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Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-04-05 11:17 PM
Original message
NEW KOEHLER COLUMN: CITIZENS IN THE RAIN


From : Koehler, Bob <BKoehler@Tribune.com >
Sent : Wednesday, May 4, 2005 4:06 PM
To : "Koehler, Bob" <BKoehler@Tribune.com >
Subject : citizens in the rain

Note on the strange fate of this column: It won't be going out as my regular syndicated column this week, because it was thought to be too much of a personal response to Don Wycliff and therefore not sufficiently national in scope; I will post the column on my website, however (http://www.commonwonders.com /). While at first I thought this might be censorship, that doesn't seem to be the case. I was told to keep writing on the issue of election reform and vote fraud, and in fact I will pull another column together this week based on reader mail on this issue, sort of an "editor's mailbag," so maybe that will be OK. At least people's voices on this issue will find expression through my column. -- Bob


ROBERT C. KOEHLER

For release 5/5/05

CITIZENS IN THE RAIN

By Robert C. Koehler

Tribune Media Services

"Where there is a free press the governors must live in constant awe of the opinions of the governed." - Lord Macaulay (one of many stirring quotes on the sacred role of the Fourth Estate adorning the lobby of the Chicago Tribune)

My fantasy of the mainstream media actually doing their job, and living up to the words they carve in marble to describe their own importance, is an 80-point (Terri Schiavo- or even Pope John Paul II-sized) headline running across the top of tomorrow's paper: ELECTION RESULTS IN DOUBT.

That would stop a few hearts. But the nation's major newspapers, even as they struggle with declining readership, have no intention of being quite that relevant to their readers - no intention, it appears, even to begin the process of looking into the hornets' nest of vote fraud allegations abuzz in meticulously researched reports on electronic voting (see uscountvotes.org) or the voluminous Conyers Report on what happened in Ohio on Nov. 2 (see truthout.org/Conyersreport.pdf).

Isn't our democracy at stake? Doesn't that matter?

"If John Kerry and the Ohio Democratic Party and all the other folks who had the most to gain from the election were making this challenge, I would get interested. But when the people with the most at stake don't step up, I'm suspicious."

So Don Wycliff, the Chicago Tribune's public editor, wrote to me in an e-mail exchange a few days ago, explaining why he, if not the Tribune itself, had no intention of investigating the issue with any seriousness.

It followed a strange breach in the Tribune's deathly silence on the irregularities of the 2000 and 2004 elections, which came about after readers began bombarding the Tribune with mail suggesting they run a column I had written, "The Silent Scream of Numbers," addressing these irregularities and reporting on a national election-reform conference in Nashville last month.

My column didn't run, but Wycliff wrote a column, "When Winning Isn't Everything," dismissing their concerns and telling them to ponder the moral leadership of Richard Nixon, who patriotically swallowed his close defeat in 1960 without complaint. In others words, shut up and get over it.

Wycliff was speaking only for himself, not "the media," but because his column was one of the few pieces to appear in a major publication even acknowledging that a huge number of Americans are distraught at mounting evidence of large-scale disenfranchisement in 2004 (and no guarantee that 2006 and 2008 will be any different), his words, by default, have special resonance. They stand in for the prejudices of the media as a whole.

Of all my objections to what he wrote, his contention that Kerry has the most at stake in all this is the most dispiriting, and most reflects the wrongheaded, "horse race" coverage of elections the media have shoved down our throats for as long as I can remember.

In his column, Wycliff even used a sports analogy, pointing out that "it's not the pregame prognostication and expert opinions that count, but the numbers on the scoreboard after the contest has actually been played." The Bush team won; the Kerry team lost. And the voters must be the equivalent of sports fans then, either jubilant or disappointed when the game is over, but couch potatoes either way, not participants.

Anyone else just a little bit offended? As one of the hundred or so readers who responded to the column (and cc'd me) put it, "Winning isn't everything, but fair elections are everything."

Nearly a week after Wycliff's column ran, the Tribune has printed only one letter in response to it - and this letter was about Nixon. It didn't have a word to say about the 2004 election. So much for my nave optimism that an actual debate would ensue on the pages of the Trib.

