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   The Washington Post and the Road to Dictatorship

MEDIA CRITICISM:

The Washington Post and the Road to Dictatorship

by Scott Loughrey
By failing to report important information, and by omitting dissenting views, the Post is showing who its real bosses are.
Recently (July 26, 2002), the Cybercast News Service reported that a process server, attempting to serve Vice President Dick Cheney with a summons to appear as a defendant in a lawsuit, was threatened with arrest. The litigous conservative group Judicial Watch (JW) initiated the summons. According to JW, a security staffer told the server that the White House would not receive the summons, and if were left it on the grounds they would arrest him.

Now, it is a federal crime to interfere with a process server's delivery of a summons. The White House has accepted them in the past. JW served (without incident) President Clinton, Vice President Gore and First Lady Hillary Clinton multiple times with summonses for lawsuits that they filed against them. This is an appalling response by the Bush administration, and certainly would have been well publicized had it been the Clinton White House.

Naturally, the Washington Post made no mention of this story.

A couple of days later, the House voted to give George Bush "fast-track" trade authority. In their coverage, the Post informed us, "The Bush administration plans to use [fast-track] to open markets around the world for US crops, machinery and other products." (6/28/02, Washington Post). So, what's fast-track all about? It means that when the President brings a trade bill to Congress, they can only vote to approve or deny it. The effect of this bill is to ensure that there will be far less participation from the public (and their representatives on Capitol Hill) regarding the future of our economy. Thus, the White House has been granted almost dictatorial control over the future of how business will function in our society and the Post is assuring us this is a good thing.

To the Washington Post, the more "free trade" there is, the better off we'll all be. The day after Bush's fast-track triumph the Post editorialized that "trade liberalization is one of the few policies that just about all economists can agree to favor: It creates wealth; it reduces poverty; it is a positive-sum game." (7/29/02, Washington Post)

'[J]ust about all economistsä'? Perhaps the Post has forgotten the catastrophe now taking place in Argentina, which has been following World Bank prescriptions of free trade to the brink of their abyss. However, there is no excuse for that newspaper to disregard the political figures from a broad political spectrum (e.g., from Ralph Nader to Patrick Buchanan) who oppose these free trade agreements.

These two examples--of the Post's totally ignoring the story of the White House and the process server, as well as their denial that critics of our free trade agreements exist--are indications that this newspaper is not very concerned with informing its readers. The Post's daily function is to serve the interests of power.


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This story was published on August 7, 2002.
  
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