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Saturday, October 10, 2009

An Early Anniversary Kick Off With CNN's "Escape From Jonestown" Laundering Of The People's Temple Saga

Looks like the annual People's Temple White Wash Festival arrives early this year.

Tonight, Saturday, at 8 p.m. EST, CNN will be rerunning Soledad O'Brien's "Escape From Jonestown" documentary shown during last year's 30th Anniversary of the massacre. Of course you wouldn't know it unless you've kept tuned to CNN for the past several days and seen the promos.

For some unfathomable reason, none of the TV listings off or online have the program listed. I had to call CNN headquarters, where their spokesperson admitted they had made a "boo-boo" and that it would be posted. Maybe, maybe not. Likely a lot of audience will miss out (unless, of course, the CNN rep got it wrong, and the TV promos were misplaced....)

Nope, surely not the first or last time for a Big Media screw-up. To err is human, the ol' adage says, but mass media behemoths have a whole lot of latitude. Save the day. Send multitudes into oblivion. The gamut has been long and wide, and just too often unaccountable when it came to things like the lethal sins of omission.

And then, what do ya know, this marvelous information highway shows up and all that fog wafts magically right out of the public eye!

This episode of abysmal failure to do their jobs to stop an utterly preventable slaughter of over 900 Americans was one of the most appalling in history.

It must be said that "Escape" is one of the better of the People's Temple retrospectives because there are some good solid interviews with survivors. Nonetheless, the cover up continues on the media's conspiracy of silence on the real evolution of the Crime of the Century.

See if you notice these choice excerpts from tonight's show:

O'BRIEN: By his own account, Jim Jones was born on the wrong side of the tracks, in a small Indiana town in the Depression years. By high school, Jones was going to a revivalist style church and preaching to others from the sidewalks of his hometown. At 21, Jones became a student pastor by taking a correspondence course. Within a few years, he had started his own church in Indianapolis, named it Peoples Temple and opened its doors to African-Americans.

He and his wife Marceline became an interracial family through adoption and embraced racial harmony in an era that resisted it. But even then, Jones preached of catastrophe.

G. PARKS: At that time, the cold war was going on. And he was yelling a bomb was going to fall and there would be a nuclear war.

O'BRIEN: In the mid-'60s, Jones moved his church outside the town of Ukiah in Northern California.

G. PARKS: So he got this revelation somehow to come to Ukiah, California. And there was a cave out here.

O'BRIEN: A cave in the hills around Redwood Valley that would shield everyone from nuclear fallout.

G. PARKS: I know now as sure as I'm sitting here -- and I knew, you know, I have for a long time, there was no such place. It was all one of his lies.

O'BRIEN: Jones built this church and offered sanctuary there -- a safety net to the elderly and poor, usually blacks from the inner city. They signed over their Social Security checks and the Peoples Temple cared for them for the rest of their lives....

"Offered sanctuary"? "A safety net"? "....Cared for them for the rest of their lives...."?? Interesting take on it, Soledad. Not a whole lot of discussion, though, about the fraud or extortion or electroshock torture carried out by those "caring" Temple folks on five year-old children.

Nothing, either, regarding the San Francisco Examiner's four page one 1972 articles on a host of nefarious activities occurring in this "safety net," part of a devastating series of exposes that would have obliterated Jim Jones's death camp march. Unfortunately, that came to a screaming halt when that grand Hearst newspaper decided that turning coward was easier.

So the Examiner ceased examining--for five long critical years.

No, such details are just too much of an "inconvenient truth" for CNN's, or any other Big Media Script.

Another excerpt:

O'BRIEN: Verne Gosney joined the church in California about that same time. He and his wife, an interracial couple, were welcome.

GOSNEY: The Peoples Temple was a rich tapestry of people. They were people who had survived adverse situations -- racism, discrimination -- just very difficult lives. And they had triumphed to that point.

O'BRIEN: In 1975, Jones moved his church headquarters from Redwood Valley down to San Francisco, to a larger stage, where he became a political force and a face in photo-ops....

Oh, come now, Verne. The cultists "had triumphed to that point"?

Was this before, or after, they had been bludgeoned and brainwashed into slave laborers??

This last O'Brien statement is the one parroted faithfully by just about every pundit head that runs around Investigative Reporting Wonderland:

O'BRIEN: "....In that summer of 1977, Jones was facing increasing criticism from some members who fled the church because they no longer believed in Jones. When 'New West' magazine published an expose article about church beatings, Jim Jones suddenly decided to leave the country...."

