The Press a.k.a. Your President’s Bitch

I have always been a big supporter of the American press. I know it has its faults. I’ve also known many people on both sides of the political spectrum who think that the press caters to their opposite side, and I’m usually one of the first people to defend the press. I know that most news organizations are owned by a handful of companies, many of which have done their share of tampering with public perspective. I also know that at the granular level is the reporter, who is essentially just trying to do his/her job: to break the story and get to the truth regardless of who it benefits.

Despite my respect and defense of the press, in the last 24 hours I have found myself stumped by the following question: WHAT IN HOLY FUCK IS GOING ON WITH THE FUCKING NEWS?

Issue #1 – The Parka

My friend corked taught me a pretty good tip: the real news is on Page 2. Generally he’s right. That’s where tomorrow’s real issues shows up first. So, this morning I open up page A2 of the St. Petersburg Times, and there’s a picture of Dick Cheney with the headline “Inappropriate Attire?” (You can read the story here if you missed it. It made Yahoo’s list of most e-mailed stories.) My issue isn’t his attire. I personally couldn’t care less if he showed up in a sumo diaper and a necklace made of Orange Crush cans. I’ll even defend the person who broke the story: Robin Givhan is the Washington Post’s fashion writer. Considering that Givhan has one of the lamest and arguably most pointless jobs outside of the CIA, Givhan’s doing good work. My issue is that this is the best criticism the media can crack on a White House official. You can’t swing a dead cat in the West Wing without hitting a powder keg of cahoots that could set off a media frenzy, and the guy’s ski cap probably has a logo of the Watergate hotel on it, but what really matters is that the hat doesn’t match the ceremony? And fuck the AP, the St. Pete Times, and everyone else who ran this crap. They’re worse than the Post for perpetuating this.

Issue #2 – Social Security

When did this become a crisis? Bush is pressing this thing like it’s the next War on Terror, it’s spiraling into the ninth level of the Inferno, it’ll be worse than the tsunami if we don’t do something to prevent it NOW!!! While Bush is pulling his hick Chicken Little routine (which – don’t get me wrong – is a skill he’s actually very good at), what little I’ve been able to read says that there is no crisis. Bush’s math is, how shall I say, fuzzy. I’m not even going to tangent into his scheme to invest a public pension fund at that dog track we call a stock market, because it works so well for that democratic and economic powerhouse, Chile.

What I want to know (and what I want my newspaper to tell me) is how that we can come out of that election with all of the issues that arose, and Social Security – something which isn’t really critical – is the one that makes the top of the list? I realize the president can spearhead any issue he wants, but it can realistically last only as long as the media allows it to be a lead. I find it hard to believe that Social Security is the only major domestic issue that the media can report on.

Issue #3 – Public Relations

Definition of sad: Bush just won a record turnout election with one of the smallest leads in history. Just less than half the country thinks he’s less qualified for the job than someone else. That’s putting it nicely. This is in a year that the White House spent $88 million on public relations (which has nothing to do with his election expenses). This adds to a four year total that almost doubles Clinton’s second term PR expenses. He has toppled the PR expense record, and he and his administration look, talk, and behave like this? That’s the best $88 million can buy? First, I want to be a PR contractor. Second, W. is living proof that you can’t polish a turd. These people, their actions and their histories should be a wet dream for a news editor, but the media is sinking its teeth into parkas and ski caps.

Speaking of PR, “The Department of Health and Human Services said Friday that a third… columnist was paid to assist in promoting a Bush administration policy.” Never mind that federal law bans the use of public money on propaganda. It’s not like Bush got a blowjob from an intern or anything. What chafes my ass is the slack attitude both the press and the public have toward columnists getting paid by the government. This breaks the core fundamental ethics of the Fourth Estate, and no one gives a shit. Dan Rather and 60 Minutes just about got served subpoenas, but when it favors the White House, it’s okay. I want to see these columnists tarred and feathered. This should be on my front page, and I want to know that there are full page apologies from their employers (both press and governmental) in their respective papers.

This is when I thought I was done with today’s paper until I saw one last little article….

Issue #4 – words fail me

If you had the opportunity to interview Bush, think of all the questions you could potentially ask him. Now read the following:

“President Bush, in an interview with Brian Lamb of C-SPAN… talked of life in the White House.
Lamb: ‘The longer you’re in this White House, with all those that have gone before you, do you see ghosts of past presidents?’
Bush: ‘Well, I quit drinking in’86…. It’s just really hard to project back into somebody else’s shoes. So, no, I guess I don’t see ghosts.”

That is the entire article. For centuries now, countless Americans have died for, among other liberties, the freedom of press. This is what they gave their lives for.

I paid $0.25 for this shit. I want my money back.

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