I am not the first to observe that our media have been damned shy about telling us the facts about the disastrous wars in which we have been engaging over there.  I guess that reporters in these days of corporate domination of our news outlets must tend to have an eye over the shoulder to be sure that they are not offending an employer.  I recall my own early experience with corporate control of news — the summer of 1955 I worked as a college student along with 3 others who went on to become professional journalists who had been selected to work for Time Inc. — we were editors of our college newspapers — Keith Johnson (Cornell), Lou Kraar (recently deceased) and Ed Yoder (North Carolina).

My summer stint ranged from assisting the letters editor of Sports Illustrated to writing short stories of enterprise for Fortune and things for Architectural Forum.  One week the four of us were assigned to follow the Time Magazine weekly run through and there we saw clearly the heavy blue pencil of Harry Luce on anything relating to China — the editors so assigned were all Brits.  Luce’s father had been a missionary there and Luce had strong notions about the emerging communist regime and any who might have the temerity to deal with it diplomatically.  Time’s slogan was “fair, but not objective journalism.”

However, there were available in NYC some news outlets that told things as they really were, e.g. Dorothy Schiff’s NY Post with its impressive array of columnists such as Murray Kempton:


How sad it has become just another Murdock rag.

More recently it has been possible to get bits and pieces of the real news, if one shops around.  However, all too often such are positioned in less obvious locations and certainly the TV outlets are disaster zones obsessed with homeland violence and soft porn.  Occasionally a brief report will tell us how many American troops died yesterday in Iraq or Afghanistan and how many scores of Iraqis.  Such, however, are jammed in between the ratings-producing junk that would only have been covered by super market trash outlets back when news of sorts did come through from reporters stationed around the world and properly funded to get the news to a democracy that needs the real thing in order to function.

How many little girls occasionally missing in Houston or Albany will displace our attention on the dozens of ones being killed weekly in Iraq?  We are a nation now of 300 million.  Weird things are bound to happen somewhere in this country day by day.  But must they be the focus of Americans attention who do not have other ways to access real news?  More amber alerts and fewer reports on America’s depredations around the world — on the verge of generating a major crash for this country with its increasing deficit spending on military toys — now a costly missile defense system that any knowledgeable person knows cannot possibly deter hostile missiles, let alone ones far more likely to be delivered in shipping crates?

Well, enough spouting off.  Thank the powers that be that the internet is still open to the distribution of information and I guess we bloggers will have to do the best we can to tell it as it really is!

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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