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I'll Trade You One Geraldo For One Alan Keyes

May 5, 2002

When I was a kid, trading baseball cards was a big deal. Everyone wanted to make sure they had the very best in their collection, so there was a lot of trading back and forth. I think Fox News ought to offer Geraldo to MSNBC in exchange for Alan Keyes.

Neither of these men fit where they are now. MSNBC is of course part of NBC, which is among the most liberal of networks. NBC is notorious for its slanted "news" reporting, which is actually more often editorializing from a liberal world view.

Although Fox News is often accused of being a conservative network, it is not. I wish it were. We need at least one conservative network to balance all the liberal ones. These include CNN (the Communist News Network), ABC (Anything But Conservative), NBC (Notoriously Biased Content) and CBS (Certain to Be Socialist). Fox News prides itself on providing fair and balanced coverage, and does an admirable job of presenting both viewpoints on most issues.

I think Fox News would better serve its viewers if it were to present a frankly conservative slate of commentary and let the four frankly liberal networks provide the "balance." But that is the network’s decision.

I must give Fox News credit for two things. They have been instrumental in maintaining my health, as well as the safety of my three television sets. You see, prior to "fair and balanced coverage" from Fox News my only option was the "unfair and biased coverage" from NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN. When I watched the editorializing, lobbying, and blatant twisting of facts that these networks often presented as "news," my blood pressure rose to dangerous levels, I got headaches, and was plagued by acid indigestion. I also came close to throwing various objects at my television sets, which were, to be fair, only doing their jobs.

In consultation with my doctor, I finally decided that the best course was to stop watching television news altogether. My wonderful wife, Ana, saved the day when she discovered Fox News. She told me they actually presented both sides of the story. At first I didn’t believe her. Based on my prior experience with television news, I assumed that the FCC had issued rules something like this to all the networks regarding their news content:

1) Liberals and socialists are to be treated with respect. Conservatives and religious people are to be ridiculed, slandered and denigrated.
2) Straight news reporting is not allowed. "Reporters" are required to insert their own political or moral views in the guise of news reporting, the more liberal the better.
3) In international news, only the opinions of Arab dictators, Communist dictators, UN flunkies and others who hate the United States are allowed. Expressions of appreciation to America for all we have done for other nations, or any positive view of our nation is not considered newsworthy.
4) The American people are stupid. They prefer endless, mind-numbing coverage of such non-issues as the O.J. Simpson circus over coverage of substantive issues that impact their lives and families.

After I started watching Fox News, it became apparent that either they were ignoring the rules, or the networks themselves had written the rules. Conservative Truth has always been known as "The Antidote to the Liberal News Media." We had finally found a network that was an ally in the struggle. Here was news that I could recommend to patriotic Americans that could be watched without having to take antacids or anti-nausea medication.

Then Fox hired Geraldo. He has a last name, but likes to emulate other admirable people like Prince and Madonna by the affectation of using only his first name. The original Jerry Springer, Geraldo became known for his sleazy talk show, on which no subject was too disgusting or degrading to attract his interest. Whoever hired him should be fired and tried for treason against the network.

In stark contrast to Geraldo, Alan Keyes has a distinguished background. A former Reagan Administration official, Dr. Keyes is recognized as a leader in the conservative movement and is one of today’s most demanded orators. He has served our country as Ambassador to the United Nations Social and Economic Council, and was a Republican presidential candidate in 1996. He has been president of Citizens Against Government Waste and is the founder of National Taxpayer Action Day. He has written two excellent books: Our Character, Our Future and Masters of the Dream.

Alan Keyes is a highly intelligent, well-respected man who researches each show thoroughly before he goes on the air. He is a man whose life is guided by the Bible, solid moral principles, and the Constitution. He is pro-life, pro-Israel, pro-religious freedom and pro-America. He is anti-socialism, anti-racial quotas, anti-government waste, anti-confiscatory taxes, and anti-stupidity in general. In a word, he is too good for MSNBC.

Why do I think Alan Keyes and Geraldo are mismatched with their respective networks? One clue is that when MSNBC started promoting Ambassador Keyes’ upcoming program, "Alan Keyes is Making Sense," they took great pains to state that Keyes’ (conservative) views were not those of the network. That would be OK, except that they have never done anything like that with any of their liberal commentators. Before his show even started, they made a clear effort to distance themselves from its content. Why? They know their viewer base.

One example: NBC (the parent of MSNBC) is currently negotiating with Former President Slick Willie Clinton to do a weekly show for which he is reportedly asking $50 million per year. The kind of audience that would waste one minute of their day watching Bill Clinton is not the audience of an honorable man like Alan Keyes. That’s my point. People like Geraldo and Clinton fit in at NBC and MSNBC. Keyes is just a token conservative to them. Do people watch Keyes on MSNBC? I sure do. But as soon as his show is over, I immediately switch back to Fox News.

(By the way, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly has suggested a name and a concept for Clinton’s show: "Temptation in the Oval Office." He suggests that Clinton be presented with various temptations - bribery, adultery, and so on - and have the audience vote on how long he will resist the temptation.)

I’ve complained that Geraldo editorializes when he is supposed to be reporting. Doesn’t Alan Keyes do the same? No, because Keyes’ show is advertised as commentary. He often brings on guests with opposing viewpoints, a la Hannity and Colmes, and then concludes with his opinion on the matter. This is valid because it’s up front. The show is called, "Alan Keyes is Making Sense." It’s about his own unique perspective on the issues.

