Many of the Founding Fathers despised the press, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson among them. Yet they granted us more privileges than other citizens because they wanted independent, fair-minded eyes on government to inform the folks. After all, if we don't report honestly to you, how will you know the truth? Do you think the politicians are going to tell you?
But now in the year 2009, the American press is largely corrupt. Newspapers are dying because of the Net and ideological craziness, and TV news is generally more interested in making money than taking the risks necessary to deliver important information. There are exceptions, but you know what I'm talking about. And if you don't, here are two dramatic examples:
First, the swine flu. You may have noticed that "The Factor" has not done much on it because we simply can't find out what is true and what is hype. There are so many conflicting reports, we cannot cut through the fog. So we largely confine our comments to facts. Now reports are the swine flu is not as bad as first thought. But again, we don't know if that's true, so we cannot confirm it.
Second example: In early March, reports out of Sacramento said a homeless camp featuring hundreds of people damaged by the recession was a very important situation:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, "TODAY" SHOW: If you want to see the economic downturn's impact on average Americans, look no further than Sacramento, California. The city's homeless rate is growing at an alarming rate as people who just a few months ago had decent jobs suddenly find themselves with no place to go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Across the country part of the urban landscape is growing, right along with the recession. Tent cities as they are called. The homeless living in modern day shanty towns. This one about a mile northeast of California's capital on the banks of the American river.
STEVE INSKEEP, NPR: Widespread layoffs, home foreclosures and a deepening recession have created something new, a sprawling tent city of homeless people on the American River.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well guess what? The story is bogus. The Economist magazine, a British publication, writes:
"The tent city had actually been around for close to a decade. There may have been a foreclosed homeowner or two among its denizens ... (but) almost all of the people there have problems with mental health, drug abuse, or both."
Again, it took a British magazine to tell the truth about a false story generated by the U.S. media. So you can see the propaganda on the wall. These days we can't believe what we hear or read.
One final note: The insidious NBC News operation is taking out ads urging advertisers to buy time on their failing cable operations. The tag line is: Buy into the momentum. Sure.
Since October, in prime time MSNBC is down more than 50 percent in total audience and key demo. Buy into the catastrophe is more like it.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
In a terrible case, 10-year-old Christopher Rodriguez was hit by a stray bullet during a piano lesson in Oakland, California, last January. He is now paralyzed from the waist down, and 24-year-old Jared Adams was convicted of the attempted murder. Obviously Chris' life is altered forever.
So to help the boy and his family, rock star Sting will headline a concert later this month at the San Francisco Symphony Hall. The show will also feature the 5th Dimension and one of The Supremes. So Sting and everybody else involved is a patriot.
Also, our condolences to the Kemp family. Obviously the former congressman, who died over the weekend, was a great patriot and a credit to his family and to his country.
On the pinhead front, a few years ago I sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during a Cubs game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. As you may know, I got through it, but did not sound like Pavarotti. And neither did Denise Richards last Friday night:
Pinhead? Maybe pin-throat is a better choice.