June 7, 2004
Gore's Truth Carries Weight, But Falls on Media's Deaf Ears
BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
It's been a little more than a week since Al Gore called for the resignation of the administration's foreign policy team, including that of CIA Director George Tenet. Lo and behold, Friday, June 4, 2004 Tenet resigned among growing turmoil and demands of accountability. One day later CIA covert operations chief James Pavitt announced his retirement. Everyone stepped down for "personal reasons," of course. And as always, no credit goes to the man who most forcefully speaks for the opposition movement in America today. But as always, his voice is heard. It is only ignored by the mainstream media.
Al Gore's speech on May 26 was anything but ordinary. Seldom has such a searing indictment been leveled at a sitting administration by such a high-ranking political figure -- the nation's vice president for eight years and the man whom a majority of Americans elected president in the 2000 election. And seldom have the words rung so chillingly true. Yet seldom if ever has such a powerful denunciation by such a prominent figure been suppressed with such impunity by the national media.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration's umpteenth color-of-the-month terrorist alert was played up in every headline, from dusk till dawn the day of Gore's speech. The concept of news value has clearly been lost in the national media's ongoing and unprecedented attempt to pamper, protect and promote this administration at all costs.
Vice President Gore's address was not your run-of-the-mill anti-Bush speech. Gore asked for the resignation of the administration's entire foreign policy team -- from Secretary Rumsfeld on down. Even more significantly, he boldly accused the administration of extraordinary and unprecedented crimes.
Gore denounced the Bush administration for waging a war that's "a catastrophe without any comparison;" for encouraging war crimes at Abu Ghraib by abandoning the Geneva Convention; of destroying the foreign policy consensus that has guided our foreign policy since World War II; of ignoring the rule of law and lying to the American people; of ignoring the advice of its own counselors; of conducting a foreign policy based on dominance and arrogance; of exposing Americans to a greater threat of terrorism than before 9/11; of utter incompetence; of destroying America's reputation in the world; and of pursuing policies that have resulted in the deaths of thousands.
"How dare the incompetent and willful members of this Bush-Cheney Administration humiliate our nation and our people in the eyes of the world and in the conscience of our own people?" Gore said. "How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace? How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison?"
Gore's statements are either to be dismissed as false, in which case the doubters bear the responsibility of disproving them, given Gore's stature and the fact that he has documented each of his charges with facts and quotes –- most of them from members of Bush's own administration. Or else, Gore's unprecedented indictment, which calls for an end to our "national nightmare," should have made headlines everywhere. But the national media was MIA, too busy telling us how afraid we should be.
Could this be the same news media that only a few brief years ago used to make daily headlines with right-wing outcries at President Clinton’s every utterance and action, regardless of the prominence or credibility of the source? Is this the same media that gave top play day after day, year after year, to Ken Starr's personal vendetta against Clinton, which cost our nation $100 million and did not produce a shred of evidence against the former president? Where was the respect for the presidency THEN?
And now, the most alarming charges against this administration -- everything from the lies that started the Iraq quagmire to the recent calls for investigating Cheney’s role in awarding the no-bid Halliburton contract -- are all swept under the rug.
At any other time these charges would have resulted in front-page headlines and instant calls for impeachment. Against any other president, they would have been cause for following through with it.
In closing his speech, Al Gore said:
"I believe we have a duty to hold President Bush accountable -- and I believe we will. As Lincoln said at our time of greatest trial, 'We -- even we here -- hold the power, and bear the responsibility.'"
That responsibility holds true for the media as well. Or used to, when the media was more than an unofficial arm of the White House.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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