Once again I quote exit-poll analyst Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."

The stakes are getting higher and higher. Could it be we can't have election reform without media reform? The "respectable press" refuses to confer the least legitimacy on the citizens who are questioning this election and demanding accountability in the voting process.

How do we make them care? How do we make them look for themselves? How do we make them stand outside with us in the rain, waiting to cast our ballot for democracy?

- - -

Robert Koehler, an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist, is an editor at Tribune Media Services and nationally syndicated writer. You can respond to this column at bkoehler@tribune.com or visit his Web site at commonwonders.com.

2005 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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lady lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-04-05 11:26 PM
Response to Original message
1. Good!
I like how Koehler says that Wycliff's "words, by default...stand in for the prejudices of the media as a whole."

So true.

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The Doctor. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-04-05 11:58 PM
Response to Original message
2. I knew a "Rob Koehler" in high-school, but this guy is
dead-on.

Democrats are not nearly organized enough. That is the problem.

A real grassroots campaign of just a few handsfulls of Americans in every county in the USA could change a lot.

Just think... if only 10 knowledgeable (attentive, observant, involved, alert, watchful) Americans in every town in the US sent even one opinion letter on electoral fraud to their local news once a week... this issue would get the attention of angry, gun-weilding Americans everywhere...

Ok, now really...

Unless there is an apparent groundswell ("apparent" being critical), then newsfolk aren't going to give a newt's ass about 'election reform'.

You don't need many, you just need a lot.

It's all about the organization... and the publicity.
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rigel99 Donating Member (621 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 12:24 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. ACTUALLY WE'RE PRETTY ORGANIZED... we not getting the press
take a look at the left hand column of this not yet posted
web page
www.countpaperballots.com/Homepage100.htm

it lists almost 100 Grassroots organizations focused on GUESS WHAT? Election reform.

WE are SO ORGANIZED it's scary. We don't have leadership to bring the organization to coordinated action, but Teach-Ins, national conferences, oh my god, we are excuse me *#%#% ing organized.

but what we don't have is the mainstream press covering what amounts to EVIDENCE OF MASSIVE ELECTORAL FAILURE...

read the 10 Reasons Not To Buy Diebold on that same page and you'll see 4 examples of GA fraud in the election from actual purchased county records... we're swimming in evidence...

no, this is more than the press shutting us down.. this is a COUP.

the sooner we realize we are living in a 'post' Coup Detat society, the sooner we'll wrestle the levers of power back.

We don't need their media to get to the streets with our message.

we only need some printers and some good flyers and some willing hard working activists..

it's happening folks.. and people like Rob Koehler are doing GOD's work, he's starting to chip at the respectability of the newspapers, a behemoth nobody reads anymore anyway.....

just wait for the next 2 months... you'll see how organized, how legal and how punitive a small group of ORGANIZED grassroots folks can get when they are pissed off for way too long...

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ccarter84 Donating Member (412 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 06:00 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. agreed...we also need a clear frickin message
cuz the american public likes things nice and simple... so they can understand them w/out much effort
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rigel99 Donating Member (621 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. you can be clear and still get attacked
Dean was clear

he was against the war
he was for healthcare as a medicare subsidy
he was for civil rights for all people (civil unions)

but he had a funded media campaign shut him down.
in those cases we need to counter with our own funded media campaign in the alternate media (internet, billboards, radio ** not one candidate I knew of used radio as their medium yet radio is an effective medium)...

I think it boils down to about 4 great media folks lining up with the right leader to take the 'massive' citizen movement and give it a name and YES a clear message....

you are absolutely correct... and the money for those media folks to work..... Trippi misspent dean's media money on apple like videos and they were a flop... so it has to be a media company with background and skill in the area of such things(maybe even pick coke's media company or something like that)... something professional...
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. And here is the evidence of news monopoly collusion in the coup...
"no, this is more than the press shutting us down.. this is a COUP."--rigel99

On election night, the TV networks CHANGED the exit polls on everybody's TV screens (that showed a Kerry win)--they ALTERED the exit poll data to fit the official result (a Bush win)--thus denying the American public major evidence of election fraud. And they did so--provided DOCTORED INFORMATION--without telling viewers that they were doing so. This created the illusion that Bush won with no evidence to the contrary--when there was in fact screaming evidence to the contrary. Exit polls are used worldwide to verify elections and check for fraud.

