NO MATTER HOW AMBIVALENT or angry Americans seem to get, the one constant belief is that the news media will act the role of the Fourth Estate, protecting them from the greed and excesses of special interests both in and out of government. Most surveys show that people expect the press to be the watchdog on matters that impact the fives of citizens. At the very least, they feel the media should inform them about important legislation or Executive actions before it is too late to act.
So far in the 21st century, the news media are missing in action. They either have ignored or been too involved in trivial journalism to pay attention to major actions on the part of government and special interests that have been detrimental to the health and welfare of the great majority of their readers and viewers. Special interests are having a field day passing laws heavily weighted in their favor while only small pieces of the media have been reposing this back to the public.
For example, the personal bankruptcy bill is one of the most unfeeling, mean-spirited pieces of legislation ever presented by Congress to a president. The credit-card industry, with its powerful lobbyists in Washington, is behind this horrendous injustice. As Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter put it, "First Congress puts a half trillion in budget deficits a year on the plastic for our grandchildren to pay off. Then it sells out the average American to predatory lenders, who have the run of the place. History should remember the 109th as the Credit Card Congress."
This issue should have been trumpeted on every local TV news program and newspaper in the country. When it comes to personal bankruptcy, most citizens think it is the end result of foolishness and avarice on the part of their spend-hungry neighbors--not so! Surveys conclusively show that those who declare personal bankruptcy do so because they have lost a job or encountered a major medical or family problem and have no further recourse. About 50% of those who file for bankruptcy do so because inadequate health care insurance ushered them to the poor house.
Almost everyone knows of a family who has suffered in this economy by losing a job or using up savings to pay exorbitant medical bills. The only recourse for these hard-working, innocent individuals has been to file bankruptcy when it became impossible--no matter how hard they worked or tried to pay off their debts. Now, they will suffer even more.
The cruelty of the...