Sunday, September 07, 2008

My letter to the editor

Sent yesterday:
To the Editor:

In a memorable scene in the movie, “Seven Days in May,” Fredric March, playing U.S. President Jordan Lyman, rebukes Col. Jiggs Casey (Kirk Douglas) sharply for hemming and hawing as he tries to describe a plot he has uncovered to overthrow the United States government. “Do you have a problem with the English language, son?” March asks. “No, sir,” Douglas answers. “Then speak it plainly!”

I’m afraid plain-speaking has become a lost art, at least in modern politics. How else can you explain the media’s inability to call the innumerable lies told by the McCain campaign precisely what they are – lies? Why can’t they point out, for example, that when McCain says Barack Obama will raise your taxes, he’s lying? The fact is that Senator Obama’s tax plan would cut taxes for 95% of Americans. Why are they silent when the McCain camp lies about Obama’s record in the Senate? Senator Obama not only sponsored or authored bills on ethics reform, government transparency, veterans’ benefits, and numerous others, he also worked with Republican Senators on several pieces of legislation, including bankruptcy protection for charitable giving (with Orrin Hatch, R-UT), Emergency Response contract abuse (with Tom Coburn, R-OK), and locking down nuclear material to prevent it from falling into terrorist hands (with Chuck Hagel, R-NE).

This isn’t difficult to do; the facts are a matter of public record. Yet far too few in the Fourth Estate who enjoy the Constitutional protection of the First Amendment seem able or willing to accept the concomitant responsibility to seek the truth and tell it. Or to call out lies and liars for what they truly are.
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