In the Ukraine, people got unpolluted data--exit polls vs. official tally--and immediately knew that something was very wrong. Not here.

This is the worst journalistic crime by the U.S. news monopolies that I have ever seen, bar none. All major TV networks and AP in collusion (with print in direct collusion where they were party to the exit poll consortium, or through conglomerate control of the airwaves, or usage of the polluted data in their lead stories on the election).

They did it to us, folks. The news monopolies. It's not that they're stupid, ignorant or have their heads in the sand. They COLLUDED with the Bush Cartel election fraud criminals!
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rigel99 Donating Member (621 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. what can we do about it now?
did you see how Jon Stewart is spinning off Stephen Colbert (think it will stay fake news) but has anyone thought of spinning them all off and giving them more 'real news' edge that entertaining and same audience viewership? that would rock.....

i watch democracy now and while I trust Amy and worship her journalism skills, it's so dry, I get bored and depressed and just switch off... it's not 'polished' it looks kinda like a college project moreso than a real news station....
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-07-05 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #4
28. a thought...
I'd rather be living in an OBVIOUS "coup d'etat society" than one in which so many people are blind to the fact. Would feel less insane. One of the problems in fighting back is that a lot of people don't want to admit it could be that bad. We are in denial as a society. How do we fight a stealth coup d'etat?
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 12:24 AM
Response to Original message
3. Who gave Mr Koehler this order
Edited on Thu May-05-05 12:25 AM by kster
"Note on the strange fate of this column: It won't be going out as my regular syndicated column this week, because it was thought to be too much of a personal response to Don Wycliff and therefore not sufficiently national in scope." AND

"While at first I thought this might be censorship,"

Oh its censorship,

MR.ROBERT C. KOEHLER

Give us the word and we will come down on them.






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rigel99 Donating Member (621 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 12:26 AM
Response to Original message
5. great post wiley! this citizen is SINGING IN THE RAIN
and when it rains it pours..

and when it pours, there will be impeachment... just you wait and see...
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 12:42 AM
Response to Original message
6. Thanks for the post. Just sent him an email with profouse thanks
for being he first MSM (didn't want to use CM) journalist to mention 'the unmentionable.' The guy has real guts...and at the Tribune no less.
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lady lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 02:43 AM
Response to Original message
7. BradBlog comment...
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 11:56 AM
Response to Original message
10. Caveat emptor! re: Chic Trib and Bob Koehler...
What may be going on here--as to the Chic Trib telling Koehler to continue writing about election fraud (but axing two columns on it thus far)--is the creation of mere "buzz" about election fraud, with few or no facts, and especially few or no facts that nail the Bush Cartel for what they did. This "buzz" will then feed the case for federalizing elections (under Bush Cartel control, of course) that I believe is the hidden agenda of this private, phony "National Election Reform Commission" co-chaired by JAMES BAKER, that was recently sprung on us. Once they have taken control over elections away from the states and counties (where ordinary people still have some influence), that will be the end of the election reform movement.

Koehler may be perfectly sincere in his writings, and in his championing of this issue--and I have no reason to believe otherwise, he seems very sincere to me. It is the editors and owners who are manipulating election fraud information.

The Bush Cartel would need political cover to grab total control over elections away from the states. This phony "commission" provides such cover. They are well aware that the fight for election reform is a state/local fight. That's why they got rid of our good Sec of State Kevin Shelley in California (with a vile smear campaign). This is where it's happening--state/local. (Also, Conyers has outright stated that real election reform has been killed at the national level.) So their next logical move would be to cut this state/local movement off as its knees, by taking all power away from the states to choose election systems, and dictating how all of us vote forevermore.

