Secrecy is the true American tragedy

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Jan. 30, 01:30 EDT

Secrecy is the true American tragedy

Found under the rubble of the Enron scandal was Ralph Reed, founder of the Christian Coalition, protege of Karl Rove and Republican party choirboy.

As The New York Times reported last week, Enron had hired Reed as a consultant in 1997 for fees ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 (U.S.) a month and kept him on the payroll until the corporation filed for bankruptcy.

Rove, who is now President George W. Bush's chief political adviser, says he praised Reed to Enron so often that the company finally got the hint and hired him. But the real reason Reed was hired, says The Times, was to freeze the evangelical leader in place for the Bush 2000 presidential campaign.

The newspaper also reported that with Reed on Enron's payroll, it would be easier to provide cover for Bush, not yet publicly a candidate for the Republican nomination.

That works out to about a half-million dollars (U.S.) of ground cover to hide the Bush-Reed axis.

I should mention, Reed quit the leadership of his Christian Coalition, ran for the Republican leadership himself and kept on cashing Enron cheques while serving the interests of Rove, who was working for Bush.

Also, I recall candidate Bush calling upon some virtuous man like himself to clean up politics in the nation's capital. As for Reed, he was representing himself as God's top gun at Republican prayer meetings and in dialogue with William Bennett, who wrote a book on good moral character and its importance. It is not known to have been a best seller at Enron or in other leading Republican circles.

Rove, predictably, has testified to quote The Times the Enron contract "had nothing to do with the Bush campaign." Reed agrees with Rove's analysis.

To be more precise, Rove told The Times: "I think I talked to someone before Ralph got hired. But I may have talked to him afterwards. I'm a big fan of Ralph's, so I'm always saying positive things."

Anyway, the power of positive thinking did not save Enron or its creative accountants, bankers, brokers, analysts.

Since the news of Reed's conversion to the consultant business, I have not heard Rove the biggest fish in the Bush organization or Reed, easily one of the more godly ones, mentioned in the television news game. It would have made a great Crossfire show, it seems to me, even if it only got talked about a little more, and some reassurance from Bennett, the nation's principal U.S. moralist, who never stopped talking during the Clinton troubles. But Bennett has fallen silent. So has Reed and not a peep from Rove. The new CNN slogan is: "All the news you need." Don't they need The New York Times over there?

As far as I am concerned and I am concerned American (private) television is on the take, trading boilerplate government propaganda for hard news. The trouble with private television is not the prevalence of Velveeta, the banality and the brainlessness, but the gutlessness of its journalism.

The hidden truth is that television is not allowed to speak the truth, nor allowed to show the truth. CNN promotes the defence department's briefings from Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, media's true friend, who engagingly withholds information while earning praise for his candour.

Why can't the media visit the contentious Cuban prisoner of war camps? Why can't the allied media visit the camps and interview the imprisoned? What is their secret?

The secret is the same as all the other "secrets" the war is secret, no one needs to know and, in the infamous and childish litany of the Bush administration, unless we keep our secrets from the enemy "they win." Unless you spend more money, "they win" or eat your porridge, or cut taxes, or believe in Rumsfeld, "they win."

But the censors have already won.

The shame of it is the free press has already lost because, unless the government controls war coverage, the truth may hurt,and people will know for themselves something of the reality of their condition. This could affect ratings, advertising revenues and opinion polls. America, according to censored opinion, has already won the war. It is, indeed, a pity to have won the war and failed to report it.

A nation whose leadership does not trust its people to seek the truth has already lost more than any cheap victory can provide.

This is a true American tragedy.

We may now speculate upon the future coming of other Karl Roves, larger Enrons, CNNs of lesser courage and more voracious hunger for profit and power, and perhaps, livelier dodgers even than old Rumsfeld. Of course, such could be deemed unlikely given the constitution, the guarantees of press freedom. But then, where we are today, few, if any of us, could have seen coming.

Dalton Camp is a political commentator. His column appears in The Star on Wednesday and Sunday.

-- (Dalton Camp @ The. Star), January 30, 2002

Answers

1) Karl Rove recommends Ralph Reed for a consulting "job" at Enron that nets Reed half a million dollars for doing absolutely nothing that anyone can discover.

2) Bill Clinton recommends Monica Lewinsky to Revlon. She gets some interviews for a clerical job, but is not hired.

Here's the brain teaser: which one of these two political endorsements for a job in private business brought loud and ceaseless howls of "corruption" from the Republicans in Congress?

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), January 31, 2002.


The situation where the recipient of the endorsement sucked the benefactors tool.

-- So (cr@t.es), January 31, 2002.

But... but... it's not about the sex! Besides, Soc, what makes you so sure Karl wasn't doing Ralph in a three-way with Ken?

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), January 31, 2002.

Eww! Nipper!

-- helen (warn@me.next.time), January 31, 2002.

Figuratively, helen! I was speaking figuratively!

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), February 01, 2002.


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