If the corporate media had been as diligent about watchdogging President Bush as they have been about watchdogging Reverend Wright, it's very likely we wouldn't have invaded Iraq.
If the corporate media had spent as much time exposing the obvious flaws and grotesque inequalities of Reaganomics throughout the last 30 years as they've spent on Wright, we wouldn't necessarily be staring into the maw of another depression.
If the corporate media were as diligent about debunking the lies surrounding Iran's so-called nuclear program as they've been about Wright, there wouldn't be such a sense of inevitability in terms of attacking -- or entirely obliterating -- Iran.
So what is the very serious corporate media, the only industry that is explicitly protected by the Constitution, doing to remedy their failures of the recent past? Rather than watchdogging the Bush administration and Senator McCain on Iraq, Iran, the economy and all the rest of it -- areas in which Senator McCain is laughably wrong and dangerously inconsistent -- what are we seeing instead?
All three major cable news networks are wasting valuable air time on Senator Obama's former pastor. Why? Is the story newsworthy? Sure. Is wall-to-wall Wright coverage more important than Iraq or gas prices or the climate crisis? No way. But Reverend Wright is a scary, shouting black man and scary shouting black men equal ratings-sweet-ratings.
We expect to see this sort of race-baiting behavior from Fox News Channel, but CNN and MSNBC have, once again, similarly crossed the tabloid threshold into the very same nefarious Roger Ailes realm by beating this nothing story to death.
MSNBC, for example, continues to invite Pat Buchanan onto their air -- a known race-baiter and author of a recent article in which he claims that, despite 300 years of slavery, America has been the best nation ever for black people (food stamps, for example). The article, by the way, totally ignores the reality that, had it not been for slavery and Jim Crow laws, Africans could very easily have immigrated to America as free people and enjoyed the benefits of our constitutional liberties; but the article also lords welfare and food stamps over the heads of African Americans -- as if Buchanan ever once supported such measures in the first place.
Yet Buchanan gets thawed out of his cryo-freeze chamber every time there's some race-baiting to be done. Of the thousands of Republicans at their disposal as a means of balancing out the brilliant Rachel and the equally brilliant Keith, MSNBC chooses the one Republican who's known as much for his racism as he is for his high pitch voice. This leads me to believe that MSNBC is knowingly stoking the racial fires of the Wright story, simply because they continue to invite Buchanan to speak for the angry white men who think they're God's gift to black people (food stamps, for example).
The reality is that only one of the candidates is being attacked for their connections when, in fact, all three candidates have controversial and embarrassing relationships. The difference, as near as I can tell, is that only one candidate has an angry, shouting black connection. And -- bonus! -- there's videotape of this angry, shouting black man suggesting that America is partly to blame for the attacks of September 11!
Wait, wait. That claim sounds familiar. Who else besides, you know, the 9/11 Commission has claimed that American foreign policy in the Middle East was partly to blame for the September 11 attacks? In other words, who else has basically said -- and repeatedly so -- that America's "chickens have come home to roost"?
That'd be Republican Congressman Ron Paul. So let's see here... Which Republicans must, by their own standards, be held accountable for their relationship with such an obvious America-hater? Who ought to be forced to repeatedly renounce and reject Congressman Paul?
"I think it's all up for grabs, and I don't think that anyone's emerging. I think these people who are racing to declare anyone the true frontrunner at this point -- I just don't see it. Although I am partial to Ron Paul..." --Laura Ingraham
"That's music to my ears, Laura." --Tucker Carlson responding to Ingraham's praise
"I like him personally, I know him personally... I will say that he is also the one candidate that everybody knows who fought against big government. He voted against unsure Medicare, the prescription drugs, and No Child Left Behind. He's consistent, he's courageous." --Pat Buchanan
"Ron Paul is one of the outstanding leaders fighting for a stronger national defense. As a former Air Force officer, he knows well the needs of our armed forces, and he always puts them first. We need to keep him fighting for our country." --Ronald Reagan
"[Ron Paul] is the only candidate out there that's talking like a lot of us talked in 94. And that's what a lot of Americans want but no one will say anything anymore...I bet he's gonna shock a lot of people in New Hampshire." --Joe Scarborough
"He's a very engaging person... I'd like to see him as president."
"I think I'm fondest of Ron Paul... He's the only person I agree with on foreign policy."
"Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) continues to amaze on many levels, and he had finally started to register on the polls. In last Tuesday's Midwestern ice storm, almost every Iowa event was cancelled. The exception was a Paul rally, which drew hundreds. His crowds are regularly huge and enthusiastic. He chalked up another record fundraising day on Sunday's anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, with more than $6 million in online donations in a single day." --Bob Novak
"The most honest man in Congress." --Senator John McCain
With the exception of President Reagan of course, I expect all of these Republicans politicians and pundits will step forward and declare their intentions to sever all ties to Congressman Paul, and to subsequently retract all praise for the Congressman.
How about it, Joe Scarborough? Does Ron Paul really talk like you used to talk? And would you, Pat Buchanan, define blaming America for September 11 as "courageous." And do you still support Ron Paul, Tucker? If Ron Paul is the most honest man in Congress, Senator McCain, does that mean he's telling the truth about September 11?
Naturally, the difference here is that Congressman Paul is a white Republican, and Reverend Wright is crazy shouting black pastor. Many (too many) white Americans fear angry black people, even though, given the historical record, we all ought to fear old, white, powerful Republicans a little more than we do right now.
What about other white Republicans who have said equally crazy things? Pastor Hagee, who has endorsed Senator McCain, just recently claimed that God "damned" New Orleans. Add that statement to the anti-Semitic statements and the anti-Catholic statements and you've got yourself a controversy. But are the cable networks cutting to live coverage of Pastor Hagee for two hours at a stretch? Are ABC and Fox News going to question Senator McCain about his relationship with Hagee -- the same questions over and over again, backed with the same footage over and over again? Of course not.
In addition to Hagee's awful remarks about New Orleans, the networks, by-in-large, skimmed past the news that this month has been the deadliest month in Iraq since September 2007. The networks continue to ignore the root causes of the current recession and Senator McCain's promise to continue the Reaganomics of the current administration. The networks all but ignored Senator Clinton's promise to "obliterate" Iran with nuclear weapons, even though hundreds of thousands of Iranian people, who held pro-American vigils after September 11, favor government reforms and disapprove of Ahmadinejad.
So I have to ask the appropriate network executives the familiar yet appropriate question: Have you no sense of decency at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?
The constant, around-the-clock coverage has become a race-baiting spectacle far beyond the realms of journalistic decency, honor and integrity, especially given the slag heap through which most Americans are marching right now -- a march which truly deserves wall-to-wall news coverage. And if the cable news networks can't help but to prioritize their headlines with the same twisted fury as far-right talk show hosts or racist Republican strategists like Floyd Brown or Alex Castellanos, it's clear that the answer to that famous question is a resounding "nope."
UPDATE: Will Senator Clinton be asked to repudiate Governor Easley's use of an anti-gay epithet? After all, Senator Clinton thought it was funny.