I know, it’s a rule of the mainstream press. If the issue is not going anywhere, it’s not worth much of a story. Of course, if it’s not given much of a story, it’s not going anywhere. It’s like that old conundrum about the tree falling in the forest. Here are a couple of trees.
I’m thinking, first, of the June resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, calling for the impeachment of President Bush. I would venture to guess that most of the reporters who cover Washington, politics or national security probably agree that if any president deserves to be impeached, it’s Bush, for getting the nation into a war on false pretenses, for consenting to the torture of prisoners and innocents, for circumventing the Constitution’s guarantees against illegal searches, wiretaps and the right of habeas corpus.
But Kucinich’s speech introducing his resolution made six paragraphs inside the Washington Post. That was followed by a snotty column by Dana Milbank belittling Kucinich for the more than four hours he spent reading the resolution into the Congressional Record. Another Post blog suggested that his threat to press his resolution would go nowhere and was simply a “fantasy.” He got similar treatment in every other newspaper I read, and even less on television news. Only the British and French press reported it prominently.
But as far as I could see, no one bothered to read or quoted from any of the 35 counts of Kucinich’s resolution, or even tell readers where they might find it. It ran about 70 pages on my printer and I had to get it from the alternative media, like www.buzzflash.com. And it’s worth reading for Kucinich and his staff compiled solid, documented, evidence. Most of it is known, but it’s an impressive compilation, backing up many of the well-reported offenses committed by this president. Much more important than lying about sex.
Why is Bush getting away with it? The Democratic leadership, when it took control of this Congress last year, declared impeachment was “off the table.” And that declaration has remained in force even when new offenses have become known and the prospect of illegally attacking Iran has become possible. So, I wonder what came first, the indifference of the mainstream press, or the decision of the pols (and the president) who read the press?
This indifference and the resulting ignorance of the public, are haunting another issue–the prospect of single-payer, universal health care such as “Medicare for All.” Such a system is now supported by 56 percent of Americans, according to the Associated Press, and, for the first time, by 59 percent of the nation’s physicians. But you would not know that there is such a widely supported proposal awaiting congressional action, if you were reading the mainstream press accounts of a day-long health care forum staged by the Senate Finance Committee at the Library of Congress on June 16.
The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery was among several reporters, who faithfully recorded the statements of the experts, all agreeing that health-care reform was necessary. But there was no agreement on the solution. Like other reporters, she recounted the possible proposals that were being drafted. By the usual suspects. But there was not a word about the most widely supported piece of legislation that would establish “Medicare for All,” HR 676, introduced early in this session by Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, the veteran Michigan Democrat.
Conyers’ bill, the “U.S. National Health Insurance Act,” would provide health care for all Americans, modeled after Medicare, and would replace other government programs, such as Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and end need for private insurance and its power over the American health care system. Recently the Conyers bill was endorsed in an overwhelming vote by the New York State Assembly, which has been grappling with health care issues to cover 2.6 million uninsured New Yorkers.
Conyers’ bill, which any reporter can find and read, has the backing of 90 house members, 430 labor unions, including 33 state chapters of the AFL-CIO, and thousands of doctors and nurses. But you wouldn’t know it from the mainstream media, for the possibility of single-payer universal health care, is like a tree that falls without a sound. Which is one reason it has little chance for passage.