Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) rang the dinner bell, calling the starved and downtrodden media to feast on their first real bite of Bush-flesh since the election.
The media had been hungering since the inauguration. Then came Lieberman's trial balloon: someone needs to look at the connection between Enron and the White House.
Until then, there was nothing of substance to hang on W. Since the 9/11 attacks, the President's poll numbers were high at one point, the highest ever recorded.
So starved and desperate were the media that the Bush daughters' drinking habits once were elevated to near Clinton/Lewinsky proportions. The drinking story didn't catch on, so it's easy to understand the media's excitement. Fat from eight years of juicy scandal then virtually starved, the media were thrown a steak in the form of the Enron "scandal."
Enron is no Whitewater, and Lieberman and those stirring the pot know it. But Bush's astronomical ratings call for drastic action. For liberals, especially those in the Senate being pounded for their legislative inaction, the Enron affair came like rain to a man dying of thirst.
Here's the scandal in a nutshell. Enron executives - with the help of their accountants, lawyers and financial analysts - made hundreds of millions while leaving employees and common investors high and dry. It is claimed Enron heads sought help from the Bush Administration to bolster the company, but the Administration apparently - and correctly - did not use government powers to help the company.
What is the White House impropriety claimed by liberals? Is it that the White House did not help Enron when it called? Would it have been better if the Administration bailed Enron out? What would be said if Enron had been bailed out? If the Bush Administration did or should have known what was up at Enron, why didn't Wall Street? That's the job of Wall Street financial analysts.
Enron was a big contributor to the Bush campaign. But one must dig to learn that liberals like Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) also received Enron money. From the headlines, one would think only conservatives received support. Bush received $100,000 for his national presidential campaign, while Lee received $38,000 for her congressional race. If I were to guess, $38,000 goes much further in a congressional race than $100,000 in a national presidential campaign. But who's counting?
There is a story we're not hearing. I am struck by how narrow-minded the media appears to be. Driven by a desire to politicize the news, the real issues are ignored. For anyone watching CNN's Lou Dobbs, Fox News's Neil Cavuto or CNBC, the Enron story was not new. Furthermore, they are asking the real questions.
We may be missing the real goal of Senate liberals. By using the Enron story to divert attention, there is no reporting on the fact that they are failing to act on important legislation like an economic stimulus plan and a ban on cloning. Furthermore, they use the Enron scandal to help paint corporate America as an enemy of the people. In doing so, they can continue to say big corporations and the wealthy are the only ones benefiting from tax cuts - justifying their opposition to the Bush tax plan.
We could also be sinister and say this is part of an effort to derail a real economic stimulus plan. They may hope the economy will continue to fail and, if it does so, blame the White House. It is almost a win/win for the liberals, if they can pull it off. But it can only be successful with the help of a gullible media, so blinded that they cannot see their unwitting role in all of it.
While the media goes on this wild goose chase, those hurt by the activities at Enron are not helped. Furthermore, there has been more money lost as a result of this reckless "witch hunt" than was lost to Enron, its employees and stockholders. Hundreds of companies and millions of investors have lost major share value on mere hints and innuendo, costing millions. This seems to escape the eye of the dominant media. Instead of focusing on constructive ways to help those hurt and how to protect others in the future, our friends in the media think they are on a nobler quest.
I can only hope that America is smarter than they are.
(Eddie Huff is a member of Project 21 and an insurance agent
in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He can be reached at [email protected].)
Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.