Keep the tradition alive. NO ONE in the Fourth Estate knew anything--until those sleep-walking crusaders Marshal Kilduff, Tim Rieterman, and others leaped out from under their rocks a whopping five years after the Examiner had exposed Jim Jones. Nice work covering their collective tails--err, tales, CNN.

Again, this is not to say that "Escape From Jonestown" doesn't have a lot of solid reporting. It does. But sadly, outrageously, there's enough of a credibility hole here to toss it in with all the other disingenuous servings on Big Media's "true story" slag heap about the People's Temple cult.

Oh, yes, there's also the little matter about the late Harvey Milk, who not only was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom over the summer but was also recently inducted into the California Hall of Fame, along with the great Carol Burnett, George Lucas, and Chuck Yeager.

They're even waiting for Gov. Schwarzenegger to sign into law an official "Harvey Milk Day" for California. Let's just hope that The Terminator can guess who--out of Burnett, Lucas, Yeager, and Milk--faithfully helped Jim Jones keep his flock for the cyanide slaughter in Guyana.

Coming up.....


Rose said...

Good to see you back!

Tom Kinsolving said...

Thanks, Rosey. ( So much going on that sometimes can't pull away from the grindstone....on the other hand, too much going on elsewhere that I've got to unleash! :)

Robin Shelley said...

Let 'er rip, Tom!

Tom Kinsolving said...

With an immortal echo from Peter O'Toole's Lawrence of Arabia--"NO PRIZZZZZZ-NNNAHHHHHS!!"

Anonymous said...

Soledad O’Brien is such a phony. In April 2008, Reverend Jeremiah Wright gave a speech in Detroit to the NAACP.  One of the things that  he said in this speech was that black and white children learn with different parts of their brain, and then gave an "unflattering imitation of the way white pastors speak."  Peoples comments were that he gave a racial speech. Soledad  O'Brien, on CNN, was quoted as saying, in a gushing manner, that the speech was a "home run" and "really funny." When questioned about the things he said in the speech, she would say things like, what he really meant was .....or what he wanted to say was... Once again she's covering the truth and being racist.  Just as with the Henry Gates incident.  In an appearance on Anderson Cooper, the night or so before CNN's "The Moment of Truth" she appeared enraged that it was a racial profile against Gates. She said that she got calls from her FRIENDS saying it was all about Gates being black.  She went on that show with the purpose, at all costs, to destroy the credibility of the white police officer and throw him under the bus.  When Cooper was talking she wanted to make the point that Gates said "Thank You" to the police officers.  By mentioning that, she was purposely misrepresenting the truth by playing down Gates' belligerence and racial remarks, which she didn't even mention.  Even Gates' attorney and friend, said to the media that he used very strong language. Colon Powell and President Obama both said he should take blame in the incident.  I have seen this in many occasions with her, where she doesn't speak the truth and hides the true facts.  Another time on Anderson Cooper, Cooper said to O'Brien that Senator John McCain hasn't brought race into the campaign, like he said he wouldn't.  You would think her response would have been something like, that's great because he shouldn't.  Instead she strongly insinuated that he would, even in the last week of the campaign. Also, her questioning style, in interviews  is completely different with a white person than it is with a black person.  Like in her interview with Henry Gates in "The Moment of Truth"  She just went along with his lies. I have seen several comments on various websites about her racism.  There are many other examples I could give of her racial bias, dishonesty and hypocrisy. She seems to consider herself to be black. She mentioned in an interview that her parents made it clear to her “you’re black” and that’s all there is to it.
She’s all about being #1, she wants the world to revolve around her. She comes first, before her family. She wants to be a celebrity figure and a star. In interviews she says she works 6 days a week, mostly out of town, and on some holidays. She goes to gala events, concerts, lots of entertainment events, as a single woman, leaving her husband and kids behind.
I think Soledad O’Brien is a very poor journalist. What ever happened to the days of CNN with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff? They were honorable journalists. You could believe what they said. John Las Vegas

Tom Kinsolving said...

Your point is well taken about the bias that contaminates a big media reporter's coverage, be it Obrien or anyone else. I did think her special on Jonestown had a good bit of quality reporting; the big problem with it, however, is what virtually all the other "examinations" of the People's Temple suffer from--selective rendering of reality, for their own covenience.
And, indeed, this is why there is so much skepticism and anger against the corporate media.