If It Bleeds, It Leads (part 1)

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

There are many who support Rep. Joe Wilson calling the President a liar.  Unfortunately, these individuals forgot a very important and pertinent person; Rep. Pete Starks.  During a speech given on the floor of the House, Rep. Pete Starks (D-CA), called Republican’s and President Bush a liar.  It wasn’t TO President Bush’s face during an address to Congress he was giving, but, on the House floor.  The conservative blog HotAir noted that Republicans called for a motion of censure of Rep. Pete Starks at the time with him ultimately apologizing on the House floor.  But, the Democrat’s are merely playing politics with the motion of disapproval of Rep. Joe Wilson for his remarks.  And, unlike Rep. Pete Starks, Rep. Joe Wilson refuses to apologize from the House floor.


So, who tracked down this bit of political hypocrisy from the GOP?  No, not the “traditional” media that is moving on to the next “he said/she said” story of the day.  No, not The State newspaper from South Carolina that should be dealing with issues related to South Carolina.  It was a blog, specifically, Crooks and Liars.  You know, blogs, those entities that the traditional media loves to make fun of?  The entity that is making traditional media obsolete?  The new source of factual, investigative journalism that is driving the traditional media further and further into oblivion?

Rep. Pete Starks said what he said, then, like a man, he went to the floor of the House and gave his apology.  Rep. Joe Wilson said what he said, then, like a coward taking his marching orders from Rush Limbaugh who lamented that he had apologized, refuses to be a man and go to the floor of the House to apologize.

If this was simply about Rep. Wilson’s lack of civility, morality, and integrity, the story could stop there.  But, it isn’t.  It is part of a wider story where millions of people in America live without health insurance because they simply cannot afford it.  It is part of a story where people who do have health insurance are being bankrupted, every single year, because the cost of health care, even with insurance, is too high for people to afford.  It is part of a story where people, for no rational reason, oppose their own ability to have access to affordable health care as long as they can take down a Democratic President, and, the health of our nation with him.  Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst, his incivility, his lack of integrity, and his lack of morality, is tied to the issue of health care reform because his outburst was made about health care reform.

As newspapers across America cut more and more workers, as was done at The State in the Spring this year, those people are suddenly left without a health care plan, and, with an unemployment check that in no way can afford COBRA.  Most people live in a household where both the husband and wife must work in order to pay the bills and have money left over.  If one of them loses their job, the paycheck of the other barely makes the bills.  

The GOP has locked itself to any position, as long as that position opposes President Obama’s.  In this case, it is being against health care reform, and, who can blame them when their campaign coffers are funded yearly by corporations who don’t want reform.  Even some Democratic politicians are against reform because they, too, have taken large sums of money from corporations to pad their campaign coffers.  But, not one Republican is willing to stand up for the people they claim to serve.  Not ONE.  And, people have noticed.

People see who is on which side in this issue.  The GOP states, as a Party; NO, to people getting affordable health care.  

The media, well, it simply cannot say that someone is lying, much less, that a person who is part of the political Party that holds power in their state is lying.  That would mean taking sides on an issue, and, that isn’t the media’s job.  It is simply to report every story as a “he said/she said”, gin up controversy, and watch the ratings or subscribership rise.  Except, it isn’t rising in the world of newspapers, it is declining.  Ad revenue is declining.  

Do you think that Judith Miller writing bogus stories to get us into the Iraq war had anything to do with the loss of public trust in newspapers?  How about David Gregory, who used to ask tough questions, then when he got the gig at the White House, suddenly, couldn’t be bothered to ask anything but softballs, going so far as to ask Gov. Mark Sanford to go on his show with the caveat that he could say whatever he wanted?  Don’t you think that the majority of people have watched the media’s actions, or inaction, and made up their mind on who is actually fulfilling the role of journalist today?  