A "buzz" about election fraud would feed their purpose. A real investigation and laying out of the facts would not. A real investigation would make people rightfully suspicious of the Baker/Carter "commission" and of electronic voting (that "commission" is stacked with paperless electronic voting advocates and Bush Cartelists), and of any power grab over elections.

I think this is what they're up to. Beware!

-----

P.S. However, I'm ALL FOR writing to Koehler, supporting him, writing to the Trib, writing to the phony "commission," and using every avenue possible to EDUCATE THE PUBLIC and particularly Kerry voters about what happened. Even though it's a "Catch 22" for us, we can do nothing else. The people have a right and a NEED to know. What we have to be cognizant of is how this information will likely be manipulated and used to further Bush Cartel goals. (Note: It's what they did with HAVA! They USED the 2000 election scandal to bribe and coerce the states to purchase electronic voting systems owned and controlled by Bush Cartel operatives.)
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-07-05 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #10
29. Agree w you about
National Election Reform Commission being "political cover' for such a scheme for federalizing the system. Yes, the Commission is stacked and deserves discrediting.

Theory of "the buzz" is intriguing...right, I see the connection with the 2000 election and HAVA, and the way some media mention is exploited. Good point. Still the buzz is useful to us too--it leads some to consider our perspective.

It will take large numbers of concerned citizens to beat back this Juggernaut. The forces in opposition use every means at their disposal. They know no limits and have no scruples.

We are in freefall, descending onto a terrain where there are no rules and laws that have meaning anymore--all we can do in progressive groups/media outlets is keep linking arms.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
11. "Kerry had the most to lose." huh, what are the American people?
Not significant.
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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #11
23. Exactly what I found most offensive.
WE are the ones with the most to lose.

The lives of our loved ones to an illegal unnecessary war, for starters. The plummeting economy is eating away at the middle-class and devastating lower-income Americans.

I could go on.

Kerry is an exceptionally wealthy man. He has his senate seat.
Wycliff's comment smacks of, oh how you say...elitism.

"Let them eat tainted elections!" says Don Antionette.

In many ways Mr. Wycliff is a man worthy of admiration and respect, but I wish he would reconsider his position on this matter.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
12. Could it be we can't have election reform without media reform? Excellent
observation.
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Senator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
13. The response letter "about Nixon" that Bob mentions
I wondered what Wycliff and the Chicago Ministry of Information would consider a printable "response" to all of our pleas for them to pull their heads out of the large sphincter muscle created by the DC/Media Analstocracy.

True to form, the fact that Nixon's "graceful exit" is a decades-old right wing propaganda lie didn't even register with them.

To them, even 45 years later, it's just another "horserace."

--------------------
Nixon lost
Published April 29, 2005

Can we please stop using President Richard Nixon's refusal to challenge the irregularities in the balloting in Illinois during the 1960 election because he did not want to put the country through a "challenge" as a moral example. He lost the electoral college by 84 votes, the 27 electoral college votes in Illinois would have given him only 246, and thus, would not have mattered!! Maybe that is why he decided not to challenge the voting irregularities in Illinois.

Sycamore, Ill.
-----------------

Still, try not to be too disheartened by this Euphemedia pathology. Yes, it make them entirely useless for informing the public about important matters, but we really don't need them.

The truth has the power of a force of nature, and they can only slow its progress, never stop it. We just need to keep doing what we're doing.

I think the best thing we can do with the Wycliffs of the world is plant a simple meme that could well undo their rationalized house-of-cards view:

An election is a survey, not a contest.

I know it's not much, but eveything else flows from that simple truth.

===
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the phantom shouting Donating Member (37 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 03:22 PM
Response to Original message
14. Letter to the Tribune #2
Dear Ms. Lipinski,

Kudos to you and your excellent editorial staff for squashing Robert Koehler's most recent column "Citizens in the Rain". I have, unfortunately, read the piece and found that the unpleasant questions it raises about the state of our great nation are deeply troubling. I agree wholeheartedly with you that an opinion piece of such a disturbing nature should be kept from the public at large, so as not to create bedlam when the unruly ideas the column expresses are unleashed among the masses.

