Thursday, February 16, 2006

Misdirection by Design

by Kyle Michaelis
That Omaha World-Herald - you've got to give them credit for their ability to slant almost any news item to fit their political objectives. Whatever isn't convenient, simply ISN'T...or they choose to obscure it by redirecting their focus and hopefully their readers' attention to something better-suiting their agenda.

This second strategy finds itself almost perfectly illustrated by the following editorial in today's paper:
Let's just suppose that Dick Cheney and his friend had been hunting in the Sand Hills instead of the south of Texas - and that, 18 hours after the unfortunate shooting accident, it was the Grand Island Independent, the Kearney Hub or the North Platte Telegraph that got the story first.

Would the New York Times, the Washington Post et al. be howling as loudly as they have about the Corpus Christi Caller-Times (circulation 56,267) getting the first shot, as it were, at the vice president?

Probably. Opined the Post: "How is it that the vice president of the United States can shoot and wound someone and the American public doesn't learn of it until 18 hours later - and then only because the owner of the location where the event occurred decided the next day to tell a local reporter?"

And the Times: "It took the White House nearly 24 hours to share that information with the rest of the nation because Dick Cheney thought it would be better for the ranch's owner to give the story to the local newspaper first."

One wishes this unnecessary kerfuffle would teach the Bush administration at last that prompt transparency, at least when lives aren't at stake, is less painful than trying to hide most everything.

But consider how the Caller-Times got the story. The owner of the ranch where Cheney put birdshot into Harry Whittington was a friendly source for its reporter on local stories. She called the reporter, not vice versa. She even got Cheney to talk briefly to the reporter - something the Nebraska-born, Wyoming-bred vice president didn't repeat for three days.

Why on Earth should our peers working in the hallowed halls of power always get the scoop about the most powerful in the land?

Look at that agenda in action. An unprecedented situation arises - the circumstances of which cast the behavior of the Bush Administration in the most questionable light imaginable, especially with their record of distortions and bending the facts to fit their purposes - and the World-Herald, in all-too-similar fashion, manages to make the issue one of small town newspapers proving their worth to the insecure Goliaths in the national press.

Talk about knowing your rural Nebraska audience. And, talk about deceiving them as well.

Conveniently "forgotten" - lost in the World-Herald's slight of hand - is one simple question: why attack your conterparts in the media? After all, they didn't shoot anyone. Yet, 6 of 7 paragraphs are dedicated solely to their reprimanding, with only one paragraph making a qualified acknowledgement of Bush and Cheney's paranoia and deceit.

Unnecessary kerfuffle, indeed!

4 Comments:

Blogger Knightn said...

right on, right on, right on. DAVE HERGERT BROKE THE LAW! Whether anyone agrees with the law makes no difference. The laws are in place and they should be followed and enforced.

2/17/2006  
Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...

Jeff-

I assume your comment was intended for the above campaign finace post. Regardless, you don't need to convince me that Hergert broke the law. But, the way I see it, the real offense here is founded in violating the public's trust....not just negligently breaking some obscure statute.

Nebraska's campaign finance laws have an important function in assuring fair and open elections that hold candidates accountable to voters rather than monied interests. Any attempt to divorce that public interest from the issue at hand weakens the case for Hergert's removal considerably.

If this were just a matter of simple rule-breaking, I and most voters would be inclined to let Hergert pay his fine and we'll all just move on. But, Hergert FLAGRANTLY abused and cheated a system designed for the public's protection. More than breaking a law, he broke faith with his voters and the people of Nebraska. For THAT he must yet be held accountable.

I don't think this is just "DAVE HERGERT BROKE THE LAW." As I wrote, we must back that realization up with "NEVER AGAIN," making the system we have in place stronger and better able to adapt to those who would cheat the voters and cheapen our democracy.

2/17/2006  
Blogger Knightn said...

lol, I’m sorry, I was reading two posts and commented on the wrong one. Anyway, you are exactly right on the Hergert situation. I was putting it perhaps too simplistically. On campaign finance I am somewhat torn and have some general constitutional issues with it. Regardless, NEVER AGAIN is correct. Hergert's blatant disregard for our state laws and his undermining of the electoral process cannot be accepted.

2/17/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Jeff said...
right on, right on, right on. DAVE HERGERT BROKE THE LAW! Whether anyone agrees with the law makes no difference. The laws are in place and they should be followed and enforced. "

I agree with Jeff. It is illegal in Lincoln for bars to serve alcohol without a pot of hot soup on the stove (true law in Lincoln). Like Jeff says, whether anyone agrees with the law makes no difference. The laws are in place and they should be followed and enforced. The Police should shut down every bar in Lincoln tonight that doesn't conform.

2/19/2006  

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