Monday, June 23, 2003

Welcome to the United States of Argentina?

Remember the Argentine "Dirty War" and its los Desaparecidos (the Disappeared)? Thought it couldn't ever happen here in the land of the brave and home of the free? Think again.

Jimmy Breslin is scared for us, and for the depths to which the press has sunk, and he's taking me along for the ride:

Now there is a charge by the government that terrorists intended to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge, or pull it down. Simultaneously, while protecting the bridge, the government was doing frightening damage to the life of the country.

Because of it, I am thinking that it could be time for me to begin thinking about leaving this news business. It is not mine anymore. Let me tell you why.

Friday, the newspapers and television reported the following matter with no anger or effort to do anything other than serve as stenographers for the government:

On March 1, give or take a day, in Columbus, Ohio, the FBI arrested an American citizen they say is Iyman Faris. There wasn't a word uttered. He vanished. No lawyer was notified. He made no phone calls and wrote no postcards or letters.

He was a United States citizen who disappeared without a trace into a secret metal world.


This government's kidnapping of Faris/Rauf violated the laws handed down by Madison, Jefferson, Marshall. A small religious zealot, John Ashcroft, takes their great laws and bravery and using our new Patriot Act, turns it into Fascism.

He could do this openly because news reporters go about the government like gardeners, bent over, smiling and nodding when one of the owners shows up. You only have to look at a White House news conference to see how they aggressively pursue your right to know.

The newspeople stand when the president comes into the room. They really do. They don't sit until he tells them to. You tell them a lie and they say, "Sir."

And now you have a citizen kidnapped by agents and there is no anger. The day's news is about a children's book, and a has-been heavyweight, Mike Tyson, under arrest in a Brooklyn precinct at the foot of the bridge. Newspeople like to be called "journalists" and write of "the need to protect sources." They don't have any. Here's a guy held for three months and nobody even got a phone call.

The newest attribution in today's news reporting is, "senior law enforcement official." That is news report for a cop. Newspeople can speak French all over the place but I know of only two reporters in New York who can speak Arabic, and one of them is in the Middle East now and is of no help. That means you can't even quote somebody and attribute it to a "senior Arab."

There is not even the beginnings of anger about an American kidnapped by his government, over freedom being taken from us all, and bet me you won't see it back. The newspeople are comfortable with being known as the "media." That is a dangerous word; all evil rises around those afflicted with it.

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