Forget about Bush, we’ve got Beckham
So, are you sick of David Beckham yet? And if your answer is in the affirmative, I won’t even ask about his lovely and talented wife Posh Spice. Other than give my two-cents worth that he is NOT the savior of American soccer, as he is already being hailed – because there is no saving American soccer short of banning football, baseball and basketball – I’ll not add to the embarrassing feeding frenzy over the most famous British imports since the Beatles, except to use them as a metaphor for the sad state of mass media in pre-Apocalyptic America. In the bitterest of ironies, though, it is not the Beckhams who best exemplify what’s wrong with the media these days, it’s my BFF Michael Moore. Not Moore himself, but the media reaction to his four-minute tirade last week on CNN. In case you missed it because you were too engrossed in the round-the-clock coverage of the Beckhams’ triumphant stroll into the LA Coliseum, after their triumphant plane had landed at LAX and their triumphant limo had taken them across Orange County, before they ate a triumphant meal and checked into a triumphant hotel, Moore, in a word or two, went off. Bless his chubby little malcontented heart, he crucified Wolf Blitzer, disemboweled CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and wound up eviscerating, as all good Americans should, the whole Duhcider administration. He indicted the media’s uncritical coverage of the health care industry because of the advertising dollars the pharmaceutical industry brings in, before launching into its unquestioning, borderline groveling coverage of the run-up to the war on Iraq. So, in the ensuing week, has the media taken a cold hard look in the mirror and examined its complicity in allowing Bush to unilaterally invade a sovereign nation that posed no threat to America? Has it rebuilt the brick wall that used to separate news and sales and scrutinized its relationship with the pharmaceutical kingpins? Not on your life, Bucko. What it’s done is exactly what you’d expect it to do – endlessly rerun soundbites of Moore’s invective. By refusing to analyze its role in giving Bush the thumbs-up for an immoral war, it proves Moore’s point. (And I’m not even talking about Fox (Faux) News but the legitimate outlets.) I vividly remember asking myself those same questions that Moore is asking now during late 2002 and early 2003. How hard could it have been to figure out that Bush was up to no good? Could not one correspondent, particularly one of the White House press corps, asked him if all avenues for a peaceful solution had been exhausted and then called him on it when they found out he was lying? Could someone not have ridiculed Colin Powell for bringing drawings – drawings! – before the UN that supposedly proved the existence of WMD? Given that none of the 9-11 terrorists were from Iraq and that it was known throughout the Arab world that bin Laden and Saddam hated each other, could not one Edward R. Murrow type have stood up and questioned Bush’s judgment? Where was the inquisitive press after the famous State of the Union lie about the yellowcake uranium in Niger that caused Bush, Rove, Cheney, Libby and Armitage to commit an act of treason, an act, mind you, that is punishable by death? The first column I wrote after the invasion was the word “shame” eight hundred times. I didn’t copy and paste it, either; I hand banged that word eight hundred times, getting incrementally more furious with each keystroke. I wound up not running it, feeling that too little thought went into it to justify getting paid for it, but my point is: If an obscure columnist in North Carolina with literally dozens of readers could figure it out, where were the networks, the major dailies and the weekly periodicals? Why was it left to the blogosphere and Molly Ivins to get the goods on this guy? Where, I ask, was that famous liberal media the right-wingers are so fond of talking about when we needed them? And even now, why is the Fourth Estate allowing the shredding of the very constitution that guarantees its existence and autonomy? Why is Keith Olbermann the only broadcaster with the cojones to state the obvious – that this administration is not worthy of the trust the people have placed in them and should be removed from office? Why is the outcry so muted that the Duh’s circle of sycophants can manage the news that reaches his desk with such dexterity that he actually thinks that history will judge him favorably? While the media would have us wondering whether David Beckham can save American soccer, I’m out here wondering whether America can be saved from its elected officials. With a compliant press, the answer may be no.
Ogi may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, heard Tuesdays at 9:30 am on “The Dusty Dunn Show” on WGOS 1070 AM, and seen on “Triad Today” Fridays at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV 48.