Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
The president of the United States gets away with murder, literally, in large part because journalists don’t do their job of reporting the news. Long gone are the days of investigative journalism and what should be an adversarial or at the very least distant relationship between reporters and presidential administrations.
The corruption is quite public, open for all the world to see. It is celebrated every year at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. The president makes jokes amid the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian. The red carpet is reminiscent of the Oscars, with actresses dressed in their most beautiful evening gowns, while policy makers and Hollywood rub shoulders.
Last year Donald Trump was the president’s foil, and this year it was Mitt Romney’s turn. The president laughed about the now old story of Romney driving with a dog on top of his car. At least Obama didn’t make jokes about drone strikes as he did last year. As in many other ways he is like his predecessor George W. Bush, who used the same event to joke about the non-existent weapons of mass destruction which were used as the pretext to kill one million people.
Is it any wonder that the New York Times, Washington Post and all the networks ignore torture, drone strikes, mass incarceration terror, continued bankster bailouts, high unemployment and endless war? It is impossible for the same individuals who rush to bask in the president’s glow to also inform us about his policy decisions and ask hard questions about whom they serve.
Reporters are mere scribes for the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, so much so that they won’t even fight for their own interests vis a vis the president‘s. While the White House claims that photos and videos of the raid which resulted in Osama bin Laden’s death must remain classified, they simultaneously leak tidbits to the New York Times, NBC, and Time magazine. It is highly unlikely that these media outlets will report on the White House effort to claim that the same information they have been spoon fed is suddenly described as top secret when it suits the president’s interests.
Each administration sinks lower and lower, finally making one indistinguishable from another in all but the most superficial ways. The media have also been on a race to the bottom, occasionally telling us something we need to know, but more often than not kowtowing for access to the inside scoop on subjects like bin Laden’s death instead of attempting any independent reporting.
The correspondent’s dinner is a symbol of the end times, so to speak, for American media and politics. Perhaps it is fitting for serious issues to be treated like jokes at a big party for the entertainment industry. Politics have become nothing but a huge cruel joke for millions of people in this country and around the world.
Between now and election day in November, we will be treated to coverage of Romney’s gaffes as they are contrasted with Obama’s cool demeanor on late night talk shows. Romney’s wealth will be a talking point used against him in liberal circles, but Obama’s continued acquiescence to moneyed interests will be off the table for discussion among his devotees.
The corporate media who eat up the leaks which are strategically placed in their path will once again prove themselves to be useless to the rest of us. We will not read or hear that Obama’s JOBS Act is a get out of jail free, go ahead and create another bubble card for to the captains of high finance.
The presidential campaign season is now in full swing, and we ought to look forward to six more months of in depth reporting. Instead we will get six more months of propaganda disguised as news, all because so-called journalists want to get access to the highest levels of government.
The best journalists in the country are no longer found at the leading newspapers and networks. They are people whose names are not well known, or they are well known because they reported the truth and paid a high price as a result. Julian Assange is a journalist, but he may well be charged as a criminal because he told the truth about America’s criminal actions around the world. There is no chance that Obama will showcase his wit alongside Assange or anyone else like him and we are worse off because that is true.