August 22, 1998

At the end of this Catt's Claws is a "news" feature that is typical of today's journalism. It lacks even a modicum of journalist basics.

Any kid in high school would flunk with this as a term paper.

1. No one signed the article. We don't know who wrote the damned thing i.e., who paid for it and benefits from such inaccurate yellow journalism - let's make up another term: bile journalism.

2. The article's lead states the presumption that a scandal has tied up the US. Seems to me the nation is chugging along quite good and Clinton is being a president and doing things. It's the Congress that isn't doing anything.

3. It claims that the scandal has caused Clinton to adopt a hands-off on recent problems in other nations. We always thought that countries weren't supposed to meddle in the private affairs of other nations except for self-preservation. Isn't that what the Taliban is claiming in Afghanistan as they continue to destroy the human rights of women?

4. The article's claim that Clinton has been under siege is a statement that needs attribution of some sort. No writer's name, no source name. Just a flat statement of opinion - by an unnamed writer with an unnamed agenda.

5. Finally, there is a statement by someone with a name in the sixth paragraph (a long way from the required who, what, where, when, how that is supposed to start a news article). That source is Andrew Krepinevich, director Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis. Who or what is the organization? Is it funded by the Rutherford Corporation or some other right-wing organization? Or is it legitimate? Krepinevich's organization is not famous.
      Also he is but one person while the introductory paragraph to his statement reads: "But analysts express concern that Clinton's political problems will spill over into foreign policy ..." ONE person is not analystS. (Americans know how to count - one toe is not two toeS.) ALSO, the statement reads as if there is a FUTURE concern, but the article reads as if Clinton were guilty of the guesstimate for seven months.
      Good persons, this is a classic example of the subtle ways that the news media has turned into a propaganda mill.
      The misinformations are small but insidious and constant. Our minds are being taken over by a Chinese water torture of false and misleading statements, none individually worth criminal charges. It's petty larceny - over and over and over again.

6. In paragraph 12, we get the kicker statement, a gross statement that has been repeated and repeated in the media for the past seven months to the point of nausea until I swear these joker-newsmen actually think that this is the way to report: They intone with all the judgment of patriarchs of the Old Testament:
      "But other officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say ..."
      Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn what someone's opinion is if he hasn't the guts to show his face. That includes the source and the writer.

7. Way - WAY - down in the article, the anonymous writer intones: "NATO threats of military intervention in Kosovo, wielded in June by the United States and its allies, have given way to inaction despite continued Yugoslav attacks." Did I read right? Why didn't the writer read his own stuff lead? NATO intervention? Is it not NATO that changed course, not Clinton?

8. The article began by blaming the Clinton scandal for any *perceived* change in policy and then notes almost at the end of the article: "(events in the Gulf) convinced US military leaders that a new approach was needed to avoid knee jerk reactions to every provocation from Baghdad."
      In other words, the military men (again no names or titles) are advising the President to do exactly what the lead criticizes him for doing.

This unnamed writer is an authority on foreign policy? Is privy to military secrets? Surely if he is, he should boast of all his titles and awards and accomplishments, including the name he was given for being born alive!

This type of reporting is not only poorly done, it is DANGEROUS.

Ladies and gentlemen, despite your political views, your religion, your personal bigotry inclinations, please analyze the propaganda you are being fed in the name of a free press - bile journalism. It cuts both ways.
      Back in the 1950s, when the nascent radical right that was still dreaming of taking control of the Republican Party, it began a series of journalistic scholarships to train budding youths in the ultra-right mode.
      How many of the editors and writers are products of that training program in certain colleges including the one run by the nut who said God spoke to him in a tower (or something like that) and now runs a big time journalism training facility. And they hire each other...

I am quoting the entire article I analyze above so that no one can accuse me of misleading anyone - QUOTE:

"WASHINGTON, Aug 19 (AFP) - Tied up by a presidential scandal at home, the United States is in the midst of an undeclared but unmistakable retreat abroad.
      "In Iraq, Kosovo, and Africa, Washington's tentative, hands off response to recent crises stands in sharp contrast with the activist foreign policy backed by military might that have been hallmarks of the Clinton presidency.
      "Adding a panicky edge to the picture has been the hasty departures of US diplomats from Tirana and Islamabad because of fears of terrorist bombings, and from Kinshasa in the face of a rebellion.
      "The change in attitude has tracked roughly with the seven months President Bill Clinton has been under siege over a sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
      "Whether the change has been driven by domestic political pressure or a more fundamental reappraisal of the exercise of US power is unclear. But analysts express concern that Clinton's political problems will spill over into foreign policy.
      "What we have unfortunately seen is a president that more and more is put in the position of reacting to world events instead of shaping them because increasingly his focus is being directed more to his own legal problems," said Andrew Krepinevich, director Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis.
      "So consequently I think what that will lead to is a more reactive US foreign policy as opposed to a more activist, aggressive US a policy that seeks to shape events," he said.
      "A high-water mark of US interventionism appears to have been reached in January when the Lewinsky affair broke. Washington was on the brink of war with Iraq, vowing devastating air strikes if Baghdad did not open itself to UN arms inspectors.
      "The crisis was defused in February but Baghdad reneged on its agreement and suspended cooperation with the inspectors August 4. Washington's response was to declare it a problem for the UN Security Council.
      "Moreover, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright privately urged the UN's chief arms inspector not to go ahead with intrusive inspections.
      "Albright, in a newspaper column Monday, described the decision to avoid a confrontation as a tactical move "to keep the focus on Iraq's open defiance of the Security Council," and administration spokesmen deny there has been any change in posture.

