Robert Hitt Neill Column

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 24, 2008

‘News’ people influence current political campaign

I did a non-typical-Neill column a few weeks ago about the actions of a top Saudi Muslim cleric who declared a Holy War on television stations that broadcast “seduction, vulgarity, and obscenity,” to the effect that our Christian religion forbids us watching that type trash in movies or TV, but we do it anyway, because that’s the diet we are fed today in America.

That generated a lot of response – all positive – and many of the folks who wrote or called remarked about the liberality of the national media, broadcast and written, and how the so-called “news” people are influencing the current political campaign with slanted viewpoints.

Admittedly, I don’t catch much of that out here at Brownspur. We don’t get but the two local channels, and most of that is not worth watching. We only take our local papers, occasionally picking up a state paper on Sunday mornings on the way to church. We don’t take but a few magazines, none of them news-oriented.

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So, I was taken aback at the virulence expressed by readers who resented this blatant attempt to control the direction of this election under the guise of “news.”

However, I am aware of polls showing that especially television newscasters are considered even less trustworthy than used car salesmen, which is actually a pretty good knock against used car salesmen.  

Honestly, the few used car salesmen that I have dealt with have been decent, to me. Of course, I’ve insisted on taking any vehicle I was considering buying to a friend who is a top-notch mechanic, for a once-over, and I told them that out front. Perhaps they didn’t bother to try passing a lemon off on me, knowing that Jerry or Bobee would catch on right away.

The point is that America doesn’t trust its high-paid news commentators any further than they can throw them. Even as little as I’m exposed to, it disgusts me.

I cannot help but notice that almost everything President Bush does is presented by the national media in a bad light, even in the photos they use. I voted for the man, because I had had personal experience with him, then nine months after he took office America was struck by the worst attack ever perpetrated on this nation.

Yet within 24 hours of 9/11, we had paratroopers in enemy territory marking targets and providing intelligence for our payback. It now appears that we have “kicked a tar baby,” as Col. Street put it, but one thing is certain: they ain’t flown any more big airplanes into any more tall buildings in the USA yet. I’m not sure how it will play out in the end, but at least we’re fighting them over there, not over here.

In the current campaign, I read or hear very little detrimental about the candidate who has absolutely no governing experience, has a middle eastern Muslim background, has raised a disturbing amount of campaign money for anyone suspicious of influence from middle eastern Muslim organizations with which he has in the past been associated, and has been in national office less than two years.

Yet the opposing vice-presidential candidate, who has far more experience in government than her opposing presidential candidate, is continually under fire from the national media, seems like. How can we trust that coverage?

I don’t trust one of the presidential candidates atall, simply because of the people who are telling me to trust him. I don’t trust the people who conduct the national polling, nor do I trust the ones who report those polls. Isn’t that sad? Yet apparently most of the country feels the same way!

Not that you would give two hoots in hallelujah, but I’m going to vote for John McCain, for good old-fashioned reasons. His family roots are Mississippian. His Uncle Joe was best friends with my Uncle Will, in Carroll County.

I knew his Daddy, Admiral McCain, whose flagship was the USS Okinawa while I served aboard that helicopter carrier in combat. Plus, Senator McCain was a Navy pilot who flew in combat, was shot down, captured, and spent years in prison, refusing offered liberation only because he was the Admiral’s son.He’s proven his courage.

That’s the way it used to be: one voted for someone because his Uncle Joe was buddies with one’s Uncle Will, or because someone you trusted knew the candidate. Now we have people we don’t trust telling us whom to vote for. Sad!