We live in profoundly scary times. At any moment, a terrorist with a huge machete could jump out from some dark corner and behead you, and you'd never see it coming. With that in mind, the last thing anybody needs is to sit down with their morning orange juice and read in the newspaper that the country their sons and daughters are giving their lives to protect has been hijacked by big money crooks who won power in a fraudulent election and are now intent on destroying any notion of 'freedom' in the United States.

No, nobody needs that. So I commend you for doing the right thing and rejecting Robert Koehler's latest screed before it could infiltrate the mainstream media and influence people to question their government and demand accountability. As your fellow editor, Don Wycliff, stated so brilliantly in his 'When Winning Isn't Everything' column: "To his credit, Nixon is said to have rejected a challenge (to the 1960 presidential election) as not worth putting the country through. In other words, winning wasn't the sole end of politics."

It was true then, and it's true now. Kudos to you, Ms. Lipinski, for keeping such an unruly mess under the rug and out of the public eye. I sincerely hope that you are being well rewarded for your patriotic effort.

Keep up the good work!
J. Riley
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 09:46 PM
Response to Reply #14
21. Very, very nice, and welcome to DU! nt
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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-05 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #14
26. Very nice letter.
Welcome to DU.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 07:57 PM
Response to Original message
17. My letter to Wycliff:
Dear Mr. Wycliff,

It is unconscionable that you are refusing to run Mr. Koehlers articles on the election. It is more unconscionable that you ran an extremely dismissive rebuttal to his article without even publishing his article so readers could see exactly what it was you are dismissing. How can you call yourself a serious journalist when you dont even run the article you are dismissing? This is insulting both to Mr.Koehler and to your readers.

Just exactly what is it you are afraid of? Is it true, as so many have said, that there is a lockdown on the media discussing this topic? Or is this just a conspiracy theory? If its just a conspiracy theory, then why not print Mr. Koehlers articles and let your readers make up their own minds? Or, if you arent comfortable doing this, why not write another dismissive rebuttal to accompany Mr. Koehlers articles, and then print them along with your rebuttal?

You wonder why your ratings are falling and why more and more readers are turning to the internet for news? It is only on the internet that we can find real news. Apparently a 102 page report issued by the Minority House Judiciary Committee on all the irregularities that occurred in Ohio in the 2004 election, and the fact that for the second time in the history of this country a states electors were challenged on Jan. 6, was not cause enough for serious investigation on the part of the media. Do you know what the battle cry is on the internet? We ARE the media, because the media is no longer doing their job.

If you dont care about serving your readers and being true to old fashioned journalistic ideals, which appear to have died, consider what printing these articles would do for your circulation. Did you know that Keith Olbermann of MSNBC covered the irregularities of the 2004 election on his nightly program Countdown every night from Nov. 7 through Jan. 6? He was one of the few mainstream media outlets who gave this serious coverage, and his ratings soared. He received volumes of email, the vast majority supportive. He said he had NEVER covered a story that had generated this much response, or this much positive response. Perhaps if you started publishing real journalism, such as Mr. Koehlers articles, you could increase your circulation.

I look forward to your reply.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-05 06:47 PM
Response to Reply #17
27. Just got a reply from Wycliff: "Thanks for writing." I want to know what
he is THINKING.
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Melissa G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 08:07 PM
Response to Original message
18. Nominated! with floaty hearts!
:loveya: :loveya: :loveya: :loveya: :loveya:
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 08:17 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. I just did the third nomination.
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understandinglife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 09:23 PM
Response to Original message
20. Nominated. "Not one line of software between a voter and a valid election.
www.missionnotaccomplished.us - STOP THE ATROCITIES BEING COMMITTED BY THOSE WHO ALSO STOLE THE PAST TWO NATIONAL ELECTIONS
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TruthIsAll Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-05-05 10:07 PM
Response to Original message
22. God bless you, Robert Koehler...
/
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-05 12:52 AM
Response to Original message
24. Thanks for this. Wrote him a 'thank you' email. Got a nice response!
Man's doing God's work!
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Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-05 08:28 AM
Response to Original message
25. NOW AT COMMONDREAMS.ORG

"Citizens In The Rain"
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