Now that the back story on the recent Extreme Makeover episode filmed in Hawaii it out in the open, the red flags are very much in evidence.
The grapevine has it that reporters at KITV, the local ABC affiliate, knew that this extreme makeover wasn’t really the cinderella tale that the corporate PR wanted us all to believe, but they weren’t free to pursue the story because the program airs on their station. A more blatant example of entertainment being put ahead of news by news editors themselves would be hard to find! Meanwhile, everyone else in town was printing pretty much the same stuff fed by the same network press releases. Read a bunch of those fluff pieces and you’ll see the same anecdotes repeated again and again. None of this speaks well for the independence of news from corporate control, direct or via big time spin.
Richard Borreca keeps the governor’s refusal to deal with the Awana situation on the front burner with another story today.
Lingle says that because of a criminal court case and a possible federal investigation involving Awana, she will not say why her former campaign manager, political adviser and the state’s administrative director abruptly resigned Thursday.
But that’s just an obvious smokescreen. The criminal case focuses on an alleged act of blackmail. Interesting, but not the main event as far as public policy goes. The real policy issues and political issues are really independent of the criminal case and will not be resolved by whatever happens in that criminal case.
The policy question is whether there is any truth to the reports that the second most powerful person in state government was arranging sexual entertainment for members of one or more official state delegations to foreign countries with famous but much-criticized sex trades, and whether this was part of the reward for corporate donors who put up big bucks to take part. This suggests questions that Governor Lingle needs to address: Have you ordered an investigation into whether this did or could have happened? Will you order such an investigation?
Is there a code of conduct for members of our delegations? Are members of official state delegations and trade missions asked not to partake of the “adult entertainment” as long as they are ambassadors of the state? Lingle can easily answer yes or no to these questions. Will she?
I’m thinking about Lingle’s continued “no comment” while reading about a reporter who got whacked for trying to ask President Bush a question.
Okay, let’s do a test.
I’ll e-mail the key questions to the governor’s office, and we’ll see what, if any, response comes back from her finely tuned spin machine.