Now that Tom Brokaw is gone as NBC News anchor, his handsome successor Brian
Edwards has already begun filling his shoes. “I feel the weight of history,” Edwards said in an
interview this morning on the network’s “Today” show. It’s that kind of baloney that’s
objectionable in him, not his handsomeness.
But the truth is that baloney is an occupational hazard for all the network news anchors, even
ABC’s Peter Jennings, who is the least pretentious among them.
So why not switch channels to the one daily news program that refuses to offer baloney from
the anchor’s chair? Why not try the morning broadcast of Democracy Now!, where Amy
Goodman runs the show with co-host Juan Gonzalez? She’s not just smart or a woman — Hey, Ms. Dowd, get with it — she
and her cohorts have the best intro music of all the national news programs.
The program offers depth and perspective lacking on newscasts everywhere else. For
instance, here’s Noam Chomsky speaking about
Yasser Arafat, Iraq and the draft. Chomsky offers the most cogent analysis you’re likely to hear
on television about what’s going on in the Middle East and how it is distorted by the news media
(led by The New York Times in presenting the official view of historic events).
He refers, for instance, to the forgotten fact that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat offered the
same peace treaty to Israel in 1971 that was finally accepted in 1979, following the 1973
Arab-Israeli war and Sadat’s 1977 visit to Jerusalem, and the equally important but conveniently
overlooked U.S. objection to the settlement in the first place (“what Kissinger called stalemate in
“The U.S. refusal to accept a peaceful settlement in 1971 led to a terrible war, very
dangerous” for Israel, including a nuclear alert, Chomsky points out, as well as “years of suffering
and misery with effects that still are very much there. But it shows the advantages of owning
history. You can kind of reshape it into your own — to satisfy your own needs.”
You don’t get that kind of commentary on the nightly network news shows.
Chomsky also explains why we won’t see a draft to put more soldiers in Iraq: The Army
learned in Vietnam that draftees, as opposed to professional mercenaries, cannot be depended
upon to fight unjust wars when they’re long and hard. Once citizen soldiers discover they’re
fighting in a wrong cause, they lose their willingness to fight. They begin “fragging” their officers,
and so on.
As casualties mount, moreover, the nation at large pays the price in blood for a draftee army,
not just the narrower, more easily contained segment of the population represented by military
families. We already see that happening with the unpopular call-up of the National Guard.
Postscript: Is the FBI watching you surf the Web? Check this.