Parting Shots: Episode One – The Phantom Truth

Well, as my last few weeks here at the glorious institution that is Virginia Commonwealth University come to an end I am running out of time getting to everything and everyone I want to write about. So here we go:

The major American media has failed the people of this country. When half the people in this country think Iraq had something to do with Sept. 11 and there is no evidence of this then they have truly failed. The mainstream media has proved their total irrelevancy as an accurate information source.

Tragically, it is worse than that. They have proved that they had neither the professional journalistic integrity nor the individual ethical foundation to resist being enlisted to support a war that they of all people are aware is based on lies. In this world of 24-hour news coverage they are allowing themselves to be taken advantage of by an administration that releases unsubstantiated information or out and out lies knowing that it will be reported as news even if it gets retracted or proven wrong later.

One of the most interesting aspects of this war has been the overall superiority of the Internet as a source of news. In many cases, of course, this actually means access to news reports from all the world’s media except the United States. Do the majority of the world’s citizens, who oppose the war, really just hate freedom or are they getting better information? At any rate, without the Internet we are truth-deprived.

Did you know that at the same time our president is telling all of us to support the troops he is doing the direct opposite. His budget calls for cutting billions of dollars from the Veterans Administration. This provides health care and other benefits for veterans. This agency is already woefully underfunded. Those veterans who do not have health insurance and most use the veteran’s hospitals often have to wait up to six months just to see a doctor. It is a travesty how we treat our veterans. So, I guess for Bush it’s thanks to all the veterans for laying your lives on the line and sorry boys we had to cut your benefits.

Speaking of the budget, why the hell are we cutting taxes at a time when there is a budget deficit that is skyrocketing out of control. Mind you that this tax cut will do practically nothing for the average American. The majority of it will go to the upper 10 percent because according to Bush giving rich people more money back will help stimulate the economy. Yeah, that whole trickle down or voodoo economics theory worked so well in the ’80s.

At the same time that these tax cuts are being given they are slashing many social programs and education funding. When is the middle class in this country going to wake up and realize that you have been hoodwinked, you’ve been bamboozled. People always used to say that the rich screwed the poor, well that is not true they screw everybody.

When did baseball become the official national pastime of the Republican Party? The recent cancelation of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s 15th anniversary event for the movie “Bull Durham” because of Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon’s anti-war stance. The president of the hall, Dale Petroskey, said that Robbin’s criticism of President Bush “ultimately could put our troops in even more danger.”

Exsqueeze me, baking powder? How the hell could Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon’s stance on the war put our troops in danger? That is one of the most asinine and idiotic statements I have ever heard.

It amazes me that while troops are overseas fighting for the Iraqi’s ability to have free speech and democracy, here at home we are trying to punish people who express themselves. I think Robbins summed up best “if we let people like this bully and intimidate through me, millions of people who disagree with this president, we are headed into a dark area.”

Last night I was watching CNN and they had a report about the backlash some celebrities have received. Well, let’s look at the Dixie Chicks, who made an anti-Bush statement at a concert in England. There were all those news stories about radio stations banning them, bulldozers smashing their CDs and people burning Dixie Chicks memorabilia. Want to know how much it hurt them? Let’s see, their concert tour is completely sold-out and their current album dropped three whole spots on the charts. Boy, didn’t the media make it look a lot worse.

When it comes down to it, most country radio stations jumped on the anti-Dixie Chicks bandwagon because it got them a ton of publicity. K-95 here in Richmond was on the all of the local newscast for three days straight when it happened. Nothing like infringing on people’s right to free speech all for a little free publicity.

Next time, Michael Moore, Janeane Garofalo, things I can’t stand about VCU and the end of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

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