I don’t know. It’s been years since I’ve slept through the night, and what I’d give for six uninterrupted hours; eight is a pipedream any more. As commercial TV is wracked with commercials that blast cacophonously, and as the public stations morph into hour-long annoying infomercials in the wee hours, C-SPAN is my white noise sleep assist I’ve relied on for years.
This morning my sleep rhythm drew sufficiently shallow that I awoke eventually to two senate hearings.
I searched the Palm Springs Desert Sun and the Press Enterprise for some discussion, even a passing hint concerning the subject matter of the hearings: nada. Nothing in the Reno Gazette Journal either. Nor were there the first references found in the Mercury News or the Chron. Forget about Good Morning America or the Today Show. And that is what propels this notice.
Oh . . . you know what dead fish the media wrapped: the names of four score major league baseball players were identified as having augmented their honed skills via steroid injections. I also learned of the terrible weather that continued to plague vast swaths of the country. Previously it was the mall and church murders. What, not so much about Ms. Spears?
KBR — Kellogg Brown Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton — had over-billed the defense department $100 million. No one was in disagreement over that plain and simple fact. But what Michigan’s Senator Carl Levin wanted to know from the Pentagon witness was why no one in the administration had asked for a return of the money?
“I’ll have to get back to you on that Senator,” was the only reply proffered.
The other hearing concerned FCC chairman Kevin Martin’s likely decision to unhook the cable and radio mega-media’s current legal reins that prevent them from purchasing local newspapers in markets where they’re already dominant.
Remember one anecdote and a provocative challenge: When Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, while in France, opined that President Bush was an embarrassment to Texas, Clear Channel prohibited any of its 1,200 radio stations from spinning a DC disk. Try to find a “fair and balanced” conversation on any Fox cable station, or much concern for genuinely honest reporting from any of its communicators. (“Journalist” is much too misleading a noun.)
You and I know what we know of the outside world because of news that gets published or reported; way overwhelmingly in the print and broadcast/cable media. If such outlets, for whatever reason, do not want to report and publish something, or if they elect to under-report it or slant it, that’s what we get and what we know. No democracy can endure in that kind of stifling environment. A republic can. A democracy cannot.
The Bush-Cheney cabal and their neocon supporters have done all they can to hide from the inconvenience of public scrutiny so much they’ve engaged that has been so essentially un-American and evil. By the most recent polls, most of their Republican supporters support their quest for overarching power. Don’t tell me about anything that suggests corruption, tell me only how they sing hosannas to the Lord on high, how they support discrimination against gays and an unfettered right to own an assault rifle.
The movie Pleasantville was all about human dignity. It’s the readiness to face the crap in life that under girds the definition of courage, not the pursuit of whimsical distractions. No one has ever breathed earth’s air with greater knowledge what’s right or best for you or me than you or me. To propound any other notion defines insulting tyranny. To work to thwart the opportunity for you or me to suffer the pangs disturbing news may visit upon us is every bit as egregious an enterprise as those who would work the evil the news would otherwise report.
The push for greater media consolidation is a threat each and every American should be anxious over.— Ed Tubbs