As unlikely as it might have seemed just a few
months ago, the mid-term congressional elections in 2006 are shaping up
as not only a pivotal political moment but a referendum on what Bush has
done over the previous five years.
It’s a chance for Americans to say No to
“preemptive wars” fought for trumped-up reasons; No to torture and other
violations of civilized behavior; No to record federal budget deficits;
No to rampant cronyism that has become business as usual – from
Halliburton’s contracts in Iraq, to Jack Abramoff’s lobbying of
Congress, to the mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina and other federal
Poll after poll reveals a political awakening
across the United States, a shaking off of the drug-like sleep of
propaganda. Belatedly, large numbers of Americans are demanding the
truth. They want to know how their great country was led so far off
In our view, a big part of that answer lies with
what happened inside the major U.S. news media, which today can be
viewed as split between a powerful conservative message machine and an
intimidated mainstream media that fears angering Bush, a mix of bullies
and the bullied.
Indeed, at key moments, such as the run-up to war
in Iraq, it was hard to distinguish between the pro-Bush propaganda in
the right-wing media and the credulous acquiescence to Bush’s
distortions in the mainstream media. [See Robert Parry’s
Secrecy & Privilege.]
That is why – having spent most of my journalistic
career in the mainstream media – I have long thought that the only
answer to America’s media problem is to build honest and independent
media, both strong journalistic content and the outlets to get that
information to the American people.
It was with that intent that I founded
Consortiumnews.com a decade ago as the Internet’s first investigative
magazine. We had important news stories to write and we were looking for
new ways to distribute the information.
Over those 10 years, Consortiumnews.com has
compiled a remarkable record of what we sometimes call “lost history,”
the reality that exists outside the camera frame of the
conservative/mainstream media outlets.
It was the skepticism that came from knowing this
reality that informed our critical reporting about much of what has
happened during George W. Bush’s administration.
We understood the neoconservative strategy of
“perception management” – a technique of using exaggeration to control
how Americans perceive international events – because we had reported on
its origins in the 1980s. [For details, see Parry’s
But our key problem at Consortiumnews.com has been
money. When we ran short of cash in early 2000, we were forced to put
the Web site on a part-time basis and therefore didn’t have as much
impact as we might have had on Election 2000.
We were still operating part-time as Bush and his
neocon administration marched the nation off to war in Iraq in 2003.
Though we covered the war issues as closely as we could, we were limited
by a lack of time and resources.
It was not until well into Campaign 2004 that we
tried to rebuild the Web site on more of a full-time basis. In the
months since, we have stepped up the number of stories and the scope of
our coverage. According to our Web counter, our readership also has
Increasingly, Consortiumnews.com is turned to by
readers all over the world – as well as in key news bureaus of
Washington – as a source for information and analysis. For instance, I
was told that our recent article on Bob Woodward’s
conflicts of interest circulated inside the Washington Post.
But finances again could be our undoing. We must
raise at least $20,000 by the end of the year to keep our operation
going at the current pace. We would need even more to achieve the
expansion that would make us a bigger force in 2006.
If 2006 does become the Accountability Year, I
believe Consortiumnews.com could be a vital contributor to the process.
So, please contribute what you can. Your donations are tax-deductible.
[Donations can be made by credit card at the Web site or by sending a
check to Consortium for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Suite 102-231,
2200 Wilson Blvd., Arlington VA 22201]