Spread a little sunshine

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 21, 2005

Whenever I’m in my car between noon and 3 p.m. I typically listen to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show on AM 790 because, basically, I’m a totally lame middle-aged white man.

I disagree with about every one of Rushbo’s pompous, obnoxious utterances, but it is nonetheless informative and at times even entertaining.

One of Limbaugh’s favorite bits is to claim how right he is about everything and that over and over again opinions he’s expressed over his show’s 16-year run have been prophetic.

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One he made about a month ago was not.

Limbaugh raving over a question posed at a White House press conference earlier in the day and played the tape about a dozen times. A &uot;reporter,&uot; Jeff Gannon, from TalonNews.com, asked the president something to the effect of how he could work with Democrats like Sens. Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid who &uot;are so divorced from reality,&uot; and claim the economy is not doing well.

&uot;Finally, someone in the media gets it,&uot; Limbaugh kept repeating loudly,

&uot;Someone in the mainstream media listens to this program.&uot;

Turns out the reporter who &uot;got it&uot; is not really a reporter at all, but a guy who gained White House media clearance under a false name, works for an organization whose mission is to advance the Republican Party and has ties to the gay porn industry, going so far as posing on various gay porn Web sites. He was often called upon at press conferences to lob flattering, softball questions to the president.

Can you imagine the uproar in Congress and the media if it had been revealed that the Clinton administration had ties to the gay porn industry? There would have been house resolutions denouncing it, senate hearings, special prosecutor investigations, lynch mobs marching on Washington, etc.

Interestingly, there is none of that happening now.

And it should be. Forgetting for a moment the obvious question – how a gay porn star was able to hoodwink the Secret Service and FBI for two years and freely roam the White House posing as a reporter ? – but the overall effort to deceive . This incident, coupled with recent revelations

of media members being paid to shill for administration programs and entire fake news broadcasts being produced by the government complete with fake broadcast reporters with fake names and distributed to local television stations, paints a frightening picture. Obviously, there is an effort under way to hoodwink the public. We need to put a stop to it and demand that government at all levels be honest and accountable to the people.

March 13-19 has been designated &uot;Sunshine Week.&uot; Sunshine is the term used to describe laws that dictate standards of open government and freedom of information. While democracy and sunshine are flourishing around the world, open government is under assault in the United States. From Washington to state houses to city councils, officials are increasingly conducting the public business in secret and getting away with it.

Government honesty and accountability to the people are central to the success of our form of government. And an aggressive press that asks tough questions and challenges government assertions is essential to that process. They should be applauded rather than derided as disrespectful. It’s how the founders set up our government.

Go to Google or Yahoo and search &uot;Sunshine Week.&uot; There are loads of sites dedicated to helping you learn about your rights and the duty of your government to uphold them. If we fail to do our duty as citizens, it’s a sure bet that more and more of the news we receive from our government will be filtered through gay porn stars like Jeff Gannon posing as reporters. That just can’t be a good thing.

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald. He can be reached at 934-9611, or via e-mail at andy.Prutsok@suffolknewsherald.com.