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Against the Grain: Reporting Unpleasant Facts

Jim Wittebols
Jim Wittebols

By Jim Wittebols

Buffalo, NY – Anyone who has read Orwell's 1984 will recall the ease with which Big Brother could rewrite history without anyone really noticing when friends became enemies and vice versa. I remember that, even as a teenager, this idea was a bit far fetched. I've now lived through enough history to realize just how easily history can be revised to meet the political demands of the moment. This month's segment from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) tells us about one of the more recent cases where unpleasant facts are just not brought up.

Editor's Note: You will need to listen to the audio version, just click "listen" above, to hear the comments from FAIR.

The situations surrounding the short lived appointment of Henry Kissinger to the September 11 investigation and the unexposed background of Trent Lott's views on race are further examples of historical background being ignored or greeted with dismissive comments by the mainstream media.

In the case of Kissinger, we have a duplicitous liar whose actions have led to the death of untold civilians around the world. Yet he continues to be regarded and called on as a statesman by the political and media establishment. As the 20th Century embodiment of Machiavellianism who has always put political expediency above human lives, Kissinger deserves regular vilification. Somehow the media continue to give the ugly results of his long ago actions a sugar coated treatment. He is a war criminal. Furthermore, Kissinger's own racist inclinations are revealed in Seymour Hersh's book "The Price of Power," which recounts several instances where Kissinger made racist remarks about African Ambassadors and people of African descent in general.

In Trent Lott, we have someone who for decades has made comments similar to those recently uttered. I went to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) web site and found myself stunned at the unvarnished racism you can find there. Like Strom Thurmond and the notorious race baiting Jesse Helms, Lott is a thinly veiled racist. Furthermore, the man charged with enforcing civil rights, Attorney General Ashcroft has danced with groups similar to the CCC. At the time of his appointment, I reviewed here comments he made in interviews with the supremacist magazine Southern Partisan. He is cut from similar cloth as Lott.

Playing to the irrational racial fears that an awful lot of white Americans consciously or subconsciously possess has been the currency the Republican party has traded on for decades. Kissinger's murderous policies on people of color the world over finds their roots in the same thinking of more domestic minded Republicans like Lott, Ashcroft, Helms and Thurmond. None of these men have ever faced sustained critical media scrutiny. And that says a lot about the world view of the media themselves. Against the grain, I'm Jim Wittebols.