On the other hand, Geraldo advertises himself as a "hard news" reporter. He pretends to be a journalist. But his diatribes are mostly composed of his extreme leftist viewpoints with occasional snippets of real news interspersed to make them look like journalism. For example, on May 1st, Fox News aired a report by Geraldo on the situation at Arafat’s compound in Ramallah. (Normally I immediately switch channels when his face appears, but since I was researching this article, I was forced to gag and watch his comic act.)

He started off with hero worship of Arafat. "He may have been a terrorist in the past, but in my heart of hearts I know he longs for peace." (Nobody cares about your "heart of hearts," Geraldo. Report the news, not your touchy-feely views.) "The Palestinians’ adulation of Chairman Arafat was obvious." (Adulation? These are desperate people who will rally around anyone who convinces them he can do something for them. This monster controls all their news. If they knew how many Palestinian deaths Arafat has caused, there would be no "adulation.")

"I have no doubt that President Arafat could win a presidential election today unanimously." (So now you’re an election expert? First of all, a unanimous election is something that only takes place in Cuba or Pakistan, where "President" Musharraf won because he didn’t allow anyone else to run. Arafat has never been elected by the Palestinians in an open and fair election.) He described the "devastation" of Arafat’s compound. As he was doing so, his cameraman (who seemed to respect Geraldo about as much as I do) told the true story with his camera. He gave the audience a great view of Arafat’s slightly damaged garage, filled with Mercedes limousines and brand-new U.S.- made SUV’s. American tax dollars at work.

Then the macho "war correspondent" put his arm around Arafat’s shoulder. (Hasn’t this guy heard of lice? And since when do reporters physically embrace their subjects?) Geraldo asked the Senior Terrorist of Palestine about the fires at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which observers say could have been started accidentally by Israeli smoke grenades or deliberately by the Palestinians inside the church. Arafat made the outrageous claim that "Israeli rockets started the fires." Everyone knows that rockets wouldn’t have just started a fire - they would have destroyed the church. Palestine’s Bill Clinton wannabe then went on to claim that "600 innocent Palestinian civilians died in Jenin." Human rights organizations and reporters alike agree that a total of fifty-six Palestinians, mostly armed militants, died during the battle in Jenin. And Geraldo, the "reporter" who prides himself on asking the "tough questions," never questioned either ludicrous statement.

Geraldo wound up his "report" by giving President Bush detailed instructions on how to end the fighting in the Middle East. Normally the other Fox News personnel put up with his ridiculous statements because they don’t want to make their network look bad. But this was too much for "Fox and Friends" anchor E.D. Donahey, who was clearly incensed. "Are you trying to tell the president what to do?" she asked. She made it clear that she did not appreciate his biased reporting.

Somehow, though, in the end it seemed this surreal love fest of Geraldo and Arafat qualified them to be the first guests on the Bill Clinton Show. Both seem resolutely determined to find the spotlight and gleam their crooked smiles at an incredulous audience. However, while Geraldo’s self-serving and vacuous commentary are only an embarrassing joke, Arafat’s egomaniacal and lunatic ranting results in senseless evil and carnage.

Television is rapidly becoming the medium of dummies, much like universities have become the home of the ignorant. The problem that conservatives and other moral, intelligent people have with television in general is that it communicates images and illusions rather than information and ideas. A total boycott of television, while an appealing idea, is not the answer for most of us. A more logical approach is to "vote with our wallets" by patronizing networks that reflect our values. The problem is that by hiring Geraldo, Fox is giving intelligent viewers mixed signals.

Just as we used to trade a Mickey Mantle for a Babe Ruth baseball card, I suggest that Fox offer Geraldo to MSNBC for Dr. Alan Keyes. I know it doesn’t really sound like a fair trade, but taking into consideration Geraldo’s "reporting" style, he’d fit like a warm sweater into the liberal NBC ranks. Keyes, on the other hand, should be given the chance to flourish in an environment that is friendly to his opinions and outlook, and not forced to exist on the lowest-rated cable news station. If the trade doesn’t sound appealing to the chiefs at MSNBC, I’d suggest that Fox go one better - toss in Greta VanSusteren as boot. Two Clinton apologists for one true conservative! That way, Keyes can move into a prime spot in the Fox News Channel line up, and never miss a beat. This way, everyone would be happy - especially the viewers.

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Copyright ©2002 Tom Barrett

Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

He has written thousands of articles that have been republished in national newspapers and on hundreds of websites, and is a frequent guest on radio and television shows. His weekly Conservative Truth article (which is read by 250,000) offers a unique viewpoint on social, moral and political issues from a Biblical worldview. This has resulted in invitations to speak internationally at churches, conferences, Money Shows, universities, and on TV (including the 700 Club).

“Dr. Tom,” as his readers and followers affectionately refer to him, has a passion for teaching, as you can see from his ministry website (www.ChristianFinancialConcepts.com); his patriotic site (www.ConservativeTruth.org); and his business site (www.GoldenArtTreasures.com). Tom's friend Dr. Lance Wallnau wrote of him, "Tom Barrett is a Renaissance man with a passion for subject matter ranging from finance to theology and American history."
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