The United States of Avoidance


Dr. Ron Forthofer, who wrote U.S. Mainstream Media: Empire’s Too, has made a huge mistake in his characterization of the mainstream media respecting domestic issues His “mistake” is worth citing mainly because it’s one that U.S. educators all across the country make routinely, compounding ignorance with ignorance.  Review, if you will, how he opened his article:

“The U.S. mainstream media has an important role to play as the fourth estate. Sometimes it does an excellent job of informing the public on issues, particularly on many social issues. However, the mainstream media long ago abrogated its responsibility of accurately informing the public about U.S. foreign policy. Instead it has become a tool to advance the interests advocated by the U.S. establishment, particularly the goal to maintain U.S. hegemony.”

The mistake? Well, the “fourth estate” he cites NEVER does an “excellent job informing the public on issues”… social or otherwise. In any case, the misinformation they spread and the misdirection they’re responsible for is so overwhelming that — at this juncture — it’s a true waste of heartbeats to compliment them whatsoever. They are, in fact, as much of a “tool” in service to the powers that be on social issues at home as they are supporting our abominations overseas. In short, they’re essentially a danger to public health… by any definition, by any standards.

I really don’t want to be offensive to Dr. Forthofer personally. I’m sure that he doesn’t deserve anything but praise in terms of his intentions. That said, something must be said about what he and public and private educators are teaching citizens about the “objectivity” of mainstream media outlets and the decency with which journalists are generally going about their jobs. They are, in essence, NOT decent at all in any regard worth noting, for they are mainly all about propping up Empire and/or seeking self-advancement. The are at the opposite end of the spectrum from truly independent and honest “reporters” such as Jeffrey St. Clair, Andre Vltchek, William Hawes, Glen Ford, John Avery, Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, David Swanson, and Martha Rosenberg… to name just a few which are not household words across the United States of Amnesia, not presstitutes, a term I first came across in an article by Paul Craig Roberts, another very reliable source for information.

I could have named a number of women, but I concluded my very short list of preferences directly above with Martha because I want to make a point about Public Health. Forthofer is retired Professor of Bio-statistics at the University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas, and he and Martha have a concern for the collective health of communities in common. The difference is that Martha would NEVER say anything positive about the way in which mainstream media outlets address public health issues, whereas… well, we know how Professor Forthofer has praised those sources of information.

In Houston, there are a sea of health and environmental hazards in its floodwaters, as per a recent piece by one of the most prestigious mainstream sources in the country, the New York Times. And their report does not begin to delve into what the ongoing challenges have been for certain communities in Houston on an ongoing basis for years now; see what the real in-depth overview tells you about its toxic corner of Harris County. I can tell you definitively that it’s had one of the ugliest profiles with regard to environmental hazards in the world, not just in the United States of Amnesia. And I can also tell you that Martha Rosenberg would never write what the New York Times wrote… an article festooned with sins of journalistic omission. Their 2017 report gives the impression — like other mainstream pieces did — that the toxicity in Houston was a function of the floodwaters getting out of hand, not that Houston has been out of control environmentally — VERY dangerous, particularly for poor people of color! — for a very long time.

Martha — viscerally — knows that we don’t have time to worry about seeming to be fair to the powers that be and their front line ambassadors, the presstitutes. She’s too tuned into what’s going on, and what’s been going on for almost forever in the United States of Amnesia. And so…she calls a shovel a shovel because she knows its being used to bury us with, all of us. She practices advocacy journalism with fervor, Professor Forthofer does not.

Again, this is absolutely NOT to be taken as an assault on Professor Forthofer, as his faux pas is understandable and VERY common, as noted above. His journalistic indiscretion, however, must not be repeated. Educators — who understand what’s happening with regard to social and environmental issues in the United States of Amnesia — need to stop giving undeserved praise to the most prestigious sources of news in the country; they can begin by not purchasing certain publications for their students any longer, and make sure that advocacy journalism from so-called “radical sources” has a welcome mat on campus.

The depth of the scams going on in the U.S.A. even among those working in so-called alternative capacities, supposedly attempting to counteract mainstream practices — in all realms, not just with regard to journalism — is so very great and horrifying that only someone NOT FULLY AWARE of our challenges and the deadlines associated with them could possibly find the heartbeats to say something positive about how mainstream media coverage of social issues is different from its amnesia-like coverage of foreign affairs.

I ask forgiveness for singling out Professor Forthofer. He does not deserve to be lambasted as an individual… when the real point of this piece is to use something he wrote as a point of departure for getting across how we are not acknowledging what MUST be acknowledged immediately… AND ACTED ON IN SOLIDARITY. Everyone guilty of making “mistakes” is merely a part of a momentum which must be halted. Post haste.

But we are not only living in the United States of Amnesia, we live also in the United States of Avoidance.

Rachel Oxman can be reached at [email protected].

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