It is long past time for the mainstream media to start acting responsibly about what has been going on in the United States over the past few months.
One of the principal reasons why large percentages of Americans have been misled about health insurance reform and President Obama is the abdication of responsible journalism by much pf the mainstream media. The cause of this dereliction of duty is apparently their fear that if they call lies lies and ask the questions that so badly need to be asked, they will be charged with "liberal bias" by the assortment of right-wing nuts, radio scream show hosts, Faux News Channel shouting heads, greedy corporations and self-interested Republican politicians that has been spreading lies to a gullible segment of the populace.
At a minimum, the media should get up enough courage to ask every Republican member of the Senate and House the following three questions:
■ Has there ever been a provision in any of the health insurance reform bills for anything remotely like a "death panel"?
■ Does Barack Obama have a proper American birth certificate and do you have any doubt whatsoever that he is a natural-born citizen of the United States?
■ Do you approve of people bringing guns to events at which the President of the United States is appearing?
If members of the media will take every opportunity to raise these basic questions with each member of the opposition party, perhaps some citizens who have been taken in by the lies and undemocratic and unpatriotic actions might realize that they have been misled.
At the very least, answers to these three questions would make it possible to sort the kooks from the loyal opposition -- an opportunity that, one would hope, sensible Republicans in the latter category would welcome.
Historian Robert S. McElvaine is Elizabeth Chisholm Professor of Arts & Letters at Millsaps College & author of The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941 (Random House) and Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the "Forgotten Man". (North Carolina). His latest book is Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America (Crown).
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