Good Reason #6
No longer can we...

trust our elected officials to tell us the truth

To inform the minds of the people and to follow their will is the chief duty of those placed at their head.
—Thomas Jefferson

The minority, the ruling class at present, has the schools and press, usually the church as well, under its thumb. This enables it to organize and sway the emotions of the masses, and make its tool of them.
—Albert Einstein

A new public opinion must be created privately and unobtrusively. The existing one is maintained by the press, by propaganda, by organization, and by financial influences which are at its disposal.
—Albert Schweitzer

The news is what we say it is.
—Walter Cronkite

. . .we get down on our knees and pray we won't get fooled again!
—The Who

Most people would agree on the way our government is supposed to run: Citizens elect men and women they trust to represent them, and those elected respond to the voters' wishes and keep them well informed. In public, our current officials would probably also agree that this is how they are supposed to act. Watergate is dismissed as a regrettable but unique anomaly; that bears no relation to present-day circumstances.

The distance between "supposed to" and reality, however, has rarely stretched wider. Our government responds to the pressure of special-interest groups, not the voters. These warring political action committees (PACs), which have wedged themselves between the people and their representatives, have twisted the electoral and lawmaking processes–and our culture—into their current dysfunctional shapes.

Afraid to admit the favors they owe PACs for campaign contributions and favors received, elected officials struggle to preserve an illusion of legitimacy, while pretending to uphold a constitution which demands accountability to the public at large.

The situation is little better among their bureaucratic support staff who often do the bidding of the latest incumbents without questioning the ethics or even legality of their actions. Worse, yet, some—deeply entrenched in corruption of their own—ignore the elected officials.

Many reporters for major news media also betray the public trust by rarely asking hard-ball questions. The following dialogue between talk show host Johnny Carson and CBS Newsanchor Connie Chung on January 30, 1990, is a case in point:
Carson: "How much of the national news that you report to the public each night consists of information you've actually gone out and dug up on your own?"
Chung: "In all honesty, Johnny, we are often at the mercy of the White House for the news we report. Frequently, we simply repeat verbatim what the White House tells us."

An October 1977 Rolling Stone interview with Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein revealed an even more dangerous situation. It cited official CIA documents showing that during its previous 25 years the agency had bribed more than 400 of the leading U.S. news services to hide various CIA activities from the public. Those accepting bribes included CBS, NBC, ABC; The New York Times; Newsweek; Time, Inc.; United Press International and the Associate Press.

The facade of "honesty" constructed by public officials and unchallenged by the media has long looked impenetrable, but cracks are beginning to show. Quoted in Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report, Frederick Whitehurst, supervisory special agent in the FBI laboratory, has accused his own agency of "tainting and altering evidence."

On March 22, 1997, the Los Angeles Times reported:

The Justice Department inspector general's office has determined that the FBI crime laboratory made "scientifically unsound" conclusions in the Oklahoma City bombing case, finding that supervisors approved lab reports they "cannot support" and many analyses were "biased in favor of the prosecution."

As reported in national media in April 1997, the Internal Revenue Service fired 23 employees for snooping through tax returns. It disciplined another 349 and "counseled" 472 more for the same offense. All told, at least 844 IRS staff were involved. The offense is punishable by a year in prison. What do YOU think?

Despite all the media coverage, the American public is still in the dark about TWA Flight 800, the Oklahoma City bombing, savings and loan scandal, Whitewater, Ruby Ridge and Waco, not to mention the JFK, RFK and Martin Luther King assassinations and thousands of more recent but less spectacular cover-ups.

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