For senior editor, National Review:
Thanks for your column on the travails of Noelle Bush and the resulting of lack of any public or journalistic debate on how draconian drug laws pushed by Republicans get applied to poor people and not the offspring of wealthy politicians. http://www.thenewrepublic.com/doc.mhtml?i=life&s=cottle092502
Although you might not know it, the transcript of the 911 call (following) to police reported in the Orlando Sentinel said that ALL the clients of the Center, all 24, would be outside to meet with officers.
So rather than 1 irate caller to the PO-lice, Ms. Bush angered the entire roster of patients. Beyond that, it beggars the imagination that modern journalists presume that Democratic politicians have no right to privacy, i.e. Condit and Clinton, but that Republicans can literally get away with possibly ANYTHING by claiming privacy rights.
Where is the balance?
When the National Enquirer ran stories on Roger Clinton's possibly illegal invlovement in pardon scandals, the NY Times and Florida papers duly noted the allegations. Yet when the very same Enquirer ran a story that Ms. Bush had tried to pass forged presriptions at several Tallahasse pharmacies and had those prescriptions in hand and that those offenses were covered up--constituting obstruction of justice and abuse of political office--not one Florida or national paper followed up to my knowledge even though I e-mailed 4 major metro Florida papers. http://www.nationalenquirer.com/stories/feature.cfm?instanceid=20585
When the Bakersfield Californian paper ran a story on representative Thomas, chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, and his long term affair with an insurance industry lobbyist when he was writing new HMO legislation, no major papers carried the story save the Boston Globe if memory serves.
Where is the balance?
When Laurie Klausitis, aide to retiring Florida Representative Joe Scarborough, died in his office of a blow to the head and the police LIED to the press and said there were no signs of trauma, only the Pensacola News Journal carried the story. At the very same time, virtually every paper in the country, presumably, carried Condit stories associating by him by implication with the disappearance of his intern.
Where is the balance?
Most important of all and underreported in mainstream US media outlets is the fact that most companies that make vote counting machines are owned by Republican politicians or by major donors to the Republican party.
[Republicans, Corporate Players Make the Voting Machines Appearance of Impropriety — New Questions About the Integrity and Security of USA Elections
From Talion.com See... http://www.talion.com/election-machines.html
The story is not about allegations of fraud — it's about an appearance of impropriety that is stunning in its magnitude.
Unfettered by any disclosure regulations about ownership or political affiliations, just a few companies create and control almost all the voting machines in the U.S.
Election Systems & Software, the firm whose machines were involved in the 2002 flubbed Florida primary election — and the company that now makes the voting machines for most of America — is a private company that does not like to tell the public who owns it. But at least one major shareholder is Michael R. McCarthy, who runs the McCarthy Group. The McCarthy Group has been a primary owner of Election Systems & Software, including its predecessor, American Information Systems for more than a decade. Michael R. McCarthy is the current campaign Treasurer for Republican senator Chuck Hagel. [See Hagel and McCarthy Documents] Prior to his election, Republican Senator Hagel was president of McCarthy & Company. In fact, he was first elected while his own company was making the vote-counting machines!...
"Election Systems & Software" "McCarthy Group" "Michael R. McCarthy" "Charles T. Hagel" — You'll find enough traceable leads to keep you busy for a week, if you run searches on the names and other related companies. And, for good measure, look up articles by Ronnie Dugger, who will show you how easy it is to fudge the vote-counting on these machines, in ways that can never be detected.] (found at Scoops, a New Zealand news site)
Where is the balance? Where are the investigative journalists of the newspapers of America? Protected by the first Amendment, they have a duty to ferret out the facts.
At the very least, democracy demands legislation that makers of elections machines be forced to open their source code to prevent any possibility of impropriety.
[Transcript of call to an Orlando police dispatcher
September 14, 2002 The Monday night taped conversation from a client at the Center for Drug-Free Living.
OPD Operator: You're being recorded.
Caller: Yes, I'd like to make a report please.
OPD Operator: OK, what happened.
Caller: I am located at the Center for Drug-Free Living, and I would like a police officer to come out, please.
OPD Operator: What address are you at, ma'am?
Caller: (gives address)
OPD Operator: OK, can you tell me what happened?
Caller: This is basically a treatment center for women with children.
OPD Operator: Yeah.
Caller: And one of the women here was caught buying crack cocaine tonight. And a lot of the women are upset because she's been caught about five times. And we want something done because our children are here, and they just keep letting it slip under the counter and carpet.
OPD Operator: Your name?
Caller: I'm anonymous.
OPD Operator: Well, we're going to have to meet with someone.
Caller: OK. Can I put all the girls? Because we're all here; we're all here wanting to talk to someone.
OPD Operator: Who was she caught buying the drugs by? Who caught her buying the drugs?
Caller: The staff.
OPD Operator: Pardon me?
Caller: Staff. They said, you know, because it's basically Noelle Bush. And she keeps getting out of it. Because every . . . she does this all the time and she gets out of it because she's the governor's daughter. But we're sick of it here 'cause we have to do what's right, but she gets treated like some kind of princess. And everybody's tired of it, you know. We're just trying to get our lives together, and this girl's bringing drugs on property.
OPD Operator: OK. And the staff caught her?
OPD Operator: They caught her today?
Caller: Yes. This is just about 30 minutes ago.
OPD Operator: And she's still there though.
Caller: Yes. And she is on probation, I guess. And all kinds of stuff. I don't know what all that is. But . . . And procedure is that they would call the police, but they're not doing it here because of who she is.
OPD Operator: OK. So the staff is refusing to do anything about it.
Caller: Because of who she is.
OPD Operator: OK. OK. OK, if you don't want to leave me your name that's fine. But somebody needs to meet with the officers when they get there.
Caller: OK, we'll be out front. Do you know how long . . .
OPD Operator: OK. All of you will be out front?
Caller: Yeah. There's 24 of us.
OPD Operator: OK. Hopefully, it will be within the next maybe 15 or 20 minutes. It may be longer depending on how many officers are available now.
OPD Operator: All right.
Copyright © 2002, Orlando Sentinel]
PS: You might want to check out a Rolling Stone article on children of politicians getting busted for drugs, including one Republican representative--name escapes me now but it might be Dan Burton--who called for the death penalty for drug dealers and whose son was subsequently arrested with pouds of pot and ounces of cocaine.
Turns out he thought, amazingly, his son had made some mistakes in his life and did not deserve the death penalty.