Something I think our August Media Betters, those who protect us against Democracy Dying in Darkness every day, have utterly forgotten:
I’ll go one better.
Run it on every news show. Every night. Every single night until this ends.
Every day on the 24-hour networks. All day long.
That’s all it is. Stories from the camps. Stories about the camps. People talking about what to do about the camps and I don’t mean inviting one Democratic senator who’s going to talk about civility and one racist fascist fuckface who’s going to yell about Obamaphones and illegal aliens. I mean activists, attorneys, people trying to get to their families.
Wall to wall coverage. The kind you get when a pretty white girl is on trial for killing her baby.
The kind you get when a president wants to lie about a war.
The kind you get when, as I said over the weekend, one baby falls down one well.
Every single newscast in America could do this TOMORROW. They could do this TONIGHT. They could throw everybody in a room together and say this is what we’re about. This is what we’re doing. This is all we’re doing and it’s all we’re doing until it ends.
And 20 years from now we would remember those journalists as heroes. We would laud them in our history books. We would mention their names in the same breath as our liberal elders mention Murrow, as they mention Cronkite. Not that it’s the most important thing ever, in comparison to closing the FUCKING BABY CONCENTRATION CAMPS, but if vain and lazy reporters need a reason, here’s one: It’s what God put you on this earth to do.
But the advertisers, the bosses, the politicians, the accusations of bias, the OTHER STORIES, dear Liza, the other stories that need telling too. The panel you’ve already set up for Sunday that will change so little about the world, the favors you owe people and the fear of being fired. The mortgage you have to pay, the kids’ college fund, the money the money the money the money. The learned helplessness we’ve all watched journalism practice over the past 35 years.
The routine: get both sides, shrug your shoulders, and go home.
The pretense to powerlessness is humiliating to watch on a good day, but today? Today is unlike any other day. It’s rarely so very clear what needs to be done. You should be thanking heaven for the camera in your hands.
It can’t be done? There’s too much calcified inaction, there’s too much resistance? It’s impossible? You cowardly fucks. You all went to college for one hundred and fifty-seven years. You all studied this shit and you all, I guarantee, puffed your asses up about how fucking hard you were gonna tell truth to power.
Here’s truth: We are running concentration camps and people are dying.
Here’s power. It’s in your goddamn hands. Seize the mics and barricade the doors.
I’m going to take you all on a trip down memory lane. It’s called America Held Hostage, and you may have heard about it on a little program run by an obscure journalist named TED GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKING KOPPEL:
I was chief diplomatic correspondent. I’d be on the evening news and then I’d be on the late night news at 11:30. And these programs were infamously called “America Held Hostage: Day 5,” Day 7, Day 20, etc. And then one day I remember being on the phone with Roone saying, “You know, there’s nothing going on today. I mean, we really shouldn’t even be doing a special tonight.” And Roone said, “Tell me what a mullah is. Tell me what an ayatollah is. Explain the difference between Shia and Sunni.”
GQ: So he told you to be creative.
TK: He told us to be creative—Tell us stuff about the shah, tell us stuff about the religions, tell us stuff about the political make-up in Iran. All perfectly legitimate things to discuss, but not the kind of thing that you would normally put on a network at 11:30 at night. But such was the level of interest in the fate of the hostages that people were really tuning in.
Now, you can make all kinds of criticisms about the way this program treated a Democratic president and the way it fueled Reagan’s election (Koppel makes some of those himself in the interview) but what happened was a news program decided to make something THE issue of the day and they just fucking did it come hell or high water because they wanted to.
Years later, they did it again:
ABC issued a statement defending the program, which aired one day before the anniversary of President Bush’s May 1 declaration that major combat was over in Iraq.
The ABC statement noted that on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks it aired the names and pictures of the victims.
“ABC News will continue to report on all facets of the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism in a manner consistent with the standards which ABC News has set for decades,” it said.
The show, titled “The Fallen,” aired at 11:35 p.m. ET Friday, and ran until 12:09 a.m.
ABC News showed the tribute live on its Jumbotron screen in New York’s Times Square.
Imagine that, with the camps. Imagine it every day until it’s over.
Now go DO IT, dammit Jesus.