When I had my meeting with Mr. Haitz, I was told that The State only covered local stories, ie, those about the area and state.  Except, The State hasn’t done so well covering its own politicians, from its own state, now has it?  Senator’s from South Carolina can write a letter and The State publish’s it.  No fact checking.  That act turns The State newspaper into stenographer and publisher for its politicians, not a media source.

When politicians get into serious trouble, The State runs into hiding, hoping to “ignore” the issue or having to comment on it (Ms. Scoppe’s own term; ignore).  That turns The State newspaper into just a cheerleading political rag, not a media source.

When reporters for The State go out of their way in a story to show Democratic supporters as some lunatic fringe, while simultaneously writing about GOP “teabag” rallies as some American grassroot hero campaign, well, that simply turns the cheerleading political rag into a joke, not a media source.

But, when The State newspaper outsources to other media the coverage of the politics in South Carolina, rerunning articles from the Associated Press or McClatchy, instead of having its own reporters do their jobs, the people must ask; why?  Is The State newspaper that bought off by the politicians in South Carolina that it simply cannot run a story of its own?

Keith Olbermann started signing off with Edward Murrow’s old signoff, “good night, good luck”, because American’s wanted someone in the media to start acting like Mr. Murrow; speaking truth to power.  While I don’t always agree with Mr. Olbermann, he did speak that truth to power during President Bush’s administration, and, he is doing it again during President Obama’s administration.  The outlets on the Right cannot say the same, in fact, they simply lie to their viewers and readers.  Fox News won a lawsuit in Florida based on the argument that there was no legal requirement for it to tell the truth.  Of course, the FCC is more concerned about a woman’s breast being bared on television than it is about whether “news” sources lie about stories, sadly.

The State newspaper loves to give certain “journalists” the keys to its opinion page; Samuelson, Thomas, Krauthammer.  And it reprints whatever conservative tripe they wrote, regardless of the facts.  I don’t see many liberal writers being given the same balance, however.

Mr. Thomas is allowed to have the following reprinted by The State:

The president and his defenders can’t have it both ways. They can’t be offended when they are called liars and think nothing of labeling as liars those they don’t agree with. President Obama regularly uses the “L” word, most recently in his Labor Day and congressional speeches in which he accused his critics of spreading “lies.” Are we to believe that he is the only one virtuous enough to tell the truth and anyone who disagrees with him is lying?

Except, as I stated in the beginning of this correspondence, it isn’t the President, or his defenders, wanting it both ways.  It is Republicans.  The same Republicans who wanted Rep. Stark censured, who were appalled at his statements, now want to circle the wagons around Rep. Wilson.  And, face it, claiming health care reform will bring “death panels” IS a lie.  So, what Mr. Thomas is really arguing is why are those who lie being called out, and, why can’t the GOP gin up a fake controversy using lies if calling President Obama a liar, wrongly, is so bad.  Yet, that is the type of intellectually dishonest tripe that The State regularly reprints.  Where is the truth there?  Where are the facts?  Because all I see is Mr. Thomas wailing about how liar’s should be allowed to lie with impunity.

They used to say, “if it bleeds, it leads”.  Well, American’s are bleeding, some to death, because they cannot afford health insurance.  But, that isn’t the front page on any newspaper.


  1. He just did it for the wrong reasons.  See, Wilson did himself lie when he said the bills now being floated would cover illegal aliens.  But Obama was in fact lying about many things in his glorified scolding of Congress.  For instance, he lied when he said that passing single-payer would disrupt the coverage of those who currently have health insurance.  He lied when he said that he supported a public option, for he and his inner circle of corporate thugs were caught making back room deals with Big Insurance and Big Pharmaceuticals to completely gut whatever passes for reform.

    But this is beside the point.  Both the Republicans and their enablers in the right-wing media, as well as the right-wing Democrats bending over backwards to gut health care reform (this includes Obama), are outright lying to us.  They are conspiring, if not with each other, to pass only the illusion of health care reform, thinking they can pass off an impossible mandate to buy private health insurance and nothing else.

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