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I Am The News
Why We Keep Turning Off Our TV Lately

Mind-boggling. That's how my friends abroad describe the U.S. media's news content. The abduction of children dominates the media for weeks, even though this despicable & inhuman trend is apparently on a downswing. Meanwhile, most of Europe is enduring the worst floods in ages, and it gets a 30-second snippet. It's hard to decipher from here in the states what the agenda really is. It's easy to get paranoid and think there's some serious backscratching going on when something like the Enron/Andersen scandal falls off the media screen in a matter of weeks, while unconfirmed sightings of a Bill Clinton talk show re-surface weekly. Are we attacking Iraq? "Er, maybe, if uh, anybody in on this hand? Nah? Well, maybe, er..." Sure makes for some profound debate on the Fox Morning Show, though, where the television equivalent of shock-jock radio pops open a Bud Light at 7 am and says "Yeah! Let's kill them there dang ay-rabs! whoo!" Which reminds us of another American Tragedy.

Our News Is Better Than Your News
We miss Walter Cronkite. He'll never make the cover of GQ, but for years he and others of that era delivered the news in a reasonably impartial manner, just like you might expect of a real journalist. Sure, Walt was probably a simpering liberal in reality, but this was only evident in editorials, when a little personal expression should be allowed anyway. Unlike today, when a self-obsessed idiot like Geraldo Rivera not only insists on making his very presence in a hostile environment the real story, but then also lies about where he is. We're not meaning to single out Geraldo, the list runs on and on. Bill O'Reilly only thinks he's in a no-spin zone because his head is spinning in the same direction as the great toxic vortex that is today's impartial reporting. Dan Rather's obvious liberal spewing is equally reprehensible. We're glad to see Phil Donahue's back, and as long as he doesn't start claiming he's doing real news, his hypersalivary Naderism might even be acceptable. So who's left? Jim Lehrer? Tom Brokaw? There actually are some intelligent people still working in television news these days, but the final decision makers in programming at major networks don't think America's smart enough to watch, and Jon Stewart's got a nice contract with the Daily Show.

So Why Do We Care?
Well partly, just like the X-Files, we believe "The Truth Is Out There". We laugh aloud every time Fox News does the station ID where they say, "Fair, Balanced Reporting". We assume they justify this statement by serving up shows like Hannity & Colmes, where two former AM radio stars rant in what is presumably the voice of their respective ideologies. Their attemps at being thoughtful and provocative end up spinning into Beavis & Butthead-like dialogues, which would be okay, if they were in fact Beavis & Butthead. In fact if they were Beavis & Butthead, we'd probably tune in every night. (Note to self: Contact Fox News and suggest Beavis & Butthead do News Show.) CNN does a little better in this arena with Crossfire. At least they have one or two people with a background in the subject matter they're addressing. Disclosure: We confess, we're James Carville fans. This has nothing to do with being liberal. He's a disturbingly straight shooter, to the extent that he even visibly appears ashamed when admitting he's friends with the Clintons.You can guage exactly how honest he's being by his degree of eye contact. If he's telling you a shameful, despicable truth, his chin will be seemingly welded to his chest while he tries to shake his head in restrained despair. If he's lying like a sack of potatoes, he'll look at the camera dead-on with a big smile and those Deliverance-banjo-player-eyes. Now if they could just replace the smirky, bow-tied Tucker Carlson with somebody a little hipper, like P.J. O'Rourke, we feel they'd have a real winner here.

So what's the point?
The point is, we're mad as hell, and we're not gonna take it anymore. We're on the offensive. What's the point of having eighty-some channels of cable, broadband internet, cell-phones, digital cameras, and a computer powerful enough to run Microsoft Word™ if we're not gonna do something with it? So we've got a hit list:

Ann Coulter
Bill O'Reilly
Hannity & Colmes
FOX & Friends
Geraldo
Chris Matthews
Curtis and Kuby

Follow the saga of our heartfelt but antagonistic emails with America's finest news figures.

First Up: Bill O'Reilly
As the former "hard-hitting investigative journalist" from Inside Edition, Mr. O'Reilly makes frequent references to his Peabody Award, although apparently neither he nor Inside Edition ever received one. In spite of making more than $4 Million a year (with a $20 Million contract apparently in the works), Mr. O'Reilly is a self-proclaimed common man, who understands our plight. In his quest for spin-less journalism, his two most powerful tools are the the following expressions, typically utilised when he's been clearly caught off guard regarding some actual facts:

"Well, that's YOUR opinion, and I guess we're all entitled to opinions"

OR

"I'm sorry, but this is a NO SPIN ZONE"

The second expression is used to quickly disqualify any remarks made by the guest immediately prior to its utterance.

We'll be posting all our emails and their responses here at Echopraxia.org beginning October 11. Check back!

Read The O'Reilly Emails>

 

Read The O'Reilly Emails>

Don't smash your TV yet, just turn it off for awhile and see if you can still read...

Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace
cover
Gore Vidal's essays rival those of George Orwell in their insight and clarity. Although given to some occasional liberal rants, his commentary is nevertheless informed and thought-provoking.

Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy
cover
With almost mind-numbing detail, this book explores the complicated events leading up to September 11, 2001. A skilled novelist could only dream of weaving a tale this complex and fueled by such interesting characters, many of whom are powerful figures rarely mentioned in the mainstream media. A must-read if you still feel unsettled about why 9/11 happened.

Holy War, Inc.: Inside The Secret World of Osama bin Laden
cover
Even though he's a CNN employee, Mr Bergen seems to have covered the bases while assembling this book. We especially enjoyed ironic details like bin Laden's original call to aggression being composed in Microsoft Word, on a Mac. Think Different!

 

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