(Now 12th paragraph - wonder how many readers got this far?)

" But other officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say administration officials already had concluded after the last confrontation with Iraq that the back and forth deployments of US forces to the Gulf had become too costly.
      "Each Gulf emergency exposed a deepening erosion of support for US policy among allies in the region, and added to strains in morale and readiness within the US military which has been struggling to adapt to force cutbacks and budget.
      "The last Gulf deployment -- a six month long ordeal that cost an estimated 1.5 billion dollars -- convinced US military leaders that a new approach was needed to avoid knee jerk reactions to every provocation from Baghdad.
      "NATO threats of military intervention in Kosovo, wielded in June by the United States and its allies, have given way to inaction despite continued Yugoslav attacks.
      "The alliance has drawn up a range of military options, but the allies are disunited and Washington is wary of another military engagement in the Balkans, where an open-ended peacekeeping effort in Bosnia has cost US taxpayers eight billion dollars. "American caution was evident in Africa this week as well.
      "Laurent Kabila's seizure of power 18 months ago in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, was widely seen at the time as signaling a new policy of US engagement in Africa after years of neglect.       "But on Sunday, the US embassy in Kinshasa closed its doors and sent home its diplomats without waiting for advancing rebels to reach the capital.
      "US amphibious assault ships sent to the region were ordered back to the Mediterranean, leaving it to France and Belgium to rescue foreign nationals."

Then on Wed, 19 Aug 1998, The New York Times, in a trademark, bile journalism style article by Don Van Natta Jr. and James Bennet asks "Did President Send Lewinsky a Signal With His Necktie?"

The two men admit they received information from Kenneth Starr's investigation but the prosecutors claim it came from Lewinsky DURING A DEBRIEFING - not from the Grand Jury.

Does this mean the information is NOT going to go to the Grand Jury, or is it that leaking before is ok but not afterwards?

Starr's people said that Lewinsky gave Clinton six ties so that he could use them to connote a signal of affection when he wore them. When Clinton DID wear a certain tie that may or may not have been a gift from Lewinsky (one that wasn't the usual red/white/blue), Starr got the idea that Clinton was trying to obstruct justice by using the tie as a signal.

Reporters are now changing course in their "attributions" in face of overwhelming criticism that journalists are acting as active parties to illegal leaking from the grand jury.

Instead of the usual "sources", they are now claiming that the information leaked by Starr's people isn't Grand Jury information. Has everyone gone mad? A FEATURED New York Times article on ties that a not-too-tightly-wrapped woman claims means something special? What are we coming to? Especially from a newspaper that claims to be the nation's newspaper of record.

I've forgotten who wrote it but it's a great line: "Is a semen-stained dress the equivalent of a 1990 prom corsage to be pressed between the pages of one's teenage diary?" And what kind of a mother would KEEP such a dress for her daughter? K-kinky with a KAPITAL K.

The article also claims the Lewinsky-Clinton affair lasted 18 months beginning in November 1995 and ending May 1997.

Let's see - the Whitewater fiasco in which the Clinton's lost money occurred about 20 years ago... The special persecutor - Mr. Church lady (as created by Garvey on SNL) armed with unlimited subpoena power and the unlimited taxpayer's check book hounding a menopausal man for having an illegal affair with a younger woman... (When did Clinton blow out his knee... remember how many articles were written about how men feel when that happens... the end of their youth and the beginning of old age ... menopause?)

Ain't democracy fun?

But what happened to a free press supposed to safeguard our democracy.

Why do the editors and publishers claim that the Lewinsky mess is more important than any of the following?

Investigations in detail the amount money Kenneth Starr has received from the tobacco interests ALL THE TIME he has been chasing Bill Clinton, the most active opponent of tobacco profits? Coincidence?

In your dreams.

How about writing about how the radical religious right is attempting to take away the freedoms of women and racial minorities? Claiming that gender and racial bias is ordained by god.

How about writing about how Newt Gingrich is illegally using certain monies illegally to pay the fine levied against him by the House of Representatives.

