Days in Captivity
By W. David Jenkins III
I don't pretend to be the smartest person in the world. I
write what I feel and do my best to keep things at gut level.
I try my best to say in one sentence what others can take
a paragraph or six to say. Sometimes I'm right and sometimes
I'm way off. But I'm just a normal, ticked off guy with an
opinion like everybody else and, based upon reader response;
I guess I'm doing okay.
Along with not being the smartest person in the world comes
the problem of being computer technology challenged. Three
weeks ago I called tech support for my computer to find out
why the new CD-ROM hardware I installed wasn't working. I
was told to perform what's called an IDE write. If anybody
ever tells you to do one, don't. It writes zeroes to your
hard drive thus erasing everything. And I mean everything.
So there I was the proud owner of a $1200 paper weight with
no access to information other than what the media chose to
tell me. I spent 13 days with tech support trying to get the
thing up and running again. I began having withdrawals. I
would see Bobby Goldsboro in my dreams singing "Honey" to
a hard drive. I was a wreck.
I've made many snide remarks about the media in the past,
but it's been a long time since I've been at their complete
mercy and after the 13 days I spent exclusively with CNN,
MSNBC and CSPAN I have no intention of taking any of those
snide remarks back.
Keep in mind this time period started a few days after Sheriff
Bush made his remarks concerning the "Axis of Evil." There
he was struttin' his stuff knowing full well that any unrest
he caused in the world would be handled by others. Any conflicts
he might cause would be dealt with by those with more backbone
than he had during Viet Nam. And almost immediately Bush's
babysitters were out in full force trying to explain that
he didn't mean to refer to the WWII version of "axis." Oh
stop already, he did too. Okay, maybe he didn't but whoever
wrote the script for him did.
Thirteen days of so-called news without any real information
is something I wouldn't wish on anybody. When the Enron hearings
were coming to the headlines both the right wing and the media
were practically petulant in their insistence that Enron gave
money to the Democrats too. But what everybody kept failing
to point out was the obvious preference Enron gave to the
GOP. That coupled with president Cheney's "You can't see 'em,
nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, nyeah" attitude concerning the release
of information concerning energy policy influences, well,
the whole thing stinks to high heaven.
But nobody seemed to want to talk about that. Michael Moore
and James Carville seemed to be the only people with a handle
on the bottom line. Yes, Enron gave money to both parties
but over three quarters of it went to the GOP. In fact, Carville
summed up Enron's right wing bias quite nicely. Using a baseball
score to make his point he stated that if the score is 76
to 24, you sure as heck don't call it a "tie."
Things only got worse as my 13 day sentence went on. Bush
posing with New York City firefighters telling them, again,
that "help was on the way" while everybody smiled pretty and
patri-idiotic for the cameras. Of course, there's no extra
money for NYC in the proposed federal budget but wasn't that
a great photo-op? No wonder Dubya's so popular!
Never mind that many if not most of the cyber polls have
been "freeped" while the rest of us scratch our heads wondering
why nobody except us has picked up on this. Then I had the
pleasure of listening to John Fund's opinion on foreign policy
and terrorism on one of the "news" channels. I kept wondering
like I do when I see Oliver North "Why the devil aren't you
And apparently, based on Dubya's speeches before controlled
audiences in various red zones, we are celebrating a "victory"
in Afghanistan. Never mind that we haven't caught anybody
on the hit list (bin Laden who?). Never mind that much of
the fall of the Taliban is due to the efforts of the Northern
Alliance. They were the ones actually getting dirty over there.
Never mind that they also have mastered the time honored tradition
of bribing leaders and other members of the opposition forces
to their side. Hey, it beats getting shot at.
Never mind that interim Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai is more
than just a little nervous about being left to fend for himself.
Seems the guy's a tad bit concerned that what's left of his
country is far from being stable. I don't know what he's worried
about. Rumsfeld has pledged to do his best to help Karzai
establish an Afghan army when he can get some spare time.
Besides, we have more important things to do in the Philippines!
That's right. The media dutifully broadcast our next stop
in the war against terrorism. Ah, the bands, the waving flags,
the grandeur of it all! Of course the citizens of this tropical
paradise were about as pleased to see us come as the people
of Pakistan were. But never mind the voices of protest! We've
deployed 660 American troops to rid Basilan of about 60 murderous
thugs we like to call "terrorists."
I mean, we have to call them that. That's what this Crusade
is all about. Never mind that the governor of Basilan, Wahab
Akbar is reported to have supported this little ragtag group
known as Abu Sayyaf. Never mind that there is evidence the
even the Philippine army nurtured the group in the early 1990's.
We needed another one of them thar "victories" to keep peoples'
minds off of the Enron White House.
Between the lame jingoism that passes for journalism these
days along with "freeped" poll numbers it's no wonder that
Bush is so popular with the uninformed masses. Witnessing
for those thirteen days just how much the media has transformed
into a willing propaganda tool for the suspect foreign policies
of Bush Inc. was chilling to say the least. From the convenient
release of pro-military films out of Hollywood to Heartland
Music's release of patriotic songs to "warm your heart with
pride." From Dubya' invitation only "town meetings" to Wolf
Blitzer's admonition of a viewer to "get over" the farce that
was Election 2000, the media machine has become a monster
that would make Joseph Goebbels proud.
I had never realized just how important having access to
information was. It's something I think that we seem to take
for granted sometimes. The Internet has taken over the position
cable television used to hold as a primary source of information
for many of us. Web sites like this and others offer a wealth
of information and editorial content which help to remind
us that we are not alone. To be without it is not a good feeling.
Kind of like being constantly lied to. Don't believe me? Go
ahead and turn your computer off for a week. Let the media
feed you what they feel you need to know. Go ahead.
I dare you.