Wednesday 09 March 2011
by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
The "news" is all too happy to follow the plunging arc of Charlie Sheen's career, while Governor Walker of Wisconsin is preparing to fire state workers out of spite. (Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Angela George, Peter Roome)
I was watching "Family Guy" the other day on the local Boston Fox affiliate when they interrupted the broadcast for the following news bulletin. I quote: "Charlie Sheen may joke about them, but witches and warlocks in Salem say it's no laughing matter. See why tonight on Fox News."
No, really. That happened.
With all due and deserved respect to Wiccans, witches and warlocks, please for the love of God give me a freakin' break already. The "mainstream" news media is so mouth-frothingly desperate to gin up a distraction - any distraction - to avoid reporting real news that the entire industry has latched on to the downward spiral of a half-assed actor like it is the end of the world. Charlie Sheen is gutting his life for all to see, the ultimate bread and circus, and the "news" is all too happy to follow the plunging arc of his career for the same reason they show car chases and house fires.
Meanwhile, Governor Walker of Wisconsin is preparing to fire state workers out of spite, because he has thus far been thwarted in his attempt to gut collective bargaining rights in his state. Every poll, from both right and left, show him getting crushed in the court of public opinion, and recall efforts are already underway against Wisconsin state senate Republicans who support his actions. US Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and state Sen. Leah Vukmir got chased out of a town hall meeting in Wisconsin by constituents furious over Walker's activities, in an ironic turnabout of the health care Town Hall mayhem from a couple of years ago.
Meanwhile, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is preparing to undertake his own version of the House Un-American Activities hearings of the McCarthy Red Scare era, except this time, he's gunning for a religion instead of a political philosophy. Rep. King, according to the New York Times, "is scheduled to open a series of hearings that seem designed to stoke fear against American Muslims. His refusal to tone down the provocation despite widespread opposition suggests that he is far more interested in exploiting ethnic misunderstanding than in trying to heal it." The announcement and intent of these hearings brought a stern rebuke from another group of Americans who are all too aware of the danger posed when scapegoats are led to the slaughterhouse:
Spurred by memories of the World War II-era roundup and internment of 110,000 of their own people, Japanese Americans, especially on the West Coast, have been among the most vocal and passionate supporters of embattled Muslims. They've rallied public support against hate crimes at mosques, signed on to legal briefs opposing the indefinite detention of Muslims by the government, organized cross-cultural trips to the Manzanar internment camp memorial in California and held "Bridging Communities" workshops in Islamic schools and on college campuses.
Last week Rep. Michael M. Honda (D-Calif.), 69, who as a child spent several wartime years living behind barbed wire at Camp Amache in southeastern Colorado, denounced King's hearings as "something similarly sinister."
"Rep. King's intent seems clear: To cast suspicion upon all Muslim Americans and to stoke the fires of anti-Muslim prejudice and Islamophobia," Honda wrote in an op-ed published by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Meanwhile, nine children in Afghanistan were killed while gathering wood by an American attack helicopter. Six people were killed in Basra, Iraq, when a bomb meant for US military personnel exploded next to a civilian bus. Another roadside bomb killed four people in Hilla, Iraq. A high school boy and a college student were gunned down in Baghdad. A radio station was taken over by gunmen in Kalar.
Meanwhile, President Obama donned his George W. Bush hat and authorized the continuation of the policy of indefinite detention at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, thrilling the pants off of neo-conservatives everywhere. His promise to close the place down has turned to so much dust, blown away along with any number of other promises made and broken since Inauguration Day.
So, yeah. Labor insurrection, Town Hall rage and a gubernatorial meltdown in Wisconsin. Vicious persecution of an entire religion in the House of Representatives, complete with Japanese internment victims standing in defense of Islam. Death and destruction continue unabated in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh, and we can hold anyone we choose in Halliburton cages for as long as we like without trial or legal representation, because Mr. Obama seems to think Mr. Bush was right when it comes to human freedom and the rule of law.
But no, let's talk about Charlie Sheen being an F-18 deploying his ordnance to the ground.
I don't think so.
I watched CNN for a while this morning. There was quite a bit about Tea Party presidential hopefuls, a little bit about the weather, and oh yeah, a whole raft of Charlie Sheen coverage. I saw nothing about Wisconsin, nothing about Rep. King dusting off the rack in the House, nothing about Iraq, and nothing about Afghanistan.
This Just In: America is dying, and the "mainstream" news media is the one sticking in the poisoned dagger.
Oh, and Charlie Sheen can kiss my ass. Get a room at the Betty Ford Clinic already, stop beating up women, get your act together, and get out of my face.
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