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To Judy Woodruff, CNN, and all other broadcast news outlets;  As a group today’s journalists are either woefully ignorant, or they have become incredibly lazy.  



To Judy Woodruff, CNN, and all other broadcast news outlets;   

As a group today’s journalists are either woefully ignorant, or they have become incredibly lazy.          

by Lonna Gooden VanHorn

Part one of a three part series 

Most broadcast journalists, not just on Fox, but also on CNN and elsewhere let Bush and the Republicans (especially Cheney) get away with almost every lie they tell without even raising serious objections, and often no objections whatsoever.   For Bush, the White House Press Corps  -- with the exception of Helen Thomas – is pretty much what an Irish RTE executive said American journalists are when it comes to this administration; "stenographic" rather than “confrontational," though to be fair, they have gotten better than they were.  However, Bush talks to reporters as little as possible and when he does not like the questions being asked, he simply does not answer them or even goes so far as to stomp off the stage as he did when he was questioned about his relationship with Ken Lay.

As a group today’s journalists are either woefully ignorant, or they have become incredibly lazy.

Clinton 's Whitewater, in which he lost $60,000 was a headline at least weekly if not daily, yet the Bush family's unethical business deals have rarely been mentioned.  Even Neil Bush’s involvement in the Silverado Savings and Loan fiasco which cost taxpayers a billion dollars, has been allowed to disappear down the memory hole. 

Now, with little comment from the press, Neil is again making money off the taxpayers because of who his brother is. 

It is also unlikely most Floridians know that much of Jeb Bush’s wealth also came about through the largesse of taxpayers. “Mother Jones” featured an excellent article about the Bush brothers’ unethical business dealings years ago.

No stories are being told about the Bush family's war profiteering.  Margie Burns and others have written articles about it, but the broadcast media remains silent, just as it remains silent about the Bush family’s personal financial ties with the Saudis.

Bush uncle Bucky Bush is really raking in the dough as a war profiteer, and it is unlikely that we will ever know to what degree Bush, Sr. has benefited from his association with the Carlyle Group.  We do know it went from  being 43rd among defense contractors in 2002 to 11th place in 2003.  Some day G. W. will inherit a share of that blood money.  The tax changes he championed guarantee he will pay even less taxes on his war profits than did previous generations of war profiteers.  But then we know Bush thinks it is a waste of time to tax rich people because "the really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway.",0,6920595.story?coll=dp-headlines-virginia

We also know new information came to light in 2002 involving the insider trading that enabled Bush to profit to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars before Harken Energy went bust and Harken stockholders were left holding the bag.  The Guardian of London and a few other print sources carried the story.  It indicated that Bush himself had suggested the company pull some Enron style maneuvers. It also suggests he had seen the lawyers’ memos advising that it might create problems if he should choose to bail out of Harken at the time that he did.  That story garnered a little media coverage, but then, about that time Saddam Hussein suddenly became an “imminent” (not to mention convenient) threat.  The coming mid-termelections and the prospect of war with Iraq took over the airwaves.

There has been nearly 24/7 coverage of the Swift Boat Veteran for Truth, but many reporters do not even mention that only one of the 254 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ever served with Kerry, that none were on the boat with Kerry when he pulled Rasmussen from the water, and that all of Kerry’s military evaluations were outstanding.  The veterans who did serve with Kerry believe he possesses exemplary  leadership qualities.  Virtually no “journalists” bring up the fact that O’Neil’s Republican ties go back to Richard Nixon when O’Neil was solicited by Charles Colson to smear Kerry in Nixon’s desperate attempt to neutralize the impact this – to use Colson’s words -- “articulate” spokesman for “Veterans for Peace” might have on his reelection campaign. 

John McCain has called the claims of the SBVT “dishonest,” Kerry’s shipmates have written refutations of what these people have said, as have several other veterans.  Two excellent articles by veterans disabled by the Vietnam War are Jack Dalton’s piece “One Veteran’s Outrage” and  Stewart Nusbaumer’s “The Republican War Against Vietnam Veterans” 

Mick Youther, Regis Sabol, and Gerald Rellick also wrote articles about the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth for Intervention magazine.  David Hackworth’s column in Defense Watch is, as usual, “right on” except he did not mention that unlike Kerry, who opposed the war but fought in it, Bush supported the war but did not believe his  support need include putting his life on the line in Vietnam .   Perhaps the broadcast talk shows should feature some of these men.

Meanwhile, Bush’s AWOL story has been dropped yet again even though the “AWOL Project” has concluded that the very type of forms contained in Bush’s service record indicate the military itself considered Bush a deserter.  I anxiously await the media’s coverage of that story, but any information that would cast Bush in an unfavorable light is not given a high priority, so I am not holding my breath.

Last July 14th Bush said, “ And we gave him [Hussein] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power ..."

Not one person in the White House Press Corps contradicted Bush on that outrageous lie.  Neither did the broadcast news.  That is unforgivable.  Such a bald-faced and important lie should have been headlines and news stories for days, but it was not.

 I think it would have been enlightening to the people – especially current soldiers and veterans – if the news channels would have shown Bush talking and laughing and bopping his head to the music during the presentation of the colors at Arlington last Veteran's Day.  A really different way to honor our troops, wouldn’t you say?   Even his supporters were dismayed by his incredibly stupid “bring them on,” comment.

