When "Washington Post" reporter Howard Kurtz threw out the question "Is the media giving Bush a free ride?", the proverbial doo-doo hit the fan and our readers started shouting, loud and clear. Problem was, none of their letters made it into the main "letters to the editor" section. So we promised that their voices would be heard here at!

"Is the Media Giving Bush a Free Ride?" Readers Speak Out!

Bush and Nazi Connection

"Subliminable"..."There is differences"..."Is our children learning?" Dubya utters grammatical blunders on a daily basis that display his shining intellect, so much so that he's become the laughing stock of the world. He's received feedback, not exactly compliments, from many world leaders who, among other complaints, have observed that he knows absolutely nothing about foreign policy.

Remember Dan Quale? P-o-t-a-t-0-E. The misspelling of one world was summarily the end of his bid for the Presidency and the topic of the day on every network. Why isn't the same attention being given to Dubya's poor grammar as was afforded to Quayle's poor spelling?

I think it's clear that the media is protecting George W. From the Boston Globe's apologetic that deceptively chronicles the Bush family's collusion with Nazi Germany as innocuous financial dealings (This is FAR from the truth: Even the government's own unsensationalist investigation found that huge sections of Prescott Bush's empire had operated on behalf of, and greatly assisting the war effort of, the Nazi German war machine). After the first allegations that Union Banking Corporation and its subsidiaries had subsidized a wide range of Nazi progaganda in the U.S. and Germany (thanks to a tip from an informant working for Prescott, which led to a congressional investigation), Prescott Bush hired a lawyer to hide the assets instead of divesting UBC. I don't call that innocuous). Also, the Bush family has never acknowledged, apologized for, or repaid any of the capital to Holocaust survivors or their descendants, despite the fact that George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush received $10 million from the divestment of UBC in 1951 - an amount that, in today's dollars, is hardly innocuous!.

Of course, in addition to his abominable grammar, there are Dubya's attacks on the enviornment, public education, minorities, the poor, children, and labor - issues upon which the press has been ominously silent. Considering the credibility lent to the felon purge story in FL by an investigation by the BBC and the U.S. Commion on Civil Rights, the only adequate American news coverage this crime has received (besides Nightline's biased coverage, which focused on felons who had their voting rights restored in other states and were purged) has been in the Nation and Salon.

There's something rotten in the state of Denmark - perhaps it's the fact that Dubya is paying back his corporate donors, who also happen to won the mainstream news media.

Hail to the Thief

Joshua Thompson, Omaha, NE.

Honesty a Big Issue

On May 7th, Howard Kurtz asked readers to let him know if we thought Mr. Bush was getting an easier time in the press than President CLinton did. From me, you'll get a resounding yes! Contrast the story at with more mainstream accounts of the first 100 days of Mr. Bush's "presidency." Ask youself which accounts sound more like the coverage you would have expected of President Clinton.

Why is it that reporters aren't hounding Mr. Bush about his honesty, evcen though he has repeatedly attempted to show that he is different from Mr. Clinton in that regard? Every time Mr. Bush mentions his integrity, he should be pinned to the wall with evidence that integrity is a quality he appears to lack. From press accounts, it seems we're supposed to cringe every time President CLinton indicates he's an honest man, but buy it hook, line, and sinker when Mr. Bush does the same. Why?

Mickey Rowe

Bush's Nonexistent Military Record Exposed

Mr. Kurtz:

I don't see how there can be any doubt on the issue. Bush has regularly been given passes on matters that would have been huge issues if they had occurred in the previous administration. I'll give you just two examples, since you're a busy man. First, consider his military record. There were at least half a dozen incidents that would have been major news if they'd been done by Clinton. For example:

National Guard records and Bush's own supervisors and friends show no sign of him attending any drills or performing any service for nearly a year, from May 1972 until May 1973. This period began with Bush moving to Alabama for a political campaign.

He later applied to transfer to a bse that had no work. The transfer was first approved, then cancelled. Bush did nothing for several months; then, in September, he applied to transfer to Alabama's 187th Tactical Recon group for 3 months. This was approved, but the unit's commander, General William Turnipseed, and his then administrative officer Kenneth Lott, have both said that Bush never showed up. "Had he reported in, I would have had some recall, and I do not, " said Turnipseed. "I had been in Texas, done my flight training there. If we had had a first lieutenant from Texas, I would have remembered."

Bush claims that he did some work in Alabama but can't remember any details. "I can't remember what I did," he said. "I just - I fulfilled my obligation." Despite two years of searching through hundreds of records, his campaign has been unable to find any record of Bush's service there, nor could they find a single fellow serviceman who remembers his presence (check out

This is military desertion, during wartime. Didn't they used to shoot people for that? I don't think I've ever seen it mentioned in a major newspaper. The men in his unit even offered a few thousand dollars to anyone who can produce evidence that Bush showed up for duty. What would the press say if they found similar dirt on Clinton? There's lots of other anomalies there, too, like Bush refusing to take medical exams after the army instituted drug testing, and his "direct appointment" as an officer, despite getting a score of just 25% on his flight tests.

Second, there's another half dozen scandals involving his financial dealings, any one of which dwarfs the allegations in the Whitewater case, which the press rambled on about forever. Remember that one? The "scandal" where the Republicans spent $50 million investigating the Clintons and all they got for their efforts was evidence of Clinton's affair? That didn't stop the non-story from being in the papers regularly for the last eight years.

