I dashed this letter off in my usual state of high dudgeon, in response to all the millenial claptrap that the paper was subjecting us to. Needless to say, they didn't run such a flattering letter, but instead ran hard hitting ones from 50 years ago or current ones that just wanted us to be nicer to everybody. Sigh. At least I can claim to be fearless on this one, because as you can see the number thirteen holds no terror for me. A thirteen year old daughter will no doubt paralyze me with fear, but the number itself is nothing.

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Subject: Letter to the Editor

My Grade for the news media this year: F-. The trend has become overwhelming and too consistent to ignore, namely that the news media buries stories that run counter to the direction the media wants to move the country in.

A reporter was banned from the White House for the temerity of asking a question. Yep, he asked the President when he was going to hold his next press conference, the President got angry and asked what was it that anybody would want to know. When the reporter then said people might be interested in Clinton fund raising irregularities, Clinton spit on him, and claimed the FBI was out to get him. What was the press's reaction? Reporting not the event, but that Presidential Spokesman Lockhart called the man a jerk (actually, something worse). Great job, news media. Of course this was just for openers.

Another story that got away was our illegal war against Yugoslavia. Apparently, that moldy old piece of parchment in the national archives that states that Congress alone has the power to go to war isn't in force anymore. I must have been asleep when it was repealed. It seems that these days NATO can declare war for us. It appears that all we need to go carry out a war of aggression against another country these days is a country who's policies we don't care for, and more importantly, lacking the means to strike back against us.

And are we ready for the examination of the media's role in the administration's propaganda war against Yugoslavia? Apparently not. Where was the outcry when the Serbian TV studio was targeted as a legitimate military target, and anchors and cameramen killed alike because we didn't like what they were saying? That out and out murder should have alerted us to the real kind of war that was being fought. When the US media couldn't muster the slightest outrage at such an act against fellow media because they were on the other side, the end is near for all news people.

Or how about political abuse of the IRS? As I recall, it was a terrible thing, impeachable even, when then President Nixon, asked, just asked mind you, that the IRS investigate enemies. The IRS rightly turned him down. But when our current President, along with congresspeople, has the IRS investigate enemies, well, that's not even regrettable. A little AP story with faux evenhandedness, and then nothing. No outrage, no investigative follow up, nothing.

What was the press reporting instead? Much mileage on the crusades against guns and tobacco, as well as the continuing defense action on the crusade against abortion. Apparently, big media is all for the right of someone to kill another human being, as long as it isn't the person themself, for profit, or in self defense.

It's also instructive that a group that relies, no, glories in constitutional protection, so ruthlessly seeks to deny others their constitutional protections. The Bill of Rights was added as a bulwark of principle against the shifting tides of temporary expediency. Somehow the press gets that when it comes to the "freedom of the press" clause in the first amendment, but somehow misses it when it comes to the second amendment. A better cure to school shooting would be a complete ban on such coverage. They would then end immediately. Of course, the press would scream the loudest, and rightfully so, that their rights were being infringed. I can see nothing else than a complete ban on all crime reporting that in the short run would have such a good outcome but in the long run would destroy us all. So too any erosion of our freedoms in the name of a greater good.

The media has lamentably decided to no longer let the facts get in the way of their personal prejudices and crusades. Just remember, as you continue turn your back on your role of reporting and become advocates, the American people continue to turn their back on you and just don't listen anymore.

Kevin Murphy

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This page last updated 30 January 2000

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