Social and Political Commentary

News Blackout for Ralph Nader

by Jackie Wattenberg

Every few days I say to someone, "Isn't it great that Ralph Nader is running for President?"

Each time the response is, "Oh, I didn't know he was running!"

No wonder. It's being kept a big secret by radio -- even NPR, TV and newspapers. Only C-SPAN TV included him recently when they presented coverage of the big rally against IMF in Washington, moderated by the humorous moviemaker, Michael Moore. Nader is personable, knowledgeable, and even charming.

He is also critical of the power that is being tossed around by a few of our biggest corporations, the concentration of power that is seldom admitted by our leaders, even the Democratic candidates and leaders such as Clinton, Gore, Bill Bradley. Oh, a few Democrats, such as Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, and Sen. Paul Welstone of Minnesota, aren't afraid to speak out on this crucial topic -- but how often? They can't compete with David Broder, Cokie Roberts, Trent Lott, Phil Gramm and George Will for visibility.

Are Cokie and Sam Donaldson, George Will, Ralph Reed, Robert Novak, Geraldo and Larry King our national representatives, so therefore we have the pleasure of learning of their wisdom on a daily basis, while great minds, respected around the world, such as Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn are stashed away in some distant cave by news media? Liberal writers of well-reviewed books such as Jim Hightower are unknown to our media? Or are they deliberately hiding them?

If the protestors at the big meetings of World Bank last fall in Seattle and last recently of IMF in Washington had not been so forceful, loud and unavoidable to all of the news media, where would we have heard anything in general news avenues of possible dangers and abuses in the activities of these giant financial powers? How could we know of the harm to rain forests and waters in third world countries, the requirements of social cutbacks on education and help for the poor in these poor lands if the World Bank and International Monetary Fund grant their leaders loans for certain big projects such as dams, manufacturing facilities, bridges, etc.?

Harm done is hard to relieve. And these "generous" loans are so huge that impoverished lands sacrifice the well being of their people to pay them back. Such a heavy burden on lands already suffering extreme poverty cannot be the results of generous donors concerned about human conditions and saving our precious environment. Profits are ALL!

Republicans and Democrats alike have been welcoming to these big powers, both accepting donations from corporate interests. Only an Independent like Ralph Nader, so long protecting consumers' rights and health, onto the connivings of big corporations to control our economy and our government leaders, sees and speaks openly of abuses of power, speaks out for the middle and lower classes who have fallen behind in our shares of our nation's wealth.

That one percent of our population control 90% of our nation's wealth is something to think and talk about. Nader does this -- but will the media let us hear him, if we don't protest?

May 5, 2000

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