Labor Week
Amazing Free Press
By Henry Meyerding
Feb 4, 2007 - 12:43:00 PM

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When I was a kid, one of the family things we did was to go to demonstrations and vigils protesting the Vietnam War. Sometimes we had room to take friends along, too, but mostly we just went as a family. We had a tradition of war resistance and had become accustomed to attending demonstrations and marches during the civil rights movement. I don't call that we debated going or not, we just went.

Well, this past weekend about a million Americans followed that fine democratic tradition and with their families and their friends they attended anti-war rallies in various places around the country... about half did so in Washington D.C.

And yet, come Monday and there's no mention of them in my local paper, nor on local TV. They are similarly absent from mention in the New York Times or any mainstream news organization, save Pacifica. Must be some more of this "Liberal Press" we hear about. It is hard to think of any other activity that involved a million people in this country that would get absolutely no mention in the national press. If a half a million people marched in Washington to demand the repeal of Rowe vs. Wade, there would be 12 minutes of every half hour news show devoted to the event for a week and 60 point screamer headline and color picture on page one of every newspaper in the country.

Thirty years ago, we also had a pretty unanimous (aka responsible) press in this country, but you'd still get some third page mention in some of the papers, especially local ones. I have always wondered how you can believe in a free and independent media when every single solitary media entity includes and dis-includes the same news. Nationally, we used to poke fun at the Soviet press - 1700 newspapers, in eighty languages, and all with the same headlines. I don't know if we even have 1700 newspapers left in this country, but I bet we have twice that number of TV stations. I wonder how many of them did more than say "anti-war protests in Washington last weekend were smaller than projected."

To me, saying something like that isn't a mention, it's worse than a lie. It is almost always the result of a coldly calculated disinformation campaign, a kind of anti-advertising that is engaged in by the powerful to keep the options of the many pitifully few and far between. Very occasionally, you see someone like George W pretending to be a statesman, saying something like "these protesters are giving comfort to the enemies of freedom." If that sounds like a familiar refrain, it should. It's been used by just about every crooked politician from Coolidge through Nixon, trying to shore-up a program or policy that was wildly unpopular with the American people. Whenever you hear it, you can be sure that someone is trying to do something nefarious and anti-democratic.

I sincerely hope that someday soon, the American people wake up to what people are trying to sell them and see it for what it is: naked oppression mascarading as security and tyranny hiding behind a phony facade of democracy. Remember, what our government does to other people in the world is only practice for what they'll try on us here at home, by and by. No amount of “responsible” journalism will protect us from this any more than it will inform us about it, after it has happened to us.



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