Let me start by saying thanks for what you guys do. Of all the alt-media/info groups, FAIR is my favorite. To get quickly to the point, I’ve been introduced very recently to 9/11 conspiracy information. Let me say that I’ve never “believed” in any conspiracy whatsoever. I’ve intentionally steered clear of such things, knowing that there’s plenty of issues where there’s “no conspiracy needed,” to use the phrase, and that I’d lose all credibility with every-thing else—stances on war, poverty issues, water issues, torture issues, etc.—by even mentioning having read about such a subject. Nonetheless, it seems that there are close to endless contradictions, questions, etc., concerning the coverage of 9/11 in the media. Why did FAIR not mention any of these? Even without totally endorsing a conspiratorial view, I would’ve expected FAIR to point these things out.
The editor replies:
As a media watch group, FAIR and its outlets are not the place for original investigative reporting, on the events of September 11 or anything else. In terms of media criticism, we’ve yet to see an alternative to the standard account that the World Trade Center was brought down by passenger planes that is compelling enough for us to take corporate media to task for failing to include it.
TV Is Obsolete
The letter from Andrew Lopez in your July Extra! (re: “Digital Justice for All,” 5/09) expresses my feelings, too. It’s TV that’s obsolete, not newspapers. This morning I got the world and national headlines from my cell phone, later details from the Internet, watched blather about Michael Jackson for most of the half hour I watched TV, then read our paper, which is smart enough to devote half a page to world and national news and most of the rest to local news it can cover best. Most TV news is too much about too little. Excuse me while I go back to my book. Best wishes for your continued success.
Shirley E. Hastings
Killing Newspapers Will Kill Democracy
Cheerful Charlies are hailing the death of newspapers. They could not be more wrong. In the past six decades, the priority of our government has been endless unprovoked wars and state-sponsored terror waged against imaginary threats, behavior which has cost trillions and killed millions. Meanwhile, half the population is living in poverty or near-poverty, neighborhoods, towns, cities and even states are blighted and polluted. Education is grossly underfunded and the healthcare system is mainly a device to transfer cash from the public to providers.
All of this has been done to the nation by the elected representatives of both parties. Why do people vote to elect them and re-elect them? Because they know not what they do. Our media do not inform voters about the behavior of those they elect. National media do not cover local elections, and local broadcast news is all crime, fires, weather and sports. Only local newspapers have the means to sustain democracy and an informed electorate.
This does not mean that they do so. The owners of chains see no obligation to the communities they cover, and even local owners may have aristocratic disdain for the well-being of their readers and be comfortable with the status quo. Local political coverage, if there is any, is mostly limited to self-serving press releases of candidates. But local newspapers are the last best hope for the nation, and their disappearance will remove even the possibility of democratic government.
When asked why he chose to live in East Germany after the war, Bert Brecht said it was the choice between a syphilitic old roué and a diseased prostitute who was, however, pregnant. That’s sufficient reason to defend newspapers.
No Voice for Undocumented Immigrants
I understand the part in the article [“Arpaio vs. Immigrants,” 6/09] about not harassing people of color. No one can argue with the notion that people of color should not be harassed. It is an important issue to bring to the nation’s attention if this sheriff is out harassing people unfairly. However, the following snippet out of your article seems rather strange to me:
Rubi, a single mother [in this country illegally] who recently lost her job and feared getting picked up by sheriff deputies, was included once again in the program, but her voice was certainly far outweighed by people much less affected by Arpaio’s policies.
Does this mean FAIR believes news sources reporting on illegal immigration should give illegal immigrants a “voice”? Where is the outrage in not giving illegal immigrants a “voice”? Isn’t that like giving bank robbers a voice whenever a bank is robbed? They are here illegally. They have broken the law of this land. They may be the nicest, sweetest people in the world, but they have committed a crime by not documenting themselves in our country. If a bank robber is a “nice guy,” do we let him rob banks?
Once upon a time I was an admiring follower of FAIR, but this is the sort of stuff which I just can’t understand. Maybe I am misunderstanding the article or maybe there is some aspect of the issue that I am missing. If so, I apologize for the misunderstanding.
The editor replies:
Actually, it’s not generally a crime to enter or remain in the U.S. without a valid visa; it’s a civil violation, not a criminal offense (Office of the U.S. Attorney General, 1/7/09).