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Signs of the Times for Tue, 31 Jan 2006

Signs Editorial:

Henry See

The headlines of the corporate media in the US have been full of stories of another liar in recent days. The man's name is James Frey and his lies were contained in a book that he claimed was based on his life. Oprah Winfrey gave the book a recommendation, and that's when things went south. It came out that Mr. Frey had stretched the truth a bit in recounting some of the events in his past. He'd lied.

Well, poor Oprah went ballistic, and she called Mr. Frey back onto her show to give him a piece of her mind. She felt duped, and she had he courage to call out Mr. Frey on her show, an act so courageous that the pundits made certain it became headline material...for some book that will be forgotten in a year. Simply because he made her look bad. Poor Oprah's ego couldn't take it, and she had to set the record straight.

And to make matters worse for the beleaguered talk show host, the wing-nuts jumped on Oprah and ridiculed her for being duped. The right wing media propagandists are ever ready to serve the truth.

Well, not all the time, maybe.

For there's another man, fairly well known, in the United States, who has a habit of lying. He's been doing it with impunity for the last five years. His lies have caused the deaths of over a hundred thousand people, have abrogated the rights of every American citizen since 9/11, have overturned the Constitution of that country, and have left death and destruction in their wake in Afghanistan and Iraq. They will soon very likely do the same in Iran. His lies give support to the ongoing genocide of the Palestinians and are bent on setting the world against Islam.

When is Oprah calling to call this man out?

We all know that Bush lies. There isn't a week since the start of his reign that he hasn't come out with a whopper. Over the years, the lies are getting bigger and bigger. From his denials that he and Enron con artist Ken Lay were great buddies in the early years of his scourge to his more recent claims that he doesn't know Jack Abramoff and that discussion of the president's illegal requests for wiretaps are undermining the fight against terror, George W. Bush seems incapable of telling the truth.

Yet in the face of this man's actions, there is only silence from the corporate media.

As Norman Solomon points out in his article Domestic Lying:

Frey lied about his personal life in a book, and that infuriated Oprah Winfrey. "It is difficult for me to talk to you, because I really feel duped," she said, confronting him in the midst of the Jan. 26 telecast. "I feel duped. But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers." Yet the journalists who interview Bush aren't willing to question him in similar terms. The president didn't merely betray millions of readers. He betrayed hundreds of millions of citizens. Bush lied about basic civil liberties in the United States. Instead of relying on euphemisms, the news media should directly confront him with the question: "Why would you lie?"
So, given the silence regarding the country's most important Liar, is there some hidden symbolism in Oprah taking on the inconsequential James Frey? Is Oprah's public transfering its feelings about Bush onto the author of a book of memoirs that will soon be forgotten?

Bush's lies are too large to pass unnoticed, even if they only seep stealthily into the nation's subconscious. But they are there, and the discrepency between the values stated in the American mythology and those of the curent administration is so great that tension and pressure will increase as individuals seek to ignore and supress that discrepency. But it is going to need an outlet somewhere. Perhaps Oprah's own reaction to Frey is so strong because she is making him a surrogate for her anger at Bush.

So we can surmise that there is a potent force of pent up psychological pressure under the surface of the American body politic. Add to it, the bleak economic outlook and the ever-increasing struggle to put food on the family table, and you have a society that could well explode...if care isn't taken to relieve that pressure a bit at a time.

If the powers that be decide that allowing Bush to continue represents too great a threat, the president can be removed. The coporate media can be used to bring him down, to have him replaced by the White Knight on the White Horse. Only don't expect the Knight to be truly white underneath the media glitz and shine. The white light on the black Darth Vader suit is only the reflection of the hopes, dreams, and wishful thinking of the American people waiting for a saviour.

And as we so often repeat, there isn't any saviour. We have to do it ourselves.

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