Tuesday, January 2, 2007


There was a time when I would occasionally get the different languages I speak mixed up - especially when it came to metaphors, but the title of this piece is deliberate: journalists used to be equated with "Twelve Angry Men".  Now they're multiples of "The Three Stooges".  (And yes I know the "Twelve Angry Men" were jurors, a little respect for political license, please.)

In the post-election euphoria, America's fourth estate allowed itself a moment of quasi enthusiasm: Barak Obama was shown exercising his magical effect on people from all walks of life.

Now, apparently, the watchdogs of government have been ordered to tow the line - the Democratic Party line.  The candidate is Hillary (even if she hasn't yet declared), Obama is too young and inexperienced.  Let him wait his turn.

The unaninimity of Chris Matthews' Sunday panel would have made Stalin blush. Journalism's abdication is worse than a one-candidate election.
It occurs to me that the reason why Hillary hasn't declared yet is that she is waiting for Obama to "play by the rules" and declare he isn't running.  Almost irrelevant are the questions will she offer him the number two spot, and will he accept.

Meanwhile, the obedient soldiers trundle out Harold Ford as the up and coming black political figure, just in case voters are only looking at skin color.

Not that the left is behaving any better.  I caught an admirable lecture on Latin America by Noam Chomsky, broadcast on Democracy  Now, in which he dismissed Obama with contempt.  He's right to believe that nothing short of a revolution will save America, but every revolution is different, and ours may have to start with a different kind of President.

Obama is probably the only candidate who understands the significance of what is happening in Latin America - and Africa - today: I wager he also recognizes the effect Latinos are having on the American political process. It's not just that Latino voters have "abandoned" the Republican Party, as pontificators pointed out Sunday, it's that Latinos immigrants have given new life to the trade union movement - and to mass demonstrations - the only way the popular will can be heard.

Don't hold your breath waiting for the press to ressuscitate. Watch the Latino and broader immigrant community for signs of change.

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