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Guilty by Omission
by Vincent Fiore
30 July 2003Newspaper

More and more, the truth lies not in our daily newspapers, but what never got into them at all.  

A few weeks back, I penned an article that expressed the belief that the elite western media has a morbid fascination of continuously and consistently reporting "doom and gloom" with regard to the Bush administration and its war against terrorism. Some things will never change. Like death and taxes, progressive media hyperventilating will always be a constant, a fact that is showcased in a Republican administration. From George W. Bush's first day in office as the "selected" President, to his 850th day as the "credibility gap" President, the game has been afoot.

On July 13 the NAACP held their 94th annual convention in Miami Beach, Florida. Chairman Julian Bond, never at a loss for vitiated words, seemed destined to make news with these comments: Republicans appeal "to the dark underside of American culture, to the minority of Americans who reject democracy and equality." Not content with having just labeled Republicans as fascist, he continued: "Their idea of equal rights is the American flag and confederate swastika flying side by side." Can anyone doubt what the response would have been had a Republican said this same sentence with the words "democrats?" You don't have to look far. Last December Trent Lott bore the brunt of a media cyclone that lasted for weeks until he stepped down as Senate Majority Leader. For comments much misunderstood, and less caustic in the saying of them, Lott was publicly lynched, media style.

Of the few media outlets that did report this, clarification of Mr. Bond's remarks were sought through the offices of the President of the NAACP, Kweisi Mfume. Clearly bristling at being put on the spot on Fox's Hannity and Colmes show this week, the best Mr. Mfume could offer was, "he [Bond] has to explain why he did that," followed by, "I don't do that and I don't believe that." Yet, no condemnation was offered. This seems like a replay of 2001, when Mr. Bond compared Bush cabinet nominees to "The Taliban wing of American politics…and chose cabinet officials whose devotion to the Confederacy in nearly canine in its uncritical affection."

No New York Times to shame Mr. Bond or Mr. Mfume. No World News Tonight with Peter Jennings offering up a smug yet pointed scolding upon the NAACP. No CNN crawler running at the bottom of every TV in America repeating the offending words ad nauseam. Nobody alerting the public to the doings of Democrats and their special interest groups.

Another story that didn't make the media pipeline was CIA inspector David Kay's interview with NBC's Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw. Easily as important, if not more, than the June 25th story about the unearthing of documents and a gas centrifuge under the rose bush of Iraqi scientist Mahdi Obeidi, this interview should have had the effect of the long sought "smoking gun" the WMD starved media has been lusting for. According to David Kay, "the Iraqi's seem to keep documents on even the most damning evidence," reports Tom Brokaw. Brokaw adds this: "This is the mother lode, an estimated seven and a half miles of documents, many of them collected by US military from official buildings, but many others handed over by Iraqi civilians." Unwilling to go public as of yet with this massive find, Kay wants the evidence to measure up to the much ballyhooed "smoking gun" standard of an unbelieving media.

Kay: "I've already seen enough to convince me, but that's not the standard. I've got to convince everyone of that."
Brokaw: "How long is that going to take?"
Kay: "No longer than it takes."
Brokaw: "Six months?"
Kay: "I think we will have a substantial body of evidence before six months."

So, amid the barrage of "where's the WMD's" from the media and Democrats, the former UN weapons inspector and current White House point man tapped to find those weapons says he will have a "substantial body of evidence" within six months. Where's the media to trumpet the discovery? Busily turning 16 words into the 21st century Watergate.

Part and parcel of American discourse these days is when citizens are polled regarding their trust in the media, it rates right just above those other foundations of honesty, corporations and lawyers. A May 2003 USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll found that trust in the media has dropped from a 1989 high of 54%, to today's 36%. Besides the public feeling that big media consists of institutionalized phonies, it has exposed itself as the guardian of Liberalism. These are not new allegations, nor are they made in cavalier fashion. The guilt lies not only in the tinting of news, or in the editorializing of it to reflect the liberal flavor, but also in the calculated omission of news, specifically that of favorable or good news with respects to the President and his Party.

Mercifully, there are a few media outlets that have reported these salient stories, the existence of which most of us would never have known save for the rumblings of an alternative media. Some would even say "Conservative media." So be it. It would not necessarily be there if there weren't a need for it. But when nearly every major media outlet chooses to ignore news that looks bad -- in fact, is bad -- for the party out of power, they expose themselves as the kingmakers they perceive themselves to be. They have become an institutionalized danger to the people that they claim to represent and protect through a free press, and attempt to game the American political system. More and more, the truth lies not in our daily newspapers, but what never got into them at all.

Vincent Fiore is a freelance writer.

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