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Dear Bush Beat:Smile when you say that about me in ‘quote marks’ . . .


. . . is Moore’s doc also ‘pseudo’? . . . shape up or ship out . . . saying nice things about Bush . . . the Idaho branch of Conspiracy Theorists for Kerry

Nancy Emmert of Coleman, Texas, writes:

From your column: “Does this avowal of journalistic integrity also mean… ?”

What they mean is what they said—a concept apparently foreign to all liberals, especially liberal “journalists.”

Thank you for reading. What I was talking about, and which you noted, Nancy, was this statement by Sinclair’s news veep, Joe DeFeo: “We have not ceded, and will not in the future cede, control of our news reporting to any outside organization or political group.” And what I said, the last paragraph of this morning’s item, was this:

Does this avowal of journalistic integrity also mean that Sinclair’s owners and executives will stop pouring money and propaganda into George W. Bush‘s campaign?

In a perverse way, DeFeo was being truthful about “control.” Last spring, as I’ve already noted, Sinclair banned several stations from airing Ted Koppel‘s recitation of the names of U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq. That was nothing more than the Smith family, which owns Sinclair, trying to censor the news, and doing the bidding—unwitting or not—of U.S. government officials whose political campaigns the Smiths have also strongly supported with cash. It’s not the “liberals” who are refusing to allow coverage of the continual arrival of coffins from the Iraq battleground. See former CNN journalist Ralph Begleiter‘s stout fight against that censorious policy. He’s simply doing his journalistic duty of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.

I tilt to the left because leaning the other way tends to put your nose unwillingly up the asses of America’s corporate citizens, their politician flunkies, and a lot of other people and lawyers with authoritarian impulses. You wind up stuck, getting paraded around their clown circus to do their bidding. They don’t care if some of you simply fall between the cracks and are trapped. They want to keep most of the rest of you dumb and debt-ridden and divided along racial and class lines. If you stay unorganized and immobilized, you won’t talk among yourselves and maybe get wise. They want to choose who you sleep with and in what forsaken foreign country you’re going to die, things like that. My cranky impulse is to keep raking and re-raking the corporate compost heap, so that people can take a look at some of the rot.

Now, I don’t deny that there are greedy, authoritarian schmucks on the left, too, only not as many. Two last things: Even George Bush the Elder wouldn’t have invaded Iraq. And how much money do you make? If you make more than $250,000 a year, maybe you should vote for Bush. If you don’t, maybe you ought to check your own lean existence.

Or not. You can cast your lot with the likes of the Smiths, whose Sinclair conglomerate controls not only the horizontal and vertical on 24 percent of the nation’s TV sets, but also the slant.

And the Smiths are oblique about it, to boot. Last spring, they sent their now famous Washington bureau chief, Jon Leiberman, to Iraq, along with corporate hackflack Mark Hyman, to report on the “good news” over there. If you believe that’s journalism, then those of you TV viewers who are tethered to Sinclair’s stations should just let your imaginations run loose this Friday evening. Nothing personal against the Smiths, but think of them over there in their Baltimore bunker, saying to you: “For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all you see and hear.”

On Saturday morning, don’t forget to pull your nose out of corporate America’s ass long enough to go downtown to pick up your seed pods.

Sid Morris writes:

Well. Burger King decided to boycott Sinclair for a day. I just decided to boycott Burger King forever.

“Super,” sighs me.

Dumbreddown writes:

Kerry can “speak for” Mary Cheney and won’t let others speak for themselves.

Did you see Stolen Honor yet? Or are you waiting for your DVD to arrive by mail, like I am?

I thought John Kerry loved being in the spotlight. Now he doesn’t. What happened?

Thank you for reading. Yes, Dumbreddown, Kerry was in the spotlight in 1971, when he told a Senate committee about U.S. soldiers’ atrocities in Vietnam.

You doubt that those things happened? Is that what you think Stolen Honor will tell you? Take a look at my colleague Nick Turse‘s September 21 Voice article, “Swift Boat Swill.” The National Archives, as Turse reported, have hundreds of files of official U.S. military investigations that back up every point Kerry made in his courageous cataloging of horror from the tragic, still-wrong-40-years-later Vietnam War.

Endredi writes:

Did you also call Michael Moore‘s film a “pseudo-doc”?

Thank you for reading, Endredi. Yes, as a matter of fact, I would—at least compared with the documentaries of, say, Les Blank or Frederick Wiseman. And Moore was ham-handed. He could have used the deft touch Errol Morris displayed in dissecting Fred A. Leuchter Jr. in Mr. Death.

Moore, to his credit, used wit, humor, irony. I’m not expecting any of those qualities in Stolen Honor, but I am expecting some humorless bullshit that runs counter to the historical record by several thousand degrees more than Fahrenheit 9/11.

While you and I are waiting for Stolen Honor, I know of an excellent documentary source for events that aren’t 40 years old: Paul Thompson‘s astounding 9-11 Timeline, which is online at the Center for Cooperative Research.

Lily Meowerson writes:

Is it possible to say something nice about George W. Bush? Check out this video.

Thank you for reading. I looked at it, Lily, and I, uh, well, uh, I don’t know what to say.

Vern Essig of Riggins, Idaho, writes:

I have always been considered a right-wing radical. Lately, I have been labeled left-wing, liberal, and other things not mentionable. This is because I opposed the war, and before the first building had fallen halfway down [on 9/11], I said, “Implosion, inside job.” Common sense and reasoning should tell anyone not brain-dead that planes did not knock down those buildings.

Choosing between Bush and Kerry is like choosing between AIDS and cancer. I will have to vote for Kerry as the only way to get rid of Bush. We will have to deal with the problem of getting rid of Kerry later. I am a Marine veteran of the battle of Chosin in Korea in 1950.

Thank you for reading. I know it’s little consolation, Vern, but I’ve also been called some unmentionable names—several times, in fact, by an Idaho-born politician in Arizona named Hawley Atkinson. By the way, I’ve been to beautiful, bizarre Idaho, and there are a lot of severely disturbed people there. Like the Aryan Nations crew. I’d say you’re pretty “normal,” Vern. For Idaho.

Your view of Kerry strikes me as quite pragmatic. As for your suspicions about 9/11, see the next letter.

Stephen Collins writes:

Here’s something that makes you go Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!! 

Thank you for reading. What you referred me to, Stephen, was the famous Pentagon Strike flash video. The music’s great, the images are fascinating.

See the video’s homepage for more info. And read Carol Morello‘s October 7 Washington Post story about the backstory of the video itself.

Concerning the video’s conspiratorial backstory of 9/11? The music’s great, the images are fascinating.

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