Guest Editorial

It's Official:
The Red Queen

is Programming
the Sunday News Programs

John M. Kelley

Watching the Sunday pundit shows is always an exercise that most of the time varies from me making corrections of fact out loud to the TV set to out right hollering, but today was like watching an alternate universe. I tuned in to Meet the Press with Tim Russert interviewing Louis Freeh, Clinton FBI Director. This is the man who was in charge of internal security when Saudi terrorists were taking flight lessons in the U.S. but lived in a world where he reputedly refused to have a computer in his office. This is a man who in his book seems to indicate that he still thinks there is something to Whitewater. Given Freehís somewhat questionable success as an FBI director and obvious prejudices, the whole tone of the show was, well quite incredible.

If memory serves me right, last week the President set new lows for public support, his top advisor and that of his vice president were both close to indictment for revealing classified information, the House Majority Leader is under indictment and the Senate Majority Leader is under investigation. It has become accepted fact that the President lied to put us into a quagmire, that his generals are saying it will take another eight years to win, the economy is hanging by a thread, the Republicans are gutting the environment and the President is arguing for right to torture people. On top of that there is the potential for a catastrophic pandemic that the president seems to be as prepared for as Katrina (which by the way is still an ongoing disaster), except he proposes sending in the troops to, I guess shoot people who violate the quarantine.

So, back to Russert who has Freeh on, the man who quit just two months before 9-11. What does he ask? What did Bush know, how much information was given to Bush by the FBI, what was the administrationís reaction? No, he focuses on an allegation that Freeh makes in his book that President Clinton hit up the Saudiís for a contribution for his presidential library. The two of them go on to focus on whether this is a crime.

Freeh who despite his denials on the program, has a palpable dislike, if not outright hatred for Clinton that is obvious in his Meet the Press discussion and the excerpt from his book at was treated mostly by Russert as having some new breaking super scoop. The lack of a story here, and the fact that he was focusing on President Clinton ala Rush Limbaugh while the nation falls apart and nears a constitutional crisis shows what a part of the problem he and others like him are. What shame he has brought to the proud history of Meet the Press. Hey Tim your Fox contract is in the mail!!!

After this deplorable display, I watched Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation which thank God, actually lowered my blood pressure to its normal Sunday morning semi-rage level at real problems. He is the last Iím afraid of a generation of good reporters. Then I followed it up with the McLaughlin Group which is always a great exercise in news sumo wrestling with multiple wrestlers.

After that I was doing much better, but then I had to go and let myself get totally discouraged at the faux media by watching the Wall Street Journal Editorial Report. If youíve missed this WSJ infomercial, Paul Gigot and an incestuous stable of group think Journal wiz kids discuss the world from the viewpoint of capitalistic cynical opportunism. They discussed at length the threat of a major flu pandemic that might kill 1.2 billion people. But not the threat to people mind you. After discussing the terrible woes of the poor major pharmaceutical companies, they put forth their major concerns. What would happen if companies and countries just produced vaccinations or medicines to save lives without honoring copyright laws, oh the horror of it all.

They almost topped this towards the end of the program by skewering the U.N.I.C.E.F program for using a cartoon of the Smurfs being bombed to heighten awareness of the problem of children soldiers. They seemed offended at what they felt to be the use of a great marketing image to promote an antiwar agenda. What! Promote an anti war agenda! How distasteful. I would agree, lets not use the Smurfs, next time lets show pictures of real children we bomb. Besides, Tim Russert might want to interview the little blue people about what kind of moral degeneration Bill Clintonís dalliance introduced into the Smurf community.

John M. Kelley is a teacher, philosopher, writer, artist, political activist, singer of ballads, rebellious Irishman and agent for change who worries daily about the world he is leaving for his grandchildren. His blog is at

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