And yes - how about revealing the truth about Trent Lott who is the Senator from the largest gambling state in the United States outside Nevada. HUH?

Yeah, how many of you know that Mississippi has Dozens and DOZENS of full scale gambling casinos that stretch south along the Mississippi from Memphis to the Louisiana border and then east along the Gulf coast that brings in MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF PROFIT EVERY DAY.
      Anyone notice how sleek Trent Lott is looking these days: an expensive man with great barbering and fabulous tailoring - and maybe a bit of plastic surgery.
      All of the newfound wealth his state is getting is showing - although its children still only get a poor third world style education and the roads are still fit for hauling cotton - except there are sleek new four-lane highways leading to the casinos.

Or maybe someone ought to report on how many facelifts Orin Hatch has had instead of just centering on Paula Jones' new nose or certain alleged changes in Hillary.
      Or asking him how many wives he has in the Mormon church (Mormon men even marry women off the death roles because a woman can't get into heaven without a man!) - or actually report the kinds of bills that he has tried to get passed in the U.S. Senate, including a CHASTITY BILL and an effort to have a zygote declared a human being with greater rights than the woman because of miraculous sperm.
      And yes, he's the guy who LOVES to talk dirty on TV.

Remember Hatch in the Thomas hearings accusing Anita Hill of reading a dirty book and using its information but never, ever accusing Thomas of doing the same thing although Thomas was known afficiano of porno?

Or how about a table that shows the number of wives each of the U.S. Senators and Congressmen have had (and when)... plus those accused of adultery or who dumped their older wives for trophy wives.

Or the man who wants to sit in judgment on Clinton who denied previous marriages and still sputtered after locals turned up a FOURTH wife..

But most of all, the free press should be looking into the Special Prosecutors office because THE REPORTERS AND NEWS ANCHORS above all KNOW that Starr and his people have broken the laws of this nation by revealing secret Grand Jury information. In effect, the news media has been partners in the persecution of a man's PERSONAL life - a personal life that calls for pity not destruction.

What is happening, is the news moguls have to cover their own asses.

They've screwed up big time and they, like Starr, are hiding behind legal technicalities.

Ladies and gentlemen, no matter your beliefs, you had best watch out for the future. The slippery slope is a precipice ahead of us and the rest of the world is laughing at us.

I am not proud of Bill Clinton's sex life - but I am proud of him as a president. France had OFFICIAL royal mistress for its kings...

Mitterand's mistress and his wife both attended his funeral without the press having vapors, Prince Charles has a mistress who attends royal affairs with him...

And now with Viagra, the actions of those old goats in Washington are beyond imagination.

What are we? A nation of Sunday School children?

As for me, I'm an adult. I hate what Bill Clinton has done in his personal life but again, it's NOT MY BUSINESS. I voted for him for president and he's been a pretty good one with a Congress controlled by bigots and haters. I didn't vote for him for saint.
      As for his punishment, I have one small thought: "Ms. Hillary - go girl! You (and Chelsea) are the only ones who have the right to give him hell. Make him miserable! How stupid can a menopausal man get?"

The rest of us ought to butt out. It's YOUR marriage and family, not ours."

A new female HIV preventative finally puts women in control - See the column by J. B. Dixson that explains it:

      Back in the 1600s (Born 1647), Maria Sibylla Merian, German entomologist and botanical illustrator of extraordinary accomplishments traveled to Surinam (South America) to study insects in their natural settings instead of using dead samples collected by others.
      She added commentaries to her work including the native women's habit of chewing the seed kernels of a plant called Flos Pavonis (plate 45) which prevented conception and resulted in spontaneous abortions.

Has anyone heard anything about Flos Pavonis????

With Internet, for the first time in history, women can exchange VITAL information about their lives without having to have it censored by some guyz. Let's USE it.
      Her drawings were used in a series of U.S. Postage stamps in the last couple of years - drawings accurate to the millimeter.
      There is NO reason to doubt her writing. A safe, easy, no cost abortive? No wonder we haven't heard of it.
      Men don't want women to control their reproduction ability. Rape and motherhood are the best controllers of women.
      What is the Flos Pavonis plant?
      Why hasn't some rich woman gotten a study going on the naturally abortive Queen Ann's Lace plant that grows abundantly wild all over the eastern U.S.?
      And how about other plants?
      Come on.
      Someone open a checkbook. There are thousands of highly trained women who could do such a study.
      We will always get the kind of life we deserve.

Send your ideas, comments, and news for inclusion in the Catt's Claws feminist newsletter which will be emailed as we get to it. This is NOT an interactive discussion net but an exchange of information. Catt's Claws is NOT sponsored by any organization. The contents are strictly the opinion of the author. Copyright 1998, Irene Stuber. PO Box 6185, Hot Springs, AR 71902

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