Eat At Joes

Just a regular Joe who is angry that the USA, the country he loves, is being corrupted and damaged from within and trying to tell his fellow Americans the other half of the story that they don’t get on the TV News.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Monday, March 07, 2005

Newspaperman Quotes his Rates for Whoring Himself for the Bush Administration

This column shows what the Bush admin has done to Journalism in America. His point is well taken. I don't know which is worse. The members of the Corporate-Owned US Media who take bribes from the Bush Administration to hawk their policies and positions or those who prostitute themselves for free:

Anything for the right fee

Sunday, March 06, 2005 -

One sad memory from my days as managing editor of the local daily comes from the morning when a sweet little old woman walked into the newspaper office and explained that she'd been arrested for shoplifting on the day before at a supermarket. It was all a mistake and a misunderstanding, she said, and would I please not follow the newspaper's policy of reporting all local arrests?

I told her she'd have her day in municipal court, and we'd report that too. Further, I believed it was important to report every local arrest, because in some countries (this was long before our Patriot Act) you could be secretly arrested and held incommunicado.

She didn't see it that way, of course, and offered me $200 to keep the arrest out of the paper. I declined, and she raised her bid to $300. I told her that I could be bribed, but her offer was way too low. I'd need at least $1 million, enough so that I could invest it and live comfortably off the interest, since if I took a bribe, I'd never be able to work in my profession.

How ignorant I was. The Bush administration spent $88 million on public relations last year, and some of it was bribery: $240,000 to columnist Armstrong Williams to tout No Child Left Behind; $10,000 to columnist Michael McManus to promote Republican marriage ideals; $41,500 to columnist Maggie Gallagher for more marriage promotion.

And then there was James Guckert, aka Jeff Gannon, the porn website operator who lobbed softball questions at White House news conferences.

While this may turn out to be some Karl Rove conspiracy to discredit the media - "they're all for sale, and look at the kind of people who are calling themselves journalists these days" - I have a family, and so I can't afford to ignore these financial opportunities. Thus I offer a price list:

For a mere $10,000 per occurrence, I will pretend that No Child Left Behind is not an unfunded federal mandate. For the same fee, I'll contend that the Healthy Forests Initiative means healthy forests, and that the Clear Skies Initiative is connected to better air quality.

For only $5,000 per usage, I will learn to write in the Republican dialect. That means that the administration's proposed Social Security changes will involve "personal accounts" rather than "private accounts." I shall never write treasonous phrases like "the occupation of Iraq" when I could be patriotic and upbeat with "the liberation of Iraq."

And I will always refer to that partisan farrago of collectivists and traitors as "the Democrat Party," rather than use proper grammar with "the Democratic Party."

As a life-long resident of our red state, I won't need more than $100,000 to write about how wonderful it is to live in the only place in the world that has the verb "to de-Bruce." I'll ignore our statistics on church attendance (low) and divorce, suicide, alcoholism and drug abuse (high), and instead write often about how wholesome we are.

The last time I called the White House press office, I got shunted to an intern who promised to call back with an answer to my question, and never did. It was a totally innocuous question: I just wanted to know if there had been any special ceremony when the president signed the Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation, and Development Act of 2004 last Nov. 30.

So I doubt I could even get into the briefing room. But if they agree, I'll charge only $15,000 a month, plus first-class travel expenses, to attend White House news conferences and ask questions like "How soon will the Interior Department be ready to add George W. Bush to Mount Rushmore?" or "Will the president walk on water again when he visits Mobile Bay next month?"

Every now and again, I run into somebody I went to high school or college with, and I hear something like "We're so proud of you, Ed, because you never sold out."

Outwardly, I graciously accept the compliment. But the truth is that no one's ever made me a good offer. Now that the Bush administration is writing checks to columnists, though, journalistic prostitution is starting to look rather promising. On the other hand, the pay may never be all that good, since so many people are willing to do it for free.

Ed Quillen of Salida ) is a former newspaper editor whose column appears Tuesday and Sunday.


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