April 13, 2006 - Issue 179

Freedom Rider
McKinney, DeLay and Distraction
by Margaret Kimberley
BC Editor and Senior Commentator

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The corporate media and the American political system have a relationship that can only be described as corrupt. The media long ago rendered themselves incapable of informing the public of anything important or providing any meaningful analysis. They no longer even bother to hide their bias in favor of right wing politics and corporate interests. 

The conflict of interest was made obvious when Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney became involved in an incident with a Capitol Hill police officer. At the same time, Republican House majority leader Tom DeLay, indicted for conspiracy and money laundering, announced that he would not run for re-election.  

If Cynthia McKinney hadn’t gotten into a shoving match with a cop, she would have to have been invented. The media would have had to tell us more about Katie Couric’s move to CBS, celebrity gossip, or a runaway bride, anything to distract us from Republican criminality.  

DeLay continued his snake-like ways until the very end. He stayed in a race he was likely to lose because campaign funds can also be used to pay for legal fees. Tom will have to pay plenty for his lawyers, hence the eleventh hour announcement that he was bowing out. 

He couldn’t go out with any class, of course. After whining that he was being picked on for being a Christian, the indicted DeLay said that McKinney should face an ethics charge and called her a racist.  

There was worse to come. On the same day that McKinney apologized for pushing, shoving, or slapping, Tom DeLay sent a goon squad to push, shove and slap little old ladies or anyone else who attended a press conference for Nick Lampson, a Democrat running for the vacated seat. DeLay’s campaign manager sent an email beseeching supporters, “Let's give Lampson a parting shot that wrecks his press conference.”

CNN never aired the footage showing DeLay’s goons. They did repeatedly air footage of a confrontation between a McKinney staffer and a reporter.

Cynthia McKinney isn’t a crook. You wouldn’t know that from the vitriolic press coverage she received. Even liberals took their pot shots. She has passionately spoken against the occupation of Iraq. She didn’t lie to Congress or the United Nations about WMD and she hasn’t profited from the destruction of a nation and the deaths of its people. She didn’t shoot a lawyer with a shotgun and then dispatch a private citizen to make the announcement. Only Vice Presidents get to do that.

The other members of the Congressional Black Caucus were silent while McKinney twisted in the wind by herself. They should have long ago defended her right to retain her seniority in the House. They could have pointed out that unlike Delay, she and her staff won’t be modeling orange jump suits. If all else failed, they could have just pointed out the wrong doing of Republicans. Instead they said nothing at all.

 It is hard to crawl out on a limb when your party makes itself irrelevant, but silence doesn’t help. The limb only gets weaker and weaker.

If there was any doubt that the fix was in, Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball, proved that even disgraced, criminal Republicans are the masters and the media are the lackeys. Matthews interviewed DeLay and was caught with his pants down during a commercial break.  

MATTHEWS: Hey thank you for calling me. It was a good thing for me, mostly.

DELAY: Oh really.

MATTHEWS: Oh of course it was. We got on the air as fast as we could.... [...]

MATTHEWS: Shannon [DeLay aide] told me, she called me, she said 'don't worry -- he's not calling in to complain'...

MATTHEWS: Have you seen this new focus group stuff on the candidates?

DELAY: No I haven't.

MATTHEWS: It's great stuff. I'll send it to you -- it's great -- yeah it's great stuff. Hillary, John Kerry. All these guys, all these Democrats, and how they do. And, uh, Frank Luntz did it...

DELAY: who I like….

MATTHEWS: ...and Hillary did not do well. Kerry did well.

DELAY: You're kidding.

MATTHEWS: I am NOT kidding. They didn't like Edwards -- they thought he was a rich lawyer, pretending to care about poor people...

DELAY: Too slick. Too slick.

MATTHEWS: ...and Hillary was a know-it-all.

DELAY: Nothing worse than a woman know-it-all. [...]

MATTHEWS: Thanks. I owe you one. I owe you two -- today and last night.

DELAY: No you don't.


DELAY: I appreciate it. 

Chris Matthews and the rest of his colleagues are whores who go after the best paying clients. Even a Republican on his way out office and possibly into a jail cell is the most sought after john in town. 

While Matthews confessed to being in the thrall of Republican pollsters and crooks, McKinney had to apologize when Republicans threatened to bring her before a grand jury. She unintentionally became the media distraction that took Republican corruption off the front page.  

Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney’s indicted former chief of staff, testified under oath that President Bush himself authorized leaks of classified information. That means only one thing. A new media distraction is on its way.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BC. Ms. Kimberley is a freelance writer living in New York City. She can be reached via e-Mail at [email protected]. You can read more of Ms. Kimberley's writings at freedomrider.blogspot.com.




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