Trivia 1A


Interesting fact - from December 7 - 11,there was only 107 minutes of television news reporting about the impeachment trial of President Clinton with the majority of that only attempts to summarize the all day sessions in Congress. In 1997, the death of Diana Spencer received 197 minutes during five days. (1) If you need even more proof that the conservative media has lost all sense of proportion, consider this from the (2) Media Studies Center: Since 1972, 555 polls questions have been asked regarding the Watergate scandal. In just the first ten months of 1998, 1,153 questions were asked about Monicagate. There were also more questions regarding Whitewater, a witch hunt that even that hemorrhoid Kenneth Starr admitted did not yield any evidence of wrong doing by the Clintons.

According to U. S. News & World Report, (3) the major television networks are demanding that both political parties hold their conventions in "non-union towns" or at least where labor was very weak. They also are demanding that the conventions be held in "downscale cities" where the costs for coverage will be minimized. I'd like to suggest Mexico City or maybe Hanoi?!? It won't come much cheaper than that.

As I have repeatedly shown, the so-called "Reagan Revolution" and all the foul kneeling before the wealthy that his administration entailed, the majority of Americans have never embraced his cloudy and un-American "vision". In fact, in a 1998 Gallop poll, 45% of those interviewed agreed with the statement the government should "redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich". This figure is even higher than a poll done in 1939 after a decade of the Great Depression when 35% agreed with that same question. Nevertheless, the New York Times on Nov. 11, 1998 carried an op-ed piece by David Frum (a one time editorialist for the Wall Street Journal and now a strategist for the Manhattan Institute, an ultra-conservative think tank) which encouraged Republicans not to abandon social conservative platforms just because voters had turned away by the millions in the 1998 elections. Instead, he said, "Forty years ago, many millions of Americans took the liberal side of the confiscatory taxation issue...It took economic conservatives a generation to find in Ronald Reagan a leader who could phrase their ideas in ways that appealed to a majority of Americans." Actually, since it has long been known that Reagan never wrote a word of any of his speeches and, in fact, was finally not allowed to even give any unrehearsed answers at the few press conferences his handlers allowed, Reagan never phrased diddly, he only acted as if he understood issues by reading the words of those who pulled his strings behind the scenes. Quite frankly, only low voter turn-out has allowed the Far Right to infect America with their "love the rich and hate the poor and the women and the children and the handicapped and emigrants and anyone not white, Christian, wealthy and male" policies. When you hear a conservative politician claim that he or she is fighting the bane of "pork" in the budget, you might want to point out that Cobb County, Georgia, the area from which Newt Gingrich floated to the top of the cesspool and was elected to Congress, received $3.4 billion from the federal government in 1992, surpassed by only two other suburban counties in America. (4) Nevertheless, that bastion of "liberal" reporting, the New York Times, carried an article which described the congressional district as a place where the people held to the "philosophy of self-reliance" and everyone "paying his own way". In a quote from a local resident, the silly statement "People here don't look to the government for their well-being." In fact, just to underline how very, very liberal the New York Times is, it ran the headline "Disappointment Greets News of Gingrich, Symbol of Independence in His Self-Reliant District".(5) Next time you hear a Republican whining about the "Liberal Media", explain to him or her that less than 3% of America's media is in the hands of confessed liberals and the rest in the hands of giant corporations and ultra-conservatives (and legal aliens) like Rupert Murdoch. You might want to refer them to this article as a prime example of the Right's lies and half truths trying to pass for reality.

According to EXTRA (6), Rocky Mountain Media Watch's national network of volunteers taped their local evening newscasts on three consecutive nights just two weeks (Oct/20 -22/98)before the 1998 elections. These taped broadcasts were then examined for news covering the up-coming elections. The study of these 222 local newscasts from 79 stations in 31 states and covering 50 different metropolitan areas consisting of all sizes of markets were then analyzed. What they found was that 347 reports which could be labeled "election news" were aired which consisted of only 1.5% per show. A full 24% of these stories concerned the Republican inspired presidential "sex scandal" which could be considered almost election news as it pertained to the incumbent President's campaign. Not surprisingly, 58 newscasts (26% of the total newscasts) carried absolutely no coverage of the election. Sadly for the American system of democracy, 1,083 political ads were aired during this same time. When examining the races for House seats, it was found that the ratio of news coverage to political ads was an astounding 10:1 with only 17 stories about these candidates versus 185 paid ads. The races for governor, occurring in a third of the states showed a 3:1 ratio of stories to ads (74 stories to 99 ads). Finally, when examining ballot initiatives across the country, 274 commercials were aired versus only 34 stories. Why do I bring all of this up, aside from the obvious voter ignorance such a sampling exposes? Because I believe it is past the time to demand that our nation's airwaves either be taken away from the current crop of idiot Right Wing owners or force them to report on news that is important and immediate rather than filling the time with reports on the latest styles in bikinis and unabashed and overt advertising for that station's programming. I believe that the low voter turn-out which has become the norm in America is directly influenced by the abhorrent lack of substantial information about important and far reaching issues. With the Right controlling the amount of factual data being provided to the voters, those intelligent enough to care about having facts ion which to base their votes are so depressed and frustrated by this lack of real news that they simply abandon the process, allowing the less intelligent to control the direction of our nation through their votes. Gentle Readers, there is no democracy left in our system of elections. Only those who can amass the necessary wealth through contributions and political contacts can ever become our so-called representatives in Washington. With the media abdicating their important role in our society in favor of celebrity news and other such fluff as well as their total immersion in any media produced scandals, you and I are being forced to cast our votes, not for the best candidate, but only for the least despicable. We can force the government to alter their steep decline into fascism and non-representative governing but only if we scream loud and long. It will take much effort to revise our direction since we must do so without benefit of a free press or its opportunities for reaching the public and gaining its, admittedly, short attention span. We must, nevertheless, try!

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