Tuesday, January 14, 2003

I hope I'm not beating a dead horse here but I can't resist a little more griping about the media. I doubt that they are giving us what we want. After the Patriot Act (which was largely ignored before-the-fact in the media) I was arguing with some people that wanted to do whatever it took to bomb everyone and I brought the Patriot Act up. I found out about it in The Nation, although only after-the-fact. They were shocked and amazed and several really didn't believe me. They wanted that information. Besides that, people in this country need that information. If not the media, who is supposed to educate the public about policies and the activities of government? I think we've forgotten that government officials are our employees. I've worked in several different jobs and there is one thing in common with all of them: I did not have privacy in the work place. My employers were always permitted to monitor my activities, my email, my web usage, and my productivity. They had access to my computer files and my phone records. There was no expectation of privacy for anything I did at work (besides crapping on the company dime but some things they don't want to know). Why aren't we applying this to the government? The Bush administration is routinely denying requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act. Cheney won't even release the names of the people that attended the energy meeting, much less what they discussed. And people's lives are being determined in secret courts without the benefit of communication with a lawyer. Why aren't we demanding to know the activities of our employees, the politicians? A few months ago a judge said that democracies die behind closed doors.

I've completely gone off my original topic but I guess this was as good a way as any to get off the media topic. Oh wait! I know how it's relevant. If not the media, who is it that is supposed to monitor the activities of the government so they are accountable to their employers? We, the public, are too busy buying shit to do it (or to even read too much). You know, I was recently amazed by a guy in a bar that told me that Clinton did not have a surplus, that we don't actually have a national debt because we don't owe that money to anyone, and that because of our genetic similarity to mice, there must not be any such thing as evolution. What the fuck? I tried arguing but then just drank the beer he bought me and shut up. Arguing was clearly useless. He must listen to Limbaugh, the same guy that lamented that the liberal NY Times didn't include a story by its own journalist because it seemed favorable to conservatives. The story was on the front page of the NY Times in the upper right hand corner, the featured story of the day. I'm so happy that millions of people get their news from him and TV news doesn't even bother to actually inform anyone about anything important.

For anyone who is interested in this topic. The media watchgroup, FAIR, does a weekly radio show called CounterSpin. They talk about all the important stories that the media ignores, takes out of context, or just plain fucks up. I listen to it on a local public radio station but you can also hear it online at http://www.fair.org/counterspin/index.html.

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