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How the Baltimore Sun Stifles Dialogue

IF A SOCIETY's free press is consistent with totalitarian cultures, must a dictatorship ensue? Judging from the relative calm after Westinghouse and Disney announced plans to purchase CBS and ABC respectively, from the media-monopoly-enabling-Telecom bill, etc., this is a question that most Americans are apparently not asking. Still, we mustn't continue allowing the mainstream media to compel us into being mere spectators in the political process.

So, when the Baltimore Sun, in commenting on Clinton's commitment of 20,000 US troops to Bosnia without public debate, editorializes "...there should be no doubt about [Clinton's] constitutional power to do so. Even a hostile Republican-controlled Congress has been relatively acquiescent (1/16/95)"--this author's blood boils.

Casting aside the question of how the GOP could possibly be cast in the roles of defenders of the Constitution, Dr. Stephen Boyan of UMBC avers that in this case neither the Constitution nor the War Powers Act authorizes a troop deployment for this duration. Most legal scholars (while routinely ignored) dispute that the Constitution or the War Powers Act authorizes a president to commit troops without congressional approval.

Notice, however, that we are not merely being given a dubious assertion. We are also being instructed that "there should be no doubt" what to think. In other words, we should read the Sun without raising our heads. We should not question decisions that are being made for us.

Similarly undemocratic examples abound. In an article entitled, "East Timor becomes Indonesia's quagmire," which relates East Timor's 20-year resistance to their invasion by Indonesia, the Sun informs us that "One way or another, resolution of the conflict is at least a decade away (12/17/95)."

Excluded from their commentary is any mention that the U.S. has been selling F-16 fighter aircraft to Clinton's capo [mid-level Mafia henchman], Indonesian President Suharto, to curtail peace from breaking out there any time soon. Also unmentioned: that this arms policy is a continuation of backing the initial, near-genocidal invasion.

These have to be deliberate omissions. Much of the world is aware of our bloody dealings with Indonesia since 1975. The only logical conclusion is that the Sun prefers marginal awareness of U.S. policy to sell arms to mass murderers everywhere in the globe.

We're also apparently supposed to believe that the Sun, in keeping us posted after their overrated "CIA-trained Battalion 316 investigation," is doing anyone a favor in only telling us which brave Honduran judges are indicting what Honduran military officer for their involvement. (The Baltimore City Paper opined "...we're pleased that justice may indeed come to the evildoers behind the torture...[because of the series] (9/20/95)"-but it's transparently obvious that the Sun proffers its approval to Ronald Reagan or any high-ranking member of the State Department or CIA involved.)

If justice was intended for the victims of Battalion 316, Sun writers, in far less danger than the Honduran judges, would mention, even once, Reagan's criminality in waging clandestine war in Honduras and throughout Central America. They'd divulge, even once, that the CIA's role in this affair is hardly unique. They'd ask, even once, why the out-of-control CIA isn't being dismantled immediately.

There may be a purpose for the Times-Mirror-owned Sun's misinformation campaign. The corporate media wants to reward powerful interests with extensive propaganda favorable to them because at least 80% of their revenue comes from advertising, mostly businesses. For the Sun this will continue so long as its readers feel that "no one should doubt" what they're being told - with very uncertain ultimate consequences.

Scott Loughrey

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