Swamp Rabbit was retching on the side of the road near my shack. I had just shown him a front-page story in Washington Post that featured this headline: Tennessee vote marks latest GOP move to stifle dissent, experts say.
“Those mainstream newspeople can’t state simple facts without deflecting responsibility,” I said. “Makes you sick, doesn’t it?”
Actually, Swamp Rabbit was throwing up because he drank too much Wild Turkey the night before, but I ignored this. I was focused on the media’s deathly fear of being accused of bias.
The headline and story were about two black Democratic legislators, Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, who were expelled by their white, Republican colleagues after taking part in a protest at the state Capitol that was sparked by the shooting deaths of three children and three adults at a Nashville school. The protesters were demanding stricter gun control laws.
“It’s self-evident that the Republican-dominated legislature is stifling dissent,” I said. “It doesn’t take an expert to see that voting out those two guys amounts to a classic, fascist-style purge.”
Maybe print media should qualify all headlines, Swamp Rabbit said, citing a few possible examples: Experts blame cloud cover for overcast day. Bullet in brain indicates gun used in slaying, experts say. Experts: Famine deaths linked to food shortage.
“The mainstream media will love your idea,” I said. “Better safe than sorry, experts say.”
Footnote: We’re still a long way from the peaceful world imagined in “I’ll Take You There,” the 1972 Staple Singers hit… experts say.