate in that Mr. DeLay has yet to be indicted for any of the numerous crimes that many, including myself, believe him guilty of – gerrymandering being one of them. The media's partisanship towards the right-wing is only lost in translation with the sheep that keep drinking the Rove-n-Berry Kool-Aid, and some Democrats seem to be helping themselves to repeated servings.

From kudos to “oh no’s!”

In my last article, I applauded Democrats for forcing a compromise on the judicial nominees/filibuster issue with Republicans. Funny how Democratic spines seem to shrivel under the "fair and balanced" media microscope. Many prominent Dems distanced themselves from Dean’s comments about Republicans [in the House and Senate] never making an honest living in their lives. Senator Joe Biden and John Edwards let it be known that Dean doesn’t speak for them. Rep. Nancy Pelosi – at least publicly – didn’t agree with Dean about his assertions about the GOP. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, though he believed Dean to be doing a good job, said that Dean did not speak for the Democratic Party.

Hmmm. It seems to me that if Dean were to be the spokesman for the Democratic Party and if the party were in lock step with his comments as the Republicans are with President Bush, things might be a whole lot different – read better – in ‘murica these days.

To the Democrats of the Senate and Congress, perhaps you should check with your constituents a little more often since Dean’s comments are what many, if not most of us, do think and feel.

Back to the kudos…

Senator Hillary Clinton seems to be getting it. She knows first hand how partisan the mainstream media is. Her husband, the president we had when America was still respected in the world and Americans had more money in their pockets, was impeached by congressional Republicans with help from the media. He lied about oral sex, which is "obviously" an impeachable high crime. If a Democratic President of the United States gets a blowjob from an intern, it deserves immersive, extensive coverage. If a Republican President of the United States plants a gay male hooker in the White House Press Corp, who also frequents the White House for no apparent reason, well, that’s okay.

The current White House resident lies about unimportant things like why we’re going to war, social security reform, tax cuts, and an everlasting list of trivial matters. It’s all good, as far as the mainstream media is concerned. Senator Clinton recently criticized the Bush Administration and the Republican Party for their “intent upon consolidating and abusing power.” She also told the media to find its spine. Careful, Hil, you’re speaking too much truth. RNC press secretary Tracey Schmitt’s response was, “It's too bad that New York's senator is now taking her cues from someone who thinks personal attacks are a substitute for an agenda.”

My question for Schmitt would be, “What about the election last year? Does the term ‘flip-flopper’ ring a bell? What about Max Cleland? What about the entire Republican National Convention?”

What Howard Dean said about the GOP is true. It is a white-Christian party. The few African-Americans that call themselves Republicans are sellouts – not only to their ethnicity but to America as well. Pardon the bluntness here, but the “house nigger” is still nothing more than a slave. What Senator Clinton said about the GOP consolidating power and the media needing to find its spine is also true.

But Senator Clinton’s critique of the mainstream press should also be aimed at her Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate. Get a freakin’ spine!

No translation is needed.