Junk Food for the Mind

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CommonDreams.org

Junk Food for the Mind

A small but growing number of Americans have finally realized that much of what the agro-business industry sells them at large food stores is not only not nutritious but, in many cases, a threat to their health. Hence, they have begun to seek out new sources of nutrition.

How long will it take for these same health-conscious Americans to realize that the agro-business assault on their bodies has a very clear correlate in the information diet offered up by the mainstream media in this country?

A few nights ago, I stayed up long enough to see who Charlie Rose, headliner of the purportedly "liberal" PBS network, would have on his program on the eve of the Palestinian petition for statehood at the UN.

I think it can reasonably be assumed that key purposes of the country’s one non-commercial network should be to provide the public with the information “nourishment” it needs for making informed decisions about the world. And this being the case, one would think that Charlie and his staff would take full advantage of their location in NY during the annual meetings of the UN General Assembly to seek out the widest possible array of opinions on this absolutely crucial area of policy.

After all, as anyone who has lived outside the US, or who regularly reads non-US newspapers, can tell you, we Americans are –to use a discreet understatement—“sadly underserved” when it comes to being able to obtain the information needed to generate a more or less reality-based vision of the Middle East. In this context, any opportunity to broaden the spectrum of opinion on this matter should not be passed up.

So who were Charlie’s guests?

They were Saeb Erekat, Ron Prosor and Mort Zuckerman.

Do you know who Saeb Erekat is?

Saeb Erekat is, well, a stooge to a stooge.

He is the “negotiator” employed by the Palestinian President Abbas, who was, in turn, imposed on the Palestinians by the US and Israel to grant them a "peace" that would in no way impede or reverse the 60-year ethnic cleansing project of the Israeli state.

Before he strangely and mysteriously began growing a backbone within the last year (perhaps he can give lessons to our own bought and sold Barry Obama), Abbas was Israel’s main man in Palestine.

And Saeb was his strategic point man and mouthpiece, ever ready to go on US TV and play the “good savage” willing to publicly embrace most of the key assumptions of the US-Israeli position on the fate of the Palestinians. Lest you have any doubts about Saeb’s status as Paestine’s most engaging and telegenic quisling, take a look some of the Palestine Papers released last January. In them, we see a man willing to do almost anything to please his American and Israeli masters. The picture of his serial groveling that emerged from these secret documents was so bad that he was forced to resign in disgrace as “chief negotiator” of the Palestinian Authority barely a month after their release.

And there he was representing the totality of the Palestinian position on Charlie Rose on the “liberal” PBS when, in fact, his person and his endemic posture of subservience are reviled by the vast majority of Palestinians as well as a strong majority of Arabs and non-Arabs around the world!

So who does Charlie bring on to “balance out” Saeb’s mellifluous delivery and richly documented history as a US-Israeli dupe?

None other than Ron Prosor, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, man whose prime job it is to sell to the world the Likud party's line on the righteousness of ethnic cleansing, and Mort Zuckerman, who has aggressively supported--both through direct financial aid, and through the editorial positions taken within his publishing empire-- right wing Israeli (aka Neo-Con) policies for “managing” the Middle East.

This would be the rough equivalent of having a "debate" on pedophilia in the Catholic Church with a) a former abusee who has been bought off with a job in the Church b) the priest who did the abusing c) the wealthy member of the laity who believes that the church he loves is almost always right and thus needs, above all, to be protected against criticism in the public square.

And guess what? Millions of well-educated people, most of them presumably self-proclaimed "liberals", no doubt went to bed the other night believing that good old Charlie had in some way helped them further their understanding of the real forces and issues at play in Palestine.

I have been around more than one well-educated acquaintance who, in an unguarded moment, has made snarky comments about how many people in the ghetto stupidly compound their life challenges by eating fast food day after day.

And yet, in the area where these well-educated types supposedly reign supreme--that of nourishing and strengthening the mind—many of these same people regularly eat junk of the type Charlie serves up nightly without giving it a second thought.

Thomas S. Harrington

Thomas Harrington is a professor of Iberian Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

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