Monday, June 18, 2007

NEWS? Not Really

CBS News replaced Newsman Dan Rather with Cheer-leader Katie Couric. The result has been, predictably, a dramatic decrease in the networks credibility as a serious news source forsaking actual news for feel good pieces, personal profiles and other fluff. CBS has taken a great deal of criticism for this, but it does not appear that they have any intention of changing the new format.

The Couric fiasco is merely the latest of many drastic changes to the way Americans are getting their news. The most obvious and drastic change has been Fox News Channel. Until Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes teamed up to bring their version of news to the American market no one had ventured as far from "moderate" positions as they have shown they are willing to do.

Of course, Fox News was an aberration of cable which also ushered in such reprobates as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannitty, Tony Snow, Glen Beck, Michael Savage, and so on and so on…

Even the print media has changed and in the same direction as televised media. Both Newsweek and Time magazines have been caught publishing one cover internationally and a different cover for the American market. In both cases the cover that was suppressed was about current important issues.

The Couric episode can be seen as a marketing strategy by the media to "sell" news to the public through an appealing spokesperson. Katie was magnificent on her morning talk show as the seemingly caring interviewer, ohing and ahing poignantly as her subject poured out his or her heart.

Now, Couric's talent for appearing to care is being used to sell us news the way the media wants us to get it. The important issues down-played while lingering on sentimentality and personality that could and should mean nothing.

How does CBS and Couoric compare with the other leading news sources? NBC Nightly News has Brian Williams who proudly boasts that he feels obligated to listen to Rush Limbaugh to get his dose of daily truth, and Tim Russert who the White house counts on to treat VP Cheney with kid gloves while allowing him to "get his message out".

ABC News with Charlie Gibbson is an arm of the ABC network which is owned by Disney. This is the combination that produced and aired the program blaming Bill Clinton for everything that has happened since Bush took office.

CNN & MSNBC are fairly equal in their bias against the Left except for "Count-Down" with Kieth Olberman

Once again there is Fox Noise, the propaganda machine, smear merchants and a direct branch of the Bush Administration. Yet, in spite of the Fox record of lies, cover-ups and unquestioning loyalty to Neoconservatism, Tim Russert doesn't get why the Democrats don't want their debate hosted by these sycophants. I wonder if Russert would be so quick to defend a Republican debate hosted by Air America Radio!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Why we must Impeach

The argument against impeachment can no longer be supported if this country is to ever again be a democracy and a nation of laws. There are simply no arguments left for not immediately initiating steps to impeach both President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

It was especially disappointing recently when Al Gore stated that impeachment would be a distraction to the public and not work to improve the state of the nation. Gore should realize, more keenly than most that acknowledging the existence of a problem must occur before it can be corrected. His efforts on the problem of global warming have been met with a disinformation campaign financed by the auto and oil industries attempting to discredit Gore’s research and deny that a problem exists. Gore’s movement to reverse the ill effects of pollution on the environment will fail unless new laws are enacted and existing ones are enforced, which will not happen if we don’t first acknowledge the need to do so.

The same is true of our nation. We can not correct what is wrong with the country unless we are able to name the problems that exist, and then take steps to eradicate them. As with polluters, if they are not punished they will continue to pollute, so too will elected officials continue to violate the law if they are not punished for their misdeeds.

If you have any doubt that the Republicans intend to continue their assault on the Constitution initiated by the extremist Neoconservatives, just look at their candidates for President. Except for Ron Paul, they are all cheerleaders for continued and even escalated war in the Middle East, they support enhanced interrogation techniques (read torture), they espouse creationism and renounce evolution, they advocate continued tax relief for the rich while piling up tax burdens on the middle class and they all have extremely intimate relations with big business that spells trouble for the average Joe.

Had Democrats done what they should have by introducing articles of impeachment against Bush and Cheney as soon as they took control of Congress, the rhetoric of the Republican candidates would not be so brash. They would be more cautious about supporting policies that might be judged illegal during impeachment hearings.

Had Democrats launched this session of Congress by asserting the mandate issued to them by the American electorate they could now be disassembling the unitary executive model of government devise by Karl Rove and his minions.

Reality has been quite the opposite of what Democrats should have done. Today, Congressman John Conyers posted a diary on DailyKos to share his reasons for issuing subpoenas former White House Counsel Harriett Miers. To the extent that this action is necessary the Congressman’s actions are appreciated, but to the extent that action is required in defense of the Constitution and our Democracy, it falls far short.

Also at DailyKos was a response to Congressman Conyers diary by Rusty1776. This diary is well worth the time to read and absorb it. Rusty1776 hits the nail on the head and takes Congressman Conyers to task for failing to pursue the impeachment of the President and Vice President. Before Democrats took majority control of the House and the Senate, Conyers had spoken out against Bush and Cheney and their criminal activities. Yet, when his Party came to power he has failed to follow through on his previous rhetoric.

Predictably, the argument will be made that Democrats do not have the votes required to impeach and therefore perform an act of futility by attempting it. Although this may be factually accurate, it misses the greater point of taking this action. By going on record for the impeachment of both the President and Vice President, Democrats will have taken a stand to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” which is the absolute minimum that can be expected of them, and for which they are honor and duty bound through their oath of office.