I'll just give you one of Bush's dirty financial dealings for now: In 1990, Bush sold 60% of his stock in Harken Oil for $848,560. He was on the board of directors at the time, but did not report the sale of his stock, a clear violation of SEC rules on inside trades. At the time, he was also privy to the knowledge that Harken was $150 million in the hole due to outstanding bank loans. The stock tanked shortly afterwards, but Bush did just fine. That's why they have inside trade rules, so investors will know when their board of directors decide to abandon ship. In 1991, after the Gulf War, Bush finally registered the sale. He was never disciplined by the SEC, which is pretty hard to fathom. They're not known for their mercy. I have heard that the cse was reviewed by a judge who was a Bush family friend who concluded that nothing unusual had happened (though I haven't confirmed this).

There's lots more. During the campaign, Bush's untrue statements were portrayed as silly slops of the tongue, while Gore's were portrayed as deliberate lies, despite the fact that Bush's comments were far more outrageous. For example, he condemned manual recounts in Florida and at the same time demanded them in New Mexico (not to mention the fact that he made manual recounts legally required in Texas in disputed elections). Contrast this type of dishonesty to the way Gore was pilloried for mistaking which civil servant accompanied him on a trip to a forest fire site.

We depend on the media to give fair, critical evaluations of our leaders. So far, the media has let us down. Thanks for your time.


Reality Check

Dear Mr. Kurtz,

I read your article on-line at http: I believe that Shrub's getting the proverbial ride on "the gravy train with biscuit wheels" from the major media. I'd cite as evidence the near total lack of major media coverage of the stories from these web sites:


That, plus the bizarre deceit by the major media reported in Fertik's "Media Lies Once Again to Declare Bush the Winner" at

For whatever reasons, it is as if when our judiciary gave away its pretense of impartiality last December, the corporate-owned media abandoned their journalistic skills of critical analysis and investigative reporting.

That's It,Jim Martindale,, Austin, Texas

Is Bush getting a free ride by the media? The simple answer is yes, but the explanation goes to a much deeper issue than John Harris's assertion that the disparity between Bush's easy ride and Clinton's constant bashing is because there was no left-wing group armed and waiting to pounce on Bush's every move as soon as he took office. While I agree with Mr. Harris's basic assessment, I would like to add something that he did not mention: the "liberal" media has been supplanted by the "conservative" media. The words "liberal media" have become a common part of vernacular, but the thruth is that the mainstream and most prevalent media have been taken over by large, profit-driven corporations that opulate the airwaves with their hand-groomed conservative think thank talking heads. (In fact, there are so many conservative Republican news commentators that it's actually carried as a NEWS item by several reporting agencies that one of their members might actually have Democratic leanings!)Considering that it is Clinton-hating (and other ) Republicans who are supported by and supporters of Big Business and corporate interests, it's not surprising that the airwaves are overrun with pundits of their ilk, ready to either tear down or overinflate everything Clinton did, all to further inundate and indoctrinate the public with their own version of events whil branding everything that contradicts them (i.e., the truth) as another example of "liberal media". If, in the eyes of mainstream news outlets "liberal" means truth, then give me a liberal media any day. And now that the conservative media, controlled as they are by their kabillionaire conglomerate bosses, and the Republican-controlled Congress have their man in the White House, they reined in their vitriol and patted themselvesd on the back as they decreed their newfound civility as "the new tone in Washington." I guess if we want the real truth, we will have to galvanize our group of "liberal left-wing" Bush-haters to wrest control of the airwaves.

Karen S. Evans, Westerville, Ohio

Absolutely Bush is getting a free ride. Everyday I read about something the Bush administration is doing that just turns my stomach. I feel like the presidency was stolen and it amazes me that it happened. Bush sold himself on his morals and pushed the Clinton "amorality." I'll tell you, I would rather have a man in office who runs our country well and fools around on his wife than a man who is faithful to his wife yet ready to screw the country. The Republicans and the news media never let Bill or Hillary Clinton rest for one moment. I was angered then that they were stopped from doing their jobs (such as enacting universal health insurance) that they were honestly elected by the people of this country to do. I felt duped then by the Republicans and news media and I feel duped now. Yes, everytime I hear the word president before the name Bush, I feel powerless and unheard.

Thankyou for this forum

Are the media giving Shrub an easier ride than Clinton? Does this question even have to be asked? Can't we go straight to the REAL questions, to which I would LOVE an answer: WHY are the media giving Bush such an easy ride? This goes beyond overlooking his obvious incompetence and dishonesty, egregious hard right-wing policy shifts, appointment of fanatical neo-Confederate nitwits with pasts which are questionable at best and despicable at worst, and an incredibly prompt and throough disavoiwal of well-established and often-repeated campaign promises. No, the media have not only conveniently overlooked all of these factors, they have gone much, much father and become an enthusiastic cheering section for the new "President," a willing and uncritical outlet for his propaganda machine, "revealing" such "exclusives" as that the President starts meetings on time and ends them on time. Big deal, if I'm going to have arsenic in my drinking water, trashing of traditional notions such as separation of church and state and one person, one vote, skyrocketing gas prices, no social safety net, the plunder of public lands by corporate interests, and outright unaddressed election fraud, I want to make sure that th meetings at which all this is decided start on time and end on time. We used to have epople called "citizens" who "elected" a President and relied on a "free press" to "inform" them as to "policies." No more. If the media simply rolled over and played dead, we would all be much better off, as we could all see for ourselves what Bush's misguided objectives and sorry performance amounted to. Instead, the media have become the lapdogs of the far right wing, distorting, misstating, and propagandizing at its behest. This must be what the "bad Germans" felt like in the 1930s.

Susan Potter

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