As part of the Bush administration's plans to become more like our enemies, our country has now begun the transformation from independent journalism to a state-run press. All of us who had become tired of the never-ending bad news that seems to seep out of our nation's capital may soon be able to rely on the same type of reporting that the citizens of Cuba, South Korea and China enjoy.
What is going on, you ask? Did the terrorists win the war? Have gays and liberals taken over the government? Well, not yet, but for those of you who didn't spend the evenings of your Christmas break drinking Johnny Walker Black Label and staying up until 4 a.m. flipping between CNN and FOX news as my family does every year, I will fill you in.
The Bush administration has decided that the traditional role of the free press no longer fits into the parameters of an ideal society. It seems that the problem with journalists is that they tend to think and act on their own. When these thoughts and actions conflict with what the government wants us to believe, well then we have a problem. The Republicans in charge met in Dick Cheney's secret bunker located miles below Washington D.C. and came up with a plan: state-run media! Here is how it goes: They find a prominent political commentator, funnel him taxpayers' money under the table, and in return the commentator offers the public his supposedly unbiased opinion, when in reality he is merely relaying government propaganda.
Does it sound like I have been spending too much time worshipping at the altar of Michael Moore? Luckily for me, before President Bush came into office there was this little thing called the Freedom of Information Act that was put into law. Those liberal pundits at USA Today actually decided to exercise their rights, and they dug up some info on how the administration gets things done.
The Bush administration, unfazed by the budget deficit, decided to pay black conservative political commentator Armstrong Williams some $240,000 to promote its No Child Left Behind Act while speaking on his nationally syndicated talk show. Williams was also told to encourage other black journalists to publicly support the act and was required to interview and agree with the positions of the secretary of education while on his show.
The motives of the administration are obvious. The act in question would more aptly be titled "Leave No Rich White Child Behind." The bill has done little or nothing to help low-income families achieve the same level of education for their children as those in the posh suburbs. By buying out the opinions of some of the supposed leading black voices, the Bushies thought they could help sway the opinion of those with the least to gain. The cycle of abuse that this administration is laying upon the lower class is reminiscent of a violent relationship in which the woman can't leave. Bush takes poor people's tax dollars and gives rebates to the rich, he sends their children to die in his war, and soon he plans on taking their retirement benefits away and putting the money in the hands of his friends on Wall Street.
Being a college student as well as journalist leaves me torn. I would hate to sell out my integrity, but $240,000 ain't small potatoes. So if the administration wants to make a donation to my favorite charity, the Friends of JP Fund, I will refute all the negative things I have said about the administration and encourage my constituents, through free shots of Wild Turkey, to do the same.
JP Eichmiller is a senior studying journalism while enrolled in CSU's six-year plan. His column runs every Tuesday.