Sunday, July 11, 2004

Greasing the Media Machine

By Carl Sundberg
Pulse columnist
May 06, 2004

It seems to me that large-scale media have abandoned objectivity in the form of half-truths. The function of the media have become nothing more than a megaphone for politicians and businesses.

Here's a fine example: On April 29, the president of the United States, alongside the vice president, faced the 9-11 Commission for more than three hours behind the closed doors of the Oval Office. After the meeting with the commission, the president walked into the Rose Garden and made the smiling announcement that he "answered every question that they asked," just like a good president would. No one involved in major media really questioned this except for fringe Internet sites and left-wing opponents of the Bush administration.

Since his testimony was not recorded because he was not sworn in, and since nobody was able to hear anything that went on, how does anyone know if there were any questions asked at all? What were some of these questions? Nobody knows except the 9-11 Commission, Bush and Cheney. For all we know, they could have been playing Nintendo GameCube that entire time. The world will never know.

We do know the 9-11 Commission was appointed to investigate the attacks of Sept. 11. And part of an investigation is to ask tough questions. I watched the public hearings. There were no tough questions and no shining answers. Just practiced press-release phrases and boring details about how bureaucracy works. And afterward, there were no vibrant in-depth looks or analysis of the events by American media -- except once again, fringe Internet sites. I've been searching for good information using strong sources for this column for a week, and I've come up with nothing, except from, that's right, fringe Internet sites and whacko conspiracists. The mainstream media are buttoned up like a straight jacket.

But since I am a twig on the massive media tree, these are some questions that I feel are important, that I would ask Bush: Why weren't fighter planes scrambled immediately upon seeing flights moving off course all heading in the same direction? Why were you in Florida reading books to children when the nation was being attacked? How did the Pentagon get hit? What the hell does Iraq have to do with Sept. 11? What the hell is wrong with you?

OK, so maybe I shouldn't be on the 9-11 Commission.

But the people who are on this commission shouldn't be on there, either. According to the official Web site,, this committee is an "independent, bipartisan commission created by congressional legislation and the signature of President George W. Bush." What? Seriously? Yes. The 9-11 Commission was created by our president. In my mind, this is the equivalent to Charles Manson getting to pick his jury. The media were all over that one -- if you are referring to fringe Internet sites, that is.

So, what about this committee? Has any news program given an in-depth look at anyone on this board? I've yet to see it. I'll bet most of you out there couldn't tell me the names of anyone on this thing.

I'll tell you two names that concern me the most: Thomas Kean and Philip Zelikow. Here's why: Kean, chairman of the 9-11 Commission, is a former New Jersey governor and, according to Fortune magazine, has business ties to the bin Laden family. Hmm, that's interesting. Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9-11 Commission, is a former aide to the national security adviser under the first Bush administration. After leaving the White House, he wrote a book with Condoleezza Rice called, "Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft." A month after Sept. 11, Bush Jr. appointed Zelikow to the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Nice.

It seems to me that these two people pose a conflict of interest. It seems to me that this 9-11 Commission is nothing more than a charade, a Wizard of Oz-type distraction, to keep us from seeing the man behind the curtain. By having an "official" committee doing this investigation, it quells the skeptics. "Well, we did an investigation, son," the Bush administration will say. And the media will nod and wag their tails like the lapdogs they are.

In an honest world, this commission would not be made up of key political figures with connections to those who are being investigated. It would be comprised of an amalgamation of various thinkers from multiple backgrounds, disciplines, and perhaps, even multiple nations. Oh, and Bush would not get to pick them. And if you really wanted to make things interesting, you would have relatives of the Sept. 11 victims on the committee.

Will the non-fringe media ever come to this conclusion? I doubt it. Their job is to report exactly what they are told. Keep up the good work guys.


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