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Volume 70, Issue 23, Thursday, September 23, 2004

Opinion
 

Media slacks in reporting, responsibility

Salvador Garcia
Opinion Columnist

Is the media really liberal? Fox News likes to bill itself as being "fair and balanced." Ask any right-winger, and they'll tell you that CNN is a pinko-commie left-wing propaganda machine. Even the gold standard of journalism, 60 Minutes, is being accused of pushing the leftist agenda. But is the media really as liberal as conservatives like to think?

If CNN is liberal, it is like a Bill Clinton liberal.

Many say Clinton was so popular because he acceded to the wishes of big business, which is mostly what Republicans are known for. Clinton was from a new breed of Democrats who tried to help the little people by providing social programs, but felt no need to punish big business in the process. This went against the trend of previous Democrats, who were traditionally much more populist.

It seems counterintuitive to say that you can be for the little people and for big business. It seemed that Clinton's way of thinking was that the little people are going to get exploited anyway, so we might as well not make enemies out of the money makers. That way everybody will be happy and businesses can go on exploiting them, but then they'll also let me pass a welfare bill and raise taxes. But I won't raise taxes on businesses, just on people, especially rich people. This way you split rich people's votes because the business owners may not be that resentful that their income is being taxed at a higher rate while their business is being taxed at a much lower rate. Rich people will be making more money regardless. In fact, the wealthiest one percent of taxpayers in the United States get their income from seven different sources. This means that, on average, millionaires must have a stake in at least a couple of businesses.

When Bush first took office, there were two huge controversies: the arsenic levels in drinking water, and oil drilling in Alaska. Both of those things were last-minute policies instituted by Clinton in his last few days at the White House. It was a shrewd move by Clinton to portray Bush as an environment-hater and enemy of the people. Clinton knew that Bush would have to go back and change those policies because it would have been too expensive to install new filters all across the country in municipal water pipes. Arsenic was always in the water. 

People just didn't know. But now that they know there's arsenic in the water, people were thanking God Clinton was there to make sure they took out the arsenic. Clinton left it up to Bush to put arsenic back to the old levels. So the headlines were, "Bush to Raise the Levels of Arsenic in Drinking Water." Who wants to drink arsenic? 

As for the Alaska oil drilling, it seemed like Clinton took out a marker, arbitrarily drew a circle and said, "we're going to make this a national park. You can't drill here." This may seem to contradict the statement that Clinton was for big business. However, he was only supporting big business because it was a shrewd way to win the presidency. Upon his departure, he didn't have to please the voters anymore, so why not do something that is perceived as pro-environmental, while at the same time making Bush seem like a jerk. Clinton must have been laughing the entire time he was signing this into law.

Both of these controversial issues were in the news for a long time, but only because they were forced into the spotlight by two feuding presidents. It takes the truly liberal Hollywood crowd to expose the more dastardly issues. Take the movies Erin Brockovich, A Civil Action and The Insider to name a few. 

It took great movies by great actors to get the word out. In general, people don't want to hear conspiracy theories. Big businesses know this, so they get away with as much as they can. The liberal media allowed this; they should have been reporting it from day one -- but that's just one of the things they hid from the public.

Garcia, a columnist for The Daily Cougar, 
can be reached at dccampus@mail.uh.edu

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