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When Impeachment is Out of Print
Over this weekend and by noon today, 82,000 Americans signed a petition sponsored by Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) and two other members of the House Judiciary Committee, Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), calling on that committee and its chairman, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to begin immediate hearings on Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s bill to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney.
There was no report in the nation’s corporate media on the three Judiciary Committee members’ call (they are three senior members of the House Democratic Party), and no report on the remarkable public response to their petition.
As always when the story involves impeachable crimes by the Bush administration, the corporate media has been silent, devoting its news minutes and its column inches to meaningless stories about the twin horseraces for the presidential nomination, which themselves have blacked out any word of the main crowd-pleasers in those campaigns, Republican Ron Paul and Democrat Kucinich.
Impeachment is the elephant in the room. Everyone knows that this country is being run by a criminal syndicate that has rigged elections, hidden its knowledge of the 9-11 attacks, lied the country into war, plotted to out an important CIA undercover operative and then obstruct a criminal investigation into that act, subverted most of the articles of the bill of rights, emasculated the Congress and the Courts (which it has also shamelessly packed with shameless hacks), betrayed veterans, surrendered a major American metropolis to the devastation of a hurricane, plotted to enable the declaring or martial law, tortured and kidnapped people in violation of international law and obstructed efforts to deal with the unprecedented crisis of global warming for an unconscionable seven years.
But the media won’t allow any talk of holding this administration to account. It’s not just that we are being told that the only power and duty we as citizens have is to vote once every two or four years (after which we are supposed to shut up and consume), but that we are not to be told about, or to talk about these larger crimes that are occurring, and worsening, day by day.
Impeachment isn’t just off the table in the Congress. It is off the table in the media.
This is intolerable. It is only because of the alternative media that those 82,000 citizens knew of and signed onto Rep. Wexler’s courageous call for impeachment hearings on Kucinich’s equally courageous bill.
We as citizens should not just be haranguing our representatives to demand that they support impeachment hearings. We should be picketing our local news organizations and deluging them with calls and letters demanding that they stop the censorship and report the news honestly without fear or favor, as they are supposed to do.
Here follows a letter I just sent to the ombudsman at the New York Times:
Dear Public Editor:
How can it not be news that last Friday, three senior, respected members of the House Judiciary Committee, six-termer Robert Wexler (D-FL), leading hispanic member Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and floor leader Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), publicly called on the House Judiciary Committee to begin immediate hearings on Dennis Kucinich’s bill to impeach VP Dick Cheney?
On Friday, Wexler announced that he was setting up a webside, asking for 50,000 people to sign on in support of his call for impeachment hearings. By the end of the first day, he had 53,000 signatures and as of today, just three days after the site was established, there were 77,300 signatures, rising by the second.
There has been no report on this development in the impeachment story in the NY times, which is nothing short of astonishing.
I also hear from Wexler’s office that the Times rejected an op-ed submission written by the three congressmembers explaining their decision.
While of course the opinion page editors have the right to make what choices they like about what runs, they have elected to run rather obscure opinion pieces by politicians, often on positions that the editors don’t even disagree with. Here is a case of a perspective that is not shared by the editors, by three real players in the debate, and they don’t deem it worthy of seeing print?
As author of the book The Case for Impeachment, which was published by the mainstream publisher St. Martin’s Press in 2006, and which, after selling a respectable 20,000 copies, went to paperback, all without receiving a review or mention in the NY Times, or for that matter in any mainstream newspaper in the country, I am well aware that the impeachment movement, which has seen over 100 cities and towns and one state senate (VT) vote out resolutions calling for impeachment, and which is a key demand voiced at every major anti-war demonstration, is being completely blacked out by the major media, including the Times.
As a 34-year veteran, award-winning journalist, a former Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the author of a well-regarded book on impeachment, I find the whole thing unconscionable, especially considering the incredible amount of ink–and high-dudgeon editorials–that were expended on the ridiculous Clinton impeachment less than a decade ago.
Your paper should do a better job of covering the news, and should stop covering up the news.
DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can’t be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is "The Case for Impeachment", co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org