Show us the truth about the man -- a man who would not even go to be with his daughter when she had an emergency appendectomy. That story left me more “whopper-jawed” than any other single piece of information I have read about Bush.  What father would not have gone to be at his daughter's bedside when she had surgery, which can (on rare occasions) be fatal?  He did visit her for 45 minutes before he left the next day on one of his endless stream of vacations, but how many loving fathers would not have been at the hospital for the surgery itself?  For sure Clinton would have been there for Chelsea .  Neither do I know of any one who would make fun of a woman before executing her as that flaming liberal Tucker Carlson said Bush did.   Carlson also said that Karen Hughes lied when she said Bush does not use profanity, because he has, himself, heard Bush swear in her presence. 

Bush exhibits behavior that is not characteristic of a normal human being.  Bush is weird, and now, according to the Capitol Hill Times, and other sources he is becoming unbalanced, alternating between prayers and obscene tirades against his enemies.  It claims he is being medicated for paranoia and depression. The psychiatrist who wrote "Bush on the Couch" is not the only mental health expert who believes Bush may have mental problems.  I believe it would be a good idea to let the people know about such allegations, and to examine their veracity.  The people have a right to know if the man they are contemplating voting for is unbalanced, don’t you think?   But, as Walter Cronkite says, the media no longer gives the public the information we need to make informed decisions.

Because Bush claims to be a Christian and has a substantial and very vocal right wing Christian following, the media acts as though the Republican Party is God’s party and paints the Democratic Party as being a party of libertines.  They don’t bother reporting that according to a CBS News/NY Times poll, 67% of Democrats polled say that religion is very important to them. 

I believe Bush is a Christian in that he believes in God, but his greed driven philosophy, his lust for power, and the eagerness for war exhibited by the people in his administration simply do not jive with the Christian philosophy I was taught, and I am far from being alone in feeling that way, so I really wish the media would begin challenging the premise that God has a special affection for the Republican Party.

In Carter’s Crusade, Jimmy Carter explains how Bush and other right wing Christians have perverted the message of the Bible.   Missing in the administration’s interpretation of the Bible is any kind of adherence to its’ constant admonitions to help the poor, the advice against building up riches here on earth, and the command that we are to be “stewards” of the earth.  There is also that pesky verse “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and the idea that swords should be beaten into plowshares.  In an interview with Bill Moyers, Union Theological Seminary president Joseph Hough discussed these issues and said it may soon be time to engage in civil disobedience.   Father Andrew Greeley, a well known Irish-Catholic priest who writes for the Chicago Sun Times, is also not a fan either of  Bush or his brand of Christianity. 

Frankly, I trust Jimmy Carter’s Christianity over that of the Bush family.  His works speak for him.  The Bush family’s main priority seems to be acquiring ever more money for themselves and their rich friends.  They are treating the U.S. treasury as their private piggy bank for withdrawals. They, apparently, skip lightly over the Biblical passage “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”  It is not that rich people are inherently evil, it is only that to “advanced” Christians, money is not an obsession.  They do not make their first priority striving after either money or power. 

I have a minister friend who wrote me that in the Bible, Satan is often referred to as the deceiver.  That term certainly fits the people in the current administration.  They do not tell an outright lie when they can tell a half truth, but they almost never tell the whole truth.  Harvey Wasserman chronicled 237 misleading statements members of this administration had made about Iraq, and that was months ago, but they continue to make misleading statements believing, I suppose, that if they tell a lie often enough and the media lets them get away with it, the people will think it is the truth.  The media might consider featuring a discussion of these issues by church leaders of various denominations for the enlightenment of people who find themselves confused by Bush’s Christian claims.

In Carter’s marvelous speech at the Democratic Convention – the best of the lot, in my opinion -- he pointed out the correlation between truth and trust.  He also said very clearly that the blatant dishonesty of the current administration revokes any claim they might have to being honorable.  He said that we cannot prosper as a nation when our policies are based on lies. He said, “Recent policies have cost our nation its reputation as the world's most admired champion of freedom and justice…The United States has alienated its allies, dismayed its friends, and inadvertently gratified its enemies by proclaiming a confused and disturbing strategy of "preemptive" war.”

The fact that Bush said “I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job,’’ merits a little analysis.  I know of no other president, not even one of the unquestionably great ones, who has made any claim to being a mouthpiece for God.

As far as the idea that God speaks directly to G.W., well, as statesman and WWII fighter pilot George McGovern said in “The Reason Why,” 

·        “if God guided him [Bush]into an invasion of Iraq, He sent a different message to the Pope, the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the mainline Protestant National Council of Churches and many distinguished rabbis--all of whom believe the invasion and bombardment of Iraq is against God's will.”

The astounding hubris of Bush’s remarks – the  presumption of them –  would, one might think, elicit a little media discussion.  The American people should, perhaps, be made aware of these facts. 

If  broadcast media journalists in their comfort, complacency and laziness continue in their  failure to “show us the man” and to make us aware of the damage his policies have done to this country and the world as they have failed to do to  this point in time,  it is left to people like me who should be working on heirloom quilts, and to you the person reading this article, to expose the reality of Bush’s true self to the people.  If more of the people knew how the Bush administration is exploiting the misery of war and sacrificing the environment to enrich themselves, their friends and their corporate campaign contributors, they would not be inclined to vote for such a fraud.  The future of our country, and as Carter said, the “soul” of America itself depends on our success in exposing that fraud to the public!!

Thank you, God for the internet!!


A mother of 6 and a grandmother, Lonna Gooden VanHorn grew up in Minnesota, the daughter of small farmers. She became so frustrated with the media's failure to do its' job which is to question and hold accountable those who occupy the seats of power, especially involving something as important and costly in lives and taxpayer dollars as going to war, that she began writing to ease her frustration. Lonna is married to a Vietnam veteran and now lives in New Mexico.   My e-mail address is


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