Whether it is simply a desire to sway FCC decisions or, in NBCs parent corporation GEs case, needing to secure lucrative Department of Defense contracts, America’s corporate owned media is positioned such that they can no longer perform their function as a democracies’ guardian, servant of the people, and purveyor of information vital to vibrant democratic discourse. Because of both corporate media’s and their parent corporation’s economic need and desire to placate and please the U.S. government America’s news media has become irrelevant. Nothing highlights their insignificance better than does the preferential treatment of and reporting on George W. Bush’s growing list of outright criminal behavior.
The evidence relating to a host of significant issues currently before the American public clearly indicates a rogue and criminal presidency. Yet, America’s press blatantly and defiantly refuses to report to the American people in anything resembling an honest and truthful manner. Regardless of the mountain of proof now amassed which clearly demonstrates Bush lied the nation to war in Iraq, the press reporting completely ignores that evidence and carries the administration distortion that bad intelligence was at fault.
On the war alone the evidence of Bush’s having lied includes the undisputed Downing Street Memo, wherein British officials reported the president’s desire to "fix the intelligence" around the policy. Paul O’Neill, Bush’s former head of Treasury, said Iraq was one of the, if not the first topic discussed during the administration’s inaugural cabinet meeting. Immediately following 911, Richard Clarke highlighted the administration’s pressure placed upon him and others to link the attacks to Saddam Hussein. Several high-ranking intelligence officials have since told of intelligence contradicting the administration’s desire for war having been summarily dismissed. One former CIA official was told it was no longer about "intelligence," it was about "regime change."
Despite the mountain of evidence clearly indicating Bush lied the nation into war, not taking into account that no WMD were found in Iraq — further supporting the position that Bush had lied — and saying nothing of the debunked false claims of Saddam having had ties to al-Qaeda, America’s press refuses to report honestly and in a sustained manner the fact that Bush lied the nation to war. Never once has the press expressed the obvious, i.e., the president lied to the nation.
Today, through an abuse of power heretofore unknown in the nation’s history, the American people find the very foundation of the country being systematically and egregiously undermined by Bush’s rogue and criminal administration. It has been learned that George W. Bush is illegally spying on American citizens and even though the activity obviously serves no purpose in combating terrorism, the press mindlessly and almost feverishly parrots the administration assertion that it is a terror fighting program.
Here, too, there is overwhelming evidence that Bush is lying about his illegal NSA spy program. The evidence includes Bush’s own speech in Buffalo where he insisted "wiretapping" required a court order.
Sometime after that speech, the New York Times reported Bush had ordered NSA to eavesdrop on citizens’ phone conversations without having obtained the proper warrants. Bush did not deny this accusation and indeed, insisted he had every legal right to do so. He did, however, assure the American people that the illegal and warrantless wiretapping was being conducted only against those suspected of having terrorist ties and, too, when one party was outside the United States. Recently, USA Today reported NSA had recruited AT&T, Bell South, and Verizon to track the phone calls of more than 200 million Americans. Obviously these were not all terror related calls nor were they international calls.
The companies in question would later claim they had not turned over any records to NSA but AT&T, prior to customer backlash and a threat of multi-billion dollar lawsuits, merrily chirped an administration-like claim that, "we cannot publicly discuss issues of national security." Initially, they had even seemed to express their willingness to work with the NSA in anyway possible. Interesting too that AT&T, Bell South, and Verizon’s sudden claims of innocence just happened to coincide with the administration’s defense in court of a suit brought against AT&T. The administration claimed that Electronic Frontier Foundation could not compel the government to reveal — based on national security reasons — the nature of the illegal spy program and, therefore, could not prove customers’ phones were tapped or that AT&T ever broke the law.
Still, Bush was quick to go before the public and refuse to answer direct questions relating to the charge of spying on 200 million Americans. Instead, Bush would only claim the government was not wiretapping conversations and that what he was doing was legal. The program is obviously tracking calls originating and ending in the United States and is, therefore, extralegal because it is being done without warrants.
Further, "a senior federal official" had informed ABC News reporters that the FBI has been tracking reporters’ phone calls from ABC, Washington Post, and New York Times without a warrant. The official had even warned the reporters to get a new cell phone, "quick"! Still, despite the mountain of evidence clearly indicating guilt of serious un-Constitutional and illegal wiretapping and despite the activity having no possible connection to terrorism, the press stubbornly continues to simply repeat official White House lines.
In every press account of the illegal domestic spying, they invariably claim the activity to be a "terrorist monitoring" or "terrorist prevention" program. Forget the press daring to question the programs legality or even pretending to be looking out for the peoples’ welfare. They simply refuse to do it, preferring instead to blatantly cover for Bush’s criminal behavior.
The press might attempt to hide their negligence and overt shilling for Bush behind the notion that they eventually, timidly, tepidly, and infrequently report Bush’s illegal activity. Though it is true they do, all one need do is monitor the press wire to see the manner in which the press quickly offsets whatever damage the report might inflict upon Bush’s presidency.
Regarding the latest revelation of Bush illegally spying on 200 million Americans, for every story relating to that topic there are literally at least 50 others with blatantly administration friendly headlines. Headlines like, "Hatch: Court Briefed on Bush Surveillance," or "Bush Says Spying Legal," or "Bush Defends Spy Program," and even, "Verizon Denies Giving NSA Records."
Invariably evidence that directly contradicts the headline’s claim is found buried within the story almost as an afterthought. In the Hatch story for example, when he is asked if the judges supposedly briefed on the program approved the illegal spying he admits, "That is not their position, but they were informed." In the reports of Verizon and Bell South denying having given NSA records, it is quickly realized that the companies carefully parsed their words. They may not have given NSA records themselves, but they wouldn’t say whether or not NSA, with the companies’ cooperation, could access either records or phone calls through their switches. Which, by the way, is the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s claim (i.e., AT&T granted NSA access to the companies’ switches).
The press has further deflected attention from Bush’s illegal domestic spying by supplying disproportionate attention to topics that are obviously designed to detract from the administration’s trouble. Bush gave a speech about sending troops to the border, a plan both Republicans and Democrats alike said would have no real impact and that was nothing but pandering, and the press covered it inside and out, while completely ignoring the report about the FBI spying on reporters.
No matter what Bush does, no matter how senseless, useless, and blatant an attempt it is to detract the peoples’ attention from his criminal behavior, and further, no matter how low the president’s polls or irrelevant he becomes, the press is quick to act as though the fluff, guff, flack, and nonsense is somehow vital.
The evidence is clear: Bush is a criminal and rogue president and America’s news media has become irrelevant. The reason the corporate press behaves the way it does is simple — they are nothing more than corporations who have, for financial and economic reasons, become too beholden to the government. It is no longer possible for the press to be objective and perform their function within a democratic society, which is to serve as the people’s wall between freedom and tyranny because their allegiance is solely to their corporate owners who, in turn, owe their allegiance to a criminal and rogue administration.