The job of a journalist is to do with words what an accountant does with numbers. The goal of both professions is to keep balanced books. But like ENRON, there are all kinds of partnership agreements that allow journalists to obscure the historical record or completely bury a story 'off the record'.
When an accountant starts to get too creative with his numbers, their mistakes can usually be uncovered by a partial third-party audit. When it comes to American journalism, we have entrusted the initial entries into our history books to two large privately held unelected firms, The New York Times Company and The Washington Post Company. Many historians go through their archives at later dates to tell the stories of our times. A full year audit of the coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian struggle by the Post and the New York Times reveals a definitive and systematic lack of veracity. Basically, these two publishers have arrogated to themselves the right to pardon war criminals like Sharon and to sanction their brutality. Their method was simple enough. Keep Sharon's crimes in the secret files; the files deemed as being of no interest to the average American citizen. Recall, that the Washington Post sat on Senator Kerry's Vietnam war files for two years. The New York Times has been covering up Qibya for five decades. Sulzberger must be going for some kind of record.
Part of the future we will create for coming generations will be based on the way we reported our times. The Israeli/Palestinian struggle does not require knowledge of differential equations. It is a rather simple story about how a native people were forcibly removed from their lands to allow a utopian Yiddish political order to set up shop on the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean. The result of this Utopian experiment has been a disaster for the Palestinian people.
There are little parts of this story that are also very simple to comprehend. Closed and shut cases with ample documentation to back them up.
I can prove Ariel Sharon is a war criminal and that he has practiced his dismal craft for five decades, starting with a mass murder of innocent Palestinians in Qibya.
Today, I phoned a couple of syndicated journalists and asked why they would not bring up Sharon's war crimes during his visit to the United States. Their basic excuse is that it 'had already been covered' and 'would not be useful." The fact is Qibya has never been covered. True, it is an old war crime, but the gravity of the offense does not diminish with the passage of time. According to American law, Sharon should not be admitted to the United States. Period.
The same media pundits that refuse to cover Sharon's serial war crimes, have no problem participating fully in a defamation campaign against a hapless Arafat, currently under room arrest by Sharon's thugs.
Basically, our media elites fear to tread near this truth. There are too many complicit parties. The sanitizing of Ariel Sharon is performed by ordained zealots. Indeed, the Bush and Clinton administrations refused to press war crimes charges against Saddam, because it could possibly expose Sharon to similar charges.
Hundreds of American reporters, publishers, academics, government collaborators and show men have their hands tainted in Sharon's Qibya cover-up. If this sounds implausible, consider the hundreds of ENRON and Andersen employees who went along with a wink and a nod and a large slice of other people's money.
Paul Krugman of the New York Times took money from ENRON to do a puff piece for Fortune magazine. Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal also took a little action on the side from the ENRON guys. Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, also had his hands out and so did Lawrence Kudlow of National Review and CNBC. The Politicians took money. Seventy Seven out of a hundred senators. Harvey Pitt, the SEC chair, did legal work for all big five accounting firms, including Andersen. But he refuses to recuse himself. These were all the guys that were supposed to be protecting the American Public from Ken Lay. No doubt, this list of pundits will grow. How many financial reporters puff up their own companies stock? What kind favors have been rendered by NBC staff to General Electric, their parent corporation?
Another set of actors involved in this most recent fleecing of America are the investment bankers, who work hand in hand with Andersen types, to structure deals, including hundreds of questionable dot.scam IPOs that were sold to an unsuspecting public enamoured by all the mass media attention to the dot.com nouveau riche. It all ties in. None of it would have been possible without the generous support of our financial press.
So, they lie with their numbers. They lie with their words. They lie when they use words to tell you about their numbers. They take money on the side. Enron contributed six million dollars to political campaigns, That is like pocket change compared to the amounts of money contributed by the strongest lobby in America, the Israeli lobby. How much access do the Israelis have to the American corridors of power or have they become an independent corridor of Power. One can make an easy enough assumption. Whatever Ken Lay managed to buy with his 6 millions in political contributions is pocket change compared to the money and 'media leverage' operated by the Israel First lobby.
Is the Israeli Lobby making a deal to 'spin' the ENRON scandal away from the White House and Congress? What is Bush supposed to pay in exchange for such kindness. It appears that Bush is willing to scrap the whole international coalition and once again capitulate to a three word, 10 letter foreign policy. Why? Ask the lobby. It is now pretty well known that the three words were put in the speech by a neo-conservative with an ax to grind. Of course, once Bush made the 48-minute speech, a media ambush was ready to reduce American foreign policy to three words.
Just enough for a bumper sticker.
ENRON might be bigger than it looks. It does seem that Bush is willing to trade on Sharon's terms. Like Clinton before him, this president knows when he needs to turn to the mass media folks to create a shield of plausible deniability. And he knows that the Lobby can field an army of 'media shock troops'.
For some ENRON will mean next to nothing. For others, it will be the loss of a dream of retiring on the Oregon Coast after setting up a college fund for the grand-kids. Many of those dreams must now be limited to the size of a social security check and the boundaries of a retirement mobile home. And there is always the option to work till you die. If a pick pocket picks your pocket, he might leave you short of one week's grocery bill. But the ENRON schemers took away the promise of a life-time of food, shelter, security, health care, travel and fun in the sun.
And other unlikely parties might also suffer from the ENRON bankruptcy. Would Bush sell out the Palestinians to contain damage from ENRON?
Very possible.. If the Bush administration turns out to be deeply mired in ENRON mud, they will make deals with the media moghuls, who have their own problems with financial double-dealing. There is also the matter of that other distinctly American criminal class, Congress. Mark Twain had it right about Congress, but he never figured how rotten our mass media would get. Senator Hollings is talking publicly of an 'ENRON' government. And the Andersen Consulting problem could lead to additional discoveries, especially their work with investment bankers involved in all those dot.com scams. The cable networks that hyped up the bubble and seduced the public into this Ponzi scam should also be investigated.
There is not a single segment of the American political elites that will emerge from this untarnished.