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Questions a 'real' press would ask

ASK THIS | April 14, 2005

There are plenty of bloggers out there criticizing press coverage, but surprisingly few actually pro-actively suggesting questions the press should be asking. Kevin Hayden, who runs the progressive American Street blog, recently posted quite a few. (Have you seen a blog post with good questions? E-mail us at editor@niemanwatchdog.org.)

By Kevin Hayden

Adapted from "The Dirty Dozen Questions a Real Press Would Ask" on the American Street blog.

Q. For three years, we were regularly warned of potential terror attacks, at political conventions and sporting events, up to and including Election Day. It seemed like every time Bush was advancing an aggressive foreign policy move, or when he needed a distraction from a blunder (like Abu Ghraib), or his polling numbers were falling behind his political opponents for his election campaign, an alert would emanate. But there have been no terror alerts since November 14th’s downgrade - nearly 5 months. Were the alerts politically motivated, generating fear, knowing that the US electorate historically rallies behind a President when they’re fearful?

Q. Where are the leaders of Al Qaeda?

Q. How much of Afghanistan is actually a functioning democracy? And how are women and children being treated there now?

Q. Our intelligence agencies have been faulted for their deficiencies ever since the 9/11 attacks. In fact, the bipartisan Hart-Rudman Commission pointed to the deficiencies months and years before 9/11. Yet repeated investigations continue to display glaring deficiencies in our intel corps, long after major restructuring was begun. Is anyone in our government ever going to be held accountable for these deficiencies?

Q. How many Iraqi civilians have been killed since March 2003 as a result of our invasion of Iraq?

Q. When will the rest of the videos of Abu Ghraib be released to the public? What reason is there to continue hiding them from us?

Q. Where is the $9 billion of our tax dollars that has gone "missing" in Iraq?

Q. Ever since the "culture of life" concept has been promoted by this administration, we’ve been treated to repetitive stories and photos of dying and dead people. The federal government intruded on a family matter with the Schiavos and Schindlers. Much hoopla was raised about the death of John Paul II, with numerous extensions of protocol violated (flags ordered to half-staff, the president attending his funeral, etc). If the "culture of life" requires that we confront the reality of death in such bold and dramatic ways, why does the ban remain on photographs of coffins of dead soldiers returning from Iraq?

Q. The easiest first step to correcting the long term deficiency in the funding of Social Security would be to require that the wealthiest Americans start paying Social Security taxes on all their earned income, like the rest of us do. The easiest first step to alleviate the growing cost of Medicare would be to permit the federal government to utilize bulk purchasing of medicines to lower the cost of prescriptions. Why are these two easiest first steps not being taken?

Q. It’s been almost nine years since a mostly Republican Congress has raised the minimum wage. Considering the tens of thousands of dollars that have flowed to the richest in America through tax policy changes, and especially with gas and oil prices raising costs of everything transported, when are the poorest workers in America going to get a break?



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