I am thrilled about the Downing Street Hearing. I am so proud that, along with John Conyers and the 122 members of Congress, there were over 560,000 citzens that signed the letter asking for accountablilty from this Administration regarding the Downing Street Minutes. And I am especially proud that it was the liberal blogosphere that largely kept this alive when the White House and the mainstream media pointedly ignored it, hoping it would wither away without their attention.
However, this brings up a very serious question about the mainstream media in general - the newspapers and the major network news in particular. What good is the blogosphere alone when most of America is not a part of it?
I don't know about you, but most of the people in my life are not umbilically attached to a computer like I am. The majority of Americans do not get their information from the Internet. Most folks manage America Online, and that's the extent of their computer use. Even many people who use a computer all day long at work don't come home and go onto the computer - they've spent enough time on it at work. And with our economy shipwrecked by the Pirate-in-Chief, most people work longer hours than ever before, many with more than one job (how 'uniquely American') and still deal with home, kids, or elderly parents on top of this - sometimes all three.
And when they come home, they turn on the Channel 7 news. Or read the newspaper. They don't go to Daily Kos or Raw Story or Buzzflash. And the mainstream news outlets are abnegating their responsibility to these people. Whether it's from fear or from laziness, from the publishers on down, the major media have abandoned not only the obligation but the privilege of telling the independent truth to America. The Fourth Estate has the honor and civic duty of defending America's freedom by telling the truth, by digging below the surface and between the lines of what it hears. If it takes everything disseminated by the Administration (any Administration, not just this one) at face value, and merely repeats what it's told by the powers-that-be, then it ceases to be journalism and becomes propaganda. And that's criminally negligent, as far as I'm concerned. You are actively injuring American freedom when you become a mouthpiece.
Sure, it's easy to say to Americans, "Get informed! Go on the Internet! Look it up for yourself!" But the sad truth is, most people don't have the time or energy to do that. Yes, the people have an obligation to pay attention to what's going on in the country. But if real, unbiased information is too difficult to find, it's not fair to expect all Americans to become computer sleuths in addition to everything else.
In order to stay informed, we are having to become investigative journalists ourselves. And today's world is so complex and multi-faceted that it is a full-time job just to separate the sh** from the Shinola, so to speak. Journalism is a profession, or it used to be. One aspect of a profession is a matter of trust. If you go to a doctor or a lawyer, you are putting your trust in them, since we all can't spend years in med school or law school. You are literally putting your life into their hands. And we put the life of our democracy in the hands of our press.
Please, please, honor your obligation to the American people, ladies and gentlemen of the press. We need you now more than ever.
I promise you, you'll be glad you did.