Just some stuff I picked up

I don't know how true this is - but it sounds believable - and it'd explain a lot.

>Subject: Another Election Story
>Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 17:05:32 -0800
>Copied below you'll find an article on the American media
>coverage of the election. ....Scary.
>Silence Of The Lambs: The Election Story Never Told
>By Greg Palast
>Here's how the president of the United States was elected: In the
>months leading up to the November balloting, Florida Governor Jeb
>Bush and his Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, ordered local
>elections supervisors to purge 64,000 voters from voter lists on the
>grounds that they were felons who were not entitled to vote in
>Florida. As it turns out, these voters weren't felons, or at least,
>only a very few were.
>However, the voters on this "scrub list" were, notably, African-
>American (about 54 percent), while most of the others wrongly barred
>from voting were white and Hispanic Democrats.
>Beginning in November, this extraordinary news ran, as it should, on
>Page 1 of the country's leading paper. Unfortunately, it was in the
>wrong country: Britain. In the United States, it ran on page zero -
>that is, the story was not covered on the news pages. The theft of the
>presidential race in Florida also was given big television network
>coverage. But again, it was on the wrong continent: on BBC television,
>Was this some off-the-wall story that the Brits misreported? A lawyer
>for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission called it the first hard evidence
>of a systematic attempt to disenfranchise black voters; the commission
>held dramatic hearings on the evidence. While the story was absent
>from America's news pages (except, I grant, a story in the Orlando
>Sentinel and another on C-Span), columnists for The New York Times,
>Boston Globe and Washington Post cited the story after seeing a U.S.
>version on the Internet magazine As the reporter on the
>story for Britain's Guardian newspaper (and its Sunday edition, The
>Observer) and for BBC television, I was interviewed on several
>American radio programs, generally "alternative" stations on the left
>side of the dial.
>Interviewers invariably asked the same two questions, "Why was this
>story uncovered by a British reporter?" And, "Why was it published in
>and broadcast from Europe?"
>I'd like to know the answer myself. That way I could understand why I
>had to move my family to Europe in order to print and broadcast this
>and other crucial stories about the American body politic in
>mainstream media. The bigger question is not about the putative
>brilliance of the British press. I'd rather ask how a hundred
>thousand U.S. journos failed to get the vote theft story and print it
>(and preferably before the election).
>Think about "investigative" reporting. The best investigative stories
>are expensive to produce, risky and upset the wisdom of the
>established order. Do profit-conscious enterprises, whether media
>companies or widget firms, seek extra costs, extra risk and the
>opportunity to be attacked? Not in any business text I've ever read.
>I can't help but note that the Guardian and Observer is the world's
>only leading newspaper owned by a not-for-profit corporation, as is
>BBC television.
>But if profit-lust is the ultimate problem blocking significant
>investigative reportage, the more immediate cause of comatose coverage
>of the election and other issues is what is laughably called America's
>"journalistic culture." If the Rupert Murdochs of the globe are
>shepherds of the new world order, they owe their success to breeding a
>flock of docile sheep, the editors and reporters snoozy and content
>with munching on, digesting, then reprinting a diet of press releases
>and canned stories provided by officials and corporation public
>relations operations.
>Take this story of the list of Florida's faux felons that cost Al Gore
>the election. Shortly after the UK and Salon stories hit the worldwide
>web, I was contacted by a CBS network news producer ready to run their
>own version of the story. The CBS hotshot was happy to pump me for
>information: names, phone numbers, all the items one needs for a
>quickie TV story.
>I also freely offered up to CBS this information: The office of the
>governor of Florida, brother of the Republican presidential candidate,
>had illegally ordered the removal of the names of felons from voter
>rolls - real felons, but with the right to vote under Florida law. As
>a result, thousands of these legal voters, almost all Democrats,
>would not be allowed to vote.
>One problem: I had not quite completed my own investigation on this
>matter. Therefore CBS would have to do some actual work, reviewing
>documents and law, and obtaining statements. The next day I received a
>call from the producer, who said, "I'm sorry, but your story didn't
>hold up." Well, how did the multibillion-dollar CBS network determine
>this? Why, "we called Jeb Bush's office." Oh. And that was it.
>I wasn't surprised by this type of "investigation." It is, in fact,
>standard operating procedure for the little lambs of American
>journalism. One good, slick explanation from a politician or corporate
>chieftain and it's case closed, investigation over. The story ran
>anyway: on BBC-TV. Let's understand the pressures on the CBS producer
>that led her to kill the story on the basis of a denial by the target
>of the allegations. (Though let's not confuse understanding with
>First, the story is difficult to tell in the usual 90 seconds allotted
>for national reports. The BBC gave me a 14-minute slot to explain it.
>Second, the story required massive and quick review of documents,
>hundreds of phone calls and interviews, hardly a winner in the
>slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am school of U.S. journalism. The BBC gave me
>two weeks to develop the story.
>Third, the revelations in the story required a reporter to stand up
>and say the big name politicians, their lawyers and their PR people
>were freaking liars. It would be much easier, and a heck of a lot
>cheaper, to wait for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to do the work,
>then cover the Commission's canned report and press conference. Wait!
>You've watched "Murphy Brown," so you think reporters hanker every
>day to uncover the big scandal. Bullshit. Remember, "All the
>President's Men" was so unusual they had to make a movie out of it.
>Fourth, investigative reports require taking a chance. Fraudsters and
>vote-riggers don't reveal all their evidence. And they lie. Make the
>allegation and you are open to attack, or unknown information that may
>prove you wrong. No one ever lost their job writing canned statements
>from a press conference.
>Fifth - and this is no small matter - no one ever got sued for not
>running an investigative story. Let me give you an example close to
>home. The companion report to my investigation of the theft of the
>election in Florida was a story about Bush family finances. I wrote in
>the Guardian and Observer of London about the gold-mining company for
>which the first President George Bush worked after he left the White
>House. Oh, you didn't know that George H. W. Bush worked for a
>gold-mining company after he lost to Bill Clinton in 1992? Well, maybe
>it has to do with the fact that this company has a long history of
>suing every paper that breathes a word it does not like - in fact, it
>has now sued my papers. I've gotten awards and thousands of letters
>for these stories, but, honey, that don't pay the legal bills.
>Finally, there's another little matter working against U.S. reporters
>running after the hard stories, papers printing them or TV
>broadcasting the good stuff. I'll explain by way of my phone call
>with a great reporter, Mike Isikoff of Newsweek. Just before the
>elections, Isikoff handed me some exceptionally important information
>about President Clinton, material suggesting corruption in office -
>the real stuff, not the interns-under-the-desk stuff. I said, "Mike,
>why the hell don't you run it yourself?" and he said, "Because no one
>gives a shit!" Isikoff was expressing his exasperation with the news
>chiefs who kill or bury these stories on page 200 on the belief that
>the public really doesn't want to hear all this bad and very un-sexy
>news. These lambchop editors believe the public just doesn't care.
>But they're wrong. When I ran my first story in the London Observer
>about the theft of the Florida vote, Americans by the thousands
>flooded our Internet site. They set a record for hits before the
>information-hungry hordes blew down our giant server computers. When
>BBC ran the story, viewership of the webcast of Newsnight grew by
>10,000 percent as a result of Americans demanding to see what they
>were denied on their own tubes. Obviously, some Americans care.
>And it's for them that I say, This is Greg Palast reporting from
>- Investigative reporter and MediaChannel advisor Greg Palast
>( writes a fortnightly column,
>Inside Corporate America, for
>The Observer of London (Guardian Media Group).
>His stories about the purge of Florida voters are collected
>on his Web site,

Back home | Music