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September 10, 2009

Off topic: President Obama’s speech on health care reform

Watching the president give a speech about what he plans regarding health care reform, and knowing what I know about the insane commentary by those who hope to derail reform, I was proud, last night, to call this man my president. I can’t imagine any politician acting with more grace, wisdom or intelligence.

This is a man who inherited an economy in freefall; two wars; a treasury emptied by those wars and tax cuts for the wealthiest; a diminished standing in the international community due to decisions by his predecessor to invade at will and torture prisoners; and fires to put out all around because regulation was considered a dirty word for 8 years.

He’s also a man who the “stars” of one of the four major cable “news” networks, every day, imply is a fascist, a Nazi, a commie, a secret Muslim terrorist, or a dictator-in-waiting attempting to indoctrinate children into a modern-day Hitler youth movement. Their aim is apparently not just to thwart his agenda but to bring him down, utterly, so that he is a one-term president (assuming that the wackjobs these liars inspire don’t end his term with violence, first).

Given the above, and despite the insurance lobby’s spending more than $1 million per day, influencing those in congress writing the bills, and misleading the public, hoping to keep him ever on the defensive until he’s gone, Obama is still on track to reform health care.

Words can’t express my admiration for the man. At last, we have a real statesman in office, someone worthy of the title, President of the United States.

– Anita Bartholomew

August 7, 2009

Where are the responsible adults? Certainly not in the newsroom.

Yesterday, a mob (no other word for it) of misinformed, angry people who, when interviewed, said they were part of a group formed by Glenn Beck, shut down a heath care reform town hall in Tampa.

The local NBC television affiliate, when reporting on this, gave no context on what’s behind such events. Instead of analysis, the station just showed angry demonstrators and then said, go to our website and give us your opinion.

Give your opinion? Based on what? Zero reporting of what inspired the demonstrators? Zero reporting on whether that inspiration had any basis in fact?

So, why should anyone be surprised that the situation is now escalating and, on Twitter, an anti-health insurance reform leader is telling fellow protesters to bring guns to use against union leaders and community organizers at subsequent town halls?
When American television news became infotainment and ratings trumped all, we lost an important means of educating people. Almost nobody is well-informed in this country, despite making the effort of watching so-called 24-hour news stations. CNN, calling itself an all-news network, hosted Glenn Beck until he was wooed away by Faux News, and still hosts the race-baiter Lou Dobbs!

With the simmering racism that’s stoked by Beck, Dobbs, and others, we have a populace, or a large swathe of it, that’s about as ignorant and probably close to as resentful as the poor undereducated masses of some oil-rich countries. Over there, they believe bin Laden. Over here, their American counterparts believe Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

As a result, many are nursing pseudo-grievances that can and do lead to violence.

And now, we have the former Republican VP candidate, stirring the flames, crazily claiming that the president’s “death panel” wants to euthanize her Downs Syndrome child.

All of the above are acting in the service of the health insurance industry so insurers can keep their near-monopolies in their respective areas, and suck the lifeblood out of the very people they’re manipulating into hate and potential violence. But the mainstream news media won’t report that. Instead, everything is treated with so-called balance, with opportunities for he said/she said, as if there were no actual truth to be uncovered, just opinion that you form based on the words of flacks and then, go post on the TV stations’ websites.

This insanity is the fault of news executives who care nothing about fact and everything about ratings. They hire industry mouthpieces and nutcases who can manipulate the ignorant into a frothing frenzy.

Is there a Cronkite in the house? When will the mainstream media finally stop playing games and tell it like it is? Or are they going to wait until those twitterers show up with their guns and start blasting away?

– Anita Bartholomew

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